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Tuesday
Oct232012

TRENDS from CS Interiors 5th Anniversary HOME

Isn't it fun to oogle picture-perfect show houses? I always like to imagine my life in the space ("Let's adjourn to the living room. You know, the room with the hand-stitched leather walls. But first, grab a drink from the refrigerator. It's behind the faux ostrich skin panel.") and the CS Interiors Fifth Anniversary Home was an ideal occasion to do so. Better yet, it was hosted at the newly completed Ritz-Carlton Residences, which I have been dying to peek. Neither the building nor the decor disappointed. Have a look at the six rooms, outfitted by some of the city's top designers.

Foyer and Bathroom

by Anne Coyle
 

 

Bedroom

by Tracy Hickman

 

Den

by James E. Ruud

 

Dining Room

by Jessica Lagrange

 

Kitchen

by Julia Buckingham Edelmen

 

Living Room

by Tom Stringer

Monday
Oct222012

Stylish HALLOWEEN inspiration at FASHION FOCUS Masquerade

Well, look at that... Halloween's almost here! Do you have a costume yet? If you're still hunting for inspiration, I think I found it Saturday night at the Fashion Focus event, Via del Corso Masquerade, held at Fiat of Chicago.

While I was there covering the evening's festivities as the eyes and ears for The Printed Blog, I couldn't help but pick up some costume tips. Forget the pre-packaged Sexy Nurse/Devil/Schoolgirl from your local pop-up shop. The most stylish models (and guests!) at Via del Corso were sporting three things:

1) A mask. The more unusual, the better
2) Memorable hair, ranging from simple streaks of color to poofy wigs made of colored cotton.
3) A killer outfit. This is the time for something glam and over-the-top, yet comfortable, since Halloween celebrations have a habit of morphing into multi-venue nights.


A few of my favorites:

GUESS WHO, on the right? ;)

Besides the juicy people watching, Rosemary Fanti was on site creating her beloved fashion illustrations, and Das Foods set up a delicious candy bar, including their "Man Bait" bacon/maple lollipops. I admit, I took one for the road and had it for breakfast this morning.

And the performers! Just look at these costumes! Their detailed corsets (like the one shown above, from Romantika) and elaborate masks were so eye-catching. The trick to making a costume look expensive are the little details, like luxe fabric and lace.

As fun as the performers were, the highlight of the evening were the three fashion shows, hosted by Whitney Reynolds of NBC 5.


No, that's not Whitney's dagger - just a model who's prepared for an emergency.

 

Ok, is everyone seated?

 

Enough waiting, on with the show! I hope this inspires you as much as it did me.


photos: Dean Paul



bottom row of photos: Dean Paul


photo: Dean Paul


Happy Halloween!

Saturday
Oct202012

Three CRAFT Halloween COCKTAILS

Some people always order "the usual", no matter what the weather. Others (i.e. me) throw ourselves headfirst into the sips of the season. Floral in the spring! Fruity in the summer! And fall brings boots, scarves, and heavier cocktails.

These recipes are from Benny's Chop House appropriately named "Pick Your Poison" cocktail menu. They're hosting a (free!) North Shore Distillery Party on November 2. Passed apps, cocktails, and the usual merriment will ensue.

Should you want to try your hand at being a Benny's mixologist, the recipes are below. Some of these ingredients are on the exotic side, and unless you're a serious liquor aficionado, I admit they might sit on your bar cart for quite a while afterwards. But maybe you should invite lots of people over for cocktails before heading out to any number of Halloween events in the city ...most of which are not actually on Halloween, leaving parents and single-house dwellers free to do door duty on the 31st.

At any rate, you have November 1st to recover. I'll see you at Benny's on the 2nd!

Corpse Reviver #444

Rinse glass with North Shore Absinthe
-1 oz. North Shore Gin #6
-1 oz. Fresh Lemon
-1 oz. Combier Orange Liquor
-1 oz. Lillet Blanc
Garnish with Cherry


Gotham and Gomorrah

-2 oz. Willet Rye Whiskey
-.5 oz. Vanilla-Pear Syrup
-Dash Fernet Branca
-Top with Peychaud's Bitters

Headless Horseman

-.75 oz. Falernum
-.75 oz Sailor Jerry Rum
Top with O'Fallon Pumpkin Ale

Photo Credit: Cheston Boque

More Halloween tipples:

Silly/Sophisticated Halloween Cocktails

Fruity Cocktails for Fall

Pumpkin Chai Cocktail

Thursday
Oct182012

Five tips for trying a NEW LOOK, inspired by MasterCard "PRICELESS CHICAGO"

Neiman Marcus popovers and consommé. More, please!Recently, my friends at MasterCard invited me to enjoy one of their "Priceless Chicago" experiences. Would I like to spend the day at Neiman Marcus, eating lunch at The Zodiac, getting a facial, and playing with makeup and clothes? Why, yes. Yes, I would.

