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Entries in 10 essentials (37)


10 essentials: dave

1. Family. My fiancee Chad—who makes me laugh—and our best furry friends Oscar and Wilbur.

2. I start my mornings with large iced Americanos—made at home with a Jura coffee machine—they’re a great kick start and they get me through most of the day.

3. Favoring refined lines, a black Mini Cooper—solid color, no fuss just beautiful details—is in keeping with most of what hangs in my closet.

4. A Fitbit Force keeps me motivated to exercise daily—I’m checking my steps constantly.

5. Just about any documentary—historical, biographical, random popular culture—but I could watch Unzipped and Bill Cunningham New York over and over…

6. In all its forms, Architecture is interesting and inspiring—especially here in Chicago where it’s at a world-class level both historically and with new, modern structures being added every year. Favorites are Mies van der Rohe, Bertrand Goldberg and Rocio Romero.

7. A few years ago, I bought my first print by Amos Kennedy—over time it’s grown into a prized collection so it’s featured in a prime location of the living room.

8. A pair of brass peacocks I won on eBay—I love mixing vintage with modern.

9. We recently built a home in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and we love wandering, exploring and having dinner at our favorite restaurant—the modern Korean Jin Ju.

10. I always dreamed of a home with a yard—gardening is a great way to enjoy being outside, learn a new hobby, and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. To maintain it, we bought a Worx lawn mower with a rechargeable battery. And our new rechargeable battery operated Snow Joe snow blower has been essential to get us through the Polar Vortex winter—it arrived days before our first snow storm!

Thanks to dave, eCommerce brand director, for this submission.


10 essentials: sara

1. My kids’ wit and creativity—they make me laugh—especially when it comes to their Halloween costumes and birthday cakes. We have a family tradition that the number of cake layers has to match their years and the kids pick the theme.

2. My husband and I travel for work and the kids always seem to have something going on so when we can all gather for weekday family dinners—they’re very special events.

3. My family thinks I’m nuts since I won’t use paper plates or napkins even for the most casual family events—cloth napkins and cuatro plates are very versatile and functional.

4. I have a long commute so Satellite Radio is priceless.

5. Life is complicated so a simplified wardrobe helps save time—black, grey, khaki—easy breezy.

6. I try to eat fresh, pure foods and to be mindful of the personal products I use—so I research EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database for the the most detailed, unbiased information available.

photo by: uvw916a7. It doesn’t have to be expensive or special, I’m not that discerning when it comes to chocolate.

8. Whenever we travel, we check out the local museums—art, history, aquariums…doesn’t matter.

9. A big honkin’ Nikon camera—I’m a very visual person so there’s always something to shoot.

10. The sculptures of Magdelana Abakanowicz. Especially her fiber art and figuratives of the human spirit—how she expresses it through the human body in such a powerful way. The materials she uses seems to make them even more meaningful.

photo by: John Picken

Thanks to sara, senior visual merchant, for this submission.


summer party hints

sandra first, summer parties are usually casual and outdoors with plenty of room—so invite everyone! I have a neon ‘open’ sign that goes on the front deck so neighbors can take a break from their evening walk. Second, make guests feel welcome with icy cocktails, light small bites, comfortable chairs and lively conversation.
ashley retro cocktails and Bingo!
joyce micheladas: if you like beer and spicy food, it’s the best drink ever.  Tecate, Lime, Valencia hot sauce, a dash of Jugo Maggi (Mexican soy sauce) and salt on the rim and you’re good to go.
lauren grill—that is, someone grilling.  I’m not a cook, nor do I pretend to be, so I love when people offer to grill.  That smell is so intoxicating; nothing says summer like burning charcoal.  Some grilled shrimp and carne asada go great with lighter, juicy drinks.
sara music, music, music—I love making a mix specific to a party. When I go back and listen to it I can think of the good times that day. Always make sure to make room for an impromptu dance party. Roll up your rugs, put your breakables away and let the good times roll!
megan it’s gotta be outdoors—on a deck, at the beach or a park—to take advantage of the amazing but brief Chicago summers. Nothing’s better than having a cold one with friends outside in the summer—day or night.
april easy breezy is what it’s all about—fill one side of the kitchen sink with ice and use it as a bottle chiller and prep a small table as a bar so guests can serve themselves.
anna a lake and a floating raft… with beer tethered in the cool water…and we’re good for the day!

10 essentials: tracy

1. A serious ‘to-do’ list—word of mouth is a great resource—so I jot things down when somebody mentions restaurants, exhibits, shops.

2. I’m a very social person—I don’t like to be alone—so I love New York City!

3. My dog Marty is the best roommate!

4. Working out at Cross Fit—it’s community based and a social routine which is so me, but i never thought I’d do the Olympic weight lifting program.

5. I love to be spontaneous—especially when I cook—and make a dish out of seemingly nothing. So the pantry is always stocked with Savory Accents hot pepper seasoning from the Madison, WI farmers market and the refrigerator is always stocked with tofu, eggs and cheese.

6. The only magazine subscriptions I get are about food—Food & Wine and Bon Appetit.

7. I love beer and pairing different types with food—but I don’t have the patience to brew it!

8. Anywhere I can get a great deal on one-of-a-kind furniture, dinner plates, glasses—sample sales, antique fairs—my place is very eclectic.

9. Over time, I’ve accumulated enough Aveda points to go to Italy!

10. I’ve only owned American cars—Ford, Chevy—something my father instilled in me.

Thanks to tracy, senior visual merchant, central, for this submission.


10 essentials: andrea

photo by: cogdogblog

1. Growing up with music and paying my college tuition with music scholarships—music is on 24/7. Live or recorded—music is a part of everything I do.

2. When I was about 12, we visited family in Austria, Yugoslavia—and ever since then I’ve loved to travel to new places. That feeling of being outside your comfort zone, learning new cultures and customs, being respectful of the homelands of others while exploring them…

3. When I’m traveling, I make it a point to search out a travel treasure from a locally loved shop or market.

4. Online shopping for sunglasses, shoes, watches, shoes, watches, sunglasses…I struggle with crowds but you can never have too many watches, sunglasses or shoes.

5. No one else can make me smile like my dog Tanner—even when he eats a new pair of wedges.

6. Every month during the winter, entertaining at home and trying out new recipes.

7. It’s only been recently that I’ve learned to love dining al fresco—and the tasting table keeps me up to speed on places to go to.

8. My prized possession is a copy of Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady. It was part of my graduate thesis and I re-read it every year so it has a lot of notes in the margins.

9. I’m a freak about my hair dryer—it only takes about 10 minutes, but I multi-task and read a book while I’m at it.

10. Lipstick!

photo by: mseckington

Special thanks to andrea, CB2 product manager, for contributing.