Millenium Park

4xForth: Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio by Natalie Pavela


Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she’s all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she’s dreaming of traveling to next.

It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Forth alum Vana Chupp - owner and creative director of Le Papier Studio. Vana illustrates elegant custom silhouettes and will be speaking at our Etsy Shop Ownership Panel Talk on July 8th (details and tickets here).

Places that inspire me in Chicago:

1. Art Institute of Chicago - My husband and I love to check out any interesting new exhibits every chance we get. We make a date out of it! It gives us a chance to be together and enjoy something we both like (we’re both trained as architects).

2. Millenium Park- We love taking our little family downtown for a long stroll and a picnic in the park in the summertime.

3. Bottle and Bottega in Evanston has become a favorite place for us to sip some wine while we freshen up our painting/drawing skills. We always end up meeting fun couples in there.

4. The Boarding House is our most favorite restaurant to dine at and bring friends/family to. I am particularly fond of it because I got to do some work for the owner (Alphana Singh).

Places I'll go someday:

1. Paris - there’s always Paris! - and it's at the top of my list. I’ve been there before but I can’t get enough of it. We are planning a long anniversary celebration there soon.

2. Savannah, GA - is a place I dream of living in and owning a little boutique studio someday. The architecture and the charm of this city has been capturing my heart for years now.

3. French Riviera - The south of France offers some of the most pristine vacation places. I dream of a long summer vacation in the Mediterranean Sea with our entire family.

 Best Bites in Chicago:

1. The Boarding House (see above) - we like to spoil ourselves when we’re here. They have a huge collection of wines and wonderful pairings. We often order a few dishes and end up sharing them. My favorite item on their menu is the New York Strip Steak with asparagus, roasted carrots, and potato puree. Amazing every single time.

2. Mercat a la Planxa  has become our anniversary celebration spot. We love the tapas menu and they have the best sangria there too. Favorite item in the menu: dates wrapped in bacon.

3. Le Pain Quotidiene in West Loop is a favorite place to do brunch with local friends. Was first introduced to LPQ in Los Angeles (fun outdoor dining) and have been hooked ever since.

4. Capannari’s Ice Cream in Mount Prospect is our guilty pleasure. We take the boys there almost weekly - they each have a favorite flavor they love. Mine is Dolce de Lece (a rotator, so make sure to order it when available!)

Sites I lurve:

1. - when I need to daydream of life in Paris.

2. - is a cool new site both my hubby and I love. It’s a collection of cool architecture, products and designs.

3. - coolest new boutique/site to shop handmade goodness. It’s curated by some of the biggest bloggers.

4. - for all the business advice and inspiration I ever need.

Thank you for sharing Vana! Agreed, picnics in Millennium Park are hart to beat, The Boarding House is a total gem (their decor is to die for!), and we'll be daydreaming of Paris alongside you with

You can keep up with Vana and Le Papier Studio through her BlogFacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

4xForth: Brenda Bergen by Natalie Pavela


Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she’s all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she’s dreaming of traveling to next.

It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Brenda Bergen, the creative force behind Wink Design Atelier! She's also the lady behind Get Fueled, an interview series with inspiring people about their creative process. 

Places I frequent in Chicago:

1. Bluebird Restaurant: It has a great vibe, awesome wine list and cocktails, nice bartenders, yummy mussels and frites. And the best part? It’s my closest neighborhood bar. 2. Belmont Harbor: the lake is one of the best things about Chicago, and we’ll have a sailboat docked there if it ever gets warm enough! 3. Millenium Park: I grew up near Ravinia, so I’ve been spoiled with great outdoor concerts my whole life. But Millenium Park has kicked it up a notch. I love sitting on the grass, eating a picnic, looking up at Chicago’s architecture, all while listening to music on a warm summer evening. Divine! 4. My own neighborhood: I spend the most amount of my time in Bucktown, my own neighborhood, because it really has everything I need within walking distance. There’s Olivia’s Market for last minute groceries, The Daily Method or Core Power Yoga for working out, my son’s school, Stitch for great gifts, Steven Alan for clothes, City Soles for shoe shopping, Double Door for concerts, the farmer's market for fresh veggies, Buzz: Killer Espresso for coffee, Trencherman for burgers and cocktails, Bluebird (see above), and soon the Bloomingdale Trail for biking and walking.

Places I'll go someday:

Travel is a priority in our family. We will give up living in a larger home in order to travel more. I’m very lucky, I’ve been to some incredible places that I would love to return to. I also have a long list of places I’ve never been, so here are some that I’m hoping to go to sooner rather than later.

1. Istanbul, Turkey: I’m just so intrigued by the opposing forces of ancient and modern. The architecture, the history, the food, the markets. This place is high on my list. 2. Cartagena, Colombia: I think it’s going to be the next hot spot. I want to go before it gets too touristy. 3. Querétaro, Mexico: One of my closest friends recently opened a restaurant there. I’m dying to visit her and eat there. Queretaro is an old colonial city with gorgeous architecture and a rich history. Plus, it’s less than an hour from San Miguel de Allende, which is also on my list. 4. Mentawai Island, Indonesia: My husband likes surfing, I like yoga, and our son finds fun things to do anywhere. All 3 of us love Indonesia. There are numerous private islands near Bali that we would love to explore, and this is one of them.

Best Bites in Chicago:

1. Fish Tacos: GT Fish & Oyster and Antique Taco could arm wrestle over this one. 2. Salted Caramel Gelato: Black Dog Gelato on Damen 3. Polenta & Pork Ragu: Davanti Enoteca on Taylor Street 4. Pig Face: Girl & the Goat. Don’t be scared, go for it, it’ll blow you away. I have celiac disease and therefore I have no choice but to eat gluten free. The folks at Girl & the Goat do the best job of dealing with it. It feels as if Stephanie Izzard is personally taking care of me. She actually knows what each person in her restaurant is eating - crazy!

Sites I lurve:

1. Jenna Park writes what I’m thinking and feeling, it’s absolutely uncanny. Recently, I reached out to her to invite her to be featured on my blog and now we are penpals. It’s so cool. 2. Reading this makes me feel hip. Everyone on it is so beautiful. Plus they have some great recipes and adorable guys on Mondays. 3. Vineet Kaur's Tumblr: One of the best curated sites out there. 4. I check this site out religiously whenever I’m about to go on a trip. I always love her suggestions, they are right up my alley.

Thank you for sharing Brenda. I think we're kindred spirits when it comes to dining, exploring Chicago spots, and neighborhood appreciation.

Follow along with Brenda and Wink Design on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest!