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The Equality Issue























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As I write this note today, I have a lot on my mind. Our spring issue has truly proven to be one of the more inspiring issues we have released in the 2 years Halfstack has been around. It’s crazy to me how far we have come as a publication in 2 years and on this day, our anniversary, I am so proud to release our “Equality Issue”. While this issue was in the very early development stages, Illinois had passed the Marriage Equality Act.

As an Illinois resident, I was beyond proud of my community for this monumental decision. As a woman minority, I am all too familiar with fighting for basic rights. As a US citizen I have been educated on civil rights history, feminism and freedom

editor’s letter

in religious beliefs. As much as we hate to admit it, inequality for minorities, women, and people of different beliefs is still an issue. Yet, to see change occur and be a part of history in the making, is an amazing feeling.

The Spring release of Halfstack hopes to solidify the direction our community, our nations and our people are moving in. We hope to showcase the ideal that love is a basic right we are all entitled to, no matter our sexual preference, religious background, skin color or culture. We hope to showcase that those things shouldn’t be the only ideas that determine who we are as people. We hope to show you the beauty of love and the amazing men and women who are the future of our nation and their generosity and open mindness when it comes to issues such as LGBT rights, marriage equality and interracial relationships.

The heart that was put into this issue is beyond what words could ever explain. The people that we are showcasing in each of the stories can teach all of us as humans to grow beyond what is comfortable and beyond what is expected of


us. These people have pushed the limitations and have overcome obstacles and challenges that many of us could never explain, but we surely can learn from and appreciate.

The goal for this issue is more than just to entertain, we hope that each of you readers become inspired by the people and more knowledgeable on the subject matter discussed throughout these pages. While we do discuss some heavy themes in this issue, we still make it point to enjoy ourselves. You can find pieces highlighting some of Chicago’s hottest brands for men and women along side items like “How to survive a Zombie Apocalypse”. You will learn more about Chicago in the very beginning in the “World’s Faire” article and get some suggestions

on albums and concerts to check out this season.

We are also showcasing some amazing small local businesses and entrepreneurs who are making grand moves. Jtoor is Chicago’s very own bespoke men’s clothier who is bringing custom fashion to the fashion conscious Chicago man. Dwight Bejec , recounts to us the inspiring story of Kieran Folliard and his determination to bring his latest brand of Irish whiskey: 2 Gingers to the masses while still making a difference in his community.

Our spring editorial is our most prized possession in this issue. Writer & Director of Digital Content – Sophia Sanchez, does a beautiful job of recounting the stories of the couples and photographer Laura Lopez captured beautiful moments on location at one of Chicago’s most prominent gay bars: Sidetrack Chicago. Beauty Editor – Danielle Hazekamp showcases how beauty brand MAC is bringing the equality issue to their customers. Writer – Stella Quimby educates us on the Monsanto issues and I (Editor-in-chief – Jen Lezan) bring to you the story of one blind man’s survival during the 9/11 attacks and his life’s mission to bring equality to disabled people worldwide. Cheyenne Hendricks reveals the man behind Chyna Cravens, a queen who overcame her fear of judgment to pursue her performance dreams and continues to succeed today.

I am also so honored to be able to showcase local Democratic Congressional Candidate for the 4th district of Illinois: Jorge Zavala. If elected, Zavala will be the youngest congressman serving. His story, his compassion and his goals are to be admired. His is a great story to inspire the youth, minorities and more to become involved and get active in politics. We truly must be the change we seek and that begins with knowledge.

Readers, I hope that each of you is inspired by the words on these pages and that this issue sparks the energy you need to go out and shake things up this spring. Thank you for your continued support and cheers to the warm weather that is soon to find Chicago.


jennifer lezan

kate roth

mariana quaranta

eic & creative dir.

fashion director

fashion director

@ bellasophiaHQ

@ halfstackmag

@ missmarc40



sophia sanchez

dwight bejec

director & editor

& social media strategy

digital content

director of comm.

L aura L opez lead photographer

pickapose photography


meet the

jennifer pontrelli

sales & promotions director

teresa espinoza

fashion editor

& promotions asst


cheyenne hendricks

blogger intern

kenny muzzey

bloggr & online event photographer

KALI KOLLER Graphic Designer & Creative business owner


Creative visionary and Graphic Designer

JAMIE L. BREEDEN Momma, talented photographer & graphic designer


Style enthusiast & talented fashion designer

DANIELLE HAZEKAMP Beauty know it all, fashion diva to the max.

STELLA ESTRELLA Beauty queen, mommy, fashionista & blogger.

REYNISHA LINDSAY Inspirational Fashionista

PERRY FISH Staff Blogger







Address: 8265 W Golf Rd, Niles, IL 60714 Phone:(847) 324-4150



your girlfriends favorite designer





suiting the modern gentleman 900 North Michigan Ave Shops Suite L5-14 Chicago, IL 60611










a trip back in time with J.Toor Written by: Sophia Sanchez Layout by: Jennifer M. Lezan There was a revolution in every sphere of human existence and fashion was no exception…. The Roaring 1920’s.

J. Toor however, a men’s bespoke clothier in Chicago, Illinois, has taken the Chicago fashion scene by storm. Launched just two short years ago in 2012, J. Toor takes us back to an era where quality and making a statement through fashion was of utmost importance.

Once upon a time, not-so-long ago, we lived in a prosperous era. In the aftermath of WWI, the world was changing. The stock market was booming, women were entering the workforce more than ever before, the nationwide prohibition on alcohol seemed to hinder very few and new music made its way into the night scene. There was a revolution in every sphere of human existence and fashion was no exception…. The Roaring 1920’s. The Jazz Age, as this era has come to be known, seemed to liven everyone and everything it touched, giving an edgier take on life that was certainly reflected in the clothing. This postwar fashion age sported shorter

skirts, low-waisted dresses and short-haired bobs for the ladies; a radical move in the beginning. Young men flaunted dapper suits with wide leg trousers, slim jackets with wide lapels, vests and bow ties; and of course no man of any class would be found without a hat. The war changed attitudes everywhere and this change was representative in the wonderous textiles and fabrics displayed in bright colored clothing that no one had seen in years; a direct reflection of the music, theatre and good times. This was a time when men and women took pride in their outward appearances, a fashion era that to this day, captures beauty in all of its essence.

Over the years, for men especially, this pride has slowly dissipated. Materials and textiles have cheapened, clothing has become drab and the idea of quality has slowly transformed into an industry known today as ‘mass production.’ Fashion ‘chains’ have popped up everywhere and the level of quality once seen in garments considered fashionable has all but disappeared. The fashion industry has become a conveyor belt producing “as much, for as little as possible.” J. Toor however, a men’s bespoke clothier in Chicago, Illinois, has taken the Chicago fashion scene by storm. Launched just two short years ago in 2012, J. Toor takes us back to an era where

quality and making a statement through fashion was of utmost importance. Founded by college friends, Jivesh Toor, Diana McCarty and Jamie Pate; the three landed on Chicago as the store’s home because of their adoration for the city. With the vision of bringing the modern gentleman ‘back to life,’ the team at J.Toor takes the otherwise conservative nature of bespoke menswear and brings it into the modern age. Their designs harken back to the nostalgic days and will remind you of a time when men were effortlessly dapper and attention to the finishing details was standard. Their slogan of “Suiting the Modern Gentleman” is simply not about dressing the contemporary man, but is integrated into everything they do; from the way they design, to the atmosphere within the store, to the way they run their business. “We wanted to bring back the ‘air of the gentleman,’ says McCarty in an interview with Halfstack Magazine. “What does he look like? How does he act? It’s not just about how he dresses, but also about how he treats people.” The vision was to rekindle the feeling of nostalgia in every appointment where the client and designer have a personal relationship. This truly bespoke menswear boutique, captures the spirit of the 1920’s with its speakeasy energy from the moment you walk through the doors. A ‘fabric bar’ located in a portion of

the store, you are greeted with complimentary scotch tastings while you browse hundreds of fabric samples and discuss your specific needs with the designer. Alongside this unique retail experience, J. Toor focuses on custom fit, specialized style and value. At a basic level, the idea is to build custom jackets from scratch while focusing on the individual needs of the client. Everything from the lining, to the width of the lapel and welting is completely customizable. And with classic influences in their designs such as double breasted jackets and satin shawl lapels, you can rest assured that your custom J. Toor clothing will be perfectly suited to your taste, without compromise of quality. Men everywhere spend eight, nine hundred dollars for suits “off the rack” from Hugo Boss and Armani that are not only manufactured in Asia with fabrics that are designed to fail in just a few short years, but that also don’t have the attention to detail, nor the cut to fit their body types. Don’t let the frightening notion of outrageous prices for bespoke clothing scare you away. For just a little bit more, you can have the expert staff of J. Toor put together a suit that is tailor-made in the United Kingdom from esteemed mills [Loro Piana, Holland & Sherry, Cerruti to name a few], that not only has character, but will fit you flawlessly, be unlike any other and last your lifetime. J. Toor doesn’t just have extensive knowledge in the luxurious

fabrics that make up each of their designs, but the key to their success lies in their unprecedented customer service and unmatched professionalism by any other clothier in the area. Certified by the CTDA (Custom Tailors & Designers Association), J. Toor gives a much more in-depth consultation than the competition. “This is one of our trademarks. We provide combined fashion guidance and education pertaining to each customers own personal frame and style. We don’t train salespeople to take basic measurements like shoulders, waist and chest; we also take into account posture, the way each of your shoulders rests compared to the other, which lapel looks best, where buttons should rest... We are very grounded in our craft,” says McCarty. There is simply no other clothier out there that offers such an in-depth level of design customization at their prices. In a market that is heavily driven and influenced by women, Halfstack Magazine had to ask why the team decided to pursue bespoke menswear. McCarty happily responded, “People are so used to women being the center of attention. At J. Toor we wanted to bring back the customization of men’s clothing; we wanted to the focus to be all about men. From the young professional banker who doesn’t receive a lot of attention, to the TV personality who is used to being in the spotlight, we want all of our men to feel confident the moment they walk out the door.”

a winning team

Jamie pate Having launched their collection in conjunction with the Human Rights Campaign - the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered civil rights organization in the United States - it is no secret that the folks at J. Toor strongly support the equal rights of all. Their brand, having a strong presence and adoration from the LGBT community, J. Toor takes pride in having a collection that is esteemed as classy and fashionable by people from all walks of life. J. Toor may be making waves in the fashion community within Chicago and beyond, however they remain humble, quietly making their mark on the fashion scene. So take a trip back in time to a much simpler existence, and let J. Toor win you over as they’ve won over hearts all over Chicago.

diana mccarty

Jivesh Toor

“J. Toor is for the man who isn’t afraid to discover his own personal style and isn’t afraid of classic fashion with contemporary twists of individuality.”

- Jivesh Toor

900 N. Michigan Ave. Suite L5-14 Chicago, IL | 312-291-8249 To make an appointment, visit Follow on Facebook at Twitter: @j_toor

The Cultured Spotlight

Opening the Vaults: Wonders from the 1893 World’s Fair at the Field Museum

Written by: Stella Quimby Layout by: Jennifer Lezan

you can see the actual artifacts” “ Today, and photos from the fair that put Chicago on the global Map.

Did you know that Chicago bested New York City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis in 1893 as the home for the World’s Fair? With more than 27 million people in attendance during its six month run, the fair was a commemoration; a celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the New World in 1492. The fair quickly became an influential social and cultural event. Today, you can see the actual artifacts and photos from the fair that put Chicago on the global Map. The Field Museum in Chicago is hosting an 1893 World’s Fair Exhibit which began in October of 2013 and will run until September 7th, 2014. Not only was the 1893 World’s Fair the birthplace of Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum and the Ferris Wheel, the fair also marked the triumphant debut of the Chicago Field Museum. From the museums own hidden collection, you can now view incredible artifacts and specimens from the World’s Fair that have been rarely [and some never] seen on display since they amazed people over a hundred years ago; including a meteorite that the public was so terrified of, it was kept locked and chained in a dungeon. Take a day trip to the Field Museum and visit this extraordinary exhibit today! The Chicago Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605. (312) 922-9410. The museum is open daily from 9am-5pm with the exception of Christmas Day. The 1893 World’s Fair Exhibit is included in the All Access Pass which is $31.00 for adults, $21.00 for children aged 3-11 and $25.00 for students and seniors. When the Greeks Ruled Egypt at the Art Institute Chicago Thursday, October 31, 2013 - Sunday, July 27, 2014

Did you know that the Greeks once ruled the mighty and rich kingdom of Egypt? Alexander the Great’s General, Ptolemy, took over Egypt when the conqueror passed away and his family created a dynasty which reigned for over 300 years. A dynasty that included the famous Cleopatra, who also happens to be the last pharaoh of this ancestry. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago and be amazed at the over 75 pieces of artwork from this lineage. From gilded mummy masks, luxury glass, magical amulets, portraits in stone, precious metals and more, you are sure to be astonished by the artifacts from the last known and major Egyptian dynasty. The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 60603. (312) 443-3600 It is open daily from 10:30am - 5pm and Thursdays until 8pm. Closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Tickets are $17.00 for students, youth and seniors and is $23.00 for adults. And admission is free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5pm-8pm. This exhibit is included in the general admission fee.


ALBUMS Written By: Dwight Bejec

The love of music evokes nostalgic thoughts of many ‘firsts’ as we move through different parts of life; some good and some bad. While many on this list are seasoned artists, it’s nice to see how they have evolved in time to keep up with the pace of the newer generation of listeners, who still enjoy their classic sounds. We’ve compiled a list of 10 different albums that seem most interesting as each of these artist in some way has given us cherished memories.

Enrique Iglesias will be releasing his new album titled “Sex + Love” on March 18th. This will be the tenth studio album and second bilingual album by Spanish Singer-Songwriter.

Lana Del Rey is set to release her album titled “Ultraviolence” on May 1st. She initially tried to withdraw her release date, so it’s technically not official. However it should release around this date. With the leaked song “Behind Closed Doors,” the upbeat song makes this album, one to look forward to! Rick Ross will be releasing “Mastermind” on March 4th. It will contain 16 original songs, including his featured singles “The Devil Is a Lie” and “War Ready.” For the people who love deluxe edition albums, his will feature three additional tracks. Big Sean, Jay Z, Jeezy, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Meek Mill make guest appearances.

Kylie Minogue will be releasing her new album “Kiss Me Once” on March 18. This will be her 12th album, a follow up from 2010’s “Aphrodite.” The first single, “Into The Blue” is out now. Another tidbit of knowledge, Pharrell Williams is also on this album. Get ready for some dance floor hits from this Pop Diva!

George Michael’s sixth album titled “Symphonica” will be out on May 6. It is a mix of original compositions and covers which were similar to the sets he performed on the “Symphonica” Tour in 2011-12. This will be Michael’s first full length release since 2004’s “Patience.”

It has been almost 4 years since Mariah Carey started work on her new album. In the past 2 years she’s had three managers, two album release dates and four new tracks. Titled “The Art of Letting Go,” this album is set to release with a tentative date of May 6. Here’s hoping that all will go smoothly with this upcoming release. Hip Hop fans rejoice as Ice Cube has announced that he will be bringing back some West Coast Flavor! The follow up to 2010’s “I am the West” will hit on May 13, 2014, titled “Everythang’s Corrupt.”

It has been almost 11 years since singer, songwriter and actor Johnny Cash passed away, but his music lives on. “Out Among The Stars,” a collection of Johnny Cash songs from a lost session in the early ’80s is slated to be released late March. It’s always fascinating when lost songs are found!

It has been 6 years since we’ve heard from Beck which makes his February 25th release of “Morning Phase” one of the more anticipated albums to hit the music scene this year. Although “Morning Phase” is considered to be a companion piece to his last album “Sea Change,” it is more of a ‘mellow and deeply-melancholic look at life; or a road-trip record for the ages to create beautifully nostalgic memories.

Layout Design: Kate Roth

U2 has a slated release of June for their new album which is still untitled. They’ve described the new single off the untitled album, “Invisible” as not your typical love song. The album has been described as an anthemic number about leaving ones home town.

oncerts oncert

spring Concerts of 2013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 By Dwight Bejec

Want to feel young again? Capture those nostalgic feelings with Ella YelichO’Connor also known as Lorde, who will be playing the Aragon on March 18

If you love waiting for the beat to drop then make plans to see David Guetta who will be making an appearance at the Aragon Ballroom April 4th Post hardcore music remind you of love lost and other teen angst memories? Taking Back Sunday would love to entertain your thoughts on April 5 at the Concord Music Hall

The gift of seeing a living legend perform is an inspiring experience. Don’t miss your chance to see John Legend April 9 at Cadillac Place

Armin Van Buuren is known for mostly playing progressive and uplifting trance, which is what he will be doing here at the United Center April 17th. Grab the glow sticks and energy drinks, it looks to be an awesome experience. If laid back blues with hints of R&B and Hip Hop are sounds that make you feel good, then don’t miss G Love & Special Sauce on April 18th at the Metro Smart Bar

The ever evolving Queens of the Stone Age will be in chicago May 9th playing at the Aragon Ball Room! Prepare yourself for a night to remember as you experience a mixture of memories from the past to now!

