I know I’m no Oprah, but that’s no reason I can’t borrow one of her best known gimmicks. Welcome, everyone, to my first ever, Alena’s Favorite Things — Summer edition.
Here are the products and places I simply cannot live without each summer. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Milennium Park for evening concerts is my happy place. Whether we go with the boys or make it a date night, this spot offers the best views of downtown Chicago, the greatest music, and fabulous people watching. We pack a picnic, some wine and a couple of chairs. Even with paying for parking (so convenient under the park), it’s an inexpensive, classy night on the town. I always come away feeling lucky to live in such a great city.
I’m tempted to go with ice cream given the season, but, honestly, Walkers Shortbread cookies are simply luxurious. We always pack a box to go with our concert picnics. I wisely managed to keep these treats out of my sons’ hands for years (they’re not cheap), but they too have discovered the rich, buttery goodness of Walkers. Then my youngest saw the “red box cookies” shaped like little Scotty dogs and now there’s no turning back. We now have the doggies, snack sized bag of cookies and the traditional shortbread “fingers” at the ready.
I pretty much wear nothing but flip-flops from April 1 – October 1, so I have to keep my toes in looking nice. For years I wore nothing but OPI, partly because I loved the way the company names colors. But recently, I’ve made the switch to essie. I heard from a friend that their colors don’t stain your nails (true). Also, Walgreens started carrying the brand, which makes it super convenient for me. And, the salon I use started carrying more of Essie’s colors. So, good-bye Cajun Shrimp; hello, Olé Caliente! (By the way, I could write a whole post about how much I love my monthly pedi dates with my girlfriend. Everyone should be so lucky.)
Nothing beats the outdoor patio at Oak Park‘s Maya del Sol for great food, sinfully delicious cocktails and superb service. I’ve spent many an evening with friends sampling appetizers and enjoying one of their amazing cocktails. (Tequila, muddled grapefruit and a chipotle pepper garnish — man I could go for one of those right now.) My husband and I also love it for a date night. Seriously, if you are anywhere near Oak Park, check this place out.
Let’s call her Kimmy. That’s how this bottle is affectionately known by my sisters-in-law and me. And you can generally find at least one bottle of this particular Sauvignon Blanc at any family gathering. I don’t know any of the correct terminology to talk about wine, but I know it always tastes fresh, with a little bit of citrus. It’s a crisp, clean flavor without feeling heavy. Affordable and readily available. I admit it — there is always a bottle of Kim Crawford chilling in my fridge. Kimmy is my friend.
I wish I could tell you to look under your seat to find a Favorite Things baskets to take home. But I’m no Oprah.