As I mentioned before, my wife planned this entire trip, and I did nothing but show up. If you've got a spouse who likes to take the reins, and you're lazy like me, I highly recommend such an arrangement. Every day is like a surprise party. Today, Sarah drove us to the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania, for a tour of a massive Cadbury Chocolate factory. Hannah and I were delighted...

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As I mentioned before, my wife planned this entire trip, and I did nothing but show up. If you've got a spouse who likes to take the reins, and you're lazy like me, I highly recommend such an arrangement. Every day is like a surprise party. Today, Sarah drove us to the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania, for a tour of a massive Cadbury Chocolate factory. Hannah and I were delighted...

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As I mentioned before, my wife planned this entire trip, and I did nothing but show up. If you've got a spouse who likes to take the reins, and you're lazy like me, I highly recommend such an arrangement. Every day is like a surprise party. Today, Sarah drove us to the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania, for a tour of a massive Cadbury Chocolate factory. Hannah and I were delighted...

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As I mentioned before, my wife planned this entire trip, and I did nothing but show up. If you've got a spouse who likes to take the reins, and you're lazy like me, I highly recommend such an arrangement. Every day is like a surprise party. Today, Sarah drove us to the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania, for a tour of a massive Cadbury Chocolate factory. Hannah and I were delighted...

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Baby Style
Expectant moms—and those who purchase gifts for them—tend to go a little overboard on the pink and blue, the bunnies and ducks, the ruffles and sports-themes. Twinkle Twinkle Little One (3224 N. Damen Ave.; 773-472-3000), a new kids’ home boutique in Roscoe Village, aims to change that with its stylish décor and furniture that...

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My long-time favorite home store extraordinaire, Jayson Home & Garden, is expanding this fall. Starting September 1 (you can sneak a pre-opening peek mid-August), the entire basement will be converted into a subterranean loft-like selling area to house an expanded collection of upholstered (adding Cisco sofas to their Mitchell-Gold mix) and casegood furniture, more lighting, and a hand-picked selection of rugs. The outlet now in the basement will close, but big warehouse sales at the store’s Elston space are promised. And be on the lookout for pre-expansion sales— there are sure to be stellar buys. Read more

We're at the halfway mark now between when we got engaged and when we're getting married, with exactly three months to go until the wedding. Technically we haven't been dating a full year yet; that anniversary falls in the middle of July. We had thought our short history would prompt the most inquiry from friends and family, but, it turns out, everyone's first question is, "Where are you going to live?"—as if planning a big wedding in six months' time isn't enough to keep us occupied. Did I mention The Fiancé is simultaneously launching a new hot dog chain?...

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From kayaking to fly-fishing to building castles in the sand: a user's guide to summer on the water Read more


The Mies van der Rohe Society hosted a cocktail reception and tour of Helmut Jahn’s elegantly simple 600 North Fairbanks glass tower last week. Two of the light-filled units, with signature concrete walls, posts, and ceilings, together with floor-to-ceiling windows—were furnished and decorated by Jennifer Sweas, a local interior designer. I loved the way Sweas did the unit shown here; it goes to show that modern does not have to be cold. The other model, the penthouse, is equally stunning. I ran into a couple of tenants in the elevator; they seemed very happy living there. Think you’d be, too? Don’t dally. Only ten units in this 41-story building are still available. Read more



I haven’t blogged about my new old house in a little while, largely because there is so much to do to whip this place into shape that the time to blog about the process is scarce. Also, I’ve realized that the world just doesn’t need another person chronicling the updating of their ancient home… well maybe I’ll change my mind about this once we finally get to the fun stuff, (i.e., decorating). So far, we’re mired by boring stuff like electrical work and new windows (which, by the way, are no longer going to be vinyl—we’re springing for wood and doing fewer windows at once; that’s just one example of how much energy goes into making the smallest of decisions… it took us a month to determine this game plan—now how long will the installation take?!). Here’s what has happened so far. Trusty friends Larry Vodak (owner of Scout) and interior designer Laura Soskin came over to take a gander at the new crib before remodeling commenced. They gave me the following tips:

Go as dark as possible on the floors. (We went dark, but probably not as dark as they were talking about; anyway, it looks so much better than the original scuffed-up golden oak!)

Laura suggested an amazing color for the walls, something that goes great with those dark floors: Martin-Senour Paints’ Soapstone. She is absolutely right. So far, only one room has been painted in this subtle grayish-taupe-ish shade, with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in a satin finish for the trim. Love it!

They also gave me good advice about how to approach the challenging shape of my living room. They advised using one big rug to unite the space (I had planned on doing separate seating areas). And, here’s their secret budget tip: Cost Plus World Market in Evanston has an outdoor sisal rug that can be ordered for cheap by the foot; you can cover your whole living room for $150. Of course, it won’t be the plushest of surfaces, but you can unite your space and save the rest of your funds for furniture!

Here’s what I’ve learned the hard way: rain showers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! I was so excited that we were buying a house that already had one. Then I stood under this thing and, yes, I got wet. But that’s about it. The pressure is like zero, as is the invigoration quotient. I felt like I was falling asleep in there. The shampoo was impossible to wash out of my hair. It was the most stressful shower of my life. Mercifully, there is a handheld component to this system that has more pressure. That was my saving grace. As for the much ballyhooed rain shower? You’re outa here.

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The 36th Annual Auxiliary of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Hospitals’ Gala
June 14th, 2008 - Nearly 800 guests put on their dancing shoes and finest evening attire to attend the 36th Annual Auxiliary of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Hospitals’ Gala, a charity event benefiting the Alzheimer and Memory Assessment Center at Glenbrook Hospital. The evening, appropriately named “An International Affair,” included world-class dining at the Chicago Hilton, as well as international entertainment by Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra, and a silent auction.
Photos by Bridget Cicenia Read more
June 17, 2008 - Guests joined Chicago magazine at The Chopping Block to check out the new MGD 64, with only 64 calories it’s as light as it gets! Guests were treated to delicious appetizers and a cooking demonstration as well as MGD 64. Read more