TCW’s Top Singles of 2014


Meet Today’s Chicago Woman’s top singles – and learn more about them!

Selecting this year’s Top Singles was no easy task. To be a TCW single, you need to be well-rounded with a sparkling personality and stellar professional/charitable contributions. And it doesn’t hurt if you’re a little easy on the eyes. And in 2014, we found an impressive mix of entrepreneurs, health professionals, media personalities and more. Overall, it’s an eclectic group of good-natured singles that you’d probably either want to date, fix up with your best friend, or if you’re ‘of a certain age,’ introduce to your daughter or son. So have a look and see if anyone piques your interest!

The photographs in this feature were taken by Adrian Orozco and Ashley Fischer at ¡AY CHIWOWA! on Chicago Avenue, at an exclusive party to introduce the single women and men to each other.

Brad Parker 30
Owner, American Junkie and Attic Nightclub

On the side: Wounded Warrior Project and Bohne Foundation.
My Twitter bio reads: Chicago restaurant and club owner, entrepreneur, foodie, workaholic. Loves sports, outdoor activities and music.
If I won the lottery, I’d open more businesses.
Friends say I’m always down for having a good time. I have a hard time saying no. I like to try and make everyone happy, but sometimes that can bite me in the ass by over extending myself. Sleep is not something I get a lot of.
I love my job because it revolves around entertaining people. Ever since I was young I was always the one having friends over or throwing parties. So I guess it just comes naturally to do it for a living.
My life motto is “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things that are left by those who hustle.” Also, “Focus on the now.” I notice a lot of people are always working towards an end goal, hating what they do on a day-to-day basis. They forget that one day they will get to where they want to be and just find out that they missed half their lives flying past them. Enjoy today, stop worrying about what will happen years from now. Love what you do and you will be successful. Take risks and they will pay off if you keep trying.
On my day off, you’ll find me on the golf course if it’s warm. I don’t take days off if it’s cold out. I’d rather be working.
The best day of my life was probably the Friends and Family event at American Junkie. My mother came and gave me a ring from my father (who passed away when I was 16). She told me how proud he would be to see his son open a major restaurant in one of the best cities in the world. It was then that I really felt I had accomplished something. It was a two-and-a-half-year road to get American Junkie Chicago opened. It was amazing to see everyone in the place enjoying the fruits of our labor.
I can talk for hours about work. I know it might sound boring, but I truly love this business. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to Africa. I have had some friends travel there and it looks like an amazing country.
My biggest fear is getting old. I always feel young, but one day my body will tell me that I’m not. That is the day I fear the most.
I wish I’d known at 21 to not take life too seriously. When I was younger everything seemed like it was the end-all-be-all situation. For example, if a relationship didn’t work out it was like the world was ending. I’ve come to realize that life goes on and everything seems to always work itself out.
In 10 years, I see myself doing exactly what I’m doing now, just on a much bigger scale.
My ideal partner is able to put me in my place when needed.
My best date was at my friend’s wedding at the Rookery Building on South LaSalle. It was one of the best nights of my life.
My favorite Chicago date spot is Bavette’s Basement.
My ultimate turn-off is bad breath.
My ultimate turn-on is a girl who goes for what she wants – no games and no BS.
Date me because I can carry a conversation with anyone, especially women. Growing up with five sisters, I’m used to conversations on topics that girls enjoy and most men wouldn’t understand.

