2014 Autumn

5 Things You Must Do To Step Your Business Game Up, Legally by Patrice Perkins by Clare Johnson

We first met Patrice during our 2014 autumn salon, hosted at Workshop Chicago. We spent the evening discussing passion projects and creative endeavors and when it came time for Patrice's introduction, the entire table was floored by her enthusiasm and expertise as the Creative ESQ behind Creative Genius Law. Need top-notch legal advice for leveraging your business? She's your gal! After interviewing Patrice for our 4xForth series, we knew we wanted a follow-up post and lucky for us, Patrice obliged!

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Nimble Well: A Look Back by Natalie Pavela

Forth alum and friend Kelly Connolly owns and operates Nimble Well - a rentable collection of pieces for thoughtful and imaginative events. Kelly has graciously shared her collection of vintage rentals with us for all of our 2014 salons to date. Nimble Well recently launched an updated website, which does a great job of showcasing Kelly's broad collection.  Today we're taking a look back at the gorgeous array of glassware, cake stands, plates, silverware, and special accent pieces that Kelly brought to each 2014 salon to create a color-toned theme fit for each season! nimble well 2014

Minty greens, citrusy yellows and the bluest blues ushered in the very first hints of spring on a blustery march evening.

nimble well spring collage 2

nimble well spring 2014

nimble well spring 2014

nimble well spring collage 3

nimble well spring 2014

nimble well spring 2014

nimble well spring collage 1

nimble well spring 2014

nimble well spring 2014

For our Summer salon in June, bright berry colors celebrated the cheerful joy of the season's warmth and abundance.

nimble well summer 2014nimble well summer 2014

nimble well summer 2014

nimble well summer 2014

nimble well summer 2014

And this Autumn, we brought some fresh greenery to compliment her collection of mossy greens, Liberty of London napkins, wooden pedestals, amber glass platters, and delicate crystal glasses for cocktails! 

nimble well fall 2014

nimble well fall 2014

nimble well fall 2014

nimble well fall 2014

nimble well fall 2014 nimble well fall 2014

Special thanks to Forth alum Sarah Burrows who's vintage china was utilized for the table setting at our fall salon, through her rental collection Plate.

nimble well fall 2014


We can't wait to share what gorgeous pieces Kelly brings out for our Winter salon in a few weeks, a gathering of all the wonderful women we met in this past two years' salons. Stay tuned!

Mini Brownies with Chantilly Cream by Julie Schumacher

Today's the last of the fall dessert recipes! 20140924_forth-24

Brownies are a satisfying treat, no? The less-than-refined look of a hacked out brownie square made me want something a bit more consistent and visually appealing for the fall salon. This mini brownie cupcake recipe from Epicurious did the trick. I thought handmade brownies would be complex to make. Nope. So easy! I skipped the powdered sugar and that whole step about magic inserts for the mini cupcake tray. A light hand with a flour baking spray worked just as well and undomed tops made for easier stacking.

Rather than go with a whipped cream (this is my go-to), I opted for a Chantilly cream because doesn't that sound fun and fancy? The main difference I can find is that whipped cream uses a powdered sugar and feels a bit hardier. Despite chilling it, an earlier-in-the-day prep time meant that by the time the event started the cream was very, very creamy. It worked well though and made for a tasty two-bite experience. The cream adds a nice balance to the denseness of the brownies.

If you're curious about the pennants, that's just a couple nights of HGTV and this washi tape. I loved that the chevron became a fall-ish plaid with the fold over. Tiny flags just make everything better.


Stay tuned for savories with sides from Kelly next week!  


Apple & Pear Desserts: Awesome in Autumn by Julie Schumacher

My love for apples and pears is kind of unhinged. They are just so damn versatile. Throw 'em in pancakes. In salads. Partner them with cheese. And desserts? Heavenly. And, since they are at peak awesome in autumn I wanted to showcase them without baking them into something (not that there is anything wrong with that!) for our Fall salon

First up, how 'bout them apples?

