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July 30, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: Festival Fashion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 9:13 pm

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With Lollapalooza right around the corner, it’s been a packed summer of music festivals in the city! While I’m sadly not attending Lolla this year, I still love all the boho chic festival looks. Here are my top five picks—so whether you are attending a festival this summer, or just jamming out on your own blocks from Grant Park, you can look the part. Enjoy!!

-Anna Schapiro

July 26, 2015

ZAP Bites: Eating My Way Through the West Loop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 3:40 pm

Since starting my internship at Zapwater I quickly discovered my favorite lunch break activity: strolling the streets of the West Loop to find the best places to eat. I don’t know if I could call myself a “foodie” (can real foodies like Oreos as much as I do?), but I do like my food deep fried, plentiful and frequently consumed.

My favorite section in the West Loop so far is the block or two on Madison St. between N Racine and N Morgan. That’s where I found one of the best BBQ sandwiches and ice cream cone I’ve ever had.

I found Real Comfort American Kitchen by means of Google and Urbanspoon. Because I can’t hear the words “comfort food” and not be on board, I headed there first. Though I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, I threw all thoughts of kale and juice cleanses out the window and ordered the Sweet Heat BBQ Chicken Sandwich. What I really wanted in addition to this was one of their signature bowls of mac & cheese, but thoughts of an extra few minutes on the elliptical later made me settle for just the sandwich.

This sandwich was borderline euphoric, a comfort food experience unlike any other I’ve had before. While Yelp reviewers criticize the cheese sauce they generously dollop on top, it really was the best part. My only regret is not taking a picture of the sandwich before I devoured it.

Bonus points to Real Comfort for having an incredibly nice employee working the cashier who helped me decide what to get. I also met a cute family wearing Kansas City apparel who made me miss Missouri tremendously. (Never thought I would say that–this BBQ obviously evoked some strong emotions.)

Just two doors down I saw Cone, a gourmet ice cream shop I had passed by the day before. For a fleeting moment I internally struggled with whether or not I really needed ice cream, but quickly decided that the answer to that question is always a resounding “yes.”

I sampled the birthday cake flavor, which had the most sprinkles I have ever seen in ice cream. (This is my obligatory ice cream sample; I try this flavor everywhere I go in search for the best one. I take my ice cream very seriously and Cone is a strong contender for the top spot.)

Eventually I went with the most unique flavor they had: avocado lime. With its subtle avocado flavor and little bits of lime rind mixed throughout, this ice cream was utterly perfect. Though Cone is a little pricy, it was delicious and made for a great addition to my Instagram–which is really what life is all about these days, right?

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Next on my list: Wishbone. Southern shrimp and grits are calling my name.

-Lily Zacharias, Intern

July 23, 2015

Around Town: Take a Vacation in Your Own City, Chicago Edition

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Stay at a hotel
Indulge and treat yourself by staying at a luxurious hotel for your ‘vacation’. Who doesn’t enjoy wearing those fluffy robes and ordering late night room service? Check out a few of these cool hotels.

  • Virgin Hotel Chicago
  • This brand new hotel has re-imagined what a hotel should be, with unparalleled hospitality and quite possibly their best feature, eradication of minibar inflation.
  • Dana Hotel and Spa
  • A luxury boutique hotel and spa that serves your every need, the ultimate getaway!
  • AC Hotel
  • With an urban feel and European flair, this beautiful hotel is only steps from the Magnificent Mile!

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Activities
Be a true tourist in your own city by going to some of Chicago’s staples, and then venture into some that you would have never thought to explore.

  • First stop, check out Gilt City Chicago to see all the great deals they have on activities. You’d be surprised on how much you can save on fun activities, like jet skis rentals and Cirque du Soleil shows!
  • Explore Block Thirty Seven.Do the shopping that you never have time for, then grab a quick bite before heading to Millennium Park.
  • Go to the Bean and snap a few selfies.
  • Let’s go to the beach! Grab your favorite vineyard vines swimsuit and have an amazing time relaxing on North Avenue Beach.
  • Crack open an Old Style beer at a Chicago Cubs game
  • Book a day cruise with Entertainment Cruises to go out on Lake Michigan to enjoy a warm summer day with a few cocktails. Or even reserve a spot on a dinner cruise to enjoy a magical evening looking over Chicago’s twinkling skyline.

