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***Some readers were wondering about the new DIY haircut. See…not so bad! ***

On our trips to Chicago, one of the things my husband and I like to do is take the River North art gallery tour. On any given Saturday, just show up inside the Starbucks at corner of Franklin and Chicago at 11 a.m. and catch a free, guided tour of four area galleries. You could do it every Saturday and never have the same tour because the galleries change, as do the exhibits. It’s a one-hour tour, so you finish in time for lunch.

It’s sort of like getting the headphones at a museum—only better because the gallery owners and directors greet you as though you’re a VIP.  I suppose they think we’re all collectors, but there’s never any pressure to buy. They always provide beautiful explanations of what you’re about to see –a huge help for the average viewer. With those introductions, we always glean a little more than we might have on our own.

Still, I must admit that we’re both a little challenged by abstract art, although one of our favorite galleries is purely modern. We both stood for the longest time in front of an abstract piece with stripe after vertical stripe, running all the way across the canvas in a riot of different colors. The assistant director encouraged us to think about how it spoke to us rather than trying to imagine what the artist was saying. I guess we’re simple, literal people because all we could think was, “Could we have done this ourselves?”

As much as I love fashion, I guess I’m pretty much the same about clothes–literal. When I see a great vintage vest like this, I can’t think of one blasted thing I’d like better to pair it with than a black turtleneck and slacks. I know some of my blogging sisters would have a great time jazzing this piece up.

***I love the frescoes on the lobby ceiling of Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel. They were designed and created by French painter Louis Pierre Rigal. They were restored in 1996 by the same man who helped restore the Sistine Chapel – Lido Lippi. I think this painting depicts Venus rising. ***

What’s your favorite style of art? Mine’s impressionistic. The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the world’s largest collections of impressionistic art, thanks to Bertha Palmer, a wealthy patron of the arts whose husband built the Palmer House Hotel as a wedding present to her. Wow. And all I gave my husband was a money clip. Bertha was also responsible for the invention of one of my favorite desserts, the Brownie. She commissioned its creation for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. I don’t know about you, but I find much to love about Bertha.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.