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Earlier this week, the corner of State and Walton in the Gold Coast was abuzz with brides to be and lovers of lovely things when BHLDN ("Beholden") opened the doors for a preview party of their second brick-and-mortar store.

The gorgeous 3,600 square foot shop resembles a 19th century European townhouse with 15-foot ceilings, grand windows and a spiral staircase.


BHLDN partnered with Martha Stewart Weddings to host the party, with Editorial Director Darcy Miller Nussbaum in attendance!


Over 300 guests ooh'd and ahh'd over the gorgeous items.


The aforementioned staircase...


...with this lovely gown near the top. Look at the detailing!


While the first floor is for bridesmaids and occasion dresses, the second floor holds wedding gowns, accessories, and day-of decor. Angel wings adorn the coffered ceiling of the main accessory room.

And those blue walls! Stunning.


BHLDN is part of the Anthrologie/Urban Outfitters family. While there are touches of influence from both (the vintage style of Anthro and the whimsy of UO) its style is uniquely BHLDN.

These luxe shrugs definitely caught my eye. They work for the bride or for black tie.


As the evening went on, Truffleberry Market provided sustenance, along with some clever ideas for passed hors d'oeuvre displays. Below, a hat box filled with rice gives tuna cones a boost, while paper pinwheels adorn a tray of truffle pinwheels.

And yes, the sea salt peanut butter chocolate cups were as delicious as they sound.


You might be wondering if there's anything at BHLDN for the gents. Why of course! Look, they get a whole bookcase all to themselves!  :)


In the decor room I briefly chatted with Darcy Miller (pic to come!) while trying not to dart my eyes around at all the gorgeous things. Don't you just love that delicate confetti in the first picture?


In the lingerie room (yes, there's a lingerie room) I found these vases which pull double-duty as charming table markers.


Also in the lingerie room, paper artist Ruth Monsell was busy making silhouettes. I got mine done just in time...when I was finished, I looked up to see that the line had grown to huge proportions! BHLDN was certainly the place to be that night.


Back in the accessory room, I found some fabulous shoes and vintage rings...


...and lots of fascinators. The royal wedding really gave state-side milliners a boost, I think.


BHLDN's visual merchandisers deserve a round of applause. It's very easy to look at the items, thanks to museum cases such as this one.

But what about wedding dresses? Isn't this a bridal store?


Behold, the wedding gown room!


Some of my favorites are below. I'm seeing shades of Pippa in the first one.

BHLDN is at 8 East Walton in Chicago and is definitely worth a visit...even if you're not a bride!


Winter gear storage SOLUTIONS for your HALLWAY

Even during a relatively mild Chicago winter, there is still the inevitable cache of winter gear to wrangle this time of year. If not managed, scarves, gloves and hats can turn a once pristine entryway into a soggy mess. But there's no need to stash all your winter gear in a plastic bin in the closet. Keep it handy in your entryway--and stylishly contained--with these 10 bins, furnishings, hooks and racks.


 Vintage steel furniture purveyor Twenty Gauge  is a great source for sturdy, industrial storage solutions (among other one-of-a-kind finds), including these basket lockers, which doubles as a entry-way console.  I’m smitten with Brooklyn-based Wintercheck Factory’s clever home goods and apparel, including this Arthur Coat Rack, which provides storage for shoes, hats, gloves (not to mention phone, keys and the like).
From Z Gallerie -- a cute, inexpensive solution for stashing wet umbrellas.

I’ve long been a fan of Jill Rosenwald’s pottery. On a entryway table, this large Ikat bee bowl is a pretty vessel for gloves, keys and other small items.


An alternative to the boot tray, these Inside Out concrete tiles by Toma (check out the brand’s other winter gear storage solutions) will stylishly protect your floor from wet boots.

The best part of these Dove Stacking Baskets by andries & hiroko van onck for magis (available at Unica Home)? Roll them into the closet (if you really must).


Stilleben Wall Hooks in punchy colors are cheerful enough to adorn your wall sans winter wear.

This Ribbon Coat Rack from Headsprung is an elegant solution for hanging coats and scarves. When the weather turns warm, it makes for a chic wall sculpture.

For a more affordable bench-storage option, opt for Target’s ikat-patterned bench.

Known for practical basics with minimalist style, Muji makes containers like this tin bucket that can store your goods without breaking the bank.


Interior Decorating and Design by Christine Sisson
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Christine is on Twitter @WordsOnStyle. Read her full bio here.