Dipping apples in caramel sauce was what I was thinking about. So fall and fun. I floated the idea and Kelly mentioned giving the apples a little assist to stay tasty and photogenic. The browning of a sliced apple can be prevented with lemon juice but we wanted them to be photogenic and tasty. Cue cinnamon sugar apples from Bon Appétit. This has now become a regular in rotation for a quick treat.

Tart apple wise, I used this resource to pick and settled on Jonagold, which are sweet tart. See, I can improvise.

Salted caramel sauce recipes abound, thank you very much Internet. I settled on this one from Two Peas & Their Pod as I've used their recipes before to great success. A note: It came out so, so dark and I thought I had botched it (the theme of the salon pre for me, for sure). The next day I took the jars out of the fridge and was elated that they were that heavenly perfect caramel color. Caramelization is a process and has stages so if you prefer a deeper color/richer taste, keep on cooking it and don't fret as much as I do.

Before we served it, I sprinkled some of my best friend Maldon on top.

And now, for a way more complicated seeming dish: cornmeal pound cake with rosemary syrup, poached pears & candied rosemary

For as much as is going on with this dish (whole vanilla beans, cracked black pepper, simple syrups, candied herbs!) it was remarkably easy to make. Even better, our house smelled so good. Like lick the walls good.

None of the elements was particularly challenging. I also like that each and every component could stand on its own or play nicely with other friends. The pound cake needs a flavorful buddy to add some moisture to it, though it certainly could be things beyond this recipe as its a great balance of sweet and not super sweet.  The candied rosemary would make a gorgeous holiday garnish. Up your gin fizz game with the rosemary simple syrup.

The poached pears are something you could easily serve with ice cream or, heck, alone as a dessert. So pretty. So yummy. This was my pear primer in selecting one that would work well poached. How amazing is food that some pears break apart and some don't when  you cook them? Chemistry! I love stuff like that. Oh, and I used Bosc pears here.

Enjoy Fall's bounty, friends. A long winter approaches.

Fall Salon Venue Spotlight: Workshop Chicago by Katie Kenney

For our fall salon we gathered at Workshop Chicago, a co-working space in the River West neighborhood, which proved to be the perfect setting to complement our conversation focused on passion projects. With stunning views of the skyline and a cotton-candy colored sunset, we couldn’t have asked for a better evening or space to host some of Chicago’s most creative women entrepreneurs.  We recently sat down with Ben Skoda, Director of Workshop, community-building expert and all-around great guy, to learn more about what Workshop’s all about.Fotor01021222333 So first thing's first, can you explain what co-working is and why it is beneficial?

We often talk about the advantages of sharing at Workshop. Co-working is simply the practice of sharing for grown-ups. Many of us have been taught to work hard to achieve things on our own, but I think our society is built to benefit from and support a stronger sharing infrastructure.

When you offer some of what you have to a community of like-minded people, you start to see the benefits come back to you from others who do the same. You can call it karma or the golden rule or whatever, but the principle does really play out in real life. Not only do you end up receiving tangible benefits from those around you, but you get to learn, connect, and experience humanity on a whole new level than a lot of us are accustomed to.

It’s hard to articulate, but it’s really beautiful to see it happen consistently at Workshop.

20140924_forth-76What types of people tend to utilize Workshop? Is it open to everyone?

We encourage anyone who is drawn to our space and community to apply for membership. Our goal has always been to attract the best people, regardless of their role or industry.  We think that’s the best way to build a community based on sharing anyway. We’ve ended up with a really unique, eclectic mix of people representing a variety of creative, business, and nonprofit endeavors and an array of skillsets. It’s fun to watch the interactions.


Co-working can be beneficial to workers in many industries and positions, but we consistently see the success stories of people who freelance, or have recently launched a new entrepreneurial venture. They typically have limited time and resources, which inhibits ability to secure their own office space. Many of them need to move their work out of their home or the local coffee shop, and they see the benefits of connecting with other people in an environment that fosters connections of all types.

