Author Archive

Crust: An Eco-Friendly Eatery

August 12, 2009

Recently I discovered Crust, an amazing restaurant in Wicker Park, Chicago. I had never heard of it before, but someone suggested the eatery to my family and I. I was expecting a typical Panera or Corner Bakery type of place. But Crust, an organic and eco-friendly restaurant, left me pleasantly surprised.


First and most importantly, the food was completely fresh. The salads were crisp and appetizers were all freshly prepared and looked great. The restaurant is chiefly known for its’ pizzas, and I am not surpirsed as to why. Normally I don’t really like or eat pizza, but Crust uses such delicious ingredients that I could have eaten two whole pizzas by myself. The eatery offers organic appetizers, entrees, and even organic desserts. The menu will please anyone tastes, as a variety of foods is offered from vegetarian friendly salads, to calzones and chicken sandwiches.

Another great thing about the establishment was the eye-catching interior. When you first walk in, you can’t help but notice a big brick oven covered in small colored glass tiles. The decor is very contemporary and modern. While I was there, I enjoyed sitting in their charming back patio, which feaures black fences covered in vines and white curtains. 

What makes the restaurant so unique, is that it uses local resources to make their meals, which reduces their carbon footprint. According to the Crust Web site,”every effort is made to use responsibly produced, locally produced & wild crafted products.”


The restaurant is also completly smoke-free, even while dining on their front and back patios.

I give the restaurant five stars, for its’ friendly service, the fact that it’s eco-friendly, the great food and great atmosphere. Although I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a cheap lunch, Crust is definitely worth checking out and enjoying.


2056 W. Division
Chicago, IL 60622

Bright Days and Neon Nights

July 29, 2009

Spring 2009 runways showed a lot of brights and florals, as would be expected for that time of year. Suprisingly though, the Fall 2009 shows also presented neon and bright colors. While many people enjoy the colorful garments, neons and brights are often seen as hard to wear without making someone look like a glowstick or highlighter. 

Michael Kors believes that neons and brights are the way to go this fall. His show featured a shocking neon green fox fur coat as well as many other bright pieces. Says Kors,”Electric neon brights add an optimistic urban punch to this fall’s neutral palette. Who says clothes can’t make you smile?”

According to Khaussandra Delgado, several designers seemed to agree with Kors on one of this fall’s biggest hits:

“The Fall 2009 RTW collection features several neon pink pieces, varying from a black and hot pink constructed clutch to a pair of wildly seductive black boots with hot pink trim and soles. Givenchy also offers a pair of shoes in screaming neon pink; the cut-out boots are featured in a Day-Glo shade that is endlessly eye-catching. The neon trend is everywhere these days; it has gone from the raves to the runway and entered every stylish girl’s wardrobe.”

Neons and Brights

Made on by Kate

Some may still be wondering, what’s the easiest way to wear neons and brights? The most flattering and chic way to wear them is to pair them with black or neutral colors. A hot pink dress makes a statement, but still looks classy when worn with black tights and a black belt. Another easy way to brighten your style is through accessories, such as bright green or pink shoes, bright yellow bags and skinny neon belts. It is important to keep in mind that a little goes a long way when it comes to this trend. If you just want to add a little hint of neon to your look, try some of this season’s newest makeup and nail polish shades, including Essie’s Perky Purple.

For even more about this Fall 09 trend, check out this short clip from Harper’s Bazaar.

The Return of Depression Era Fashion

July 21, 2009

For those of you who haven’t seen the new movie Public Enemies, you are missing out on a great story and great some fashion. The film, starring Marion Cotillard, Christian Bale, and Johnny Depp, portrays the story of John Dillinger (Depp), an infamous Depression-era bank robber. Based on real events, the film is a great look at late 1920s and early 1930s fashion. Ardis Taylor, owner of Vintage Apparel by Ardis, helped create the looks for the films main actors.

