PLUS CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL'S "STARRY" SPRING GALA; HOWARD BROWN'S GARDEN OF EVE; PLAYBOY'S ICONIC COVER REMAKES; JURASSIC WORLD IS DINO-MITE; RUSH'S SPRING LUNCHEON; NORTHWESTERN'S ENVISION GALA; CHICAGO CHILDCARE SOCIETY HONORS PEGGY; CHICAGO'S RITA HAYWORTH GALA; LP ZOO KICKS OFF MANE EVENT; COSTUME COUNCIL HONORS HERRERA; A FINE WISCONSIN ROAD TRIP: ON YOUR TOES FOR A SILVER LINING; HOLIDAY IN HAVANA; CONOR'S RECORD-BREAKING HONOR; NAVY PIER HAS PIER PRIDE; ANOTHER HONOR FOR KUTZA; THIS AND THAT; VIDEO AND SO MUCH MORE!
Some of the biggest names in Chicago’s social scene gathered at the MCA on Saturday, June 3, for Art Edge 50, a gala to kick-off the
Museum of Contemporary Art’s 50th anniversary and to open the highly anticipated Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg exhibition. Guests enjoyed an exclusive first look at the exhibition which marks Mr. Murakami’s first museum retrospective in North America in 10 years and
features a never-before-seen monumental masterpiece. A special video message opened the program from the event's musical curator, Pharrell Williams. He introduced his friend and
celebrity performer Janelle Monáe, hot off her 2017 Academy Award win for Best Picture in Moonlight. Monáe, decked out in her signature colors of black and white, performed a set of some of her top hits. During her
performance Monáe said, “If you support artists, you support freedom.”Arriving guests were delighted to be greeted by the artist of the exhibition, Takashi Murakami. In the MCA's Kovler Atrium, colorful sculptures featured oversized 50s that celebrated the museum’s anniversary. Partygoers then followed a path to Lake
Shore Park just behind the museum where a massive tent —provided by HDO Productions— featured décor designed in partnership with Murakami and created by Heffernan Morgan. There, guests enjoyed dinner and dessert before
the concert. The Murakami-inspired décor inside the tent featured one-of-a-kind light fixtures – scaled 10 feet tall and 24-feet wide – adorned with octopus imagery that Murakami designed exclusively for his exhibition debut. Wrapped with spectacular, swirling pink tentacles, the fixtures appeared as a continuation of the octopus
takeover on the front windows of the museum and throughout the city. Guests enjoyed caipirinha cocktails with dragon fruit garnish and Murakami-inspired hors d’oeuvres
that included sushi rolls playfully displayed with edible octopus. The evening’s program included a commemorative 50th Anniversary video that celebrated the founders of the MCA, including Beatrice C. Mayer,
who was in attendance. To conclude the evening, guests acted as live performance artists decorating celebratory birthday cakes for the MCA’s anniversary. MCA Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn said,
“We are celebrating the visionary group of Chicagoans who, 50 years ago, decided that our amazing city needed a contemporary art museum. We also are celebrating
the museum’s redesign, a project that propels us into the next 50 years. And of course, how better to mark this wonderful occasion than by debuting this unparalleled, absolutely stunning exhibition.” Notable guests at the gala included Mayor Rahm Emanuel
and Chicago's First Lady Amy Rule, Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand, Nancy and Steven Crown, Marc Ecko, Dr. Julius Few, Ikram and Josh Goldman, Katherine Chez Malkin and Judd Malkin, Desiree Rogers, Michael and Cari Sacks; artists Hebru Brantley, Nick Cave, Theaster Gates and Kerry
James Marshall and gallerists Larry Gagosian, Easy Otabor, Emmanuel Perrotin, Jeff Poe and Tim Blum. Co-chaired by Marlene Breslow-Blitstein and Berle Blitstein, Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Alper, James Litinsky and Pamela Netzky and Ashley Hemphill-Netzky, the event raised $3 million with proceeds benefiting future MCA exhibitions, performances, and education programming.( Photos by Maria Ponce, Maggie Rife Ponce and Mysi Anne Grubbe and Braxton Black for Jeremy Lawson)
Hollywood and, in this case, royalty, came to Chicago for the annual Chicago International Film Festival's Spring Gala presented by Cinema/Chicago on May 24. Academy Award-winning actress (Dame) Helen Mirren and Academy Award-winning director Taylor
Hackford (her husband) celebrated their film careers with Festival founder Michael Kutza and nearly 400 adoring fans at the Loews Chicago Hotel. The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception, musical
entertainment by rock violinists, the SIRENS (a part of the fabulous Ken Arlen Orchestra), and a silent auction featuring an array of upscale gift packages including movie memorabilia. On
offer, a film poster signed by all of the actors who have portrayed James Bond; a Star Wars poster signed by director George Lucas and original cast members and a "Born in the USA" album cover
signed by Bruce Springsteen and members of the E Street Band. Also included were iconic posters signed by legendary photographer Victor Skrebneski.
As the honorees arrived, they met Kutza to walk the red carpet and meet event co-chairs Gigi Pritzker, Helen Melchior and me as well as members of Cinema/Chicago’s Governing Board of Directors. Following the press line,
guests proceeded into the Grand Ballroom where the black, white and grey decor was enhanced by florals created by A Perfect Event's Debi Lilly. Guests were awed at the colorful
arrangements that included yellow tulips, Mirren's favorite, as well as film slate boards with the names of movies significant to each honoree. “This was an evening that will long be remembered by everyone in attendance,” said Cinema/Chicago
President and CEO Kutza. “I have been hoping to bring these two screen legends together in this type of environment for many years, and finally, my dream was realized. We are so grateful to Cinema/Chicago’s many generous donors who attended. Their support enables us to provide
access to cutting-edge, international cinema for free to more than 7,000 Chicago Public School students, as well as offer programs such as our free international film screenings at the Cultural Center, the
Television Festival, CineYouth and much more.” The highlight of the evening was an intimate conversation led by Bill Kurtis, who first welcomed Hackford to the stage to reminisce about his career as a director and producer,
and his ability to spot talent in career-transforming roles, including his casting of Jamie Foxx (then only known for comedy) in “Ray.” Next, Mirren took the stage, and discussed some of her favorite roles and her
creative process. Asked if her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth had seen her performance in “The Queen,” she said that she did not know, and will never know, but that she got the sense from those who know the Queen that her performance “is appreciated.” Many of the couple’s friends in the film industry took the time to record video tributes to Mirren and Hackford, including Robert De Niro (“The Comedian”), Debra Winger (“An Officer and a Gentleman”), Richard Gere (“An Officer and a Gentleman”), Peter Gallagher (“The Idolmaker”), Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), Ryan Reynolds (“Woman in Gold”), Al Pacino (“The Devil’s Advocate”) and director Stephen Frears (“The Queen”). At the conclusion of the evening, Mirren and Hackford each were awarded the Gold Hugo for Career Achievement. Visibly moved, they both spoke about the importance of the Chicago International Film Festival, with Hackford noting
that it was the screening of his film “The Idolmaker” as an opening night presentation at the Chicago Theatre that launched his career. Mirren added that she relishes the opportunity
to perform in low-budget, independent films, and that without film festivals, many of those films would never find an audience or receive widespread distribution. Proceeds from the event benefited Cinema/Chicago’s year-round education and outreach programs. (On July 29, Jane Fonda will also be honored with a Gold Hugo. Deets, tix here) (Fab photos by Mila Samokhina)
Howard Brown Health celebrated women's health at its annual Garden of Eve: Forward soiree. Partygoers enjoyed cocktails, delicious food, a photo booth, silent auction and dancing
to the sounds of DJ Slo' Mo to raise funds for Howard Brown's clinical, behavioral and community health services, including gynecological care, alternative insemination, breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV and STI testing and prevention and wellness education for the LGBTQ community. Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health serves more than 18,000 adults and
youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around four major programmatic divisions: clinical
care, research, education and advocacy. Howard Brown Health is also one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations. (Mystic Images Photography)
I was floored when I opened the email. It read (in part),
"I’m a photo editor on Playboy’s digital team. I’m working on an exciting new project, alongside the Playboy team and Cooper Hefner, for Playboy.com— and we thought this was a wonderful way for you to be involved. Hugh
Hefner created the Playmate with the idea that, “Once a Playmate, always a Playmate.” We wanted to celebrate the rich and
seductive history by looking back at some of our most iconic covers and cover models, and we decided it might be time to revisit them and recreate them, reminding readers that, once a Playmate, always a Playmate. We would love to invite you