Innovative, fresh and Forward thinking DJ AVICII will be playing the All State Arena, don’t miss this May 15 show at the All State Arena

10 11

Be ready to be energized! Foster the People will be playing May 16th at the Riviera Theater! If the chilled out atmosphere of picnics and calm nights out taking a stroll are your thing Jack Johnson & Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros will be playing May 31 First Merit Bank Pavilion

Layout Design by Kate Roth

If you’re looking to energize yourself with an awesome live performance then don’t miss Cage the Elephant on May 14 at the Aragon


Written by: Regulo Alvaradojr Written by: Regulo Alvarado Jr. Layout design by: Kate Roth


must shop

Lifetime Leather Co



Owner: Ty Bowman Based in Mesa, Arizona, Lifetime Leather Co. , is a personalized leathergood company focusing in menswear accessories. From Passport wallets to cell phone holders, and from key-chains to toiletry bags, you can get your one-of-a-kind item from a quick and simple online shop! Just as their slogan suggests: Lifestyle goods made for a lifetime!


Haberdash Men (

Owner: Adam Beltzman Born in 2005 in Chicago, Haberdash Men, is your one stop shop for ‘hard-to-find’ brands including: 1911, L.B.M., Gitman Bros. Vintage, Baldwin Denim, Alden and others. Providing the finest quality in menswear, shoes and accessories. Shop online or in the two Midwest locations.


Suit Supply ( S/home)

Owner: Fokke de Jong

When it comes to affordability and high quality, look no further! Suitsupply is the place for you. From Glen-plaid suits to individual tops, Suitsupply’s garments are tailored made with a slim fit. Meaning you’re set to look your best and feel even better. They offer in-house tailoring (while you shop they work on your item!), hundreds of tie selections, and exclusive accessories. and with its ever-growing expansion, odds are there’s one near you!


Trunk Club


Owner: Brian Spaly Changing the way men shop since 2009, Trunk Club is a new and innovative way to shop as you go. As simple as 1,2,3. First, sign up: fill out a survey for stylists to know your style and measurements, then you’ll meet with your assigned stylist. Two, stylists selects clothes: experienced stylist will hand select items that best fit you and your lifestyle. Three, receive clothes: You’ll receive a filled box with the selected items. Keep the ones you like and return the rest! Best part of it all? Huge variety of high brands/designers and accessories!


Trumaker Co. (

Owner: Mark Lovas

Ever had the problem of shirts not fitting well? sleeves too short, collars too tight or just not the right color? Well thanks to Trumaker Co., that’s a thing of the past. With their personalized made-to-measure and affordable prices, Trumaker brings a whole new level to customized ordering. Trained stylists known as Outfitters, help you design the perfect shirt for you. From fabric selection to your own online shop, Trumaker Co. is your shirt go-to shop!

A Look inside Written by: Sophia Sanchez Layout by: Jennifer M. Lezan Last Spring, Halfstack Magazine introduced an exciting and new men’s accessories brand - Jack + Mulligan. Launched in 2013, Michael Szewczyk, wanted to bring men everywhere an upscale alternative to the standard gym bag. With women everywhere having option after option to choose from with regards to luggage and travel accessories, Szewczyk, was tired of feeling like his only option was to carry around a boring and poorly made duffel. The collection, which launched with the Classic Tote and Dopp, has transformed into an array of products and accessories that are sure to fit any sophisticated man’s needs. Founder and Designer Michael Szewczyk sits down with us to discuss his latest additions to the brand. Halfstack Magazine (HM): Your collection has come a long way since it launched in the middle part of 2013. How has the public responded to Jack + Mulligan? Michael Szewczyk (MS): We don’t look at Jack + Mulligan as launching in 2013. We really started Jack + Mulligan as a passion project and out of necessity. We wanted a perfect tote and we were fortunate that we were able to source some amazing manufacturers and textile mills locally. The response from our first tote amongst friends and family was better than expected, and that’s when we really decided to pursue Jack + Mulligan full time. The public’s response and support to the new line has been absolutely amazing. HM: How has the collection expanded in terms of products, aesthetic, quality, manufacturing (etc) with the growth of the brand? MS: This past Fall was spent listening to individuals for what they wanted and of course designing our current

line. We went from the one tote we made for friends and family to a full line including our duffel, square tote, camo tote, briefcase, portfolio and dopp. We now have an item available for every need. Whether it’s running to the gym in the morning, meetings in the afternoon, or getting away over a long weekend - we’ve got you covered. In terms of quality and manufacturing, we continue to fulfill our core thesis of making high quality men’s accessories that are locally made. HM: What can we expect in 2014 as far as additional products go and goals as a company? MS: We have some items we are currently working on that we’ll be previewing in the coming months. For 2014, we just want to spread as much of the Jack + Mulligan love we can to the guys that are working, working out, traveling and just living. HM: Why should people invest in Jack + Mulligan? MS: Jack + Mulligan items carry a lifetime warranty, are locally made and carry factory direct prices. A bag shouldn’t cost more than your trip, and we strive to make sure that never happens when you own a Jack + Mulligan item. Jack + Mulligan, named after Michael’s two dogs, an Apricot Poodle and an Irish Water Spaniel, is not only committed to providing men with a quality alternative to the standard gym bag accessory, but is devoted to ensuring that the relationship with the customer goes beyond the sale of the product to make sure that each individual person’s needs are met. Whether you are a lawyer working and living the busy downtown lifestyle or a farmer sowing seeds, Jack + Mulligan has a quality product that will not only add an air of elegance and grace to your everyday persona, but will perfectly suit your everyday lifestyle.

“ �

Michael Szewczyk, wanted to bring men everywhere an upscale alternative to the standard gym bag.

Dylan Dopp Kit| $70

Fitzgerald Briefcase | $130

Franklin Folio| $75

Sold exclusively at:

Love is for the masses Written by: Sophia Sanchez Layout by: Jennifer Lezan

Menswear by: Jtoor Special Occasion Dresses: Macy’s Hair & Makeup by: Cindy Gonzalez & Jessica Navarro Bowties by: Beau ties Ltd. Lapels by: Groove & Stitch Photography: Laura Lopez of Pickapose Photography

Love is a bit peculiar. From euphoria, excitement, happiness and even sadness and anger, can you think of any other feeling that encompasses so many different emotions at once? Whether you believe that we have all been predestined by fate to fall madly in love with one person who was purposefully put on this earth just for you, or if love is simply left to chance, we all seem to long for a love story of our own.... We’ve long lived in a world filled with oppression of love. For many years, people were forced to marry those whom they barely knew. Others were judged for loving someone thought unfit because of race or cultural differences. And even violence has been brought against those who’ve chosen to explore their own sexual freedoms.... We’ve only just begun to enter a new phase, a new journey, in which we are free to love whom we want to love. Without worry of repercussions. Where we no longer have to hide in the shadows of our own feelings. And perhaps we’ll never fully be free from the judgement of others, but love has finally become a right of the masses; a passion free to whomever you may be... With the recent ruling in the state of Illinois and in states across the country where same sex marriage is now legal, Halfstack Magazine is happy to bring you four beautiful stories of love from the real people of Chicago. Whether interracial, gay, or culturally different, these four couples share their stories of overcoming racism and stereotypes to show that love always perseveres...


Certainly each has had to overcome hardships for being gay, but today, neither would change any part of their journey.

Michael Lango & Dave Borgealt We all want to live in a whirlwind romance. One full of deep-affection, romance and wonderment. But it is certainly no secret that in the real world, relationships are rarely the fairytales we long for. They take work after all; a lot of work. In the case of Michael Lango and Dave Borgealt however, love came just a little bit easier.... They met at a professional conference for higher education many years ago. “We locked eyes from across the room, walked over to each other and just started talking,” tells Michael of the moment when they first met. With plans to meet a few days later, it was a discussion over their shared love of Author, David Sedaris’, Holidays on Ice that their story begins. Both being originally from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, each encountered very different results in the experience with “coming out.” While Dave felt nothing but warmth, love and support from his family in that moment, he struggled as a teenager, enduring much bullying from his peers. Michael, who ‘came out’ in college, felt his environment was accepting, however fought for acceptance from some of his family, whom found it difficult to understand in the beginning. Certainly each has had to overcome hardships for being gay, but today, neither would change any part of their journey. The obvious love and support between this couple resonates more strongly than any amount of hate could ever conquer. “Being together has never been hard work. It’s always come easy and always felt so right. I remember meeting Michael at the train station one day, towards the beginning of our relationship. And as I was coming down the stairs, and as cliche as it sounds, I just lost my breathe. They say your heart skips a beat when you realize you love someone, and for me it absolutely did. It was in that moment that I realized how much Michael meant to me.”

And in the Summer of 2012, in a beautiful ceremony on the Chicago River, with a sky lit up by fireworks, the two took their vows in a civil union surrounded by over 100 of their closest family and friends. 2013 was an important year for the LGBT community. At a federal level, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality, entitling gay couples across the nation to federal marriage benefits. In the Fall of 2013, the state of Illinois also ruled in favor of Marriage Equality, legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois for the first time in history. And for Michael, while this monumental achievement is one of a major victory, his heart is already content. “It makes me really proud to live in Illinois. It is really exciting, not only for us as a couple but for gay couples everywhere. We certainly have plans to make it official, but in our eyes, we were married on that day in June of 2012. We already made our commitment to each other, to our family, friends and to God. Our lives as a married couple started on that day.” Almost 8 years later, and with the love and support of those closest to them, Michael and Dave are happier than they’ve ever been. With new and exciting elements happening every day to protect their human and civil rights, they couldn’t be any more proud to be gay men living in America. The world certainly has a long way to go, but Michael and Dave are certain that they’ll one day live in a world that accepts wholeheartedly without judgement. “We’re just two regular guys, just like anyone else. Today, it’s a little bit easier to live our lives and not feel so different or isolated from the rest of the world. Growing up, I longed to have an older couple to look up to as an example where I could say to myself, ‘hey, they are making it work.’ If we can provide that example for young people who are struggling to identify with who they are, then our lives have all been worth it.” - Dave Borgealt

2013 was an important year for the LGBT community. At a federal level, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality, entitling gay couples across the nation to federal marriage benefits.


Dennis Quijano & Gina Cappoferri Perhaps for the younger generations of today, the idea of being forbidden to date someone because of the color of their skin is completely foreign. It is certainly crazy to think about, however not so long ago, interracial dating was heavily frowned upon. Discrimination and racism lurked behind every corner at the mere thought of dating someone outside of your race. Today, we live in a much more accepting world. Albeit, one that perhaps still needs improvement. However the concept for many of being able to love whom you want to love is simply second nature. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, love is for the masses..... For Dennis Quijano and Gina Cappoferri, their love story has always been one of a happy beginning.“... I love how she makes it easy for me to love her....” Full of intimacy and warmth, this simple statement fully embraces how Dennis feels about his fiance Gina. “I’ve never had a partner I trusted, cared for and loved so much. Everything about who she is, compliments who I am... She brings out the best in me.” Dennis of Filipino descent and Gina being Italian and Finnish, one might worry that their relationship of three years may have encountered obstacles of discrimination. Fortunately for them, friends and family have always openly embraced their commitment to one another and

I’ve never had a partner I trusted, cared for and loved so much. Everything about who she is, compliments who I am... She brings out the best in me.

have supported their relationship to each other from the start. Their relationship, described as “blissful” by Dennis, began as a friendship between co-workers. They soon began spending time together outside of the workplace and their romance flourished from there. A playfulness between the two proves to be electrifying, and the fondness between them is easy to feel... “I love that he makes me laugh. He is always there for me and he has the balls to put me in my place.” Feeling fortunate that they have never had to face discrimination as an interracial couple while realizing that other couples may not be as lucky, both Dennis and Gina are aware of the struggles that still exist within society in regards to couples deemed “different” by society standards. When asked about their feelings regarding last years ruling to legalize same-sex marriage within the state of Illinois, the couple excitedly showed their support... “We think it is great. Not only from a same-sex marriage standpoint, but with regards to equality as a whole, this certainly helps open doors to “normalcy” in society for other couples who may have once been viewed as ‘different.’ People will still have their own opinions, but legally it’s not holding anyone apart anymore.” Advice shared by the two for other young couples who may be having a hard time finding acceptance from oth-

ers was as simple as, “Love who you love for you and not for anyone else.” Having been engaged for a year now, the two plan to marry this year on April 25th and cannot wait to begin this next phase and journey of their lives together. “We feel that we share a similar story with many. This is our way of putting it out there for all to relate, smile, and love one another.” - Dennis Quijano


Jeremy Hawkins & Nailea Rios People always seem to think that young adults couldn’t possibly know anything about what it means to be in love. And sure, maybe the statistics haven’t always been in their favor. But maybe, just maybe... this young couple will be the exception to the rule.... Jeremy Hawkins and Nailea Rios are a young couple living in the suburbs of Chicago. Both in their early twenties, they have been in a relationship for three and a half years. Having met in the 7th grade, the two hold strong that their relationship was set on the foundation of a very close and solid friendship. Most will argue that they were just children when they first met. And while Jeremy admits to always having had a “thing” for Nailea, the two would remain good friends throughout the remainder of their high school careers. A year after returning to his hometown upon his high school graduation, Jeremy stumbled upon Nailea’s number and decided to invite her to dinner to ‘catch up.’ A few weeks later, and after many years of friendship, a relationship evolved. Jeremy attests their journey hasn’t always been an easy one, “The few years that we’ve been together haven’t been easy and we’ve certainly been tested at moments, but we have managed to surpass all of those obstacles and continue to stand strong.” And if beating the odds of a young couple in love wasn’t enough to break them apart, the two have also had to overcome the stigma of being an interracial couple. Jeremy, an African American, and Nailea being Latina, the couple has had to deal with racism and discrimination directly from their peers. Despite finding it difficult in the beginning to face those challenges, the love and support the two have always received from their family was enough to keep their bond strong. “There were many occasions in the beginning where Hispanic men would ask Nailea why she was with a ‘black

man.’ And there were certainly instances where black women would ask me why I was with her. It was tough getting through those moments for us, but as our relationship has become stronger, we no longer worry about what other people have to say or think about us being together. We’re happy and in love.” Jokingly poking fun at one another, Nailea tells of the on-going joke throughout their friendship in which she would tell Jeremy that he never stood a chance. Jeremy however, swears that Nailea was ‘head over heels’ from the very start. Playfulness aside, the love these two young lovers share is not only evident in the way they interact, but in the fondness of their voices. “Jeremy and I have been best friends since middle school and he is still very much my best friend. I can talk to him about anything. I love that he’s a family man, I love that he makes me laugh and that we can be silly together. Jeremy is the kind of man that can walk into a room and just light up the entire place with his amazing personality. He loves and supports me and pushes me to be the best that I can be.” Being no strangers to the hardships of discrimination, Jeremy and Nailea both share eagerly in the excitement of the many same-sex couples celebrating across the nation, and especially in Illinois with the recent passing of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Understanding that it can be difficult to find acceptance under any circumstance, on the issues of love, they strongly believe that no one should have the right to interfere in what makes a person happy. And with parting words...“Remember, that when you fall in love, NO person, political view or public opinion should ever come between that. We are happier now than we have ever been and we’re going on 4 years strong. Love really can conquer all.”


Jeremy is the kind of man that can walk into a room and just light up the entire place with his amazing personality. He loves and supports me and pushes me to be the best that I can be.


Remember, that when you fall in love, NO person, political view or public opinion should ever come between that.

