4xForth: Erin Huizenga of Borough & Block and Till School by Clare Johnson

It's 4xForth Friday and today we're featuring the multi-talented Erin Huizenga of Borough & Block, and Till School. Each week, we highlight one of the incredible women in our community by finding out more about her favorite hot-spots, restaurants, day-trips and more.

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4xForth: Maria Boustead of Po Campo by Clare Johnson

4xForth-Maria-Boustead-Chicago_2 It's 4xForth Friday and today we're highlighting Forth Chicago alum, Maria Boustead, Founder of Po Campo. Maria first hatched the idea for Po Campo's functional and versatile bags when she failed to find a stylish and practical bag to attach to her bike, commute to work, and carry around the office. Po Campo encourages and celebrates active lifestyles by designing bike, yoga, and travel bags with high function and aesthetic appeal. 

Today Maria chats about her future travel plans, favorite Chicago bites, places she frequents in the city, and where she likes to bring out of town guests.

Pictured left to right: Julie Schumacher (Forth Founder); Maria Boustead (Po Campo); Natalie Pavela (Forth Intern). Julie and Natalie are sporting Po Campo's reflective pins + Maria is holding her loop pannier bag.  

Places I'll go someday: When I turned 21, I promised myself that I'd travel abroad every year until I was really just too old to do so. I'm always daydreaming of places to go and Kayak is one of my favorite sites for inspiration. Here are the destinations top on my list:

1. Madeira is a small, autonomous island of Portugal in the Northern Atlantic near the Canary Islands. There is a family legend that says my Portuguese ancestors set sail for America in the early 1700's, were shipwrecked on Madeira's shores and then later got kicked-off because they kept trying to convert people to Protestantism and the locals didn't care for it. They eventually settled in central Illinois, near Peoria. Anyway, I've wanted to visit since hearing that tale. 2. Bogotá, Colombia. A good friend of mine travels to Bogotá frequently for work and tells me that I would love it there. Whenever someone who knows me well suggests a place that I would like, I just go. 3. Greece. Have you seen those photos of the Greek Islands? 4. Vietnam. Or Thailand. Or Cambodia. I haven't been to this region yet but it's on my shortlist. I'm captivated by the imagery I see in movies and I'm eager to try the street food and travel around. I also love the way that Thai language is written and want to look at it all day.

Best Bites: I'm going to choose my favorite pizza restaurants, since that's my favorite food.

1. Pizza Rustica is probably where I dine out most often. It has such a comfortable neighborhood feel and the staff is really welcoming. Their specials are good but I usually just stick with the pizza, which I'd describe as "Northern Italian" style. A half sheet is plenty for two people, add a salad and a bottle of wine and you're good to go, all for less than $60. 2. Pequod's is my favorite for deep dish style. It's also open late. You can go see a movie at Webster Place and then head over to Pequod's to talk about the movie over some pizza and beer. A small pizza is fine for two people, and you really must get deep dish to experience their famous charred crust. 3. Eataly is my pick for the Napolitan style pizza. Coalfire is up there too, but eating at Eataly gives you the chance to visit Eataly, which is like an adventure in and of itself. 4. Leona's has a seriously good thin crust pizza. I was surprised too. This is how you have to get it: with tofu, spinach and roasted garlic. It is seriously the best combo ever and I've never seen those toppings available anywhere else! Who knew?

Places I frequent: 

1. The lakefront path is my favorite thing in Chicago. I live near the lake and love biking on it every chance I get. I have my best thoughts and ideas on the path, and some really nice moments with friends and loved ones, too. I pity people who can't access it easily. I don't know how they stay sane. 2. The Chicago Cultural Center is my favorite spot downtown when I have time to kill. Their rotating exhibitions are always thoughtfully curated and it's a beautiful building. And free wi-fi! 3. While now in hibernation mode, I also adore Millennium Park, especially all the free concerts during the summer time in Pritzker Pavilion. It feels like such a gift to have that available with such regularity and with such stunning surroundings. 4. Clark Street in Andersonville is my go-to spot for a lazy afternoon of shopping and coffee sipping. I visit Four-Sided for gifts and cards, indulge in fast fashion at Presence, lust after the vintage furniture at Scout, and savor the pie at A Taste of Heaven. Or just sit on a bench and people watch.

Things I do when out of towners visit: 

1. Go for a Divvy ride! I like to show people how fun biking in the city is, and Divvy makes it super easy. I love the protected bike lane on Dearborn because you go by so many landmarks (Monadnock and Marquette building, Mies Van der Rohe, Calder sculpture, etc.) and the separation from car traffic makes it less intimidating for city biking newbies.
2. Lincoln Park and Zoo are always on my list, especially if the weather is nice and especially if your visitors have their kids in town. You can meander through the zoo and the nature boardwalk and take photos under that cool Jeanne Gang structure. Our famous Green City farmer's market moves into the nearby Nature Museum for the winter months, giving you an opportunity to pick up some hearty greens and root veggies for a family style dinner at home. 3. I find going to a storefront theater production to be a real treat for guests. These tiny theaters are so commonplace in Chicago yet are virtually unheard of in other places. One of my favorite theater companies is Strawdog Theater in north Lakeview. I suggest getting dinner at Pizza Rustica (see above) before or after the show. 4. I'm most proud of Chicago's architectural history and the Architecture Foundation's top notch docents make their tours fascinating and memorable, even if your guests aren't architecture buffs. They're probably best known for the river cruises but they have bus and 'L' train tours too, which are great for winter months when you want to minimize your time outside. I especially like the downtown Loop tour on the 'L'.