Co-working seems to promote collaboration and conversation. Are there any moments of co-working that have occurred at Workshop that you are particularly proud of?

One of my favorite things to do is to introduce people and slowly back out of the conversation. It’s such a treat to see people who have connected at Workshop collaborating. We’ve seen several instances of freelancers being hired through Workshop connections.

But to answer your questions specifically, there was one instance of a collaboration leading to a conversation that led to a friend landing her dream job. To summarize, she and a friend visited Workshop because they wanted to use our space for an event they were collaborating on, and I loved what they were doing so much I invited them to join a conversational meet-up I was hosting a few weeks later. In that conversation, she shared with us her “ideal job.” A couple of weeks later, a Workshop member asked me if I knew anyone who might be a good fit for a job opening she saw, and it was literally the other girl’s dream job. She interviewed and got hired.

That’s just one fun example of the exact type of connection we want to facilitate here.collage1What inspired you to start Workshop Chicago?

In short, I recognized the value of space in the development of a community. I wanted to gather all of the like-minded, thoughtful people I knew in Chicago, and hopefully connect them to other great people. One of the biggest challenges of building community in the digital age is to literally gather people in the same room. I figured that the easiest way to counteract that was to find us a room.

That’s such a good point about the need for a physical space to foster connections in our digital age. And the physical space you've created is wonderful! How did you create an environment conducive to many different types of work that also encourages collaboration?

Well thanks. We had a wonderful team collaborating on the space. It was strategic in that we knew we wanted to facilitate different work configurations, as well as a variety of meetings and events.20140924_forth-99We started with the canvas of a beautiful, industrial space and assembled a team that included an interior architect, a designer, a couple of talented builders, and a few experienced organizers and hosts. The result is a collaboration that has allowed us to host dozens of co-workers in a way that encourages conversation and collaboration, along with many creative gatherings–everything from small concerts to yoga, workshops, lectures, book signings, dance parties, and a lot in-between.

20140924_forth-53You've hosted a variety of events and opened your doors to many groups in Chicago including our very own Natalie Pavela's Yoga+ event - how do you decide which events to host? 

We’ve had the good fortune of so many creative people reaching out to us. That was always the goal—to create a space that inspires others to use it as their platform. Our business model allows us to find an appropriate balance of revenue-generating space rentals and collaborative or co-branded gatherings that offer something valuable to our community and perpetuate the message we’re sharing with the world.

Photo by Carolina Mariana

So we approach some people with ideas for creative gatherings, and sometimes people approach us. Either way, it’s been incredible to look back at what has happened here and dream of what’s still to come.

Photo by Carolina Mariana

What has been your personal favorite event you've hosted?

That’s a tough one. I’ll give you two: One was the Creative Mornings Happy Hour with author Dallas Clayton. It was a magical night of content and connecting, and so cool to collaborate with that team.20140924_forth-81

Another favorite was an event we hosted called Failure:Lab, where storytellers are invited to share a 10-minute story of a failure in their life, and songwriters share some of their most heart-warming and hopeful songs. The Failure:Lab team has hosted these events all over Michigan, and this was the first in Chicago—but hopefully not the last.

It was such a pleasure to be part of a gathering that was based on sharing from the heart, celebrating raw humanity, and connecting through vulnerability. We want Workshop to shed light on the human elements of work and life, and humanity was on display that night. Wow.

Photo by Carolina Mariana

I love Dallas Clayton! And Failure Lab sounds like such an authentic event. I’m assuming starting Workshop hasn’t been all smooth sailing and has likely involved some setbacks or even failures along the way. What would you say has been the most challenging part about starting Workshop and how have you overcome?

