If apple picking is a fall tradition for you, here are some options for a day trip or to include in your itinerary for your weekend about to Lake Geneva or Harbor Country. Predictions are that early October will make for good Fall Foliage road trips. [Read more…]
Written by Jessica Ashley
Just like fresh notebooks with untouched pages, brand new sneakers and a crisp breeze that blows across an otherwise smoldering hot day at Foster beach, pumpkin spice drinks are one of the first signs that autumn is on its way.
Whether you’re a fan of the spicy-squashy $6 coffee drinks or lotions or scones, or you’re not so keen on sipping it or slathering it on your body, you can still celebrate this autumnal trend right in your own home.
We’ve harvested a few favorite ways to bring pops of pumpkin spice into your living space so you can enjoy just enough of it all season (or year) long.
Something to Stare At Longingly While Leaves Fall Outside
If you can’t have a cup of joe permanently attached to your hand, you may as well have art that’s an homage to your love of pumpkin spice coffee. Replace your summer landscapes with art that speaks right to your warmed-up and whipped-cream-topped heart. And while your seasonal latte might not be on the menu year-round, you can always opt to keep your art up until you’re able to order it again.
This pop art print, Woman Holding a Huge Cup of Coffee, is available exclusively on Art.com, and is also available framed or laminated. $14.99 and up.
Something Cheeky for Your Kitchen
Remind your loved ones that you really do adore them more than your morning fix while adding a pop of pumpkin-y orange to the place where you all gather at the beginning and end of each day. Go for even more color pow by pairing these tea towels with complimentary dish towels, scrub cloths and luxe table linens.
These sweet and spicy tea towels are available at Anthropologie (both online and in-store). $16.
Someplace to Rule the Roost
Pick your favorite flavor in a solid, craftsman customizable chair that’s just the place you need to be to oversee the year’s end. Choose a scrumptious blood orange or soothing lighter shade to spice up your living space, office or wherever your command central is located. Inspired by Danish design, pieces like this are both art and furniture and add tang to go-to neutral tone decor.
The Soto chair by Joybird pictured here in Key Largo Coral and Cordova Amber, is a best seller at District furniture boutique on the North Side of the city. Play with all your customizing options online at Joybird or visit District to ease into their furniture in person. $799 and up.
Something to Show Style on Your Shelves and Tables
If you’re not into design clichés or all-too-obvious decor that screams PUMPKIN, PEOPLE!, choose stealthy style to go alongside your first-edition book collection or after-dinner coffee service. If you need a bit more function from your nearly-hidden autumnal touches, opt for a bowl where you can eventually stash Halloween treats, your keys or gift cards to the local coffee shop.
Balloon glass vases available individually and in sets in limited quantities on Wayfair. $60 and up.
Something to Add Color to Your Blah Couch
That lovely worn leather or soft beige microfiber couch is the perfect space to create a canvas of color. Spend a few dollars on slipcovers for the throw pillows you have, or splurge on some with saturated colors, rich textiles and the same ahhh comfort in the first sip of coffee each day. Throw in a fuzzy, cream-colored pillow if you’re the kind who confidently says ‘yes’ to adding an extra dollop to your morning cup.
Find your perfect pop of pillow color in big-box retailers or exclusive online gift boutiques. Here, the orange leaf applique pillow is available at Target, the leather clutch pillow is at Pfeifer Studio, and the stand-out shag puff and embroidered fleur-de-lys pillows are at Anthropologie. $29 to $179.
Someplace to Pull On Your Leather Boots
Aside from the practicality of needing a place to lace up your cool-weather gear or stretch out while you binge-watch Ozark, an ottoman can be used in many other ways throughout the year – night stand, dry-cleaning pile holder, place to rest your belongings in the front hall. With all this purpose, doesn’t this lovely workhorse deserve to come in a sumptuous autumnal color?
If you’re ready for a statement, stretch out on this mid-century tufted ottoman bench on Houzz. The nail-head detail upholstered ottoman by Safavieh is so affordable, you may want to buy a pair, here on Amazon. Find this cozy knitted tawny-colored pouf at your local CB2. $79 – $129.
Something that Says Your Holiday Game is Strong
A wreath welcomes guests – and you, into a sanctuary of delight after a long day of spreadsheets and not nearly enough caffeine. Choose a door or centerpiece wreath crafted from fresh flowers, dried fruits and plants. Or DIY your own (and spray lovingly with the essential oils below) or invest in a lush artificial wreath you can hang year after year.
Something to Serve Up Your Own Brew
For decor or for sharing whatever you’ve just simmered, stirred, baked or brought home from the deli, add a vibrant serving tray, set of monogrammed glasses, dishware or a sweet little singing kettle to your entertainment wares. From your favorite mulled recipe to pumpkin spice martinis, or holiday hand-pies and generous slices of smoked ham – it will all taste better when served on something gorgeously orange.