Thank you for sharing, Maria!

Your whimsical outlook on our beautiful city is incredibly refreshing, not to mention inspiring! If you're ever looking for a partner to bike the lakefront with, go on an architectural tour, or chow down on some pizza -- you have a whole community of women who would happily partake. Myself included! It was such a treat to feature you on this week's 4xForth series and we're delighted to have you as part of our rad community of women!

Follow Maria on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, PinterestPo Campo Twitter, Flickr + YouTube.

"Chasing dreams, savoring the moment, getting more people on bikes." - Maria Boustead

How to Juggle Work and Home Life More Effectively for Moms and Business Owners by Natalie Pavela

sarah drake 1 Sarah Drake has been running a boutique graphic design studio - Sarah Drake Design - for nine years, specializing in custom wedding invitations, family crests, corporate invitations and business branding. Sarah is also the mother to two boys. Juggling small business ownership  and being a mom can be tough! We compare ourselves to others, and run ourselves crazy trying to achieve perfect balance (does it even exist?). Luckily, Sarah offered to open up and share honestly about tips she's found helpful to stay sane and feel productive through it all. From compartmentalizing, scheduling, and cutting yourself some slack, Sarah's tips are valuable for today's multi-tasting busy mother or woman. 

Notice I don’t say how to juggle work and home life? or how to balance work with home? It’s because I don’t believe it’s possible. Not that things can’t run more smoothly - I just think that trying to achieve that perfect syncronism is something that you can run yourself ragged trying to achieve, and then beat yourself up when it doesn’t occur.

I had been hearing the word balance for years. Trying to achieve. Literally crying with my girlfriends who are moms and also hold full time jobs or their own businesses that life never felt in balance, and things were hectic and overwhelming all of the time. I was tired, forgetting appointments, and then feeling terrible for failing. If work was going smoothly, home life was suffering, or the opposite. The following three tips are definitely things that have helped, but I have to mention, also have taken me a long time to achieve. My sons are both old enough to do a lot of things themselves, and i’ve been in business for 9 years, so I’ve had some time to work this out. These suggestions may not work for new moms, or mothers of five, or single moms with no help. But they might. I feel lucky that my husband has been a super active parent, and that his job at night (while certainly has it’s disadvantages) has allowed him to be with our boys every day, pick them up from school, and be part of their lives fully.


Establish regular office hours at an area that works for your lifestyle. This may be a corner of your living room, remote office (like a coffee shop), or actual office/studio outside the home, but the most important thing is that from 10-2, or 9-5, or whatever hours work for you, you are present to the task at hand. This frees you up to be present at home too, able to attend to a crying baby or make dinner without trying to answer emails or hop on a conference call. This really only works well when you have childcare or your kids are in school, for me at least. I found it next to impossible to get much done at all trying to work around a nap schedule. If you can afford to have even one day where someone else is looking out for your kids, you can start to do this incrementally, and work up as they get older. If childcare isn’t in your budget, try childcare sharing with another parent who might have a similar situation, so you both get a few hours to work or sleep or read a magazine uninterrupted.


I learned this from my good friend who was going through nursing school with a brand new baby. She literally wrote down everything she had to do to get through it, from nursing the baby from 4-4:30, to blocking out time to study. Now, on my good days, I prioritize the things I need to get done, and assign a block of time to get them done. I take her advice and write down everything, so a sample day might look like this:

9-9:30 Check Email

9:30-10:30 Seymour Proofs

10:30-12 Kennedy Production

12:30- 1:30 take walk (Listen to Podcast)

1:30-2:30 research new product line

2:30-3 Check Email/Social Media

3:30-5 help boys with homework

5:30-6:30 soccer practice


Choose Three

I pick three things I want to accomplish that day, using a guideline that I have implemented from living and learning about how I work best, and from teachers and guidance I seek out.

CREATING (this would have to do with work)

PRESERVING (my home, my family, gratitude)

TRANSFORMING (removing obstacles, changing perspectives, etc)


In a perfect world I would do this every day, but I’m not THAT disciplined. This is great for when things start to get too one sided, if I start to forget things, or I’m noticing I’m not exercising or having any personal time. I might go through a yoga schedule at my favorite studio and write down two classes I want to get to that week, and then assign work and home around that, so that I get what I need too. This is really important so that your to- do lists aren’t all work!


 When the inevitable happens, and you remember an email you have answer, or you want to check your social media stats, jot it down, and get to it later. Remember you have a time for that in the day, and try to stick to the schedule. Not only will you feel more productive, you won’t be left wondering what you did all day.

sarah drake 2

Go easy on yourself

Above all, know that you are doing your best, and these, along with so many other ideas, are just guidelines. It’s so important to figure out what works for you. Maybe one week you'll get sick, and nothing will get done. That's okay. Sometimes, maybe you'll just need a day to do nothing at all.

I’ve listened and learned from friends, coaches, podcasts, and developed my own systems from learning from others. Some great resources:

Jess Lively Podcast: The Lively Show

Marie Forleo

Design Sponge Podcast: After the Jump