Every new thing has plenty of challenges, but our biggest is ensuring that our business model allows us to sustain consistent revenue generating. We’re both a service-based and a mission-based company, and I tend to focus more on the “mission” side. But I’m constantly reminded that we won’t be around to support the mission if we can’t pay the bills.

So the challenge is to be flexible and have patience with a new business in a new industry, and to let the community and customer inform your best streams of revenue. We’re still adjusting our model to reflect what people seem to want from us the most, and at the same time we’re always working to offer the best experience for those who have already invested in our services.20140924_forth-58Can you share one of your favorite moments that has occurred at Workshop?

This may sound odd, but one of the best moments was when I got on a plane with my wife and spent some time in Europe over the summer. I say that because Workshop thrived in my absence, which proved that we had established something that people were starting to understand. It was no longer just this crazy idea I had, it was actually a strategic concept that had growth potential. That was a great moment.

20140924_forth-119And lastly, looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Is there anything you want to accomplish in 2015?

There’s so much we want to see happen in 2015! We have a vision for facilitating even more types of gatherings and work sessions. We’d love for people to see Workshop as a hub for a certain type of connection, and become the best/first option for facilitating specific event types.

Also, we’ve had some folks reach out to get our insights on creating space and community-focused branding. We’d love to get better at sharing that, and to be able to offer something more concrete to help other brands connect to people. It certainly fits within our mission and focus.

Additionally, we want to grow in our collaborative content production. We want to utilize our skilled, creative friends at Workshop to help us produce innovative, thoughtful content simply because it would make the world a better, more human place.

Ultimately, we want Workshop’s footprint to be one that celebrates the challenges and triumphs of people and togetherness.


With exposed brick, lots of natural light, quintessential views of the Chicago skyline and a supportive community filling the space, we think Workshop just may be the coolest place to co-work in Chicago. Check out Workshop’s website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter to learn more. Thanks, Ben, for sharing your space with us!

Photos by Forth co-founder Kelly Allison and Carolina Mariana, where noted.

Quest for the perfect sidecar cocktail by Lisa Guillot

crafting-the-perfect-sidecard-cocktail For our Autumn 2014 salon we based our guest list, food spread and cocktail on a theme, because why not go all the way right? Our event's concept was Passion Projects. Not only did our guest have to be women entrepreneurs, they also had to have a passion project on the side. "A little something on the side" we called it.

I was tasked to create the speciality cocktail to pair with Prosecco which we have at each salon, it's easy, bubbly and everyone seems to like it. Autumn cocktail? You guessed it, a Sidecar. I began my quest to first learn the history of the Sidecar cocktail, then how to make it. You may say it became a passion of mine. My other, other passion project.



The Sidecar cocktail's history varies, but it is said to have been invented towards the end of WW1 in London or Paris, or was created at the end of Prohibition. It's name is obvious- named after the motorcycle attachment. The earliest mention of a Sidecar cocktail recipe is in 1922, and is one of the six based drinks highlighted in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks in 1948.

The traditional way of mixing it is rather easy- equal parts Brandy, Cointreau and Lemon Juice. I tried this mix many times with different types of dark liquor, Brandy, Cognac and Bourbon. I was drunk after 1 drink. No can do. It was too strong to serve at a cocktail party where we were expected to have at least decently intelligent conversation with strangers.



I realized that Cointreau has double the alcohol content then Triple Sec, which could be substituted for sweetness. That, and a dash of club soda, and it really helped tone down the drink.

My recipe for the perfect Sidecar Cocktail:

  • 2 parts Bourbon
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1 Part Lemon Juice
  • A dash of tonic water

Pour all contents into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until the outside of the shaker is frosted and you can't possibly hold it anymore. Strain into a cocktail glass with a rim rubbed with lemon juice and dipped in sugar. We added a sugared lemon to the rim of some of our cocktail goblets and a twist, with a side of rosemary, to the crystal glasses.

Sugared lemon slices

lemon twist with rosemary decor


What is your drink of passion?