Blog

Photos and tips on travel, food, drinks to help you live a fuller life.

Staying Cozy in Subzero Chicago

IMG_7116.JPG

If you haven’t heard by now, Chicago is reaching record low temperatures this week. It gets cold every year, of course—but today It’s colder here than it is in Antartica. Which just feels…incredibly unfair.

First things first: If you happen to be reading this and aren’t able to keep your home warm or find a warm place to be, Click here to find a warming center in Chicago. Lyft is also providing free rides to these centers using the code CHIJAYDEN19, and Uber is doing the same with the code DFSS. It’s also helpful to share this info on social just in case—you never know who may need it.

So today is all about staying indoors. I thought I’d share a few things that are keeping me warm and occupied this week.


  1. Metric Coffee - Colombia Roast

metric-4.jpg

I have the Colombia Nelson Chavez roast brewing all day today. It has a robust initial mouth feel, with notes of raspberry tea, reships and orange zest—and an ever so sweet finish.. I’m into it. Also glad I grabbed a couple cinnamon rolls from my favorite bakery in the suburbs to start the morning off right. ;)

2. Parachute Alpaca Throw

throw-6.jpg

This Windowpane throw from Parachute Home is made of Alpaca fur in Peru, and is seriously one of the coziest (and warmest) things I own. On a day like today it also could double as a shawl or scarf to protect against the arctic elements—I certainlyI wouldn’t judge! Take a look at it on their site here.

3. Music

I snagged a few faves from the growing vinyl collection to find a few albums that feel ideal for a winter day in.

Yebba is one of my absolute favorite vocalists and I can’t wait for the impending album. For now, we have one main single and if you spring for this LP, an exclusive special acoustic version that I’ve had on repeat for awhile.  Listen on   Apple Music   or   Spotify  .  Bonus: Watch the amazing exclusive Apple Music music video (with unique vocals)   here  .

Yebba is one of my absolute favorite vocalists and I can’t wait for the impending album. For now, we have one main single and if you spring for this LP, an exclusive special acoustic version that I’ve had on repeat for awhile.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify.

Bonus: Watch the amazing exclusive Apple Music music video (with unique vocals) here.


I inherited this album from my Great Grandmother, and I’m so glad I did. There’s a special energy about live recordings from this era, and Harry’s charm & charisma are so evident throughout the whole album.   Favorite song:  Day O  Listen on   Apple Music   or on   Spotify  .

I inherited this album from my Great Grandmother, and I’m so glad I did. There’s a special energy about live recordings from this era, and Harry’s charm & charisma are so evident throughout the whole album.

Favorite song: Day O

Listen on Apple Music or on Spotify.

This album is basically perfect. To be fair, I can listen to this album any time of the day or year—but it feels especially perfect for the end of a day in. Let S. Carey guide the transition from day to night and keep it nice and cozy.   Favorite Song:  Have You Stopped to Notice  Listen on  Apple Music  or Listen on  Spotify.

This album is basically perfect. To be fair, I can listen to this album any time of the day or year—but it feels especially perfect for the end of a day in. Let S. Carey guide the transition from day to night and keep it nice and cozy.

Favorite Song: Have You Stopped to Notice

Listen on Apple Music or Listen on Spotify.

4. Candles

This one’s a no brainer. I burn a candle or incense nearly every day so I go through scents quickly—but today I’m burning New York by   Roam   ,  and in addition to the perfect notes of Amber & Birch, it also boasts a 45 hour burn time which is amazing for a candle this size. If you have a favorite candle, feel free to leave a link in the comments!

This one’s a no brainer. I burn a candle or incense nearly every day so I go through scents quickly—but today I’m burning New York by Roam, and in addition to the perfect notes of Amber & Birch, it also boasts a 45 hour burn time which is amazing for a candle this size. If you have a favorite candle, feel free to leave a link in the comments!


However you’re spending the winter months (and extra chilly days if you’re in the Midwest) I hope you at least get a few moments of cozy. A special shout out to those who can’t take the day off or work from home—public servants and other workers who keep things moving even on days like today.