Patrice Walden & Brian Parker It truly can be a wildly exciting feeling when you find that one person you can’t possibly imagine your life without. To be so completely in love with someone, that your own happiness is prudent on the happiness of another.... Sweet, romantic bliss.... Patrice Walden and Brian Parker have been together for four years. With plans to marry in the Summer of 2015, their story begins with childhood. “Her cousin lived next to me growing up. Patrice is four years younger than me, so I never really noticed her.” It wasn’t until many years later when Patrice was a senior in high school that she stumbled upon Brian’s Facebook profile and decided to reach out. “Brian likes to tell people that I stalked him on Facebook. I did not. I decided to add him because I thought he was cute. When we began getting to know each other, I realized I already knew him.” The two started off as just friends, dating casually for many years. Neither wanted a serious relationship and in 2007, Patrice moved to Texas while Brian remained in Chicago. Seeing each other as often as possible and on holidays, over time, they developed a strong friendship and bond. In the Winter of 2010, Brian drove to Texas during a snow blizzard to pick Patrice up and bring her home. Three years later, on Christmas of 2013, Brian proposed. “We just realized we needed each other in our lives and he made the right choice by coming to get me from Texas. I love this man so much. He is my rock and I am his.” Fortunately, Patrice and Brian have not had to face any discrimination as an African American couple. Growing up however, Patrice was chastised by people within her own community for being “too dark.” “When I was younger it affected me a lot. I just wanted to fit in. As I’ve gotten older and become more educated, I’ve thought back to that time in my life and I realize


We just realized we needed each other in our lives and he made the right choice by coming to get me from Texas. I love this man so much. He is my rock and I am his.


now how ignorant people can be. Black is black. Being light skinned or dark skinned does not matter. Some people seem to think that if they ‘put down’ people within their own race that it somehow doesn’t fall under racism. It does.” In realizing that people everywhere still face discrimination for being different, looking different, and even loving differently, both Patrice and Brian were elated to hear that Illinois had legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. “We wondered what the hell took so long. Marriage Equality should have been the law of the land decades ago. Love is love and people should be able to marry whomever they feel deserves their heart. Love is beauty and people should be able to celebrate it no matter what their sexual preference is.” And just as they so easily share in the love and excitement of others, they openly boast about their own commitment to one another. They may have started off as just good friends, but it was their open and honest communication from the start that has turned their connection to one another into lasting love. Patrice moving away for years didn’t hinder their friendship in the slightest and in hindsight may have strengthened their bond. It was through this distance in which they realized they simply couldn’t be without one another. Nights spent talking on the phone about anything and everything, today, are nights spent together talking about their future as husband and wife. “Patrice has such a lively personality. It’s never a dull moment with her. What I love the most about her is her big heart.” “Our relationship has definitely been a rollercoaster ride and was certainly a challenge, but we’ve always managed to work things out. When it’s meant to be, it’ll be and I hope that our story can give others a little bit of faith in love.” - Patrice Walden



MAC FOR EQUALITY M.A.C Cosmetics is considered one of the most revolutionary and influential cosmetic companies to date. Started back in 1984, M.A.C Cosmetics was developed by Makeup Artist and Photographer, Frank Toskan, and Beauty Salon Owner, Frank Angelo. Bet you didn’t think that one of the best makeup lines in the world was actually created by two men! Upon startup, the main goal in creating the brand, was to provide a makeup line that professional makeup artists could use. However, today, M.A.C has transformed into a brand that not only is esteemed by professional makeup artists everywhere, but being sold in department stores all over the world, everyone can enjoy. And when we say ‘everyone,’ we mean EVERYONE. At M.A.C., the company’s credo states, “All races, all sexes, and all ages reflect our brand’s unique appreciation of individuality, artistry and the virtues of self-expression. It is through this credo that M.A.C works to ensure the fair and equal treatment of everyone and also to give back to communities all around the world. In 1994, the founders of M.A.C created a fund to help people of all ages, races and sexes affected by HIV and AIDS; the M.A.C AIDS Fund. Through this fund, M.A.C has created many different campaigns to raise money, one in particular being the Viva Glam Campaign in which the company releases a lipstick or gloss created specifically for the campaign and 100% of the proceeds go back to the fund. To date, the brand has raised $315 million via their Viva Glam

Campaign sales. In addition to the incredible work they do through this fund, another interesting note to make is that the Viva Glam Campaign chooses a new spokesperson to represent the campaign each year. Can you guess who the very first representative was? The glam queen herself, RuPaul! To this day, Viva Glam I is one of the best selling lipsticks and can still be purchased. purchased. Many other celebrities have been chosen to partake in the campaign over the years, including K.D. Lang, Mary J. Blige, Boy George, Christina Aguilera, Debbie Harry, Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin and others. Being all about helping people, M.A.C also has a campaign titled M.A.C. Kids Helping Kids. This campaign helps children affected or infected with HIV or AIDS by allowing them to create pictures that are then produced into greeting cards and are sold on M.A.C.’s website. Like the Viva Glam Lipsticks, 100% of the proceeds go back into the M.A.C. AIDS Fund. And if you just haven’t had enough, another way M.A.C. reinforces their fight to help others and strive for equality is through their limited edition collections and collaborations with icons including fashion house Heatherette, drag queen Dame Edna, fashion icon Iris Apfel and this summer, they will be releasing a brand new collection with Sharon and Kelly Osborne. When it comes to customers and employees alike, M.A.C strives to make everyone feel welcome. There is no discrimination as soon as you walk through their doors. Through company policy, no job applicant or employee shall receive less favorable treatment based on gender, on gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, social class, race or disability and M.A.C ensures that customers all receive the same treatment and courtesy. If you’ve ever visited a M.A.C. counter or store, you too can attest to not only the diversity of the the artists but the amazing treatment of every single customer. Join forces with M.A.C today in the fight for fair treatment of everyone and don’t forget to shop their amazing collection of cosmetics!

Beauty Sleep

Written by: Danielle Hazekamp Designed by: Kali Koller

Worried about wrinkles and aging? Look for a night cream that contains vitamin C. Vitamin C actually helps to build collagen. When it comes to hands and feet, it is sometimes hard to remember to apply lotion when you are rushing out the door each morning. Therefore, it is best to apply your favorite hand and foot cream before bed. I recommend the H2O Spa Hand and Nail Cream to use for your hands and the Neutrogena Foot Cream for your feet. The key is to apply the cream and wear soft socks and spa gloves to bed. In the morning your hands and feet will feel like you’ve just walked out of the salon.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person. I typically hit the snooze button on my alarm until I’m usually running late for work. Though I only allow myself 25 minutes to get ready for work, I always make sure to look presentable. My makeup and hair is always done. If you are thinking 25 minutes is completely unrealistic, my answer to that is that I’ve ironed out a strict routine. Part of my routine entails getting some beauty in while I sleep. Yes, you heard me correctly. While I sleep! With some helpful tips I learned from Zendy Beauty and tricks I’ve learned over the years from various sources, you too can get some beauty in while you sleep. The skin uses the hours that you are asleep to heal from the day’s damages. When it comes to your face, it is best to use a good night cream. According to Zendy Beauty, there are key ingredients to look for in a night cream to help with your skin concerns. Looking to hydrate and replenish your skin? Find a night cream that contains hyaluronic acid (HA).

H20 Spa Hand and Nail Cream $16.00 //

And if you don’t have time to apply lotion to your hands before you leave each day, you certainly won’t have time to whiten your teeth each morning. Yup. You guessed it. It’s best to whiten your teeth at night. Most whitening strips or treatments take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours. Make sure that you follow the directions as some whiteners should not be used on a daily basis. Every woman wants lashes for days! I will do anything for longer and bigger eyelashes. A tip found on Pinterest; apply castor oil to my lashes. A bit skeptical at first, after applying it to my lashes before bed for week, I discovered this tip is a “must try” for all. After my night skincare routine, I take a clean mascara wand and apply the castor oil to my lashes. This is a thicker type of oil and sometimes I take a tissue to wipe away any excess oil. Be sure to wash your face each morning to wipe your face and lashes clean of any residual oil. Not only did this help my lashes look amazing, it also helps to loosen any left over eyeliner and mascara that I may have missed during my nightly wash.

Neutrogena Foot Cream $4.99 //

If you have long and thick straight hair like myself, it will usually take about 20 minutes to blow dry your hair straight out of the shower. If you want to achieve that beach wave look, the easiest way is to sleep in pigtail braids. After washing your hair make sure to blow dry it as well. It is ok if your hair remains a little damp. Braid each side of your head into pigtails. Leave the pigtails in while you get ready to start your day and take them out just before heading out. Comb through your hair with your fingers and spray on your favorite texturizing spray. I recommend Oribe. Have an issue with dry hair but don’t have time for a conditioning treatment? Wash your hair at night and apply a leave in conditioner. By applying a leave in conditioner at night, it allows more time for the conditioner to absorb into the hair cuticles. You will wake up with smooth and silky hair. Try Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil. Made with almond, avocado and olive oil, this is the perfect regimen to leave your hair shiny and smooth. And a bonus… The oil is also safe to use on your face and body.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray $42.00 //



In ancient Egypt, it was customary for men, along with women, to wear makeup. Eye shadows, as well as brow and eyelash enhancers were of popular during this time. In Europe, men of Aristocratic class also wore makeup. Using white chalk powder and lead on their faces was an indication of wealth and helped to distinguish them from the common folk.

Eventually that trend died out. That is until the late 1900’s. And with the rise of metrosexuality in the 2000’s, men now take great pride in their appearances. And whether they choose to admit it or not, most men have worn or used makeup at least once in their lifetimes.

Naturally, brands have begun developing makeup to cater to a male demographic. 4VOO (pronounced forvous), is a Canadian skincare and cosmetic company that offers an array of luxurious products. With 10 items within this cosmetic collection, 4VOO covers all of the basics, as well as provides direction on how to properly apply each product; and even has many well-known male celebrities and skincare professionals

4V00 ITEMS TO TRY: 1. Confidence Corrector: A cover stick that covers and hides away any unwanted blemishes, under eye circles and even tattoos. 2. Silk-Enriched Shine Reduction Powder: A translucent powder, meaning that it can be used on any skin tone. The powder absorbs excess oil to eliminate shine. 3. Lash & Brow Styling Glaze: Designed to lengthen, control and condition lashes and brows. 4. Moisturizing Lip Protector: An all in one lip product. It soothes, moisturizes, protects and creates a youthful softness.

Ken Men is another Canadian company that first specialized in cosmetics for the film and television industry for A-List actors. The company has since decided to branch out and has launched a collection for the everyday man. Their products encompass 80-93% natural ingredients. More limited in the items they offer than other brands, they do still offer a “how to” on all of their products.


Men’s Makeup UK (MMUK) is an online store that understands the importance of men wanting to always appear their best. They offer not only cosmetics in their own private label, but also carry well known brands such as Stila, Calvin Klein and L’Oreal. MMUK also has a Men’s Makeup Blog where men can read up on articles about products, tutorials and other helpful tips on a regular basis. This product offering is far more extensive than any other men’s cosmetic site out there.

1. Sculpting Face Sticks: A cover stick that defines, conceals blemishes and enhances features. 2. Lash-Brow Conditioner: Formulated to condition, this product also thickens and defines upper and lower lashes. It is also used to re-define thin areas in beards and eyebrows. 3. Sport Stick Healing Lip Balm: A protective and hydrating lip balm. It also contains mint and rosemary to soothe and calm inflammations. 4. Brown and Beard Correctors: Corrector Pens that define uneven brows, all fills in gaps in beards and mustaches.

Written by: Danielle Hazekamp Designed by: Kali Koller

TOP SPRING BEAUTY PRODUCTS r e h & m for hi Written by: Danielle Hazekamp Designed by: Kali Koller



L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 I love getting gel manicures done at the nail salon. Over time however, it can become costly while ruining your nails if you don’t get them removed properly. Now, thanks to L’Oreal, I can do it at home without the costly equipment. With an easy 1, 2, 3 step process, you can get the gel manicure look at home. The best part? You don’t need a UV light to get results. Just purchase the kit that contains steps 1 and 3, and then pick your desired color for step 2. The bonus is that these gels can be removed with regular nail polish remover. $12.99 for Step 1 & 3 $7.99 for Step 2

Revlon Skinlights Illuminators Revlon couldn’t have re-released these at a better time with contouring and highlighting being on the rise. These liquid illuminators are amazing and go on easy. Apply with a brush; or your finger tips work well also. Bare Light is a good choice for highlighting and Bronze Light is a good choice for contouring or bronzing. These products also work well to give extra shimmer to your décolletage. $10.99



Ogx Scalp Therapy Australian Tea tree Shampoo & Conditioner This Winter is sure to leave your scalp dry and itchy; not to mention the dullness it can also leave behind. This shampoo and conditioner is perfect to heal a dry and itchy scalp while leaving your hair healthy and shiny. $7.99 each

Australian Gold SPF 45 Coverage Faces with Self –Tanner Skin experts recommend wearing SPF every single day. This lotion not only protects your face from UVA/UVB rays, it will also leave your skin feeling smooth without the greasy layer. It also contains gradual tanner to give you a bronze-y look.

4 $9.99


Bodycology Enchanted Forest Exfoliating Sugar Scrub When it comes to body scrubs, I’ve usually stayed away from the sugar scrubs. After a bad experience with one particular brand, I felt the sea salt scrubs were much more effective. That was until this sugar scrub completely changed my mind. Nothing short of amazing, this sugar scrub smells great, removes all the dry skin and leaves my skin silky smooth. $5.99


Lierac Soothing Balm Perfect for after shaving, this soothing balm contains peppermint to give a cooling effect leaving the skin moisturized. It is also clinically proven to reduce hair growth and stop razor burn.

1 $30.00


Lierac Purifying Cleanser Just as it’s important for women to exfoliate their faces, it’s important for men also. This cleanser takes out that extra step. Containing microparticles, it helps to gently remove roughness, clogged pores and excess oil. If you have sensitive skin however, the exfoliators may be too harsh and cause irritation. If this occurs, limit your use to once a week. $15.00

Philips Norelco All-in-One Face and Head Grooming Kit With facial hair being a popular trend, it is key to have a good trimmer. This trimmer offers different guards for different lengths to help achieve the look you want. Be sure to read the instructions however. My husband almost took his entire beard right off because we didn’t check the settings beforehand.

3 $29.99


Dove’s Men Shower Tool Just because you are a man, doesn’t mean you don’t get dry skin like the ladies. This shower tool is sided with mesh to get that perfect lather while having a scrub on the other side to help exfoliate. $3.99

CLINIQUE M Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 21 Daily Hydration + Protection Make sure you are moisturizing and applying SPF daily. This moisturizer has you covered on both fronts. It has enough SPF to protect your skin from daily UVA/UVB protection while moisturizing your skin perfectly. $25.00


toxic beauty Exclusive Interview with Juanita Dillard: Beauty Expert

Learn about toxic ingredients and their side effects Written by: Danielle Hazekamp Designed by: kali koller

Much to the dismay of many, there are several beauty products sold ‘over the counter’ that are considered harmful. Shocker, that many of the products deemed safe by government regulators can actually do more harm than good over prolonged usage. But that is a conversation to be had a different time. These “toxic” chemicals however, may not be deadly but can be harmful to your body both internally and externally. And thanks to Juanita Dillard, Professional Makeup Artist and Radio Host of The Beauty Files with Juanita, the team at Halfstack learned a lot about the various toxic ingredients we should all keep an eye out for, their side effects and some alternative solutions.

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID PETROLEUM Petroleum can be found in skin lotions and cosmetics. The most common product that contains petroleum is Vaseline. Petroleum creates a thin barrier over your skin to help your skin retain moisture. The downside? It doesn’t allow your skin to breathe causing clogged pores.

PARABENS Parabens are used as preservatives in beauty and pharmaceutical products. It stops any bacteria and fungus from growing. There are many different kinds of parabens, but some cosmetics that contain these chemicals are shampoos, makeup and spray tanning solutions. Some types of parabens have been found to mimic estrogen and could interfere with the function of your hormone system. A lesser side effect of parabens is a skin irritation or allergic reaction.

LEAD Lead can be found mostly in lipstick, but can be found in other cosmetics as well such as eye

shadows and foundation. While some countries have bans in place to displace the use of lead, the United States has a regulation set on the levels of lead that can be used in cosmetics. At any level however, it is unsafe for children and pregnant women to use. In children, exposure to lead can cause language, learning and behavioral disabilities. In pregnant women, it can interfere with the healthy development of the fetus. To determine if your lipsticks contain lead, there are plenty of lists available for research including a list of 400 different lipsticks and their ranking based on their overall levels of lead from a study done by the FDA.

BABY OIL Baby oil is mostly made of mineral oil along with a fragrance to give it that wonderful smell. This same mineral oil is found in lotions, ointments and cosmetics. While mineral oil is odorless and tasteless, it is considered to be comedogenic, meaning it can clog your pores. This side effect

isn’t necessarily harmful to your health, but in an effort to avoid breakouts, it’s best to find an alternative solution.

ALCOHOL There are different reasons for why manufacturers would use alcohol in their products. Alcohol can help reduce breakouts, but can also damage yoru skin which can cause more growth of bacteria and can make the breakout worse. Crazy right? If you have oily skin, alcohol can increase oil production. And in other cases, alcohol can irritate and cause excessive dryness as well.

sightful. It costs more money to add safer ingredients than to use these toxic ingredients. The best example she gave was a reference to pancakes. It is cheaper to use water over milk when making pancakes. Even though water will make the pancake taste alright, the milk will make the pancake that much better. She also mentioned that these ingredients help to extend the shelf life of the product.

Now that we’ve shared some ingredients to avoid, it’s time to discuss some helpful tips that Juanita shared. 1. If you cannot pronounce or read an ingredient on the label, it is probably a synthetic additive and is probably not natural. 2. Don’t be fooled by a label that reads “100% Natural.” It can still contain some synthetic ingredients. 3. Some key phrases to look for when looking for natural and organic product is “Certified Organic” or “100% Pure.” 4. The term “Noncomedogenic” is your friend. Any product that lists this term on the label will help to not clog your pores. We asked Juanita why beauty companies would want to add these toxic ingredients to their products if they know they aren’t safe. Her answer was very in-

After speaking with Juanita, we felt it was time to check out some of the organic brands she suggested, in addition to some of our own research. There are more brands out there than you might think! Many of them can be found at your local Sephora.

BRANDS TO TRY BITE BEAUTY Sold at Sephora and recommended by Juanita, Bite Beauty is a brand that uses all natural ingredients that it are safe enough to eat. No joke, their tagline, “lip color that’s good enough to eat.” They offer a variety of lip products ranging from lipsticks, glosses, crayons and tints.

JOSIE MARAN Also sold at Sephora and recommended by Juanita, Josie Maron is focused on being “eco-chic.” Almost every product is infused with pure argan oil. The line consists of not only makeup, but some skincare and haircare products as well.

ORIGINS One of the more well known organic brands, Origins is a cosmetic brand that formulates all of its products with natural and certified organic ingredients and essential oils. Offering a wide range of makeup, skincare, bath, body and hair products, Origins can be purchased at Macy’s and Sephora.

DR. BRONNERS A family owned business for over 150 years, Dr. Bronners is a certified organic soap company. They have many different soap products, including hair and skincare products and even cooking oils and cleaning solutions. Dr. Bronners can be found at Target as well as local health food stores.

