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Friday, December 23, 2011

Another great gift idea, wine! Try 6 for 60 at WineStyles!

Let's not forget the best gift of all...wine! And lucky for my dinner party tonight, I scored 6 bottles for $60 of lovely, highly recommended wine at Wine Styles on Sherman.

The 6 for $60 section (pictured above) has nearly 100 wine labels from around the world and some have original prices of $18, so really, you're getting a great deal.

Be sure to stop by and tell Maggie that Lisa sent you, just don't be tacky like me and ask her for a quarter for the meter when you show up.

Wine Styles
www.winestyles.net/evanston
1741 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-4400

Holiday Pop Ups in Evanston

Twice this week I've scored affordable and unique last-minute holiday gifts at pop ups in Evanston. If you've got last-minute shopping to get done this holiday season, don't panic, Evanston has two very cool pop ups filled with merchandise for your shopping needs.

Adersonville Galleria Pop Up
1636 Orrington Ave.
Evanston IL 60201
Phone: 773-878-8570
Description: Local artists & unique gifts. Open until December 31.
Purchased: I scored two containers of dessert sauces (caramel and chocolate) created by an artisan sauce maker in Wisconsin. The two glass jars of sauce came packaged in a crafty, handmade wooden box that can be reused.
Gift recipient: my friend's parents who have everything to include an adorable grand daughter who will love this yummy sauce on the the ice cream sundaes grandma makes.
Damage: $30 (which I signed and paid for on an iPad, making the shopping experience feel so pop-uppy
Service: Awesome! The sales clerk let us in after hours (she saw us peering in the windows) and led us through the store and merchandise selections.

Pop Up Boutique
1307 1/2 Chicago Ave.
Evanston IL 60202
Phone: 847-205-1516
Description: Jewelry, clothes, art, baskets. Open until December 24.
Purchased: One lovely pair of earrings.
Gift recipient: My friend who has epic taste in fashion and has an amazing jewelry collection.
Damage: $24 (which I also signed and paid for on an iPad, making the shopping experience feel so pop-uppy
Service: Fantastic! The sales clerks asked me lots of questions about the gift recipient and then even shot down my original choice, recommending some a little more special. I totally appreciate that.

Let me know if you hear of any more pop ups in Evanston and I will add them to my list!

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dec. 22: Last day to ride the Santa Train

Dear Readers, I am so sorry that I only got hip to the Santa Train yesterday but if you're organized, you can do one last ride today! Take the Yellow line from Howard and ride the train round trip into Skokie, click here for the schedule.

For the last three years, the CTA has created a Santa Train that rides around all the various CTA lines at designated times. You can board the train and see Santa and his reindeer, enjoy holiday music and get candy from elves! The inside and outside of the train is completely decorated, to include joke Christmas ads on the inside of the trains.

Today is the last day to ride so if you miss it, be sure to make time to go next year. The Santa Trains starts riding the CTA lines after Thanksgiving and goes until just before Christmas. For the full schedule and background info, click here.

Below is a short slide show of the Santa Train pulling in and out of the Dempster Street station last night.

From www.transitchicago.com:
About the train
The Chicago Transit Authority is getting into the holiday spirit with our popular Holiday Train! Santa and his elves will ride the train passing out candy canes and season's greetings.

The spectacular train is an amazing sight - during the daytime and at night. The outside of the six-car train is adorned with holiday seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with even more lights running across the tops of the cars.

Interiors of the cars are decked out with thousands of multi-colored lights, red bows, garland, and red and green overhead lighting. The hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes.

As the train pulls into each station, Santa waves to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fair Trade Holiday Gifts at Ten Thousand Villages

This holiday season my family is enjoying a lot of local shopping options and fair trade holiday presents for the ones we love. Today I visited Ten Thousand Villages on Main St. (across from Dave's Rock Shop) for the first time and secured some pretty awesome presents for my son's teachers and my new boss.

The jewelry choices are exceptional and there are numerous holiday ornaments to choose from. I spent around $50 for three lovely presents and can recommend this store for your next shopping spree. Because the inventory at Ten Thousand Villages is so eclectic, you're able to purchase gifts for all different types of people.

Here is some information on free trade and the mission of Ten Thousand Villages from evanston.tenthousandvillages.com:

Ten Thousand Villages in Evanston, IL, is a fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories and gift items from across the globe. Featuring products from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries, we are part of a network of over 390 retail outlets throughout the United States selling Ten Thousand Villages products. The jewelry choices are exceptional and there are numerous holiday ornaments to choose from. I spent around $50 for three lovely presents and can recommend this store for your next shopping spree. Because the inventory at Ten Thousand Villages is so eclectic, you're able to purchase gifts for all different types of people.

As one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to distinctive handcrafted items. We seek to establish long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans are under- or unemployed, and in which they lack other opportunities for income. A founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Ten Thousand Villages sees fair trade as an alternative approach to conventional international trade. The jewelry choices are exceptional and there are numerous holiday ornaments to choose from. I spent around $50 for three lovely presents and can recommend this store for your next shopping spree. Because the inventory at Ten Thousand Villages is so eclectic, you're able to purchase gifts for all different types of people.

The story of Ten Thousand Villages in Evanston is one of rapid growth. We began in May, 1997, with 1400 square feet and two full-time managers. Today there are 2800 square feet and 5 full time employees, and more than 80 volunteers. In the past thirteen years, our sales of fair trade goods have tripled, making us one of the largest Ten Thousand Villages stores in the country and translating into vital fair income for hundreds of disadvantaged artisans around the world. At the Evanston store, we like to have fun! Come in to play the drums or the singing bowls, dance to the music, or challenge staff to a game of chess, bagh chal (tiger moving) or dakon. You'll find the perfect gift for everyone in your life and help an artisan family feed themselves and send their children to school. What a great combination! The jewelry choices are exceptional and there are numerous holiday ornaments to choose from. I spent around $50 for three lovely presents and can recommend this store for your next shopping spree. Because the inventory at Ten Thousand Villages is so eclectic, you're able to purchase gifts for all different types of people.

Watch our calendar for special events and check out our postings on the Chicago Fair Trade website at www.chicagofairtrade.org. The jewelry choices are exceptional and there are numerous holiday ornaments to choose from. I spent around $50 for three lovely presents and can recommend this store for your next shopping spree. Because the inventory at Ten Thousand Villages is so eclectic, you're able to purchase gifts for all different types of people.

Ten Thousand Villages in Evanston | 847-733-8258 | 719 Main Street Evanston, IL 60202

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec. 17: Julia Sweeney Workshop Performances for New Book at Space

For those of you who are huge SNL fans, you'll remember Pat, Julia Sweeney's character who really wasn't a man or a woman, she was just Pat. Well Julia Sweeney is coming to town this weekend and you'll have the chance to meet her and participate in a workshop for her upcoming book "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother." Info below is from Sweeney's website.

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I'm writing a book currently entitled, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother." It's about parents and parenting. I plan to workshop material I'm developing for the book on 8 Saturday afternoons before the end of this year. I'll read new chapters, work on ideas, and probably vent a little. It's only going to be 45 minutes long and start at 4 p.m. Afterwards I'm going to grab pizza at Union Pizzeria, right in the building. So, please come and join me!

Where: Space in Evanston: 1245 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL.

Time: 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

When: Oct. 15, 22, 29 Nov. 5, 12, 26 Dec. 3 & 17

Cost: $5 (donated to charity - The Cara Program) $3 for students $15 for all Saturdays

Just show up at 4 p.m.

http://juliasweeney.blogspot.com/

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See you there!

***

Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shop Local: Holiday ceramics sale benefits the McGaw YMCA

20th Anniversary Ceramics Showcase
Holiday ceramics sale benefits the McGaw YMCA
Dec. 2, 3, 4, 2011

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of ceramics at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, IL on the first weekend in December. This is an artist organized show that, despite changes and growth through the years, has remained a cherished community event.

The show has gone from a strictly local affair into an exhibition with nationally recognized, award winning artists. There are potters working in earthenware, stoneware and porcelain as well as sculptural approaches to clay. All sizes and price points are available for purchase, from ornaments to large scale pots and figurative work. 20% of all sales go directly to youth programming at the Y.

The show opens Friday, Dec 2 from 5 to 9, and runs Sat. Dec3 from 10 to 5 and Sunday, Dec. 4 from noon to 5. Admission is free.

Participating artists are: Mary Dye, Judy Disman, Paul Eshelman, Delores Fortuna, Nancy Gardner, Anne Maraviglia, Cory McCrory, Yuki Nyhan, Roberta Polfus, Layna Portugal, Gale Golovan Rattner.

McGawYMCA
1000 Grove Street
Evanston, IL 60201

Contact: Nancy Gardner, 708 524 9936, bisens@artic.edu

http://nancygardnerceramics.com

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

I love being a volunteer at the Evanston History Center!

This Sunday is the Evanston History Center Annual Holiday Open House where the public is invited to pre-game the holidays in the lovely Charles Dawes Home. From the staff: Join us for an afternoon of holiday cheer at the Dawes House, decked out for the holidays. The event features house tours, crafts for kids, holiday treats, EHC’s 2nd Annual “Deck the Dawes House” Wreath Contest, a raffle, and live music in the Great Hall.

1-2:30pm: Classical String Duo
2:30-3:30pm: Music with Marian McNair and friends

This year’s event features a “green” theme, with EHC composting for the very first time.

In conjunction with the Holiday Open House, the Evanston History Center collects donations of nutritious, non-perishable food (no glass, please) to benefit area residents. The food drive is conducted in the spirit of the Dawes family. Every year, the family put together baskets of food and goodies. On Christmas Eve, all members of the family drove around Evanston, delivering the baskets to families in need.

1-4 p.m.
225 Greenwood Street
Evanston, IL 60201

I've been a volunteer at the center for just over a month and so far totally love every project and staff member I've dealt with. Despite my massive inadequacies as a decorator, I was invited to help decorate the Dawes House in time for the open house. Below is a slide show of staffers and volunteers decorating on Nov. 29.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, November 28, 2011

1st Annual Evanston Turkey Trot was a huge success!

This Thanksgiving Day my husband, son and family friend ran the 1st Annual 5K Turkey Trot while I took photos and cheered them on. More than 1,500 participants showed up to run, walk or cheer. The race was extremely well organized and the race staffers were wonderful.

We're hoping this becomes an annual event as it's a great way to burn a few calories before consuming Thanksgiving Dinner.

Visit www.evanstonflying5k.com or www.mychicagoathlete.com for more information.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More bad news, Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in Evanston is the most delicious deep dish pizza I've ever tasted.

We had the pleasure of hosting our good friends from New York City over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and gave them the royal Evanston treatment, to include a night of deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's. OMG, that pizza is amazing.

We ordered the deep dish pizza with sausage and onions and it look all my power not to lock myself in the bathroom with the pizza and eat the entire thing, which is not what a good host would do.

Pictured above is the vegetarian, which in comparison to the sausage pizza was a little boring, sorry. Safe to say I will be ordering Malnati's again and again!

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
1850 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201
(847)328-5400

Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa Claus is coming to Evanston!

November 22
Holiday Tree Lighting
Fountain Square, 1560 Sherman Ave. Evanston, IL at 5:30 PM

This annual celebration will feature a visit from Evanston Mayor Elizabeth B. Tisdahl, Rotary International’s Deputy General Secretary, Pete Deberge and Santa Claus, who will arrive at Fountain Square on an Evanston fire truck. Immediately following the tree lighting ceremony there will be a festive warm-up reception with holiday goodies hosted by Rotary International in their CafĂ© International at One Rotary Center, at 1560 Sherman Ave., across from Fountain Square.

In the spirit of holiday giving, warm essentials (socks, long underwear, gloves, hats, etc.) will be accepted at the reception for donation to Hilda's Place, Evanston's emergency housing and support services for the homeless. Hilda's provides more than 12,600 nights of shelter and serves 20,000 meals per year to those in need. For more information, call 847-866-6319 or visit www.evanstondowntown.com.

This event will take place at Fountain Square on Tuesday, November 22 at 5:30 pm.

Information from the City of Evanston website, visit www.cityofevanston.org for more info.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shop Evanston: NeighborWood cutting boards from urban growth timber

A friend of mine recently sent a list of great holiday shopping ideas and I will share them all with you, starting with NeighborWood. The story for this company is so cool, I'm copy and pasting it from the website for your to read as I will do not justice in the retelling:

NeighborWood: Sustainable wood products from Urban Growth Timber

NeighborWood has your answer, or at least for Chicago and the surrounding areas. These guys not only have a hilarious company name, but the genius idea of partnering with local municipalities, which must constantly clear trees that are in danger of falling. NeighborWood puts the felled timbre to good use, and converts it into a variety of cutting boards, and get this, a grill scraper that customizes its edge to your grill.

It’s great to see that Wilco is now the 2nd best thing to come out of Chicago, behind NeighborWood.

Order a cutting board today at store.myneighborwood.com.

Send your recommendations for good eats, local buys or anything I should know about in Evanston at thelisadshow@gmail.com.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wildlife Sighting: Female Downy Woodpecker

Today we saw a beautiful female Downy Woodpecker on the tree just outside our window, from about 5 feet away. Awesome.One of the funnest elements of moving to a new city has been learning about the locals animals and nature.

