Gorgeous Gardens

I am a fan of the unseasonably cool weather and will take these temperatures any day over the recent heat and stifling humidity.  On a lovely walk today I appreciated some of Evanston’s luscious gardens and found a vantage point by the lake that showcased Chicago, Lake Michigan and one of Evanston’s beaches in one view. One more reason to love living here.

Summer Jazz

Last evening I had the pleasure to attend a fabulous concert by the Northwestern University Summer Jazz Band, conducted by Christopher Madsen, in the Regenstein Recital Hall of the Bienen School of Music.  Wending my way through the construction detours, I had no idea what to expect about the venue, the quality of the performance or what the program included.  None of that mattered: the band is terrific.

Maestro Madsen led his 18-piece band through seven or eight pieces composed variously by Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, Oliver Nelson, Jeff Jarvis, Ann Ronell and Sammy Nestico.  Madsen introduced each selection with a enough background information to help the unfamiliar listener appreciate the composition. (This was especially appreciated in advance of Ellington’s Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.) I watched Madsen as he guided his group through each composition; his easygoing nature, joy in his work and respect for his musicians was evident even to a novice. Most of the band members soloed at one point or another during the evening’s performance, and the audience of 200+ responded enthusiastically. The only downside was this community band only performs once a year–we are all forced to wait until then for more big band joy.  Northwestern University Summer Jazz Band

Summer Wandering

recyclingfair-600px_cropEvanston continues to charm.  Several examples:

  • On July 13 I attended the Recycling Fair at the Evanston Township High School.  Attended is really the wrong verb; I drove through it.  This is my first recycling fair and I have nothing to compare it to, but I am impressed with the great customer service provided by the workers and volunteers.  Everyone I interacted with was helpful and friendly.  (Remember, we are talking about folks approaching your car with a smile asking to take your trash.) The entire process was extremely organized and efficient.  Within five minutes I safely disposed of old electronic items, dropped of bags of old forms for shredding, and got rid of used batteries and light bulbs.  Kudos to everyone involved.
  • After visiting one of the recent street fairs, I stumbled upon a delightful breakfast and lunch restaurant, Delbe’s Corner at 1100 Davis Street.  The owners, Tasha and Sam, are French and love good, fresh food.  The pastries and coffee are delicious, the menu has an extensive range of steamed sandwiches, they offer free WiFi and play good music on the sound system. What sealed them in my heart though, was how kind they were to me and my puppies, Fig and Honey.  We had not been walking more than 15 minutes, but already I could see F&H were fading…I popped into Delbe’s Corner and asked if they could please give me a small paper cup of water for my doggies.  The guy in charge said, “Sure!” and brought out a bowl of water just for them.  They drank to their hearts’ content and Delbe’s made me a fan for life.
  • Further north at 1937 Central Street, I stopped in a fascinating retail store and gallery, George Ritzlin Maps & Prints.  This is one to savor: a goldmine of original antique maps from 1490 to 1890, rare books, natural history prints, botanicals and fashion plates. The owners, George and Mary Ritzlin, are dealers, teachers, writers and experts about cartography; Mary is especially interested in and has written extensively about pre-twentieth century women cartographers.  George and Mary are sought out regularly by private and institutional clients from around the world–and they are here, in our backyard!  If you appreciate old printed works as reference items and examples of art, you will enjoy any time spent at George Ritzlin Maps & Prints.

Some days I don’t get further than nearby blocks as I walk my dogs, admiring the stunning architecture, big porches and fanciful gardens that dot our streets.  And some days I wander, finding new places to explore and interesting people to meet. It’s the best combination of city sophistication and small-town charm.

Ali’s Collection at Talia

One of the goals of this blog is to highlight the wonderful and unique things that delight me about Evanston, so a hometown jewelry designer fits perfectly in my niche.  I’ve already written about Talia and the beautiful clothes they sell.  Owners Asia and Agnieszka continue to delight with a well-edited collection of sherbert-colored dresses and separates to brighten up any woman’s summer wardrobe.  But a new summer frock needs a new summer accessory, and Ali’s Collection makes a statement with her chunky bracelets and rings adorned with slices of semi-precious stones and finely feminine earrings and necklaces.  Her Galaxy Collection is jewelry to wear when you want to be noticed, an affordable luxury to complement any outfit.

Ali is Alicia Mohr, and her work has already been featured in Michigan Avenue Magazine, among others, but the only retail location in Evanston to feature Ali’s Collection is Talia.  Indulge soon!