The Parlour-Barber Shop + Haberdashery

Hello friends! We hope you all had a great weekend celebrating the important women in your life and enjoyed the PERFECT weather.  If you have been following State & Eight for awhile, you may have noticed that we have highlighted some of our favorite places for women to get pampered with nails, hair, and brows. With that being said, Liz and I were thinking that we don’t spend a whole lot of time highlighting the unique things for men to take advantage of in the 815.  So, I decided to follow my hubby’s best buddy, Matt, to The Parlour-Barber Shop + Habedasery and got a chance to chat with owner, Tony Leon, while Matt got a cut.

The Parlour is first and foremost, a barbershop.  However, when I walked in and spoke with Tony, it is obviously much more than that.  The Parlour is “a place where a man can come to look his best from head to toe.” Men can treat themselves to various haircuts, shaves, beard trims, charcoal masks and wait for it…nose hair wax removal!  Men-you don’t have to tell anyone you did it, just do it and Tony says, “you won’t regret it.”

Born and raised in Rockford, Tony wanted to be a part of the revitalization of downtown (The Parlour is located at 412 E. State Street) and thought there was a whole in the market for men.  After going to barber school, Tony opened the business and it has been booming ever since.  In fact, if you are looking to get an appointment, Tony is booking 4-6 weeks in advance for evening appointments and 2-3 weeks for day appointments.  Currently, Tony is a one-man-show when it comes to services (though his wife and son help a lot!), but once his wife Sarah completes her barber schooling, they will both be taking appointments.

When I asked Tony what he enjoys the most, he said it’s definitely the shaves.  I should also mention that one REALLY cool thing The Parlour does is wedding parties.  I, like most of you, most often think of the women in the wedding party getting their hair and make-up done together on the big day.  But, why should the women have all the fun? (Did I really just say that?) Men can get beautified too!  Tony says they frequently have the groom and his men in the shop getting cuts and shaves on the big day while they all get ready, take photos, and have a (maybe a few?) drinks.  I think if I was getting married again (to my husband!), my husband would be all over this.

Lastly, I want to mention that The Parlour also sells raw denim, shirts, grooming products, and tons of accessories.  All in all, this is just a cool place to hang out.  If you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking out their website (it’s one of the coolest I have seen) to see everything they offer, follow them on Facebook, and check them out on Instagram.

Thanks to Tony for chatting with me and to Matt for letting me tag along while he got a fresh ‘do!


Eight in the Eight – May 2017

Fiesta Fun Run @ Fleet Feet Sports Rockford
When: May 4th at 6PM

This free and fun 5K run event is featured by the new Fleet Feet Sports in Rockford. Get in a neighborhood run with some friends and reward yourself with an end at Lucha Cantina for some complimentary chips and salsa.

Churchill’s Grove and Edgewater Neighborhood Garage Sales
When: May 6th from 8am-5pm

You might remember our guide to the Churchill’s Grove Garage Sale from last year. This year, the Edgewater Neighborhood will host one the same weekend. This mega joint garage sale should not be missed. Grab your friends and your fanny pack and make a fun weekend of the event.

Rockford Peaches Baseball Game @ Midway Village Museum                                                               When: May 7th from 1:00-3:00pm

Celebrate the opening of the Victorian Village and watch the living history Rockford Peaches Baseball Team  play an historical game. Spectators are free with the regular admission price to the museum.

Rockford’s Best Dish @ Giovanni’s
When: May 10th from 5:30-8pm

Deemed the premier competition for Rockford area restaurants, Rockford’s Best Dish is a fundraiser for the local Meals on Wheels organization. Sample from amazing vendors and vote on your favorite dish.

Rent 20th Anniversary Tour @ Coronado Performing Arts Center
When: May 18th at 7:30pm

The Tony award winning musical Rent is twenty years old, which makes us feel….well, old. Despite the aging anxiety, we are super excited that the show will be on tour this month and will make a stop at the Coronado.

Main Street Market @ Midway Village Museum
When: May 20th at 9am

Will we ever tire of the Main Street Market?  We don’t think so!  We enjoy this event so much, you may remember we put together a Guide to the Main Street Market last year.  We recommend getting tickets in advance and you can do so here.  After so much spring cleaning, we are hoping we can find some great pieces for our homes.