As a going away present, a family of birders gave us binoculars for birding in the winter. We'll have to get a field guide for the Illinois area and get birding this winter. Can you recommend any ideal places for birding in the Chicago area?

Info on the Downy Woodpecker
Size & Shape
Downy Woodpeckers are small versions of the classic woodpecker body plan. They have a straight, chisel-like bill, blocky head, wide shoulders, and straight-backed posture as they lean away from tree limbs and onto their tail feathers. The bill tends to look smaller for the bird’s size than in other woodpeckers.

Color Pattern
Downy Woodpeckers give a checkered black-and-white impression. The black upperparts are checked with white on the wings, the head is boldly striped, and the back has a broad white stripe down the center. Males have a small red patch on the back of the head. The outer tail feathers are typically white with a few black spots.

Behavior
Downy Woodpeckers hitch around tree limbs and trunks or drop into tall weeds to feed on galls, moving more acrobatically than larger woodpeckers. Their rising-and-falling flight style is distinctive of many woodpeckers. In spring and summer, Downy Woodpeckers make lots of noise, both with their shrill whinnying call and by drumming on trees.

Habitat
You’ll find Downy Woodpeckers in open woodlands, particularly among deciduous trees, and brushy or weedy edges. They’re also at home in orchards, city parks, backyards and vacant lots.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Friday, November 18, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Is this the kind of hat I'll have to wear this winter in order to stay warm?

So I was at my favorite bar last night (11.16.11: Bad news, my new favorite bar is 2.5 blocks from my house) and I ran into this cute young mom with some kind of dead raccoon on her head. Silly me, turns out it's a hat and if you don't want your head to freeze into a block of ice and fall off your shoulders this winter, you have to wear this hat.

Now, we all have our fashion insecurities (for instance I don't weather leather or denim, I am not hot or thin enough to pull off those fabrics with confidence) but when it's 20 below, you have to wear some stuff that might not make you look that hot. But this hat? I don't think I can wear this hat no matter how cold it gets.

Good for this girl that she looks this cute in that hat!

Below are several other images from my Evanston Style Watch project where I shoot inspiring or interesting street fashion. As you can tell with 3 images in the slide show, it's a slow project, but I'm determined to track down Evanston's best in street fashion.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I miss my friends!!!!!!

One thing I didn't expect at all is just how much I miss my friends in El Paso! This is my fourth move in my adult life, I have friends all over the globe, but this move has me all choked up.

I blame Facebook, which keeps the bonds very strong with old friends, via videos and photos, and old-school photo albums are deadly too.

My friend sent me this photo recently and I just had to share it with you as it's so incredibly cute.

I'm logging off now so I can send some emails and postcards to El Paso, I miss my friends...

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Bad news, my new favorite bar is 2.5 blocks from my house

How did I get so lucky? I mean it's not enough that my new city is gorgeous, sits on a massively gorgeous beach, has amazing people but it also has a very cool bar with affordable drinks and delicious organic food?

Last night my neighbor/new friend Magee took me out to Union to introduce me to the joint and it was a fantastic experience. The cider pictured above was $9 and poured 3 6oz. glasses. We ordered the bruschetta which is served with kale and white beans, poured over toasted French bread and doused in garlic - divine. We sat at the bar and received impeccable service, with the bartender cleaning up after our every messy move but not in an invasive way.

Our friend's are visiting from Brooklyn this Thanksgiving weekend and we will definitely be sure to take them here for dinner. There's also a performance venue in the back, SPACE, where I saw The Story Pirates recently and that venue is intimate, dark and great for a show.

See you at Union!

For more information visit www.unionevanston.com.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Evanston Newbie readers weigh in on the Evanston Thrift Stores

As you know I've got a hankering to visit a good Thrift Store most days of the year and my good friend and Evanston Ambassador Jodi "The Fox" Glenn has sent me a list of thrift stores in Evanston to check out. For organizational purposes I'm posting the list here and will post reviews after I find the time to check out the store.

-ORT Resale 915 Chicago Ave (across the street from JL, and right by amazing Greek place called Cross Rhodes – try their Greek chicken & potatoes. You’ll weep.)

-Hit or miss, but people swear by the Unique thrift shop next to Dollar Tree at Dodge & Howard. (You may have heard people refer to it as the “Unique Boutique.”) I have not had luck there, but the Salvation Army shop on Oakton in Skokie is pretty decent.

-There is a delightful little vintage shop on Chicago Ave just around the corner from us – can’t remember the name – but it’s on the east side of the street, south of Hamilton. The owners’ cats hang out at the store. My mom just scored a truly mod yellow dress and chain belt for a 60s party she’s going to on Saturday, and I haunt the place for vintage handkerchiefs (something I always like to give a bride when I do a wedding) and funky purses.

-OOOOH – field trip --- you MUST go to Lost Eras, at 1511 W. Howard Street. Prepare to lose HOURS. We used to rent costumes & props from them years ago when they were in the city. You can buy or rent almost anything there, and just browsing is the most fun. Beware the basement – incredible store of vintage clothing, furnishings and accessories, but you’ve got to duck a lot or you’ll whack your head on things.

-The Unique thrift stores throughout Chicago again are hit or miss but you can find extraordinary things if you’re patient. I ducked into one on the near northwest side when I was early for an appointment, and scored Jacob’s suit and tie for Halloween, which ended up looking truly dapper on him. They also had a really impressive collection of men’s leather coats.

Thank you Jodi! Know of any thrift stores I need to add to the list? Email me at thelisadshow@gmail.com.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Today only: 5% of Whole Foods sales goes to Evanston History Center (go buy Prosecco and cheese)

You know you are always looking to visit Whole Foods for your favorite culinary treats and today you've got the perfect excuse!

From the Evanston History Center website:

The Evanston History Center (EHC) is delighted to announce that Whole Foods Market Evanston South at 1111 Chicago Ave. has chosen us to be the beneficiary of 5% of net sales made at the store on Wednesday November 16, 2011, from 8am to 10pm—ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING!

Please use this opportunity to do your holiday shopping–from flowers to beverages to food– at Whole Foods. We hope you will help spread the word!

Stop by EHC’s membership table at the store on November 16th and see the historic artifacts on display. Join us at noon for a talk by Eden Juron Pearlman, Executive Director of the Evanston History Center. Thank you Whole Foods Market Evanston South!

For more information on the Evanston History Center visit www.evanstonhistorycenter.org.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like a good pizza, Ren delivers haircuts

One of the most important services to establish in your new city is a good hair stylist. During my first several months in Evanston, I found myself approaching great hair and asking the owner who cut it. What I discovered was a pattern, everyone kept saying "Ren cuts my hair."

Ren happens to be a mother at my son's elementary school so you can see why so many people know her! So after 20 women told me Ren cuts both their hair and their children's hair, I decided to try her out.

