Photo courtesy tuuci

You know spring has (just barely) arrived in Chicago when the Merchandise Mart holds its annual Spring Fling.

Yes, there will likely be snow on the ground, but that won't stop our intrepid design community from checking out the new collections of outdoor/casual furniture on the 15th and 16th floors during this all-day event on Thursday, March 14. Hey, it takes months for some of this stuff to deliver—and people want an outdoor space ready on the first day it hits 70 degrees.

Showrooms such as Janus et Cie, Three Birds Casual, and Century Furniture will be hosting open houses from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. But if you happen to be by the Tuuci showroom (suite 1507) at 1 p.m., please stop by and hear me talk about their new outdoor and patio parasols. There will be nice weather beneath these beautiful umbrellas—I promise.