why i buy: something to believe in
one of my biggest sources of inspiration is our weekly family trips to the green city market, a farmers market near the lakefront in chicago. we walk, hand in hand, admiring the vibrant produce that heralds each season, chatting with the friendly local farmers, and sampling tasty bites from eco-minded entrepreneurs selling everything from artisan cheeses to piping hot cider cinnamon donut holes, grass-fed burgers with butterkase cheese, homemade rosemary honey ice cream, decadent crepes and smoking hot tamales. here in this giant city of nearly 3 million, people actually smile at each other as they pass by. tails wag in unison as dogs of all shapes and sizes exchange curious sniffs and playful barks. tempting aromas waft, blooms burst with color, and kids beam with sticky fingers and berry stained lips.
the market is not simply a place to hang out on a saturday morning as the city starts to stir. it’s about a lifestyle, a change of mindset, an idea, and a movement that you can actually believe in. 
the details:
url: http://www.greencitymarket.org
The Chicago Green City Market outdoor season will run May 5 through October 27, 2012, every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm. It is located at the south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Drive (approximately 1790 N. Clark).

why i buy: something to believe in

one of my biggest sources of inspiration is our weekly family trips to the green city market, a farmers market near the lakefront in chicago. we walk, hand in hand, admiring the vibrant produce that heralds each season, chatting with the friendly local farmers, and sampling tasty bites from eco-minded entrepreneurs selling everything from artisan cheeses to piping hot cider cinnamon donut holesgrass-fed burgers with butterkase cheese, homemade rosemary honey ice cream, decadent crepes and smoking hot tamales. here in this giant city of nearly 3 million, people actually smile at each other as they pass by. tails wag in unison as dogs of all shapes and sizes exchange curious sniffs and playful barks. tempting aromas waft, blooms burst with color, and kids beam with sticky fingers and berry stained lips.

the market is not simply a place to hang out on a saturday morning as the city starts to stir. it’s about a lifestyle, a change of mindset, an idea, and a movement that you can actually believe in. 

the details:

url: http://www.greencitymarket.org

The Chicago Green City Market outdoor season will run May 5 through October 27, 2012, every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm. It is located at the south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Drive (approximately 1790 N. Clark).

why i buy: heaven in your mouth
truffles+cheese. i could stop there…the mere concept of this combination—2 of the most delectable things on the planet—is enough to throw you into a spiraling tizzy. but there’s more. this is “sottocenere al tartufo”: literally translated in italian to “under ash with truffles.” this cheese is simply to. die. for. it’s a semi-soft cow’s milk exotic cheese, aged in ashes to preserve it, according to venetian farmer’s tradition. the ash ingredients include nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, licorice and fennel. within the cheese itself are black truffle gems and the rind is aromatized with truffle oil. we discovered this cheese at whole foods 15 years ago, and buy it almost every time we have company. pairs amazingly well with bubbles, italian whites (fiano di avelino is a fave) and even napa cabs. it’s pricey…but believe me, it’s worth every cent and sinful bite.
the details: retails at whole foods for about $22/pound and you can usually nab a nicely sized wedge for around $12-15. no need for crackers. just shave thinly and let it melt in your mouth. #drooling

why i buy: heaven in your mouth

truffles+cheese. i could stop there…the mere concept of this combination—2 of the most delectable things on the planet—is enough to throw you into a spiraling tizzy. but there’s more. this is “sottocenere al tartufo”: literally translated in italian to “under ash with truffles.” this cheese is simply to. die. for. it’s a semi-soft cow’s milk exotic cheese, aged in ashes to preserve it, according to venetian farmer’s tradition. the ash ingredients include nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, licorice and fennel. within the cheese itself are black truffle gems and the rind is aromatized with truffle oil. we discovered this cheese at whole foods 15 years ago, and buy it almost every time we have company. pairs amazingly well with bubbles, italian whites (fiano di avelino is a fave) and even napa cabs. it’s pricey…but believe me, it’s worth every cent and sinful bite.

the details: retails at whole foods for about $22/pound and you can usually nab a nicely sized wedge for around $12-15. no need for crackers. just shave thinly and let it melt in your mouth. #drooling


why i buy: “delivering happiness”…one pair of shoes at a time
zappos is in a word: the bomb. my go-to source for shoes—from stilettos to sneakers. amazing selection, seamless e-commerce experience, and shoes delivered to my door literally the DAY AFTER i click submit. i love them so much i will literally try on shoes at a brick-and-mortar store to validate sizing, and purchase online bc the experience is that exceptional. and if for some reason they don’t fit, returns are free and just as easy. they promise to “deliver happiness”—and they overdeliver every time. happy customer. happy feet.
the details: 
url: www.zappos.com

why i buy: “delivering happiness”…one pair of shoes at a time

zappos is in a word: the bomb. my go-to source for shoes—from stilettos to sneakers. amazing selection, seamless e-commerce experience, and shoes delivered to my door literally the DAY AFTER i click submit. i love them so much i will literally try on shoes at a brick-and-mortar store to validate sizing, and purchase online bc the experience is that exceptional. and if for some reason they don’t fit, returns are free and just as easy. they promise to “deliver happiness”—and they overdeliver every time. happy customer. happy feet.

