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Sarah Follmer, past contributing blogger

Articles by this author
Growing up on the east coast, Cindy Levine always dreamed of having a shop. And when she saw old-fashioned bakeries popping up in other cities, but not in Chicago, she knew it was time to trade in her social worker’s hat for a baker’s apron. Six years later, Sweet Mandy B’s—named for her children, Mandy and Brian—is a city-wide favorite. Read More

I finally broke down and joined JDate. After months of looking at the first page of people who matched my criteria—as many as you can see without joining—I decided to take the next step. I mean, the lady who’d be the horseradish to my gefilte fish could be right could be waiting for me right at the top of page two. Read More

… indicates a continuation, a sign that there’s more to say, more to come. And for Adam Blair and his band Dot Dot Dot, that couldn’t be more true. From the band’s inception, things moved fast. The Chicago-based power pop-rock band played to 1,300 people at its third show. Within five months Dot Dot Dot landed a spot on Fox’s reality TV competition, The Next Great American Band and released a CD. Read More

Kosher wine. For many of us, those two small words pack a big, sweet, grapey, syrupy, low-alcohol, Manischevitz-endorsed punch. We have memories of tasting it for the first time in elementary school—at synagogue, at Bubbe’s seder, at cousin Bobby’s bar mitzvah—and either loving it (“Yummy, tastes like grape Nerds!”) or loathing it (“Yuck, this stuff tastes like Robitussin!”). Read More

“Why are you writing about that? People always think being a triplet is interesting and cool. But it’s not.”That encouraging morsel of cheer came from my brother Daniel when I called to ask whether I was allowed to use his real name in this article. “I concur,” echoed my brother Max a few minutes later. Read More

It’s 9:30 p.m. on a sticky July evening and I’m standing outside Lillstreet Art Studio in Ravenswood. I’ve parked the Prius I’m borrowing from a friend and I’ve used my iPhone to call local artist (and old friend) Rebecca Zemans and let her know I have arrived. Read More

It sounds like the kind of wish you’d make if you were Aladdin and had found the Genie’s lamp: To get the chance to travel the world and buy one-of-a-kind jewels and exquisite fabrics—and get paid for it. But for third-generation jeweler Jennifer Sydel, living the dream is just part of the job. Read More

For the last 11 years, Jeff Ruby has worked his way up the totem pole from fact-checking restaurant hours and addresses and being hazed with assignments to review Rainforest Café and Hard Rock Café – “the amphibian and guitar beat” – to his current position as Senior Editor for the magazine, not only writing about food and dining, but also penning a monthly column called The Closer about, well, whatever he wants. Read More

I think we all have moments when excitement hits us so hard that we’re rendered speechless, and we can’t synthesize any of the thoughts and feelings running through our heads into coherent responses. Read More

My apartment is littered with post-its and print-outs bearing the words Hineni: Here I am and an X. Because, bizarre as it may seem, I sometimes forget it. Read More

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I often feel like a walking contradiction. I went to a theater camp for six years and was president of my BBYO council in high school, but am now terrified of even opening my mouth in a business meeting with more than three other people. Read More

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I’d never given much thought to what record I’d want to break in order to end up in the Guinness Book of World Records. Until this morning, that is. That’s when I came across this little snippet about a 42-year-old Russian woman who gained a spot on the honor roll of bizarre talents and collections for having the world’s strongest… vagina?! Read More

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From time to time I am reminded of my first pet, that damned hermit crab, and I momentarily yearn for a memento of his short life. Sadly, we don’t even have a picture of him. It’s too bad LifeGem wasn’t around when he died. Read More

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Five days ago, an as-yet-unidentified assailant walked into a gay community center in Tel Aviv and indiscriminately opened fire, killing two young Jews and wounding nearly a dozen others. Read More

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Yesterday at work I had the privilege of attending a special program honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the day his birthday was observed across the country. Our keynote speaker was the Honorable Jesse White, the Illinois Secretary of State. Secretary White was an extremely personable man with countless personal stories of both triumph and discrimination. He also made an interesting point that has inspired me to write for the first time in a long while. Read More

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