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      Alice's 10 Things to Do in Chicago (Summer time Edition)

      Located in Arlington Heights, less than an hour on the Union Pacific Northwest line from Ogilvie Transportation Center. Arlington International Racecourse is a taste of the Kentucky Derby lifestyle right here in Illinois. Break out your cutest sundress and floppy hat and cheer on horses with a flute of champagne in hand. Betting is optional and we advise setting an amount before you get there. (Usually about $20 or $30 and sometimes you can break even or make a few bucks!)

      2. Chicago Botanic Gardens

      photo by Chicago Botanic Gardens

      The Chicago Botanic Gardens are 385 acres of 27 different beautiful gardens in Glencoe. To get there it’s just a little over an hour on the Union Pacific North line from Ogilvie Transportation Center. Spend a day walking or biking through the different areas and then enjoy a meal in the Garden View Cafe. There are also cooking and photography classes and events throughout the summer. Sometimes you need some fresh air and greenery away from the city.

      3. Royal Palms

      photo by NY Daily News

      The Royal Palms Shuffleboard is a Florida Beach inspired place with shuffleboards and other games to play with friends located in Bucktown. Enjoy a beer or prosecco in a mason jar at the bar or grab a burger from the side truck located in an open entrance on one side of the building. There is also a fun and free photo booth set-up with silly props to capture some moments and insta worthy snaps.

      4. 606

      photo by SAIC Campaign

      Chicago’s version of the NYC Highline; the 606 walkway! A decade in the making, the 606 brings together arts, history, design, trails for bikers, runners, and walkers. This once train line makes for the perfect place to get a taste of nature while in the city. Perfect for events or a family stroll, the 606 offers a fun and relaxing way to get out and explore the urban parks of Chicago.

      5. Chinatown

      photo by Chicago-Chinatown Info

      A quick CTA ride from downtown lies a secret gem, Chinatown. Full of fun food, sights, and shopping, Chinatown is certainly a must do location while in Chicago. For our shopping inclined gals check out Chinatown square, a two-story outdoor mall equipt with not one but two Korean beauty stores. You can stock up on all things skincare and makeup before heading to Hing Kee for there famous handmade noodles and traditional soup dumplings, aka heaven in the form of food. For those with a sweet tooth, you can not go wrong with grabbing a coconut milk bubble tea before heading out to one of many candy sweet shops. Aji Ichiban, a Japanese candy store is everything and more than you can imagine, the variety of treats to pick from here is mind-blowing. For those who are little more adventurous be sure to stop by the dried food section and try the dried mini crab, you won't be disappointed. Before leaving, be sure to stop by the 12 beautiful, bronze zodiac figures in the heart of the square.

      6. Sheffield Garden Walk

      photo by Mackenzie News Service

      This iconic summer event, The Garden walk, opens more than 100 neighborhood lush gardens for all to explore starting off right by us in Lincoln Park. This summer is the 50th anniversary so be sure to stop by this weekend of fun and enjoy music, food, local artisans, along with lots of other activities and performers. And best part? It's right in our neighborhood! So swing by to see us after. 

      7. Taste of Chicago

      photo by Eater Chicago

      Attention all you insta-foodies! Each summer, Grant Park is transformed into foodie heaven. Local vendors come together in one place to give you the best of the best Chicago has to offer. This festival takes place July 11-15th. Admission is free, and the food is bought with tickets. A great stop on a tour of Chicago!

      8. Movies in the Park

      photo by Everyblock Chicago

      Each summer the Chicago Park district features hundreds of events for the Chicago community. One of our personal favorites is Movies in the Park. Each park views one movie per week and is open to the public free of charge! Bring a nice blanket and picnic and enjoy a great Chicago summer night. Check out upcoming movies in link above!

      9. Green City Market

      photo by West Loop Community Organization

      Located directly in front of the Lincoln Park Zoo, the green city market features the freshest foods from local midwest farmers. From micro greens to homemade pies, brick-oven pizzas to fresh bouquets, this market has it all. Every Wednesday and Saturday take a wander down and explore! Each saturday a local Chicago guest chef demonstrates a dish using ingredients found at the market. A place to engage with the community and get tasty treats.

      10. Devereaux

      photo by Time Out

      A hidden gem in the heart of downtown. A rooftop lounge and bar that makes any occasion extra special. Featuring light apps to delicious drinks there is something for everyone. Our  personal favorite is the tasty roasted cauliflower hummus. For drinks a great go-to is the froze with an umbrella. And of course, you have to finish with a boozy popsicle!

      Hey Girl, We're New

      Hey Girl, We're New

      YOU GUYS. We're STAYING! We’re so excited to announce we'll be in our Lincoln Park location for the next two years! And with a newly signed lease came a total store renovation that we're ecstatic to show you all! 

      We closed the store for two weeks, locked ourselves inside (kidding...or are we?) and now we’re back and (you guessed it) all new! 

      To all of our Chicago girls who have come to support and celebrate with us: we cannot thank you enough! If we've said it once, we'll say it a million times, small business is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Yet you, our dear customers, have made the exciting parts beyond belief and the terrifying moments well worth it (and if we're being honest, a lot less terrifying).