The sleek and useful Zuma orange lacquer tray and ombre demi kettle by Le Creuset are both at Crate & Barrel. Monogrammed acrylic wine glasses for raucous parties, outdoor excursions or just the convenience of the dishwasher are available on Mark & Graham. Find the watercolor harvest pumpkin plate set at Pottery Barn. $29.95 – $79.
Something That’s Cheap, Scrumptious and Calorie-Free
Maybe you don’t have the budget or patience or time to decorate your home with fall touches. No judgment. You can still fill your home with as much pumpkin-inspired pampering as you like with essential oils. Add a few drops to your bubble bath, mix into coconut oil and dab on your wrists, or diffuse it in your car or wherever things smell not-so-delicious. Ahhh, divine.
This aromatherapy set is available on Etsy. $6.50 and up.
Now that September is here and temperatures are back down to the 70s, it’s time to start thinking about your favorite fall activities. One of our favorites is apple picking.
While there are no apple orchards in Chicago, there are plenty within a 1-2 hour drive from the city. Keep reading to find out which apple orchard is best for you and your family or significant other.
From Chicago: 40 miles southeast
Head southeast of Chicago and make your way to County Line Orchard. Over forty acres of U-pick apples await you here, but that’s not all. County Line also offers a petting zoo, the Moo Choo and a corn maze, perfect for the little ones.
To make the experience even sweeter, County Line offers a bakery with plenty of sweet treats and fresh-baked doughnuts. You can even bring your snacks out to the campfire for some s’mores.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Barnyard Jams on the weekends!
From Chicago: 55 miles west
Located in Maple Park, Illinois, Kuipers Family Farm offers a hayride to the apple orchard, where you’ll have the opportunity to fill your basket with over 20 different varieties of apples.
After you’ve chosen your apples, the hayride conveniently drops you off at the general store where you can stock up on caramel apples and fresh-baked doughnuts.
From Chicago: 60 miles northwest
If you’re looking to really stock up on apples, look no further than Prairie Sky Orchard in Union, Illinois. This orchard is open daily and specializes in apples and Asian pears.
You can expect to walk away with at least a 10lb bag of apples, which is the minimum for a group of one to four people.
From Chicago: 65 miles west
If you head 65 miles west of Chicago, you’ll find Honey Hill Orchard. This orchard is conveniently located near Shabbona Lake State Park if you’re interested in making a day out of the trip.
Honey Hill offers more than a dozen types of apples to choose from. The apples aren’t the only draw here, as Honey Hill also offers a petting zoo and hay bales for children to climb.
From Chicago: 65 miles north
The apples are just one of many reasons people flock to this Sturtevant, Wisconsin orchard. Apple Holler has a 74-acre orchard, which features more than 30,000 select dwarf trees so no ladder is required to apple pick.
Aside from the apples, Apple Holler has a Farm Park that features a petting zoo, tractor-pulled wagon rides, a corn maze, pedal carts, and more.
Pro tip: Apple Holler also has a restaurant; you don’t want to miss it.
From Chicago: 80 miles northwest
With over 120 beautiful acres of orchard near the Wisconsin state line, Royal Oak Farm Orchard has over 17,000 apple trees and more than 30 varieties of apples to choose from.
Royal Oak also features the country’s first apple tree maze, Amaze N’ Apples, where you can meander through 1.5 miles of trails with 9 varieties of apples.
Did we miss your favorite orchard? Let us know in the comments and be sure to mention why it’s your favorite orchard!
1-3 CHICAGO JAZZ FESTIVAL Millennium Park
1-3 LOBSTER FEST Navy Pier
8 MSI AFTER HOURS COMEDY LAB Museum of Science and Industry
8-9 WINDY CITY WINE FEST Buckingham Fountain
8-24 WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL Various Locations
9-10 LAKEVIEW EAST FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS Broadway St. from Belmont to Hawthorne
9-10 RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR Division from Damen to Paulina
13-17 MODERN ART EXPO Navy Pier
15-17 Riot Fest Douglas Park
16-17 RAVENSWOOD ART WALK
16-17 LAKEVIEW TACO FEST
17-18 CITY MADE FEST Clark & Argyle
19 – 24 CHICAGO GOURMET
23-24 MIDNIGHT CIRCUS IN THE PARKS McKinley Park, 2210 W Pershing Rd
23-24 RANDOLPH STREET MARKET FESTIVAL (Antiques & Indie Designers) Lake Shore Park
23-24 HYDE PARK JAZZ FESTIVAL Multiple Locations
29-10/1 OKTOBERFEST CHICAGO Southport Ave. & Lincoln Ave.
