Tis the Season…for Shopping

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Although it may be 60 degrees in Chicago, December has officially arrived. The dreaded winter months are approaching, but before the city goes into hibernation mode it’s important to live up this holiday season! With the holidays comes family, friends, traditions, parties and of course shopping. No matter who you are shopping for, the city’s best boutiques have something for everyone on your list.

Jonathan Adler (676 N Wabash) has the absolute best gifts. The well-known designer’s Chicago storefront has plenty of holiday specific items such as festive Christmas ornaments and gorgeous Hannukah Menorahs. The bright colors and hues will stand out in any room.

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(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler)

Local Chicago jewelry designer, Erin Gallagher, sells her unique designs at Gem Bar (1013 W Webster). Browse her large collection of metals, stones and crystals or customize your own work of art. While this designer caters to all price points, you will look like a million bucks without actually spending it.

Is the man in your life as well-dressed as you would like? That answer is most likely no, so hit up the Trunk Club (325 W Ohio) this holiday season. Trunk Club is the city’s answer to helping men who are in need of a wardrobe update. With your own personal stylist, you can be sure your guy is finding trendy clothes that he loves.

For all of your upcoming holiday parties & events, be sure to pick out something fabulous to wear. From cocktail dresses to funky harem pants, Edith Hart, Sofia, Scoop NYC & Aritzia are some of my personal favs for any occasion.

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(Photo courtesy of Edith Hart)

Happy hunting!

Guy On A Dime Does Dose Market

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Earlier this month, I ventured over to the River East Art Center to spend a Sunday afternoon at Dose Market, an eclectic monthly bazaar of artisan food and other interesting (and often local) wares. The space itself is an open, modern layout, with most of the booths set up below street level among the giant pillars. Tickets are a reasonable $10 ($8 in advance), and come with a beer from 5 Rabbit Brewery. Yes, Dose has embraced the increasingly popular concept of drink-while-you-shop. Apparently the mostly young, attractive crowd has, as well.

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I am going to be completely honest and say that there is more at Dose for women than men. With that said, if you are a guy and can’t enjoy yourself here, there may be something wrong with you. By my completely unscientific calculations, about half of the vendors have something edible, and many offer free samples. You can hardly walk fifteen feet without running into something delicious to stuff your face with. If you so choose, vendors like Brown Bag Lunch Truck offer more substantial food to satisfy your appetite.

Awesome food aside, Dose is a great place to find holiday gifts, especially for the women in your life. Just about everything is reasonably priced and you should have no trouble finding something thoughtful and unique. (There are always bonus points for gifts that you can’t get in any mall.) Other than the tons of female-oriented fashion items, there is some very cool art and home goods to be had as well. Maybe even after a few drinks, you’ll feel so inclined to splurge on something from Trunk Club for yourself.

All in all, Dose is a great place to eat like a king and do some off-the-beaten-path Christmas shopping. There is only one caveat: Dose is always on Sunday. The next installment is on December 9th, with the Bears’ second demolition of Minnesota falling right in the middle. I would never suggest skipping the game, so my advice is to watch it somewhere nearby like Timothy O’Toole’s and head to Dose either before or after. They are open from 10-5 so, you can establish a good pre-game base, or gorge post-game to ensure that you don’t hate yourself come Monday.

The choice is yours. Happy hunting.

Gilt Warehouse Sale Ticket Giveaway

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There’s nothing COAD loves more than a sample sale, so we were thrilled to be invited to live post from the Gilt City Warehouse Sale this Saturday at the MCA Warehouse (1747 W. Hubbard). The sale will feature clothes, accessories and home decor from established and emerging designers at the great prices we’ve come to expect from the Gilt Groupe family. Between purchases, shoppers can indulge in mini makeovers by Benefit, beverages from La Marca Prosecco and snacks from KIND bars and PopChips.