to participate and work with us to recreate your February 1979 cover, with full hair, make up, and prop styling." Well, you could've knocked me over with a bunny tail! I was thrilled and then terrified and then determined--determined to make this shoot something I would be proud of and also, in a way, let the world know
that women of a certain age still have a lot of fight and spirit left in them long after their '20s disappear. I'm grateful to Playboy's new Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner for realizing that he has two distinct audiences--one that is the
next generation and the other, its loyal subscribers who literally brought Playboy to the party and want to see snippets of the past as reminders of why they are still fans. I'm proud to serve as one of those reminders. The shoot took place in Chicago at
Hannah Dunsirn Studio with photographer Ryan Lowry. His first words to me were, "Boy, I really think you're brave to do this." I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Makeup artist Stella Mikhail did the makeup and painstakingly
practiced recreating the bunny logo on her hand before painting it around my naval in lipstick. She nailed it except for a minor ear adjustment. The shoot itself was pretty straightforward as was the original shoot for the February 1979 cover, shot
by then art director Tom Staebler at Playboy's studio at 919 N. Michigan. It's a 3/4 shot of me in a pink bodysuit. When I received the wardrobe from L.A. prior to this shoot, I couldn't believe the stylists had duplicated it almost perfectly. But then Playboy always did have the very best people working for
them. Before the shoot, photographer Lowry mentioned that his grandfather was a club member back in the '40s. I had to remind him that the clubs didn't exist until the '60s. I realized then that Cooper has his work cut out for him bringing in the millennials as an audience. A note to Cooper---
Thanks for remembering your dad's edict, "Once a Playmate, always a Playmate." I never forget it and am grateful to be a part of this exclusive sorority. (The seven Playmates invited to recreate their covers were Renee Tenison (November 1989
Playmate, Playmate of the Year 1990 and PB's first African American covergirl); Lisa Matthews (April 1990, PMOY 1991); Kimberley Conrad Hefner (Jan. 1988 Playmate, PMOY 1989, Cooper's mom); Charlotte Kemp (December 1982); Cathy St. George (August 1982); Monique St. Pierre (November 1978, PMOY 1979); Lisa Matthews (April 1990, PMOY 1991) and me! Read all about them and see their cover remakes here. (Chicago Tribune reporter/WGN radio's Rick Kogan, was at the shoot and broke the Playboy cover remake story. Here's what he had to say about the afternoon and here's my WGN radio interview about it here).
I wanted to do something special on my birthday, which just happened to coincide with the opening of Jurassic World: The Exhibition at the Field Museum! Perfect! When I was little, I dreamed of being a paleontologist and have always had a love and fascination with dinosaurs. I forced my poor
husband to take me to both Jurassic Park exhibits in Orlando and Los Angeles. The Jurassic Park: The Ride (at Universal Studios Hollywood, enjoy the ride here) and Jurassic Park River Adventure (at
Universal Orlando Resort, enjoy the ride here) are both water-based amusement rides based on the Steven Spielberg film "Jurassic Park" and Michael Crichton's novel. They were both fun at the time even though the magical aspect disappeared when you could see the wiring beneath the dinosaurs' necks due to
the "skin" not quite covering the stalk. HOWEVER, this is definitely NOT the case with Jurassic World: The Exhibition. This experience is so realistic, it caused little kids to scream. (This is a warning for itty, bitty kids). The total immersion begins with the boat ride
to the mythical island of Isla Nublar where you truly feel like dinosaurs could still exist. And the surprises never end, right up to the moment you exit. (See videos here and here). Created in close collaboration with renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, the Exhibition is infused with interactive educational elements—drawn from the real-world science of dinosaur DNA that allowed Jurassic World to come to life. As a lover of all
things dinosaur and a born cynic, this exhibit ticked off all my boxes. I wish I could experience this sense of wonder all over again. Granted, it's pricey--all-access tickets are $50 for adults, $35 for kids and $45 for seniors and students. Evening pricing is lower-- $25 for adults, $20 for kids and $22 for seniors/students. And, of course, you can't leave without purchasing the "scary" T-Rex photo that everyone has taken for $25! (Parking was $22) For ticket info and details, click here. Runs through January 7, 2018. ROARRRRRR!!!