Rockford Marathon @ Davis Park                                                                                                             When: May 21st at 6am

We don’t think either one of us will be ready to run the half or the full marathon (maybe next year?!), but that doesn’t mean we can’t head downtown to cheer on the incredible runners! The Rockford Marathon is celebrating its 10th birthday and drawing sprinters from nearly 20 states, the course route is along the scenic Rock River. Runners of all skill levels are invited to participate!

Here Come the Mummies Block Party @ District Bar & Grill
When: May 27th at 6pm

If you are into funk music and enjoy a good outdoor concert, this is your event.  Enjoy the long weekend with a live show and get your tickets here.

People of the 8-Katie

We are back with a new People of the 8 post!  It is a pleasure for me to introduce you to my favorite hair dresser (yes, she is mine) and all-around wonderful person, Katie Erickson.  Hope you all are having a great week!

Meet Katie

Name: Katie Erickson

Age You Feel: 25

What do you love most about your neighborhood? Having just moved from Rock River Towers downtown (which we loved!), I love that we are in the middle of Rockford (off of Spring Creek), but still feel like we have a lot of green space and are secluded.

What do you do for a living? I am a hair dresser and make-up artist at Fringe.

What’s your favorite thing to do professionally?  Unlike a lot of hair dressers, my favorite thing are bridal up-dos–I also love being a part of the big day!

How long have you lived in Rockford? My whole life. Born and raised.

What makes you stay? Definitely, my family.

What are your plans this weekend?  I work most Saturdays and then my fiance and I will be going to Woodfield to do some spring shopping.

What’s the one thing you wish Rockford had that is doesn’t? Trader Joe’s!

What do you love most about Rockford? The Rockford City Market.

If I were to buy you a drink, what and where would it be? A Moscow Mule at Octane.

Dinner? Marc’s Fusion.

Breakfast? Eggsclusive Cafe 2.

Where do you grocery shop? Woodmans

Eight in the Eight-April 2017

Happy April! How is it already four days into the month already? In case you missed our Facebook post, Emily became mother to baby #2 in March, and both mom and Baby Rose are doing wonderfully!

Election Day @ Your Local Polling Place
When: Today (April 4th)! 6am-7pm

You get the hint – we are big advocates of participating in your local elections. In case you missed it, here is our introduction to the Rockford Mayoral candidates: Brian, Ronnie, Tom and Rudy. Exercise your right to vote and find your polling place here.

Alton Brown: Eat Your Science Tour @ The Coronado Performing Arts Center
When: Wednesday, April 5 @ 7:30pm

Combining comedy and food, Alton Brown, food show host and TV personality, will provide a night of entertainment at The Coronado. If you’re a lucky audience member, you may even get called up to the stage to participate in games and demonstrations. You can get your tickets to the Eat Your Science Tour here.

Red Shoe Run for Donor Awareness @ NIU Rockford
When: Saturday, April 8 @ 8:00am

Not only are the addition of 5Ks and other local runs a welcoming sign of warmer weather, they are also a great opportunity to break out of the winter rut to support a good cause. The Red Shoe Run for Donor Awareness celebrates National Donate Life month, increase donations of organs, tissue, eye, blood, and marrow, and to raise money. Register here for this fun run.

76th Young Artist’s Show @ Rockford Art Museum
When: April 9th – May 7th

One of the most popular annual exhibits at the Rockford Art Museum returns this month. The 76th Young Artist’s Show is a highly competitive juried show featuring students from all schools in the area. Spend an afternoon enjoying the talent of local youth while supporting the local arts.                                                        

Easter Egg Hunts @ Various Locations                                                                                                           When: Saturday, April 15

What would this time of year be without a good ole’ Easter Egg Hunt? There are hunts happening in neighborhoods like Edgewater and places such as the Discovery Center Museum and Burpee Museum of Natural History.  We will cross our fingers for nice weather, Reese’s, and $2 bills.

Brews & Views @ Prairie Street Brewing Company                                                                                     When: Wednesday, April 19 @ 7:30pm

The Brews & Views 2016/2017 season comes to an end with the viewing of “The Great Outdoors” at PSB.  Enjoy your favorite craft beers and great food from a full menu, delivered to your table, while you watch the film! Doors open at 7pm, and Showtime is at 7:30, so arrive early to be sure you get a great seat. Admission is $5.