Lisa Payne 35
Health and Wellness Expert, Lisa Payne Fitness

On the side: Step Up Women’s Network.
My life motto is “If you want something, ask for it.” Asking puts yourself out there and offers you an opportunity. If you don’t ask, it’s always a ‘no.’
On my day off, you’ll find me taking a yoga class, cuddled up on the couch with my dog or writing.
If I won the lottery, I’d pay off all my bills and then start an organization that would help people lose weight with mental health therapies along with fitness and nutrition education. Then I’d do something for me and buy a Spanish-style house on the California coast, a vintage Mercedes and then travel the world!
My best day was when I beat my intense fear of flying. I still get nervous but it no longer holds me back! Headed to Europe for the first this next year!
The title of my autobiography would be I May Not Be Able to Do Everything, But I Can Still Try.
I can talk for hours about art, movies/TV shows or philosophy.
I couldn’t live without chocolate from The Fudge Pot in Old Town.
You’d be surprised that before working in fitness I was a writer/producer at an ABC affiliate. I had (and still have) visions of working with Diane Sawyer and the Good Morning America staff!
My biggest fear is ever having a blank ‘to-do’ list. Having a list of things I’d like to accomplish gives me a sense of purpose and makes life interesting.
I wish I’d known at 21 that if you keep worrying about the future, you’re severely limiting what you’re getting from today.
My favorite date spot is wherever the focus is the conversation and not necessarily the location. I like Haymarket Pub & Brewery, Farmhouse and Corcoran’s Grill & Pub.
My ultimate turn-off is smoking.
My ultimate turn-on is someone who likes being active, taking spontaneous weekend trips or cuddling on the couch.

Yamandú Pérez 40
Restaurateur/Owner/General Mangaer, TWO Restaurant

On the side: Autism Speaks.
My Twitter bio reads: I learned history while living in four different countries. I’m capable of understanding your side of things.
My life motto: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
I love my job because I love a team environment where we exploit each other’s strengths and fortify our weaknesses; as a team we make people smile. That alone will always uplift the soul.
The title of my autobiography would be I’m Not Done Yet.
I couldn’t live without my friends (true friends, the ones that back you up even when they know you’re wrong).
On my day off, you’ll find me almost anywhere…I’m very spontaneous.
My best day was this morning. I’m the guy who wakes up happy.
If I won the lottery, I’d keep working.
My biggest fear is being incapable of helping those I love.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to Uruguay as often as I could.
I could talk for hours about politics and religion. The diversity of ideas in humanity fascinates me.
My ultimate turn-off is being incapable of using silverware correctly at the dinner table.
My ultimate turn-on is a genuine smile.
My best date was telling her to prepare for three different scenarios: beach, dinner and park. Then doing all three.

Michelle Relerford 34
News Reporter, NBC Chicago

I love my job because everyday is different!
My life motto is “I’m a survivor, I’m not gon’ give up, I’m not gon’ stop I’m gon’ work harder!” (Too bad I can’t sing.)
On my day off, you’ll find me in the gym, or catching up on some much needed sleep.
If I won the lottery, I’d keep it a secret!
I couldn’t live without my mom.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to Venice, Italy.
You’d be surprised that I can be pretty shy at times.
Date me because I’m easy to talk to and adaptable to any situation.
I wish I’d known at 21 that 31 is so much better.
In 10 years, I see myself happy! That’s all that truly matters to me.
My ideal partner is kind, honest, funny, articulate, adventurous, patient, tall (ideally), loves children, doesn’t thrive on attention, exercises regularly and knows exactly what he wants.
My favorite date spot is the Conrad rooftop in the summer on movie nights!
My ultimate turn-offs are shallowness and selfishness.
My ultimate turn-ons are confidence and success.

isChris Rentner 30
Entrepreneur/President, Full Ahead Ventures

On the side: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, American Red Cross and IMD Guest House Foundation.
On my day off, you’ll find me at a Blackhawks game or fun social event in Chicago.
My life motto is “Make a difference.”
My secret talent is I can wiggle my ears.
I couldn’t live without my iPhone and Trunk Club.
You’d be surprised that I hate pancakes…they have the weirdest texture.
My Twitter bio reads: Driven towards success in business and life while looking for someone to share all of it with!
Friends say I’m passionate.
The great thing about my job is I can make my own hours.
The best day of my life was when I quit my ‘real’ job five years ago.
If I won the lottery, I’d spend my time traveling and supporting local charities.
The title of my autobiography would be Make a Difference.
I can talk for hours about the over 45 countries I’ve been to in the last 10 years.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to New Zealand and Australia.
My biggest fear is not accomplishing my goals in life.
Date me for my listening skills.
I wish I’d known at 21 that life is more important than the job you have.
In 10 years, I see myself retired and enjoying my family.
My ideal partner is independent and goal-oriented.
My best date was a skydiving blind date.
My favorite date spot is The Boarding House.
My ultimate turn-off is smoking cigarettes.
My ultimate turn-on is confidence.

Click through the pages for more singles!


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