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I know it’s not a competition but if National Donut Day was in fact a competition, my Dad and I would win.

It’s really cute how everyone on social media today is all #NationalDonutDay but the old man and I practically invented a holiday around our favorite breakfast confection because every day we consumed a donut was a celebration, we love them so much.

I am an only child so you might assume that a 4 pack pictured above would be the the amount of donuts brought into our house but you would be mistaken. Saturday mornings were usually met with a baker’s dozen from the local gas station that doubled as a (surprisingly decent) donut shop. If I had a friend spend the night? All bets were off, two dozen were sitting on the kitchen counter when we emerged from our sleeping bags. Krispy Kreme were for amateurs, over-hyped small boring glazed discs…we were apple fritter, long john (custard, not creme), cake donut with any topping aficionados. And don’t get us started about french crullers or blueberry cake donuts. Or properly done apple cider donuts (why are they dry so often?).

When I moved to Chicago, our donut game got real and my Dad and I started making the rounds. I will never forget the day I went to meet up with my parents and saw my Dad carrying a bright orange box proudly down State Street. I didn’t even have to tell him about Glazed and Infused- the siren song of fresh, real deal donuts lured him there.

My husband (then-fiance) once claimed that Do-Rite Donuts had the best apple fritter in the city so my Dad and I immediately headed toward Randolph Street. I honestly think my Dad considered stopping our wedding. Best fritter in the city it was not.

In honor of this alleged #NationalDonutDay, I present to you the Chicago Tour de Donut. These selections were made after doing some serious leg, err, donut work and my suggestions do not come lightly- this is seriously the bees knees of donuts.

Glazed & Infused: Apple Fritter

Stan’s Donuts: Glazed or the Donut Gelato Sandwich

Dinkel’s Bakery: Cake with Coconut

BomboBar (Bar Siena- the walk-up window on the side): Salted Caramel Bomboloni

And for the love of sugar, if you happen to be in Charleston, SC today PLEASE go to Glazed Gourmet and buy everything and eat everything. My best pals woke me up with a box of glory from this place on my bachelorette party and I will never forget how happy I felt covered in powered sugar and smiles.

High five, Daddio- you taught me well.

Beer Under Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory

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Beer Under Glass

Have you ever been to the Garfield Park Conservatory? One of my clients is in the craft beer industry and I was invited to join them at the kickoff to Chicago Craft Beer Week called Beer Under Glass and was blown away by how gorgeous the conservatory was. It is basically the biggest, most beautiful greenhouse I have ever seen under a canopy of glass. And while it was a gorgeous evening, after the cold chill we had last week it felt really good to be somewhere that was warm and slightly humid.

Oh and there was beer. Really, really good beer. My little sampling glass (pictured above) was filled with several craft brews during the event and favorites included Moody Tongue’s Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter and the grilled pineapple and rhubarb infused Farmhouse Ale from Smylie Brothers– bonus points for the beer history lesson I got from Brad the head brewer which was seriously fascinating and awesome.

To recap: drinking local craft beer while surrounded by gorgeous greenery in a historic Chicago landmark. Beer Under Glass is about as solid an event as they come.

Garfield Conservatory

Smylie Bros BUG

Garfield Park Conservatory at night with moon


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Lincoln Park North Pond City View

Happy Friday from North Pond in Lincoln Park! Signs of Spring are slowly but surely popping up and for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for March Madness and that I always pick the Ivy League teams to do better than they should. My bracket is in great shape going into today and a victory for the Spartans will make for a stellar way to kickoff the weekend.

Enjoy the day, friends!

Random Update

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Lincoln Park Colorful Row Houses

I know I came out of the blue with that post about UberEATS yesterday so I figured a little update of the most random sort was in order:

This winter has been a godsend, especially after the last 2 winters Chicago has had. Getting outside to run and walk and really do anything has been infinitely more enjoyable than any February or March I can remember.

