Decoratus absurdum.

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“Decoratus absurdum”. This is the design mantra behind Foursided boutique. I sat down with co-founder and owner of Foursided boutiques, Gino Pinto and store manager (and artist!), Aidie Janci to find out more about my go to store in the city for gifts, jewelry, cards, the list goes on. My favorite part about shopping at Foursided is that no matter how many times you go in there (and in my case, it’s a lot!), you never know what new, local artist you’re going to discover or what piece of antique dishware is going to pop at you. Gino, Aidie and I chatted and laughed in the quiet, shady spot behind their Lakeview location. Here’s the scoop I got:counter

Tell me about yourself. How did you get started?
The concept began in 2001 when Co-owners and founders Todd Mack and Gino Pinto decided to utilize their different professional backgrounds (Todd in framing, Gino in business), which allowed them to seamlessly and successfully build what was once a simple frame shop into a 3 store (and coming soon: gallery) Chicago staple.

The original location opened on Broadway in Lakeview as a picture framing shop. The second location, (also in Lakeview) on Clark has more of a gifting focus (cards, art, vintage) and is managed by Aidie. The third location, also on Clark St. but in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, combines the two ideas into their largest location.

Pinto and Janci attribute much of the store’s success to social media attention. That and a great relationship with customers. Pinto says the idea for the stores is, “more of an art than a science”. The team wants to provide shoppers with, “things that are accessible. Not high end but not low end. There’s something for everyone!” says Janci.

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How would you describe the mood of Foursided?

A recent remodel of the Lakeview Clark Street location has allowed for a more open, airy environment for shoppers and employees. Colors have been updated and the store is easier to move around in, helping the customer feel more comfortable and not like they’re going to knock down a teacup tower with their yoga mat.

There is also an art exhibit space going in next door, scheduled to open this week (a celebratory opening and 10 year anniversary party is happening Friday, July 17th! Go check it out, I’ll be there!) Local artist Ben Holiday’s work will be on display at the event. Pinto also has plans for the new gallery space to function as extra retail space around the holidays. I’m salivating at the thought of an entire space filled with the gorgeous offerings Foursided usually has around the holidays –helloooo vintage Christmas ornaments!

How do you want your shopper to feel when they leave your store?

“We want them to feel excited and inspired” says Janci. She and Pinto want shoppers to get that spark of curiosity that can happen when wandering through a store. They want their customers to get lost –in a good way.

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What inspires you?

AJ: “I’m an artist, I’m always making things. I’m inspired by active people. People doing and making things”. GP: “Prints. Learning new things” Currently, he’s taking a print and letterpress class at The Chicago Printmakers Collaborative once a week.

What are some of your favorite pieces at the moment?
Lucky horse press (Gino likes the prints), Methane Studios (Foursided is the only store in Chicago that carries their work), Human Shaped Robot prints (hand screen printed pieces), Star Shaped Press, Love Emily D, Kelly Parsell, Crash Candles (local suburban candlemaker), Snow and Graham, and The Found

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Who are some local artists you work with?

Pinto tries to carry a Chicago artist in every department, and they work with a lot of Chicago printmakers and jewelry makers and carry their pieces in store. Another awesome element is that you can find a lot of employee art in store as well. Just recently, a birthday card was being passed around my office and on the artist on the back was very familiar!
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What are some of your favorite vintage shops? Flea Markets?

Janci and Pinto know their way around a vintage shop, which is why I asked them for their sage advice. Some of their favorite hot spots are: Grayslake Antique Market, The Pink Elephant Mall near Springfield, Vintage Garage, Edgewater Antique Market, Renegade Craft Fair, Randolph Street Market and estate sales around the city and suburbs

“We need to treasure the things we have. There’s this idea to edit, edit, edit”, says Pinto. As a very type-A person who loves to edit, edit, edit, its a good reminder to walk into a place like Foursided and get a little lost.

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Recap: WCBC Holiday Shopping Soiree!

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Monday night I attended a beautiful Holiday Soiree, thrown by the Windy City Blogger Collective and hosted by Del Frisco’s Steakhouse in the Gold Coast. Right when we walked in, my friend, Agnes (its her birthday today! Happy Birthday Aggie!!) and I were immediately greeted by a waiter offering us champagne –which got the night started right! The space was gorgeous: high, architectural ceilings; two-story wine cabinets, warm lighting and inviting chit-chat. It was the perfect place to have a holiday party.

