Swap Meat, a funny little designophile project by local Web company Coudal Partners. You send something cool in—you know, something that you made yourself. They assess its value and send something equally cool back. Get it? It’s a swap! There are great prints, handmade books, T-shirts, etc. I don’t make things by hand, so I have nothing to send. But if I did make things by hand, and if they didn’t suck, well, you know...

" /> Swap Meat, a funny little designophile project by local Web company Coudal Partners. You send something cool in—you know, something that you made yourself. They assess its value and send something equally cool back. Get it? It’s a swap! There are great prints, handmade books, T-shirts, etc. I don’t make things by hand, so I have nothing to send. But if I did make things by hand, and if they didn’t suck, well, you know...

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Good Stuff Part 1

Nifty stuff has been landing on my desk and in my inbox. Thought I’d share.

1. Two great sites for quirky stuff: Swap Meat, a funny little designophile project by local Web company Coudal Partners. You send something cool in—you know, something that you made yourself. They assess its value and send something equally cool back. Get it? It’s a swap! There are great prints, handmade books, T-shirts, etc. I don’t make things by hand, so I have nothing to send. But if I did make things by hand, and if they didn’t suck, well, you know…

Week 17: Goddess of Thunder

It thunderstormed like crazy on Friday night. Sarah is deathly afraid of lightning and couldn’t sleep, so we went down to the basement and turned on the TV. I fell asleep on the floor, with her snuggled up against me, squeezing my arm a little tighter at every clap of thunder. The next morning, we found that the basement had flooded around us while we were sleeping. Every step we took, water squished between our toes. It was such a bloody mess that we had to buy a wet/dry vac, a dehumidifier and two electric fans—and it still took three days before the carpet dried. It still smells like an armpit down there…

Summer Saver

This Means War Irish playwright and novelist Roddy Doyle (The Commitments) is hugely famous in his native land—but if there’s one thing that rivals his popularity among his countrymen, it’s pub trivia. Doyle takes on the game, and 16 working-class characters devoted to it, in the comedy War. The play, in a production by Seanchai … Read more

The Breakup

In my estimation, I’ve been dating—and breaking up—since I was 10. My first boyfriend was in the fifth grade, and I’m pretty sure he broke up with me by asking his friends to tell my friends that he didn’t want to do the Walk with Israel (a charity walk sponsored by the Jewish United Fund) with me. In my world, that was pretty harsh. I give that breakup a 10 on the rude scale.

In junior high, things became a little more complicated. I fell in love with my seventh grade boyfriend, the cutest boy in school. We dated for two years—until I found out I wasn’t the only…

New on the Market—North Kenwood, Chicago

List Price: $1.199 million

The Property: The elaborately carved façade of this 104-year-old, 8,500-square-foot Drexel Boulevard graystone only hints at the impressive workmanship inside—and provides evens less information about the amount of work that will be required to update some parts of the house. First, a look at the place’s strong points, beginning in the entry hall, which, with its walnut wainscoting, beams, newel posts, and benches, resembles a chapel. The living and dining rooms are similarly impressive, while the library is a jaw-dropping composition of…

Q & A with Gretchen Wilson

Here I was, trying to understand “country couture” with a veritable expert: Grammy winner Gretchen Wilson, who was performing at the fashion event Glamorama. Note: If you ever get a chance to interview Gretchen Wilson, she is much happier talking about baseball than style.

Coda: You grew up in Pocahontas, Illinois. Do you have a fondness for performing in Chicago?
GW: It’s always great to be back. I have a few relatives around here still. But you know, I grew up closer to St. Louis than Chicago…

Housing Bulletin—Landmark Evanston Mansion Returns to Glory

In an era of proliferating McMansions, it’s nice to see the real thing grab the attention of homebuyers. In Evanston, two developers have reclaimed a Georgian mansion perched on a ridgetop, transforming it from a rundown school-district outpost into four condominiums. “This really was the grandest house in Evanston,” says Mike Niazmand, a longtime Evanston … Read more

Week 17: Sweet Child O’ Mine

Sarah ordered a bunch of maternity clothes from gap.com, and when the first shipment came in, I thought the shorts, with their elastic waistband, looked like Sansabelts™. The shirts looked like tablecloths at a church picnic. The timing of the shipment was perfect. Sarah is starting to complain that she feels out of shape. She’s sad that her clothes are starting to get tight. “You’re not out of shape, Sarah,” Dr. Harth said. “You have a baby inside you…

A Collector’s Sneaker Boutique

Encore, Encore Sneakerphiles, you have a new mecca. The owners of West Loop lifestyle-and-footwear shop Self Conscious have opened Encore (3941 N. Sheridan Rd.; 773-477-4007), which co-owner LaVelle “V-Dot” Sykes says is more sneaker driven than the other store. Sykes, who has designed shoes for Nike for 13 years, says the store cultivates exclusivity with … Read more

Celebrity Beat: Kanye West

For Ballet Florida–Pictured: Ballet Florida’s Shannon Smith & Lorena Jimenez in Elemental Brubeck. Photo: Janine Harris Photography

The Kanye West Foundation raised more than $500,000 for education-related programs Friday, through West’s concert that night at the House of Blues and the foundation’s inaugural benefit earlier in the evening at the Crimson Lounge in the Hotel Sax Chicago. Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson emceed the reception, and celeb attendees included Mos Def, who later performed with West at HOB; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade; and comedian-actor David Alan Grier…