Grab a Great Steak Dinner
Spoil yourself by grabbing a delicious steak dinner, we recommend making a reservation at either one of these two amazing restaurants

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– Kaitlyn Wallace

Photo credit (in the order that they appear):

  1. www.DiscoverAmerica.com
  2. Virgin Hotels, dana hotel and spa, AC Hotels Chicago Downtown
  3. www.ChicagoArchitecture.org
July 21, 2015

Client Happenings: Turn Up the AC! New Lifestyle Hotel Opens in Chicago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 7:16 pm

ZB_7.21.15There’s a new trend in the hotel industry…Known as “lifestyle brands” these new hotels are hoping to appeal to the “lifestyle” of a new generation of travelers. Of course, each hotel is unique in their own way, but they all seem to have certain common characteristics: all hotels offer high-tech features, reasonable rates, locally inspired amenities and grab-and-go options for the “on-the-go” traveler.

We recently started working with one such hotel: AC Hotel Chicago. In case you’re not familiar with the brand, AC Hotel by Marriott is a design-led hotel, inspired by the fashion houses of Milan that blends European style and simple lines to create a comfortable atmosphere for guests.

The AC Hotel Chicago Downtown opened in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood this past May. Originating in Spain from renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan, the hotel celebrates the beauty of classic modern design with its European soul and Spanish roots. The result is elegant yet unpretentious style, innovative beverage & food programming and locally inspired experiences for both guests and locals.

One thing that sets the hotel apart from the rest is the innovative beverage and food program. For a fun twist on the traditional hotel bar, the AC Lounge includes craft beers (Revolution, anyone?), on-tap wines, hand-crafted cocktails and a selection of small ‘tapas-style’ plates served by city-savvy bartenders. Acting as both a mixologist and concierge, these beverage experts (dubbed “Barcierges,” get it?) connect AC guests to the pulse of Chicago with their insider tips and recommendations on the local area.

The Chicago location is AC Hotels’ first location in Illinois and second property in the Midwest. With a growing portfolio of more than 50 hotels expected to open in the next few years, we will certainly be seeing a lot more from this hotel chain in the near future!

– Morgan Bellock, Group Director

Photo credit: AC Hotels Chicago Downtown

 

July 17, 2015

PR Buzz: To Luxembourg

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 6:23 pm

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Earlier this month, I traveled to Luxembourg for Travel Lifestyle Network’s (TLN) annual meeting.

Zapwater is proud to be a member of TLN, which now has 21 members representing 25 countries. Created in 2008, TLN is an international network of independent, like-minded marketing communications agencies, serving a wide variety of clients, including travel, hospitality, destination, lifestyle and consumer.

Clients benefit from TLN’s local expertise, know-how and international presence. Each agency in TLN is a market leader in its region owning a far-reaching range of knowledge both in industry sectors and tactical skills.

By bringing together leading professionals in their respective market, TLN combines the advantages of global reach with those of local market knowledge.

At TLN’s annual meeting, members from across the globe, met to make important steps to accommodate future growth. And boy are we excited for the future.

Interested to find out more about Travel Lifestyle Network, visit our website: www.travellifestylenetwork.com

– David Zapata, President

P.S. that beautiful building in the background is the castle of Vianden.

July 14, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: Block 37 Festival Fashion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Zapwater Communications @ 4:13 pm

B37 Festival Fashion_LOW RES

Music festival season is upon us, and some of the best in this great city have yet to come. And what would a great music festival be without a killer outfit to match, well still a pretty awesome music festival, but isn’t it more fun rocking the perfect outfit at the same time?

Bring in Block 37, the modern shopping center in the heart of The Loop. The shopping center paired up with Windy City Blogger Collective, and some of its favorite fashion bloggers, to put together a fun lookbook focused on festival fashion. The best part, one lucky person will win a $400 gift card to Block 37 to recreate their favorite look or find one that’s all their own. Enter to win, here.