RMS BEAUTY Created by an established makeup artists with 20 years of industry experience, RMS Beauty is a cosmetic company that is certified organic and guarantees the highest quality of safe ingredients that are available. Their product offers a wide range of cosmetics from bronzers, beauty oils and lip shines. RMS Beauty is only found in specialty beauty boutiques.

TATA HARPER A company that is 100% natural and nontoxic, this brand manufactures the latest and greatest in skincare. They do all of their development and production in house and all of their ingredients are farmed on over 1,200 acres in Vermont. Tata Harper can be found in Nordstroms, beauty boutiques and luxury spas.

KORA ORGANICS Developed by Miranda Kerr, Kora Organics was created to provide the best organic formulas in skincare. Kora Organics uses only the purest and quality certified organic ingredients. They offer sets that are tailored to your specific needs. Kora Organics can be purchased online.

Written by: Cheyenne Hendricks

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN! Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you one of the most fabulous drag queens in the great state of Texas, Miss Chyna Cravens! She has taken the Lone Star State by storm with her breathtaking performing skills, scintillating talent, and dazzling good looks. Inspired by the bewitching RuPaul herself, Chyna has emerged from behind the velvet curtain, and she is catapulting her way to stardom. She slew the shame put on her by society, shattered the barrier of her fears, and now she surfaces as nothing less than a goddess. As a boy, Louie Canales fawned over the esteemed, RuPaul. Ru had grace, elegance, and most of all glamour. RuPaul’s story was one of the biggest influences in Louie’s decision to reveal his inner siren. Being an avid participant in the arts, Louie enjoyed playing word games which manufactured one’s stripper, stage, or in this case, drag name. He simply combined the name of his first pet and the street on which he grew up to produce the colorful name, “Chyna Cravens.” Louie grew particularly fond of this name because it sounded strikingly similar to “Chinese Cravings” and Chinese food happened to be his most revered indulgence. For graduation, his exceedingly proud father gave Louie $300 to help him transform into the splendiferous Chyna, and thus her journey began. Despite his hesitancies about what the world may think of him, Louie took that money and invested it in Chyna. The transformation process, however mesmerizing, is tedious and excessively meticulous. After a cleansing shower, Louie covers his face in dark foundation to mask his stubble, then throughout the process applies contour, bronzer, and blush until his masculine features have disappeared. His brows, eyes, and lips come last when doing makeup to ensure a feminine, sultry look. After his makeup is complete, his body is transformed from that of a man into the “dreamy hourglass” figure of a woman, with the help of some tape, pads, and more than five pairs of panty hose! Then he slips on a wig and some stilettos and Chyna has arrived!

The first time Chyna left her house in full drag, her nerves were crippling. The questions, “How will people who see me react?” “Will they shout derogatory terms toward me?” “What am I doing?,” rang relentlessly in her mind. While most men wore service uniforms and suits, Chyna sported a dress and heels. Her shame was overwhelming. She felt guilty as though she was disappointing her loved ones. It is so wrong for a perfectly kind and good-natured human being to feel guilty for just being themselves. There was nothing wrong with Chyna being true to herself. Although her worries were seemingly unyielding, Chyna emerged into a proud, accepting group of love and support.

Every member of her family and social network applauded her courage and praised her stunning appearance. Thanks to her support system and adoring allies, her fears of the world rejecting her quickly dissipated, and the world was blessed with this stupendous rising star. Chyna explained that, “Women have a sense of glamour and empowerment, and anything they wear can make a statement.” She doesn’t want to subscribe to the common man’s fashion of a boring T-shirt and jeans when a sequin evening gown and heels are so much more appealing. She has the most attractive characteristics of a man and a woman harmoniously intertwined into one fascinatingly complex individual. In the

drag world, she is praised with the term “fish” which labels those who most genuinely resemble women. I strongly attest to the fact that Chyna Cravens is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. Not only is her outer image resplendent, but her outrageous personality is wildly endearing and her talent is remarkable. Although Louie feels Chyna is more of a character that he plays, he does not define her as an entirely different person. Chyna is wild and outgoing; whereas Louie is a tad more humble and low key. “The general public sees us as two different people, but I think she is just a much more exaggerated version of myself.” In Louie’s eyes, Chyna is just like him but with lavish amounts of additional fabulousness. She spreads her extravagance with the world by performing at venues all around Texas. With her work in the community theatre stage and in the drag community, she has built quite a substantial fan base, but Louie has an aversion to the word, “fan.” In his timid, modest way, he believes he has yet to reach the “fab” status which would earn him “fans.” He prefers to call his supporters by a personally crafted nickname, “Sweet & Sour Chickens.” When asked why he chose this unique moniker, he said, “I believe that any human can be both sweet and sour at times… It also happens to be the Chinese [dish] that I seem to order the most.” Louie has always had a passion for performing on and off stage. For nearly ten years, he has been acting, singing and dancing his way into show business in various venues. From the bar to the theatre, he is always entertaining those surrounding him. Having been in over thirty productions, he is well on his way to achieving higher education at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He intends to one day use his experience and expertise to bring the “It factor” to RuPaul’s Drag Race. After doting over the legendary drag queens who have been on the popular series for so long, Chyna knows she wants to be a contender. Granted, every drag queen most likely yearns to participate in RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Chyna has

an unparalleled spunk that no one else can bring to the table. Practicing her rare style of pizzaz, she fully intends to join the elite group of winners from RuPaul’s Drag Race in the future. After that, who knows! Chyna was born to entertain, and she currently has no plans of abandoning her destiny anytime soon. The saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” comes to mind when I see the striking resemblance in how Chyna, an avid Little Monster, treats her supporters and how Mother Monster treats her fans. Just as with Lady Gaga’s dedication to her Little Monsters, no feeling can amount to the satisfaction Chyna gets from a fun filled night of entertaining and mingling with her Sweet & Sour Chickens. Her deepest pleasure is found within the loving messages and comments from her supporters. She really is everything you would want in the reigning empress. She’s stylish, well rounded, witty and absolutely ravishing. With her fears far behind her, we can only watch in awe as this powerhouse paves the way for a new generation of equality. While the bubbly Miss Chyna Cravens blazes her trail straight to Broadway in garishly gorgeous heels, all we can say is.... Long live the queen!


Andre Soriano; you may already know the name. If you don’t, be prepared because he’s making waves in the fashion industry, and he’s making them fast. talian Vogue editorials, dressing celebrities and fashion shows are the stuff of designer’s dreams. And most designers only hope of seeing their gowns grace the runway or splashed across the glossy pages of a fashion editorial; but for Designer, Andre Soriano, hope has turned into a dream come true. Once a designer for custom gowns in San Diego with a growing clientele, Soriano is now a sought after designer by the likes of L.A. and San Diego Fashion Week, along with celebrities like Aisha Tyler. He’s been acclaimed by the fashion debutant herself, Rihanna, and was even hand picked as one of the designers on her show ‘Styled to Rock.’ Soriano took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with Halfstack Magazine about his new collection, being featured on Rihanna’s ‘Styled to Rock,’ and giving back to the community that he loves. Halfstack Magazine (HM): You’ve been in Italian Vogue, you’ve had runway shows and have appeared on Rihanna’s ‘Styled to Rock.’ You are doing amazing things! As a kid, did you ever imagine getting here? Andre Soriano (AS): No, not really! We moved here back in 1986 and after that I went to high school. The first couple of years of my life in America were tough because I didn’t have many friends. But I finally adjusted. I had such an incredible high school here. High School was where I had my first experience being a fashion designer. I was in the fashion club and in a sewing class. Eventually our school allowed us to put on a fashion show and I made a few dresses. One of them actually sold for $50.00! It was green crushed velvet with peekaboo lace on the hip are and laced sleeves. After having experienced that, I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco where I acquired my degree in Fashion Design. It’s one thing to be a designer however. If you don’t know how to run your business---you really have to wear different hats. I then went to a business school in San Francisco to really learn to how run everything. In 2003, I started my first store! I make custom dresses and sportswear as well.

“ When I was a child, my mom always exposed us to the arts. We were always dressed to the nines too, so I was always dressed up!”

HM: As a kid, do you remember what sparked your interest in fashion? AS: When I was a child, my mom always exposed us to the arts. We were always dressed to the nines too, so I was always dressed up! Later, after I moved here, I landed a job at Nieman Marcus in San Diego where I was eventually promoted to Couture Specialist. The experience there really helped me realize these were the type of clientele I wanted to work with! HM: So you really always knew you wanted to be a fashion designer? AS: Yes! I always loved fashion as well as music and art. They all really go hand-inhand. After working at Nieman Marcus, I really thought to myself, “Ok, it’s time to go back to what I really enjoy doing.” My husband was always really supportive and said to continue what I was passionate for which is fashion. So in 2012, I had the

opportunity to work Fashion Week San Diego. After doing that collection called Old Hollywood Glamour, the whole city of San Diego really started to embrace my work; from makeup artists, hairstylists, media and photographers. There really is a big fashion community here in San Diego. There’s a misconception that it’s just this beach community but people here are very stylish. HM: Tell us about how you got to be on Rihanna’s ‘Styled to Rock?’ AS: In November 2012, my manager got a phone call from someone at the show saying “this is Jamie from ‘Styled to Rock’ is Andre Soriano in?’ I was just like ‘Oh My God!’ Jamie was just saying ‘Andre, Andre stop crying! You’re not on the show yet! I just want to interview you.” So after a couple of months they screened me and then the day finally came where I had a limousine come pick me up and drive me to L.A. It was more screening! After a week of tests, I got a call

“ It’s always essential for women to have a little black dress! With lace is even better! If you really want to step it up, you can add a matching bag or hat.”

saying there were a lot of people that applied for this and we picked you! I started jumping up and down! Jumping on the bed, I just couldn’t believe it! HM: What was it like meeting Rihanna for the first time? AS: Oh my goodness. I can remember it vividly. I still get goose bumps when I think of that moment! She came around and introduced herself to all of us.She told us how she literally picked each and every one of us from thousands of designers as the best of America. It was so amazing. HM: Rihanna was your muse for your new collection, wasn’t she? AS: Yes! I was approached by Fashion Week San Diego to take part and I had to come up with 30 looks. So I started a menswear, ready-to-wear, collection along with a womenswear, ready-to-wear. I used Rihanna as my muse! I also took inspiration from stars like Miley Cyrus. This was even before she was twerking! I named the collection Punk de Luxe. It’s all black and some silver as accents. I wanted to really bring back the 80’s into 2014. It’s very young and edgy.

There are so many people approaching me now because of the show. I got a call recently from a stylist and Aisha Tyler will actually be wearing one of my gowns for an event! That was really exciting! HM: Tell me about your first reaction when you saw your gown in Italian Vogue? AS: Tears just rolled down my eyes! I’m in Italian Vogue! You know, I just always dreamed of these things and now they’re becoming reality. I’m just ultra blessed and grateful for these blessings that are coming my way. I never forget to look back at where I started though. After the Los Angeles Fashion Week show, the typhoon happened in the Philippines and I discovered I thought, we need to do something to help the Philippines right now. We put an event on and raised over $16,000 for the Philippine Typhoon victims. HM: So many up and coming designers are now looking to designers such as yourself, who have made it, as inspiration. Who were some of the designers that you looked up to when you started?

AS: I love Balenciaga and Balmain. I love a lot of the French designers from the old HM: What was your biggest takeaway from days like Christian Dior. I love Valentino. being on ‘Styled to Rock?’ Some of the younger designers I love as well, like Jean Paul Gautier. I admire a lot of AS: Oh my God. I have so much respect designers in the way that they render or put for not only the celebrities that appeared on things together. Fashion really is universal. It the show, but the production! Sometimes gives you creative freedom in the sense that they don’t have sleep at all and just continue any woman, man, transgender can wear it. into the next day. It’s just Red Bull galore. It doesn’t discriminate, it’s just there. That’s It’s really admirable that everyone was so why I always say ‘peace, love, glamour and grounded and driven. It put everything into fashion!’ It’s my tagline. perspective for me and how I see things now.

“ Oh my goodness. I can remember it vividly. I still get goose bumps when I think of that moment!�

HM: Our Spring Issue is all about Equality. Here in Chicago, it’s come to the forefront since Illinois passed the marriage equality bill. I know you’ve worked closely with the LGBT community. Can you tell me about that? AS: Absolutely! Recently, I had the opportunity to create my own float for the pride parade here in San Diego. I always wanted to do something like this. I had a lot of people - gay, straight, bisexcual, and transgender - walking in my wedding gowns during the pride parade. It was the first time in the parade’s history that they had that! They picked us as the best float too! So that was really fun. As people, I think that no one has the right to judge. We just live life as is. Of course, there’s politics that complicate things. In my opinion really, no one has the right to cast a stone on any human being. We’re all individuals. HM: So many people in the LGBT community look for positive influence that they can look up to. You’ve done such amazing things with your career and seem like such a positive person. How do you feel about being one of those influences that young people can look up to? AS: Absolutely. It’s important to give back to the community. I feel like, if you can make a person smile, or give words of wisdom, that’s everything. I’ve always been an advocate for helping others. My mom is really my inspiration for doing such good work in the community and giving back to others. I really want to strengthen her legacy and continue her tradition of helping others. When you have something, you really have to give back. During the time when Hurricane Katrina hit,

I was devastated I couldn’t help. I’m lucky enough to be in a position now where I can help make a difference. HM: Do you feel that the general feeling towards the LGBT community has changed recently? AS: Definitely! We’re in 2014 now. I think more doors have opened in the last few years. HM: If you could give upcoming designers one piece of advice, what would that be? AS: In this life, the purpose is really to achieve the highest quality of living but also to be able to share those successes in the world. Especially with children. Being a positive influence to others! That’s what I would tell them. HM: What style advice would you give our readers for this upcoming Spring season? AS: It’s always essential for women to have a little black dress! With lace is even better! If you really want to step it up, you can add a matching bag or hat.




Spring time can’t come soon enough in Chicago! It is time to thaw yourselves out from this historic frigid Winter and welcome in a new season! Spring arrives as a breath of fresh air this season and with it a whole new slew of trends to sift through. Spring runway shoes were filled with color that I must admit, were sorely missed from the Fall/Winter season. Even a monochromatic aficionado like myself needs a dose of color every now and again! Silhouettes, both for men and women, are freer flowing and all about comfortable style. While there was no lack of prints with the recurring Spring florals, there is a definite sense of restraint on the womenswear side. Minimalism and basics were at the forefront and made an effortless Spring style essential. Here’s a review of the biggest trends this Spring season and just how you can nab the designer style for less!


Hopefully you’ve been sticking to that New Year’s resolution, because the crop top trend is showing no signs of stopping. Be sure to balance this look out by showing just a little bit of skin. Don’t go overboard! If you bare the crop top, cover up the rest. LOOKS FOR LESS

Forever 21, Retro Crochet Top

Designer Version: Narcisco Rodriguez Spring 2014

Zara Asymmetric Crop Top

Nordstrom, Leith Crisscross Crop Top

Nordstrom, Alice+Olivia

While our skinnies will always be a staple in our closet, it’s time to make room for the wide leg trouser. Great for both the office and night! If you’re on the shorter end like myself, opt for a trouser at a higher rise to lengthen you out.


BCBG: Max Azria Spring 2014 RTW

Forever 21, Luxe Satin Wide Leg Pants

ASOS, ASOS Pants in wide leg

Chelsea28, Pleated Wide Leg Pants

Zara, Wide Pleated Trousers

We’re not all fans of the fringe. But designers certainly were this season. If the fringe look is too much for you, try something less “in your face” and opt for an accessory such as a handbag with fringe.


Designer Version: Calvin Klein Collection Spring 2014 RTW

ASOS, ASOS Leather Duffle Bag with Fringing, Amelia Floral Print Tassel Kimono

Forever 21, Fringe Queen Embroidered Top

Urban Outfitters, Ophelia Moon Bianca Fringe Sweater in White

The ease and comfort factor was brought this season through the new boxy silhouette. Sleeves were slightly shorter and wider while bodices were free flowing. Very much like a shift top. LOOKS FOR LESS

Designer Version: 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring 2014 RTW

ASOS, ASOS Crop Top with boxy kimono sleeve

H&M, Ruffle Blouse

Zara, Crop Top with Wide Sleeves

Zara, Woman Shirt

Florals always seem to return during the Spring runways.They can be as crazy or as demure as you want them to be. Want to go light on the florals? Opt for a smaller floral print as opposed to a larger print that can tend to overwhelm at times.


Designer Version: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014 RTW, ASOS Floral Shift Dress

Free People, Roses Are Red One Piece

Topshop, Satin Multi Print Tee

Zara, Printed Neoprene Skirt


Bows are super fun and feminine! I absolutely fell in love with this “look for less” version of the runway favorite. Gorgeous in every way and gives your outfit that extra bit of spunk! LOOKS FOR LESS

Aminah Abdul Jilil, Bow Pump

Designer Version: Delpozo Spring 2014 RTW

The femininity of some of the shoes this season really stood out. Pastels and straps make these lady-like pumps perfect for every occasion.