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There were so many things to see and so many fabulous people to mingle with! Guests could shop for anyone on their list with gifts from The Tie Bar, Kalla flowers, Shop 857, DreamDry blowdry bar, Benefit Cosmetics, The Trendy Sparrow and Vo Jewelry (I won one of her pieces from a Windy City Bloggers giveaway a while back, and I absolutely love it!).

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It was a super fun event and a great way to continue to celebrate the holiday season! Thanks Windy City Bloggers!

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Stumped!: a not-so-basic holiday gift guide

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Its that time of year, when gift guides upon gift guides pile up in your inbox and in the December issues of magazines. Though I am providing you with yet another gift guide, I would like to think this one is a little different. I wanted to tackle gifts for people that were a little harder to figure out, instead of your typical “For Her” or “For Him” guide.

In this guide, you’ll only see gifts under $50. Because although I would love to spend all my hard-earned cash on others, mamma’s gotta pay the bills –and I bet you do too.

Behold! Your “I’m stumped” Holiday Gift Guide!

For your boss

I find it a little tough to shop for bosses, you want to get something thoughtful, yet practical, that also shows that you know how to buy a great gift. Because, let’s face it. You want to show off to your boss a little bit (hello, promotion!) Here are some things you can buy for your boss, whether that be a boss man or a boss lady!

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1. pewter cocktail shaker | 2. leather coasters | 3. iPhone speaker dock

BossLady

1. coaster set | 2. 2015 wall calendar | 3. candle set 

For your friend with a kid

This one is coming from experience a little bit. I have a few friends with kids, and though I have the overwhelming urge to just buy baby clothes, I think mom deserves a little pampering this Christmas.

the mom1. wool gloves | 2. prettyquick gift card | 3. cashmere socks 

A note on PrettyQuick: it’s a new salon-finding service that curates salons, spas, etc. with the best ratings in your city. It takes the guess work out of finding the best place to get your nails did!

For your kid’s teacher

Not that this is necessarily a difficult person to shop for, but I’m sure teachers are gifted the same things over and over again, so why not try something different? Also, that cocoa set is called “Ugly Sweater Party” –each little box has an ugly sweater on it. Adorable!

your kids' teacher1. gourmet hot cocoa | 2. teacher “tackle box” | 3. toms for target knit throw

For your work secret santa

What universally-appealing gift should you get? Focus on things that are useful and be sure to keep age in mind too! The skin care set even has shave gel in it! Perfect for anyone!

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1. stackable mugs | 2. skin care set | 3. faribault for target wool pouch 

For Dad

Getting a gift for my dad always takes me the longest. He’s a pretty basic, no-frills guy. Plus he’s a grown-ass man that can buy anything he wants. So, what to get? I thought of some things that he may already have, but maybe are a bit more elevated –things he wouldn’t normally buy for himself.

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1. monogrammed toiletry case | 2. grill cleaning tool | 3. harris tweed wallet 

Let me know what you think, and if any of these might work for you! Happy Holiday everyone!

BACK.

Hey team,

Many apologies for my brief hiatus from the blogging world. I’ve just been crazy busy with life stuff and work and all that. You know how it goes, but here I am again, and I’m ready to get my blog on.

So, here’s a few things I need to catch you all up on…

1. The hand cream situation. The winner, by far, was Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. Its super lightweight and not greasy at all. It totally worked for my skin and was a great moisturizer. I also kind of liked that it was unscented. Sometimes I get concerned that scented lotions actually make your skin more chapped, but I could be wrong. For scent though, I would go with the Kiehl’s Coriander Deluxe Hand and Body lotion –it smells like oatmeal. I want a blanket made out of it or something. You just want to be enveloped in it, its very comforting.

2. Recently I’ve been working for t+j Designs; a local, sister-owned jewelry company. They had a look book shoot that I was asked to be involved in, which I was excited to accept. Here are some photos from their look book, and be sure to head over to the site and check it out –they are always running amazing deals on the site and on Instagram! See the rest of the look book here.

That’s all for now. Missed you guys.

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