Once you secure Ren's phone number (which I can email to you directly), call her and she'll find the time to come to you, that's right, like a good pizza, Ren delivers haircuts. As you can see in the photo above, I'm very happy with my haircut and even happier that I didn't have to leave the house to get it done. Need a haircut? Email me at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I'll get you Ren's number.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Score of the day: $5 Croft and Barrow wool hat

As if my life couldn't get any more awesome right now, I just scored a $5 Croft & Barrow wool hat! Where? The Junior League of Evanston Thrift Store on Chicago Avenue.

Additionally, I picked up a $3 (good as new) Le Sport Sac makeup bag that I will use for my cell phone and charger.

Although I haven't scoured all the thrift stores in Evanston, I have visited this one several times and today was my first major win. I highly recommend you check it out.

Thrift House
920 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 328-5778
e-mail: thrifthouse@sbcglobal.net

Hours
Monday - Friday: 11 am - 5 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: Closed

Visit www.jle-ns.org for more information on the store. And if you can recommend other thrift stores in Evanston that I need to add to my list, please email me at thelisadshow@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello sailor, will you join me for a cocktail?

This photo was taken at the Evanston History Center by yours truly. The center has very cool exhibits and a collection of more than 10,000 clothing items! This Thursday the center is throwing a party focusing on the history and fashion of cocktails. See you there!

November UTB: A History of Cocktails, Cocktail Dresses and the Cocktail Party

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reception begins at 6:30pm

Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

Admission: $5 (EHC members free)

This is a CPDU eligible program (2 CPDU credits offered)

The cocktail has been in existence for over 200 years, while cocktail parties and cocktail dresses were an invention of the 20th century. Join EHC Costume Curator Janet C. Messmer while she explores the history of cocktails, cocktail parties, and the special clothes designed to be worn while imbibing, including the magnificent Christian Dior cocktail dress which is part of our current exhibit, “A Curious Patchwork of Evanston Treasures.”

A pre-presentation reception, with hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Market, Evanston South, will begin at 6:30pm.

Janet C. Messmer also serves as head of the costume technology program at DePaul University’s Theatre School.

Reservations are recommended. To make a reservation please call: 847-475-3410 or e-mail jthompson@evanstonhistorycenter.org

Visit evanstonhistorycenter.org for more information.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Leg warmers in 2011

Although you can't really see the leg warmers on this cute young mom, they are there, over nylon running pants and below her nylon black tennis skirt. Leg warmers in 2011. My subject claims she is not trying to relive her days as an 80's fashionista, but instead protecting a recurring injury, but this is the second time I've seen her in leg warmers (she's my neighbor and the other leg warmers are rainbow).

I haven't seen leg warmers on anyone else in Evanston yet, but it's just getting cold now and people have yet to bust our their survival fashion gear (I plan on wearing my bedspread most of the winter). And how do people stay stylish when it's freezing out? I'm about to find out. Leg warmers was a fun surprise, I haven't seen those in forever.

Below are several other images from my Evanston Style Watch project where I shoot inspiring or interesting street fashion. As you can tell with 3 images in the slide show, it's a slow project, but I'm determined to track down Evanston's best in street fashion.

Friday, November 4, 2011

On keeping your Benjamins local this holiday season, panic shopping and decluttering before the deluge

My family is just coming off of a major decluttering, from globes to old shoes, we got rid of a ton of possessions during our recent move. But we’re faced with another opportunity to declutter and that is the traditional pre-Holiday Ford Family Toy Drive where we touch every toy in the house, make a pile of toys we haven’t played with in months and donate them to a shelter in time for the Holidays. It falls in the vein of the Halloween Candy Fairy which I was just introduced to and it helps your children see outside of themselves, it also helps me do better targeted shopping.

This Holiday season I am going to follow my pattern of hyperlocal shopping where I only buy gifts from small business owners in my city, otherwise known as “keeping my Benjamins local”. I need your direction in terms of stores, museum gift shops and Holiday fairs so that I can get organized and start shopping. And yes, I do start shopping early so that I don’t do what’s referred to as “panic shop” and buy totally inappropriate gifts for people, like the cucumber I bought my mother-in-law last year – TOTALLY inappropriate!

My first stop this year was Becky & Me Toys on Grove Street in Evanston, beckyandmetoys.com. The photo above is of the stash I scored which is predominantly going to be stocking stuffers. The major score is the 4-D Chicago skyline puzzle! We got the New York City 4-D puzzle last year, which was a major hit, but this year’s Chicago version is really going to be special because my boys can actually go visit the buildings they “build”.

The service at Becky & Me was great and they have a special club where if you spend $75 or more, you get discounts and sale notifications via email. And I walked to the store, which is always a major bonus.

What else do I need to check out? When are the Holiday fairs in Evanston? Let me know at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to help get the word out.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Really, you're living in a town that doesn't have fall? What the H-E double hockey sticks is wrong with you?

It's been 10 years since I've lived where the season of fall takes place and I'm like a crazy convert this fall. How does a crazy fall convert behave? I'm out screaming about the colors, I'm waving to the busloads of Japanese tourists taking photos of the trees on Sheridan Road, I'm explaining to my children how you can learn the type of tree by the shape of the leaf so you'll know what the color will be when the leaves change, I'm wearing a ton of burgundy, etc.

My favorite tree in the fall? The Ginkgo Tree with its rounded-edged leaves and it's boastful yellow blush.

My son wants to know why I love the season so much and I have to say that I love to watch things die a slow, colorful death. And that's what happens all around us in fall, everything dies. And in that same vein, because I'm not a total seasons snob, I love spring too. I love watching everything come to life after a frozen winter.

Everyone keeps telling me to drive to Michigan or Wisconsin to see real fall colors and I'm like "No way am I spending any money on gas when I can walk down the street and see amazing colors right here in Evanston!" The slide show below is a very small representation of just how gorgeous fall is in Evanston.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Halloween in Evanston Rocks

Yes!!! We did it! We had a totally successful first Halloween in our new city. Tons of candy, Halloween decorations, friends, wine for parents - it was amazing. Thank you everyone who made our night such a success, especially the homeowner down Hinman who handed out full-size Hershey bars - You Rock!

Below is a slide show I've put together of some of my favorite Halloween front yards in Evanston.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Video of a recent public art project by my husband, Dave Ford

Recently I wrote about being married to a visual artist (10.22.11: On marrying a visual artist, staying For Real and communal living in Chicago) and the benefits of choosing a spouse who helps you keep it real. I'd like for my readers to get to know my husband a little better, so that when I pitch the City of Evanston a public art proposal for the "Swing Set Drum Kit", you'll know what I'm talking about and back my idea!