I am OBSESSED with Siggi’s Yogurt, particularly the Vanilla-Fig flavor. Lots of Icelandic-style yogurt being consumed around here.

On the drive to Michigan for my grandmother’s memorial, my husband put on the Hamilton cast album so I would have something to do while he worked in the car. As much as I love singing, there is 1000% a reason why I don’t do it for a living and God bless that man for listening to me belt out every.single.part of that musical (except for Lafayette because rapping with a French accent is hard.)

Speaking of belting out songs, Soul Cycle had an all Broadway ride last Friday and I went and was surrounded by my people…overly enthusiastic musical geeks who knew and performed every song right alongside me. I usually don’t love Soul Cycle but singing out loud while riding a bike is hard so two thumbs up for the Broadway ride at Soul Cycle.

I started a brand development and public relations company in November and the website went up this week. I really believe that big companies, small companies, startups, you name it can craft really incredible stories that lend themselves to impactful marketing campaigns and it’s been really cool bringing that work to organizations I believe in. Check out the GardnerMediaCollective.com and don’t hesitate to shoot me a note, I would love to work together.

I have been pouring over the Frankie’s Sputino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. Their Sunday sauce is simmering on our stove on most weekends and I love the laid back way they talk through recipes.

UberEATS Launches in Chicago

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UberEATS Chicago

As if Uber getting me all over town wasn’t enough, now they want to bring me food from pretty much wherever I want.

UberEATS launches today in Chicago and the new stand-alone app features 100+ of the best restaurants in Chicago and allows Chicagoans to order from their full menus 8ammidnight, 7 days per week. I tried it out last night and it was pretty great. From the moment I decided I did not, in fact, want to eat scrambled eggs to when my quinoa wrap from Lyfe Kitchen showed up was about 25 minutes and everything tasted just as great as eating there. My husband and I always hate ordering takeout because apps like Seamless only offer us places we don’t go to normally so we are left with food we only sort of want to eat sitting on our couch. I was really impressed that UberEATS offered healthy options like Lyfe Kitchen, Blue Door Farm Stand…and Homeslice. Because sometimes you don’t want to fight off DePaul students to get that glorious pizza.

The fine people at Uber were kind enough to send me a promo code for $10 off your UberEATS order- use the code JustaChiTownGirl and you’re set to jet.

{this post was not sponsored other than my promo code- I just really liked this service and think you will too.}

Weekend Pause Button

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Last weekend was one of those weekends I wish had a pause button and now that we have a few inches of snow on the ground, I really wish that there was pause button because those 60 degree days were glorious. But until the next thaw comes, I will remember the glass of wine I drank outside with this view and our trip to the Milk Room. Spending time outside in February just feels like the craziest gift, you know? If you don’t know, look out the window at that white stuff and we’ll be on the same page.

Sidebar: The Milk Room, an 8 seat cocktail bar in the Chicago Athletic Association, is one of the coolest places we have ever been too. Formerly the teeny room used to store milk in the early 1900s / booze during Prohibition, it now houses a cocktail experience…which sounds like a weird thing to say but when you’re drinking Campari from the 1970s, Bourbon from the 50s, listening the Bob Dylan on vinyl and learning about it all from the single bartender with only candles lighting the way, it’s an experience. An extravagant experience but a date that will rank the top of our list for years to come.   

Winter Pep Rally

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Chicago Lakefront Skyline

The football team at my high school won 2 games over the course of my junior and senior years. I was a cheerleader so one can imagine that yelling words of encouragement that never seem to come to fruition got to be a bit of a challenge over time. But we kept cheering and every Friday, regardless of the team’s record, there was a pep rally in the gym. The team would come out, people would say more encouraging sentiments, there were high kicks and jumping around and come Friday night, everyone would gather in the football stadium to see if tonight was the night the team would be cheered to victory.

My high school football team = winter in Chicago.

