Monday, September 28, 2015

A Taste of the South - Dinner at Carriage House Chicago

On Wednesday, September 23rd, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Carriage House End of Summer Celebration on their front patio.

Always wanting to stop in and sample their menu, I was excited to try some of
The tasting menu for the evening
their dishes. I am a closet junkie of Southern, comfort food and love a restaurant that not only supports local farming, but also attempts to serve organic and pesticide free produce.

The front patio was comfortable with lots of seating options and upon arrival we sampled some of the rose wines on the menu along with delicious Hush Puppy Ham Pops and refreshing, Chilled Watermelon spiked with Tabasco honey, mint and lime.

There was also a Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich, served with a pickle that had that perfect marriage of crunchy and tangy that assisted in attaining my
The famous Carriage House Low Country Boil
fried food fix. At the end there was a gorgeous presentation of the signature Low Country Boil - chock full of Carolina shrimp, clams, rabbit chaurice sausage, sweet corn, red potatoes and grilled lemon. It was the perfect overload of savory combinations to end the meal.

It is definitely worth visiting this establishment in the heart of Wicker Park on Division Street if you are tired of the same old, usual fare that Chicago offers. There were a lot of other dishes that looked appetizing, so I will be coming back for the Shrimp and Grits and the Chicken and Dumplings.

For more information on Carriage House go to
Interior of the Carriage House (picture courtesy of the Carriage House)

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Cookie's Fashion Empire

Recently, Empire, the wildly new popular show on Fox was filming in our 
neighborhood of West Town, Chicago. Lucky me! I got a chance to meet Terrence Howard who stars as Lucious Lyon. He was so handsome in real life as well as a total gentleman. I asked him if he had a minute to take a picture.

Unfortunately for me, my IPhone storage was full! Luckily, a customer got to take the picture on her phone. As soon as I get the photo from her, I will make sure to post it on the blog.

With all the Empire action going on in our neighborhood and also being a super-fan of the show, I decided to dedicate this blog to my favorite looks on Cookie, the main, fashion-fueled matriarch on Empire.

I was spellbound last year with the fashion styled by Rita McGhee. Taraji Henson aka the character Cookie had taken the fashion threshold to the next level and McGhee's styling equally matches Cookie's fierce, bold personality dressing her in bold animal inspired prints, chic body-con dresses, plush furs and awe dropping, statement jewelry pieces.

Last season as her character grew more bold in the boardroom, so did her wardrobe. Here are a few of my favorite looks from last season. 

Zebra and sequined gown by Balmain.

Bold patterned BCBG peplum top with leather leggings.

A pop a bright colored fur stole and body conscious dress.

A vintage inspired, leopard print jumpsuit with a Chanel statement necklace.

We will be watching this Wednesday, September 23rd as Season Two begins. To find out more about this show go to

Congrats to the show for three Emmy nods last night. Hopefully next year the stars and stylist of this show will receive a much deserved Emmy!

Ciao for now!

Pictures courtesy of Fox TV.


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Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Authenticate a Monogram Louis Vuitton Handbag

Quite frequently customers will ask us how we know if a Louis Vuitton is fake. I thought it would be helpful to share some insight to spotting a fake in case you are in the market to buy a resale Louis Vuitton Monogram in the near future.

There are a lot of good replicas out there for sale that can leave a buyer easily fooled. But, if you are true lover of authentic fashion, then here are a few steps to qualify that the resale Louis Vuitton you are shopping for is real.

Today we will start with the traditional Monogram design that is the most common and also the oldest style of the Louis Vuitton handbags.

LV handbags are made with quality materials, so to start with if the hardware, leather straps, or interior fabric of the handbag are lightweight or feel cheap, then it is a fake. Most high-end designer bags are heavier in weight because they use high quality metal hardware, leather hides, fabrics and canvas.

Louis Vuitton Monogram hardware on Monogram styles is always is brass. Over time this metal will darken. As the bag ages, you may see a bluish hue nearby or on the brass hardware. This is a sign that it is authentic and a natural process of oxidization. The gold should not be a bright yellow as most non-authentic bags show. The hardware should also be branded by Louis Vuitton and cheaper replicas sometimes miss this detail. Look also for the logo being centered on the hardware and evenly spaced.

Next inspect the monogram pattern The Louis Vuitton LV pattern should always be centered on the bag. If the
pattern is just slightly off from the seams and not perfectly centered, then there it is a fake. Louis Vuitton carefully ensures to keep the LV pattern centered no matter what the style is. Also the LV pattern should mirror on either side and be a perfect symmetrical pattern that leads to the end. The pattern should perfectly line up on either side of a zipper, etc.
The straps are another way to check authenticity and the sides of the handles or strap have a contrasting red leather detail that over time ages to a deeper brown. If it is an older bag and still has a bright red trim detail, the bag will most likely be a fake.

The stitching on an authentic LV bag is meticulous, for example with Louis Vuitton Speedy bags, there are only 5 stitches across on the bottom of the handle. The Louis Vuitton color of the thread in the stitching should always be a soft yellow and never varies from that color.

The leather of the handles of authentic LV bags start off as a pale tan, but after time and use use should oxidize and turn into a gorgeous darker tan. Especially when the oils from your hand get into the leather where you carry it the most. This is intentional as Louis Vuitton uses a oxidized, high quality cowhide leather.

Inside most Louis Vuitton Monogram handbags, they have a dark canvas lining.
This lining should be heavier and not feel cheap. Although, some styles do have a man made soft microfiber fabric, so make sure to go on the official Louis Vuitton web site to compare the style of the bag to te one you are purchasing.
Date codes are another important way to check authenticity and should be hidden usually under a pocket, inside a pocket or seam. The date code should be an indentation, not stamped and never with a gold, metallic or colored ink. The letters and numbers should be evenly spaced and not close together. Vintage Louis Vuitton handbags made before 1980 most commonly do not have a date stamp. After 1980, the date stamp may be a three digit number, but will have the same qualities as mentioned above to help guide you towards a smart purchase.

The Louis Vuitton date codes from the late 1990's and up are a first two letters and then a series of numbers. The first two letters are the location of the factory. Louis Vuitton handbags are not only made in France, but also in the United States, Switzerland, Spain and Germany. The other following numbers are a guide to the date of when the bag was made.

Here I have included some more information on date codes borrowed from Yoogi's closet. .

This blog forum is another free place to talk to other fashionistas to help authenticate your Louis Vuitton before purchasing it.

I hope that this blog was insightful and guides you in the right direction to owning an authentic Louis Vuitton Monogram handbag. In the future, I will be posting other authenticity guides to buying designer handbags among other fun fashion blog posts I have up my sleeve.

Ciao for now!
Christine Sanderson 

P.S. Did you know that we pay 60% to our consignors for Louis Vuitton handbags? Have one to sell? Contact for more details.

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