Public Enemies

When speaking about the garments choices made for the movie, Ardis says, ‘”The ’30s are the most rare, especially for menswear,” Taylor says. “‘Public Enemies’ was from around that era. It’s the hardest to locate because a lot of people within the business don’t know much about the fashion at all,” he says. “Within the ’30s, I like the textures of fabric — the herringbone tweeds and the chalk stripes they had in that period.”’

It seems as though Depression Era fashion or Depression Chic is coming back in style and is showing up in fall collections. Some might not be sure what it means when something is “Depression Chic.”  “Colours…are sombre, with a lot of greys, khakis and browns. Plaid is still very important and a revival of tweeds and herringbone patterns make a comeback in re-thought classic outerwear. ‘It is all about conversational pieces’ a sales representative from Unruly Heir told WGSN.” 

One designer whose Men’s Fall 09 collection was inspired by the Depression Era, is John Bartlett. His latest  collection featured plenty of tweed, plaid, news-boy caps and velvet suit jackets.

Says Bartlett of his inspiration, “There’s a new depression happening right now…It’s not a financial one but an emotional depression, with every friend of mine being on Prozac. The clothes from the Depression have a real elegance and a real innocence I’d like to recapture.”

According to the New York Times reporting on Bartlett’s current line, jackets had softer shoulders, tight pants were loosened, and models all had slicked back hair. One garment included a coat that hit close to the knee, and pants were all a bit short.

This summer and fall has shown Depression Era influences in film and fashion. It is a bit fitting, considering the current state of our economy, but let’s hope that all that’s repeated is the fashion and not the Era itself.

Nika le butik is tres chic

July 21, 2009

Nika le butikFor suburban girls, a common complaint is lack of places to find unique and fashionable clothes that do not come from the mall. Most girls who do not live in downtown Chicago feel they have to go too far to find the clothes that they want and need to keep from looking like every other girl in their town. Nika le Butik offers those girls hope. This charming boutique is located in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago and offers suburban girls downtown worthy styles, in an easier to reach location. I visited the boutique to get a better look, and was very happy with what I saw. The boutique offers very friendly service, trendy clothing, a nice interior, and celebrity inspired fashion garments. All of the clothes are hand-picked for retail and are inspired by current trends worn by celebrities. The store offers an intimate and classy shopping experience that is easily accessible.

Nika le butik

I sat down with Nika le Butik owner Monika Crossin, to get some more information on the history behind her boutique, and the garments inside.


Is there any significance to the name of your boutique?

“Growing up I was called ‘Nika’ by all my family and friends. It is short for Monika.”

 Why did you pick Park Ridge as your location?

“I wanted an area that was up and coming, something close to downtown. I contemplated having the boutique downtown, but it was and is so saturated with stores already. I wanted to bring the unique vibe of a downtown boutique to the suburbs.”

 What demographic is your boutique targeted towards?

“[It is for] anyone who is totally trendy and loves to shop. I like to make everyone feel like they are shopping in their girlfriends’ store. But most my clients are 20-40 [years old].”

 What is the predominant style? Is there just one or many different styles?

“Style and fashion is continually evolving at Nika to keep up with the times. Jeans are always a for sure. I used to have plenty of dresses, more formal, but now I moved away from that. I have to ALWAYS keep things fresh, that means new styles, designers and up to the minute trends. For instance, this fall I have insane blazers galore arriving. They play well with skirts, denim, dresses, pretty much everything. Eventually, I will be bored with them, and then the next new obsession will make its way thru the doors at Nika. Having our online store also gives us a better opportunity to experiment, since we have a larger demographic.”

Nika le butik

 What makes your boutique special or what makes it standout from others in Chicago and its’ surrounding suburbs?

“We are so personable here at the store and try our best to go above and beyond in the shopping/selling experience. I want everyone happy, because that makes me happy. To have someone go out in their Nika outfit and get compliments, that is the best. I love hearing the stories from my clients. A lot of them are now personal friends.”

 What is your favorite garment/piece/outfit/accessory that you are selling at the moment?