Spring Art Scene @ Downtown Rockford                                                                                                         When: Friday, April 21 from 5:00pm-9:00pm & Saturday, April 22 from 4:00pm-9:00pm

The Rockford Area Arts Council is back at it with the Spring ArtScene. This is one of our favorite Rockford events. Extremely talented local artists displaying their work at various local studios, churches, restaurants and businesses all around town. Grab a group of friends and make a night of hopping around to check out different artists and shows.

An Evening with David Sedaris @ The Coronado Performing Arts Center                                         When: Monday, April 24 @ 8:00pm

If you like to laugh (who doesn’t?), you will LOVE David Sedaris.  Sedaris is witty, funny, bright, and the master of satire.  We are thrilled the Coronado is hosting David Sedaris and this show will actually make us look forward to a Monday.  Tickets are still available here.



Meet the Mayoral Candidate-Rudy Valdez

Just like that, we are featuring our fourth and final Meet the Mayoral Candidate.  In case you haven’t been checking in this week, on Monday we featured the Republican candidate, Brian Leggero, on Tuesday we featured one of the Independent candidates, Ronnie Manns, yesterday we featured the Democratic candidate, Tom McNamara, and last but not least, we are featuring Independent candidate, Rudy Valdez.

What is your morning routine?                                                                                                                             I get up at around 5:00am, read the paper and check social media before getting ready for the morning activities, which have lately been a meeting/event before going to work by 8:30am.

How do you take your coffee?                                                                                                                               I don’t drink coffee, it keeps me awake lol. I usually drink water in the morning.

When you are not running for mayor, what do you do?                                                                             I work at an aerospace company and I also volunteer in many organizations. On weekends I spend time with my wife and grandkids.

Fun Fact                                                                                                                                                                       My wife was my boss when we went to University of Illinois at Chicago. A couple of years later we married and I broke my leg parasailing on the first day of our honeymoon at Cancun.

What do you think is the best kept secret in Rockford?                                                                   Levings Lake!

Who should we call for a reference?                                                                                                       Victory Bell, former 38 year alderman for the 5th Ward

What is your favorite, annual, Rockford event?                                                                                       The Midtown Ethnic Parade and Festival – I was one of the original organizers, which was led by Dori Kearney.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?                                                                             Hidden Figures – It was extra special because of my years working on the US Space program.

Who is winning your March Madness bracket?                                                                                     UCLA

Why should Rockford hire you?                                                                                                                             –I have a unique combination of skills, background and experiences that can help make Rockford greater for all its residents.

-I have run organizations for the US Space Program at Hamilton Sundstrand that were four times larger than the $134M city budget.

-I established award winning teams that were recognized by NASA.

-My educational background includes BS in Chemical Engineering, and MBA, and a Doctor of Management, including a CFO certification.

-My broad community service allows me to derive solution by viewing problems from different perspectives.

-I have been actively involved with community organizations for decades and received many recognitions, including the Excalibur award.

-I love this city and want it to be the best sought-after city in the country! We need to think big and take bold actions.

For more information about Rudy, check out or his Facebook page.

We hope you have enjoyed our getting to know the candidates in a different way.  Most importantly, be sure to cast your vote on or before Tuesday, April 4th!

Meet the Mayoral Candidate-Tom McNamara

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to day three of the Meet the Mayoral Candidates on State & Eight. On Monday we featured the Republican candidate, Brian Leggero, yesterday we featured one of the Independent candidates, Ronnie Manns, and today, we would like to feature the Democratic candidate, current 3rd Ward Alderman, Tom McNamara.  Enjoy!

What is your morning routine?                                                                                                                             I wake up around 4:30a-5:00a, feed our pets, play with our daughter Olympia Rose, drink a lot of coffee and head out to work.

How do you take your coffee?                                                                                                                     Strong and black.

When you are not running for mayor, what do you do?                                                                             I am a husband, father, son and brother. I am an insurance agent. I am a 3rd Ward Alderman. I serve on a number of community boards, and play average golf.

Fun Fact                                                                                                                                                                     Our daughter, was born on Leap Day, and our son will be born on Cinco de Mayo!

What do you think is the best kept secret in Rockford?                                                                     Long standing, historic neighborhoods and Five Forks restaurant.

Who should we call for a reference?                                                                                                           Dave Gomel – CEO of Rosecrance

What is your favorite, annual, Rockford event?                                                                                       Stroll on State

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?                                                                                         I don’t watch a lot of movies. Typically, with the free time I have I spend it with my wife, daughter and family.

Who is winning your March Madness bracket?                                                                                               I haven’t watched a single NCAA basketball game all year, so I went with the close-to-home Northwestern Wildcats, and now I’m out.

Why should Rockford hire you?                                                                                                                         I’m the only candidate with proven experience developing and passing legislation to stabilize neighborhoods, reduce taxes, fight crime and promote economic development.

For more information about Tom, be sure to check out or visit his Facebook page.

Meet the Mayoral Candidate – Ronnie Manns

Welcome to day two of the Meet the Mayoral Candidates on State & Eight. Yesterday, we featured the Republican candidate, Brian Leggero. Today we would like to introduce you to one of the Independent candidates, business owner Ronnie Manns.

What is your morning routine?
On school days, rise around 6:30 am, get my youngest son up and ready for school, open up home office for the wife and myself and look for ways to do anything positive to do.

How do you take your coffee?
Don’t drink coffee but don’t leave an ice cold Pepsi around me.

When you are not running for mayor, what do you do?
Try to stay busy and hope that business picks up in the Transportation Brokerage Industry.

Fun Fact
I can’t stand mice.

What do you think is the best kept secret in Rockford?
The Rock River.

Who should we call for a reference?
My wife is the only one who can stand to be around me but even that’s not all the time so I guess it would have to be her.

What is your favorite, annual, Rockford event?
Don’t have one, never really had that kind of entertainment money and parking is such a bear downtown.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
The first Star Wars.

Who is winning your March Madness bracket?
Not really following but silently pulling for Northwestern.

Why should Rockford hire you?
Because it is time to stop doing things the same way expecting a different result and challenge how things are and always was with how it should be.

For more information on Ronnie, check out his Facebook page.

Meet the Mayoral Candidate – Brian Leggero

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you have probably noticed through our friendly election day reminders that we are big advocates of voting in our local elections. Voting local, much like buying local, gives us the opportunity to have a say in where and how we believe our tax money should be spent. It also allows us to elect officials who we feel will represent the best interest of the 815.

In the last few weeks there have been a lot of candidate forums and debates in preparation for the upcoming Rockford mayoral election. As fans of the national news website The Skimm, and as  local, lifestyle bloggers, we decided to mimic their Presidential candidate interviews by taking a personal twist on interviewing the four Rockford mayoral candidates. We will post one candidate per day, and we encourage you to check out their campaign pages for the nitty gritty on their policies.

First up, business owner Brian Leggero, Republican candidate.

What is your morning routine?
I wake up, my knees hit the floor and I thank God for another day on this Earth.

How do you take your coffee?
With 1 cream

When you are not running for mayor, what do you do?
Run my business, enjoy time with family and friends, golf, hunt, fish, camp and enjoy being outdoors.

Fun Fact
Led the effort and I got Cheap Trick finally nominated, inducted and to be the featured artist at the Induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It was great for them well deserved and shined a very positive light on Rockford.

What do you think is the best kept secret in Rockford?
Our filmmakers here.

Who should we call for a reference?
Leann Jenkins

What is your favorite, annual, Rockford event?

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
Jason Bourne

Who is winning your March Madness bracket?
The Gators.

Why should Rockford hire you?
Because I am the best person for the job ahead.

For more information on Brian, check out or visit his Facebook page.

815-Rockford’s Magazine-Spring Edition

Photo Cred: Arturo Fernandez/

It might not feel like spring is right around the corner (crazy Midwest weather!), but we can assure you that based on the calendar, IT IS!  With spring comes not only the first signs of green and warmer (hopefully!) temps, but SPRING BREAK. We all know that once we leave school, it takes a lot of effort to take an entire week off of work/life in March or April for “Spring Break.”  Between possible limited vacation time, different breaks for kids, cost, and other limiting factors, it becomes a struggle to set aside time for vacation. With that being said, we decided to highlight five day trip destinations for those who can spare a day or two away this spring. In the past, we have highlighted spring break ideas in the area for kids, but currently, we would like to focus on day trips for the adult spring break.  While there are wonderful things to do right here in the 815, we also believe one of the many perks to living in this area, is the proximity to some other great towns and cities. Here is a sneak peak at our piece which will appear this Sunday in the spring issue of the Rockford Register Star’s 815 Magazine.  Be sure to pick up a copy and we hope you enjoy!