The Women’s Board of Rush University Medical Center hosted its 23rd Annual Spring Luncheon on May 11, at the Hilton Chicago. Co-chaired by Catherine King and Marianne Berger, the event
attracted more than 500 guests. The seated lunch featured speaker Mel Robbins, who shared her productivity tool for getting things done, called the 5 Second Rule. (A sought after motivational speaker, Robbins’ TEDx Talks have reached more than 10 million views in over
37 countries). Nearly $100,000 was raised to benefit the many outreach programs supported by The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center. This includes the board’s 2017 principal project, Rush’s School-Based Mental Health Program - an initiative for at-
risk youth served by Rush’s three School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs). The program is a community-based mental health screening and treatment network for children, families, front-line community members and first responders. (Photos by Rush Photo Group)
Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Foundation (DHF) raised more than $1.6 million at its 2nd annual Envision Gala to fund research and education at the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center. Emceed by actress Bonnie Hunt, the June 3 gala, themed Within Reach, was held at the Four Seasons Chicago with over 450 supporters. The funds raised will help prevent, diagnose and treat digestive diseases from colorectal and pancreatic cancers to Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, esophageal diseases, liver diseases and other digestive conditions that affect more than 70 million Americans. A portion of the evening's proceeds will also support the new Digestive Health Foundation BioRepository, a groundbreaking tissue bank announced at the event that will accelerate research on digestive diseases and a wide array of other medical disorders around the world. Other funds are earmarked for 10 new cutting-edge research studies and continued support of the Stephen B. Hanauer Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Fellowship, launched last year in honor of the gastroenterologist who serves as Digestive Health Center’s medical director. The event was chaired by Janet and Dr. Michael Ruchim, associate chief medical officer of Northwestern Medicine. Since its inception in 2015, DHF has raised more than $3 million to support its programs.
The Chicago Child Care Society (CCCS) hosted their annual Spring Luncheon at The Casino Club on May 18 honoring the late Peggy Carr, CCCS' longest serving board member (77 years)! As the oldest social services organization in the state of Illinois, the afternoon paid homage to CCCS’s rich
history of serving Chicago’s children and families since 1849. The event raised nearly $130,000 to help CCCS continue its legacy of community and philanthropy, providing under-resourced Chicago
children and families access to essential education and supportive programs. The event celebrated the non-profit's newly-
hired CEO, Dara Munson, who led the program along with special guest speakers, Andrea Zopp, Deputy Mayor and Chief Neighborhood Development Officer, and Liz Dozier, managing director of Chicago Beyond. A discussion about strengthening neighborhoods and empowering
youth addressed the audience of over 200 philanthropic supporters. The conversation shared goals for the future of Chicago’s youth and education, while touting the work CCCS does to strengthen Chicago families.
“Each year, CCCS assists more than 1,500 at-risk children and families on the South and Southwest sides of Chicago and some nearby predominantly low-income suburbs,” said Munson. “The generous
support of those who attended the luncheon will allow us to continue construction on two new preschool classrooms at our Hyde Park center. These early education programs change the trajectory of young lives in crisis and
help close the achievement gap for those that start to fall behind.” Guests also heard from Keandria Washington, a 24 year-old mother of three who received support through Chicago Child Care Society’s Beyond Parenting program. She has
since received her high school diploma and is now employed as a receptionist by the agency. The CCCS has
been serving children and families for 168 years through innovative community based education and social service programs. It works to foster an environment that opens opportunities for children to thrive as they move into adulthood and creates
transformational pathways to healthy futures for themselves and their communities. The Child Care Society arose to meet the needs of children left homeless by the cholera epidemic in the mid-1800’s and constantly evolved since then to meet the profound and changing needs of children through the Civil War, the Great Depression, both World Wars and into the 21st Century.
This year’s luncheon honored this rich history.
More than 800 guests celebrated the 30th Annual Alzheimer’s Association Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala on Mother’s Day eve, May 13, at the Chicago Hilton. The event raised more than
$1.1 million for the Alzheimer's Association’s care, care support and research programs. This year’s
theme, “The Big Picture,” was a reflection of the progress made over the course of the three decades since the event was founded, as well as a look forward at the work that is still to be done to eliminate Alzheimer's. The event included a
cocktail reception with performances by The CoverGirls Violin Show, auctions, live music by the Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra and a three-course dinner. A program included a standing ovation for Alzheimer’s scientists and researchers that were presented onstage. Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Rita Hayworth’s daughter, returned as general chair of the event. Betsy and David
Goltermann led this year’s gala committee. Jon Harris, senior VP and chief communications officer for ConAgra Brands, served as emcee. Harris also wrote a special tribute song about Alzheimer’s and
performed the heartfelt song with the orchestra. Over the course of its 30-year history, the Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala has honored esteemed local and national Alzheimer’s advocates. This year’s award recipients were: The 2017 Alzheimer's Association Family Philanthropy Award honored The Murphy Family: Dan, JoAnn, Dan and James, two generations who have come together to continue to raise
awareness of Alzheimer’s; The 2017 Alzheimer's Association Civic Award honored Cathy Edge, a longtime supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association who became an active volunteer more
than 17 years ago and served on the national board for 10 years. She currently serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association
Greater Illinois Chapter. Princess Yasmin established the Rita Hayworth Galas to pay tribute to her mother, Rita Hayworth, who lived with Alzheimer’s for many years before succumbing to the
disease in 1987. Under Princess Yasmin Aga Khan's leadership, over $72 million has been raised through the Chicago, Palm Beach and New York Rita Hayworth Galas. These funds, combined with other donations, have helped the Alzheimer's Association make significant progress toward its mission to eliminate Alzheimer's disease.
Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue hosted a kick-off celebration for Zoo Ball 2017: The Mane Event
set for July 14. Members of the Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo came together for a luncheon and a spring fashion presentation by Neiman Marcus to celebrate their upcoming summer gala on Friday, July 14. Co-chairs for this year's Zoo Ball, presented by PowerShares QQQ by
Invesco, were Mary Pearlman and Shawn Sandor. Funds raised at Zoo Ball 2017 will support the Women’s Board’s leadership pledge to the new state-of-the-art Visitor Center. For tickets and more info, click here.
The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum honored Carolina Herrera with the Designer of Excellence Award at The Casino Club on May 15. Marit Bohbot, Courtney Hopkins and Blythe Lee, event co-chairs,
welcomed 150 guests for a glamorous evening in recognition of Herrera’s countless contributions to fashion. The award is bestowed upon visionary designers who have indelibly left their mark on the fashion world. Past honorees include James Galanos, Christian
Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel, Hubert du Givenchy, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Ralph Rucci and Bob Mackie. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Herrera was unable to attend the event. Emilie Rubenfeld, president of Carolina
Herrera, and Herrera’s daughter Patricia Lansing, accepted the award on her behalf. The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum acknowledged the support of presenting sponsor Liz Stiffel and in-kind sponsors Laurent-Perrier
Champagne and Buccellati. The Chicago History Museum serves as a unique national resource for the preservation, interpretation, and understanding of history through the collection,
examination and documentation of costume. Through the support of the Costume Council, the Chicago History Museum has maintained a thriving costume collection and operated a conservation lab that manages and sustains this critical aspect of our holdings.
More than 100 of Chicago's young professionals networked and mingled at “On Your Toes, Dancing for Detection,” an event to benefit A Silver Lining Foundation’s Buy A Mom A Mammogram
program. Held at the Peninsula, this event helps fund the entire spectrum of breast health testing (mammograms through biopsy) for
uninsured and underinsured individuals. Event proceeds provided 40 mammograms, potentially lifesaving testing to those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Emceed by NBC's Marley Kayden, the event included a
special performance by Hiplet Ballerinas. The vision of A Silver Lining Foundation (ASLF) is to ensure that socioeconomic status
does not affect an individual’s ability to obtain information, timely cancer screening and diagnosis. ASLF partners with 15 hospitals in the greater
Chicagoland areas to provide access to the entire spectrum of breast health testing for uninsured and underinsured women and men in a timely, dignified and respectful fashion.
The Magnificent Mile Association celebrated its annual gala, “Holiday in Havana,” at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on May 12 with more than 950 of the city’s top business leaders and political figures in attendance. The theme for this year’s gala inspired a bold color
scheme and immersive décor, with event production by Tamar Productions. Guests joined in the festivities with custom cigar rolling and photo
opportunities alongside a vintage 1950s Chevy Cadillac Eldorado.The evening began with a reception sponsored by Rivers Casino which included gaming tables, cocktails, and passed hors d’oeuvres. The celebration continued with a delectable three-course meal prepared by the Hyatt Regency’s culinary team. Guests then
danced the night away to live music by Dr. Bombay. Dessert stations featuring The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Labriola Ristorante and Café, Stan’s Donuts, Fannie May Candy, and Angelo’s Gelato offered a sweet finale to the evening’s cuisine. Notable attendees included Rick
Simon, The Magnificent Mile Association chairman and president/CEO of United Service Companies; Lee Golub, The Magnificent Mile Association gala co-
chair and executive VP of Golub & Company, and his wife, Sandy; Ruben Ruban, The Magnificent Mile Association gala co-chair and VP of Akara Partners, and his wife, Carrie; Jay Blunk, executive VP of the Chicago Blackhawks, and his wife, Marci; Nichole Williamson, GM of 360 CHICAGO Observatory; and Erica Strama, senior marketing manager of The Shops at North Bridge, among others.
