For more than 30 years, Crain's Chicago Business has been covering the ins and outs of the business world?first in a weekly business newspaper and now on an award-winning website, too. Though the publication breaks new stories constantly, it's best known for its iconic annual issues. The 40 Under 40 issue, for example, highlights young business innovators, and the Best Places to Work issue focuses on businesses well-loved by their employees, such as Santa's workshop.
Blake Standard's casual but on-trend swaddlings––which have earned praise from several publications such as Lucky magazine and Time Out Chicago ––outfit women in soft, beautifully hued garments, beguiling prints, and inimitable details. The three-quarter-sleeved Rachel jacket displays a single gold-colored button that shines like an over-achieving shoe polisher ($142), and the Baylee tee's pleated shoulders add a little drama to any casual ensemble ($82). Show off necklines in the Addison swing top ($92), or greet in-between seasons with the short-sleeved Sarah cropped trench ($142) that boasts a crossover lapel, a tie belt, and cuffed sleeves.
Inside Briolette Beads & More, hardwood floors and walls lined with multicolored glass beads and beading supplies envelop customers perusing DIY materials or embarking on jewelry-making classes. Under the tutelage of experienced teachers, hands-on sessions abound, from metal smithing to stringing to wire working—in which students twist government surveillance materials into rings and pendants. The brightly hued party room's](http://gr.pn/w7ZafC) neon-green walls are decked in a vibrantly painted peacock and flowers, inspiring revelers as they fashion myriad beaded items, and Thursday evenings boast crafty diva night, during which participants can finish new or existing projects in the company of other crafters.
The experts at Wine Discount Center taste wine like it’s their job—because it is, actually. Every month, they taste hundreds of wines, assessing each one’s color, aroma, flavor, body, knowledge of American history, and finish in the same manner that the critics of Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate use to grade wines on their 100-point scales. This never-ending sampling and scoring lets Wine Discount Center’s team continually update and hone the selection at each location, regularly announcing new finds on the company's website and ensuring each bottle it stocks is worthy of 85 points or more. The oenophiles further enhance guests’ enjoyment of their wines by leading in-store tastings every Saturday at noon.