      Now without further adieu, here's a our OFFICIAL new space: 


      We’re so obsessed with how our Hygge & West wall turned out; it's definitely a customer favorite too!




       And finally, a very special thank you to Flowers For Dreams, Luft Balloon, Sunda Chicago, and Mark and Graham who helped us celebrate with the Chicago girls who give us eternal fashion inspo: Lauren Kelp, MK Sportsanista, Those White Walls, Lakeshore Lady, The Daily Tay, The Blonde in Pink, Seda Bona and Katelyn Now

      Pretty Fun Blogger: Ali Stone of Those White Walls

      Pretty Fun Blogger: Ali Stone of Those White Walls

      Over the past several months, we've gotten to work with some pretty amazing bloggers in the Chicago area who rule the blog game AND also know how to rock a camera. And thankfully for us, that makes them just about the best models to rock our pretty fun things too! Ali Stone, the babe behind Those White Walls, is certainly no exception. Not only did we get to shoot with Ali, but her boyfriend, Oren, was our main man behind the camera shooting the looks. A photog/blogger dream team? We'd say so. 

      Let's get to know Ali a little better, shall we? 

      1. Tell us a little about yourself.

      My name is Ali Stone! I'm 24 years old and live in Chicago with my boyfriend, Oren and our two dogs; Nike and Obi. Day to day I work as a freelance photographer shooting portraiture and lifestyle work. Aside from that, I write my blog, Those White Walls and design a jewelry line with my Mom called, Just The 2 Of Us Jewelry. I grew up in Madison Wisconsin and moved to Chicago originally to attend Columbia College and Study Photography. I have a weakness for a good pair of high waisted jeans, chai tea lattes and Hood River, Oregon.

      2. When did you start blogging and what made you want to start a blog?

      I started blogging just over 3 years ago. I had always wanted to write a blog because I was such a fan of reading others. But, I never knew what to write about. I moved 3 summers ago to New York for an internship at Harper's Bazaar and thought that it was the perfect opportunity to start a blog. Originally, I wrote about my journey that summer, things to do and see in NYC etc.

      3. What’s the meaning behind the name of your blog, Those White Walls?

      Those White Walls is my way of saying that we all start as "white walls" or a blank slates. From there, we can choose who we want to be, what we want to do, what we want to wear, listen to, travel to, everything really. It's my way of sharing who I am and what I love with anyone who's kind enough to want to follow along.

      4. Love that! How has your style and blog evolved since starting your blog journey?

      My style has always been fairly simple. I like to find classic pieces that I won't get sick of year after year. I try my best to share with my readers how to build many outfit options off of a fairly simple base. My blog on the other hand has evolved quite a bit. When I first started it I documented everything, it didn't really have one certain focus. Since I started the blog, I have narrowed it down mostly to fashion, lifestyle and a little but of beauty.

      5. You’re a freelance photographer and photography is a big deal for a fashion/lifestyle blogger. What’s your go-to camera and lens for capturing your favorite shots?

      I shoot on a Canon 5d Mark III. I generally shoot on a 50mm lens, a 24-70mm or a 70-200mm.

      5. What’s a pretty fun fall trend you’re embracing this year? 

      I am completely obsessed with velvet and mules for fall!

      6. Favorite social media outlet? Your social media handles? 

      Instagram is definitely my favorite! I am a photographer so I'm all about the visuals!

      Instagram: @alialistone

      Snapchat: @alialistone

      Pinterest: Those White Walls

      Facebook: Those White Walls

      7. Favorite Alice & Wonder piece of the new collection? 

      I love the Blake Knit Fringe Tank! I've been wearing it everywhere! 

      ...And guys, could Obi be any cuter?


      Alice & Wonder Summer 2016 Lookbook

      Alice & Wonder Summer 2016 Lookbook

      The summer collection is here and I can't tell you how excited I am for its debut! 

      The idea for fresh and fun photoshoot came about after Amy Vorel of Vo Jewelry and I were talking about all the new summer pieces we had for each of our shops. Amy's not only revamping her website but a couple pieces from her new collection (hello tassels!) are on our site, so it seemed like the perfect fit to combine forces. 

      While the idea started small, the day turned into one of the most epic (and fun!) photo sessions that I've been a part of. When I started Alice & Wonder 6 months ago, our shoots consisted of my husband and me walking down streets by our condo to snap pictures of outfits before inevitably both getting too cold and running back to our place to seek shelter. But this - oh boy guys, this was entirely different!

      One of the best things I've discovered about becoming an entrepreneur is the community you share when you find other like-minded business owners. It's a crazy thing, but there actually are people out there that love building businesses - whether it be their own or extending their knowledge to help newcomers like me. And I absolutely love that! Case in point, my amazingly talented friend Meredith who owns Canary Lane, the loft space/design empire where our shoot was hosted. Meredith curates home pieces from furniture to rugs and will even design custom pieces. It's evident from the pictures her space gives us major #colorgoals. I met Meredith during a social media class that was hosted at her loft and instantly knew this was a girl I've love to learn from. The moment I reached out to ask about the space, she not only came back with resounding 'yes' but also threw in the talents of Megan at Hollibeauty (aka the queen of braids) and Jackie at Jacqueline Gamache Beauty to doll our models up. Combine those three with our photographer extraordinaire at Jennifer Clare Photography and I knew were in business. 