the details: 

url: www.zappos.com

why i buy: chipot-love. 

chipotle is fast “food with integrity.” the company is principled. the food is delicious and healthy, locally sourced when possible. livestock raised humanely. burritos made with love. heart warmed, belly full. every time i go there. simply the BEST cheap eats out there…and visionary marketers to boot.

the details:

url: www.chipotle.com


why i buy: uber-thirst quencher
100% natural. fat-free. cholesterol-free. more potassium than 2 bananas. 5 essential electrolytes—more than 15 times the amount in popular sports drinks. no added sugar. super-hydrating and delicious. vita coco is made from the juice of green coconuts and it is one of the best beverages you can drink post-workout or when you’re just parched.
when i was young, my dad used to buy coconuts from the grocery store, crack them in half and pour the juice into a glass for us to drink. perhaps some of my love for this juice is nostalgic, but i love to drink something so thirst-quenching and pure.
the details:
url: http://vitacoco.com/
retails for about $6.99

why i buy: uber-thirst quencher

100% natural. fat-free. cholesterol-free. more potassium than 2 bananas. 5 essential electrolytes—more than 15 times the amount in popular sports drinks. no added sugar. super-hydrating and delicious. vita coco is made from the juice of green coconuts and it is one of the best beverages you can drink post-workout or when you’re just parched.

when i was young, my dad used to buy coconuts from the grocery store, crack them in half and pour the juice into a glass for us to drink. perhaps some of my love for this juice is nostalgic, but i love to drink something so thirst-quenching and pure.

the details:

url: http://vitacoco.com/

retails for about $6.99

why i buy: super swim vest

my friend tara told me about this toddler swim vest by speedo. it is fantastic! unlike most life vests that are big, bulky and tend to force the child on their back, this vest is thinner, lightweight and allows your toddler the freedom to explore the water while staying upright. with this vest, we were able to turn our once clingy toddler into a proud, self-accomplished pseudo-swimmer who would let go of our hands long enough to kick and paddle his way into a nice little comfort zone. we always use it under adult supervision but it gives us peace of mind and it’s perfect for kids who are just beginning to get comfortable in the water or want to hang out with their older swimming siblings.

the details: i picked it up at target for $19.95—it was hands-down our best purchase of the summer!

why i buy: packing a punch!
kale is ultimate superfood. it’s packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins K, A & C, and aids in digestion & detoxification. for a deep dive on the health benefits, check out this link: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=38&tname=foodspice. the best source is your local farmers market, make sure it’s organic so it’s pesticide-free, and i prefer the dino variety, which has thicker leafy greens as opposed to the curly kind. grab a few leaves and throw it in a fruit shake or try out this amazing recipe from dr. andrew weil @ true food kitchen in LA. http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/recipes/tuscan-kale-salad.php
delish!

why i buy: packing a punch!

kale is ultimate superfood. it’s packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins K, A & C, and aids in digestion & detoxification. for a deep dive on the health benefits, check out this link: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=38&tname=foodspice. the best source is your local farmers market, make sure it’s organic so it’s pesticide-free, and i prefer the dino variety, which has thicker leafy greens as opposed to the curly kind. grab a few leaves and throw it in a fruit shake or try out this amazing recipe from dr. andrew weil @ true food kitchen in LA. http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/recipes/tuscan-kale-salad.php

delish!

why i buy? hot wheels when you’re on the go.
you know the usual drill: hauling your overstuffed luggage, cramping your arm, straining your rotator cuff, sweating as you lug the load through security, lines and customs.
well this is your answer. simply put, the dash luggage by brookstone is the best luggage i’ve ever had. it’s easy, effortless, and a joy to travel with.
modern, sturdy, lightweight (only 8 lbs), 4 swivel wheels that seamlessly pivot and glide in any direction. zippers expand the luggage by 3 inches when you’ve packed a bit more. perfect for weekend trips and, believe it or not, extended get-aways if you pack smartly. this compact workhorse got me thru a 7-day trip to belize and a 10-day trip to la—while other travelers were weary, sweaty and struggling with awkwardly inflexible wheels and poor turning radii. despite its roominess, it fits perfectly into an overhead bin. and a handcarry can rest right on top while you wheel your way around the airport. best part of all, it’s reasonably priced. a practical investment that’s worth every penny!
the details:
url: http://tinyurl.com/3llg7ds
highlights: lightweight, incredibly maneuverable, expandable, perfect while on the go
retails for $119.95 at brookstone stores, brookstone.com and kiosks at the airport

why i buy? hot wheels when you’re on the go.