Zara, Pointed High Heel Court Shoe with Ankle Strap

Designer Version: Kate Spade Pump Spring 2014


There’s something so luxe about a head to toe white outfit. Don’t worry if you think it’s just too much for you. Use variations of your Winter whites to lessen the drama of an all white outfit. LOOKS FOR LESS

Jil Sander Spring 2014 RTW

Topman, White Grey Contrast Short Sleeve Smart Shirt

Zara, Blazer with Piping

ASOS, ASOS Sweatshirt with Crew Neck

Express, Rocco Slim Fit Skinny Leg Jean

There’s nothing about a dapper outfit that’s not to love. Women love it and men love wearing it! The double-breasted jacket is the “it” style for men’s suiting this Spring season. You also don’t need to spend a fortune to get the designer look! LOOKS FOR LESS

Designer Version: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014 RTW, ASOS Floral Shift Dress

Free People, Roses Are Red One Piece

Topshop, Satin Multi Print Tee

Zara, Printed Neoprene Skirt

There’s something so luxe about a head to toe white outfit. Don’t worry if you think it’s just too much for you. Use variations of your Winter whites to lessen the drama of an all white outfit. LOOKS FOR LESS

Kris Van Assche Spring 2014 Menswear

ASOS, ASOS Polo With Polka Dot Cut and Sew

ASOS, ASOS Shirt in Short Sleeve with Polka Dot Print, White Polka Dot Yoke Oxford Shirt

Topman, Selected Homme Dot Shirt

Yes, florals are a trend for the guys as well this season! In fact, it might be the most popular trend for men this Spring. Everything from digital floral prints to smaller, ornate floral accent prints. LOOKS FOR LESS

Designer Version: Gucci Spring 2014 Menswear

ASOS, ASOS Sweatshirt with Floral Stripes

Topman, Hype ‘Flower’ Sweatshirt

Urban Outfitters Salt Valley Smoky Floral Western Shirt

Zara, Floral Print Denim Shirt

Color blocking is a great way to play with color for Spring. These “looks for less” make it easy to get this trend into your wardrobe. If you’re not a huge fan of bold colors, you can color block with more muted colors as well.


Wooyoungmi Spring 2014 Menswear

ASOS, ASOS T-Shirt with Color Block Cut and Sew Panels, Blue Color Block Shirt

Zara, Faux Leather Geometric Sweatshirt with Seams

Zara, Jacket with Yoke


Bold and bright trainers are here to stay. They are a great way to make a fashion statement while still being ultra comfortable.


ASOS, ASOS Sneakers

Designer Version: Prada

Boat shoes make a splash for Spring. They make for a very clean and put together look while not having to sacrifice comfort.


ASOS, ASOS Sneakers

Designer Version: Prada

One Trend.


Chicago! I know it seems so far and almost impossible but Spring is approaching! It is time to bring out the lighter clothes with more color. Here we are introducing a male trend that has taken over the runway’s for Spring/Summer 2014. YES is PRINTS! All sorts of bold and floral prints that will brighten anyone’s day. For many, this trend is daring but guy’s you won’t be alone in this hot trend. Don’t be afraid and be BOLD!


Three ways.

FOR Her.

Ladies! It is time to add a bit of pep in our wardrobe! This Spring a popular trend is metallic. Metallic allow us ladies to have fun with what to wear on an everyday basis! This look is not just for the clubs, if you wear it right you can be one trendy lady in the office. Be careful, it is a trend that can look bad with the purchase of the wrong top depending on fabric. Otherwise don’t hold back and get ready to shine!


Guide to surviving

THE ZOMBIE APOCOALYPSE WrittenBy: Stella Quimby Layout by: Jennifer Lezan

Steps on how to survive the zombie apocalypse You are waking up from a great sleep, all you can think about is getting ready for work; wait. There is non-stop ambulance and police car sirens. What is going on? You turn on the television to catch the news, but all of the stations have lost their signals. You listen and can clearly hear screaming and panic coming from outside. You look out your window and see people on the streets being attacked by other people. But not with weapons.. They’re being eaten. How are you going to survive? From leading survivalist expert, Rich Cook [aka the Lone Wolf], we share with you some tips and tricks on how to survive the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! Rich has been a survivalist since he was a small boy - his father was a hunter and outdoorsman. He would spend weekends hunting and trapping animals; much unlike the other boys his age who were occupied playing sports. His nickname “Lone Wolf” bestowed upon him by his father’s friend, came to him because he was always outdoors - fishing, hunting, backpacking or camping and 90% of the time, he was alone. The nickname has stuck ever since.

to survive one must be prepared 1. Food You need food to survive any situation. This one should be a no brainer. You’ll need foods that are easy to travel with and will last for a substantial amount of time. One item that is key survival food is a jar of peanut butter which can sustain 1 person for a month when rationed appropriately.

2. Protection A baseball bat would be a great weapon to defeat zombies. Given it’s quiet use, it will not alert other zombies to your location such as a chainsaw would. Fire power is also crucial. If you have access to a firearm, USE IT.

3. Water Another no brainer. Without water, you will die. A person can survive a few weeks without food. Without water, you won’t last more than a few days. Having a way to purify water or filter it is essential to survival. You can purchase water purification tablets as well as other items from your local sporting store. Another way to clean your water is to boil it or stock up on survival goods such as the “Life Straw” which can also filter water.

1. Have a plan. to stick to.

Having a plan will keep you positive and give you direction and a course

2. Have supplies ready.

If you don’t already have them, you’ll be frantic trying to acquire goods with zombies chasing you… Not a good situation. Having a good pair of running shoes ready for use will also help.

3. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

You’ll have to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Such as eating bugs to survive or bathing in a creek. You won’t know what you will have to do until you have to do it, so it’s best to mentally prepare for anything.

4. Have medical supplies and literature readily available.

You will not have access to hospitals or emergency rooms given that everyone else will be in the same situation you are, if they haven’t been turned that is. In the face of an apocalypse, don’t let a common cold be what takes you out!

5. Stay Positive. Negativity will surely bring death. 6. Have a way to protect yourself. Weapons such as baseball bats, firearms, or primitive bows and arrows are all useful ways to keep yourself safe.

more survival tips from the "lone wolf" Do whatever you have to do to survive. Move lightly and quietly IF you must move at all. You do not want zombies or other survivors to know where you are. Zombies will want to eat you and other [living] people will want your supplies. If you stay put, make sure to fortify your location as best you can. Have double the supplies you think you will need because there is a chance things won’t go as planned. Always stay positive. No matter what, being positive keeps you motivated and could mean the difference between surviving and dying. IF THIS SCENARIO ACTUALLY HAPPENS? Panic would spread across the world extremely fast (watch World War Z) and it will be every person for themselves. Take time to become prepared. Learn to start a fire, to hunt, trap, fish whatever you can. Knowledge and understanding will be the key to surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Oh yea! And here’s hoping luck is on your side…. remember to have that trusty rabbit’s foot in your pocket!

Lady Gaga

Shia La Barf (Formally known as Shia LaBeouf)

First Victim: Lady Gag-Gag.. errr Gaga. We’ve all come to expect CRAZY from Gaga, but what is she trying to say this time? Are you an alien? A science experiment? WHAT??? Her music is cool, but I personally feel she is trying too hard to be different. Stars reinvent themselves all the time, but when you keep reinventing yourself to model certain shapes, it’s time to stop and ask yourself - “Do I look good or am I scaring fans away?” Cause honestly, right now I am running away… fast.

You ‘drunk’ fight at clubs, you love to stick your private parts out for the world to see and you admit to sleeping with your co-stars… Classy! And since you decided to get the tomfoolery out of your system at a young age, did you decide to do a 180 and enter a senior citizen home and retire? Also, what woman, let alone man, still wears Uggs? How comfy are those drawstring pants? Even senior citizens have clothing standards and sorry Shia, but you don’t meet them.


__ Layout by: Jennifer Lezan

__ ___

By: Stella Quimby

An Examination of Star’s Modas.




Miley (twerk-country) Cyrus

_____________ _______

Lindsay Lohan

Khloe Kardashian

Lindsay Lohan incognito as Pretty Woman

Khloe Kardashian goes Seattle Grunge

Looks like your trying to take that reigning title of America’s favorite Hooker. Watch out Julia Roberts, there’s a new Pretty Woman in town! It’s safe to say that even Julia Roberts had better taste with her safety pins and ripped up skirt. Didn’t novelty tee’s with lame quotes on them go out of style back in 2002? At least she’s consistent with her peeka-boo shorts and signature hooker boots. Her stylist not only needs to be bitch slapped, but fired too!

Khloe, Khloe, Khloe… We know your marriage just ended and we feel for you honey, we really do. But do you have to rebound with this look from hell? Trying hitting the gym or getting a makeover… Hell, do what most of us women do and bury yourself in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but channeling Kurt Cobain to release the pain is the worst idea ever! Even your ex - Lamar Odem - is donning better style with a crack pot!

____ _____ WTF?

I decided to end this issues WTF? with a photo that will scar you for years to come. You’re welcome! If any picture here could bring the words WTF? to your mouth, this is surely the one to do it. For once in my life, I wish I could tear my eyes out rather than look at this junk‌ literally. Enjoy and until next time!


Pauly Shore

______ _____

Horoscopes Spring 2014

By Madame Stella Aries Mar 21-Apr 19

Taurus Apr 20-May 20

This is your season, being a child of Spring you are at your prime during this time. You feel better, you even look better so make sure to enjoy the outdoors! Plan activities such as hikes, walks, play sports outside; just go out and enjoy mother nature. Since you are at your prime if you like to play the slots, this is the time!

Why is everyone getting on your nerves? Is the world against you?? The answer is NO; you need to stop getting upset and angry for the little things. Not only are you super busy with your career, school or just plain life, but now you are taking out your stress and anxiety on others. Sleep more, exercise, read a good book or enjoy the flowers outside; all are good relaxation techniques to help you go through this rough phase.

Lucky Numbers: 6, 14, 25, 31, 41

Lucky Numbers: 4, 11, 20, 35, 43

Gemini May 21-Jun 20

Cancer Jun 21-Jul 22

STOP PROCRASTANATING!!! Stop saying that you’ll do something and not do it! This is not you! Get inspired again and actually follow through on what you are saying!! You have many dreams but no drive to achieve them, get that drive back!! As the dreamer of the horoscope signs you need to follow those dreams, because there is no greater obstacle than doubt itself. You can do this.

You are being blessed in your professional endeavors this season. The stars are backing all your dreams and hopes and you are ready to go forth and obtain them. Your self-esteem is even gaining momentum and you are ready to conquer the world. This is the time to go and apply for that job you always wanted, run for a position that you want or even go and ask that special person out on a date! Go for it all!!

Lucky Numbers: 3, 9, 26, 33, 53

Lucky Numbers: 12, 4, 10, 28, 36

Leo Jul 23-Aug 22

Virgo Aug 23-Sept 22

Romance is not in your stars right now, instead you are feeling more domestic and home-body. You want to stay home as much as possible and that can also be due to your work schedule which now is making you travel more. Don’t fret about traveling so much because they are essential for your job since you are making more connections now! In the long run the constant traveling will be better not only for your career but also for your financial situation. Plus, all the traveling will make you appreciate home more.

My friend, you are currently in vacation mode and that is affecting your career! So instead of daydreaming constantly on being on vacation, actually budget and take a small weekend, long-weekend trip and stop that daydreaming!! Your career, boss and co-workers will thank you!! Also make sure to stop socializing so much right now, it is very hard on your nerves and as one of the most sensitive signs, it is very tiring. So remember take a vacation and don’t socialize so much!

Lucky Numbers: 2, 8, 20, 37, 43

Lucky Numbers: 2, 13, 24, 35, 49

Libra Sept 23-Oct 22

Scorpio Oct 23-Nov 21

Commitment issues Libra? Whichever it is in dating or marriage, you are having a hard time staying true to your significant other. This season is driving you to want to stray! These times will pass but the question is; are you happy in your relationship? Is this person important to you and long-term material? If the answer is yes to both, then you have to concentrate on your partner and stop fantasizing about the others. This is a challenge and only you know if you will surpass it or not.

Life right now isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows; instead your family is facing a difficult time that may have you questioning what life really is. Take comfort in your family, you all need each other right now. Remember that it is OK to have some selfpity, you don’t always have to be the strong one for everyone, and you also need time to mourn. After a rainfall the sun will come up and again you will see a rainbow. Time doesn’t heal all, but love and remembering the good times will help.

Lucky Numbers: 7, 15, 22, 30, 51

Lucky Numbers: 5, 14, 12, 26, 35

Sagittarius Nov 22-Dec 21

Capricorn Dec 22-Jan 19

You are getting friendship and romance confused; single Sagittarius. Friends are not meant to be bed buddies; it could and will affect your friendship unless you want to have a romantic relationship with this friend. Married Sagittarius are not spending enough times with their friends. They are losing track of their loyal companions and can even lose them. So make sure to have a girls/boys night out with the pals!!

Thanks to the stars, you have a TON of energy pushing you to the next levels of your career! You are not only very ambitious but expect more cash coming in your career. Not only that, but many of your past lovers will be coming out of nowhere trying to reunite with you again! It is up to you to decide to rendezvous with the past or go forward with a new love.

Lucky Numbers: 1, 24, 32, 4, 21

Lucky Numbers: 3, 11, 21, 31, 46

Aquarius Jan 20-Feb 18

Pisces Feb 19-Mar 20

Money is a serious issue right now in your life. You are just surviving and are tired of doing so, you want so much more. It is creating tensions and arguments with your significant other and you are tired of being broke all the time. This is a rough patch in life and like many rough patches, it will pass by. In the meanwhile, get an additional job on the side or try limiting your current spending. Perhaps make a little extra cash selling crafts or doing handy work if you are good at them.

Your romantic life is growing and for all the single Pisces out there, remember it is not nice to double book dates on the same day! You are getting a lot of attention and are feeling very sexual; this is definitely a good season for you. For the married/ attached Pisces, you and your significant other cannot get enough of each other! Remember to take a breather and maybe go out on a date before you both exhaust one another. Don’t neglect other areas of your life!

Lucky Numbers: 2, 8, 23, 17, 19

Lucky Numbers: 4, 11, 20, 33, 42




Written By: Dwight Bejec Layout Design By: Kate Roth

Smooth, malty, and slightly sweet to start, with a tingle of honey and citrus. The woody essence of this four-year-aged blend suggests caramel and vanil a to the finish.


ttainability, quality, appreciation, inspiration, memories, and the stories passed on from those memories… The idea for 2 Gingers Whiskey came from the notion that it is okay to move forward on an idea that motivates you from the inside out. It’s a combination of intellectual curiosity and a whole lot of passion. It’s approachable, endearing, and quiet but memorable. You are probably asking yourself, “all of this from 2 Gingers Whiskey?” The answer is no, but this does describe the masterminds behind the brand. Those who were inspired to do their best and follow Kieran Folliard’s dream of making an approachable whiskey that anyone could enjoy.

authenticity behind the brand. The ‘2 Gingers,’ found in the name, refers to Kieran’s fiery-haired mother and aunt; whose faces are branded on the bottle logo. They were the role models that gave words of wisdom to the intellectual curiosity that wouldn’t dissipate within Kieran. The inspiration for 2 Gingers Whiskey was developed in his pub with the help of the people who worked with him. Kieran’s success in the pub business brought to him the idea that he should start distilling his own Whiskey, and decided to move forward with it. But it needed to be a quality product that stood for something authentic. He didn’t want it to be pretentious, rather something that “one could drink with friends or with ice.”

Despite his pubs selling many popular brands of whiskey, 2 Gingers Whiskey Halfstack had the chance to speak was outselling those other brands with Kieran Folliard in February to find by a rather large margin. Working out what makes 2 Gingers Whiskey with Master Distiller, Noel Sweeney, so special, other than the quirky of the famous Kilbeggan Distillery in name of course. Instead of responding Ireland [formerly the Cooley Distiller], with a pretentious, canned answer, Kieran took the sharpness out of the we were given a glimpse of the

traditional whiskey, making it one of the smoothest whiskeys currently on the market. Due to his success with 2 Gingers Whiskey, Kieran decided to leave the pub business. He had something special and he needed to show the world. “Smooth, malty, and slightly sweet to start, with a tingle of honey and citrus. The woody essence of this four-year-aged blend suggests caramel and vanilla to the finish.” Who exactly is this brand targeting with a description like that? Kieran replied with, “everyone.” He followed up his answer by stating that his intentions were not to have people stop enjoying the whiskeys they drink on a regular basis, rather he wanted to provide an option to someone who wanted to try something new along with enticing non-whiskey drinkers. And in an effort to gain a larger audience, Kieran developed two signature drinks; “Big Ginger and “Skinny Ginger, both of which are trademarked. This is the bridge that brings curious people over to try

something different while opening up 2 Gingers Whiskey as being thought of only as something you drink when it’s cold outside. 2 Gingers Whiskey is something that you can drink at anytime, which is what differentiates the brand from many of the whiskeys currently on the market. And outside of 2 Gingers Whiskey, Kieran is involved a great deal in his community. Inspiring people he’s worked with in the past, he teaches what he refers to as a business accelerator, a business concept that is centered around locally grown and locally made foods - an urban creamery, salami/saloomi maker and cheese production. There is certainly more to come regarding Kieran, who has become an inspiration to those all around him. And with growing popularity, check out 2 Gingers Whiskey today. To find a 2 Gingers Whiskey event near you or two shop, visit http://

Sidetrack Chicago

Written By: Jennifer Pontrelli Layout Design By: Kate Roth

Photography By: Kenny Muzzey

Sidetrack Chicago


Written By: Jennifer Pontrelli

n Wednesday November 20, 2013, forward thinking men and women in Chi cago and all over Illinois rejoiced as Governor Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law, making Illinois the 16th state to allow same sex couples to marry. For some this act was an outrage, an abomination; but for the exultant many it was a moment of immense importance. It was a moment that celebrated the greatest of faiths in the human experience and the ultimate embrace of life and love however one so chooses to conduct it. Among the many colorful bars and establishments along thestretch of Halsted Street in the East Lakeview hamlet known as Boystown, celebrations were rampant. However, not one was more meaningful than the revelrytaking place at Sidetrack, one of the oldest and largest bars in the city and a central hub of the Chicago LGBT community for the last 32 years. As the champagne bottles were popped and celebratory embraces ensued, the entire city seemed to swarm to Sidetrack. A phalanx of news cameras, reporters and even mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped in to Sidetrack to take in the historic festivities. For its owners and employees, November 20 was a cap to an important political fight in which they have played a large part over the course of the last 30 odd years. Throughout its history, Sidetrack and its associates have played a crucial role in the Boystown community, fostering those who have come out of the closet and dare to live a life that only now is becoming more normalized and accepted as well as raising funds and awareness for the causes that seem to hit the gay community hardest such as AIDS organizations and civil liberties unions. Sidetrack the Video Bar was born out of the lofty dreams of one Rocco Dinverno. In the mid-1970’s, Dinverno visited the Midnight Sun, a gay bar in San Francisco that showed music videos and became inspired to open his own like-minded establishment within the burgeoning gay community in Chicago. Being a unique concept in the preMTV days, Dinverno along with vee-jay friend and local

“Our focus is to create new traditions and add new dimensions to wedding ceremonies, we have that capability through multimedia." - Chuck Hyde..

