This Week’s Top Story

If you’re a Very Cavallari fan, or if you could just use some hostess gifts and accessories to take you through the holiday-party circuit, now’s the time to check out the West Loop’s new Uncommon James store (849 W. Randolph St.,

Reality star Kristin Cavallari, who spent some time growing up in Barrington, is the founder and creative director of Uncommon James, which specializes in delicate jewelry made for everyday wear. But don’t worry: the sparkling Grand Central earrings ($48), Starburst necklace ($68), and stackable Bowery bracelet ($48) would also shine at cocktail parties.

Though it’s primarily a jewelry store, the new boutique also stocks gifts such as holiday tree dish towels ($29) and scented candles. There’s also an assortment of cute kids’ PJs. Browse through everything during the extended hours on Black Friday, when the airy shop will be open from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m.

While you’re there, stock up on a keepsake for yourself in the form of a selfie. The store has design features that were made for Instagram backdrops, including a built-in wooden swing and a pink neon sign that says “Unlikely to Apologize.” If you’re familiar with the reality star you’ll know that the motto is very Cavallari indeed.

The West Loop store is the second permanent brick-and-mortar location for the brand, which also has a flagship store in Nashville.

Top Sales This Week

Fashion Outlets of Chicago (5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont, brings back its Fashionably Late Black Friday event, which runs 24 hours starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. The shopping extravaganza offers deals at many of the center’s 130 outlets, music from live DJs to keep the shopping adrenaline up, and a fun incentive for savings: Wear your PJs, and get additional deals.

Jayson Home (1885 N. Clybourn Ave., is offering 20 percent off all furniture and free shipping and delivery for purchases over $75 on Black Friday. The sale will also run online with early access, starting on Thanksgiving Day.

Small Business Saturday

In honor of Saturday’s unofficial shopping holiday, The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce will roll out its Holly Jolly Trolley. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. the festive trolley will stop at nine neighborhood spots, including Mint Home and Marmalade. Trolley service is free, and open to all ages. Get complete details here.

Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce will once again host a festive Small Business Saturday event, replete with ice sculptures, Victorian carolers, and photos with Santa Claus for both kids and pets. Local shops will also offer discounts and perks ranging from cupcakes to free gift wrapping. Browse the complete list of participating businesses and events here.


Chicago Artisan Market takes over Morgan MFG (401 N. Morgan St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 1. The event showcases more than 100 vendors, who sell everything from jewelry to candles and paper goods. There’s also a Kids Zone with activities and snacks, and D.I.Y. classes in subjects such as wreath and ornament-making. Pro tip: Classes require reservations, so sign up here.

Pilsen Winter Market kicked off its winter season on Sunday. Running every other Sunday through April 2020, the indoor market takes place at the Honky Tonk BBQ (1800 S. Racine Ave.) It features more than 25 vendors, and almost all of them are female Latinas. Along with crafts, bakers, and artists, the market offers live music and a cash bar.


Nordstrom’s latest pop-up concept, the Happiness Is Pop-In @Nordstrom is now open at select stores, including the Michigan Avenue and Oak Brook locations. Open through January 5, the cheerful shop specializes in quirky holiday gifts in categories ranging from health to travel and tech. And if you like Peanuts, you’re in luck: The shop has a Snoopy snow globe, a Woodstock pouch, and more.


Bella Bridesmaids (1 E. Delaware Pl., has launched a collaboration with Dessy. The new line offers bridesmaid dresses for $175 a pop. The dresses come in a variety of colors and in styles ranging from strapless to off-the-shoulder. Bella Bridesmaids stocks dresses in sizes 0 to 30.

Wood & Wax Co. (, an online beauty and candle company based in Lincoln Square, has launched its holiday collection. With floral-print packaging to make them extra gift-worthy, the goods include moisturizing body oil with a spicy Vanilla Clove scent ($28) and a Winter Solstice candle ($28) scented with seasonal ingredients such as Siberian fir and sugared berries. Browse the whole collection here.

Retail News of the Week

  • Despite earlier plans, Oak Park’s Val’s Halla Records now plans to stay open. Read more.
  • City Grange gardening center in Beverly will host a holiday pop-up shop through December 22. Read more.
  • rounds up Black Friday hours at local stores and malls. Read more.