Link Love

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You’re never too old for Christmas jammies.

Grace Atwood and her blog Stripes & Sequins are definitely on Santa’s “nice” list this year- loving the #AsGoodAsGold guest post she did with Megan Runser.

’tis the season for bubbly…and apparently, everything we know about champagne glasses is wrong. Oh.

9 simple, not complicated tips for holiday table settings.

The Tile App is genius. There is nothing more frustrating than losing your keys/purse/etc.

Downtown Chicago during the holidays…I love seeing these old photos.

The last episode of Serial comes out tomorrow and this Funny or Die video cracked me up. Mail Kimp.

The Santa Clause: 20 Years Old

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The Santa Clause is TWENTY years old this year! How is that possible? I remember 1994 and it doesn’t feel that long ago…

As far as Christmas movies go, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, the classics are absolutely at the top of my favorites. But The Santa Clause is my jam. More specifically, it’s my and my Dad’s jam. We know every single word (to the point where my step-mom and husband won’t watch it with us because we just recite it the entire time) and I have, on more than one occasion, sent my Dad photos from meat cases with the message “You like osso bucco, Charlie?”. We were walking into Quartino for dinner last weekend when my Dad leaned over and said to me “Are you with Hatsu Tashi?” to which I replied “Dad burnt the turkey.”

I don’t know think this movie is considered to have a cult following like, say, The Christmas Story but in our house, The Santa Clause is it.

And now that The Santa Clause is 20 years old, I think it has cemented Christmas classic status and can join the rest of my Top 5. Check out the trailer above- doesn’t it make you feel like a kid on a special outing to the movie theater with a slushie and popcorn again?

I also think Judy nailed it when she said “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.” Wise words, little elf.

Holiday Bucket Listing

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Caroling at Cloudgate, Zoo Lights, impromptu cocktails, shopping…this weekend really took a bite out of my holiday bucket list. My family was in town to celebrate Christmas and it was such a fun mix of old traditions and new. The unseasonably warm temperatures was certainly something new; I am so used to doing our family festiveness while the biting cold hits my face! While I do love how beautiful Michigan Avenue looks covered in snow, being able to get away with wearing a blazer while running out to get one last gift for our celebration was quite a treat. And this city is just begging to be photographed in all of it’s holiday glory which was nice to be do without removing gloves every two seconds.

Still on the holiday deck: “White Christmas” viewing at The Music Box Theatre and somehow find that Santa Train. And maybe bake some cookies. If anyone has a recipe they love, please share!


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Earlier this week, one of my favorite authors/people Shauna Niequist wrote on Facebook that “kindness as we communicate is a core value to me” and I have been thinking about it all week. Kindness is a core value of mine as well and whether it’s on the news, the internet, in person, in our community, there has been a lot of unkindness as of late. I took this photo (it is entirely made of pushpins!) in August at a restaurant in Boise, Idaho and it’s message is really all we need to carry with us throughout our days. Be kind to one another. Be kind to yourself. Lead from kindness. Nothing bad can come from being kind.



Tavola Italiana at Mariano’s

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When I was studying abroad in Italy, I discovered arancini (pronounced ah-run-chee-nee). Balls of rice with meat or cheese in the middle, this was the first dish I tried recreating upon returning back to the states because I loved it so much. I had never had anything like them before and it may be safe to say that I haven’t had anything like them since because I am pretty sure my version was not right. It felt apart, I always burned it…just not right.

Fortunately, Mariano’s (my favorite grocery store in the world) is celebrating their launch of Tavola Italiana, their exclusive trade partnership with the Italian Trade Agency. In addition to selling food and beverage items imported directly from Italy, they are hosting a ton of classes and demos led by some of the best chef’s in Chicago. When I saw the Arancini making class, I knew I had to learn how to finally master this dish I had loved.

It was a blast. Chef Rich Mancini was fantastic- he so nice and the technique he showed us was the missing link for me. Terlato Wines was on hand for a wine pairing and the sweet man who played the accordion really put the experience over the top (or as my seatmate said- “the accordion is a dying art form, is it not?”). I had the nicest conversations with people who also loved Italy and had spent a lot time there so I basically came home wanting to book a one way ticket back to the motherland. Travel talk is some of my favorite talk.

Two locations of Mariano’s will be hosting events like this through the 14th. Click here to check out Bucktown’s schedule and click here to see what Ravenswood has going on. Bravo to Mariano’s for this awesome new endeavor!

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5 Questions With…Erica Bethe Levin

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Erica Kane

Erica Bethe Levin is everything. No, really. Triple threat (I heart musical theater but this gal can actually rock the stage!), PR whiz, Northwestern alum…oh and founder and Editor-on-Chief of Cheeky Chicago. She created Cheeky Chicago to be the ultimate guide for women in the city and give them the inside scoop on the restaurant scene, events, connect them with other awesome women around town and now 6 years old, Cheeky Chicago has 100% achieved that goal. Posting 30+ articles a week on and partnering with the hottest spots in town to host super cool events, Erica has created a really unique community for women in Chicago, a virtual best friend to let us know the good word is. I am in love with the part of their mission that aims to “Have the confidence to treat all women with respect.” Right on.

In addition to being one heck of an entrepreneur and one of the most grounded, kind people I know, Erica is also a newlywed! She met her husband while waiting for the #22 bus and was married at one of my favorite spots in the city, POPS for Champagne this fall…so cheeky, so Chicago.

Without further adieu, 5 Questions with…Erica Bethe Levin.

1. What is your favorite thing about where you live?  I love the fact that Chicago is the best city in the world. We have skyscrapers AND the beach. Extreme diversity and culture, the best restaurants, a friendly Midwestern mentality and it is super clean. I love that I live IN the city, but it feels like I live in a small neighborhood with trees and flowers and puppies!

2. Here’s 50 bucks- what are you going to do with her? If someone handed me $50, I’d probably go to Whole Foods and make a surprisingly decadent meal for me and my husband.

3. What is your favorite holiday and why?  My favorite holiday is 100% Thanksgiving. It is one of the only holidays that doesn’t require gifts or presents or pretense, and is simply about family, food, being together, and thankfulness.

4. What’s the best trip or vacation you have ever been on? The best trip I’ve ever been on was my honeymoon. All vacations are great, but when you know it’s the only time you’ll ever do it, it just takes it to a whole new level.

 5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? If I knew I could not fail, I’d probably start about 8 new businesses that have been brewing in my head. After starting, I know the love it takes to nurse and bring a baby business to life. I’d like to do that 100 more times!