General manager Chuck Hyde was there from almost the very beginning, starting at Sidetrack in July of 1982. He remembers the early days and remarks on the strength that the business drew from the community, “Despite the seats being made of beer crates,” he says, “we had overwhelming support right away and we were able to form some great symbiotic relationships based on our politics and our style of entertaining… Video was new, this

celebrity bartender, Pepe Peña, set out to amass a music video library that was rather impressive for its day.

In April of 1982, Dinverno’s vision became a reality when Sidetrack opened in an 800 square foot space at 3349 N. Halsted. In those days, pretension was happily lost on the ragged establishment. Patrons sat on beer cases and there was no sign outside to hail customers inside. It sure didn’t stop them. Sidetrack found itself immensely popular and immensely busy right from the get go. Members of the community flocked to the bar, and in an age when the average life span of a gay bar was 2-4 years, Dinverno, Peña, and bartender Art Johnston began planning for a long, lustrous future. Tragically, it was a future that Rocco Dinverno would never get to fully realize in person. Just a few months after Sidetrack opened, Dinverno passed away, leaving ownership of the bar to his family. Not wanting to let go of the original dream, Peña and Johnston worked their asses off and in about two years time were able to buy out the Dinverno family and with a little grit and a lot of support of the community, they built Sidetrack into the 11,000 square foot, gay mecca that it is today.

was before MTV… so we created a great atmosphere with video and music, it was all very novel at the time.” The public flocked to Sidetrack, helping the business to grow and flourish, “Every four to five years we’d expand and add a new bar,” Hyde says, “we eventually had an architect who respected our politics come in and remodel it into the beautiful space we have today.” However, set backs also came in devastating forms, one of the worst of which was the outbreak of AIDS in the mid-1980s. “The AIDS epidemic drastically affected our patrons,” Hyde recalls, “So the owners decided to get involved to support our friends and family who were affected by this.” As more and more issues arose within the gay community, owner Art Johnston became more and more political, eventually founding what is now called Equality Illinois, an organization that seeks to defend the basic civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Illinoisans. Equality Illinois became an important soap box for issues in the LGBT community and was immensely influential in the

Hundreds of parties are thrown at Sidetrack every year, many of which benefit a local organization near and dear to the gay community.

passage of the civil union law in 2010 and, of course, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality act in 2013. Marriage equality is an important issue to Sidetrack not just on the civil rights end, but also as a venue. The bar has been hosting civil union and commitment ceremonies for quite a few years in it’s gorgeous cherry wood and stainless steel surroundings. As the idea of marriage is becoming redefined, Hyde and his staff seek the redefine how people are getting married, “Our focus is to create new traditions and add new dimensions to wedding ceremonies,” he says, “we have that capability through multimedia.” The notion of giving back to the community that gave it life and success has become a strong business component at Sidetrack. Hundreds of parties are thrown at Sidetrack every year, many of which benefit a local organization near and dear to the gay community. At the invite-only Sidetrack Christmas party, guests bring items to be donated to local pantry Vital Bridges as a “cover charge”. Hyde remarks on the turnout of these events, “We literally fill trucks with supplies, it’s incredible!” The Sidetrack that exists today spans eight glorious storefronts on Halsted Avenue in Boystown and has morphed into an entity far beyond what Rocco Dinverno might have ever envisioned. Thriving in a climate of increased awareness and understanding, Sidetrack the Video Bar will continue on in leading the way for brave endeavors and making the future a safer, more accepting place for the LGBT community.


Restaurant Rundown


River NorthGallery Bar

Roscoe Village: Turquoise Restaurant

Lincoln Park: Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder

Street food. Guerrilla art. Booze. Hari-kari…? Yes, you read that right. What may be an unnatural association to most is working in collaboration at River North’s latest and greatest concept in fusion and fun: Gallery Bar. Located upstairs on the 700-north block of Clark Street, Gallery Bar features dishes inspired by the street food of exotic locales like Mexico, Korea, and the Caribbean in an atmosphere cultivated by the eccentricities of the local art scene. But what of the ritual disembowelment? Chef Patrick Glatz uses the concept as a deconstruction of his various culinary influences, creating small plates and a myriad of flavors out of a kitchen no bigger than the interior of a food truck. Diverse art events are featured almost nightly and can feature anything from culinary and mixology classes to body painting and erotica, with plenty in between. What to eat: Wonton Ahi Nachos, Kahuna Scallops. Ready yourself for a flavor explosion. This cozy little eatery in the heart of Roscoe Village is the perfect culinary amalgamation of all sides of the Mediterranean Sea. With a focus on traditional Turkish cuisine, the menu also features Italian and French food, all with the spicy flair of the Middle East. Popular menu items featured at the Turquoise Restaurant include a mouth-watering, fall off the bone braised lamb shoulder and numerous exotic fish dishes that excite your palate and take you all the way to the Turkish shores of the Mediterranean. Nervous to try the distinctive flavors of the Middle East? With a menu featuring everything from Italian pasta to Turkish imam bayildi (pan-roasted, stuffed eggplant) this place is perfect for those who want to venture out of their culinary shell but still like to keep their fork in familiar territory. What to eat: Go for the lunch special! Specials change daily, but everything is home cooked with Turkish love. …You simply cannot beat Islim Sarmasi (braised lamb wrapped in eggplant) for $7! It’s a debate that has been raging on for years. Who serves up the best pizza in Chicago? Lou Malnati’s? Giordano’s? One establishment that has simply let its pizza do the talking is Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company on Clark Street in Lincoln Park. Housed in the basement of a house just across the street from the site of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, CPOG has been drawing in the Chicago masses for over 40 years with its signature item: the pizza pot pie. To the un-initiated, this concoction looks like an oversized mushroom but the gooey, cheesy, saucy, mess of delicious that awaits once the waiter flips your pizza out of its little ramekin is one that will have you foodgasm-ing over and over again. Word to the wise: bring cash (no cards accepted) and go early in the evening (no reservations are taken) to hang out at the bar to get the full experience of this old Chicago atmosphere. What to eat: Duh, the Pizza Pot Pie. We’re going on record: it’s simply the best.

North Center: Laschet’s Inn

If you are a fan of big beers and big plates of food, Laschett’s Inn on Irving Park Road in North Center is the place for you. Laschet’s exudes the old world charm of Bavaria with its bier stein lined decor and the soft yellow light of a well worn-in Chicago watering hole. Established in 1971 by Karl Laschett, the restaurant has evolved from a dingy, local bar to an authentic German experience in food and drink. Locals still stop in regularly to grab a brew and catch the international soccer matches, but these days, people from all over are coming hungry to Laschet’s for its home-cooked, authentic German fare. It’s meaty, starchy and heavy, but the food coming out of Laschet’s small, closet-sized kitchen will show you the true meaning of “cooked with love.” Old German favorites like the Obatzda Pretzel or the Bratwurst are phenomenal, but if you’re feeling adventurous try the Sauerbraten or any of the entrees; all are served with the traditional sides of spaetzle and red cabbage. Make sure you save just enough room for the complimentary after dinner shot of schnapps. What to eat: Rouladen. A cylindrical beef roll filled with mustard, bacon, and pickles and smothered in a rich, brown gravy. Just don’t tell your cardiologist.

Logan Square: Revolution Brewing Co.

After you’ve gorged yourself on brunch at The Bongo Room, head northwest on Milwaukee Avenue up to Revolution Brewing for a craft beer… and stay for the food. Located about a mile and a half from Revolution’s main brewery, the Brewpub is a sprawling bar with giant cylindrical beer tanks and the sweet smell of fermenting hops and grains. Revolution’s food isn’t just your run-of-the-mill bar fare; Head Chef Charlie Eure has devised a menu focused on handcrafted items with a conscious nod toward local purveyors. That means good Chicago food to go with a good Chicago beer. Pork and beef dishes dominate the menu, but much attention is paid to the vegetarian and pescetarian crowds with dishes such as the smoked Tofu Revolution and Iron Fist Fish and Chips. And, of course, no Revolution Brewing experience is complete without a growler to-go of that delectable craft beer. What to eat: With blue cheese, granny smith apples, and steamed hard cider, the Steamed PEI Mussels are a totally different take on shellfish. You will be mopping up the remaining sauce with any absorbent food item you can get your hands on.

Lakeview: Wilde Bar and Restaurant

West Loop: Palace Grill

Street food. Guerrilla art. Booze. Hari-kari…? Yes, you read that right. What may be an unnatural association to most is working in collaboration at River North’s latest and greatest concept in fusion and fun: Gallery Bar. Located upstairs on the 700-north block of Clark Street, Gallery Bar features dishes inspired by the street food of exotic locales like Mexico, Korea, and the Caribbean in an atmosphere cultivated by the eccentricities of the local art scene. But what of the ritual disembowelment? Chef Patrick Glatz uses the concept as a deconstruction of his various culinary influences, creating small plates and a myriad of flavors out of a kitchen no bigger than the interior of a food truck. Diverse art events are featured almost nightly and can feature anything from culinary and mixology classes to body painting and erotica, with plenty in between. What to eat: Wonton Ahi Nachos, Kahuna Scallops. Ready yourself for a flavor explosion.

Right now in Chicago, no neighborhood is having more of a culinary moment than the West Loop. Between Au Cheval, The Girl and the Goat, Avec, and City Winery the celebrity chef business is a boomin’. We’re all for these groundbreaking establishments, but really we have to give it up for one place that has withstood the test of time in such a booming neighborhood, Palace Grill. Located in the shadow of the United Center, the Palace Grill has been serving up hearty diner food for 75 years! Even the almighty Oprah used to frequent when she was filming her show just a few blocks away on Randolph and recently members of the Blackhawks have popped in for a bite here an there as well. What to eat: Breakfast. No matter what time of day it is, breakfast is on the menu and it is good, very good.

Pilsen: Nuevo Leon

If you dare to venture far enough south on a Saturday evening, you might notice a line of people stretching around the 1500 block of west 18th street. You might be surprised to learn that these people are not waiting to get into any kind of music venue or club. In fact they are waiting to get a table at what is arguably the best Mexican restaurant in the city, Nuevo Leon. At this Chicago institution, reservations are forgone, as are any forms of payment other than cash and alcohol is BYOB. This may seem like a few too many hoops to jump through for some amazing food, but it is well worth the effort. The food is homemade and richly authentic. It is definitely a destination outing, but $13.50 for a killer Carne A La Tampiquena is hard to beat. Grab a six-pack of Modelo Especial and check this place out. What to eat: If you love Mexican food you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. We particularly loved the Fajitas de Camaron al Mojo de Ajo (shrimp fajitas) with its gigantic, juicy shrimp and richly flavored peppers and onions.

Rogers Park: Leona’s Pizzeria

Sure it’s a chain and there are Leona’s restaurants all over, but we absolutely love a business that has enough courage to completely revamp its menu, even after years of success. Utilizing fresher, harder to obtain ingredients over the typical preserved and processed sauces and cheeses we’ve all come to blindly be okay with, Leona’s decided to refurbish its own take on Italian-American food and unveiled it this February. Tania Mavrakis, who took over ownership of the Leona’s brand in September 2013, had the vision revitalize the restaurant with a new menu, new logo, and new website. The result of her drive is a mouthwatering menu with three new lasagnas, nine sandwiches, five salads, and chicken, pizza, burgers galore. It was also paramount to Mavrakis’s vision that all of these delectable dishes remain wallet-friendly, which tells us that this is a brand that is really looking out for its consumer. We’re dually impressed with the philosophy and the food, and can’t wait to see what Mavrakis will do next. What to eat: Kick Ass Garlic Bread. Seriously, its garlic bread with marinara sauce, but it’s so zesty that you’ll want to make a meal out of it… until you read the rest of the menu. Come to Leona’s hungry because you will leave stuffed.

Wicker ParkThe Bongo Room

If the Wicker Park collective had to pick a meal that it just gets, it would undoubtedly be brunch. The ‘tweener meal that seems to be a Sunday staple for the young professional crowd (more than likely too hungover to make it out for breakfast) is rampant among Wicker Park eateries like Feast and Birchwood. Our favorite pick along Milwaukee Avenue is The Bongo Room. Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch only, The Bongo Room serves up plenty of traditional breakfast fare, but isn’t afraid to take risks with seasonal ingredients and a flair for the unexpected. Some stand out dishes include the White Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Pancakes (the perfect blend of sweet and salty) and the Tenderloin of Beef Omelette (…yes, its as decadent as it sounds). This is another place you can’t reserve at so go early and enjoy a steaming cup of Intelligentsia coffee at the bar. What to eat: Everything! Go with a friend who you trust enough to share food with. Order your meal with a side of the pancakes. You’ll be in heaven.


Come In & Stay Awhile at

Southport Grocery & Cafe Written By: Sophia Sanchaz Layout By: Jamie Breeden

“Modern, simple and fun. We’ve always subscribed to this saying and it is something that we really try to live by every day,” the words of Lisa Santos, Owner and Chef behind Southport Grocery & Cafe. Tucked neatly on the corner of Southport and Addison in Chicago, don’t let the quaintness of this small boutique grocer fool you. Southport Grocery and Cafe packs a powerful punch and is a strong contender against other grocery stores in the Chicago area. Almost 11 years ago, Santos decided to leave her career in the financial industry as a CPA to pursue her love of food and cooking. With no professional training under her belt, she developed a business plan and enrolled in culinary school, and through this endeavor, Southport Grocery & Cafe was born. “I have always had a passion for food and entertaining, but most importantly, it was the way food brought people together. There is so much tradition around food. It’s almost as if food is a catalyst for being with friends and family and in making memories. I just could never shake that.” What makes this little spot so special?! On all outward appearances, Southport Grocery & Cafe is like any other Chicago restaurant. However, in a life driven today by ‘fast-paced doers,’ this modern cafe offers a little bit of nostalgia in some small town charm.

Embracing the concept to sustain as much of the business as locally as possible, Santos has made this virtue her business’s lifeline. Southport Grocery & Cafe not only makes many of their own cheeses while canning and preserving many of their own products, but Santos also makes it her mission to support as many local artisans as possible. Stocking her shelves with artisinal gems like Mayana Chocolate, Jo Snow Syrup, Dough Dough Bird Gingersnaps, Crafthouse Cocktails, Gaslight Coffee and Coop Hot Sauce not only ensures that these dollars are fed back to the local economy, but also helps to catapult her customers’ meal creations into something magnificent. And the Cafe portion of the business is a sell in-and-of itself. Serving both breakfast and lunch throughout working business hours, Santos refers to her choice in cuisine as “comfort food” stating that comfort food was the kind of food that brought her and her family together growing up. And just like the grocery store, it is common practice to change out the menu every few months to bring in new and titillating items for people to try. Santos however, has learned over the years that there are a few items that are simply not up for grabs. “If we took the bread pudding pancakes, brisket and gravy, our house-made pastrami and our burger off the menu, our customers would be seriously upset with us. We just know that those are sacred and we can’t touch them,” Santos adds with a smile.

If good food and shopping aren’t enough to make you drop everything to head straight to Chicago, there are a few other details that make this boutique grocer so incredibly special. Twice a month, Southport Grocery & Cafe hosts a “Secret Supper.” By invitation only (Get on their e-mail list ASAP!), a select few of their avid followers are selected to come out for a night of cocktails and good food, while enjoying the company of those in attendance. The menu, which is always a complete surprise, has proven time and time again that this underground dinner will leave your tastebuds dancing like so many of the favorite menu items already do. Supporting the local artistic community as well, Southport Grocery & Cafe also features local art on the walls within the Cafe. Having established an art program a few years ago, the establishment sources local artists that need a place to get some exposure. “We try hard to find people who don’t have public studios, haven’t been featured in an art gallery and really just need a place to get their names and their work out there for the world to see,” says Santos. These artists are allowed to hang their work for 3 months at no charge to them and at the end of their term, Southport hosts a small cocktail party that has since been deemed “Drinks for Art” in which they show the art of the artist leaving one last time, while also showcasing the new artist coming in. “Our Art Program has really snowballed. In the beginning it was really about getting the word out that we were doing this. But now, we have a long list of artists who want to hang. This really is a great way to kind of give back to the community.”