      Our day started with a gallon of coffee, 12 donuts and a couple mimosas for good measure and ended 6 hours later with what I'm so happy to share below! The pieces we've curated are made to stand out and beg for sunny days ahead. They also cumulate weeks of hard work and months of growth for Alice & Wonder. A proud girl boss moment to say the least! 

      More picture to come and we'll be adding pieces to the collection throughout the summer months. Absolutely cannot wait for what is ahead! 

      Photography: Jennifer Clare Photography l Studio Space: Canary Lane l Hair: Hollibeauty l Makeup: Jacqueline Gamache l Jewelry: Vo Jewelry l Models (in order of apparence): Hana Link, Kim Sgarlata, Megan Armington, Amy Vorel 



      The Making of Alice & Wonder

      The Making of Alice & Wonder

      Hello, you Pretty Fun Things! 

      In sharing this big news with family and friends, I've noticed I get asked the basic W's a lot: What? (like seriously, what?) Why? (you left your salaried job? huh?) When? (when did this happen?) Where? (but where do you even start?). And there’s that pesky H people also ask: How? (how on earth will you do it?).

      For the W’s, I’ll give the short version of what’s been a long story for me.

      It was December 31, 2014, and my Husband Brian and I were out with close friends, honoring one of my favorite traditions: exchanging New Years resolutions. In my mind, it’s literally the only night of the year where you can say any pie-in-the-sky goal and your friends will still propose a toast and likely not hold you to it come January 1. Because that’s what friends are for.

      As a precursor, I’ve always thought that opening a store would be the ultimate dream job. I was the girl who moved to Chicago immediately after college and opted to live in a three-bedroom apartment with four girls so we could save money…and then spend said saved money on clothes. Living in one of the best city’s for shopping, I was always shocked to find many of the boutiques in the area carried such expensive stuff. How does the 22-year-old intern living in Wrigleyville afford rent AND a $300 sweater? It’s been a question that has lingered for me for a while. Even at 29, after doing my thing in the real world for quite some time, I still found myself thinking about it. And for those that don’t know my husband, he is a true entrepreneur at heart. One of those guys that, on a good week, thinks of three to four new business ideas from solving a simple life problem to improving a worn-out system to tapping an untapped market. While I've always been encouraged by the fact that he's currently living his "dream job", he has never failed to encourage me to follow mine. 

      So on December 31, 2014, I swiftly gave Brian the “let’s do this” look and declared to our friends that in 2015 I would start a business. I didn’t know any of the W’s. Or the H for that matter. But hey, I had a year right?

      I wish I could say that on January 1 Brian and I started putting pen to paper. In reality, by morning we had already decided the best place to start would be to purchase the P90X workout program and every accessory to go along with it. I think the conversation went something like "we'll get in great shape and THEN we'll figure out this business thing." Smart. Really smart. Three weeks later, that dream had sailed along with $300 of my Christmas cash. 

      Also at the beginning of this year, my previous job doing health care PR presented an opportunity to work on a consumer piece of business and I jumped at the challenge. I had been in health care for my entire career and was ready to try something new. Little did I know accepting the new role would catapult me into an 8-month season of long work hours, tremendous learning and surprising growth. All of which I'm thankful for looking back. I'm a big believer in the power of God's timing (future post dedicated to that topic to come!) but during this season it became clear to me that even though in some respects I was doing my "dream job" in the PR world, I was still being pulled another direction. After a ton of contemplation, prayers and support from family and friends, I decided to leave my agency in August in search of the other "dream job" I had always been too scared to go after. 

      Which brings me to the here and now. And also to the “where do you even start?” question. Leaving my agency life and the security blanket of a full time job was actually tougher than I had imagined. So after taking that big leap, I had assumed that everything else would naturally fall into place. Isn’t that how it goes in the movies? You have an epic dream and then wake up in morning, clear on every step you need to take next? The world is yours! You own it! Carpe that Diem! I learned quickly that isn't exactly how it goes.

      Instead, I dove in where I could. I sought out advice from people, some practically strangers, who are in the same profession. My Mom and I traveled to markets, put on the name badges and acted like we knew what we were doing. I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit daily. Then I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit twice daily. I muddled over the name. I muddled over online versus brick and mortar.  I asked that amazing entrepreneur-minded husband of mine for help time and time again. And even though I didn’t wake up instantly knowing the next step, all of it formed into what I'm proud to say is Alice & Wonder is today. What you’ll be able to see come November 17th!

      As for the pesky H, I hope to share the 'how' with all of you throughout the process, as I’ve come to appreciate entrepreneurs that grow and fall and learn and share those learnings with hopefuls like me. I fully support the High School Musical “We’re All in this Together” approach, so my vow is to be open and honest with all of you as my journey continues.

      I can’t wait to show you what’s to come! Cheers to (every once in a while) keeping those New Year’s resolutions. :)