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HALFSTACK Sex Positions for 2012








Founders Jennifer Lezan Mariana Quaranta Kate Roth Writers Nicholas Abell Gino Baukeau Heather Davis Leo D’Ambrosio Stella Estrella Bethany Henning Cristina Mikkelson Andrei Pagsishan Chelsie Porter Daniel Pulak Andrew Reinhardt Tito Reyes Tracey Strack Amy Struckmeyer Vanessa Valliant Graphic Designers Heather Blazek Alicia Francione Sarah Gaynor Mirsada Grizik Jennifer Palovich Amy Struckmeyer Website Holli Baumez Videographer Matthew Zingale



FROM THE EDITORS Many of us in this world, live life without truly realizing our dreams, goals and aspirations; we work each day and allow weeks, months and years to pass us by without finding our calling or establishing our happiness. I along with the other editors of Halfstack have had a dream for many years to run our business and establish our own brand. Yet, we would continuously find reasons not pursue those dreams. It was never the right time, we didn’t have the money, maybe our ideas were not good enough and biggest of all – who would want to help us?! We were letting everyday life truly get in the way of living. We were crushing our opportunities before they even had a chance to materialize. Yet, one day we threw our inhibitions to the wind and let loose. It’s funny how once you just start doing something, all seems to fall into place. This first issue of Halfstack is about the idea of chasing your dreams and truly making your goals a reality. We hope you find this issue as inspiring to read as it was to put together. We would sincerely like to thank all of the contributors, writers, designers and teams like Holli Baumez and Matt Zingale who have helped us to make our vision a reality. Thank you to all those who contributed and donated to our kickstarter project and helped this first issue go to print. Thank you to our friends and family who unwaveringly put their faith in our abilities and direction. Most importantly we send our gratitude to the people whose talent are showcased throughout this issue - in their music, writing, design and style. Without all of you, this issue would not be what it is. We hope that each of you out there with a dream, allow this magazine to spark that inner fire to finally pursue it. Find guidance in the words of each interview you read and challenge yourself to take the first step. We are glad that we did and we plan on never looking back.


Jennifer M. Editor - in - Chief





PG. 58 PG. 34


Check Pablo Out! www.Funny om/FunnyPablo





FUNNY PA BL0 1. How did you begin your career in comedy? Horribly, I was working in the middle of “Nowhere, Wisconsin” and I was bored beyond belief. I was born & raised in Chicago, so taking a job in anything but a city-atmosphere was brutal. I had always wanted to do stand up and finally put some jokes together. I drove the hour and a half to Minneapolis and got on at the Acme Comedy Company open mic night. My first joke got a huge laugh and the rest of the set was average. After that big laugh though, I was hooked.

5. In terms of your journey, what are some key steps you 8. Do you ever face writers block, if so - how do you overhave taken to further your career in comedy? come it?

Its very early in my career, but one of the best things anyone can do is network. Whether it’s other comedians, bookers, fans or other artists, its best to get to know everyone because you never know when you can help each other. I’ve opened for more established comedians and for other artists from networking. It offered me a chance to be seen by a different audience and have more people know who I am. Another key step is to take advantage of 2. What has been the hardest thing about breaking into the social media. Nowadays, you can get in direct contact with industry in Chicago? your audience through Twitter and Facebook. This helps them stay in touch with you or just invite them to shows. Just starting in general. You don’t know anyone or what you’re But you have to be careful not to bombard them with doing or how to even start. It’s like walking onto a playground invites either. for the first time. There are a ton of kids there, you don’t know any of them, but you really want to play. You just have to get 6. Did you ever encounter stage fright? If so, how did you in there and eventually you’ll figure it out. It’s all trial and error. get over it? Everything in stand up is trial, error, figuring out how to make it better and funnier and then trying it out. I think every performer gets stage fright at some point in their lives, but they either have a great moment on stage 3. How often do you travel and to what kind of places? or an embarrassing one on or off that gets rid of it. Of course, mine was the embarrassing kind. I had so many My road schedule is pretty random. In terms of the kind of embarrassing moments in my life before stand up that places, they range from comedy clubs to dive bars in a rural by the time I started, stage fright was the minor leagues area where most of the people didn’t know there was a show. compared to the amount of major league embarrassI feel most famous during the latter. ment I had already went through. Confidence is a big part of stand up and that gets rid of stage fright, too. When 4. What are some of the funniest encounters you have had I started, I used to get nervous before a show because I with fans? was afraid I would forget my jokes. Now before a show, I am usually impatiently waiting for my time to go on stage Fans? I think its more like people who tolerate me. Ha! Once, as opposed to worry about the performance itself. I was using the bathroom stall before a show and looked up and accidentally made eye contact with a guy that was using 7. What kind of topics does your act typically cover? the urinal in front of the door. Then, half way through my set, I noticed he was in the audience. After the show, he started I cover racism and being politically correct. I work with colwalking towards me. I was pretty freaked out. Luckily, it lege kids so I talk about their being 80% adults. I do some turned out to be a guy I knew from high school! Not exactly self-deprecating stuff, but its more group-deprecation the typical high school reunion. He laughed and that’s all that because I bring the audience down with me. Ha! matters.

Last year, I had a ton of it. Half of that was because of the block and the other was dealing with family stuff. I kept writing, but didn’t think any of it was funny or I didn’t really care a lot about the topic. I’m working on new topics now and am finding more ways I can work it, so that has me pretty much shaking the final residue of writer’s block off. I think the best way to get over writer’s block is to keep writing and keep cutting out the “fat” (the parts that don’t need to be there). Once you get down to what you really want to say, you can judge if its worth going into or if its hacky. Usually, if you get that deep, its worth it. Then comes the hard part…working it out on stage until its perfect. BRUTAL, but so important. 9. Do you have any advice for people who are interested in starting a career in comedy- tips on how to start improv, classes to take places to experience? If they’re going into stand up, the best thing to do is to “do it.” Write jokes, find material and then go to open mics. In all honesty, the rest takes care of itself. I’ve been lucky to work with some great veteran comedians and the best advice I ever got came from them. But, I didn’t get that until my second or third year and I’m glad. If I would’ve got it any sooner, I really would not have known what to do with it or what it meant. Improv classes are great too. I finished the Improv program at second city, but I’m a big believer in testing all waters. So, they should go to all the popular places (Second City, iO, Annoyance Theatre, etc…). Oh yea…and always WRITE. ALWAYS!

“ You just have to get in there and eventually you’ll figure it out. “ 5

12 TOP


ladiEs 6

Bye Bye Winter….Hello Spring! With that horrible winter weather coming to an end, we need to stop being lazy and starting getting ourselves prepared for the gorgeous weather that is just around the corner. Let’s face it ladies, we know that those legs don’t get shaved often or not at all since they are hidden with multiple layers of clothing. We need to get those legs ready for all those amazing skirts, dresses and shorts that will be showcased for the spring. Guys it is time to get rid of the grizzly look you have been sporting that past couple of months.The excuse for not shaving in order to keep your face warm duringthe winter is no longer valid. The time has come to get out that razor and shave. In order to get fully prepared for that gorgeous warm weather there are some measurements that need to be taken.

Alright ladies, the first thing that needs to be done is to get rid of the all that dry skin the cold weather has caused. Using the correct body wash is the key. Try Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash. It contains burnt brown sugar and karite butter meaning that not only will this exfoliate your skin, it will also moisturize it. This is gentle enough to use everyday and it recommended for best results used with a loofah. Now that we have gotten the body all nice and polished, it is time to shave. Shaving cream should be just as important as your razor. Aveeno Positively Smooth Shaving Gel is hands down the best shaving cream. It not only helps in preventing razor burn, nicks and cuts, is also helps in shaving less often. Who wouldn’t want a product that would help shaving less often?? Searching for the right razor has come to an end. Schick Quattro Razor and Trimmer is the best razor. Instead of containing the standard three blades this contains four which helps in getting that closer shave that is always desired. Like most razors this also contains two aloe strips to add moisture and prevent nicks. Help-

ful tip, make sure to discard blades the minute they seem to be dull. Don’t want you walking around with nicks all over your legs. With those legs being hidden during the winter, they have lost that summer glow and are now pale. It is time to get not only moisture but some color back into them. Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiant Skin Lotion is the perfect lotion to do the job. Just put this on like you would any other body lotion after showering. Do allow the lotion to dry before putting any clothing on. Visible results will appear in about 3-5 days without any streaks! Not only does the winter dry out skin but is also dries out your hair. Try using Pantene Pro V Medium to Thick Intensive Restoration Treatment. Doing this treatment once a week will definitely pay off. All you need to do is shampoo your hair as usual and instead of using your normal conditioner, throw this on all over your hair (yes the roots too!)Make sure to leave this for 5 minutes, rinse and style hair as usual. The best thing about this product line is that treatment is available for thin and curly hair. Chap lips is another major problem that occurs during the winter. Maybelline Baby Lips is the perfect lip moisturizer. Not only does it add moisture back to your lips but it also contains SPF and comes in a variety   of colors. Just apply it like any other lip moisturizer. However, make sure to put on more than you would a regular chap stick.


Men it is time to get rid of that facial hair that you have been growing for months. The first that needs to be done and most men probably don’t do is use a pre shave. Zirh Prepare Botanical Pre Shave Oil is just the product. It may come in a small bottle but a little goes a long way. Pour a dime size amount and just rub all over your facial hair. This oil also helps get that close, smooth shave that the ladies love. Now that the skin and hair is prepared it is time for the right shaving cream. Aveeno Therapeutic Shaving Gel is the perfect shaving cream for men. This shaving gel helps in preventing razor bumps and nicks. With it containing soothing ingredients, it assists in moisturizing the skin without causing any irritation. Using the right razor is very important especially since this is being used on the face. Schick Quattro Titanium Razor with Trimmer is the razor to do the job. The added trimmer on the end is great for facial hair that is too long to attack with just the razor. The trimmer is also adjustable. With the razor containing four blades it definitely gets that close, smooth shave that is wanted. Something that men forget to do is moisturize their hands. Would you want to hold hands with someone that’s hands feel like sandpaper? I think not. Jergens Ultra Healing lotion is just the key to softer skin. Use this lotion 2 twice a day, once in the morning and at night before going to bed. Sticking to this routine will get you those soft hands in no time. It is time to get rid of those dry chapped lips. Hands down Burt’s Bees lip balm is just the right product for men’s lips. Using this daily will get your lips back in shape in no time. Plus with peppermint as a main ingredient, it provides that good tingle refreshing feeling that will be loved. Most men probably don’t realize that their body wash is very important especially since most men unlike woman use a body lotion to moisturize. Due to this men need a body wash that can do the job of both cleansing and moisturizing,Old Spice 8 hour body washis just the thing for the job. This body wash not only removes all dirt off the body it also contains a special formula that leaves you smelling fresh for 8 hours. A great feature of this product is that Old Spice has created this formula in many different scents and matching deodorants. 7

CULTURED Your source to get the latest information on which museum’s to visit, and the coolest exhibits to check out

By: Stella Quimby

The Chicago History Museum

Exhibit Currently Running: Now April 16th, 2012

*Picture from Chicago Mag

Get an insight look into one of the most distinguished and innovative fashion designers of the 20th century in this exhibit. Charles James was an American designer who obtained the rare exception of being loved by even the French fashion world. This American designer specialized in haute couture wear (extraordinary one of kind fashions) that is different from the typical American mass fashion designers. Charles James main designs which are shown at the Chicago History Musuem are from his most important design years, 1928-1958. Even after his death (almost going on 40 years), this revolutionary designer is still an inspiration to all; fashion or not. This exhibit is gaining rave reviews not just from the fashion world but all Chicago citizens alike. All the gowns shown in the exhibit are designed by Charles James and are originals. The Chicago History Museum, due to their relationship with the Charles James group, has the most extensive collection of all of Charles James garments worldwide. So come and visit this exhibit, a world-class exhibit with the largest Charles James collection around literally in your backyard! No excuses a MUST SEE!