But we didn’t want our readers to feel left out. So we’re giving away four tickets to the sale’s earliest time slot (12:00 to 2:00 PM). All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (where you’ll be able to follow our sneak peak of the sale from 10:00 AM to noon this Saturday) and shoot us a note to @ChiOnADime using the hashtag #raidthewarehouse before 5 PM CST today. We’ll DM you to let you know you’ve won! Winners will be selected randomly.

Not a winner, but still want to go? You can purchase tickets online here. Oh, and if you tweet or Instagram what you’ve bought, and tag it #RaidTheWarehouse, you’ll be entered to win $200 in Gilt Credit.

Halloween Heaven

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It’s that time of year again when the leaves start falling and the temperature begins to drop, however one thing we have to look forward to is Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love dressing up and collecting tons of candy!? This Halloween there is a ton happening around the city, so be sure to prep your costumes and gear up for some spooky fun:

McGee’s 14th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party: From 8-10pm get in free and enjoy a variety of drink specials and $1 burgers while carving your pumpkin. (Wednesday 10/24)

Nightmare on Wells Street: Bull & Bear is hosting a haunting Halloween event this weekend. For $25 enjoy an open bar and plenty of appetizers. (Saturday 10/27)

Karaoke Costume Party at Timothy O’Tooles: Get in sans cover and partake in a fun costume contest with fabulous prizes. This party isn’t over until 4am, so feel free to stop in whenever you’d like (Saturday 10/27). Timothy O’Tooles is also hosting a pumpkin carving contest the night before! (Friday 10/26)

13 Terrors: No ordinary haunted house. This old theater on the lake makes the perfect venue for the traditional haunted house. From 7-10pm get your thrills and beware. ($10 fee; Saturday 10/27)

Happy Haunting!

Inspired by Gwen’s Casual Cool

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The other day, I was clearing spring and summer clothes out of my closet to make room for fall and winter, and I noticed that every single pair of my shoes are some variation of brown, black or gray. Every pair.

So when I saw a photo (see below) of my biggest girl crush, Gwenyth Paltrow, wearing red Rag & Bone booties, I knew I needed to break out of my rut. Except, maybe for a bit less than $475 (Gwen’s just a little “out of touch” on this topic… as evidenced by her useful product recommendations like a $425 cleanse supplements, $485 striped sweater, and Turkish Hammam hydrotherapy as a hangover cure, all below).

Anyway…here is what I found. The Rag & Bone originals are available at ShopBop, and the rust-colored alternatives are DV by Dolce Vita, available at Piperlime. (Oh, and the Turkish Hammam above – that’s at the Trump in SoHo. In case you’re feeling a bit under the weather).

A New Way to Date

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In a big city it can be challenging to meet new people. It can also be challenging to date. Whether you are intimidated of dating, hate set ups or you’re sick of the dating scene, the solution for you has arrived.

Enter Grouper. This “dating” site is new to Chicago, among other cities, after having great success in NYC. Grouper is a site that sets up two groups of friends, 3 guys & 3 girls, for casual drinks in a fun spot in the city.

Here’s the deal: you apply to become a member, create a profile that outlines your interests & tastes, receive an email from Grouper disclosing a time and location, grab two friends and take the plunge.

This alternative dating site is a great way to meet new people in a low key environment, and for $20 a date, your first drink + gratuity is covered. Whether or not you choose to stay for another drink is up to you!

Stripes, Studs & Sunflowers

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A few weeks ago, a group of friends and I headed to Indiana to pick apples and pumpkins – a recent tradition that we follow with a scary movie…then usually another one that’s not so scary, given that most of us will have to drive or walk home in the dark that night.

The orchard was selling sunflower stalks for $1 each. Recently, when I saw that the new Coach legacy line included pieces made with bright, “sunflower yellow” leather, I put together the below.

1. J.Crew, 2. Coach, 3. Zara. P.S. – Sunglasses are Marc Jacobs from ShopBop.

Three Things

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It’s back! Media planning, new business wins and (to be honest) busy social schedules put Three Things on the back burner, but new seasons spawn fresh starts, and we’re feeling inspired by the updated aesthetic demonstrated at fashion week, the onset of crisp autumn air and that “new school year” feeling that fall brings about no matter how long you’ve been out of school.