Southport Grocery & Cafe really is a ‘diamond in the rough.’ From delicious food, uniquely stocked items within the grocery store, a sense of community and more, Southport Grocery is sure to please the inner diva in all of us, while satiating our trucker appetites within. A favorite among many in the Chicago community, this boutique grocer may not be like the ‘big box’ grocery store around the corner, but Santos invites you to stop in, pop open a jar of their house-made pickles and preserves and stay awhile. The delectable ambiance will surely keep you coming back for more. “I think the more that we support one another, local businesses that is, the less likely we are to lose track of each other. Local businesses make everything really interesting. It’s nice to have a kind of circle where you know the people you do business with on a personal level. Keeping our shop local, does just that. We are local. Our ingredients are local, our products are local… It’s just a nice little circle of localness.” - Lisa Santos

Beauty Inside Out

Nsight and Nspiration



Layout Design By: Kate Roth Written by: Reynisha Lindsay

here are tons of blogs and information out there on how to look your best. They tell you what color is best for your skin tone, how to apply makeup, and how to cover up all the imperfections. Some even tell you the best place to buy the product and compare prices. This is great for our physical appearance, but what about our emotional well being? We spend so much time and money on perfecting our outside and not nearly enough on our inside. What does it matter if we look beautiful on the outside, if we lack substance on the inside?

your daydream?” It’s like someone saying go ahead and be you. Just concentrate on what you aspire to be… what you were meant to be. If you wake up and all you can do is, think about your dream, then it is more than a dream. It is a yearning. It is your calling. Thus, every minute that is spent on your “job” or other “gig” and not your daydream is wasted. Your dreams will eventually become goals. Having goals in your life minimizes stress because you have a plan to propel you forward. Define your purpose. This is the first step - cleansing - in finding your inner beauty.

It is that which is on the inside that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a facade most of us put on everyday. However, is the facade a mask to hide behind or an accessory to enhance our style or inner beauty…. something we can take off yet our soul remains intact? The old adage is true, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If you believe this, then you know the facade will never make you beautiful to everyone. Yet we strive for everyone to like us and accept us. When we do this, we give up our power and give in to the stereotypes of beauty.

Next you want to make sure you get rid of any negative emotions by detoxing. One of the negative emotions that can really cripple you is not being able to forgive. Forgiveness is essential in achieving inner beauty.

We all possess inner beauty. Sometimes we just need help bringing it out. Luckily, I have a few tools in my beauty bag to help you get started!

Are you walking around angry with someone and just not dealing with it? By not speaking to them, are you really dealing with it? Every day you may be thinking about it. Every day it is festering inside of you. Then when you see the person, the feelings surface again. Therefore, you may THINK you are pushing it aside. You may THINK by not talking to that person that you are not dealing with it. However, by making that choice, that is how you are dealing with the situation.

The first tool is daydreaming. Now you may say, ‘what does daydreaming have to do with my emotional wellbeing?’ When you allow yourself to daydream, you allow your mind to escape the stress and worries that you may have building up inside. Think of it as exercise for your mind. Dreaming allows you to free yourself and see the possibilities. Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t quit

I know it is much harder to speak nicely to that person, say hi or smile. Nonetheless, this is something that you must do. At first, when you smile, you may not mean it and that is okay. Yet the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Then before you know it, all that angst, anger and resentment is gone. Then you feel so much better. The first time I put this practice in place, I was amazed how good I felt after-

wards. My soul was renewed and refreshed. By forgiving that person, you are forgiving yourself. Besides, that person may not even know they have wronged you. And you may be upset and for what? Nothing. They are living their life not thinking about you. So why are you thinking about them? Let it go. You have to realize that what you portray outwardly, affects you internally. Perhaps it is human nature to be upset for that moment in time. However, this is when we need to learn to control our emotion - to be in control of who we are and of our life. To make our life abundant and healthy, we must learn to forgive. Numerous things that go wrong in our lives are a result of us not being able to forgive. People often to crazy and become obsessed because they cannot forgive. While it is not always an easy thing to do, it is a skill that can be acquired and one that definitely needs to be practiced. Once you are able to do it, it becomes a blessing. A blessing to you and the people around you because it begets a good-natured spirit and a healthy life. Please understand if you cannot forgive someone else, then you cannot receive your blessing. You see, you are blessed so that you can be a blessing to someone else. Therefore, learn to forgive so you can receive your gift and your blessing and be the person that you were meant to be. These two tools can be used by anyone. All you have to do is have the desire to improve yourself. The beauty that

comes from within is so special and is uniquely yours. No one has what you have and no one can be who you are. You see, we all possess beauty. It may come in different forms, shapes, sizes and colors but it is there. The important thing is to be able to see it in yourself as well as others. No matter how different we are, we are all beautiful. Stop looking for the flaws in others. Instead look for a connection to others - what makes you alike? See their individuality as their inner beauty. Open your eyes to the beauty around you and not the idea of beauty that is pushed on you from society. Once you are able to do this, you will see that inner beauty begets happiness. Inner beauty is more than just a facade! It’s more than just the makeup you put on every day. Sure, makeup can pick you up and make you feel like a new person on your worst day. However, wouldn’t it be great to feel that way before you put on the makeup? Then, it would only serve to enhance your beauty instead of covering something up. Furthermore, and maybe most importantly, others would be able to see your beauty inside and out!

Plan Your Wedding with Rustic Rummage Paperie Written by: Sophia Sanchez

Spring is just around the corner. Soon, skies will turn blue and the sun will shine brightly. Birds will begin chirping and flowers will bloom proudly, covering the world in a canvas of adorning hues. The energy and spirits of people everywhere will soon begin to liven as the warmth of the Spring air blankets everyone from head to toe. Happiness will consume us at every turn, and love will be in the air as excited chatter of wedding season heads our way. From dress fittings, cake tastings, budgeting, venue searches, bridesmaid dresses, wedding rehearsals, seating arrangements, wedding themes and more; the hustle and bustle of brides and grooms everywhere will resonate loudly in a never-ending list of things to do. Planning your wedding, what is supposed

to be the most exciting time in your life, shouldn’t leave you with tears welling

upyour in your eyes at the of each up in eyes at the endend of each AndAnd unless those tears tears unless those tears are are tears of of overwhelming happiness, want overwhelming joy joy andand happiness, we we want to help make process as exhilirating to help make thisthis process as exhilirating as as cancan be. be.

Rustic Rummage Paperie born. Rustic Rummage Paperie waswas born. inspired by anything is old “I’m“I’m inspired by anything thatthat is old andand ‘looks’ it’s been through a lot. ‘looks’ like like it’s been through a lot. ThatThat is is where ‘Rustic’ comes from in ‘Rustic where ‘Rustic’ comes from in ‘Rustic Rummage.’” Rummage.’”

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AT It really is a beautiful time to live in Chicago. Forget the awfully cold winter and the seemingly, never-disappearing Polar Vortex we experienced this Winter, and focus on the exceptional beauty this city has to offer. Everything from incredible food, theatre, art, culture, the sites, shopping and more; Chicago offers the best this world has to offer in one beautifully wrapped package. The people of Chicago are some of the most creative in the world. Some might

True rue Gem Written by: Sophia Sanchez Layout by: Jamie Breeden

argue argue thatthat ItalyItaly is the is the culture culture capital capital of of the the world. world. Others Others might might saysay thatthat South South America America offers offers the the most most appetizing appetizing dishes dishes on the on the planet. planet. AndAnd of course of course whowho cancan forget forget NewNew YorkYork CityCity andand Paris? Paris? As ifAsdrinking if drinking the the water water waswas all all it took it took to breed to breed top top designers! designers! But But a a newnew timetime is upon is upon us and us and Chicago Chicago is is certainly certainly no slacker no slacker in providing in providing the the world world withwith a little a little bit of biteverything of everything grand grand andand rightright herehere in one in one chicchic place. place. TheThe creative creative spirit spirit in Chicago in Chicago is always is always

brewing. And fashion design is no exception. Groove and Stitch hit the fashion scene of Chicago less than a year ago. Having very quickly become a Halfstack Magazine favorite, this accessories brand has become the talk of the town. Founded by aunt and nephew duo, Angelica and Noel Alcantara, these masterminds have been feverishly working their hearts out, to bring their loyal followers new and stylish products of immense popularity and grace. An online boutique working out of Chicago, Groove and Stitch offers a simple sophistication in lapel pins and earrings. Not only is each product made to order within the city of Chicago, but is hand-crocheted by Angelica Alcantara herself. From magenta, hot pink, sea foam green, deep sea blue, hawaiian blue, sunny yellow, rockin red, and more, these brightly colored accessories provide a classic elegance to men and women everywhere. Each accessory is beautifully made with an attention to detail and a personalized touch that is almost unheard of anymore within the fashion industry. And each lapel pin and set of earrings contains a Swarovski Elements Crystal that sets the tone for this accessories collection as a fashion-forward and unique brand that has been turning heads from the start.

Fashion bloggers, including everyone at Halfstack, have gone crazy for the colorful hues in these adorning accessories. And if stealing the hearts of Chicagoans wasn’t enough, Groove and Stitch has made their way across that great big pond and into the hands of fashion bloggers all over Europe. Don’t forget that wedding season is just around the corner. A lapel pin in Sea Green and Blue Baby Blue Crystal will add the pefect amount of swagger to any groom, while beautifully gracing the ears of brides-to-be everywhere. Let Groove and Stitch transform your already perfect day into a timeless and perfectly understated day of glamour. Lest not forget, the next time someone argues that Chicago simply doesn’t have what it takes to “walk with the big boys,” we can have a good laugh amongst ourselves. Our treasured fashion gems are here to stay and we can remain a diamond in the rough…. for now… Shop Groove and Stitch at



Must Haves For a Spring time wedding a very simple yet elegant, long, flowy dress would be the perfect look! Take a look at this dress from www.

A great look for a Spring wedding would be a fabulous floral head pice like this one from

We found this fantastic braided clutch on Very cute and great way to complete your spring time look.

Weather it’s one strand of pearls or a cluster of them, how can you go wrong with a classic pearl necklace look? Check out this design from for $98. .

Another great accessory for a sring wedding is a great umbrella. Weather you carry it down the isle or just use it for the pictures! We found this umbrella on



In this growing society there are many wrongs occurring daily that not only hurt the environment, but also its people. Once in a while you have leaders and people rebel against these wrong doings and stand up for what’s right; these people deserve to get recognized for standing outside of the box and being outspoken on their beliefs. One of these leaders is an old high school classmate of mine, Candice Ahlstrand, that not only has made a difference in Chicago, but has inspired many others to stand up to the Government to protect others! She is very inspiring and I hope with this piece you all get inspired to also fight for your beliefs and for what is right.

Candice Ahlstrand is the eldest of 3 children living right outside the O’Hare Airport in the town of Bensenville (which got a large section of its town turned into the O’Hare Expansion). She studied biology and secondary education, not knowing that she’d eventually become an activist! A mother of two kids, Candice is a busy woman who’s now even busier with March Against Monsanto! So what is this March Against Monsanto? It is a group of activists that help people become aware of the chemical company called Monsanto that makes genetically modified foods! March Against Monsanto kicked off early last year in 2013, when people started becoming aware of the dangers of genetically modified foods and how the company Monsanto has a HUGE influence on the world’s food supply. Monsanto also sells chemicals such as herbicide “round-up” which sprays large quantities on plants and kills them. Monsanto also patented a seed, not found in nature, so farmers could spray large quantities on the plants without killing them (thus us eating the end result of many chemicals on our foods). These chemicals are proving bad for human health (just watch the news on increased rates of illness that have a direct connection to the foods we are eating) but so are the genetically modified seeds such as corn and soy which are found on the grocery shelf today. “One of the largest pesticide companies in the world


(Monsanto) should not be controlling our food supply” Candice stated. Several states have taken measures to make labeling of genetically modified foods mandatory, but have struggled with legislation. I wonder why? The US Supreme Court Justice and former Monsanto Attorney Clarence Thomas votes in favor of Monsanto every time and there are also former Monsanto employees on the White House payroll staff? Coincidence anyone? That is why March Against Monsanto came about, to fight this corruption. March Against Monsanto grew into a worldwide movement with the first march taking

place in 436 cities in 52 countries, all at the same time (with the help of social media; Facebook)! Candice became involved by following the march on Facebook (like many others did) and there was an announcement made for a handful of cities that still didn’t have any events planned (weren’t participating yet). Candice thought for a while about it since Chicago wasn’t on the list and messaged the founder. She has never organized a protest in the past but stated that things came together fairly easily and she received a lot of help from the Organic Consumers Association, Food and Water Watch Illinois and became part of Illinois Right to Know GMO as it took off. The

march in Chicago had about 2,000 people participate, “It was one of the greatest feeling’s I’ve ever had; it felt good to unite on a GLOBAL level over a common cause and inform the public.” Why is it important for the public to know about GMO’s? “It is important for people to know what they are eating, especially considering that we are one of the sickest countries in the world, while being one of the most advanced.” A thing to remember is that GMO’s are either banned or require mandatory labeling in many other countries, except for our own. People need to be AWARE of what is going on around them, stop watching

those damn reality shows and instead act on those injustices, get involved. “We as the American public need to pay attention to not just our food, but also politics, the environment in which we live and social injustices of all sorts.” So how do you get involved with March Against Monsanto??? “There will be another march on Saturday May 24, 2014, depending on what is going on in legislation at the time” (Candice mentions that they might reach out for people to show up outside their local congressman/ woman’s office, or place calls or send emails the same day telling them to support labeling of genetically modified

“Making a difference is our goal, remember we are helping the uninformed become informed on what they are consuming; impacting the world.”

foods and not support acts that get in the way). There are many ways for you to get involved either with the marching, protesting, calling and even emailing. Granted, the majority of people may not think twice or bother to read what they are handed, but it really takes just influencing one person and making a difference to them so they can go on and spread the news. “Once you know the truth, it’s hard to go back, and the poisoning of our food is just the tip of the iceberg! “

just show up to a march. If you cannot make it, tell your friends about it, spread the word on Facebook or through other social media sites. You can also check out our websites for more information. “Making a difference is our goal, remember we are helping the uninformed become informed on what they are consuming; impacting the world.” MarchAgainstMonsantoChicago

Are you inspired by Candice? All you have http://www.march-against-monsanto. to do to join March Against Monsanto is com/p/press-release.html

Who is Jorge Zavala? Written By: Sophia Sanchez Layout By: Jamie Breeden

“I encourage you all to get informed. If you believe in me and what I’m doing, I hope to get your vote. If not, that’s ok. What I really want is for people to actively participate in their right as a citizen. Ask questions, hold people accountable and make sure that you know your rights as a person when it comes to equality. Think globally, act locally… this is how change benefits the city, state and nation.”

Giving back to those whom are less fortunate is something that should be second nature. Philanthropy shouldn’t be something we think about doing, rather something we just do. Whether it is to help someone in need, or simply to bring a smile to someone’s face, good deeds never go unnoticed. For Jorge Zavala, giving back was bred into the very blood vessels that make his heart pump. Born and raised in Logan Square, this Chicago resident has done more for people all over the world at the ripe age of 26, than most accomplish in their entire lives. Who is Jorge Zavala? Democratic Congressional Candidate for the 4th District of Illinois, if elected, Jorge Zavala will be the youngest Congressman currently serving. Having grown up in a household where community involvement was as pertinent as the air we breathe,

Jorge learned at a young age the importance of what it meant to stay connected with the people of his community. A Depaul University Alum, he graduated in just 3 years where he successfully majored in International Studies & Marketing with a concentration in Political Science, Business Management and Urban Planning. And having graduated at just 21 years of age, Jorge jumped at the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia to work with women and children from impoverished areas. The United Nations Charter Mission, Jorge was working under the human rights sector in Bangkok, Thailand to help teach business development to the women and children of these communities. Most of whom were victims of human trafficking, these invaluable skills were essential to aiding them in selling their crafts. “Not only did we teach them to speak English and other basic

workforce skills, but these women had experienced so much trauma. When we received them, it was really our job to provide comfort, to provide reassurance that they had worth as women and people, while simultaneously teaching them invaluable skills that would transfer no matter what industry they chose to pursue.” In speaking with Halfstack Magazine about his 3 years spent in Asia, Jorge spoke with great affection about his experience and how he was able to view himself outside the box, reflect on his own identity and how he could use that to help people everywhere. His time spent internationally, Jorge made the realization that he could implement his experience abroad into positive change back home and it was through this realization that he decided to run for political office.

