Skirt Triks: Building The Perfect Cheese Plate

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m totally obsessed with any and all types of cheese! Whenever I host a book club, girls’ night in, or family gathering, my go-to appetizer is always a cheese plate. Easy to assemble and packed with an assortment of textures and flavors, a mix of different cheeses, meats, and fruits is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While the options are endless, here are a few of my go-to ingredients for building a delectable and totally Instagram-worthy cheese platter:

Photo via: Apartment 34

A good rule is to have something hard, something soft, something goat, and something cow while offering a combination of aged, crumbly, and creamy cheeses. Since cheese is best served at room temperature, make sure to let your platter sit for about 30 minutes before serving.

Sturdy chips and crackers, toasted bread, or baguette slices are all good options. You’ll want to offer at least two choices.

Salami, Prosciutto, or other cured meats are staples of a good cheese plate. Mix spicy meats, like hot Soppressata, with mild ones or add rich flavors, such as Capicola for a variety of tastes.

Add some color and bit of sweetness with fresh grapes or berries, dried apricots, or a side of jam or honey.

For some crunch and salt, include nuts like almonds or cashews.

Once you have the perfect combination selected, carefully arrange everything on a pretty serving platter and enjoy

Meg’s Fall Wish List

As the days start to shorten and the temperatures drop, my list of fall must-haves gets longer and longer. It is the perfect time to refresh your beauty routine, wardrobe and home décor.

rag & bone Margot Bootie
I have a slight obsession with booties and have zero self-control when it comes to buying a new pair. This rust color is the perfect accent to my typical all black wardrobe.

Gray Malin Tray
The beach is my happy place, and I love absolutely everything by Gray Malin. Put the two together, and it is a no brainer — I have to have it! This gorgeous tray displayed on my coffee table is the perfect way to escape the cold weather and dream of the beach.

Cuyana Cashmere Scarf
A Cuyana cashmere scarf has been on my list for quite some time. It is a timeless piece that will never go out of style and I know will be a staple in my wardrobe. I think this may be the year I finally move it from my cart to my closet!

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
My skin gets crazy dry the minute the weather starts to get cold. People swear by this cream, and I am anxious to try it this fall.

What are you wishing for this fall?

Product Junkies: Chapin

The Organic Pharmacy Sunless Tanner:
This might be my favorite self-tanning product because it goes on just like a regular lotion. It does need a few applications to get a noticeable tan, but I don’t feel any harm to my body when I put it on.

Rahua Shampoo & Conditioner:
I have seen so many people talking about this shampoo/conditioner duo. I must say it makes my hair feel extra silky and keeps my highlights longer than normal!

Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
This is the lightest sunscreen I have ever used. It goes on sheer, and I love that it doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky!

Lily Lolo Mascara
I stopped into the recently opened Credo Beauty in Bucktown and asked for a mascara recommendation. I am very pleased with this suggestion as it gives great volume and doesn’t make my lashes feel clumpy.

Acure Body Lotion:
Acure is still one of my is one of my favorite clean beauty brands! I have been using this body lotion for a few years now. The price is right, too!

What are your go-to beauty products?

Chicago Love: Annette’s

As we near the last warm days left in the season, I’ve been working to prioritize my summer to-do list. Cue: the staple of every American summer … ice cream! And finding your token ice cream spot is, in my opinion, a requirement to having a successful summer. Enter Annette’s.

Directly off the Armitage stop, you’ll find a quaint Annette’s window occupied by welcoming employees who will be more than happy to help with suggestions on what to order. Neighboring the window is typically a pretty lengthy line of folks waiting for their sweets. There is a cozy gated area with outdoor seating, an idyllic spot to gawk at dogs waiting in line with their owners.

Photo source:

Now to the ice cream. You have your sundae lovers, the die-hard froyo crowd, the sprinkles squad, the Italian Iceers, and let us not forget the gelato gang. Very few places have this broad of a scope of frozen treats, but Annette’s has you covered. I love the raspberry Italian ice, which is so thin it instantly melts in your mouth.

The line can build at Annette’s, as the cash-only shop is only open during the summer. Exact days it’s open can also which means … You better go quick before summer is over. Your sweet tooth will be very, very grateful.

What’s your token ice cream shop?

Last-Minute Summer Bucket List

As summer begins to fade to make way for fall, we’re soaking up as many warm-weather activities as we can before cooler temps set in. Here’s our team’s last-minute Chicago summer bucket list:

Photo Credit: Camille Styles

Take my daughter for a picnic at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Spend an afternoon lounging by the lakefront with a good book.

Attend a concert at Wrigley Field.

Kayak in the Chicago river.

Buy my first piece of Chicago paraphernalia; go Cubs!

Molly M.
Spend a day at the beach with my family’s pup, Sam!

Watch a movie in the park.

Watch the Navy Pier fireworks from the harbor.

Molly T.
Hit up Cindy’s for a rooftop cocktail.

What’s on your last-minute summer bucket list?

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