The Field Museum

Exhibit Currently Running: February 24, 2012 September 3, 2012

*Provided by The Field Museum

Who is this Genghis Khan who still makes the news today even 900 years after his death? Genghis Khan was a Mongolian warlord that lived in the 1200’s in Mongolia. This warlord united the many tribes of Mongolia (first to do so) and produced an army the first kind (number wise) and took over countries such as China and Central Asia. Now there is an exhibit that is coming to Chicago giving us further insight on this warrior. The Field Museum will be showcasing this exhibit starting in February, which could be added to everyone’s New Year’s to do list. So what to expect? Many artifacts, art pieces and manuscripts will be spotlighted in this exhibit giving the viewer more information on this ruthless leader. What is fascinating about this exhibit, is the way the Field Museum is presenting it. The Field Museum will take a neutral approach to this exhibit, allowing the visitor to make up their own mind on this Emperor. Visit this exhibit and conclude your own opinion on who Genghis Khan was.

The Museum of Science and Industry

Upcoming Exhibit: March 5, 2012 September 3, 2012 *Provided by The Museum Science and Industry

For some fun with the family, the upcoming Mythbuster’s exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry is sure to bring some delight to everyone in the family. This exhibit is based from the TV Show from the Discovery Channel which has won their way into people’s hearts with the destruction and explosion of random items. The Mythbuster’s test out different myths to either confirm of BUST myths that have been passed down from generation to generation. The best part about this exhibit is the exhibit visitors will be able to test out myths just like the show (actually not really-you won’t be able to explode items or shoot at things). But do expect dangle from ledges (as the exhibit website promises) and hang from phone books only being held from friction! Go get the fam and make sure to visit this fun and hands-on exhibit!! At only $10 per adult and $8 for children 3-11, it is an economical outing for everyone! 9

w ie v r e t n I x o B e h t f o t s u e O d a r An T y n a fM o t is t r A n with a

HS: How did you begin your journey into the world of Art? D: Began with a pad and a pen, Saturday morning cartoons, and a rebellious do it yourself attitude. HS: How has pursuing a medical profession helped spark your creativity, if at all?

D: Well, I like to keep my worlds separate from each other; it’s the only way to manage the million things. When I’m a doctor its all about the patients, when I’m a student it’s all about my studies and those people around and finally when I’m in art mode its about the creation at hand.

HS: What has been the hardest thing about

breaking into the industry in Chicago or pursuing art in general? D: Being in Chicago has just about the same problem as being in any major city. It all boils down to these three things; everyone is an artist, everyone is a world renown critic of art and art is subjective. So, if no one believes in your art then it turns into a hobby and by every standard you aren’t considered a serious artist then.

HS: Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?

D: You know I’ll let you in on a little secret;

I hear colours, see sounds, and taste lights. Sounds wild but we all have some form of it. So I see inspiration in a lot of things from textures of foods and colours to musical tones and everything in between.

HS: What is your creation process like - what kind of tools do you use?

D: It all starts with zoning out everything

around, I get there with either headphones or a speakerbox with the deepest bass possible. Since lately I’ve been dealing with album artwork I usually use the artists music as reference. And finally no watches or time tickers anywhere. Other than that my tools are real simple: - iPad/iPhone - Adobe Ideas (free app) for iPad - SketchPad (free app) for iPhone - A trip to my tumblr dash and google images - My fat index finger


- Headphones with the bass turned up to the highest level

HS: In terms of your journey, what are some key steps you have taken to further your career in art? D: The main thing that I’ve found is to explore different avenues, roads less taken and introducing my art subtly until it catches the eyes of your bigger bosses. The perfect example is what I’m doing in my spare time writing for I started out writing editorials for various shows and music events and then I hinted at creating something for the site like a mixtape series. They were all for it and bam. I did the first tape and designed the cover then the next and then after the fourth the editor and creative directors noticed. So basically “thinking outside the box” to get in the box. HS: Are there any artists that influence your art and why are you inspired by them? D: Definitely, every artist is influenced whether they like it or not but I in brace it cause of the culture I’m apart of. The amalgamation of every style to create something new is what its all about. If I had to choose the top six influences they would have to be Piet Parra for his hand drawn simplicity and vulgarness, Dust La Rock for his attitude and diverse abilities, Kieth Haring for his use of colours and bold statements about social problems, So.Me. for his creative use of typography and hand drawn art, Lukevicious for his in your face style inspired by that do it yourself attitude and Grotesk for his hip hop influences and street consciousness. Each have carved out their own lane; their art makes bold statements without being to over powering while still being serious and fun at the same time. It’s a special thing to be able to achieve that.

HS: Do you feel that music has a direct correlation in creativity and how art is produced? D: For me music is the vehicle I use to navigate through my creativity concrete jungle.

HS: How does music influence how you create? D: This could get real deep but I’ll just skim the surface so I don’t put you to sleep. Basically the mood, pace, bass, highs & lows, and the attitude could steer my original idea far left of what I was expecting to go. It’s all really amazing how things end up. It’s almost like some form of out of body experience and when I get back the piece is done. HS: How do you feel street art has developed over the last 20 years? D: It’s evolved from the grime of the streets to now dominating advertisements (from trains to planes and billboards), galleries and it’s now more then ever the creative avenue of the youth movement. HS: Can you tell me how you feel technology has played a role in this?

D: The internet has 1000% to do with street art

evolution. It’s like who knew what people were doing in the Netherlands, South Africa, Greece and Japan just to name a few. Their styles influenced others, inspired a whole generation to create something new, new techniques, cheaper materials, new tools and a way to access them all with a click. The infinite potential tapped.

HS: Do you have any advice for people who are interested in starting a career in art? D: The main thing you have to do is figure out what everyone is doing and either break far left of that or master that thing everyone is doing. Whatever you choose become the best at that one thing and people will seek you out. If you are just that person giving 50% thats where you’ll stay. Pursue it 100% or not at all. HS: Where can we learn more about you? D: Check for my EDM column at

to get the latest scope on the world of dance music and to see my new creations. If you have a tumblr follow my home page at Also, catch me on Twitter @dEMOx143 or Facebook at DEMOx. 11



There’s nothing like a jolt of confidence to boost that juice in your professional life, to get some voltage in that vocation, and nothing electrifies me more than feeling like a rock star. But you don’t need to plug in your Gibson to get attention. Dynamic performers have long known a secret that ensures that even when they’ve left the stage, they’re not forgotten. Turns out that a little gender bending can really synchronize your strut. Violating the norm sends a truly powerful message to those around you: “I can knock your socks off, but don’t expect me to play by all the rules…” From John Lennon and Marlene Dietrich, to David Bowie and Julie Andrews, truly potent celebrities have made their performances mythic by indulging in a little cross-dress-up. With a bit of rouge or a debonair collar, these stunning specimens of the stage and screen engage us, pull us closer, and play up the


Dude looks like a lady (and vice versa) BY: BETHANY HENNING

sex. But now maybe I’ve lost you because you are, after all, trying to be taken seriously in your career. You’re not interested in being a sex-cretary, you want a piece of the real pie. Everyone knows that if you want to be taken seriously for your intellect you have got to abandon daring, seductive apparel for boring, conservative day-wear. Well allow me to sympathize with the sentiment and applaud that feminist revolt at objectification, but I must respectfully disagree. And that’s precisely the beauty of androgyny. They may have made Norma-Jean dye her hair and stand on her head, and yes, Kate Moss had to show all of her (countable) ribs in barely-there tops during runway show and photoshoot alike, but not you. No, my postmodern personage, by brazenly shopping in the “wrong” department, you are taking back your gender-identity. Or you are embracing your fluidity. Or you are invading overly-simplistic binary categories. For whatever reason you are gender-disguising (and the reasons are infinite), you are simultaneously reinforcing the idea that when it comes to your body, you make the rules….not society (whatever that is).

I am not the first to suggest “empowerment through androgyny.” I believe in the principle and will continue to advocate this practice,but I must credit the phrase to Danielle Everine. (website: Danielle is a designer who appeared on the most recent season of Project Runway much, much too briefly. And while we lament that her clarionvoice was not chosen to compete at Fashion week, we must rejoice that this fact somehow strengthens her credibility as a visionary whose time has not yet come. Everine has side-stepped the quagmire of the mainstream, just as you and I are going to do. We should not delude ourselves entirely, we are not boldly going where fashion has not yet dared. As I’ve already mentioned, there is plenty of historical David Bowie precedent for creative gender-bending. Ancient Greek power-goddesses Athena and Artemis refused to accept the trappings that would mark them as domesticizablewives. Joan of Arc would not be confined to a life of baby-making and stewcooking; she donned bad-ass armor and stomped off to battle. Dorothy Lawrence was so dedicated to her career as a reporter during the first world war that she dressed up as (male) soldier and marched off to the lines. While these ladies certainly furthered their careers and causes by daring to transgress binary gender categories, these days you can have the best of both worlds. You can be undecidable. You can keep your lipstick and throw on a tie. Accentuate your waist and your shoulders. You can throw that long hair into a pony-tail and craft a faux-hawk on top. Or, if you’re still not sure if you want to leave your comfort zone entirely, I recommend asking a really well-dressed man

Imogen Heap (above and below)


y x e s

Marilyn Dietrich

Diana Keaton who his tailor is. Well-dressed men make such powerful figures in doorways partially because they pay people with sewing skills to accentuate powerful lines-- and you can too! I’ll bet that once you start playing at the limits of your carefully constructed gender, you’ll discover the swagger you never knew you had (and you’ll turn a head or two in the process!) Most importantly, I want to drive home this point: Sexism and misogyny are alive and well in the world. Women aren’t the only victims here, antiquated expectations go both ways. Men are prevented from exploring femininity by the threat ostracism; women are pressured to be passive and weak by their mothers, sisters, fathers and friends. But none of us have to take it lying down, nor do we have to spit rage and risk damaging our careers. Cross-dressing, androgynizing, or tailoring can be counted as small, sustained victories, a continuous resistance against the pressure to be plied. But the most significant win will happen in our heads as we realize that we have the freedom to determine who we are and how we present ourselves. Take back your identity from whoever first appropriated it. Be your own creation. 13



for her Written by: Danielle Pulak

Shopping for that perfect scent can be overwhelming and stressful. Think about it, your scent makes a statement about who you are. Have no fear though, with some guidance and determination you will find your perfect scent. Keep in mind when looking for a scent keep in mind your personal style and mood that you want to portray. The first step then is figuring out the type style that you have. This is usually easy for most women as we know who we are and what we like. All women fragrances fall under four fragrance families: Fresh, Floral, Fruity and Oriental. These fragrance families go hand in hand with personal style.





fresh scents

floral scents

fruity scents

oriental scents

for DAY...

for DAY...

for DAY...

for DAY...

Burberry Brit Sheer : 1.7 oz-$62.00 : Carson Pierre Scott

Coach Poppy Flower : 1.7 oz.-$65.00 : Coach

DNKY-Be Delicious : 1.7oz.-$60.00 : Ulta

Viva La Juicy : 1.7oz.-$69.00 : Sephora

Burberry Brit Sheer gives off a light, clean, fresh scent. It is perfect to wear during the day while one is at work or running doing errands.

Coach Poppy Flower this is the perfect scent to enhance ones femininity. Great to wear during the day due to its soft florally scent.

DKNY Be Delicious this scent will literally make ones mouth water. Though is contains a strong apple scent it is light enough to wear for day.

Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture is delivers an off a sweet vanilla scent that is soft enough for day. But bold enough to make a statement.

...for NIGHT

...for NIGHT

...for NIGHT

...for NIGHT

Dolce &Gabbana Light Blue : 1.6 oz-$64.00 : Ulta

Gucci Envy Me : 1.7 oz-$70.00 : Sephora

Vera Wang Lovestruck : 1.7 oz-$68.00 : Macy’s

Giorgio Armani-Armani Code : 1.7 oz-$65.00 : Ulta

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue provides that stronger clean, fresh scent that is appropriate to wear at night. Perfect scent to wear for flirting.

