During Spring Break, Katie and I went window shopping along the streets of SoHo in NYC. (SoHo means South of Houston – a street in New York pronounced Howston). This charming area houses several upscale boutiques as well as a few mainstream retail names. Since it was too cold and windy to wait in the block-long line to go inside DASH (the Kardashian store), Katie and I shivered along Greene Street to find a taxi. We had left Chicago without winter gloves.

Life sometimes surprises and delights you with unexpected moments – serendipitous opportunities that lead you into a new “realm” of understanding, or literally through the doors of a fashion hotspot called Realm. In an effort to warm up, Katie and I walked through the doors of this breathtaking boutique. The distinguished manager, Lewaa Abdulkhalek, welcomed us into the gracious and spacious surroundings. Realm’s interior pairs New York City “sophisticated sleek” with South Beach “contemporary chic,” while the couture exudes the understated elegance of Sao Paolo combined with the playfulness of Rio de Janeiro. Eager to learn about the artistry of the featured fashion designers, I asked Lewaa if I could interview him about Realm for Kitchen Chat. He and fashion consultant Alex Argenti insisted that Katie and I wear European designer dresses featured in the boutique for the on camera interview. As many of you know, I am not a “fashionista.” When I lived and worked in New York, my wardrobe consisted of boring banker clothes. And now, as a stay- and- work- at- home-mom in the Chicago suburbs, my closet overflows with an eclectic collection. Wearing the Jean Claude Jitrois design was transformational, and I truly entered a new realm for me: Haute Couture. I felt like a princess in this elegant, stretchy black leather dress accentuated with constellations of Swarovski crystals and a price tag that surpassed the most expensive and only designer dress I ever bought — my wedding gown. This LBD (little black dress – or rather, LBLD, little black leather dress) was Audrey Hepburnesque with a contemporary French twist. And Katie looked gorgeous in the ruffled denim gown by Italian fashion designer, Ermanno Scervino.

Realm www.realmboutique.com is featured in the March issue of Elle Magazine on page 250. Blake Lively was among the celebrities who enjoyed the fashionable fete of the boutique’s opening party. Randi Jacobson, the striking owner and visionary of this special boutique, explains on the website. “I’ve spent years traveling the world in search of the most cutting edge couture, and Realm is an amalgamation of the best fashion I have found. We hope to be arbiters of fashion for our customers. We want Realm to cater to the stylish, sophisticated woman who is hungry for something new and exclusive.” Without a doubt, the personalized retail experience at Realm is unique, welcoming and very informative. With in-house fashion experts to provide their years of professional guidance as to which style and fabric will be a perfect fit for the occasion, every woman will feel and look like a princess in the couture at Realm. I will always treasure these memorable moments of entering into “Realm” of fashion.

Here is a Flip Clip of my Kitchen Chat interview with store manager Lewaa and fashion consultant Alex about fashion and food.

What are some of your life’s memorable moments that opened a new “realm” of understanding in your life?.

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