Giveaway with Korchmar Bags

The holidays might be over, but I’m still in the gifting mood!

Photo by  Jesse Schroeder

Lately I’ve been searching for a smaller bag for day to day work, when I don’t need to lug around my camera and all my equipment. Enter Korchmar Bags, with the Edwin—their slim leather briefcase I‘m just a little obsessed with. They’ve been making fine leather goods since 1917, so the quality is pretty amazing.

Photo by  Jesse Schroeder

To win one of your own, just head to Instagram and follow the directions in the caption linked here.

Good luck—Giveaway closes Friday at 5PM CST!

Staycation - Chicago Athletic Association

CAA-39.jpg

stay with me

chicago athletic association

Sometimes you just need a break, but don't quite have the time (or energy) for a long trip. That's why I was so glad when the folks at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel asked me to come for a staycation, experiencing all the amazing culture and cuisine the hotel has to offer.

Reserved for Chicago's elite for over 100 years, the Chicago Athletic Association and Hotel now serves as a place for everyone--complete with lots of original architecture and nods to the building's tremendous history. 

It also features seven dining experiences, rendering it basically unnecessary to leave the building (especially in the brutal winter months.) Find Cindy's Rooftop & the Cherry Circle Room featured in the photos below.

I can't recommend this place, the amazing views and kind staff enough! Located right on Michigan Avenue across from Millennium Park, it's a great place for folks visiting the city or just looking to get away for a minute.  

Click here to book a room.

Check out a few favorites from my stay below! 

Suited Up with The Black Tux

Black Tux-25.jpg

"Dressing well is a form of good manners."

-Tom Ford

Since my I was a boy and my mom dressed me up in suits and bowties, I've enjoyed getting fancy. As a music major in college, I always opted for the 3-piece-suit for recitals and performances, even at 9AM--often with matching ties that matched my shirt. Extra, I know. It was 2009, cut me some slack. 

I like to think I've added a little more nuance to my wardrobe and style preferences since those college days, and my latest discovery is the genius of The Black Tux. Instead of buying a new suit every time I have an event, TBT makes it easy to rent the perfect look for nearly any occasion. Excited to share some photos from two different looks: a trip to the opening night at the Lyric Opera, and a trip to Paris. 

A Night at the Opera

Final checks in #Studio1037.

Final checks in #Studio1037.

Black Tux-1.jpg
Black Tux-11.jpg
Red Carpet looks with the always fabulous Daina, AKA  @agentlewoman . Photo by  @mushroomstew

Red Carpet looks with the always fabulous Daina, AKA @agentlewoman. Photo by @mushroomstew

Photo by  @mushroomstew .

Photo by @mushroomstew.

Black Tux-14.jpg
Intermission. Photo by  Greg Birman    (@gregbirman)

Intermission. Photo by Greg Birman  (@gregbirman)

Black Tux-18.jpg
Greg & Nika. 

Greg & Nika. 

Bravo, Lyric Opera! 

Bravo, Lyric Opera! 

Time to go.

Time to go.


Away in Paris

In search of something a little more casual, I rented the Tan suit from TBT and paired it with my favorite dress shoes, and (inspired by a bouquet of roses I got for the week) a floral print scarf from the Bastille Market. Voila, an ascot!

Black Tux-32.jpg
Black Tux-30.jpg
Photos by  @trelawnydavis

Photos by @trelawnydavis

Playlist: paris in the fall

paris in the fall, a playlist

I put together some of my favorite songs from my last trip to Paris into a short moody, night-time playlist, featuring some favorites from The Band Joseph, Moses Sumney, HAIM and Denai Moore.

Start at the end of rush hour with a rousing (and my favorite) version of Rhapsody in Blue by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, and by the end, enjoy a walk along the Champs-Élysées as you retire to bed with mellow tones from Sleeping At Last. Also enjoy a couple favorites from the classic songbook, including Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify