He may have left office in 2006, but The West Wing’s President Josiah Bartlet remains one of pop culture’s favorite presidents. And what better way to salute the fictional commander in chief than by throwing a West Wing–themed party, complete with a table so befitting of the iconic show, it just might put a smile on Toby Ziegler’s perennially anxious face. Greet guests at the door and invite them to “walk with you” into the dining room where they’ll find a blue-striped tablecloth and plates that came straight from the White House (the gift-shop wing). Fill glasses etched with the logo of President Bartlet’s favorite team, Notre Dame, with a drink poured from a lemon-shaped pitcher inspired by “Lemon Lyman,” the fictional fan blog about Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman. Instead of inviting press secretary C.J. Cregg’s pet goldfish to the table, fill a goldfish-printed vase with flowers. After that, the only thing left to do is put on a Gilbert and Sullivan record and wait for someone to burst into a rendition of “The Jackal.” 1. White House plate; The White House Gift Shop ($16.95) 2. Notre Dame glass tankards; Groupon Goods ($26.99 for two) 3. Hand-painted goldfish portrait pencil box; duckdrakestudio on Etsy ($35) 4. Figural lemon pitcher; Sur la Table ($16.99 on sale) 5. Blue stripe tablecloth; Meri Meri ($9) 6. USA-shaped cutting board; AHeirloom ($48)Read More
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Poets have long cornered the market on love letters, but mathematicians might have a new advantage when it comes to romantic gift giving. At her new Andersonville boutique, Winifred Grace (5642 N. Clark Street), jewelry designer Winifred Gundeck specializes in creating simple bronze pendants stamped with letters, symbols, and—frequently—numbers with sentimental value. What is a sentimental code, exactly? For one customer, it was the geographic coordinates of the Ferris wheel where he proposed to his wife. For another, it was the house number of her mom’s childhood home. Still others opt for momentous dates, often stamped with no punctuation as six-digit strings of numbers. “You can get really personal,” Winifred said. Yet her cool, simple designs, with their “modern-looking” sans-serif typeface, acknowledge the fact that not everyone wants to wear something as sappy as, say, a necklace with the word “love” on it. “I want pieces of jewelry that represent my son and how important he is to me,” she said of her own bronze pendant, which features a capital “A” in honor of her son, Alexander. “I want pieces that I can wear every day, and when I put [them] on, I don’t even have to think about them.” As such, her boutique is full of versatile, everyday accessories like that one—five of which she shared with us below. (To see more of Winifred’s custom work, check out her Instagram, where she posts prolifically.) 1. Custom-stamped pendants ($150 large; $135 small) The bigger one is stamped with the coordinates of Chicago, the smaller one with initials. Winifred said they look good whether they’re a little tarnished or freshly polished—and each one comes with a free polishing cloth. The stamping process takes 10–15 minutes, which means they can be made while you wait. Price-wise, the smallest pendant costs $90 (unstamped). For stamping, there’s an additional setup fee and a charge of $3 per letter. 2. Aries constellation bracelet ($143) Winifred offers bronze bangles punched with all 12 astrological signs’ constellations. The Aries one is her favorite “because it’s very minimal.” 3. Horse-bit chain bracelet ($290) This chunky, toggle-clasp bracelet is “inspired by vintage Cartier,” as well as the real gold Gucci bracelets Winifred inherited from her mom. “I just loved them,” she said. “They made me feel like a disco queen.” This particular bracelet is also inspired by a horse bit—a shape that’s ubiquitous even outside the farm. “Gucci, their signature buckle on their shoes—it’s a horse bit.” 4. 60-millimeter round pendant ($170) Anthropologie has stocked this necklace, which Winifred said “is nice because you tie [the leather] off at any length.” She also likes the way she put the pendants’ tiny jump rings to use: they hold the leather cord rather than dangling decoratively. 5. Bar ring ($127) This is “supercomfortable to wear,” Winifred said. “Your fingers just nestle in around the shape of the ring. It has two places cut out for your [adjacent] fingers.” She also stocks it in multiple sizes and can custom-make sizes she doesn’t have in two to three weeks. Photos: Andrew Nawrocki, GrouponRead More
It holds your keys, your cash, and your lip balm. It probably complements your shoes or your belt. But if your purse looks like a purse, you’re missing out on a trend that’s gaining momentum: handbags made to look like anything but. This season, you can find a purse shaped like a snack, an animal, or even a piece of machinery. To ease into this quirky trend, let the bag be the focus: pair it with an outfit composed of solid colors and sleek lines, such as jeans and a button-down. 1. Grand Tour Wicker Camera; Kate Spade ($178, on sale) 2. Feline Bold bag; ModCloth ($59.99) 3. Gummi Bear clutch; Charlotte Olympia ($797, on sale) 4. Queen of Hearts clutch; Urania Gazelli (price upon request); similar style available at Anthropologie ($998) 5. On the Prowl handbag; Mary Frances ($308) 6. Wireless clutch; Charlotte Olympia ($597, on sale) Check out more clutches at ideeli.Read More