Gucci Envy Me this is the ultimate feminine scent. Perfect to wear at night whether you going out with friends or on a hot date.

Lovestruck with love in the name it pretty much says it all. This is the scent to wear when one is out trying to land their “love interest.”

Giorgio Armani-Armani Code this the fragrance to wear when you want to feel sexy and seductive. Perfect for a night out on the town.

Like reading magazines? Looking through magazines is a great way to get inspired on finding that right scent. Tons of major designers have their own fragrance and place them in all the major fashion & lifestyle magazines. Keep in mind that designers create fragrance that acts as an extension of their line. Hence if you have favorite designers then it is recommended to try one of their fragrances. So the next time you are reading your favorite magazines go ahead and tear out any fragrance ads that appeal to you.


Now that you are educated, here are some helpful hints and facts that you need to keep in mind. All fragrances will not smell exactly as they do in ads as they will on our skin as we have natural oils that will alter the scent. Which leads into the next tip, not one fragrance will smell the same on another person. Again this is all due to our bodies natural oils. While you are out shopping your fragrance, keep in mind that some stores carry a travel size. In the case that there is a fragrance that you are unsure of, you can still try out the scent without committing to the cost of buying the full size.

Men finding that right cologne is more important than you think. You see your scent has impact on any woman in your life. And whenever a woman smells that scent they will instantly think of you. Let’s face it who wouldn’t want a beautiful lady to think about you without being present. Finding the perfect is not going to be easy but who says anything is. The first thing to do in finding the right cologne is to figure out what type of scents that you like. In the men’s fragrance world scents are divided into 3 simple families: fresh, musk and woodsy. Learning more about each category will point you to the right

direction as to which category you fall under. Scents that are categorized as fresh can be described as scents that have a fresh water and air smell. These types of scents are great for guys who are very active, energetic and enjoy outdoors. These guys also tend to have that lucky go attitude on life. Musk scents tend to contain a spice and citrus fragrance. This is perfect for the guy who wants to give off that classic masculinity that is truly a genuine gentleman. Woodsy scents contain traces of cedar and leather. Scents in this category are for the men that are confident with a hint of mystery. These types of men know what they want and are not afraid to go after it.




fresh scents

musk scents

woodsy scents

This scent is the ultimate fresh scent. Literally it smells like ocean in a masculine way.Perfect to wear either for the day or at night. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio : 1.7 $59.00 : Macys

Lacoste Pour Homme This is the kind of scent the will remind of warm tropical getaway. Perfect to wear on a warm night whether you are out with friends or a special someone. Lacoste Pour Homme : 1.6 oz-$50.00 : Ulta

Giorgio Armani Attitude This is the absolute masculine scent. Perfect to wear when going out with that special someone. Single? Perfect to wear when on the prowl. Giorgio Armani Attitude : 2.5-$75.00 : Ulta

Calvin Klein Eternity This scent can be described as a classic men’s cologne. Can easily be worn either during the day or at night. Calvin Klein Eternity : 1.7oz- $52.00 : Carson Pierre Scott

Hugo by Hugo Boss Perfect scent for that surfer or anyone that worships that fresh coast scents. Terrific to wear every day to the office or while relaxing during the weekend.

Any distinguished gentleman would wear this bold,intense scent. Great to wear for night or any special occasion. Or when one wants to smell like they are worth a million dollars. Ralph Lauren Polo Black : 2.5 oz-$58.00 : Macy’s

Warm and rich, this is the scent to wear when one wants to impress others. This is definitely a manly man’s cologne. Gucci by Gucci : 1.7oz-$57.00 : Sephora

With its soft scent of ginger and wheatgrass this is a good scent to wear for the day. Perfect for any man that is confident and means business.

for him Hugo by Hugo Boss : 3.4 oz-$58.00 : Sephora

Burberry Sport : 1.7 oz-$57.00 : Macys

layout by Sarah Gaynor

Still not sure which category you fall under, go out shopping to a major department store. All of the men’s fragrance are at one to two counters and are worked by the same sales people. Keep in mind these sales people are well educated in all the different scents and are more than willing to help you find that perfect scent for you. 15



Stopping in for beauty products is not just for women anymore. There are several ways a man can get his guy sheik on and take care of himself beyond the gym. Written by: Danielle Pulak


Always begin with a skin care regime no matter your age. The sun; even in the car can cause damage through your windows! Keihl’s Facial Fuel with SPF15 is a mild lotion that will protect your skin from the rays of the sun while moisturizing.

Tame body hair with DS Laboratories Keramene Body Hair Minimizer, it suppresses body hair growth to reduce shaving, waxing and the dreaded chia look.

Use a pea size amount and work into the skin after you wash. Follow up with Dermolgica’s Oil Control Lotion to prevent shine and clogged pores from oil in the skin.

For evening routine check out Lab Series Max LS Ageless Face Cream, it’s never too late to prevent wrinkles from forming.

Having trouble with your shave cream? Try a shave Oil instead, American Crew Lubricating Shave Oil contains 12 natural oils to tame that stubble and help with the after effects of shaving.

Follow up with Nickel Le Grand Bluff Self Tanner for men, a gel based self tanner for a healthier tan.

For silky smooth lips use Molton Brown’s Vitamin Lip Moisture to heel chapped lips.

Under eye circles can be diminished with 4V00 Skin Corrector a concealer for eyes, blemishes or acne scars made just for men.

While in the shower try invigorating Shampoo Malin + Goetz Peppermint Shampoo, your scalp will thank you. Follow up with Malin + Goetz Cilantro Conditioner is residue free and conditions the hair while detangling.

For thinning hair or baldness concerns try an at home growth serum Sigma Skin Hair Regrowth System is a 3-step process to help thicken thinning hair or help regrow where there is hair loss.

After all your new beauty tricks up your sleeve finish with a sexy new cologne Guilty by Gucci and you will be a man beauty ready for Spring! 17

beauty trends FOR

is just around the corner and here are a few of the best 2012 beauty products to prep you for the latest trends! Written by: Vanessa Valliant

Always start with a great skin care line, Avalon Organics Vitamin C is not only organic but helps fight those free radicals in the air we conquer daily. Start with a gel cleanser and move on to cleansing with their Vitamin C toner and moisturizer with SPF15.

Who doesn’t want luscious lashes? After you nightly skin routine add a bit of Li-Lash serum to your lash line, after 3 weeks you will flutter away with long luxurious lashes.

Mario Badusco’s Orange Tonic Mask can be used in the morning or at night to tighten pores and give your skin that healthy glow as if you just left the spa.



Dewy skin is in t who can beat MAC and Body Foundati is the face and bod waterproof but yo hands, yes that’s ri trol your coverage small amount to th hand. Rub your ha thicken the foundat Not enough covera more face and bod of the face that req coverage and you’r nice dewy glow an look like your own

Brows are huge

this season and C cosmetics Face ion. Not only dy foundation ou can use your ight ladies, cone by applying a he palm of your ands together to tion and apply. age? Add a bit dy to the areas quire a bit more re off with that nd it’s made to natural skin!

e this season be sure to wax or thread every 4-6 weeks to your natural arch, enhance them with Benefits Brow Zing. Brow Zing contains both wax and powder, dip your angled brush in the wax then powder and arch away to add more Zing to your brows.

Pop those lips with Morange lipstick from MAC cosmetics, not only will you stop traffic with those hot lips but also step out of that comfort zone and add some orange zest to your life!

For a natural and healthy tan on the face Caudalie gradual self tanning cream can be worn at night to enhance that natural tan before summer to get that bronzy glow.

After your hair is dry add Kenra’s new Hot Spray and curl with Conair’s Infiniti Ceramic Curling Wand for that new retro wave curl and comb out for a natural wavy look.

Healthy hair is all the rage these days, no more ratted up mess and locked up sprayed curls. Prep your luscious locks with Moroccan Oil after you shower when hair is damp, work from the bottom up to the cap of the scalp.

Finish off your new bronzy tan, wavy locks and fresh lips with a spritz of Sara Jessica Parker’s Lovely, light and fresh to go with your new Spring look!! 19


here’s that one familiar saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Since the early punk rock era, this cliché has become much more than that, turning the once materialistic, dependent, “average” human to the adventurous and wondrous world of Do-ItYourself. With the rise of the fallen economy, the DIY lifestyle is growing by the minute, becoming a significant part of careers and everyday lives. Not surprisingly, as of 2010, 56% of U.S. households crafted at least once during 2010, according to a 2011 Craft & Hobby Association (CHA). The not-for-profit trade association’s study learned that the general craft category alone raked in $9.9 billion dollars, with paper crafts, needle crafts, and sewing crafts not lingering too far behind. What makes this industry so darn popular? Let’s face it: Money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s 2012 - jobs are scarce. College students are struggling to find jobs. Companies themselves are tight on cash. Not everyone can afford an expensive lifestyle of designer clothing, fine jewelry, or maybe even pot holders. This is where the ever-popular trend and ethic of DIY comes in. Do-It-Yourself is changing the world one person at a time, allowing the creative to do as little as make their own Christmas presents to save cash, to doing something as drastic as quitting their day job to become an entrepreneur to make a decent living. Unfortunately, this industry requires much more than just time and patience, but also skill. The information that was once only available through trade schools and expensive universities is now available on the internet. It is now possible to learn how to make something without even leaving the comfort of your own home... or couch. is one of these many resources available on the World Wide Web, teaching the imaginative and money-cautious how to DIY.


The online community, which hosts Meet-up Parties and attends industry shows to promote indie design, features easy and affordable online classes and workshops, offering their “students” lessons on everything from making dinner to jewelry to clothing. Gretchen Hirsch, an expert in intricate sewing from Queens, NY, is one of’s online instructors. Her first online class, “Sew Retro: Perfect Bombshell Dress” ($29.99, Craftsy. com) teaches you how to make a vintage-style dress in 5.5 hours. Sure, the course is timely, but 5.5 hours is a small price to pay compared to a few years of fashion school, not to mention at a much cheaper price point. Start with some mid-weight fabric (which you supply, of course), a downloadable pattern, and a sewing machine, and 15 video sessions later, voila, you have a brand new dress. Hirsch explains the instructions step-by-step in detail at a very fair pace, making it easy for her students to follow. This video course is extremely helpful for an aspiring designer looking to create a beautiful dress, however, it is definitely not for the clueless, or the beginner who is unfamiliar with sewing

terms. If you are unfamiliar with simple terms like “muslin,” or “bodice,” this is the wrong class for you. The bonus incentive of taking this class is that once you sign up, you can watch and re-watch the video as many times as you like, like a textbook! Hirsch is featured on PBS’ It’s Sew Easy, owns and teaches at The Sewing Studio in New York, and has her first sewing book in the midst of being published. Her second class will be available on Craftsy within the next few months. So now you know: The next time you see a product you really like, now you know you are just a page view away from making it yourself!

*Written by Heather Davis *Photos by *Layout by Alicia Neurock 21

22 23

$12.97 Charming Charlie One-of-a-Kind Glass Bead Necklace

This is a chunky, layered bead necklace that will add a burst of color to your neutral tops. Pair with brushed gold earrings for a natural look.

$14.97 Charming Charlie Fierce Braided Bangle Set

A must have for every jewelry box. This set is great for splitting apart to mix and match with your old favorites or worn together for a loud look.

$9.97 Charming Charlie Coiled Crystal Cluster Ring

No bling here. This nautical colored ring is great for the Summer to mix and match with your existing silver rings. A simple burst of color that makes a statement.

$14 Urban OutďŹ tters Anchor Bracelet

This is a simple leather bracelet combining a Western and nautical feel which is a perfect complement to any vintage polo. Great for men who feel jewelry is only for women.

$60 Urban OutďŹ tters Freestyle Shark Clip Watch

Feel free to put on your Walkman and kick it with this Fresh Prince styled watch. A great way to bring back the early 90s this Summer and add a bit of neon to your wardrobe.

