As director of SOFA, the annual functional design fair at Navy Pier, Donna Davies, 44, spends her days surrounded by art. But she’s also a caramel junkie, music nut, and Pilates fanatic who hits the reformer daily—even as she preps for SOFA’s November 3 to 6 run. Here, the Edgewater resident shares her favorite things.

Three words to describe my style

Clean, classic, and approachable.

Store I spend the most money in

The Chopping Block, whether it’s for a new cookbook or a new pan.

My favorite after-work hang

Lago in River North. It’s an Italian place opened by a couple of brothers—a go-to for some easy pasta and a glass of wine.

What I’m reading right now

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, but I’m starting Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography before we see Hamilton in January.

How I stay in shape

Pilates. I was taking classes at Sirron on Clark, but I recently took it a step further and bought a reformer.

Local institution that deserves all its praise

Old Town School of Folk Music. There’s such a reverence for music there; it’s like going to church.

Favorite local treat

The salted goat’s milk caramels at Pastoral. They’re ridiculous.

Fashion item I’ll never retire

A simple black Rag & Bone blazer.

Local person I most revere

Rick Bayless. I admire the education that goes into what he does. He sometimes closes down his restaurants for days and takes his entire team to Mexico.

Jo Malone orange blossom candle

Jo Malone orange blossom candle

“It’s like having an orange grove in your home. It’ll lift you up in the winter.”

Photo: Courtesy of vendor


Sue Lawty panel

Sue Lawty panel

“Quiet, meditative, and made using stones from Wales, where I have ancestry.”
$10,000; for others by artist,


Gucci shoulder bag

Gucci shoulder bag

“This style was inspired by Jackie O., and it’s a workhorse. You can stuff a lot in and it still looks beautiful.”
$1,450; for similar,