“Within my district, there are so many things that need improving; things that we can be doing better. Not only for ourselves, but for our future. My district has an ‘under the age of 18’ rate of 37%. That means that of the population is going to inherit the work we begin now. That’s when I decided I was going to give it a shot. I know it’s going to be a long and challenging journey ahead, but all the experiences I’ve had in my life up to this point have really motivated me to pursue where I am attempting to go now.” Jorge, a philanthropist and human rights advocate, is the nation’s youngest candidate for Congressman and is the 1st candidate to get on the ballot in over 15 years running against Luis Gutierrez. Many will argue that politics and philanthropy could never go hand-in-hand. And in a city like Chicago, where politicians have been known to play dirty, the idea of a quality and magnanimous politician is something to laugh at. Broken down however, politics and ‘good deeds’ really are synonymous. As a politician the end goal should always be to do good for the community of which you represent. When asked how he hopes to change the stigma, Jorge was quick to advocate for social change…

“Everyone always says, ‘Oh, you’re a Chicago politician.’ I don’t consider myself a politician. I consider myself an advocate for social change. This is something that has always been a part of who I am. Unfortunately in

Isn’t that what every politician calls for? Accountability? But how can anyone in the general public hold a politician accountable when there always seems to be so much red tape? “It’s not so much what I can do when I get to Congress. Of course there will be plenty to do when I get there, but what I’ve done in the last few years and what I continue to do; whether that’s collecting toys for needy children, feeding the homeless, or simply working with kids on how to get into college.. This is what matters most. It’s pragmatic, and ultimately I am devoted to making a difference [for the better] in people’s lives.”

Chicago, people haven’t always played by the rules but I pride myself as really being for the people and by the people. My campaign is supported by local residents, local businesses, people who are volunteering their time and energy into making this campaign successful, so I expect everyone to hold me accountable.”

Jorge considers himself a young, stylish, and accessible congressional candidate. Using social media as a platform to connect with the people within his community, he wants everyone to know that he is very much approachable. It was via Twitter in which Jorge connected with the team at Halfstack Magazine and it is this exact message that he wishes to relay to the masses. “Hold me accountable because you can talk to me directly. Whether via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mail or any other social platform, I’m here for you. Start a conversation or simply follow me behind the scenes; I want each and every one of you to get to know me.”

The Campaign: His platform focuses on 4 main initiatives. 1. Job Creation - “I will support the creation of jobs, specifically those for recently-graduated university students, in the 4th Congressional District so as to benefit our local economy - live locally, work locally, act globally.” 2. Health Care - “I’ll fight for health care services that are doing well. If people have the services they need, they can in turn contribute to society because they are healthy and able to.” 3. Education - “I will diligently work to improve and increase funding for public education, school renovations, and protect programs that specifically benefit our youth, including special education, arts and music initiatives, and bilingual education programs.” 4. Immigration - “I will strive for immigration policies that benefit our communities, including specific programs focusing on education, workers' rights, and youth initiatives.” And his efforts don’t stop there. A local constituent servant, if elected, Jorge promises to fight for the rights and equality of all of his citizens. From women’s rights, veteran affairs, workforce quality and our LBGT brothers and sisters, he promises to serve as a legislator to keep everyone

informed on the diverse issues developing within his congressional district and beyond. When asked about his stance on the strides we’ve made both federally and within the state of Illinois in the last year in regards to marriage equality, Jorge very enthusiastically responded, “It’s about time Illinois moves in the right direction. Not only is marriage equality a civil right, but ultimately a human right. We all have the right to be happy and we all have the right to marry whom we want to. Especially in Illinois, where we have a strong influential factor for the rest of the midwest, this is a really strong example to lead by so that the rest of our midwestern states can follow suite and push for the same human rights for all. This really pushes the limits in terms of equality on all fronts because it challenges us to analyze the strides we’ve made for minorities. Whether you are Latino, African American, Gay, a woman or part of any other minority group, marriage equality will really push people to think about the inconsistencies we still face and in turn will push for equality on all levels.” It is certainly no secret that for many, politics is not anything we ever think about. The attitude of “why should I care” seems easier than paying attention and has long left our younger generations ill-informed. What we fail to realize however, is that politics is in everything we do. The public school system you once attended, attaining a driver’s

license or simply walking on the public sidewalk outside your home, are all privileges bestowed upon us by our local government. We live in a society where change is more prevalent than it has ever been before, with the last couple of years having provoked a whirlwind of emotion from the public. And whether the discussion and debate lies with gun control, our right to privacy, abortion, or the triumphs of marriage equality, change always starts locally. Jorge Zavala’s time may currently be filled with campaigning and raising awareness to his political endeavors, but his philanthropic aspirations are never an afterthought. He still dedicates 2 nights a week to educational consulting in which he helps prepare students of all ages and income brackets for high school and college. So remember to know your elected officials and get to know those who will soon hold office. Jorge Zavala is a young, stylish and educated professional that represents the next generation of Illinois politics, so get out and vote in the general primary election on March 18th. To learn more about Jorge, his campaign and where to vote, visit


Written By: Sophia Sanchaz

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I got into the other room and read a book.” - Groucho Marx Wasn’t it Einstein that said he feared the day in which technology surpassed human interaction because then we’d live in a world filled with a generation of idiots?! Whether or not you agree with Einstein on the “idiot” part, there’s something to be said about his telling of the future. Between television sets, cell phones, social media, video games and even computers, simple, indulgences such as having a face to face conversation with a loved one, or even picking up a good book, have all but become obsolete. This issue, I bring you 4 very different books. From cheeky banter from fashion bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez, to female empowerment, to drawing with Chris Hart and even a unique cookbook with some tasty artisinal recipes, this Halfstack Bookshelf offers up a little bit of everything. The takeaway?! The books you choose to read don’t have to be ‘classics’ in order to reap the benefits. Just turn off the tube, pick up a damn book and read!!


Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me By: Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez

Self described as a “loving, but bitchy couple of too many years to count,” Celebrity and Fashion Bloggers Tom & Lorenzo bring you their latest book. The world today is filled with this false perception of beauty in which we must all look like celebrities in order to really be beautiful. In this witty and sassy rendition, the boys help bring those self-obsessed celebrities back down to earth while taking all of that ‘hot air’ and pumping it back into the real people of the world. The best advice I’ve heard to date is in the title… “Darling, every day, before you leave the house, look in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘Everyone wants to be me or do me.’”

Creative Girls Draw: Fashion Design Studio By: Chris Hart

From Chris Hart, the world’s best-selling author of how-to-draw books comes this fashionably savvy guide on learning to draw for aspiring fashion designers. Inside, you’ll find everything you need from tools, to creative inspiration and everything in between on putting your design ideas to work for you. For all you Fashion Designers to be, this handy guide teaches you the correct proportions and poses, and how to adorn it with an array of garments, shoes, and accessories, and even hair and makeup. Practice on the Draw It Yourself pages throughout the book and you can even bring your own designs to life and your fashion dreams closer to reality.

52 Ways To Live a Kick-Ass Life By: Andrea Owen, CPCC

Typically, I’m not one for self-help books. An episode of Seinfeld comes to mind in which George’s father is told by a ‘professional’ to ‘breath deeply while repeating the phrase ‘serenity now,’ when he feels himself getting worked up. And I know I’m not alone here, but ridiculous breathing techniques, just don’t cut it for me. Author Andrea Owen however, cuts the BS in her new book by sharing her own experiences of hitting rock bottom and how she managed to finally quit blaming outside forces to not only help get her true self back, but to Kick Ass at life!

The Craft Beer Cookbook By: Jacquelyn Dodd

I live in a city filled with Hipsters and craft beer. Can you guess which one? This cookbook is seriously every Hipsters dream. I can say that, because I, myself, am a self-proclaimed Hipster. Filled with over 100 Artisinal recipes for cooking with beer, my mouth literally watered as I rippled through the tantalizing pages of this gem. Not only is this cookbook a ‘dummies guide to craft beer,’ but the pages are filled with mouthwatering recipes to really get your tummy grumbling. From chocolate chip and smoked porter pancakes to stout and pomegranate glazed chicken wings, this cookbook has a recipe to satiate even the “I don’t drink beer” snobs!

Eye sight is not the only game in town and it shouldn’t be the only game for anyone.

Survival & The Fight for Equality Interview with Michael Hingson, the blind man who survived 9/11 written by

& layout by: Jennifer m. lezan

Social commentator Will Rodgers once stated, “We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.” Disability equality is a subject that has been frequently popping up in the media as of late. Organizations such as Salvation Army and Goodwill have been placed in the hot seat with the general public staring them down due to some inexplicably unfair practices they have been accused of. Yet, most people aren’t privy to these atrocities. Most people don’t even realize there is a dire discrepancy for our fellow man who faces life with a disability. Many people don’t even have a clue of what the idea of disability equality truly means or better yet, that as of now there is truly no actual equality for these people. Recently, having had the chance to speak with Michael Hingson, an inspirational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling author, who just so happens to be blind, I was educated on what is really going on in our society for the disabled. I was also inspired by his story of survival during the 9/11 attacks. The idea behind disability equality is that people, regardless of their disability, have the same opportunities to fulfill their human rights and potential, and are not denied equal access for reasons related to their disability to services, to jobs, to education, to economic development, to the allocation of resources or benefits, and in all aspects of life. Yet, the startling reality is that according to, “currently, a relatively obscure law allows some employers to pay well below the minimum wage to workers who are deemed as less productive then able-bodied workers due to a disability. Once certified, agencies like Goodwill can pay workers with disabilities as little as 22 cents an hour.”

The idea of equality has been firmly planted into the minds of many modern day Americans due to the historical references we have been exposed to throughout the years. African American slaves fighting for freedom, women fighting for their rights to vote, feminism at its strongest, the black population that found freedom then still having to struggle for equality, minorities and Hispanics fighting for a say in America, the gay population seeking equality in marriage and now the disabled population fighting for their equal standing in our nation.

From the start, doctors told his parents to send him away because no blind child could ever amount to anything in society. Yet, his parents, the strong willed believers that they were, thought differently. They were intent on raising him just as they did with their eldest and giving him all the opportunities that any child should have along with the responsibilities needed to learn and mature. They wanted to allow him to grow and pursue whatever he wanted in life. He may not be able to do things the same way other people may, but he could still be independent.

The reality is that despite what we are told, there is still inequality in our great nation. Yet, rather than be dismayed, it is important that we continue to come together as a country to fight for our rights and continue to be the change we so desperately hope to see. It is so important that we as a community continue to understand that our abilities, disabilities, skin color, culture, creed, gender or sexual orientation shouldn’t be the only thing that defines us.

These ideals that were instilled in him early on, allowed Michael the strength and drive to pursue an independent life. He was able to go to a school, of his choice, on his own 100 miles away from home at University of California – Irvine. He pursed and obtained a Masters in Physics, ran his college radio station & gave 60 minutes a run for their money! Needless to say, he believed he could do whatever he set out to do. There were definitely people that placed barriers in his way and he still witnesses this today, but he truly believed he was as capable as anyone else in the world. When someone is armed with knowledge and ability, anything is possible. What he knew was that, at times, he needed to obtain information in different ways because information is power and allowed him what was needed to succeed.

If there is one thing I learned from my meeting with Michael, is that we are all humans with goals, aspirations, desires and hopes. What one person may consider a disability, the person living with it may just see it as a part of who they are that causes them to approach the world a bit differently. Michael’s story is one of depth, drive and strength. His determination is the type that is empowering. Set against the conservative 1950’s culture and early medicine, Michael Hingson was born premature. Due to this, he was placed in an incubator and at that time, it wasn’t completely understood that exposing an infant to a pure oxygen environment could lead to abnormal growth and development of the retina, which as a result could lead to blindness (retinopathy prematurity). Here is where Michael’s journey begins.

One major obstacle faced during Michael’s youth was when he received his first guide dog. At that time, the superintendent of his school decided that he wouldn’t allow the animal on his school bus, thus causing an issue in Michael’s ability to be transported to school. Now, this situation was in direct violation with a penal code in the State of California. What this official was doing was against the law and Michael and his family had to fight for his right to have his guide dog

with him. Luckily, they were able to succeed at getting this issue dealt with, but most importantly Michael learned that there would be times he would have to fight for his right to be a human being. He also learned that he could fight big political powers and win and that truly set the tone for his life’s mission. Whether it was fighting for opportunities or even fighting for basic rights such as life insurance, Michael wasn’t afraid to prove the naysayers wrong and educate the misinformed. These are battles he continues to still fight and deal with. At the time of the interview, Michael’s wife Karen had just been released from the hospital after battling double pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. 40 percent of the people who have the disease she had as critical as she was, don’t make it. Michael still faced people who believed that because he couldn’t see he couldn’t understand how dire the situation truly was. To Michael and many others like him, this naïve perception is truly an insult. Just because he couldn’t see didn’t mean he couldn’t understand or better yet, feel the connection with his wife and her struggle. Karen has always been an integral part to his strength. As another person with what they consider a gift, she has been someone to confide in and work through life with. Karen is wheelchair bound and it seems that they compliment one another with their gifts. They uplift one another and are living proof that what one person considers a hardship, another considers an asset and opportunity. He often says that she is eyes and he is her legs. He continues to overcome by learning from his experiences. His life, struggles and accomplishments have taught him to be open to new ideas and never underestimate what people are capable of. “We should always be curious, we have so little of that in society today. Eye

sight is not the only game in town and it shouldn’t be the only game for anyone.” – Michael Hingson Throughout Michael’s life, there have been a number of mentors who have influenced his journey such as: Mr. Herboldsheimer. When asked how this had helped him throughout life he explained that one of the primary things it taught him was about friendship. “How many people can say that they’ve stayed in touch with their sophomore year high school geometry teacher? I believe that all of us should do our best to stay in touch with people who come into our lives and affect us. I’ve never had a teacher before or since who was calling roll and called my name and when I said here, he came over and shook my hand. It was his first day of teaching and I’m sure that today many kids would ridicule their peer for something like that because they don’t understand. Yet, for him as a teacher, it was as meaningful of an experience for him, if not more so, as it was for me.” - Michael Hingson Michael makes such an amazing point in highlighting that we should do more to find those people that we can look up to. Finding people who are honorable, kind and service inspired individuals can be difficult, but those amazing individuals are out there. In the humble opinion of the team at Halfstack – Michael is one of those rare gems. He is a person who continues to fight for not just his own rights, but also the rights of others who may or may not have the voice to be heard. These types of selfless acts are a common thread throughout his story and are most prevalent in his experiences during the 9/11 attacks. Even in the face of imminent danger, Michael’s unwavering kindness and generosity for others ensured that not only he and his guide


I may not see full equality for people with disabilities in my lifetime, but I know it will happen. The question is have I truly done all I can to ensure of that.


dog: Roselle survived that day, but many others as well and all of this coming from a blind man that people believed wouldn’t have a future as a young boy. Let’s set the scene back on September 11, 2001. Michael Hingson and his best friend and guide dog: Roselle were both heroes on that fateful day when the world came crashing down around them. Michael and his team were setting up for a morning meeting in his offices on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. It was a surreal and frightening experience for Michael, but with the calm and steadfast Roselle by his side, Michael was able to gain his bearings and plan his next moves. Michael put his life in Roselle’s paws every day and this day was no exception. With his knowledge of the office he knew inside and out, he made his next moves. After getting his colleagues to the emergency exit Michael and his colleague David along with Michael’s guide dog Roselle started their trek out of the building through the emergency exits down 1,463 stairs. During this whole ordeal Roselle’s calm and determined demeanor constantly reassured Michael on their way down. Even during this trying time, Michael and Roselle offered the people around them hope and assistance. Michael had an advantage living his life in the dark. He had a guide dog who could lead the way not just for himself, but also those people around him. At more than one time, Michael stops to help people. This is incredibly significant in showcasing the connection between humans during even the most critical of times. We live in a world where frequently it is each man for himself, but on 9/11 people came together to help one another survive the

nation’s darkest and most trying time. Michael and Roselle led one women out of the danger zone when soot and dust blinded her and she couldn’t see through the smoke on the street. Not once did Michael think that his life was worth more than any of the people he helped. When asked about his decisions, Michael quotes the bible: “we are our brothers keeper”. Michael often talks about hearing God that day tell him, “Don’t worry about that which you can not control, just focus on what you can and running with Roselle” as he escapes as the second building came crashing down. Michael believes that this is a basic lesson many people took away from 9/11. His story went viral days after the heartache of 9/11 and his feelings were that if his story could help people move on from the hurt, teach them about guide dogs and bring awareness for the blind, then it was all worth it. . “We as a country have demonstrated several times that we can change the world.” – Michael Hingson Today, Michael’s experiences have led to a full time public speaking career, 2 books – one of which is a New York Times Best Seller and the opportunity to help the blind and educate people through Roselle’s Dream Foundation. A primary goal for Michael has been to educate the public on guide dogs. He makes an incredibly insightful comment when asked about his relationship with his animal. “It’s all about building a team and the blind owner is the team leader. People think that the dog does everything, but we are working together.” – Michael Hingson Michael offers a bit of sage advice for young people facing change in their lives,

“9/11 was a quantum change for many people […] the most important thing I can note is that change offers you a choice, you may have absolutely no control over the change or nothing you ever did had anything to do with the change happening in your life, but it still did. What you do have control over and you have absolute control over it, is how you yourself deal with the change.” This is a liberating idea, people have the freedom to control whether or not they will take on a positive or negative reaction to the change around them. This is such a great ideology when it comes to how society can take on the issue of equality. There are some hard issues society is currently facing, but change is constant and society has the opportunity to direct that change for the better. When asked about his thoughts on his hopes for the future he explains, “I may not see full equality for people with disabilities in my lifetime, but I know it will happen. The question is have I truly done all I can to ensure that.” – Michael Hingson

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put a little spring in your step BY: JENNIFER LEZAN

Spring will surely find its way back to Chicago and when it does, Halfstack wants to make sure you’re prepared. Here are some must have items to transition into the warmer weather.










Halfstack Magazine Spring 2014  

The Equality Issue - an exploration of the equality theme in all of it's facets from marriage equality, to disability equality and the strug...

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