When the Evanston writer Cornelia Maude Spelman tried to unlock the mystery of her mother's melancholy, she turned to one of her parents' long-ago college pals—William Maxwell, the famed fiction editor of The New Yorker—and found a new friend Read more

I was a personal shopper for a day. A personal shopper with an assistant (our art director, Megan Duffy Rostan), and no actual client. Our mission: to identify some great holiday gifts in the 900 North Shops. We focused on home décor and accessories, and came up with a great group of items, from stocking stuffers to expensive gifts for a very special person. The gifts were on display at a Four Seasons luncheon hosted by our magazine, Chicago, and 900 North Shops. You can also see them on display at the mall on Level 3 next to Mark Shale. Here’s what we found:

A hot pink Burberry cashmere scarf from Bloomingdales that would double as a fab table runner, art books beautifully packaged from Silk Trading Co., L’Occitane candles and soaps (you can never go wrong with this wonderfully packaged stuff), and a heat- and cold-resistant silver bowl from Northern Possessions.

Tumblers that can double as votives from Genevieve Lethu (a bargain at $78 for a set of 6; I want these for myself!), cardboard coasters (just $15!) and a paperweight from Jane Weber, Ink!, tissue covers from Silk Trading Co., and an adjustable silver candelabrum from Christofle.

A glass cheese board and knife from Genevieve Lethu, Rosle’s life-changing garlic press (it’s amazing! I have one) and paper-and-resin cutting board from Williams Sonoma, and elegant goblets (put pencils or toothbrushes in them) from Bernardaud ($70 each).

Photography: Randy Belice

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Although it’s been a painful year in the real-estate market, there has been some news this week to make us all thankful: the announcement that the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will not pursue any more foreclosures until January 2009, and the Federal Reserve’s plan, unveiled Tuesday morning, to buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets to help stabilize the economy and the housing sector.

Even so, we have a tradition here at Deal Estate—dating all the way back to last year—of serving up a platter of turkeys...

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Our friend Tate Gunnerson, who blogs about home design at Strange Closets, reports that Terry Ledford has opened a second White Attic in Bucktown at 1842 N. Damen Ave. (773-252-8844). See more photos of this wonderful store—known for painted furniture—here.

Photo: Tate Gunnerson 

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Two Dudes A-Drinking
Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be over and everyone will need a drink. Or three. In Drinking & Writing Vol. IV: The 12 Steps of Xmas, Neo-Futurists Steve Mosqueda and Phil Ridarelli ruminate on hard-drinking authors from Kerouac to Bukowski to Cheever and Capote, as well as on their own drunken...

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On the Cusp
Womens’ apparel destination Cusp (835 N. Michigan Ave. Ste. 3020; 312-951-2299) opened its sixth national location at Water Tower Place on Nov. 20th. Even though the boutique was founded several years ago as an affordable offshoot of Neiman Marcus, it features well-known designers such as Tory Burch, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Theory. But shoppers will also find promising Read more

I just saw these on the Stitch Web site. How fun for serving appetizers on Thanksgiving (you know, the whole bird theme and all). Or just hang one on your dining room wall and get your guests talking. They are so bizarre but in the most fabulous way. Price: $175; 10 percent off through November 28.

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Here are the 20 best steak houses in the Chicago area. Call them manly. Call them indulgent. Call them politically out of step. Then call them for reservations. Read more

This week we give thanks for two new watering holes: Bar DeVille (701 N. Damen Ave.), the new Ukrainian Village tap from Matt Eisler (Angels & Kings, Empire Liquors, Victory Liquors) and Kevin Heisner, with drinks by master mixologist Bradley Bolt, formerly of The Violet Hour; and Wild Pug, Uptown’s long-delayed ode to pups and Oscar Wilde (we don’t quite get it either) from the same folks as the neighboring Crew Bar + Grill. We also give thanks for a day off: Nightspotting 2.0 is on holiday this Thursday; check back next Monday for shots from the biggest party night of the year, Black Wednesday.

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Teroforma is an interesting new Connecticut-based company that just debuted at the New York International Gift Fair this past August. This company is built around (from the description in their press materials): “identifying promising young designers around the world and ‘matchmaking’ them with master artisans who hand-craft their works—a designer of glass tumblers in Norway was introduced to a master glassblower in the Czech Republic; a small studio outside Beijing keeping a vanishing traditional pottery craft alive was the perfect choice to hand-fabricate bone china designed in the U.K….” Not only do we like the idea of this global consortium of talent, but we like the results: all sorts of beautiful tabletop wares, from glassware to dinnerware to linens. In Chicago, Teroforma is carried at Elements. The shop currently carries only glass (“all non-lead crystal, mouthblown by master blowers”; tumblers are $20 to 28), but can order other pieces as well.

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