Author Archive

Cupcake Crawl

August 26, 2009

Red Velvet cucpake from Swirlz

I don’t have the drinking endurance to handle a bar crawl, so when my friends get dolled up for a night of club-hopping, I curl up for a night on the couch. I might not be able to handle my liquor, but I’ve got the sweet tooth of a champion. My taste buds lead me right to the cupcake.

Cupcakes are having a major cultural moment: since super-chic Carrie Bradshaw nibbled on morsels from New York’s swanky Magnolia Bakery on Sex and the City, cupcakes have gone from childhood birthday party fare to a sophisticated culinary trend. Once relegated to grocery stores and cake shops, cupcakes are now staples of any corner bakery, and many bakeries are devoted entirely to the dessert. While my friends slept off their night on the town, I embarked on a cupcake crawl that took me around Chicago in search of the best the city’s got to offer. Here, my two favorites:

My first stop was More (1 E. Delaware Place), a couture cupcake shop in the river north neighborhood. With succulent sweet and savory flavors like lemon meringue and bacon maple, More is a spot for the discerning dessert-eater. The lemon meringue cupcake came with perfectly-formed tufts of fluffy meringue and a lemon-filled center. With its white interior and crisp light installations, this bakery has a chic, boutique feel. The fancy flavors like peach bacon bbq, blueberry acai, and salted caramel classify these cakes as haute cuisine, and the deliciously-sweet cupcakes definitely left me wanting More.

Next, I trekked to Lincoln Park to hit Swirlz (705 W. Belden), where I got a cupcake that totally justified the long CTA trip. Daily options include vanilla, chocolate, and the mouth-wateringly delicious red velvet, made with buttermilk, cocoa, and cream cheese frosting. Swirlz has options for various dietary needs, including those with vegan or gluten-free diets. Every day, there are different gluten-free and vegan options, including vegan chocolate-peanut butter and gluten-free banana cream cheese. In addition to cupcakes to accommodate these diets, the bakery also has fare for patrons’ four-legged friends. If your canine has a carb craving, give him a Pupcake, a bite-sized cupcake made just for Fido.

Embrace the cupcake trend and take a bite out of some of the tastiest deserts in town.

Button Bracelets

August 19, 2009

I’m super-thrifty and annoyingly finicky when it comes to accessories. I always wear one of two rings – either a delicate vintage engagement ring I inherited from my grandmother or a chunkier ring I scored at an art fair – and one of two charm necklaces featuring some beloved found objects, like a Canadian penny, dramatic diary keys, and a little gold wishbone. I refuse to buy accessories for specific outfits or occasions – I just want simple, chic pieces that I can pair with any of my ensembles. The most versatile of all of my jewelry is a button bracelet I made using antique buttons I picked up at a craft fair. After I lugged my bag of buttons home, I called some girlfriends over and we made bracelets in various color schemes, from ethereal white and yellow to nautical blue. Because I used mostly-neutral colors, my whimsical bracelets have become some of my daily wardrobe staples.  


button bracelets

To make a button bracelet, all you need are buttons and some thin, clear elastic (available at craft stores). Since the elastic has the tendency to slip out of knots, anchor it by looping it repeatedly through the button-holes of the first button you use. When you’re finished, loop the remaining elastic through the same button to create a continuous chain. If you’re not a DIY diva, check out some pretty, professionally-made pieces by artist Liz Landers.

Liz Landers jewelry

So P.O.S.H.

August 13, 2009

 I passionately believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it doesn’t count unless it’s warm, filling, and piled high. That’s why I’m enamored with these cheeky mugs emblazoned with the phrase, “Pancakes Make People Happy” ($8). They make me reminisce about lazy Sunday-morning brunches at my favorite greasy-spoon diner, where I’d dive mouth-first into a buttery short-stack. These days, I’m always eating on the run, but I’m happy to gulp down a big drink of nostalgia.  


 Whether looking for charming diner-staples like these mugs or for slightly classier-fare, thrifty shoppers should flock to P.O.S.H., a well-edited vintage home-goods boutique for nesters who don’t want to skimp on style.  

The affordable housewares and eclectic goods are culled from restaurant warehouses and flea markets in the U.S. and Europe. The store stocks plates, bowls, mugs, tea services, and glassware in a variety of patterns, attracting buyers looking for anything from classy to kitsch. Some delicate floral patterns seem straight out of a bucolic English bed-and-breakfast, while other understated pieces in monochromatic palettes would be at home in a chic Parisian bistro. Other pieces are full of whimsy, such as a cheerful creamer decorated with an accordion-playing gnome.  

With many adorable items under $10 and $20, P.O.S.H. is ideal for shoppers who want to give their kitchen a cosmopolitan flair on a college student’s budget.  

613 N. State St.
Chicago, IL