Monroe, WI

Monroe, Wisconsin, less than an hour from Rockford, is one of our favorite day trips when we are looking to get away for a day.  As the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the World,” Monroe is home to a lot of cheese shops and restaurants, perhaps most famous, Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern.  Things to do/Places to eat: Shopping on the Square, Pancho & Lefty’s (a favorite), and Minhas Craft Brewery/Minhas Micro Distillery.

Oglesby, IL

Starved Rock State Park is the main attraction when driving to Oglesby, Illinois.  Located just over an hour away, Starved Rock is home to incredible waterfalls (specifically in the Spring), and 13 miles of trails along the Illinois River.  If you are looking for an active day of hiking, fishing, boating, or just a place to enjoy the outdoors and relax, Starved Rock Park is the place.

Madison, WI

An hour away, Madison, Wisconsin is one of our favorite cities in the entire country.  Yes, we said it.  Madison is home to some of the best and most scenic biking trails in the country and offers great boating opportunities on the lakes.  After you have put in some miles on the bike or boat on Lake Mendota, there are incredible restaurants, plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst, unique shops, and beautiful scenery to enjoy. Springtime is the perfect time to spend a day in Madison and  advantage of all Madison has to offer.  

Galena, IL

While driving around the Midwest, especially through Illinois, one may notice that the scenery is well, flat.  However, this is not the case if you head an hour and a half west to Galena, Illinois.  With expansive rolling hills, historic charm, and gorgeous scenery, Galena is a perfect place to spend a day this Spring.  One of our favorite things to do in Galena is tour the three area wineries.  However, Galena is also home to many unique restaurants, shops, art galleries, antique stores, ten golf courses, hiking, and historic sites.  In fact, we are going to go set up our trip to Galena right now!

Milwaukee, WI

We couldn’t list some of our favorite places to visit nearby without including Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Have you ever heard anyone say anything negative after they come back from visiting Milwaukee?  In fact, we always hear, “Oh, I could totally live in a place like Milwaukee.”  Of course, one day in Milwaukee will never be enough, but why not start chipping away at all there is to do in this awesome city.  The city is home to incredible biking trails, museums, and marinas all located on Lake Michigan.  In addition, if you happen to enjoy a good beer (or more), Milwaukee is home to over a dozen breweries where you should be able to get your fill (just make sure you have a driver to get you home).  Just an hour and a half away, Milwaukee is another great spring break option close to home.

If you can’t get away for a full week this Spring, we hope you are able to not only take advantage of all the 815 has to offer, but are able to explore these other five destinations as well.  Who says spring break is just for the kids?!  


Meet Your Bartender – Ryan Bressler

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we are back with another Meet Your Bartender post! Meet Ryan Bressler, bartender and co-owner of The Detour, the 815’s newest bar and grill. He’s a beer aficionado, and he’s got great taste in whiskeys, too. Let’s meet Ryan!

Name: Ryan Bressler

Age you feel: 30

Neighborhood: Guilford Country Club Estates

Years behind the bar: 11

What’s the best part of your job? The interaction with the people – it keeps it fun.

What’s the toughest part of your job? Also the interaction with the people. It’s never fun to have to cut people off or ask them to leave.

When you order a drink, what is your go-to? Basil Hayden’s Whiskey or a good craft beer.

The ideal night at the bar would look like this: Full bar and full tables. Standing room only. Everyone is ordering craft beers and craft cocktails. The kitchen is busy, and everyone is having a good time.

Other than The Detour, what bar(s) would you take a visitor to? Brewsky’sOlympic TavernRural on Tap and Drink

What is your favorite bar gadget? The glass rinser.

Do you have a specialty drink? I make a Hawaiian Punch drink that tastes just like the classic childhood Hawaiian Punch. I also make a good Payday (candy bar) shot.

What do you love about Rockford? Everyone is friendly. I like that people are supportive of local businesses. It’s the smallest big town in Illinois – for example, I saw four people I knew at breakfast this morning.

Thanks for making our drinks and for making the 815 awesome, Ryan!