The video above was taken of my husband's "Swing Set Drum Kit" that he was commissioned to create for a public art festival in El Paso, Chalk the Block. The festival is geared toward children, with a variety of chalk drawing activities, performances, etc. Dave's piece was ideal for this festival and there was a long line of children waiting to swing during most of the festival.

Click here for a slide show of images of the event, to include Dave on the cover of the El Paso Times.

Thank you in advance for your support, I totally think this piece would be great for the Evanston Art Center right around spring.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Bracelets

A beat that I love to cover is street style. So far I've created a slide show of 2 images of street fashion in Evanston and it's not for lack of style on the streets, I've just been slow to cover this particular beat.

At a recent business lunch of fellow journalists at the Prairie Moon, someone brought along their teenage daughter who happened to be wearing the 45 bracelets photographed here. My favorite bracelet? Snob.

Click here for more images (actually one other image) of street fashion in Evanston.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Friday, October 28, 2011

On my mother's green thumb, living like a nomad and asking for jade clippings from strangers

One thing I clearly remember about my childhood is my mother’s incredible green thumb. In our sunroom hung ferns, 6 feet off the ground, with their long green limbs hanging all the way to the ground. Ferns are incredibly delicate plants and it takes forever for them to grow indoors but my mother managed to love and grow those ferns like a pro. Because of her nurturing plant nature, I always equate a solid, stable, loving home with big, happy, green houseplants.

For the last ten years, my nomadic living habits have meant lots of shiny keys and tiny plants. I don’t move plants with me when I change addresses, they are always the first things to go either as going away presents or garage sale items.

Upon moving into our new apartment in Evanston we received several already huge houseplants as house warming gifts but I had to fill in the rest of the house with plants on my own. In a rather green effort, I replanted a basket of plants I found by the trashcans, each tiny planting received their own tiny planter.

But one plant I really wanted was jades, I love jades and succulents. And in a money saving effort, I sought out clippings from friend’s jade plants – thank you Maura – but I could only clip so many from one plant. What I noticed walking around Evanston was plenty of business owners with big, healthy jades in their storefront windows. Could I ask a business owner for a jade clipping? Is that so weird?

Up on Dempster at the Copy Room there was a huge jade in the window and I thought, here goes. Without any copying business to bring as trade I walked in and I asked the guy at the front desk if I could ask a very strange favor. He said “sure”. I said “can I have a clipping of your jade plant in the window?” He said “sure”. And I walked over and clipped off a small chunk of jade, said, “thank you” and left.

Now (pictured here) are two of my jade clippings, growing happily in a patch of sun on one of my windowsills. The clipping on the left is from the Copy Room on Dempster and the other is from my friend Maura’s plant. The little ceramic pots they are planted in are also from a pile by the trashcans, the dirt is scooped up from our courtyard garden.

By mooching off of other people’s stuff I managed to get two new houseplants and I hope when I move next, these plants will be much bigger and make the cut and actually come with me. This of course all depends on where the winds take me next.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun Fact: The inventor of Tinker Toys, Robert Pettit, is from Evanston

I recently became a volunteer at the Evanston History Center and am learning all kinds of awesome and fun facts about my new hometown. For instance, the inventor of Tinker Toys, Robert Pettit, is from Evanston! I think that is so great and so will my children as we love Tinker Toys.

Below is a very cool video of all the different things you can build out of Tinker Toys. From the Evanston History Museum website: This digitized film is part of the Pettit Family Film Collection housed at the Evanston History Center. The films were made in the 1920-1940s by Robert Pettit, Vice President of Toy Tinkers Company, headquartered in Evanston, IL. Pettit filmed his family and friends, trips and events, and documented his company's various products. The Pettit Family films were donated to the Evanston History Center in the 1960s; in 2008, we began transferring the films to digital format. To learn more, visit the "contact us" page at: www.evanstonhistorycenter.org.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Nov. 24: Evanston Flying Turkey 5K

From the City of Evanston website:

The First Annual Evanston Flying Turkey 5k will take runners and walkers around a beautiful course that highlights Evanston's lakefront and Northwestern University's campus. This is an event for all ages and a great way to start off your Thanksgiving. The first 1,000 registered runners will receive a crew neck sweatshirt. Medals for top three overall and age group winners. Let's make this an annual tradition! Learn more and register at www.evanstonflying5k.com.

When: Thursday, November 24, 2011. 9am.
Start area: Corner of Church and Sheridan.
Fees: Register before Nov 1: $30. After Nov 1: $35. Kids race: $15.

Packet Pick-Up
Packet pick-up will be available the week prior to the event as well as the morning of the run beginning at 7 am. More details to come.

Early Packet Pick-up
Monday, November 21. 5pm to 7pm
Whole Foods (South Evanston location)
1111 Chicago Ave, Evanston

Race Day Packet Pick-up
Thursday, November 24. 7am to 8:50am
Race Site (Centennial Park. Corner of Church and Sheridan.)

Charity
We will be collecting canned goods before the race to benefit the Harvest Food Pantry. Please bring non perishable food items to donate to this worthy cause.

Accepted Food Items:
http://www.evanstonvineyard.org/harvest-donations

Volunteers
To volunteer please email Jonathan at jcain@mychicagoathlete.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Postcards: Pancho Villa rides into town, Jacques receives his first postcard and the intellect of babies

So now we are going to enter the phase of babies and pets who received my postcard collection. We had Gus pose with Jesus a few weeks ago (click here to see sad Gus) and now I've got several babies and a cat to add to the collection.

The baby photographed here is holding a very vintage, sepia toned, Pancho Villa postcard. In the image Villa is riding a horse with some bandit friends about to attack the town of Columbus, NM, one of the first invasions on American soil. The postcard was sent to a friend in El Paso, also on the Mexico/U.S. border and a Mexican Revolution hang out for Villa and his gang.

This baby has no concept of war, the struggle of the U.S./Mexico border or life as a bandit - all he knows is baby food and possibly the smell of his mother! Wouldn't it be wonderful if for 57 minutes a day, just under an hour, your brain could only think of food and no other cares or worries? That's how amazing it is to be a baby, carefree and focused on food! Don't be jealous of Baby Jacques!

I will post more cute baby and pet photos of the postcards as they become available.

Click here to read more info about my postcard collection and all the exciting plans I have for its distribution.

P.S. I named this baby Jacques on this post in order to protect his identity and the identity of his celebrity parents!

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, October 24, 2011

We all scream for Hartigan's Ice Cream

WOW! Talk about the most delicious and creamy ice cream in the world. We finally made our way over to the highly recommended ice cream shop Hartigan's on Central and what a treat. Barely halfway through the first cone my son asked if we could order another one.