1. Swirl.com has the potential to revolutionize online shopping. Like Pinterest, users “clip” wants to the site to save and catalogue looks, and (here’s the genius part) are notified when the items go on sale.

2. E-vites, in the green-ness, were already chic, but now that Kate Spade is designing for Paperless Post, we don’t know that we’ll be sending a paper invite ever again.

3. Moto-inspired details are everywhere this season, and leather leggings are an easy way to rock the trend. Whether you’re into leather panels, faux material or the real deal, be sure to snag a pair before the cold hits. (The above are ASOS.)

Guy on a Dime – Date Night

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Welcome to the first of a monthly series of posts that will highlight Chicago happenings from the male perspective. Don’t worry, this won’t be an ongoing update on which bars have the best wing deals for Monday Night Football. Instead, expect to be treated to under-the-radar events and activities that will appeal to the frugal gentleman. Without further ado, Date Night on a Dime.

As a single guy wading through Chicago’s thriving dating pool, it will eventually be required of you to take a woman on a dinner date. For those of us who do not possess the necessary stacks on stacks on stacks to win a girl over with Michelin-starred meals and French wine, we have to be more discerning.

Enter Home Bistro, one of the best bangs for your buck in the city. At first glance, the tiny Lakeview restaurant does not look like much. The orange awnings and strange “hearty boys spot” slogan on the outside may be forgettable, but HB is one of the best for a memorable, relatively inexpensive meal. Inside, you’ll find an energetic, yet intimate café that emphasizes modest quality over luxury. The atmosphere promotes comfort, the perfect atmosphere for conversation. Due to its size, service is as prompt as it is friendly. The only slight downfall of this is that seats are limited, so you will want to make reservations at least a couple days in advance.

Photo courtesy of Home Bistro Chicago.

Chef Joncarl Lachman has seen to it that the menu stays true to his Dutch heritage, while remaining accessible to the vast majority of diners who have never eaten Dutch cuisine. With the average entrée priced at just over $20, HB isn’t exactly in the bar food price tier, but I assure you, the quality rivals that of more expensive restaurants. Another notable attribute is that Chef Lachman’s gem holds the holy grail of inexpensive dining acronyms: BYOB. Yes, in an effort to reduce the cost of the date, you can bring that $10 Malbec no one has heard of and sip your way into romance. Alternatively, you could just get drunk and try to work your seductive magic while enjoying a great meal. That is for you to decide.

All in all, Home Bistro is a great date spot for those looking to leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank.

DIY Nailhead Trim Headboard

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During my intermittent posting this summer, there has been a lot of DIY happening at my Gold Coast digs, and its about time I start sharing.

After months of searching for an inexpensive nailhead trim headboard for my bedroom, I gathered the patience (and woodwork expertise, thanks Paul) to make one myself. The below West Elm headboard (priced at $599) served as my inspiration.

ImageI ordered nailhead trim on Amazon for about $16.99, picked up two bags of quilt batting and some marled, upholstery-grade fabirc from Hancock Fabrics for about $50 total, and hit Home Depot for a 60×56 in. piece of plywood and two wooden posts to serve as the legs (height on these will be unique to your bedframe, but will be the measurement from the top of the headboard to your floor) and nuts and bolts for about $60. Already in my toolbox were a rubber mallet, staple gun, a drill and screws.

We began by screwing the wooden posts into the plywood board and drilling holes for where the nuts and bolts would connect the headboard to the bed frame. Then, we laid out the batting underneath the board to begin stapling it down, following the same process with the fabric. Once complete, we flipped the headboard over and using the rubber mallet, affixed the nailhead trim. Last step was attaching the headboard to the frame…with some adjustments thanks to slightly off measurements the first time around…so much for the guess and check strategy I apply to hanging picture frames.

All in, the final cost came to about $130. What do you think – worth the $470 in savings?

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