I look at the 15 day forecast and think “It’s over 30 degrees, that’s great!” and then it is 30 degrees and I am…cold. And going to be cold for the foreseeable future. Last Saturday’s 60 degree temps was like the really, super nice kid on the football team who catches a pass and you reeaaallly want him to make it to the end zone… and then he gets pummeled. Nice day but our optimism for good weather was abruptly cut short by the loss of 2o degrees the following day.

I walked outside today, saw the sunshine and realized that winter needs a pep rally otherwise I am going to lose perspective that it’s the Midwest in February and this is how it’s supposed to be.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is open all year so I walked over to see what animals were out and about. The zebras were doing their thing, chasing each other around, the lions were sunbathing, and I had the nicest chat with the zookeeper for the gorillas who usually don’t go outside until it’s 45 degrees but because it was sunny and no wind, they got to get some fresh air today. They seemed happy about this development.

The construction on the lake at Fullerton is finally complete so I checked out the new walkways and the view of the skyline, which is always pretty awesome. I walked along the lake home, imaging the empty marinas filled with boats and that I might someday be in this exact spot sans big puffy winter coat.

It was a winter in Chicago pep rally. You can do it! You can warm up and not snow anymore and make it pleasant be outside! Goooooo Weather!

While this rally will likely result in another loss, i.e. no warm weather in sight, I will take in the sights and activities our awesome city has to offer while bundled up knowing that cheering for brighter days is better than just assuming they will never come.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lions


Chicago Holiday Happenings

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It’s the first day of December, my halls are decked and the holiday season in Chicago is on. There’s no better place to get in to a festive spirit than Chicago and below are a few things I am looking forward to this month.

Music Box Theatre Christmas Sing-A-Long: December 11-24; enjoy It’s A Wonderful Life or White Christmas with a theatre full of people who came prepared with bells, costumes and a whole lot of Christmas Spirit. Also- Santa usually makes an appearance!

Brew LightsDecember 2; Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo and Craft Beer tastings- enough said.

The Southport Stroll: December 4; from 5-9pm, enjoy sales in all the shops along Southport while Santa and Mrs Claus make their rounds, carolers in Victorian costume sing up and down the street and a horse drawn carriage acts as an old fashioned “L”. Because before public transit, there were horses.

CTA Holiday Train: Brown Line – December 2-5, Blue Line – December 10-12, Red Line – December 15, 17, 19; train cars on the “L” wrapped in Christmas everything. It’s amazing, smells really good and Santa and his reindeer brave the elements on a flatbed in between cars.

The Joffrey Ballet NutcrackerDecember 4-27; the only thing more beautiful than the theatre itself is this production by the Joffrey Ballet. Stunning and a Christmas classic.

Christkindlmart: through December 24; this German open air market is back in Daley Plaza for its 19th year and also back is the boot shaped mugs for the mulled wine. Thank goodness.



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three arts club

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

Pablo Picasso

This quote was on the barricade of the new Three Arts Club/Restoration Hardware showroom during construction and even without having seen what the building looked like inside before, what powerful words. Sometimes you have to tear shit down to build it up again. Preach, Pablo.

Also- this furniture store/restaurant/place to sit on couches you don’t own with pastries and espresso and pretend like you live there is really really gorgeous. The space once housed women pursuing the arts in the early 1900s and while I could go on and on about what an architectural gem this place is, click here for legit info from the experts at Architectural Digest.

32nd Annual Music Box Theatre Christmas Show

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Music Box Marquee

Walking by as the marquee was changed at the Music Box Theatre reminded me that I need to get tickets for the annual Christmas Show. Sure enough, they went on sale on Monday. December 11-24th, The Music Box has showings of It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas that include a singalong with Santa in their gorgeous, historic theatre and it’s even better than you might imagine. My mom, husband and I went for the first time last year and let’s just say we won’t be caught without bells this time around.

Snag your tickets now-this is a whole thing and they go quickly. You won’t regret it and it’s worth mentioning that there is a bar should this much Christmas cheer require a cocktail.