Scent Décor: It’s a Thing

Scent plays a huge role in style. A woman’s fragrance is an extension of her look. Upscale hotels (like the Plaza Athenee in Paris) often boast a signature parfum that symbolizes the property’s luxury status. Even retailers (think Abercrombie and Fitch) use aroma to define their brand. This concept carries over to décor. A home is yet another style platform to personalize with scent.

My Chicago apartment embodies my eclectic style; a mix of contemporary and mid-century modern furniture punctuated with offbeat knickknacks culled from travels around the globe. Art is everywhere: photography, sculpture, graffiti paintings and zany African head dresses as wall hangings. And, drapery is treated as jewelry, each room’s piece de resistance. There is a lot going on but, somehow it all flows perfectly. Smell plays a role in my home. There is always a hint of French lavender (I tuck sachets everywhere) and fresh flowers to counteract the frigidity of winter. To channel my Miami upbringing, I saute orange and lemon peels for a whiff of tropical citrus.

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When Unstopables reached out and asked me to test drive their new scent décor, I signed on. My favorite? The in-wash scent booster. With two active daughters, the laundry baskets are always overflowing. This product (just add it to the wash at the beginning of the cycle) adds a subtle, pleasant fragrance to clothing. Though it won’t reduce the amount of laundry, it makes the experience more pleasurable!

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Atk Chats Parenting Issues with CNN

Is it OK to Spy On Your Kids?



Spying on your kids. It’s a divisive issue. But, like it or not, monitoring your kids is all a part of parenting. I was asked by CNN’s Kelly Wallace how I felt about the issue. Here is what I said. And, below, is Kelly’s entire piece published on this morning. What do you think about spying on your children?

Spying. It depends on your kid and his/her age. Intellectually, I can understand the nanny cam. First time moms are anxious about leaving their precious babies with a stranger. So, the camera is more about keeping an eye on the nanny versus the baby. But, I don’t approve of spying-type cameras for older kids. There needs to be a certain level of trust established. Kids need to spread their teenage wings and start having experiences outside of the parental realm. However, if my daughter (I have two daughters, 9 and 12) started acting out in a way that signaled a problem, I would need to re-think this stance. Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with this issue. Yet.

Social media? That is another story. I prefer to use the term “monitoring.” Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are virtual feeding grounds for all types of illicit behavior. I constantly talk to my 12 year old about privacy and the presence of perverts online looking for innocent girls. I monitor her content (she’s into Instagram) but also her privacy settings to make sure that perverts (and cyber bullies) can’t access her accounts. I really believe in establishing a high level of trust. In order to have access to a phone (she claims to be the last of her friends to get a phone) my daughter had to prove that she could follow rules (my husband had her write an essay!) and commit to limits on phone/social media use. She has really followed through so I do not read her texts.

When I was a kid my parents definitely spied on us via a low-tech intercom system. HA! We always heard them tuning in and modified our conversations accordingly.

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My Kind of Town, Chicago

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The food. The sports. The art. The theater. There is a lot to love about the city of Chicago. And I have the good fortune to report on all things fabulous in the third coast for Travel + Leisure Magazine.

With the holidays upon us, everyone is talking about what to do over the vacation. So, herewith, I am spilling the cultural beans on some excellent activities guaranteed to keep siblings, best friends, parents and kids engaged and happy. Below is my segment on ABC’s Windy City Live. And beneath that is a link to my local expert’s guide to Chicago for Travel and Leisure.


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Check out my local expert’s guide to Chicago for Travel + Leisure here!


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Ugly Holiday Sweaters & Why They Should Be Torched

ATK Rails on These Disastrous Duds on Good Day Chicago

There is a lot to love about the holidays. One big exception? The plethora of atrocious Christmas themed garb. Of course there are the parties where people ironically sport these bedazzled getups and snort with laughter over how silly they look. Then there are the people who wear this type of clothing in earnest convinced that they are sartorially emanating the joy and goodness of the season. Sorry folks. Your Fair Isle sweaters adorned with everything from fuzzy elves and ribbons to jangling bells are a fashion felony worthy of a citizens’ arrest.


I had some fun this morning on Good Day Chicago dissing this most unfortunate trend with Darlene Hill and my partner in crime Ryan Beshel. Pre-show, we tried on a few knits and then offered one up to Corey McPherrin who is always such a sport.


                          Is it me? #Not!                         The Fox Fashion Panel                Fashion Icon Corey McPherrin





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Where to Score the Best Paris Flea Market Finds

Then Recover with Delicious Tarts and Pommes Frites

My story from

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It’s the thrill of the hunt. For decades, treasure seekers have scoured the allées of Paris’s famed flea market Marché aux Puces for vintage trinkets and eclectic furniture. To inveterate hunters and gatherers, the aha! moment of plucking bric-a-brac vintage serving pieces, an art deco sconce, textiles and quirky French hotel signage from the back of a dusty stall offers an incomparable high. But the Puces has gotten a bad rap as of late. Prices have skyrocked. Stalls have become too high-end. And dealers have been derided for their unwillingness to negotiate. The question looms: Can tourists still score without frittering away their entire food budget? Absolutely! Here is where to shop and eat at the Marché aux Puces.

Read the rest of the story here!


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