Family Holiday Activities

During the holidays there’s so many events and activities any family could do together to have a great time.

  • Make gingerbread houses
  • Going to Winter Wonder Fest at Navy Pier
  • Ice skating in Grant Park
  • Making snow angels and having snow ball fights in your yard
  • Bake cookies together
  • Play board or card games
  • Watch movies and make hot chocolate
  • Play the Wii, Xbox, Play Station, etc. against each other

The list goes on, so let’s stay safe and have fun with our family!

Happy Holidays!

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Will it ever be completed?

Construction in Chicago can be time consuming and cost effective to many people. You can’t go to any neighborhood across the city without seeing some type of construction being done.

From pot holes getting fixed in the middle of the street, train stations getting remodeled, to expressways being rebuilt, the construction is never ending. When there is a specific website created just to inform residents across Chicago about all construction projects, you know it’s a big deal.

Chicago Construction News was created in 2015 notifying residents of construction in their area and how long it will take for that specific project to be completed. The site also informs contractors, architects and engineers information through articles, photos and videos about potential opportunities and tips to complete their own projects.

The site is beneficial in a few ways because residents are able to see how a specific project can affect their everyday lives as well as provide potential jobs for many. But those construction projects can also cause problems for everyone as well.

For instance, if a school bus has to drive down a narrow street to pick up children for school but there are cones, signs and gates up for construction, it will be hard to navigate a bus through that. That will then lead to children getting picked up and dropped off late to school. It will then cause a never ending chain reaction of tardiness for multiple people.

The most common construction across the city is on expressways. From Lake Shore Drive, the Kennedy expressway, to the Bishop Ford, there’s no way to avoid it no matter where you’re trying to go. Some construction only takes place at night which is convenient for people commuting to work. But other expressways have construction throughout the day and can last from weeks, to months and even years.

Then again, some construction is necessary when roads are getting expanded to more lanes but the time it takes to complete takes a toll on almost everyone.

Fenty Beauty VS. MAC Cosmetics

Fenty Beauty and Mac Cosmetics are two popular makeup companies with record-breaking products. Both companies have a wide variety of products such as foundation, lipstick, lip liner and eye shadow.

But Fenty Beauty is ahead of the game based on the large variety of shades and tones of foundation they have to offer. Fenty was released on Sept. 8, debuting 40 shades and more to come. MAC launched in March 1984, but it still only has 24 shades to offer their customers today.

Women and men across the world expressed their excitement for the Fenty Beauty makeup debut. R&B singer Rihanna created this line because she wanted to create something “that girls of all skin tones could fall in love with.”

It took Rihanna two years to release the beauty line because she wanted everything to be perfect. According to Business Insider, Rihanna explained why she worked so hard on this line. “In every product I was like, ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl, there needs to be something for a really pale girl, there needs to be something in-between,’” Rihanna said.

Fenty Beauty makes it easier for her customers to match products to their complexion. “I’ve been wearing makeup for two years now and it’s always been difficult finding my exact shade. I’ve had to mix different products from different companies just to get my shade which gets pretty expensive,” Ivoree Larkin, a beauty blogger, said. “Now that Fenty was released, I was able to find my shade with just one product and it’s perfect.”

Even with their differences with the amount of shades of foundation they offer, both makeup companies created quality products for reasonable prices, which is a big reason why they have consistent customers who always support their brand.

But with Mac lacking to provide a larger variety of shades and tones, they have forced several customers to mix and match products, causing them to spend more money. Missy Le’Rhon, inspiring makeup artist, described how she’s experienced difficulties matching foundations and concealer for clients whose skin complexion is different than hers.

“Nothing is more frustrating than having to buy multiple products from different companies and combining at least three different shades just to get the desired look. I love doing makeup and practicing new looks on clients of all ethnicities but it’s really not cost effective and stressful when you want your client to look beautiful and there isn’t a company who has her exact shade,” Le’Rhon said.

Beauty bloggers or ‘beauty vloggers’ and makeup artists are in high demand these days due to all the latest trends millennials are attempting to create.  YouTube has more than 45,000 channels covering beauty and fashion and those bloggers are essential to cosmetic companies.

The process of being a well known beauty blogger is simple yet time consuming to successfully complete. When someone creates a YouTube account and wants to get paid for their content, they have to follow several steps. First, read and agree to YouTube’s partner Program terms. Second, they’ll have to sign up for AdSense. After that, they can set up their monetization preferences and finally get reviewed by YouTube after reaching 10,000 channel views.

Once someone’s account is properly set up to start getting paid for content and they’ve reached a large amount of subscribers, page views and shares, cosmetics companies then often reach out to those bloggers to rate and give tutorials on their products. Seeing how technology is the fastest way to reach a large audience and promote new products, being a beauty blogger can be great for doing something you love while getting paid for it.

When Fenty Beauty was finally released across the world, women and men either stood in line at Sephora, JCPenney, Harvey Nichols; in the UK or they waited by their computers, phones and tablets to purchase items online at Fentybeauty.com.

As far as numbers, Fenty Beauty has surpassed other cosmetic companies in multiple aspects in just two months since it’s been released. There aren’t exact figures listed yet with how much each Sephora store or their website has made since the debut of Fenty Beauty because it’s still fairly new. But it has been confirmed online and in store that the darker shades of Fenty foundation and other products from that line are sold out.