View the lookbook to see what Jenn from Cranberry Tantrums, Joan from Dr. Fashionista, Arin from Heart of Chic, Shaheen from Lows to Luxe, and Nika from Wear and Why are sporting as they prepare for the best fests of the season.

Don’t miss out on entering to win this serious shopping spree, and may the weather gods be ever in our favor for a rain-free Lollapalooza! Happy festing!

– Stephanie Poquette, Account Supervisor

June 14, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: Father’s Day Gift Guide

June is officially upon us which means that Father’s Day is coming up fast. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you need a little gift inspiration to kick-off shopping for the dad in your life.

For the dapper dad:

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Cufflinks.com has the best accessories for your suit-donning dad. If his apparel does not routinely require cufflinks, they offer everything from pocket squares to pocket knives.

One of my favorite trends in men’s fashion lately is fun socks hidden beneath dress pants. A quirky print or colorful plaid subtly shows off personality while still maintaining professionalism.

Qwaky Orange Pattern Duck Socks

Mistley Purple Oxford Socks

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Bonus: the brains behind Cufflinks.com are evidently huge Star Wars fans. If your dad regularly says “I…am your father,” this Darth Vader tie-sock-cufflink combo might be perfect.

For the busy dad who needs a little style assistance:

Does your dad like the idea of shopping but hate crowds, dressing rooms and aimlessly wandering around stores? Then that’s where Men’s Style Lab steps in. If you give dad a gift card, a personal style advisor will talk with him about his current look and how they can help complement and upgrade his style. Soon, a box full of fashionable threads will arrive at his door, giving him five days to try them on. With free shipping both ways and free returns, he can keep what he loves and send the rest back–no strings attached.

 

For the dad who likes clothes that are as fun as he is:

 

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Summer is the perfect time to liven up a wardrobe with bright colors and fun patterns. I’ve always loved the classic East Coast look that Vineyard Vines delivers in each one of its breezy styles. This summer I’d like to see dads everywhere rocking this Carrick Plaid Cooper Shirt.

 

For the dad on the go:

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Does your dad always seem to be in the car or at the airport; traveling city to city? A man on the road is never fully dressed without a pair of sunglasses to get him through long trips. Make sure he travels in style with Paul Stuart’s sophisticated luggage and newly released Rolled Titanium Aviator sunglasses.

 

For the adventurous dad:

 

If your dad already has everything he wants, give him the gift of an experience with the help of Gilt City Chicago. Gilt City hunts for the best experiences in the Chicagoland area–and then sells them to you at a discounted price. Whether your dad has the heart of a sailor or wants to learn how to craft the perfect sushi roll, Gilt City can help you find a gift he’ll never forget.

– Lily Zacharias

June 12, 2015

PR Buzz: Good as Gold

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 7:50 pm

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Last Wednesday, our team attended the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpet Awards, an annual gathering of the city’s finest agencies to celebrate a year of the finest work in the world of public relations. Our agency was nominated for two awards for our work with CuffLinks.com and Block 37. We walked away with two Golden Trumpets, and also one of the top four awards of the night: The Jeffrey D. Bierig Brand Builder Award (for enhancing and promoting a brand) for CuffLinks.com

As David reminds us – industry awards can often come across as “self-aggrandizing.” However, it’s the perfect opportunity for our team to reflect on our work and collaboration with our clients. Furthermore, beyond just the beautiful statues in our office, the award entries process helps elevate our agency’s overall performance for all clients:

We’re Results-Driven: We incorporate metrics immediately upon being retained by a client. The only way to win industry awards is to showcase how our work directly impacted a client’s brand and business.

Drive for Creativity: Delivering an innovative campaign can be quite time consuming, but it’s imperative to the success of our accounts. After reviewing Zapwater’s past award-winning entries, it’s easy to see that creativity was the core of each strategy. As a strategic agency, we celebrate (and thrive) on innovation.

In the end, we celebrate our accolades for the campaign’s excellence, and also because it’s made us a better agency for having entered in the first place.

– Jenn Lake, Vice President

June 1, 2015

Client Happenings: Chicago Says “AHOY!” to Elite Yacht with Christening at Navy Pier

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 11:04 pm

Chicago Elite, the city’s newest private charter yacht, celebrated the launch of its $1 million renovation with a ceremonial christening at Navy Pier on May 26. Providing Chicago with the most innovative and accommodating private charter yacht, Chicago Elite features sensational views, a contemporary setting, customizable options, and an exclusive dining and entertainment experience.

