Archive | July, 2011

Profile: Michelle Dietzler of Dietzler Farms

29 Jul

Former beauty writer, Michelle Dietzler, probably could not have predicted her career path when she started working for an online beauty website out of college.  About four years after working at, Michelle decided it was time to figure out her next work move.  Around the same time, her father was concerned with the excess amount of meat produced on their beef farm, Dietzler Farms, a hobby farm her parents purchased in Wisconsin in 1999.

Michelle quit her beauty job in 2007 and committed to sell her family’s excess beef at farmers’ markets in and around hometown Glen Ellyn, Illinois, that summer.  Since then, Michelle has turned her family’s hobby farm into one of the most in-demand beef brands in Chicago.  That fall, Michelle decided to bring a few samples of her beef to some of her favorite restaurants to just see what’d happen.  Dietzler Farms beef is now served in most of Chicago’s finest restaurants, such as Perennial Virant, Girl & the Goat, Purple Pig, Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel, The Southern, and one sixtyblue, as well as high end Chicago butcher, The Butcher & Larder, and the Green City Market in Lincoln Park.  There is a waiting list of over a year+ of restaurants and stores who want to carry their meat.


Great Shoes for Home Entertaining

27 Jul

After spending hours in the kitchen preparing for a dinner party, I sometimes find it difficult to change out of my casual clothes (and slippers) and into something more appropriate for hosting a party.  I typically don’t wear shoes when I’m home, but I don’t enforce that when friends come over for dinner.  So if I’m going to wear shoes in my apartment, I want my shoes to be comfortable yet chic.  I love satins, suede, lace, calf hair, embellishments or slip-on styles for entertaining at home.

Here are some Fall 2011 footwear perfect for home entertaining.  I particularly love the Manolo Blahnik Satin Bow-Toe style (1) and the Christian Louboutin uber-luxe patent slipper style with Indian-inspired tassel embellishments (2).  To compliment your fabulous shoes are gorgeous coffee table books on home entertaining that will truly inspire your party theme, menu, and table décor no matter what your budget.

1.  Manolo Blahnik Satin Bow-Toe d’Orsay Kitten Heel 2. Christian Louboutin “Mikarani” Flat  3. New York Parties: Private Views by Jamee Gregory  4. Flair: Exquisite Invitations, Lush Flowers, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Joe Nye  5. Manolo Blahnik “Schiana” Wedge Mules  6. L.K.Bennett “Balmore” Satin Heel  7. J.Crew “Nora” Calf Hair Ballet Flats  8. Elie Tahari “Vena” Lace Ballet Flat  9. Jimmy Choo “Kerswell” Mesh & Suede Low Heel  10. A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm

Cheddar Cheese Baked Olives

25 Jul

My dear friend, Kimberly Flaster, flew in from NYC for the weekend and we hosted a small dinner party for a few of my fashion friends here in Chicago.  I begged Kim to bring her recipe for Cheddar Cheese Baked Olives as appetizers before dinner.  The last time I had them was at her parent’s house in Southport, CT a few summers ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since!  It was almost embarrassing how many I ate in Southport and I certainly did a good job eating them again this past weekend!  Everyone demanded the recipe at the end of the night.  And lucky me, Kim prepared a second batch that I now have in my freezer!

The olives are amazing warm or cool so you can prepare them in advance or pop them into the oven 15 minutes before your company arrives.  I promise they will not disappoint!


Under the Sea

22 Jul

It’s definitely summer in the city!  With a massive heat wave sweeping the nation, nothing sounds more appealing than being at the beach and dipping into the cool ocean.  Beach towns coast to coast are in full swing with increased tourists and summer residents alike.  One of my favorite late afternoon activities, post-pool or beach, is wandering in and out of shops in town.  Sadly, I also seem to always find Moose Tracks ice cream no matter where I am, but it’s justified as a “summer weekend” thing!

Sea life motifs shout summer to me and always add an element of fun and whimsey for everyday meals or home entertaining.  Here are a few pieces that make me wish I had a beach house!

1. Italian Pottery 2 Blue Fish Oval Platter  2. Alessi Mediterraneo Napkin Ring  3. Buccellati Sterling Silver Venus Small Shell  4. L’Objet Mariana Salt & Pepper Set  5. Artel Set of 6 Sea Life Single Old Fashioned Glasses  6. Alpha Lobster Bottle  7. Blue Starfish Embroidered Cocktail Napkins  8. Mariposa Fish Bottle Opener  9. Anthropologie From the Deep Octopus Salad Plate

Guest Photographer: Ed Baynard’s Stroll Down Bleecker

20 Jul

The French have a wonderful word: flâneur. Flâneur, according to Wikipedia, is the masculine noun for “stroller”, “lounger” or “saunterer” and refers to someone who walks through a city in order to really experience it.  Ed and I were talking about our recent weekend city strolls – mine around Lincoln Park in Chicago and his down Bleecker Street in the West Village, New York City. He’s been fascinated with Bleecker Street between 7th and 8th Avenues for its homey West Village feel juxtaposed against some of fashion’s biggest brands.  Marc Jacobs was the first fashion pioneer to open a store on the street in the 1990s, turning that stretch of street into one of the shopping destinations in New York.  And when Sex and the City put Marc’s neighbor, Magnolia Bakery, on the national map, the street’s now flooded with locals and tourists alike.

In the 1970s, Ed freelanced at the Village Voice as a writer to help support his art.  While there, he befriended legendary photographer, Lisette Model, a fine art photographer who had moved to New York City with her artist husband, Evsa Model, from Paris in 1938.  For the first year and a half of Lisette’s time in New York, she didn’t take a single photo.  She and her husband were so enthralled by New York that she chose to be a flâneur and absorb herself into the city and its culture before photographing it.  Lisette soon met famed Art Director, Alexey Brodovitch, of Harper’s Bazaar.  Then Editor, Carmel Snow, hired Brodovitch to work for her immediately after seeing a design show he curated for the Art Directors Club of New York.  Brodovitch is still known for reinventing magazine design with his genius use of white space.  He was also the first to hire fine art photographers for fashion features.  Lisette Model started shooting for Bazaar, along with friends Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Hiro, shortly after her arrival in New York.  One of her assignments for Harper’s Bazaar was to photograph retail windows around New York.  What came to be was one of Lisette’s most intriguing series, “Reflections.”  In 1950, Lisette became a master teacher of photography at the New School.  One of her most famous students who credited her for inspiring her photographic vision was Diane Arbus.

Lisette Model / Reflection With Hand, 1938-1945

Ed’s friendship with both Lisette and and her husband, Evsa, lasted until her passing in 1983. Inspired by his dear friend, Lisette, Ed recently walked Bleecker Street for On My Plate photographing shop windows, using street reflections to further tell his story.  And he couldn’t help but snap some delicious cakes and treats inside Magnolia Bakery to wet our appetites!  We hope these photos inspire you to be a flâneur.


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