4 new ways to have a playful summer

Summer in Chicago is like a delightful prize at the bottom of a giant box of cereal. We’ve had to dig deep, practice patience, and when it finally surfaces, hold on for dear life. Here are four of my new favorite things that will help make these mid-summer days we’ve finally found totally worth the wait.

Play with your style

Partyology app

partyology

I never thought I’d say this, but there’s a new fanny pack in town and she’s AWESOME. If you miss the ease of having all your essential stuff at your waistband, then you are going to flip for the new “Gabby” bag by 84Rockwell. Designed and manufactured in Chicago by designer Bridget McDermott, this fun and fringy new concept on the “hip bag” allows on-the-go girls the joy of the hands-free handbag while maintaining all her fashion cred. It’s the only bag you’ll need this summer. It comes in eight beautiful colors in suede and leather.

$280, at local shops, including Juniper Boutique, Runway, Enaz and VMR, and online at 84Rockwell.com.

Play with your mate

I am always on the lookout for creative and fun ways to date my mate. So when I got a glimpse of the beautiful new rooftop terrace space, Streeterville Social, at the Loews Chicago Hotel, I got a little giddy. Besides being the city’s largest outdoor rooftop terrace, Streeterville Social hosts two bars and a grassy lawn area perfect for a game of pétanque (bocce’s French cousin) or playing with the custom giant Jenga set. The comfy lounge-style seating makes it a great go-to for daytime lunch dates or an evening of a little eat, play, love. Tip: Get a spot on the lawn early for a prime view of the fireworks all summer at Navy Pier!

Play with your pals

Now that it’s seriously sunny in our fair city, it’s time to throw as many summer soirees as the calendar will allow. But if planning a party gives you the shakes, take a deep breath and grab your phone. There’s an app for that. The new Partyology (partyology.com) helps you fully plan your next party from the palm of your hand. This free iPhone app brings inspiration and shopping into a single space to make party planning peaceful. Now go put on your party dress.

Play with your family

The sweetest spot in the world has finally come to Chicago! Dylan’s Candy Bar opened in May and has kids and their grown-ups satisfying their sweet teeth in style. Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren, has creatively combined fashion, fun and more candy than you’ve ever seen to create a wonderland of confectionery goodness. Located right on Michigan Avenue, it’s a super fun stop during a day in the city or after dinner downtown. Dylan’s Candy Bar is also a delicious place to host your next birthday party, baby shower or over-21 soiree.

Dylan’s Candy Bar, 445 N. Michigan Ave.

10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

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