“The day it was released in our store, most of her products sold out almost immediately,” Chelly Williams, beauty specialist at Sephora said. “We were prepared for a large crowd but it was nothing we would ever expect, it was slightly overwhelming dealing with so many customers at once. When new products are released we are typically busier but that day was like no other.”

On Instagram, Rihanna has over 58 million followers and right before she launched the line, a new Instagram page was created for the beauty line to showcase all new products. Only after the page was created for about four days, Fenty Beauty gained over 1 million followers making Instagram history.

According to Bustle.com, “the growth of the beauty industry in the past year was a whopping 6 percent. That makes the beauty industry one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. It surpassed the food industry, known typically as one of the largest, which only had a growth rate of 5.5 percent this past year.” And the statistics portal proved that in 2016, the U.S. was named the “most valuable beauty and personal care market in the world” making around $84 billion in revenue.

As the beauty industry grows, they often rely on customers’ reviews. Almost every cosmetic company suggests their customers leave reviews and give honest feedback on products explaining what they experienced while using items. And that’s where beauty bloggers and even celebrities play a big role in promoting and advertising makeup.

Well known beauty bloggers who have over several thousand subscribers often receive free products to test out and make tutorial videos for their followers. That helps give potential customers an idea of how to use the products, how much they cost, how to apply them and how they would look against their skin before they decide to purchase them. This process is beneficial for the beauty blogger as well as the cosmetic companies in a few ways. If the blogger has over 300,000 subscribers, a good amount of them will purchase or take an interest in that product if it’s displayed properly. That will then increase that company’s revenue and the blogger will receive free products as well as receive funds from YouTube for publishing new content.

Customers are also recommended to leave reviews and suggestions on retail websites giving them insight on how well that product is doing on their shelves. Based on Sephora’s site, Fenty Beauty foundation receive over 180,000 “loves,” more than 4,000 reviews and over 2,000 of those reviews were rated five star and 84 percent of their customers recommended that product.

Sephora has 20 of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty products online to purchase, the ones that haven’t already sold out, and every product left to purchase is rated at least 82 percent and above. Customer’s left detailed comments, photos and even videos of their experience. As compared to MAC’s reviews online regarding their foundation, their overall rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars but only 424 of their customers left reviews, suggestions and photos.

Then going over to YouTube where the most reviews, tutorials and comments are listed about the brand, customers are in awe with the results. In the search bar on YouTube, as soon and someone types “Fenty Beauty Rihanna”, “Fenty Beauty Review”, or just Fenty Beauty, thousands of videos are listed giving praise and excitement about how effectively the products work for them. There were a few bad reviews — not really about the products, but several beauty bloggers were upset that those products weren’t released sooner.

One beauty blogger, Patricia Bright, who lives in the UK, has a large following on Instagram and YouTube and gives tutorials and reviews on a variety of different products. She even gives videos on fashion, her vacations and her family. On YouTube she has over 1.7 million subscribers receiving over 100,000 likes per video and on Instagram she has over 685,000 followers receiving over 50,000 likes per post.

“Companies always reach out to me to advertise their products because I have so many followers and subscribers. So I often get free goodies but for Fenty Beauty, I wanted to purchase her products because Rihanna really made sure women of every color would be able to actually find foundation that matches their complexion. I really appreciate her for that because I’ve experienced difficulties with finding foundation that matched my complexion so I knew I would purchase my items to support her for looking out for women of color,” Bright said.

With Fenty Beauty only being released two months ago, the ratings, reviews, quality, and accessibility has overachieved most makeup cosmetic companies and this is still only the beginning stages.

The Shady Bunch

Do better Chicago

Chicago is constantly in the limelight for violence that occurs across the city. When the city has plenty of positive things to offer their residents.

But there is a problem with violence in the city, specifically shootings. According to the Chicago Tribune, “3,357 people have been shot this year. That is 740 fewer than 2016.” Their data is calculated and collected starting from Jan. 2017 until Dec. 2, 2017.

Even though the numbers has decreased since last year, it’s no way the city should be experiencing this much violence. There are ways to reduce the amount of shootings and if the community and justice system came together, that could make a big difference and Chicago will eventually be a safer place to live.

But what’s interesting about Illinois is that it’s one of several states with ‘strict gun laws’ according to the National Rifle Associate. There are multiple rules and stipulations about purchasing and carrying guns, yet people are still gaining access to them. Are the rules as strict as the NRA claim, or are some businesses not following rules properly when selling guns to customers?

Obviously there are required documents and permits a person has to have to purchase a gun but who knows what that person is doing with that gun after purchasing it? They could be keeping it for themselves to protect their family; they could be selling it or even giving the gun away to someone who’s not legally able to purchase their own gun.

You never really know until someone is shot or killed and that gun is obtained by the police during a crime. And then after doing an investigation, the police will eventually find out whose gun it actually was.

Innocent women, men and children are getting killed across the city and our justice system, officials and the community needs to step up to help reduce violence and make Chicago safe again. Things won’t change overnight but something needs to happen quickly.