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By Lydia Krupinski

As we are all busy running about trying to find the perfect handmade gifts for the season – many of us forget an essential – gift wrapping!

To keep you from procrastinating, and purchasing that gaudy roll of wrap that’s strategically placed at the register end cap, create your action plan now with these great easy-to-make alternatives that I pulled from my website Pierogi Picnic.

Newspaper – If you’re looking for something cheap and chic, newspaper is the best way to go. The high contrast black and white will give your gifts an elegant look with a rustic edge. For some great suggestions on how to best use this upcycled material check out Design Apothecary’s article here.

Paper Bags  – If you ever take a spontaneous trip to the grocer and are (gasp!) caught without your reusable shopping bags – never fear! Those old-fashioned paper bags can be put to use! The stock of paper that’s used for your average grocery sack lends itself perfectly for wrapping gifts. Check out this awesome post from My Home Ideas for some great tips on using this everyday item.

Looking for more tips? Read the full article here.

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Tis the season to start planning your 2011 edible gardens. City dwellers must overcome the myth and fear that growing veggies is only for those with a stiff mortgage and plenty of land mass. Those of us who live in apartments and high rises can overcome this obstacle by employing some creative solutions:

Urbio Vertical Garden: This up-and-coming design team is currently collecting funds via Kickstarter to turn their urban jungle ideas into reality. Their concept of magnetic and adjustable plastic planters is brilliant, modern, and functional.  Let Urbio be your inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

Review and Photos by Lydia Krupinski

mana-32When dining in Wicker Park there’s an endless array of restaurants to choose from. This hustling bustling hipster mecca is filled with diners, bakeries, bars and cafes. But when I had to choose where to take a foodie friend visiting from the West Coast, the choice was easy. Mana. mana-23

Mana Food Bar is a modest and modern escape from the over-styled boutiques and bars of Division street. The minimalist decor, complete with salvaged wood tables, gray walls, and subtle lighting, makes this the perfect place to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner. Read the rest of this entry »

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