Hartigan's isn't your average ice cream shop in that all the flavors are very interesting and unique. I tried the mint Mackinac Island fudge and was amazed at how creamy and delicious it was. As if Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream could get any better, the geniuses at Hardigan's added MINT!

As my family is busy seeking out our new hot spots, we are thrilled to find an awesome ice cream so early in the search. Is it the Wisconsin dairy cows? Is it the great service? I don't know, but Hartigan's is going to be hard to beat.

Of course, we are totally open to tasting every ice cream shop in Evanston, so send your recommendations to thelisadshow@gmail.com and we'll add them to the list.

Hartigan's
2909 Central St.
847-491-1232

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On marrying a visual artist, staying For Real and communal living in Chicago

That's my husband Dave Ford at Artprize 2010 standing in front of his "Truck Drawing El Paso, TX, to Grand Rapids, MI". His truck drawings were on display at the UICA and landed him in the top 75 Artists category for Artprize 2010. He looks so happy in this photo, which is the emotion he feels when making art, which is why he's an artist and why I totally support him 159% in that endeavor.

I am not necessarily a good wife, I am just the type of friend who only loves you if you are living honestly and to your true drum beat. The reason I surround myself with people who live honestly is I need the encouragement and social pressure to stay for real. And my husband Dave Ford is totally for real, which is one of the top 14 reasons I married him.

Part of our move to Evanston focused on getting Dave into a more competitive art market where he could meet more artists, see more art and show more art. And so far, that plan is working out. Today Dave will have his first art opening in Chicago at the Sothside Hub of Production (SHoP). SHoP is an artists collective run by this fantastic and warm woman Laura Shaeffer (Click here to read more about SHoP in a recent Time Out Chicago), who is working with John Preus (read John's review of Dave's Truck Drawings here) to make tonight's art happening a fantastic event.

And both Laura and John represent the type of people we've met here in Chicago since our move; helpful, warm, kind and friendly. Everyone here seems very excited and willing to play along and help you along and it's a wonderful way to live. Chicago feels much more communal than any other city I've lived in.

If you're up for a unique and interesting art opening, head down to the Southside tonight from 5-9 p.m. at 5638 S. Woodlawn and see Dave Ford's "Truck Drawings Santa Fe, NM, to Chicago, IL", it would be great to see you. If you can't make it, you can see more of Dave's work at http://fordart.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Postcards: Molly brings in friends, Flamingos and an Airstream to celebrate postcard arrival

Everyone who has received a postcard has sent me a photo via email of the postcard upon arrival. Most recently my friend Molly sent a photo of her postcard while she was in Austin at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems with her friends Lindsay and Eric. (Molly is holding the postcard.) My only request is that people email me a photo of themselves (or dog or baby) with the postcard and I love the effort I'm getting.

I will post photos of the postcards as they become available.

In a world where friendship is so virtual (Facebook) and communication is so sterile (texting) I wanted to use our move to Evanston as an opportunity to reach out to friends and really check in. Sending postcards feels so much deeper than a Holiday card. Granted the first round of cards that went out only totaled 7, my plan is to get rid of all the postcards in the collection which is around 150. Do I have 150 friends' addresses? No, I'll have to work on that and enter the addresses in an old school address book. Do I have 150 friends? According to Facebook I have many, many more.

Here is a slide show of the postcards sent in round #1 and the images I've received back from postcard recipients.

Click here to read more about my amazing postcard project.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

I'm doomed if Halloween night in Evanston doesn't blow my children's minds!

I'm doomed if Halloween night in Evanston doesn't blow my children's minds! This is their first Halloween in their new hometown and you know how kids are, it's all about how the holidays compare and in El Paso, Halloween was a total blast. People had haunted houses in their front yards, one neighbor dressed like a bleeding zombie and chased kids - you get the idea.

So for my children's sake, I hope their first Halloween in Evanston is fun, because if it's not, I will hear about it....and hear about it....and hear about it.

One thing I do know is that Halloween has a designated time in Evanston in that children are allowed to Trick or Treat from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. I'm assuming festivities end at 7 p.m. because the temperature drops to 40 below zero, but maybe it's due to the fact that Halloween falls on a Monday this year and people have to work in the morning.

Either way, Evanstonians seem to be getting in the spirit. I drive by all kinds of houses with loads of decorations and I'll keep a slide show of them right here, so check back.

Any Halloween recommendations for the Chicago area? My children are still too young for haunted houses but they can do corn mazes, costume parades, etc. Send your ideas to thelisadshow@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Evanston 150 Voting Oct. 15 and 16

Evanston residents will have an opportunity to choose the 30 best ideas for the city’s future on Oct. 15 & 16. A series of voting sessions will be hosted by Evanston150, allowing community members to vote on the 100 ideas that were selected by a 21-person selection jury of community members.

The voting sessions will be held Saturday, October 15th at 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. at the Century Cinema located at 1715 Maple Avenue; and at 2:00 & 3:30 p.m. at Evanston Township High School located at 1600 Dodge Avenue in Room N112 (Bacon Entrance); and Sunday, October 16 at 1:00, 2:15, & 3:30 p.m. at Saint Francis Hospital located at 355 Ridge Avenue. <> Community members who live, work or study in Evanston are invited to participate in an approximately 45-minute voting session to rate their favorite ideas from a slide presentation using electronic keypads. Seating is first come, first served. Overflow attendees can vote in the next session or fill out a paper ballot. Ballots translated into Spanish will be available at all voting locations. Voters are encouraged to preview the 100 ideas before voting.

Click here to read a list of the 100 top ideas. (Apologies in advance for the fact that the list is in ALL CAPS!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Even Gus the dog is afraid of Jesus!

My postcard project is going perfectly. Everyone who has received a postcard has sent me a photo via email of the postcard upon arrival.

Most recently my friend sent a photo of her dog Gus with the newly arrived postcard. Look at this poor dog's face and body language. Gus is afraid of the image on this postcard (but it's 3D and so awesome) and barely wants to stand next to it. Poor Gus!

I will post photos of the postcards as they become available.

Click here to read more info about my postcard collection and all the exciting plans I have for its distribution.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On getting used to living in a small space, what children do with colored chalk and more of the things we inherit

Our new life is an adjustment for all of us, especially because we're living in an apartment, which my children haven't experienced. The best thing about our apartment is our tiny porch, which we call France, and the big communal courtyard in the back. This summer we used the courtyard for lots of dinners, charades, scooter action and some chalk art. This week my older son took it upon himself to produce a massive scale chalk drawing, leading a team of children from other apartments, eventually coloring in 90% of the bricks in the courtyard.

What started out as a few bricks of color ended up as this flag of color, with more than seven children coloring on their knees for hours. My son is very comfortable being bossy on projects and other children follow his lead, regardless of the size of the project. At the beach this summer he was always leading a crew of under 10s to build some huge Mayan village. The beach is too cold for projects and he's taken his energy to the courtyard. I love it and I love the scale of this project.