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Photo courtesy of Instagram, @emilycleary10

Since the 1800’s, a boat has been christened by breaking a sacrificial bottle of champagne over the bow as the ship is named aloud and launched. Chicago Elite was christened by President and CEO of Navy Pier Marilynn Gardner with a bottle of Moët & Chandon.

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Photo courtesy of Instagram, @alexandramex

The ceremony featured Alicia Roman of NBC Chicago as Master of Ceremonies, a performance by the Budlong Elementary School Choir and the St. Ida’s Children’s Choir, remarks by Vice President and General Manager of Entertainment Cruises Chicago Dan Russell, and a display by the Chicago Fire Department’s fire boat. Following the ceremony, Chicago Elite hosted a private cocktail reception with stunning views of Chicago’s skyline.

Chicago Elite’s endless options for food, beverages, entertainment, and flexible boarding and cruising times allow for a completely customized event that’s exactly to your specifications. Enjoy all the prestige of cruising on your own private yacht for a meeting, celebration or unique gathering. For a whole new way to experience Chicago, come aboard and explore the ships modern, refreshed interiors, perfect for customizing your private events. For additional details, please visit ElitePrivateYachts.com.

– Brigid Parr, Senior Publicist

May 26, 2015

ZAP Bites: Israeli Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Sugar Snaps

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 2:00 pm

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Today, we’re talking being a veggie, oh, and couscous.

Being a vegetarian has been an interesting journey, especially here in the food capital of the U.S. I didn’t eat red meat for years, but decided to make the full transition about seven years ago and couldn’t be happier. Whether for health, ethical or environmental reasons (I’ll keep mine to myself), the food landscape has changed drastically for my kind. What used to be meals of pasta primavera (still a wedding favorite…) or eggplant Parmesan has evolved for the much better and much tastier.

Restaurants of all levels have embraced that diets no longer just encompass meat and potatoes, working to create special menus or specific items that are not only vegetarian-friendly, but vegan and gluten-free, as well. Gone are the days of overcooked pasta and heavily fried pieces of one of the less desirable veggies on the market. These are the days of inspired dishes, unique updates on classics (think veggie lasagna, chickpea burgers, etc..) and flavor-packed dishes that even the heaviest of meat-eaters can enjoy. All-in-all, it’s a great time to be a veghead in Chicago.

Given these changes and circumstances, I still find it funny when people ask me that age-old (and tireless) question, “But, what do you eat?” Because these days, compared to seven years ago, the options seem endless. And in case you’re still wondering what us veggies eat, I’m sharing one of my new favorite recipes that’s not only delicious, but a perfect way to usher in this warmer weather below!

If this dish has got you jonsing for more vegetarian options or info, cookbooks are still your best friend. Many vegetarian cookbooks include a sample week’s grocery list that make cooking up some tasty go-tos pretty simple. I’m also a firm believer in Pinterest for any and all things food-related. I also love the ease of Epicurious’ app, which can help you whip up just about anything from the ingredients you have at hand. Finally, I encourage everyone to try out one of the new vegetarian (or classic) dishes popping up at restaurants throughout the city. You might be surprised by just how much you like it!

ISRAELI COUSCOUS WITH ASPARAGUS, PEAS AND SUGAR SNAPS

Serves 4-6 as a side
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced and divided
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 1/3 cups Israeli (Pearl) Couscous
• 1 3/4 cups vegetable stock
• 14 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) thin asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 cup shelled frozen sweet peas, defrosted
• 1/3 cup finely diced scallions
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons oil, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice, and lemon zest; set dressing aside.

In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add couscous and a dash salt; sauté until most of couscous is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, increase heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if too dry.

In the meantime, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over high heat in a large nonstick sauté pan. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, green peas, and remaining garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl.

Add couscous to bowl with vegetables. Drizzle dressing over. Add scallions and cheese; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve right away or at room temperature.

Recipe and image via Very Culinary.

– Stephanie Poquette, Account Supervisor

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