24 25

Invisible Crown

26 27

Spring Cleaning & Organizing

1) Sweep Your Closet If you look into your closet and can’t find your shoes because you can’t see the floor, it is time for a serious sweep. First step: Take every item out. Seriously, if you’re not going to wear it, just get rid of it. Organize what you decide to keep (such as basics, work clothes, and some trendy pieces) using nice, sturdy hangers, like these Premium Walnut Wooden Hangers (The Container Store, $4.99-11.99 depending on size). Keep shoes, belts, purses, and any other accessories in Hanging Accessory Shelves (Target, $14.99).

3) Clean Out Your Fridge Its one thing to keep your fridge stocked; it’s another to keep a dirty fridge! Take a couple of hours to remove everything from your refrigerator, check product dates and throw out anything that has expired. Then, clean the shelves and drawers out with a Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge (Target, $4.99 for 6-pack) and some bleach water. Nothing smells better than a clean fridge, and your tummy will thank you in the end! 4) Organize Your Papers Isn’t your home nice and cozy? Believe it or not, bank statements, bills, and receipts need a home like that, too. Tax season is here, after all. It’s time to dig those papers out from under your bed and stick them in some fun file folders like these Owl Folders, from Paper Source. ($7)


101 2) Change Your Sheets Your bed sheets should definitely be changed more than once a season, but in case you forgot with the chaos of the holidays, this is your friendly reminder (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us). Strip the sheets, comforter, and pillow cases from your bed, throw them in the wash, and replace with a new, colorful set to make you feel like you’re in a brand new sanctuary! Anthropologie makes fantastic comforters like the Alvorada Quilt! (Anthropologie, $348)

5)Keep Track of Your To-Do’s In a world of smart phones, some people believe that writing their to-do’s down on paper is old-fashioned. For those of us still living in the stone age, these Fridgebook magnets (Urban, $14.99) will suffice to remind you where you’re going and with who. As Van Wilder said, “Write that Down.”

layout by Sarah Gaynor

By Heather Davis



Written by: Lauren Hutchinson

Any fashionista can start embracing the spring 2012 trends by strategically adding and taking away key pieces of their already existing wardrobe. Instead of sporting a typical warm coat, embrace the transitional weather with the array of light weight jackets that are available. A motorcycle inspired jacket or a bright colored trench can easily be layered over a color blocked dress. BCBG boasts a wide variety of colored blocked pieces that are versatile enough to take you from day to night; available at Add bright accents to your typical neutral pallet. A pair of bright colored flats or a color blocked pump can stand out in a powerful way with an all black ensemble. Picking a blazer with a pop of color can allow you to update your current wardrobe and immediately take you from winter to spring. The Rag and Bone blazer featured at is a top pick as it can easily lend itself over a tee shirt and jeans and then take on a dressier look over a dress or skirt.

Clockwise from top right 3.1 Phillip Lim Leather Peplum Jacket : $1250.00 : Saks Fifth Avenue Rag & Bone Bromley Blazer : $495.00 : Saks Fifth Avenue Magaschoni Short Anorak : $498.00 : Neiman Marcus Tinley Road Chevron Dress : $59.00 : Piperlime Aidas Silk Color-Blocked Shift Dress : $288.00 : BCBG

layout by Sarah Gaynor

Playing with pattern can take your look to the next level. The iconic zig zag missoni patterns are right on target for spring. Invest in a patterned scarf, or a blouse to get a hint of the look. If you really want to make a statement; go for a dress showcasing the overall pattern. has many options in this trend like a zig zag pink and brown dress. By mixing color blocking, bright colors, or missoni prints, your existing wardrobe can instantly take on new looks for spring. 29



Less Styled by: Krysta Rose Hill

THE LOOK Oscar de la Renta : Spring/Summer 2012

necklace Choker : Topshop : $110.00

socks Knit Socks : Forever21 : $3.80

shoes Qupid Isaac Peep Toe Wedge : : $26.90

Dress Organic Lace Dress : H&M : $79.95



Studded Cage Belt : Topshop : $36.00

dress Embellished Drop Waisted Dress : Topshop : $330.00

shoe Studded Sandal : Steve Madden : $150.00

THE LOOK Giambatista Valli : Spring/Summer 2012

THE LOOK PREEN : Spring/Summer 2012

belt Hot Pink Belt : Vintage : $8.99


layout by Sarah Gaynor

Wicket Wedge : Topshop : $80.00

dress White Shift Dress : SEE by Chloe : $207.00 31

WHAT’S HOT - 2012 MUSIC By: Leo Di’Ambrosio

It seems as if music is changing and evolving at a much more rapid pace in the present day. Genres and styles are beginning to culminate and steer off into their own directions. In a city like Chicago, diversity is always very prominent, partially due to the population and partly due to the mix of peoples we have in this city. It’s with cultural variety do we get diversity in the arts we love so much. Underground and indie labels are beginning to become as striking as major and mainstream record companies, whether they’re as financially profitable or not. Specifically, we’ve seen guitarists extending their ranges to seven and eight string guitars, pop music that doesn’t have a necessity for boy bands and applies to multiple groups of people, the popular emergence of the ukulele, and the takeover of a peculiar, yet revolutionary style of dance and electronica music that sounds like the sexual arousal of a transformer known as dubstep. In a sense, a city like ours, with such a vast amount of people, waters down the music scene. There are hundreds of incredible artists who’ve yet to have had their voice heard. The positive end of this is that Chicago will never run dry of music; there will never be a drought of talent. There will always be someone to find, different from the last.


CHECK OUT THESE ARTISTS ONLINE Isaiah Sharkey - Lupe Fiasco - Rodrigo y Gabriela - The Dangerous Summer - Pet Lions - Phantogram - There For Tomorrow -

BY: Cristina Mikkelson

1. R & B – Isaiah Sharkey - Skyliner 2. HIP HOP – Lupe Fiasco - Lasers 3. ALTERNATIVE/PUN – The Dangerous Summer – Reach For The Sun 4. LATIN MUSIC – Rodrigo y Gabriela – Area 52 5. CHICAGO INDIE LABELS – Pet Lions - Houses 6. DANCE/POP MUSIC – Phantogram – Eyelid Movies 7. ROCK – There For Tomorrow – The Verge



Singer-songwriter Madi Diaz is out to prove her talent to the world with her recently released full-length album, Plastic Moon. Through her lyrics, you get a sense of who Madi really is, as she projects the down-to-earth quality that you would look for in a best friend. Her first single, “Let’s Go”, makes you feel like you are trapped in the perfect summer day with your first love. Madi continues the same musical laid back vibe with “Gimme a Kiss” and “Johnny.” Singing from her soul, Madi tells a different story with each song. She takes on various themes ranging from being in love, to letting go, to just having fun all with a folksy feel. With her two songs “Nothing At All” featured on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and “To Be Alone” on ABC’s Pretty Little Liars, the 25 year-old Pennsylvania native is steadily gaining exposure with fans of both shows. 2012 should prove to be a big year for Madi Diaz with Plastic Moon being the ship to skyrocket her to indie-pop fame.



MIX By: Tito Reyes



Rican to endure. So, Halfstack sat down with this Chicago mainstay and asked a couple of questions about what it takes to make it in the industry. Q: When was the first time you felt recognized? A: The first time I felt recognized was at the Pan-American Festival of 1986 at Navy Pier. Q: Who was your inspiration or motivation to be your best on the 1’s and 2’s? A: It started with the Hot Mix 5, Julian Perez, who was the first DJ I heard scratch, Bad Boy Bill and Charlie Chase from the movie, Wild Style.


Q: What would you tell up and coming DJ’s? A: Only do it if you love it, master your craft, develop your skills and stay humble.

In a city of diverse cultures, fashion, food, people, politics, art, actors, and comedians music is at the pulse of the soul of Chicago. The DJ is often at the heart of this beat. The Disc Jockey is a person who can connect with many people on an extremely intimate level. DJs are often found to have a great ear for music, rhythm, sounds and the skills to put it all together. Many do it as a hobby, very few make it professionally, but one of Chicago’s own, DJ NONSTOP, has made it his career.

Q: As of right now, what do you feel is your biggest achievement and what’s next on your list? A: Being on the radio with 107.5fm, WGCI, #1 for Hip Hop and R&B and VH1’s Hip Hop Honors for Def Jams 25th anniversary special. Next on my list is to remaster my old mix tapes from back in the day and helping local young artists’ from my community like Zip Code.

He started his rise from Chicago’s Northwest side of Logan Square back in the mid 1980’s and to this day Chicago is still home. We talked about when we used to haul equipment and crates of records to our sets and how much easier it is today with technology but that’s a whole different article. When I say we, it’s because I used to DJ with Mario back in the day with “Night Noise”, and even back then if you knew him you could tell that his passion for the art of playing music would be his destiny.

Chicago has produced a lot of great talents, Muddy Waters, the “father of modern Chicago Blues”, bands like, Styx and Chicago, actors and comedians like Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Robin Williams and the list goes on. Then we have the talents known in the urban underground for creating House like, Mr. Fingers, Marshall Jefferson, Steve “Silk” Hurley, to Mr. Lee. Lets’ not forget, the specialists’ who played the jams, DJ’s like Ralphi Rosario, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Mike “Hitman” Wilson, Sly Foxx, DJ 2Tuff, Pumpin’ Pete, etc...

Working his way up, he had to prove himself through DJ Battles, local notoriety of getting the crowd jumpin’ at basement and house parties, the club scene, radio and tours. From Purple Palace, Northwest Hall, Prime N Tender, Riviera, Jenal’s, member of TKA and K7, TV spots to being a, Heavy Hitter, DMX’s own DJ and still out there creating and bangin’ the box in the Windy City. His style, skills, charisma and his down to earth personality has made it possible for this Logan Square Chi

Representing the Chi currently are artists’ like R. Kelly, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Kanye West and my friend, DJ NONSTOP, are rockin’ the main stream. Check him out, DJNONSTOP.COM, Facebook, Twitter, and on Chicago’s 107.5fm, WGCI. With that I would 33 like to say, love, peace and prayers to all.

By Jennifer M Lezan Editor-in-chief Taking the industry by storm, Kanye and Lupe Fiasco put the Chicago music scene on the map, showing the world a competitive force of artists rising from the dust, ready to be the next big household name. Ajo, a homegrown indie artist, is set to make Chicago the home to yet another Cinderella story with her powerful, soulful crooning. Inspiration ranging from Lauryn Hill to Beyonce brings edgy and eclectic flavors to pop undertones. A young buck with a lot of vision, a ton of soul, and a musical talent that is set to break the mold, Ajo’s songs are dedicated to, and inspired by, the youth of the world. Her lyrics border on confessional, an emotional journey with the heart of Chicago at its core.


Cover art by SadĂŠ Clacken Joseph

Teaching TLC choreography in the schoolyard, Ajo got her start in composing raps and celebrating rhythm with dance. She whet her chops on jazz in 2008 and draws on her experiences to bring together a musical experience. To stay in the loop for upcoming shows and appearances, follow Ajo on facebook and twitter. Cover art b

ylucas farr

ar/far fetc

hed future

AJO Musicians are based gods who are sensitive to the life changing forces plural noun

happening in this out of control world. They are often seen as tender adjective


souls and beings who are able to stunt on the people they perform for. If verb

you want to luxuriate with a musician all you need to do is tat my name verb

open space

on you so I know it’s real. When describing her style Ajo is likely to say

that she dresses with sophisticated ignorance but has a musical soul adjective

similar to Count Chocula. Her wildest dreams include an performer

all you can eat menu at the waffle house and she is afraid have fun with this one

of people who never laugh or smile. let us know

Cover art by SadĂŠ Clacken Joseph 35



in the ‘Burbs and


By: Nicholas Abell Complex, sophisticated, discriminating taste; these words don’t hold meaning in the wonderful world of BBQ. A cuisine of its own, BBQ is the epitome of American comfort food, and nobody does it like the South does it. In a crazed and slightly alcohol-induced craving for good BBQ a few months back, myself and a close friend set out to find the best BBQ in the western suburbs. We thought a short drive around would be more then enough to find a good looking BBQ joint; we were sorely mistaken. Our quest became an obsession over the next few days, and with the help of Google, we narrowed our search to a single southern-style BBQ restaurant in Wheaton. An overly humble but gloriously smelling kitchen and dining room in the heart of downtown Lamont, Austin BBQ was the most promising of a pathetically short list of true southern style BBQ joints in most of the western ‘burbs. Well, it was all we hoped for and more.