Priceless Chicago experiences cover every interest from concerts to cuisine, with the schedule continuously updated. As many of you know, I'm the editor of the fashion/pop culture site You Know You Love Fashion and I decided to turn my Neiman Marcus Day of Pampering into a mini style session, based on TV's hottest heroines of the season.

(Incidentally, I recently saw a funny quote: "I wish I were as proud of anything as when people who don't watch TV are when they proudly claim that they don't watch TV.")

The details of the looks I chose are over at You Know You Love Fashion, but if you're thinking of trying a new look this season, here are a few tips to remember:

1) Stick to colors that flatter you. I have recently come to terms with the fact that unless I have a tan, I just can't wear a black turtleneck. It's too much black too close to my fair face. So, no Audrey Hepburn fantasy for me. Speaking of color...
2) Experiment with color in unexpected places. Yes, I'm talking about colored pants, and yes, you can wear them even if you're past your twenties.
3) Look for interesting details outside your norm. For instance, leather trim - real or faux - is huge this fall.
4) Try a subtle change in your hair. I feel ten times sassier with my new bangs! (Uh-oh.)
5) Switch up your makeup routine. Stuck in a smokey eye and lip gloss rut? Try a sharp cat-eye liner with a matte lipstick in a similar color as your gloss. It's a different kind of drama.

Me, sporting a daring new Trish McEvoy lipstick (hmm...what do you think?) and surrounded by gorgeous clothes inspired by this season's fall TV line-up. See the details of this collection on YouKnowYouLoveFashion.com.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Simple + Seasonal: Sage

We may determine the arrival of fall by the change in color of leaves but for me, it's also about the smells in the air. I love that moment when you realize that the air no longer smells sweet like summer but crisp from a cold snap with a hint of smoke from burning raked leaf piles. Around my house, the air is also heavy with the aroma of fall cooking-- apple pies, butternut squash soup, and roasted chickens. And where there's roasted chickens, there has to be sage.

I love sage-- the way it smells, tastes, looks and feels. The leaves are long and dark green with tips of purple, covered with a velvety fur. It has a strong, woody flavor and is also good for you, being a good source of calcium and Vitamin A.

 

Storage

Buy it fresh and it will keep for at least a week when stored in your refrigerator, the stems wrapped in a damp paper towel and kept in a plastic sandwich bag. Dried sage will keep for up to six months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark space.

 

Pairs with

Sage goes well with pork (think breakfast sausage-- that's the flavor you're no doubt tasting), chicken, turkey, and winter squashes.

But my favorite thing about sage? Throw it in some oil or butter and it crisps up beautifully. See for yourself by making this brown butter sage popcorn, a perfect autumnal snack to share with others after a day of apple picking or while watching a football game.

 

Brown Butter Sage Popcorn

Note: Brown butter is melted butter that is cooked until the milk solids are toasty brown. It's probably the most delicious substance on earth but can be tricky to make because there is a fine line between brown and burned.

Finely chop 1/4 cup of fresh sage leaves and place in a small, preferrably light colored pan with 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Turn the heat up to medium high until the butter melts. The butter will foam up, then once the foam dissipates, reduce the heat to medium low. Take a wooden spoon and stir the butter frequently. Do not walk away or turn your attention away from the butter because you need to keep an eye on it to make sure the milk solids don't burn. You're looking for the butter to turn a golden brown color and take on a sweet, nutty aroma, so a light colored pan helps with noticing the color change. Altogether, it should take about 5-7 minutes to brown. Pour the brown butter into a glass measuring cup and set aside while you pop the corn.

Pop 1/2 cup of yellow popcorn kernals in an air popper according to the machine's instructions. If you don't have an air popper, you can make it on the stovetop. Once you've made the popcorn, add it to a big bowl, pour on the brown butter, making sure to scrape in all those tasty bits of sage. Salt to taste with fine grain sea salt (I use 1 teaspoon) and mix. Serve it up right away and when the bowl is empty, I highly recommend using your fingers to pick and lick up any remaining crispy sage pieces that clung to the sides of the bowl.

Be sure to try using this sage brown butter on butternut squash ravioli or mix in toasted pumpkin seeds, for diping pieces of crusty bread for a twist on bread and butter too!

Simple + Seasonal Cooking by Christina Wong
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Christina is the author of Unchained Kitchen and is on Twitter @cj_wong. Read her full bio here.

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