The timing of this project is very fitting as their father (visual artist Dave Ford) is across the country in El Paso, TX, participating in this year's Chalk the Block, one of the coolest arts festivals for children in Texas and possibly the nation.

Cheers to all the artists who make their work using the world around them, from courtyards to scraps.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just smell those roses!

It's October in Evanston and the weather is amazing, I think today's high was 80 degrees. Here's what's going on at the Merrick Rose Garden on Lake Ave., full bloom! And imagine the lovely portraits you can take of your pet sitting in front of this amazing fountain...

From the City of Evanston's Website

The Merrick Rose Garden features hundreds of beautiful rose bushes, as well as the historic Fountain Square Centennial Fountain. The Garden is located at Lake Street and Oak Avenue, one block east of Ridge Avenue. In 2003, new garden lighting and irrigation systems were installed and the retaining walls were reconstructed.

History of Centennial Fountain

The Centennial Fountain is associated with a tradition of public commitment. The original Centennial Fountain was purchased by public donations in 1876 in honor of the nation’s Centennial. It was located in what became known from then on as Fountain Square (located at the intersection of Orrington and Sherman Avenues and Davis Street).

In 1912 the fountain was badly deteriorated and was replaced with a replica. The fountain was frequently threatened by modernization plans and each time concerned citizens came to its rescue. In 1946 the fountain was removed and put into storage. However, Evanstonians could not let it be forgotten.

In 1950 a successful fund drive, including a $5,000 donation from Vera Megowan, enabled the fountain to be restored, The Centennial Fountain was moved to the Merrick Rose Garden and was rededicated on July 4, 1951, which was 75 years after its dedication in Fountain Square in 1876. The original plaque as well as a new bronze plaque were installed in the garden.

In May 1987 redevelopment began at the Garden. The Fountain was suffering from decay and vandalism. The future of the cast iron fountain was slowly eroding. Therefore, a group of 15 local non-profit organizations banded together and formed the Centennial Fountain Restoration Coalition. The Coalition raised $30,000 to restore the Fountain! The Merrick Rose Garden and Centennial Fountain were rededicated on July 4, 1988.

The Fountain was renovated again in 2000. It was stripped to bare metal and received a more historically-accurate paint job. In addition, the fountain underwent a mechanical renovation.

History of the Merrick Rose Garden

In July 1948, the Merrick Rose Garden was dedicated in honor of Clinton Merrick, a prominent attorney and second ward alderman for 23 years. The original rose garden was designed by Ralph Melin, the City’s landscape architect. The original garden had over 1,000 roses in 48 varieties, which were selected by C. Eugene Pfister, president of the National Rose Gardens Association.

In 1969, the Rose Garden contained 1,200 roses and 65 varieties. In 1985, an early frost killed many roses. In May 1987, redevelopment began in the garden, including a new brick outer wall with wrought iron fence and an irrigation system. Bricks were recycled from the old brick city streets. The fountain was refurbished at a cost of $30,000 (see “History of the Fountain,” above). Garden clubs and individuals donated over $8,800 for new plantings. The Merrick Rose Garden and Centennial Fountain was rededicated on July 4, 1988. Visit www.cityofevanston.org for more information.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Gigio's Pizza, giving your customers lip and things in common with Tina Fey

I finally had my first slice at Gigio's, the famous pizzeria in Evanston that serves up big slices of yummy pizza. I had the pepperoni slice for $2.65 with a Dr. Pepper in the can. I'm a dedicated fan of the massive New York style slice of pizza. Deep dish doesn't do much for me (which I know is going to be a problem for my pizza eating habits as a Chicagoland resident) so I was excited to finally try a slice at Gigio's.

What the Gigio's pizza slice experience offers is the perfect ratio situation, where identical amounts of ingredients make up the slice; dough, cheese, meat, sauce are all served in equal amounts which creates harmony in the mouth, not a battle for attention between sauce and bread. There is nothing worse than your pizza going to war in your mouth which deep dish totally does for me, I'm like "let me make room for 40 lbs. of dough and like 1/2 lb. of cheese during this chew of this bite." I don't want the kind of eating experience deep dish offers.

You'll find that most of the diners at Gigio's are very happy. During my visit it was lunch time and the place was packed, line to the door, 2 tables empty in a room of 30 tables. Most diners order multiple slices, I wanted just one on my first visit and settled for the pepperoni although I did take a bite of my son's cheese slice and thought it was just as good. The line moved fast and while you're waiting, you get to stand at the counter and watch the older time put your slice in your over for a quick warm up which gets you access to the customer banter. One guy in line was arguing (in jest) with the old timer who was letting the pizza stay in the warm up for too long, they were giving each other lip but you could feel the love.

As we were about to leave two little girls came in the pick up their pizza to go and as they were paying the old timer in the back asked "Where's your mother? You can't carry this out, it's too big. Where's your car? I'll take it out there." The little girls gave each other a look like "Okay, guess we gotta listen to him" and they showed him the way out to their mom's car. It was totally cute and they would of dropped the pizza for sure, it was huge and they were 6, max.

The best part of Gigio's? I now have two things in common with Tina Fey; my love for Gigio's and the Evanston YMCA. Read Bossypants when you have a minute (it won't take long) and you'll see that Fey spent some very formative years in Evanston and would save up for a slice at Gigio's on Fridays during her lunch break at the YMCA. Through osmosis alone, I too am a successful stand up comic writing for a hit sitcom living it up as one of the highest paid women in TV.

Gigio's Pizza of Evanston
1001 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60201-3609
(847) 328-0990
Hours: Sun 2:00–10:00pm; Mon-Sat 11:00–1:00am
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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Afro on Davis St.

It is impossible for this kid to have cooler hair. He was very friendly about having his photo taken, what's not in the photo is his friend describing how long the hair gets when you comb it out. I didn't know Evanston was so eclectic in the hair department and I've never photographed an Afro.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10,000 Neighbors of Evanston Promotes Community Sustainability

From the City of Evanston website:

The City of Evanston and Citizen's Greener Evanston invite you to join 10,000 neighbors who are emphasizing the ‘us’ in sustainable. We hope you will actively participate, connect and share with others as we strive to have a healthy environmental and social impact on our local community.

OhSoWe is about the personal and neighborhood level things we can do to safely build bonds with our neighbors, save money, and increase our quality of life while making our neighborhoods better (and saving the Earth’s resources). OhSoWe is focused on helping us all re-discover the things we can do with our neighbors. OhSoWe can share a meal with a neighbor, OhSoWe can easily borrow the things from our neighbors, OhSoWe can organize a block party simply and easily.