Huge congrats to friend Conor Gee, who will become the youngest president in the 112-year history of the Rotary Club of Chicago! Join him on June 27 at the Union League Club of Chicago to celebrate! Info here!
The annual Pier Pride celebration returns to Navy Pier on 6/24 with a full day of family-friendly events including welcoming back the NAMES Project's AIDS Memorial Quilt, a photography exhibit by Lisa Howe-Ebright, a fitness class at the Wave Wall staircase, Story Time, the Lakeside Marching Band, poetry readings and more! Find them all here!
Congrats to Chicago International Film Festival founder Michael Kutza! On the heels of a blockbuster Spring Gala comes the announcement that he received Italy's highest award, the Onorificenza di Cavalierato, in a private ceremony on June 1. The award honors his contribution to Italian cinema for the past 50 years. Starting in 1970, he created a special film section for the Spoleto Festival of the Two Worlds for director Gian Carlo Menotti and it went on from there culminating with ten years as the USA Film
Critic for Il Tempo newspaper (Rome). Love and congrats to Michael on this much deserved honor.
A trip of a lifetime for longtime animal rights proponent and animal-lover-in-general, Rhonda Sanderson! She and her daughter Samantha Amato journeyed to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, among other spots, to support African wildlife. Such fun and good for YOU RS!
Chuck, Rooney and I recently took a road trip through Wisconsin. We were gone for 5 days and the perfect weather made the ride in the convertible seem like something right out of a storybook. Traveling under a Windex-blue sky,
smelling fresh cut grass, seeing cows with calves in the fields and perfectly manicured lawns surrounding farms set in the middle of nowhere--all memory-making sights for sure. We started our trip in Lake Geneva. Our first
day included shopping in town (fell madly in love with the Cornerstone store), a delightful lunch near the lake at Speedo's Harborside Pub & Grill. Afterwards, we took tours of the Geneva Inn
(great looking, located on the lake but a no-pet policy) and The French Country Inn (again, great location on the lake, but no-pet policy and smelled funky and old). Dinner that night was at Next Door Pub & Pizzeria (delightful) and the following night at Mars (also delicious). The next day, we drove to the Dells and stayed
at Baker's Sunset Bay Resort (on the lake with nightly campfire songs and marshmallow roasts with Campfire Kevin and very pet-friendly). We took a Lower Dells boat ride that was so peaceful and interesting. We saw bald eagles, leather back turtles, blue herons, deer and so many different
birds. (See video here) We also toured the House on the Rock (sucked and an arduous walk to see it all), Al Ringling Mansion in Baraboo (elegant with lots of original furniture intact and being lovingly restored thanks to owners
Joseph Cotossa and his family); Timbavati Wildlife Park (nice, loved the little train ride); Taliesin (lovely if you're a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan instead of just curious tourists like us),
among other spots. A highlight of the Wisconsin dining scene was located in Lake Delton, the Del-Bar. This supper club opened in 1943 and served the best pan fried Walleye Chuck has ever had short of Canada (where he fished for many years). All in all, this trip was, in a word, restorative. We felt like we'd been gone a month and loved every minute of it, kitsch and ALL!
Eversight Illinois will celebrate 70 years of restoring sight with a party under the stars on Wednesday, July 26. No ball gowns, honorees or speeches--just a summer evening of beats, food and fun framed by the exquisite surroundings of the Peninsula Chicago. I'm honored to co-chair this fun-filled night with Michael Caputo (My Eye Dr.) that will support sight restoration and all the good work Eversight Illinois does for so many. For tickets, $275, and more info, click here.
I hope this Spring has been all you'd hoped for and that Summer will bring even more joy to you and your loved ones! Even though we're living through difficult times, we should remember to be thankful for all the good stuff, just like Oprah taught us. In my gratitude journal, I'm grateful for the opportunity to write my blogs and my Tribune column, my healthy family, the birds outside our patio, our vintage convertible, all dogs, taking road trips like I described above and looking forward to discovering something new each and every day.
Love, as always,
P.S. And, of course, something to make you smile!