The excitement of fall is over for me. At first I get excited to wear cute fall boots and coats, but now it has taken a turn towards cold. When it’s cold, I just want to drink red wine by the fireplace while watching Scandal (I’m obsessed). When I am not freezing, I am freaking out about daylight savings time. Food photos are just so much better in natural lighting, so the less daylight there is, the harder it is to do my job.
Even though I did spend a considerable amount of October binge watching Scandal and getting hooked on How To Get Away With Murder – I found time for other activities. Here are some of my favorite moments from the past month.
I went to a Rick Bayless Holiday Cooking Demo hosted by Macy’s Culinary Council. Chef Bayless is so warm and personable – and very humble. His demos are filled with little tidbits of information ranging from how to tell if an avocado is ripe, to more advanced advice like explaining how tomatoes that are ripened on the vine have 100 times more umami (umami is the fifth taste that roughly translates to savory-ness). Chef Bayless explained that he views the food groups as being margaritas, guacamole, and snacks – even this contradicts his statement at Chicago Gourmet that doughnuts and champagne were the food groups, I’m ok with it. He showed the crowd how to prepare guacamole, and encouraged us to experiment with adding in different sweet and crunchy elements.
I attended to Go Blog Social’s Chicago Pop up and was so inspired by talks from Farissa of What RU Wearing, Cait of Pretty & Fun, and Danielle Moss from The Everygirl. I also just love getting to spend time with my blogging friends. There is so much that we can learn from each other, and GBS events are always so inspiring.
I judged Cakes vs. Pies, a competition created by my coworkers who were in a heated debate over which was better. Each team selected 2 items from Chicago bakeries for the face off. While Team Cake scored points for creativity, Team Pie was the winner. First place went to Hoosier Mama’s Fat Elvis, a chocolate, peanut butter, banana, and pretzel pie. Second place went to Hoosier Mama’s Key Lime Pie. Third place went to Sweet Mandy B’s classic yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Last place went to a strawberry champagne cake from Luscious Layers.
Wedding season came to a close with a spectacular wedding earlier in the month. I tried Rent the Runway for the first time, and I was a huge fan of the dress rental service.
The Tie Bar pop up shop opened at 918 West Armitage – I was so impressed by the selection and the reasonable prices. I bought Charles a new bow tie with a matching pocket square. The styles range from traditional ties men could wear to work to whimsical bow ties with mustaches. The store sells ties, bow ties, cuff links, suspenders, pocket squares, tie clips, and socks. Customers can build gift sets making it a great holiday gift option. They also have a line designed by Jesse Tyler Ferguson that raises money for his charity Tie The Knot.
(photo credit: http://instagram.com/egjewelry)
Chicago jewelry shop Erin Gallagher had a fun party. I love supporting small local businesses and Erin Gallagher has the cutest jewelry. It’s on Webster Street, which is one of the more adorable streets in the city.
My sister and I celebrated the start of stone crab season at Del Friscos. The first stone crabs of the season arrived at Del Friscos in a limo and were walked down a red carpet. Then we were treated to a champagne reception where we learned how to crack the crabs open using a spoon. I wasn’t very familiar with stone crab fishing practices, but I learned that it is very focused on sustainability. Fishermen only remove one claw from the crab, and then they are returned to the ocean. The claw that was removed will grow back. Stone crabs are flown to Del Friscos daily during stone crab season, which lasts until May.
Land artist Simon Beck launched a new collaboration with fitness/outdoor gear retailer Icebreaker. Beck creates installation art in landscapes by manipulating sand and snow. He is really the only person creating this type of art. Beck said that his goal is to leave only his footprints behind, and he creates art that interacts with the landscape without harming it. Simon’s intricate, gigantic, awe-inspiring snow and sand drawings have been captured as designs on Icebreaker merino wool in a men’s and women’s collection for Fall/Winter 2014. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will support Icebreaker’s donation to Protect Our Winters, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to fighting climate change. I have been living in my Icebreaker hooded shirt lately, it’s the warmest. I got to meet Simon Beck at the event and he was very generous with his time, and I was able to interview him for windycitybloggers.com.
Sprinkles launched a new seasonal Halloween Boo Box, and they provided me with samples! The cupcakes in the box include: apple caramel, red velvet, white cake with chocolate frosting, and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. The Boo Box is available until 10/31.
Last night the Windy City Blogger Collective hosted a yoga event at lululemon athetica. Each of the Chicago lululemon locations offer one free class per week, making this a great way to add yoga to your routine. It had been quite a while since my last workout, and I loved how relaxing the class was. The instructor was wonderful, and I definitely want to go back for another class. After the class we each got to select a tank to bring home. The selection was so big that everyone ended up picking out something completely different.
Perhaps most importantly, did you know that Shake Shack is finally opening in Chicago?! I couldn’t be more excited. The have the best vegetarian mushroom burger ever – it is stuffed with cheese, battered, and deep fried. Aren’t the best things in life stuffed with cheese and deep fried? To celebrate Shake Shack’s upcoming opening in the windy city, I am hosting a giveaway! The Shake Shack will open in River North at 66 East Ohio in November.