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Entries in 10 essentials (39)


10 essentials: david

1. Black, bottomless cups of coffee—Seattle.

2. Bourbon. Blantons Bourbon. On the rocks.

3. My mom’s an interior designer so growing up with mid-century furniture and fine textiles—I can’t get enough furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, their textiles, and other infamous designs like the Womb and Barcelona chairs.

4. My dad’s a chef and one of my best friends is a foodie—so I have had a lot of exposure to the kitchen and baking is my favorite. I love how relaxing it is and how giving people baked goods on an unexpected day makes their day better. Pies are my favorite, but I’ll try anything and try to work entirely from scratch—even if it means carving and roasting the pumpkin for pumpkin pies.

5. About 6 years ago, a friend signed up for too many golden retrievers—so I was fortunate to step in and get Jake when he was 6 months old.

6. I’ll take any opportunity to travel—to visit amazing places like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and the Humayuns Tomb in New Delhi; to try new, spicy, and flavorful foods—especially Indian food from India. My favorite restaurants in the world are Bukhara and the Spice Route—both in Delhi.

7. Since high school I’ve enjoyed rowing for exercise—sweep 8’s in college but mostly singles.

8. Not just music—the Alt Nation station on Serius—The Black Keys, Mute Math…

9. Jeans and concert t-shirts—which I’ll wear until their done. A current favorite is from The Sounds concert in Dallas a few years ago.

10. The one family tradition I still follow is Fruity Pebbles on my birthday—it was always a treat to get whatever box you wanted and to make it last as long as you wanted.

Thanks to david, product manager, for this submission.


10 essentials: alicia

1. Every morning I make myself a vanilla latte—it’s like starting the day with dessert.

2. Coming from an apparel/fashion background, I love seeing new fashions, new styles. It’s fun to watch trends volley back and forth between interiors and fashion—and which trends make the shift. Designers like Mary Katrantzou take this to a whole new level while being so inspiring.

3. I’ve always been enamored with the idea of a signature piece. At home it’s a vintage settee we refurbished, designed a fabric for, and recovered—a labor of love that was worth all the work. On my person I always wear a black leather bracelet I picked up in Paris many years ago—I think it’s chic and adds a subtle edge to any outfit.

4. I’ve got a bit of a shoe fetish—I buy high heels on impulse, everywhere from traditional department stores to ebay. My heels have declined in height as I have increased in age but I’m still looking for a pair of turquoise suede super highs—a quest I’ve been on for years. Marc Jacobs made a pair 4-5 years ago but since I didn’t buy them, they’re my unicorn.

5. I am bordering on insanity with my love of acrylic furniture—the peekaboo coffee table actually makes our family room look bigger, the vapor barstools disappear under our island, and the vapor chair adds a chic element to the desk/office. At some point I have to stop or all of our furniture will be invisible.

6. Visiting family in the UK and India when I was growing up gave me a lot of opportunities to travel—so have always felt that experiencing other cultures is worth the investment in time and money. Even with kids we still keep going!

7. I love the idiosyncratic nature of some of the stories on NPR—and the way they vividly bring pictures to life through radio.

8. Being a multi-tasker, yoga is an important opportunity to be present and focused on just my own well-being—I treasure it as part of my weekly routine.

9. My current obsession is Instagram—I just love everything about it. It is so nice to be greeted by such creativity and inspiration every morning, yet it is also functional because it updates me on meaningful experiences happening to friends and family in a visual way.

10. I like the way music feels when its experienced live so I’m an avid concertgoer. Spotify has changed my life—how it enables you to switch from Yo Yo Ma to Vampire Weekend in a millisecond and on a whim. Makes dinner parties more fun and spontaneous for sure.

Thanks to alicia, director of marketing, for this submission.


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!