30-10/1 FULTON MARKET OCTOBERFEST
You scream, I scream, who doesn’t love ice cream?
If you’re like us, you probably find yourself indulging in Halo Top most often but we promise you don’t wanna miss out on Chicago’s ice cream scene. Keep reading to see some of our suggestions, and let us know your favorite spot in the comments.
Jeni’s uses The Fellowship Model by working directly with their suppliers in order to offer you ice creams that have a uniquely smooth texture & buttercream body.
Jeni’s distinct flavor is due to founder Jeni Britton Bauer’s strategy of using whole ingredients & dairy from grass-pastured cows, rather than synthetic flavorings & commodity ice cream mix.
Jeni’s has four Chicago locations and you can buy online too!
Recommendation: Brambleberry Crisp
Aside from using only the freshest ingredients, what makes Graeter’s unique is the French Pot Process that they use to make their ice cream.
Graeter’s has two shops on the North Shore, but you should be able to find this in most grocery stores throughout Chicagoland.
Pro tip: Greater’s also offers a low-glycemic ice cream for those who need less sugar.
Recommendation: Black Cherry Chocolate Chip
This neighborhood favorite serves up ice cream, concretes, shakes & malts. Aside from the delicious ice cream, Lickity Split also offers Metropolis Coffee and they’ve partnered with local businesses to offer all sorts of candy & pastries.
Recommendation: PB & Fudge
With two Chicago locations, Margie’s Candies is a go-to spot for many Chicagoans when the ice cream craving hits. Margie’s ice cream & toppings are made fresh, using all natural and kosher ingredients.
Margie’s also makes their own waffle cones if that’s something you prefer. Don’t miss out on Margie’s delicious homemade candy if you do decide to make the trip.
Recommendation: The Turtle Split
There’s a reason Time Out named this place one of the best ice cream shops in America in 2015.
You can watch the frozen custard get made fresh at this Roscoe Village shop. Scooter’s uses local ingredients from the family farmers of central Wisconsin, considered America’s Dairyland.
Recommendation: Boston Shake
Original Rainbow Cone
It wouldn’t be a true Chicago ice cream shop recommendation list if we didn’t include Original Rainbow Cone. The home of this shop is on the far south side of Chicago, but visitors can take in the rainbow goodness at their Navy Pier outpost.
The signature five-flavor rainbow cone features scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio, and orange sherbet stacked to make a mountain of goodness.
Recommendation: Rainbow Cone
It may still be summer, but if you’re even thinking about selling your home early next year, there are a number of things you should do now to prepare.
Here are a few tips to get your home market-ready before colder temps set in.
Order professional photos of your home’s exterior now
Photos are often a buyer’s first impression. That’s why great photography is an essential part of the real estate marketing mix.
If you plan to list your home before next spring, you should have professional photos taken now while the landscape is still green and leafy. A scenic backdrop puts your home in the best possible light for buyers.
Tackle outdoor repairs
Warm weather makes it an ideal time to take care of home improvement projects like painting, roof repairs and replacing windows.
You also may want to consider getting a pre-listing home inspection so you are aware of any other necessary repairs – both indoors and outdoors – and have ample time to get them fixed.
Declutter and get organized
Most homes could stand a little decluttering – and that’s especially true before they hit the market.
Of course, schlepping boxes to the self-storage is a whole lot less fun when it’s bitter cold and there’s snow on the ground, so the sooner you get started the better.
Here are a few ways to declutter before you sell your home to ensure your property is in tip-top shape when it comes time to list.
Request a comparative market analysis (CMA)
Your broker can perform a CMA, which will give you an initial snapshot of your home’s value.
Keep in mind that pricing and market conditions can change between now and the time you list, but knowing where you stand today will be helpful in planning both your sale and your next purchase.
Wake up to the sun and sailboats! Two bedroom plus a den with eye level views of Lake Michigan, Soldier Field and the Museum Campus. Beautifully maintained with floor to ceiling windows with new electric window treatments and hardwood flooring. Wide living space with adjacent balcony and dining area. Spacious kitchen with loads of cabinets, granite countertops and a full height backsplash, stainless steel appliances with vented hood and convection microwave oven. Gracious master suite with dual vanity, separate shower, linen closet and large walk in closet. Second bedroom with hall bathroom plus office. Convenient Museum Park II has it all – fitness room, outdoor pool, dry cleaners, deli/grocer, party room and party lounge, door staff and on-site manager. Walk to the Loop and CTA, Millennium Park, Northerly Island, Burnham Harbor, shops on Roosevelt and Movie Theaters. Two prime parking spots available for an additional $30,000 each.