Winter BRUNCH tips from my WGN segment

Do you feel like hibernating this time of year? I know, me too. Instead of hiding under the duvet and dreaming of summer, carpe frigus diem and have a few friends over for a cozy winter brunch.

Last week I shared recipe, decor, and drink tips for just such a soiree on WGN's "Midday Fix"...watch it at WGNtv.com and then invite your friends in from out of the cold!


Your own patch of GREEN: How to make a TERRARIUM

Winter always gets me a bit stir crazy, so this year, I made my own little tropical paradise in a terrarium. These little gardens are only limited by your imagination, and are very easy to create and maintain!

To start, you'll need a container. Take a look around the house and see if you happen to have any glass vessels like an old vase, pitcher, brandy snifter or punch bowl. There are myriad options at your local craft store, but also check out thrift stores and resale shops.

I chose this vase for its fat bottom and bubbly glass.

You will need...
Drop cloth or newspaper for easy cleanup
A glass vessel that has no drainage
Pebbles or gravel – you’ll need enough to cover the bottom of your vessel to about an inch
Activated charcoal
Potting soil (preferably without added fertilizer)
Trowel or scoop
Snips or scissors
Small scale houseplants
Any other nifty bits like beach glass, pretty rocks, chipped china, or miniature accessories


First, give your glass container a quick rinse to clear out any dust or dirt. Also, rinse your pebbles and charcoal to minimize the dust. The charcoal dust can seep down into your pebbles and look black and nasty. You can use a strainer or a large bowl.


Layer your pebbles on the bottom of your vessel to the depth of about an inch. This creates the drainage needed so your plants don’t drown. I chose to do a mix of large pebbles and small gravel as I wanted to emphasize the natural look of the pebbles. I also picked through them and chose some of the prettiest to use as a final touch.


Sprinkle a thin layer of activated charcoal across your pebbles. The charcoal keeps your soil sweet and minimizes bacteria. You can find it and the pebbles at your local pet store in the aquarium supplies.


Add a layer of potting soil. Start with about an inch or two that you can add to later. You may want to create hills or valleys in your terrarium – go for it!


Plant choices: in general (unless you are doing a succulent terrarium) choose a variety of low light, high moisture houseplants. Ferns and mosses are ideal.

Pop your plants out of their pots. In my case, the variegated creeping fig came apart immediately, so I was able to split it and put it in several spots. Depending on the depth of your vessel, it may make sense to trim the roots or shake off a good deal of the existing soil. It can be a tight fit to get the plants planted, but the roots will be fine with a bit of cutting. Also, you may need to trim your plants down in size. With the rex begonia, I cut off a good third of the foliage to make it fit. Remember, this is a miniature landscape, so you will want to use small plants. We don’t want them to grow too much, which is why I suggest choosing a potting soil without added fertilizer.


After you get your plants snuggled in and topped off with a bit more potting soil, think about what other embellishments you may want to add. I sprinkled in my pretty pebbles, some hickory nuts, and an artfully broken black walnut. You can also add twigs, bark, shells – almost anything!


With all the plants and embellishments in place, water the terrarium thoroughly. If you are using an enclosed vessel, you will rarely need to water as the transpiration of the plants creates high humidity. You’ll have water dripping down your glass. Do lift the lid or the cloche now and again to get fresh air into your little environment as it can get too stale. With an open container, make sure that soil is evenly moist.


Wasn't that easy? In just an hour, I have a pretty new arrangement. Terrariums can be lovely additions to the home, but also consider creating one for the office. These little gardens can really brighten up a workspace.

Get more terrarium tips and ideas on my blog!


Gardening by Heather Prince

Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Heather is on Twitter @FearlessGarden. Read her full bio here.


{scene} Sneak peak: "First Look for Charity" gala menu

The Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity is one of the city's most prominent galas, donating more than 31 million dollars to local charities since its inception. Held right on the auto show floor, attendees in black-tie get an exclusive "sneak peek" of the Chicago Auto Show, before doors open to the public.

Last week I tooled around town on a menu tour for this spectacular fundraiser, sampling bites from Savor (the new caterer at McCormick Place), Fogo de Chao, Wildfire, David Burke's PRIMEHOUSE. They're among the many restaurants donating their time and talent to First Look. Each establishment will serve 5,000 pieces at 45 food stations, totalling 90 different food items. See the full menu here, and drool over the photos below.

Tickets are $250 each, with a whopping 90% going directly to eighteen local charities. Sounds like a win-win...I'll see you there! (Oh, and don't wear painful shoes. There's quite a bit of walking to do.)

First Look For Charity
February 9, 2012
McCormick Place
Black-tie attire
Buy tickets here

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