“80’s rock and roll tees by Chaser. I love the nod to the 80’s right now, and really, any age can wear them and appreciate this rock and roll resurgence. I am really dying to get my new JBrand skinny acid wash jeans in too!”

 What got you started in this business?

“Fashion and clothing always made me feel so good, especially growing up and experimenting with various looks. I was always asked where I got things thru my entire life… It was just a ‘pastime’ that eventually turned into a passion. I eventually began a career in retail management, did buying for boutiques and learned the industry from the bottom up. Eventually I was like, ‘I can do this myself.'”

 What makes your garments different or unique?

“Everything is bought with love from Nika – everything in the store has a purpose and a reason. It is well thought out and trend right. I always am on the hunt for designers that are new and fresh, which means the body styles, cuts, prints are always the freshest out on the street. We take risks.”

Nika le butik

Have no fear suburban girls, you can still find the clothes you want without the long trip downtown, or without looking like a mall clone.

Nika le Butik is located at
143 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Store Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am-7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Random Sunday’s: 12:00pm-5:00pm

Meet the “Gaudy” Girls: Kate

July 20, 2009

KateGet to know Kate, a contributing writer for the Avant Gaudy blog.

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Chicago!

What shows are you currently watching/still addicted to?
I am obsessed with Gossip Girl, Greek, and Dancing with the Stars. I wish I could dance like Julianne Hough!



Favorite Songs?
“Kylie” by Akcent
“Star Struck” by Lady Gaga
“Love Story” by Taylor Swift

Favorite/essential book?
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer!

Things you love?
Person: Kim Karsdashian
Place: Krakow, Poland
Thing: Berry Chill frozen yogurt

Things I Love!

Favorite Designer?
Betsey Johnson. Everything she creates is so fresh and unique, I love all of her collections. One of my favorite accessories is a black and white bag from her Betseyville line.

Favorite fashion/beauty magazine?
Teen Vogue and InStyle.

One thing you’ll never wear?
“Genie style” pants.

Guilty pleasure?
Starbucks’ White Chocolate Mocha

Favorite accessories?
I love anything with lace, pearls, ribbons, and flowers!

Favorite animal?
My dog, Caesar!

Favorite Famous/Inspirational Quote:
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

What is your favorite item from Avant Gaudy?
This red sequin blazer is one of my favorite items right now. It makes me think of Lady Gaga because she wears clothes that are bold and stand out.

 AG red sequined blazer, $48

Eco-Friendly Is the New Black

July 1, 2009

For those who believe that vintage clothes are the only ones worth buying, vintage is not just a fashion trend- it’s a lifestyle. With an increase in awareness and many people choosing to live a “greener” lifestyle, vintage fashion fits perfectly into an environmentally-conscious fashionista’s closet. One might be wondering what puts vintage fashion into this category.

Designer Cynthia Davis’s collections are a perfect example of how vintage fashion is recycled fashion. Davis uses old fabrics and materials, and reworks them into new fashion pieces. When talking about creating her line Colorada, Davis says,

I especially love recycling vintage bed linens and vintage household fabrics like tablecloths and curtains with openwork lace and handwork such as embroidery and tucks. Many of my vintage fabrics are scouted from a local thrift store that supports an orphanage. I love…that I am rescuing wonderful fabrics and garments to be used again.

Cynthia Davis - Colorada on Etsy

In a world full of mass consumption and production, vintage is the one style that allows us to recycle our clothes and make use of old materials and fabrics. A torn dress that is deemed unwearable, can be carefully reconstructed into a new and unique garment, rather than just thrown in the trash. Since vintage fashion is usually made of reconstructed older pieces, the outcome is a never-before-seen item that is sure to stand out. Yes, one can wear organic cotton clothing or pieces made with natural fabrics and dyes, but recycling old clothing is the best way to help our planet.

The vintage lifestyle and fashions are unique, environmentally friendly, and provide long lasting garments. Vintage clothes look good, create a statement and help us express our individualities. When you are saving the planet and looking good while doing it, there’s nothing you can lose by buying vintage.