Satisfied with a fantastic meal, I had thought that my journey was over. I later found out that there was one place that rivaled every BBQ establishment in the state, and from first hand rumors, this place was supposed to be the best. Unfortunately it was a solid 2 and a half hour drive south to the lovely Urbana, Illinois. Home to the University of Illinois, Urbana is where a little BBQ bar a grill joint known as Black Dog exists.

Right when you walk in, you get the feeling that you are about to be very satisfied, due to the long and hungry looking line in front of you. What was amazing is that we had went at a very off hour, yet the line still stretched to the door. Traditional small business ideals abound in this warm and inviting homage to the Texas BBQ style. Ordering a pulled pork and beef brisket sandwich, we were ready to fulfill our week long destiny. Mouth watering and delicious Texas toast with smokey pulled pork, dripping with a traditional southern-style vinegar based BBQ sauce fit for the gods; this was my reward for my search. The thing about describing BBQ is that you can’t. All I can say is it is amazingly delicious and you absolutely need try it.

I happily ordered the ‘Sampler’, which was an assortment of brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends, along with two sauces of my choice and a side of sweet potato fries. To drink, I had a home made lemonade beer that was suggested to me. The meal was unbelievable. After traveling around a great portion of the state I can honestly say that Black Dog in Urbana is the best southern style BBQ restaurant. That’s right. Number one.


A few weeks later I found myself day dreaming about the happiness that Austin BBQ brought both myself and my friend, and I decided that going downtown to find out what the restaurant capitol of the nation, Chicago, had to offer. Lillie’s Q on North Avenue, a fairly new BBQ joint, claimed they offered the best of Southern style BBQ and an assortment of beer and whiskey to compliment. This sounded like heaven, and in no time I was being seated in the immensely higher quality dining room area of Lillie’s Q. The difference was pretty staggering, actually. Austin BBQ had mix and matched plastic chairs and paper plates, while Lillie’s Q sported a very modern and urban dining area and waiting staff. This time around I decided to order a beef brisket sandwich with beans and coleslaw on the side. It was the quintessential southern BBQ feast, and it was every bit as good as Austin BBQ; perhaps even better. This time around I was able to enjoy my delicious meal with a very dark stout they claimed was one of their most popular beers. I could definitely see why, as the beer and the BBQ paired very well. Satisfied with a fantastic meal, I had thought that my journey was over. I later found out that there was one place that rivaled every BBQ establishment in the state, and from first hand rumors, this place was supposed to be the best. Unfortunately it was a solid 2 and a half hour drive south to the lovely Urbana, Illinois. Home to the University of Illinois, Urbana is where a little BBQ bar a grill joint known as Black Dog exists.

A pleasant drive through the desolate and flat central Illinois brought me to the front doors of this ‘Black Dog’. Well, not the front doors exactly, because the line at 5:30pm on a Tuesday stretched a solid half-block. About 40 minutes of standing in line finally won me a seat in this cramped boutique, and needless to say the smells emanating from the kitchen were to die for.

Even though my quest is truly at an end, with my frequently scheduled outings to Black Dog (which is absolutely worth the drive, Chicagoans), I remain open to the possibility that there may be somewhere that’s better, because Illinois is a big state and it’s impossible to know for sure. I excitedly await the day.

“Right when you walk in, you get the feeling that you are about to be very satisfied, due to the long and hungry looking line in front of you.” 37

TECHY PARADISE It’s no surprise that 2011 was an amazing year for the gaming industry, with games such as Portal 2 and Catherine taking new steps in creativity and mind bending that will surely pave the way for developers to take note of and allow them to use these concepts as a sample of what games can be with the right mindset. Furthermore, games such as Skyrim and Uncharted 3, that will immerse you into the game so much through their graphics, story, and gameplay. The list of some of the best games that released in 2011 show off the current generations last stand as the next generation of consoles get closer to their unveilings.






1. Skyrim Developer: Bethesda Game Studios Publisher: Bethesda Softworks MSRP: $59.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Pronounced Game of the Year 2011 by various websites, Skyrim shows off what developers can do with the right knowledge on their directed audience. As the successor to 2006s Oblivion, this not only surpasses any expectation held before it, but with literally hundreds of hours of playtime. Through it’s graphics, vast medieval story telling and its freedom in the open world, this is a game you can’t miss out on.

2. Gears of War 3 Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios MSRP: $59.99 Platform: Xbox 360 As the sequel to the highly successful Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3 exceeds in what the fans wanted out of the series. As the last game in the Gears of War Trilogy, 3 ends it off with a ravaging and satisfying bang that includes a deep storyline, intense multiplayer and long running support through future downloadable content. 

3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo MSRP: $49.99 Platform: Wii When It comes to The Legend of Zelda, you can always expect an epic journey that will grab on to you, accompanied by mind-boggling puzzles and creative gameplay that is ahead of its time. Then, to the fans of the Zelda series, you will most likely think of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, hailed as one of the best games of all time. Rest assured, Skyward sword does everything Ocarina of Time did not only better, but does it beautifully and Imaginative in the best sense possible.

4. Uncharted 3 Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SCEA MSRP: $59.99 Platform: PS3 Action, adventure, and excitement. Those three words can do enough justice to give you a general idea of what to expect out of this game. The Uncharted series is known to be an “Interactive movie experience” that truly delivers and gives you its worth. The single player is very strong-standing while the multiplayer is just frosting on the cake itself. If you are the type of person that enjoys Indiana Jones and Casual gaming, you will be missing out on one of the best games on the PS3 if you let this pass by.

5. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Developer: Bluepoint Games Publisher: Konami MSRP: $49.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita Five Game for a low price is a good deal, right? Now, try two of the best Playstation 2 games ever released, One of the Greatest games on the Playstation Portable and two MSX games that never arrived to American shores, how does that sound? Metal Gear is a series that gave birth to the stealth action genre in the gaming industry, combining 
 some of the best gameplay, storylines, voiceacting and over-the-topness you will ever see in a game.

6. Portal 2 Developer: Valve Publisher: Valve MSRP: $39.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC When a game, specifically a puzzle game, is hyped not just because of its futuristic graphics or quirky storyline, but because of its incredibly challenging puzzles that makes the game stand out and prove itself through the test of time. The game is simple, you have a gun that makes “portals” and with that, you will use them to get from point A to point B. Seems easy? Trust me, the difficulty of this game as you progress is definitely no walk in the park

8. Catherine Developer: Atlus Publisher: Atlus MSRP: $59.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 If Catherine demonstrated anything to the gaming industry, it would be that even the darkest and wackiest ideas can still be successful! In Catherine, you are a man struggling in between choosing two women, but at the same time, in his dreams, he is getting infested with demons and monsters that generally look like sheep. That point in the game is to choose in between the two women while still advancing in your dreams that contain deep and excruciatingly hard puzzles.

9. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom MSRP: $39.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 Since the dawn of the gaming era, Games like street fighter would always attract everyone, even those who never held a game controller in their life. Now, time has only made that concept better. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a fighting game collaboration between both Marvel and Capcom that combats characters from both companies in an all-out death match that is accompanied with such rich colors and over the top gameplay. If fighting games are your kind of thing, you cannot miss out on one of the best fighting games of this gaming generation. 39


7. Battlefield 3 Developer: EA Dice Publisher: Electronic Arts MSRP: $59.99 Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Battlefield 3 is very well known, not only for its gorgeous graphics, incredibly strong gameplay and tactful multiplayer, but also because it is the biggest competitor to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, one of the best selling games of all time. Although similar to Modern Warfare, Battlefield 3 offers one of the most realistic first person shooter experience to date, with enormous maps, smooth textures and in-depth tactics to take out the enemy, you won’t be able to put this down for quite a while.






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iPHONE 1. Bump 2. HeyTell 3. Songify 4. Weight watchers Barcode scanner US 5. Calorie Counter 6. Words With Friends 7. Temple Run 8. Chat On 9. Viber 10. ooVoo Video Chat



1. Sanity 2. Tasker 3. Beautiful Widgets 4. Wordfued 5. Slacker Radio 6. Endomondo 7. Vignette 8. PowerAmp 9. Libra Weight Manager 10. Google Docs

FITNESS 1. Endomondo 2. Runtastic 3. Instant Heart rate 4. iMapMyRun 5. Daily Ab Workout 6. Noom Weight loss 7. Calorie Counter- MyFitness 8. HIIT Interval Training Timer 9. Jogtracker 10. MySportTraining





g 2 .0 : w eally hat you r


t nt




facts of life



So you’ve struck job search gold: your resume was miraculously chosen from a towering pile and a hiring manager fell in love with a your self-representation in Word format. What now? Sure, you’ve seen generic tips sure to secure your spot in the same-as-all-therestville. Yeah, yeah, yeah... be on time, dress the part and follow up. You already know this stuff.

Here’s a beefier overview of what you should be doing for interviews. Be awesome and get noticed! The key to getting noticed is being great. Easy, right? Well, here’s why we know you can do it. The company chose to interview you because they already like you on paper. Once you prove you’re even better in real life, you’re on your way to your newest commute, colleagues and paycheck. What we’re saying is, don’t go through the motions. Simply being punctual or writing the thank you letter to end all thank you letters isn’t going to cut it. Be charismatic and confident! Building self-confidence before an interview is all about the prep. Just like an athlete before a big game, you must practice. A lot. The only way to step into an interview confidently is when you’re certain you’re going to ace it. If that means rehearsing everything in your head 15 times — or in front of a mirror — do it. At the risk of sounding like a hokey motivational speaker, believe us when we say confident people win. Self-doubters lose. Sell Yourself! It’s your job to sell yourself during an interview. Because who knows you best? You do, that’s who. So craft a mini sales presentation to pitch your qualities that fit that particular job description. Ask open-ended questions when you’re prompted to speak. This gives you the opportunity to handcraft a follow-up response. Example:


You ask: “What’s been missing from other candidates that’s made you hesitant to hire?” They say: “I really haven’t seen anyone combine X and Y well.”

Bingo. There’s your opportunity to demonstrate how awesome you are at both of those things. Plus, asking open-ended questions comes across as assertive and genuinely interested. Close the Sale! Interviewing can be tough, even for those who do it a lot. So it’s important to convey yourself naturally. Don’t you dare put up a front. Or waste time obsessing on tiny details of your attire. (Sorry, but we guarantee most won’t notice your tie’s Windsor knot.) Simply over-prepare yourself mentally and go in ready to show an interview who’s boss. You’re sure to stand out and succeed. *Written by Andrew Reinhardt *Layout by Alicia Neurock 41


Best Doggie Style

Doggie Style is a favorite sex position because the penetration is deep and you could hit the woman’s g-spot with the right angle. Many women like the feeling of their bottom being banged. why not just admit that it is good in any position?

Position: 69 The 69 Sex Position is considered one of the best oral intercourse positions as it allows both partners to stimulate each other at the same time. Since the smaller partner may not enjoy having a substantially larger partner on top, in the standard form of 69 places the girl in the top-dog position.

Asian Cowgirl The Asian Cowgirl is basically the same as the regular Cowgirl except that the receiver plants their feet instead of kneeling. Although not a big deal for the young and nimble, this position can be extremely difficult and tiring for many receivers, so their partner should offer some support using their hands whenever possible. A very popular twist to the regular Cowgirl position, it is a must-try!



Atten Hut! Incredibly versatile in terms of locations where it can be performed, frequent visits to the Atten-hut (Standing Fellatio) position are a part of every man’s ideal life. The receiver simply stands or leans against a wall while their partner performs oral on them from a kneeling position. The position offers great access to the receiver’s scrotum and anus should that be desired.