you know the usual drill: hauling your overstuffed luggage, cramping your arm, straining your rotator cuff, sweating as you lug the load through security, lines and customs.

well this is your answer. simply put, the dash luggage by brookstone is the best luggage i’ve ever had. it’s easy, effortless, and a joy to travel with.

modern, sturdy, lightweight (only 8 lbs), 4 swivel wheels that seamlessly pivot and glide in any direction. zippers expand the luggage by 3 inches when you’ve packed a bit more. perfect for weekend trips and, believe it or not, extended get-aways if you pack smartly. this compact workhorse got me thru a 7-day trip to belize and a 10-day trip to la—while other travelers were weary, sweaty and struggling with awkwardly inflexible wheels and poor turning radii. despite its roominess, it fits perfectly into an overhead bin. and a handcarry can rest right on top while you wheel your way around the airport. best part of all, it’s reasonably priced. a practical investment that’s worth every penny!

the details:

  • url: http://tinyurl.com/3llg7ds
  • highlights: lightweight, incredibly maneuverable, expandable, perfect while on the go
  • retails for $119.95 at brookstone stores, brookstone.com and kiosks at the airport

Tags: travel luggage

why i buy: tasty morsels from tate’s
i always try to end every meal on a sweet note. a bite of chocolate. a cookie. a little taste of something to balance out the savory. in a neighborhood market called olivia’s in bucktown, i stumbled upon a great find: tate’s chocolate chip cookies. 
a famous bake shop on southhampton, tate’s was founded by kathleen king, who started baking and selling cookies at her dad’s farm when she was 11. since then, she has built a chocolate chip empire reaching 40 states and worth more than $6 million annually. tate’s is frequented by the glitterati and gushed over by the likes of gwenyth. in GOOP she shares the recipe, but for those of us who don’t have time, take a trip to whole foods or your local gourmet purveyor.
thin, crisp, buttery & chock full of chips, tate’s cookies are the perfect little treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. simple, cheap and delicious.
the details:
url: https://www.facebook.com/TatesBakeShop
retails for $5 at whole foods, many gourmet retail outlets, tate’s bakeshop website

why i buy: tasty morsels from tate’s

i always try to end every meal on a sweet note. a bite of chocolate. a cookie. a little taste of something to balance out the savory. in a neighborhood market called olivia’s in bucktown, i stumbled upon a great find: tate’s chocolate chip cookies.

a famous bake shop on southhampton, tate’s was founded by kathleen king, who started baking and selling cookies at her dad’s farm when she was 11. since then, she has built a chocolate chip empire reaching 40 states and worth more than $6 million annually. tate’s is frequented by the glitterati and gushed over by the likes of gwenyth. in GOOP she shares the recipe, but for those of us who don’t have time, take a trip to whole foods or your local gourmet purveyor.

thin, crisp, buttery & chock full of chips, tate’s cookies are the perfect little treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. simple, cheap and delicious.

the details:

why i buy: links i love
who doesn’t love breakfast sausages. like bacon, they are home, warmth, comfort and deliciousness. i grew up on brown & serve sausages. i think the grease actually squirted out when you bit into them. i’d lick my chops and go back for seconds.
now that i’m older and wiser, i know that those lovely little links were far from optimal to consume. so i’ve sought healthier options for myself and my kids. hands-down, “sausages by amylu” are our favorite go-to source for protein and link-love.
the details:
url: http://atkfoods.com/brands/sausagesbyamylu/
highlights: low fat, high protein, super flavorful, 100% natural (no nitrites, no nitrates, no added MSG, no preservatives, no artificial anything)
retails around $5.99 per pack
favorite flavors: apple & maple chicken sausages, apple & gouda cheese chicken sausages, jalapeno & pepper jack chicken sausage

why i buy: links i love

who doesn’t love breakfast sausages. like bacon, they are home, warmth, comfort and deliciousness. i grew up on brown & serve sausages. i think the grease actually squirted out when you bit into them. i’d lick my chops and go back for seconds.

now that i’m older and wiser, i know that those lovely little links were far from optimal to consume. so i’ve sought healthier options for myself and my kids. hands-down, “sausages by amylu” are our favorite go-to source for protein and link-love.

the details:

  • url: http://atkfoods.com/brands/sausagesbyamylu/
  • highlights: low fat, high protein, super flavorful, 100% natural (no nitrites, no nitrates, no added MSG, no preservatives, no artificial anything)
  • retails around $5.99 per pack
  • favorite flavors: apple & maple chicken sausages, apple & gouda cheese chicken sausages, jalapeno & pepper jack chicken sausage