Jim Henson’s Legacy

After finishing the recent Jim Henson biography, I'm in awe of what the man accomplished in 53 short years. Despite all his success, the book reveals little-known facts about his career. Who knew that Henson first performed a primitive, non-frog version of Kermit in 1955? Reading about each project the artistic genius undertook brought back fond childhood memories. We […]

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Celebrate Spring with Romantic Poetry

Chicagoans had good reason to doubt it this year, but in the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley, "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" These famous lines from "Ode to the West Wind" illustrate the Romantic poets' passionate love of nature. And what season stirs the soul more than spring? Shelley and his peers Lord Byron, Coleridge, […]

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Women Writers to Admire: Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster accomplished the nearly impossible task of turning her hilarious blog, Jennsylvania, into a successful book. Since Bitter Is the New Black was published in 2006, she's penned six more memoirs and three novels. Bitter is her tale of losing her lucrative finance job in Chicago and learning some seriously humbling lessons along the way. While it warmed my heart to see her ditch her snotty […]

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Women Writers to Admire: Joan Didion

While taking undergrad writing courses, I aspired to be as sharply observant and coolly cynical as Joan Didion. Her essay collections The White Album and Slouching towards Bethlehem captured the allure of Hollywood and the chaos of 60s California counterculture. In the 60s and 70s, she perfected "New Journalism," the creative nonfiction format that brought stories to life with personal […]

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Graveyards of Chicago

Photo by vxla via Wikimedia Commons

  Graveyards of Chicago was first released by local publisher Lake Claremont Press in 1999 as a collection of author Matt Hucke's photos from the website he created in 1996. Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts, wrote the accompanying text. Since then, digital photography has allowed Hucke to take more extensive photos that he has included, along […]

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Women Writers to Admire: Anne Lamott

As a wannabe fiction writer, I've read endless pretentious writing manuals. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott shocked me by making me laugh. In fact, I LOLed. She's not only hilarious, but she strips the writing process of its mysticism. Like anyone else, she trudges through the forest of fiction writing without a magic formula. She graciously gives us permission to write […]

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And the Oscar Goes to…

Oscar statue

If you want to win your Oscar betting pool, now's the time to place holds on the nominated films. On Sunday, March 2, the 86th Annual Academy Awards will be handed out to Hollywood's shining stars. Captain Phillips is nominated for six awards including Best Picture. So I should probably see it. Tom Hanks plays the real-life captain who battled Somali pirates. Modern-day pirates? I'm in. […]

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Home Workouts That Work

Source: Aasimovic, Wikimedia Commons

You're determined to keep your 2014 resolution to make it to the gym five times a week. But your car is still stuck under a pile of frozen snow from two weeks ago. So get some cardio: Walk to your local library and pick up a workout DVD. The best DVD I've found is Jillian Michaels' Ripped […]

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Crochet Something Cozy

crocheted stitches

We've survived the worst of Chiberia this week, but we've got a long way to go until spring. Why not crochet a scarf to keep yourself warm and alleviate cabin fever? I may be in the minority, but I find crocheting easier than knitting. But if you need a primer, Debbie Stoller's The Happy Hooker offers the […]

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Sort Stuff Out in 2014

I'm determined to organize all areas of my life in the new year. But if Unclutter your Life in One Week sounds too intimidating, perhaps the One Year to An Organized Life series will prove more realistic. Author Regina Leeds offers books to clean up finances, work life and most relevant to me, life with a baby. Since […]

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