Big Dipper

Pile Driver

The successful execution of Big Dipper, along with its sister Little dipper depends on arm endurance and core strength. The ‘pumper’ positions themselves in between two very sturdy units such as a couch edge and an ottoman. Hands are placed on the surface behind (as for a triceps dip) and legs out in front on the other surface. The other lover stands over their partner with knees slightly bent, straddling their legs. The receiver can counter any height differences by squatting. If it’s too tough to for the giver to do a full dip, the receiver may engage in squat thrusts to create more movement.

The name Pile Driver conjures up a dramatic image! This position has the receiver lay on their back with their lower back and legs raised all the way so that their ankles are either side of (and beyond) their own head. The exact end position will depend on the flexibility of the receiver. This position totally exposes the groin area to the giving partner who stands astride the receiver’s groin to perform. The giver moves up and down on the receiver to create friction. They may also use their hands to caress and explore their partner’s lower body. 43

Scissors The Scissors requires all four legs to be intercrossed or scissored. This allows for a unique angle for penetration, but it comes at the partial expense of comfort. Many people don’t like this position because they find it awkward to position their legs without causing one of the partner’s legs irritation or pain, but it does have a solid following amongst those who can locate the sweet spot!

The Worm The Worm Sex Position is the missionary position with the receiver on top but facing the giver’s feet. Getting into the position is a little trickier than usual. The giver lies back on the bed and has the receiver sit on top of them, but as the position will put the penis at an unusual angle from the giver’s body (i.e. pointing downwards) it will be easier if the receiver inserts from a seated (facing away) position, and then carefully lays forward while sliding their legs back in the direction of the giver’s head.

Deep Stick To get into the Deep Stick position, the receiver lies on their back with their legs resting on the shoulders of their partner, who enters from a kneeling position. Titled the Deep Stick, this position holds true to its name, meaning the giver can penetrate with everything they’ve got, unless of course they are too big. Although the position is versatile in terms of locations it can be performed, it can be very difficult for the giver if the genital altitude difference isn’t accounted for, which thankfully can be done easily using pillows.




foundation _ Foundation is key in a women’s beauty routine. The worst is when you’re walking through a store, glance at yourself in a mirror, and see an orange, yellow or white face glaring back at you. Trust at the makeup counter is your first step; work with a makeup artist you know and trust can fit your perfect color. For those of you who like to do it yourself read on for a way to blend foundations together to get your perfect match.

prime _ Always start with a hydrating moisturizer, hydrated and healthy skin better serves your foundations purpose. After the moisturizer follow up with a makeup primer to give the foundation something to adhere to, prolong the wear of the foundation and also protect your skin from the everyday wear of makeup. Regardless of skin type, oily, dry or combination a primer should be used. Apply the primer with a flat brush, start from the inner portion of your face near the nose and work the product outward. The inner portion of the face are where the pores of the face lie therefore you want to most products in the center of your face and then blend the product outward toward your jawline.

conceal _ After you have applied the primer next step is concealer. There are two shades of undertones in concealer, red and yellow. If you have dark circles that pull purple use the yellow undertone concealer, if you have more yellow use the pink undertone concealer. Think back to water color painting days as a child you never want to mix yellow and green it turns red and so on. There are several formulations of concealers for your skin type under your eye. If you are dry try a moisturizing concealer or if you are oily and have puffiness but no discoloration look for something with a bit more coverage and matte in finish.

*Written by Vanessa Valliant *Layout by Alicia Neurock

The worst is when you’re walking through a store, glance at yourself in a mirror, and see an orange, yellow or white face glaring back at you.

diy shades _ To get that perfect match for you do it yourselfers there is a trick to mastering this task. Use a foundation that is hydrating and water resistant and mix it with a foundation that has more coverage on the top of your hand. Then apply with a blush brush. Start again in the center of the face and buff in circular motions outward toward the jaw line. If you are having trouble with the color try one shade lighter mixed equal parts with one shade darker, this will balance out the tone to give you that perfect tone you are trying to achieve. If you are not a fan of foundation and prefer a lighter look try mixing a little moisturizer into your foundation to break it down. Also when applying with a brush you get a lighter application. Sponges harbor germs and soak up your product it’s wasteful, your hands break down what is in the foundation’s wear with your natural oils so the best is to invest in a professional brush.

finishing touches _ After you have mastered that fabulous foundation apply a setting powder that is translucent. For those of you who prefer the dewy look skip the powder and move on to the bronzer. Bronzer should be worn and the low points of the face, under the bone. Find your cheek bones by gently pressing the sides of your face when you locate the under curve of the bone that is where you bronzer should be placed. Blend, blend, blend and add your favorite pop of blush or shimmer to the cheeks are you are ready for your new skin to be shown off to the world! 45

Must See!

1 1


Aberle, 1101 West Webster Street, (at North Seminary Avenue), 773-477-1101; UNA MAE’S, 1528 North Milwaukee Avenue # 1 Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 276-7002

2 2

3 Koros, 1039 West Lake Street, (between North Carpenter and North Aberdeen streets), 312-738-0155;

Editor’s Picks Chicago


Boutiques FIX, 1101 West Fulton, (312)226-4565,




Don’t be afraid of color. An oversized sofa can easily dominate a room - but not always in the best way. How about an apartment sized sofa in a punchy color or beautiful fabric?

Entrepreneurs today are defined in so many different ways. In the past, most entrepreneurs were considered people opening a shop, opening a restaurant, running their own home based business or running a consulting firm. Yet, with the advent of the internet, the role of an entrepreneur has evolved immensely. Bloggers, designers and creative’s all over Chicago are using the internet as their business Mecca. They are embarking on journeys into the career unknown by doing what they know best and ultimately trying to make it a profitable and sound business. Stylists, designers, bloggers and other creative’s have started using blogging as an outlet to showcase their talent and in the process grow a clientele of people interested in their services. It’s a pretty rad strategy and overall very smart in terms of profitability. Low start up costs, multiple revenue streams and opportunity to connect with a wide market has allowed some Chicago creative’s to become very successful. One Chicago creative power couple to watch is Kim and Scott Vargo – the dynamic duo behind Chicago’s fave city interior blog: Yellow Brick Home. These two have a knack for small places, designing with intention and beautiful artwork. While Scott and Kim are both dedicated to interiors, Kim has also been creating beautiful pet portraiture on the side. They’re a pretty awesome career couple and took some time out of their hectic schedule to answer some key interior focused questions for the Halfstack Mag readers. Read on for more.


1. How did you begin your journey into the world of freelance, blogging and interiors? We started our blog, Yellow Brick Home, in the summer of 2009. It focuses on small space living and doing more with less. A friend of ours would come to our home and play a game of “what’s new;” she would go around and pick up on anything that we’ve changed, made or tweaked. She began insisting we share these projects and improvements in a blog, and being shelter blog lovers ourselves, we took to it. With blogging came opportunities from friends and family - from small help on rug choices and wall colors, to larger needs with an in-home consultation. All of our interior work has been conducted through word of mouth, as we don’t actually advertise this through our blog. Over time, we began taking on side work for friends of friends and so on. As far as freelance goes, I left my full time job in the fall of 2010, and I dabbled in several areas, including photography (I do post-production for a West Loop photo studio), pet portraits (as a result of the blog) and consultations as they come in. Scott remains at his full time job (to keep us insured, ha!), and we schedule any side work for evenings and weekends. 2. What has been the hardest thing about breaking into the industry in Chicago or pursuing your own business in general?

Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge and Young House Love), and we think that something as simple as commenting on posts is a great start. We submit our work to larger sites. For example, Apartment Therapy has featured our home in a house tour and Young House Love shared our media wall with their readers. This has increased traffic and interest to our site, which in turn brings more traffic and interest to The Pet Shop and any other side work. We treat other homes in the same way we treat ours. We want our clients to love their space as much as we love ours. Again, conversation is key. We donate our pet portraits to animal rescues and non-profits. By doing so, we’re helping a cause that we believe in (all of our pets were rescues), and at the same time, we reach an audience that is specific to us. 6. Are there any people, blogs, professionals that influence your work, why are you inspired them? No one person comes to mind. Our inspiration tends to come from all over the place. We’ve been inspired by everything from alley finds to high-end design magazines.

For us, Yellow Brick Home is entirely web based, eliminating the need for a local presence. As mentioned above, our consultations are based solely on word of mouth, and any other light consult work is conducted through emails we receive from readers. As far as pursuing our own business, the most challenging part has been knowing when to cut the cord on a full time “9 to 5” and taking a leap of faith, more or less. But with the sudden shift in free time, it’s amazing how far your will power can take you. Within a month of leaving my full time job, we opened The Pet Shop through Yellow Brick Home, where we specialize in mini, modern custom pet portraits. In the last year and a half, that small side business has grown to a near full time position.

7. When it comes to working with a small space, what are some key tips you can offer our readers on designing small, but making a large impact?

3. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Don’t be afraid of color. An oversized sofa can easily dominate a room - but not always in the best way. How about an apartment sized sofa in a punchy color or beautiful fabric? Pillows, throws and quirky frames can add color without feeling too permanent. But if you’re bold enough to paint your walls and you’re not thrilled with the end result, remember, it’s only paint. (Almost) nothing is so permanent that you can’t fix it.

There are two aspects to our work - the blog itself (which includes consultations and anything as a result of it) and The Pet Shop. The great thing about The Pet Shop is that the inspiration comes directly from the clients. With each portrait order, the client is asked to send me a variety of photos, and this is backed up with stories of each pet’s little (or not so little) personality. More often than not, these stories are uplifting in so many ways - I’m so lucky to be the recipient of such tales, many of which boast how their pets have changed their lives for the better. We understand this fully, as we have 3 four-legged kids of our own, a pit mix named Jack and his two feline sisters. The inspiration for the blog and the ensuing posts comes from everywhere. Whether it’s an idea we see in catalog mailers, retail shops, other blogs, online magazines and Pinterest (a virtual pin board), we realize that so many ideas are all recycled from one another. When we have a new need in our home, we like to build on an idea that we may have seen elsewhere, but we customize it fit our lifestyle and tiny space (we live in a 675 sq. ft. home). We subscribe to the idea that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but there’s certainly room for customization. 4. What is your creation process like - what kind of tools do you use?

We love to utilize things that can serve a dual purpose. The table where Kim paints pet portraits is on wheels and can be pulled away from the wall to act as a small dining table. We realized very early on that scaling down in square footage did not mean limiting ourselves, but would require us to be more creative and selective with every piece of furniture we bring into our home. If something happens to not fit into our space the way we hoped, or if our needs change over time, we’re not afraid to sell things on Craigslist or donate them to gain space for things that suit our needs better.

Curate the items in your home. Too many items in a small home can become cluttered and unnecessary. Display items that are meaningful to you, and donate or sell items that collect dust. The impact will come naturally when your home shows you and not stuff. 8. Since this is a spring issue, we are focusing on renewal within your space. Can you give our readers 4-6 tips on spring cleaning and organizing their space? Are there any top items you use to keep your space tidy? Shelves, hooks, crates etc? Think vertical. We love to organize and store with shelves and hooks. Getting things up off of the floor and utilizing vertical space to gain storage has made a huge impact in our tiny home. (And remember to use space behind doors for extra hooks, too!) For years, we’ve stored bikes on our ceiling! Cleaning your windows once or twice a year makes an enormous difference. You’ll let in more light and your space will seem bigger and brighter.

The most useful tools in our arsenal are actually Pinterest and good ol’ fashion conversation. For our own home, we utilize Pinterest to pull our ideas into one location (or pin board) and begin to visualize what we’re attracted to. As mentioned above, we build upon this. When consulting, we like to talk to our clients and discover what they’re out to achieve in their home. In a nutshell, the creation process is very conversational - whether it’s for us or a client. for a client, our goal is to find out what they love, what they hate, what they must have and what they could do without. It’s all about getting to know the individual and working with them as a team.

Go through your closets and drawers and purge. If you haven’t worn an article of clothing in the last 12 months, chances are you’ll never wear it again. Sell it to a second hand shop, donate it, or have a yard sale. We organize a condo-building wide sale every summer and have a great time socializing with neighbors and getting rid of unwanted stuff.

5. In terms of your journey, what are some key steps you have taken to further your career in blogging & interiors & pet art?

We use under-bed storage bins to hide away winter gear in the summer and vice versa. Getting things out of the way will free up space and make accessing things you use frequently easier and faster.

With blogging, it’s all about staying involved. There’s no way you can set up a blog and expect traffic to come your way - no matter how great the content is - if you’re not active within your own blogging community. We focus on small space living, DIY, and home improvement. There’s an entire community of shelter bloggers (with large names such as

Store and display like items together. Create a space just for your record collection, movies, etc. It’ll make a statement and add visual appeal. Think outside of the box for storage that can add appeal. We used an old apple crate and added casters to it. It rolls under our living room side table and houses our throw blankets when not in use.

Move your furniture and clean under it. Terrifying things might be lurking just out of sight. 49

don’t have to tell anyone if you’re not ready, but so many times we hear that the process of it all and getting caught up in the details is what’s holding people back. If you find that blogging is the right fit for you, it will start to become a part of your creative process, and hopefully, it will be something you can’t wait to share with others. The encouragement you’ll receive from your peers within the blogging community is astounding, and it amazes us to this day.

9. When it comes to the ultimate bachelor pad - what are your top 7 must have items to spruce up a space and make it feel put together? Do you have any tips on how a single guy can make his space feel complete? Every living room should have one amazing vintage chair. And I don’t mean a ratty college hand-me-down. Find something you love that’s in good shape. Don’t be afraid to have something re-upholstered. We love to mix new, modern pieces with vintage finds to create interest and balance. Shopping at Ikea is great. Shopping only at Ikea can be horrible.

Remember that things won’t happen overnight. I juggled working nights and weekends with my 9-5 for years before I made the leap to full time freelance. I surrounded myself with positive energy (Scott has always been my biggest supporter and interior handyman partner), and I put myself out there! I signed on to be a part of the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair where I sold my work and made new connections. Together, we attend small business meetings at Next Door Chicago called Business in the City (hosted by Jess Constable, author of the blog Makeunder Your Life).

A great rug. It’ll really tie a room together. Paint. Adding color to the walls can make a boring space amazing. A comfortable couch that’s appropriately sized for the space. Find something you’ll love to lounge on, but won’t overwhelm the room. Framed art that you love. Movie posters from your college dorm days don’t count! Try sites such as and Row Boat Press. A nice vacuum cleaner. Ladies appreciate nothing more than a clean space. I promise.

And remember to stay active. Use social media to your advantage, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals. There’s so much to learn from one another.

10. Do you have any advice for people who are interested in starting a career in interiors/art/blogging- tips on how to start, things to do, ways to gain exposure?

11. Where can we learn more about you (website, social media, etc)? Our main blog: The Pet Shop: Facebook: Pinterest:

Our biggest piece of advice is to just start. Start somewhere that’s comfortable for you, but start now. If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog to further a career (whether it be interiors, art, fashion, etc), start today. You

Store and display like items together. Create a space just for your record collection, movies, etc. It’ll make a statement and add visual appeal. Think outside of the box for storage that can add appeal.




Interview with Olivia Palermo

Acclimating itself to the Midwest, Topshop’s clothing assortment continues to improve. Styles ripe with vibrant color and intricate patterns are turning heads thanks to the new Chicago location on mag mile. The opening party was thrown in collaboration with Zapwater and was truly an event. Celebrities including Sir Phillip Greene, Miley Cyrus, and Danny Masterson: also known as DJ Mom Jeans, attended the opening and a dinner at swanky Paris Club Chicago. Masterson, famous for his portrayal of Hyde in “That 70’s Show,” dazzled the crowd with a range of musical styles from eclectic electronic trance to indie, retro 50’s beats, hip hop, and dance. Among those setting the dance floor on fire was Miley Cyrus, looking fabulous in a pair of leather shorts, a wife-beater, and suspenders. The true fashion star that evening; however, was Topshop. With a range of chic styles at great prices, customers can find great deals for less than twenty bucks as well as high end fashion items. Topshop is a brand that really knows how to make an entrance and has definitely not slipped under the radar in Chicago: the red carpets were rolled out, the celebs were invited, the fashion was fabulous, and the store-front beckons

The Topman’s line up is coming in more detail this March in Halfstack Magazine

By Jennifer M Lezan 51

fashionistas. Topshop’s fashion speaks to MTV’s City Starlett, Olivia Palermo as well and she visited Chicago to host a special styling event for the new Michigan Ave. location. Palermo mixes high and low fashion with panache and her look is evident of a love for Miley Cyrus British labels. She invited cuswas dancing tomers out over the holidays to take part in Topshop events the night away and provided some one-onand looking one time to answer fashion fabulous in questions.

leather shorts

Halfstack: Olivia, can you give us the top three rends from the curent Topshop line that you are head-over-heels for? Palermo: Menswear, Sparkle, and leather!

Halfstack: If there were 2-4 key pieces that a Chicago woman should have in her wardrobe, what would they be and why? Palermo: A great day coat like the Izzy Lane for Topshop, Throw on Boyfriend coat to protect from the harsh Chicago winter and still stay on trend with the leather accents. Also, great wedge boots like the ponyhair Acute. Halfstack: You are known for your immaculate ability to mix high and low. Can you give our readers your top three timps when mixing to create a look as sophisticated as yours? Palermo: Start with a key piece and build from there. Sometimes the most basic pieces pull an outfit together. It’s not about how much something costs. It’s about making it your own and making it interesting. Halfstack: How did your relationship with the Topshop brand develop and why do you feel it is so cohesive with your personal brand? Palermo: I work closely with British brands because they are relevant within the fashion inustry. So much talent comes out of England. Mixing the high street with designer is very much my style. Halfstack: Can you share with our readers your current color/ hue must haves to spice up their winter wardrobe? Palermo: Navy velvet. Halfstack: Where can we learn more? Palermo:


Caption or credit here

Caption or credit here


o p s h o p 830 North Michigan Avenue Chicago 60611 United States Tel: 312.280.6834

Topshop Links: 53

B U L C K N TRU What Guys Like

When it comes to menswear, getting a

guy out of a rut can be a toughie. Midwestern culture and fashion is often seen as vanilla and even more so for menswear. Yet, Chicago has a place in the fashion world all its own. Many of the young professional men in the city have a certain je ne sais quio and swagger as of late.


Tons of street style bloggers on the prowl have been capturing the versatile looks of Chicago’s stylPick a quote ish men. That’s where Trunkclub that you want comes in. It’s a Chicago guy’s best kept secret. What if you didn’t to go in this have to brave the mall or walk spot here that through shops with your complaining girlfriend for hours at a time? is about this What if you just answered some long hooray! questions and you could have a “trunk” of clothing sent over to you in your favorite cuts, styles and colors? Well, has all you need. They start with an assortment of the best brands in men’s fashion, and then personally hand select a “trunk” of clothes for you based on your preferences. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. You create a profile, the ypack your trunk based on your needs and finally you take a look through your trunk and keep what you need.

By Jennifer M Lezan

Andrew Bleiman, Marketing Director for took some time to answer some questions about how he got his start and how is making waves in the market. Read on to learn more and check them out online at: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you landed the role you are currently in? I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and have worked in marketing ever since. Most of my experience has been focused on customer acquisition and new media strategy. I’m not a fashion guy, which actually helps me understand the mind of our customer, who typically wants to look good but isn’t particularly interested in fashion trends. Tell us about your company, who the person is that you cater to and what spurred the launch of your brand? Trunk Club’s mission is to make men look great and take the hassle out of traditional shopping while also introducing them to styles and brands they would otherwise never experience. Our customers tend to be successful male professionals. What they all have in common is a lack of time and interest in shopping. What made you divulge your creative energies into helping a start-up business? Had your past experience helped you to undertake developing a new business? Start-ups typically offer many more creative challenges than roles at more established companies. If you’re the type of person who likes figuring things out

for the first time and prides themself on their resourcefulness, start-ups offer unique opportunities. However, start-ups also come with more risk and litle in the away of support so, while you get to make some big decisions, you also have to build your own desks, take out the trash, and fix telephones. Can you share with our readers a little bit about how the program works and if it hasbeen successful? Trunk Club is pretty simple. Guys sign up on our website and tell us their style and fit preferences. From there they get matched up with a stylist who selects an awesome assortment of clothes based on the customer’s unique preferences. These items get shipped in a trunk right to the customer’s door and he tries them on in the comfort of his own home. He keeps only what he wants and sends the rest back via a prepaid label. There are no fees for the service and shipping is always free. 55




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Grounds Interview with

ShowYouSuck Clinton Sandifer

Photography By

Kristin Ackmann 58


How would you define music? Pretty much a collection of sounds that are soothing or appeasing to someone’s ear. That’s pretty much how I define music. It could be anything from someone banging on a can to someone playing a fucking harp.

How would you define your music?


My music, well that’s one of those types of questions that’s hard to not sound like a douche, cause I don’t wanna say it doesn’t sound like nothing else. Which isn’t the case at all. I like to take pre-existing sounds of hip-hop like more traditional early 90’s stuff and do things that are more southern influenced. Like what some people would call trap music and I like to add in elements that are current and elements that are from classic rock. Like 70’s psychedelic acid rock. So it’s kinda like a mix of southern trap music and southern rock kinda, for the most part.

Photography by Kristin Ackmann


HS What are your music influences? CS I am super influenced by even things that are current. They can even be artists that

are out right now and there is something that I like about it. I’ll kinda look for that sound, not like I will totally rip them off, but I like to take things that are from the early 90’s, that are like from hip-hop. In terms of like energy and feel, I hope I will embody somewhat of punk music. When it comes to more subject matter influences like strictly situations that I’ve seen, like what people go through, it could even be conversations that I’ve had with someone, or inside jokes that I’ve had with people or lines that only a friend that I grew up with would understand.

HS What do you hope to accomplish through out your career and what do you feel you have accomplished so far?

CS I feel like within the past year, within 2011, I worked to-

wards becoming a fixture in the Chicago scene, which is super super rad for me because now I talk on a regular basis to people, who I guess, you would say I look up to and followed. I’ve followed their careers for a long time and now they are like really good friends of mine. What I want to accomplish is spreading past (the city of) Chicago and pretty much…..

HS So obviously, you want to go past Chicago… CS I mean it’s already starting in terms of blog press, I’m popping up in blogs in New York and blogs in L.A. and I just want to physically be there. In terms of Chicago, at the end of this month, I will pretty much have been everywhere. After this month I will definitely be looking to get out of here.


So you want to move out of Chicago? I don’t think I ever want to move out of Chicago. You just want to travel….. Yeah. 59


The name of your new CD, so that everyone has it. One man Pizza Part 2: Mo’ Slices Mo’ Problems Tell us about the new CD….. The new album is sixteen songs, the bulk of it is produced by Mikejaxx of The Hydrox who also did Yellow Wolf’s first single. There is one song produced by Flosstradamus and there is also another song produced by Floyd Davis the Fourth. It’s pretty heavy; it’s a really really heavy album, and it’s loud. A lot of bass and I talk about girls and wearing dirty clothes.

HS Dirty clothes….. CS Yeah, dirty clothes. Girls and wear-

HS Where can people find your music? CS For the most part, Ruby Hornet, they have the exclusive first pickings of it.; the first drop and usually the next day it will funnal around other blogs and then you can see the general pattern of it. I have a Band Camp, you can find everything on Band Camp. The things usually go to Ruby Hornet first and I give it a day and then I put it on my Band Camp. I also do a lot of posting…you can get a lot of my songs from my Twitter account. I will drop stuff in there and the good ol’ Google. If you Google search (my songs), a lot of them will pop up. But pretty much Band Cap, Twitter, and Tumblr.

ing the same clothes everyday, pretty much. And there is actually a bonus song from a group called the Netherfriends and they are rad and out in Chicago. He tours all over the place; all over the world. I have a song on his album, so I took that song, and I put it on my album. It’s definitely a lot heavier than the first album.

HS Has music always been a part of your life? CS Hell yeah…pretty much MTV raised me. Growing up as an only child for my entire life I was pretty much raised on MTV and crappy movies. I came up watching Head Bangers Ball and later on RapCity. I didn’t always want to make music, but music was definitely always a part of my life.


HS How would you say you started off because I know you said

that you didn’t always want to make music, so what made you want to start?

CS My first initial creative outlet was art and when I was

young I would sketch things all the time, so from there, my mom would put me in art classes. I was in art classes, like outside of school art classes, from 5th grade to about Freshman year of high school. I went through that creative outlet and then there was sports, and that didn’t really do it for me, but I came up watching MTV and shit and I wanted to be in a band really really bad. Where I grew up at, nobody wanted to be in a band. We were a pretty typical mid-income black community and that shit don’t fly. I didn’t even really gravitate towards rap much. I started dabbling in writing in rhymes to see how easy it was, maybe (around) 7th grade. I started to see if I could fucking do it. So I was fucking around with (writing rhymes) in 6th, 7th and 8th grade so when I got into higschool I met people who did it too. ‘Cause all through then, I was the only person I knew who was fucking around with it. Freshman year of highschool was the first rap group I was in; we worked on stuff; I graduated and then started taking it really seriously. I went to all the networking events in Chicago. I signed to a local label and there were some downfalls (that didn’t go well). I did get a Chicago music award out of it and then I got a couple labels looking at me in 04’. Then (all of a sudden) the big label merger happened and labels got dissolved and all the labels that were looking at me got (also) dissolved. (From there) the local label that I was with, folded, so I had nothing. (After that happened) I decided to go to collage. When I went to school and got involved with an art gallery; Arpentry and this place, Code of Conduct. That’s when another window kinda opened up. Through here, people knew me and Ruby Hornet was the first website and blog that gave me a shot and posted my stuff and it’s been pretty much super awesome since then.


What genre of music can you not stand?


Country, but I do love Red Neck Woman. And Dubstep, I don’t like Dubstep. Let’s say that, I just don’t get it.

HS Where would you most like to perform, like your dream place of choice?

CS Afro Punk Festival, in New York. And Lollapalooza.

HS In three words, describe your music. CS

“Trap, Punk, and Rad” 61

Looks for

Every Occasion Work

Casual Going out

Loose Fitted Satin Blouse 34.95

Mint green sweater 49.90

Trousers with Lined Belt 79.90 Dress with Transparent Neck 79.90

Modern Demi Curve Ankle Skinny Jeans 68.00

Mint Green is the big color for Spring! Get this Zara sweater and wear it with a pair of ankle skinny jeans!


A basic loose fitted dress with a transparent neckline adds a nice touch!

Pair a flowy blouse with nice slacks for work. This looks very professional yet chic!


Going out


Thick Knit Sweater 49.90

“Hooded Top” 29.95

Blue checked button up 59.90

Classic Black Trousers 29.99 Boot Cut 58.00

A classic comfy light hoodie is always great to style with your boot cut jeans!

Slim Comfort Chinos 59.90

A knit sweater is a nice way to stay warm on a chilly spring night worn with a favorite, chinos!

This is a great business casual look! Looks sharp with contrasting cuffs and collar! 63





Magnetic Birdie 16.00


Whether you are working in an office or at home, you can jazz up your working space to fit your personality. There are just some fun ways using just simple office supplies that can add character to your office and brighten your day! Procrastinators Unite Notepad 6.95

“Vallvok� Bkack-Brown Desk 99.00



Magazine Pockets 20.00

Knock Knock Mini Sticky Sets 16.00

“SNILLE” Swivel Chair, Black 24.99

Butt Station Desk OrganizerGreen 22.00

Sharpener Pencil Cup 35.00

A MUST Keurig 179.95 “EXPEDIT” Shelving Unit, High Gloss Gray 89.99 65

Photography by

Cecily Gaw

Halfstack is excited to introduce Brooke Conrady of Blank Nation Apparel, a new up and coming designer based in the Chicago land area! Brooke’s vision is highly in tune with the trend forward looks of today’s fashionable youth. Her style is innate and her fashions are eye catching and breath taking. The brand is in perfect alignment with Chicago’s fashionistas that come in all shapes and sizes. Her looks are designed to fit all sizes and the comfort of the clothes is something that Halfstack understands that all women look for. Blank Nation is also a brand that truly believes in attainable fashion. Brooke took into account the bigger picture of the economic situation and strives to make her designs affordable to the everyday person, which is imperative to the growth of her line! Everything in her line is under $100 dollars. In this issue we are featuring Blank Nation Apparel’s Spring line which has a nice mix of comfort sporty and a hint of girly dresses for every occasion.


Brooke Conrady For


68 69

stay & play BY: TRACEY STACK In a world of overstimulation, getting down to the nitty gritty core of what get’s us off is next to impossible. Luckily for us, the adult toy industry exists strictly for that purpose. Toys can be down right intimidating looking and embarrassing to buy. Never fear, it is completely natural and acceptable to want to spice up your love life, especially in a long-term relationship. But seriously, where are you supposed to put that twisty alien-looking thing anyway? So to make things a little less uncomfortable I made of list of things that I like, my friends liked, and that rated highly with the general public. After all, someone had to have the embarrassing browser history; it might as well be me.


In preparing for this article I asked a male friend of mine what sorts of toys he liked and was surprised that he only listed alone-time toys. I asked him why he didn’t have couples toys on his list and he simply said that he never had a girlfriend who wanted to play with toys. NEVER wanted to play with toys?! I was shocked, and then I realized that talking about sex toys is still taboo for many couples. Well, I believe that we all deserve great sex and sometimes adding a little spice is just the trick. If your partner is a little on the “proper” side, start out by adding things like massage oil or blind folds and go from there. Not everyone will be receptive to having an electronic 3rd wheel in the bedroom so be open with your partner, you might be surprised by what they’ve always, secretly, wanted to try. The following selections can be used alone or with a partner, because let’s face it; sometimes the best quickie is by yourself!

Basic Instinct $28.00 On the hunt Basic Instinct will give you an unfair advantage. It harnesses pheromones to attract sexual attention to the wearer. It can be worn alone or added to your favorite fragrance to make your own, unique scent.

Sugar Sak $11.99-14.99 Sexy storage The Sugar Sak is a sweet and sexy storage bag for your favorite bedroom toys. Just clean your toys and throw them in the bag. Bioshield coats the interior of the bag and prevents the growth of mold, mildew, yeast and bacteria.

Wiccy Magic Muscles Massage Bar $9.95 Work your magic Aches and pains make getting romantic into a chore. Instead, use the sweet and spicy Wiccy bar to soothe aching muscles while getting your partner into the mood. The Wiccy bar starts solid and slowly melts into massage oil with the heat from your hands.


.Eroscillator 2 194.95 So easy, even Dr. Ruth can use it… The Eroscillator is the Cadillac of toys. Great for beginners, it is recommended by Dr. Ruth for it’s gentle motion and ease of use. It doesn’t vibrate like a traditional stimulator; it oscillates. The price is a little steep at $194.95, but it comes with multiple attachments for a variety of stimulation.

. Sensa Whip by Lelo $38

Porn For Women $12.95 Mental Stimulation Who doesn’t get turned on when their man vacuums, dusts, or changes a diaper without being asked? The Porn for Women series of books features photos of super hunky men doing just that! For the woman on the go, it’s also available for your e-reader.

Naughty little vixen The Sensa whip is a great place to start for light bondage. It has soft suede tassels that can deliver a soft tickle or a sharp snap depending on your mood. It has an acrylic and metal handle and comes in 3 sexy shades, red, purple and black.


because let’s face it; sometimes the best quickie is by yourself!

Tantra Feather Teaser by Lelo $21.60 Dust off more than the furniture Use this nice little toy alone or with the whip for a twist. It has super ultra soft feathers to tease the one you love. It has an acrylic and metal handle for easy gripping and is available in red, purple and black to match your mood, or whip, whichever comes first.

Sunset Anal Plug $15.45 Beauty and the back door I never thought a product for backdoor play could be pretty, but this one is. This plug is made of glass for easy cleaning and works with petroleum or water based lubricant. It can be used as is or with a harness to keep it in place.

Under The Bed Restraint System Ok, you probably wont be able to do this by yourself, but your partner will delight in helping you. Ultra soft Velcro restraints will keep you or your partner in check without damaging bedposts or your body. This is for fun and friendly light bondage, not Houdini proof.

Silver bullet $15.00 Howling at the moon You’ll be slaying cravings with this toy chest staple. The Silver Bullet has variable speeds and a wired remote. To add a little kick while enjoying oral play, place the bullet on the outside of the cheek and he’ll melt in your mouth. 71

Khloe Kardashian

FIRST VICTIM…I mean STAR: KHLOE KARDASHIAN (Yes we have to feature one of the Kardashians) Oh Khloe….you OWN Fashion Boutiques and you STILL can’t dress your figure? REALLY? GIRL…..flaunt those figures yes, but NOT this way!!! When did the fashion bible officially state that it was OK to start wearing leather (pleather) pants again????

The Fanning Sisters (Elle and Dakota)

I am very baffled with these looks? Are they supposed to be sweet or gothic? Halloween is officially over ladies, time for a new look. Stick to acting and leave the styling to the professionals.


__ ___



I am literally thunderstruck with this picture. What is the point of trying to look like an old man? Is she trying to scare men away to write a new love song? Not only does this “outfit” make this gorgeous singer look OLD but also about 15 lbs larger!! Taylor-you are young, hot with a fit body…show it off in a classy way girl, and don’t downgrade yourself with outfits that look FAB in an old folk’s home.

Paris Hilton (is she still a star?)

Ok, so she is supposed to be a socialite with that style? I know she is going to Aspen for some skiing or drunk dancing on some tables, but when does looking like a human quilt get you some action? Paris, we know you have the money so make sure to remind yourself that before digging into grandma’s closet for some outerwear.

Taylor Swift

Lindsay Lohan (Hollywood’s dumb-ass)

Lindsay, o’Lindsay, where do I begin? Are you trying to look like a hooker with that peek-a-boo look with your ladies on the top of the sweater or are you trying to look like a court secretary (inspired lately) with that frumpy skirt? You just need a MAJOR change, starting with those colored lips. We miss the old Lindsay from those freaky Friday days…. please come back….please. You were hot back then, now you are just a hot mess.

layout by Sarah Gaynor

_____________ An Examination of Star ’s Modas. By: Stella Quimby 73


Tell me a little bit about I DO Invitations. I create custom invitations for all occasions – from new babies, birthday, weddings and more! I also love styling dessert tables. What made you decided to start I Do Invitations? How long have you been in business? I started my business in July 2008 after I created my own wedding invitations and also for many of my friends there after. Is I Do Invitations your full time job? Do you have any employees working for you? No, and none How has this economy affected your business? It hasn’t really affected it too much. I mean a lot of people are starting to be creative and save money by doing their own wedding invites but for the most part I haven’t noticed a change in business. Everyone needs wedding invitations and I offer a wide variety of styles to fit different budgets. What are some hurdles you had to conquer? Getting my name out there was the biggest thing for the first few years. It’s hard trying to get people to want to use a newer company but this past year has brought me so much success and opportunities that I never dreamed of that has helped promote my business. And free, even better. What has been the best thing that has happen to you while owning your own business? I was named Martha Stewart’s Doer of the Week in October 2011. What advice would you give someone starting their own company? Just keep working hard and everything will fall into place. It’s amazing how far my little business has come in the past four years. There were times when I thought I might quit because it was getting too hard but I realized it’s what I really love to do. My favorite quote is “Do what you LOVE what you do.” 75





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Halfstack Spring Issue 2012  

Halfstack Spring Editorial focusing on fashion, music and art in Chicago.

Halfstack Spring Issue 2012  

Halfstack Spring Editorial focusing on fashion, music and art in Chicago.