You can join any of the groups that interest you:
CGE Energy Efficiency
CGE Community Education
CGE Integrated Transportation
CGE Collaborative Community
CGE Renewable Energy

Visit www.ohsowe.com to join today!

This program was started by the Citizens' Greener Evanston, an organization that works to improve the community's capacity to act in a sustainable manner by addressing environmental, economic, and social equity goals. Visit greenerevanston.org for more information on how you can make Evanston a greener city.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On "The Playboy Club," lying to your children and black squirrels in our midst

There is so much content not allowed access to my brain (weather, football, Republican candidates, etc.) that it should come as no surprise to you that I didn't know that Hugh Hefner (spell check knew to spell his last name with one f, I didn't) started the Playboy Club in Chicago. And the only reason I learned this fact is that earlier this summer I passed a film crew on the street as I was walking to the beach with my two sons (who I hope never have subscriptions to the magazine) and learned from a deckhand (or whatever they call helpers on a shoot) that they were filming in Evanston for ABC's new Playboy show. I lied to my boys, told them National Geographic was shooting black squirrels in our midst.

We walked by that shoot way back in June and I brushed it out of my mind, but now I can't avoid the topic - every media outlet is writing out, debating about, reviewing the new show. And because I am so grossed out by the concept of bunnies, I am thrilled to see the show getting panned and Hugh getting slammed. Below is the most damaging part of Nancy Franklin's recent review of the show from New Yorker Magazine and I'm thrilled to share it and a link to the rest of the review.

“The Playboy Club,” in its bid to be taken seriously, also calls attention to Hefner’s self-proclaimed progressiveness about race a little too often. Hefner’s philosophy, in fact, is a narrow one, his idea of sexual freedom unimaginative and regressive. He’s a man who “loves” girls but appears not to notice the existence of women. A look into Hefner’s world is like watching a grown man playing with Barbie dolls—it’s a spectacle that can really be appreciated only by other grown men who like to play with Barbie dolls.

Click here to read the full review.

I rarely celebrate bad reviews but this show comes a little close to home (literally) and hopefully my boys won't see it and realize their mom was lying about the black squirrels in our midst.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Guido Degliantoni, seashells, things we inherit and butts in the air





My grandfather Guido Degliantoni was an avid beach collector and turned his findings into mosaics, two are pictured here with his autograph. I inherited his habit and you'll often find me at the beach, butt up in the air, scouring the sand for treasures. My seashell collection was recently unearthed during our move to Evanston and my sons have been busy organizing it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Postcards: Announcing our new address while throwing the U.S. Postal Service a bone all thanks to an ugly divorce and cross country move





My friend went through an ugly divorce and gave away items that reminded him of his ex-wife, many of the items now decorate our walls and spin on our record player. In addition to records, butterfly collections and art, we scored a postcard collection housed in a Romeo y Julieta cigar box. Most of the postcards in the collection are from European castles and Norwegian landscapes, he didn't explain the collection, but it's all very random and eclectic.

One theme in the collection is 3D postcards all printed in Tokyo, Japan, and purchased at the Asahi Trading CO. N.Y.C. There are seven total, and some of the them reveal images in the background if you move the postcard from side to side. For instance, a bull rips off the dress of the Spanish dancer, revealing a bare chested woman looking quite surprised! (My grandfather Guido Degliantoni, a collector of dirty old man stuff, would have loved it.)

In our recent move to Evanston, we had the chance to touch everything we owned and decide if it was worth packing in a Penske Truck and moving across the country to our new home. We made room for the postcard collection and will use it to announce our new mailing address. Announcing our new mailing address using such an antiquated medium will hopefully encourage our friends to use the postal service, which could use the love.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slide Show: Images of fall in Evanston, IL





This is going to be my first fall in Evanston, IL, and my first official fall in 10 years. Not that El Paso didn't have fall, but the Chihuahuan Desert is not known for its big trees. I'm using this photo album to document how summer ends and fall begins and to show you how I survive the changing of the seasons. Fall officially begins on September 23, so this album is starting just in time!

I will keep this album updated as the season progresses so check back to see more colors as it's still early in the season.

P.S. The heart-shaped leaf above is not fake, I really found it walking along Dempster Beach.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, September 19, 2011

Go: Story Pirates at SPACE this weekend!



From Center for Independent Futures:

Story Pirates sail into town Sept. 24 and 25th at SPACE in Evanston. Shows at 12 noon & 3 pm

Center for Independent Futures, an organization that supports individuals with disabilities and their families, is proud to host Story Pirates in Evanston this weekend. Story Pirates, a nationally respected theater company based in New York City and Los Angeles, is dedicated to celebrating the words and ideas of young people of all abilities. We invite you to join us for a matinee performance of stories crafted by local young authors with unique gifts and talents. Shows run approximately one hour. Sign language interpretation will be provided at each show.

Jump on board...you will not want to miss this amazing adventure!

Tickets: $25 per person • $15 for children 12 and under
Group discounts and scholarships available.
To purchase tickets, call 847.328.2044 or visit www.independentfutures.com.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wildlife Sighting: Baby Bunny Nest



Check out this super adorable nest full of baby bunnies we found at Currey Park in the community garden. This next is under a cucumber plant and these baby bunnies led a relatively quiet life until they were discovered by ME and my gang of kids.

Now I know why there are so many red foxes in Evanston, just look at the supply of baby bunnies being born!

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tonight: 2nd Annual Evanston Mash Up



On Sept 13, on the beach at Northwestern, enjoy a Taste of Evanston buffet, music and the unique spirit of Evanston. Mix, mingle and mash it up with Evanston stakeholders, everyone from business owners to artists, scientists to students, CEOs to city leaders.

Come to connect and talk about new ways to collaborate.

Highlights include Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and NU President Morton Schapiro presenting the next Catalyst Award. (They won it last year.)

Tickets are $95 before August 31. Non-members and member of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce can register at http://business.evchamber.com/events/details/2011-evanston-business-mash-up.

More about these and other details are on our website at http://www.evanstonmashup.com/.

Northwestern University on the beach behind the Henry Crown Sports Pavillion
2311 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wildlife Sighting #4: Mr. Fox, Dempster St., 6 p.m.



This is the FOURTH fox sighting since my move to Evanston (June 2011), all of which have occurred within 50 feet of my home. My friend Maura says it's the same fox, four times, but this fox looks much skinner than all the rest and therefore I am claiming FOUR independent sightings. I realize my wildlife photography is terrible, but I was chasing this one down with my cell phone camera while three children were trailing behind me trying to scare the fox away from me and my camera - yet another reason I should have seriously really considered having kids.

Considering there are tons of little brown bunnies hopping all over Evanston, the food supply here is perfect for foxes and I expect to see many more. I will keep you posted of any other wildlife I run into and promise to strive for better photos.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni