Photo courtesy Amie Hana
We all know Candace Jordan as the woman about town and her highlights of Chicago’s amazing philanthropic endeavors (she sits on many of the Boards of the organizations she features and knows so well) through her Candid Candace weekly blog (which always keeps us up to date on ALL the noteworthy local events, large or small), her weekly column in the Sunday Chicago Tribune, Candid Candace TV and Candid Candace Chicago Now blog.
I, of course, follow her just like all of you, however, I may have known her a bit longer than some, in her fashion styling and writing efforts, before her blog and other current gigs as well as on the social scene, and I wanted you to get to know her in a more personal light. I don’t think I had finished sending Candace my nenasnotes questionnaire before I had it back along with an abundance of fantastic photos. I’m thrilled to share them with you. But first I wanted to let you know why I have held off on running this post until today…tomorrow is, as you know, Valentine’s Day and I wanted to feature Candace and Chuck’s love story, I, therefore, asked her to write a short piece on what makes their story so special….
“Chuck and I will be celebrating 28 years of marriage on July 21. I’m not quite sure how I got so lucky to have him for a husband but I thank God every day. I was 35 when we married and Chuck was a confirmed bachelor when we met. A mutual friend introduced us during a lunch at the old Palm on East Lake Shore Drive. After our first date, I went into the bathroom and pinched myself. He was/is everything wonderful rolled into one handsome package. Just proves that when you’re not looking, love happens and I feel so very grateful.”
The wedding July 21, 1989.
The Lovebirds at a Joffrey Ballet gala.
WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT:
Well, I don’t know if it was talent, but it developed out of a necessity. I wanted to make money and get out of my small town so I started modeling at age 13 in St. Louis. I was also the youngest fashion coordinator ever at the major department store, Famous-Barr. That’s when I began modeling and I guess realized I photographed pretty well…(Nena’s note, she is being very modest, one of my top model’s, who roomed with Candace in Europe, recalls that she was a superb photo model and was always in great demand! She continues to photograph like a dream…what is her secret!!!!????) I was valedictorian of my class and received a scholarship to St. Louis U. I went for 6 months and had enough of school. That’s when the new St. Louis Playboy Club was looking for Bunnies, I applied and the rest is sort of history.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT”:
I felt like I’d made it when I walked up the steps to the Playboy Mansion and the butler said, “Welcome home Ms. Collins.”
HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW:
I’ve always been a geek about fashion. Not only did (and do) I enjoy the modeling side, but I love photography, fashion design, make-up–everything that surrounds the field so I think this passion for the industry as a whole has helped me to be in the place I am now.
Nena’s note…..In a Service Club of Chicago GroFashion Show, still loving the modeling spotlight and why not when you enjoy something and are good at it…I say continue.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE:
I love animals and, at one point, considered a career as a vet. I think I would’ve been a great one and am very supportive of animal causes to this day. I’m on the development board of PAWS Chicago and one of our dogs is a rescue from there.
YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER (BALLET, OPERA, SYMPHONY), TYPE OF MUSIC, LOCAL RESTAURANT/AND-OR TYPE OF FOOD:
I love sushi; Mediterranean cuisine; traditional ballet; Cole Porter; house music from La Caves du Roy; La Scarola; Gibson’s; Chicago Cut; Ping Pong (the restaurant not the sport); La Piaggia in South Beach; will miss Swifty’s (now closed) in NY; Gene & Georgetti’s; ALL the Harry Potter books; historical fiction; I just finished the Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow, the first two books by Amor Towles–I never wanted them to end.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES:
Chuck and I collect rare books. A highlight is our Potter collection (British and U.S. ) first editions signed by Rowling including the first two movie scripts signed by the actors; I also collect antique Christmas items (19th century Santas, etc.).
HOW ABOUT YOUR HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC”
Very traditional and also eclectic. I deplore modern and am sad so many antique shops have disappeared with this new Ikea generation. If it’s not warm, cozy and inviting, it’s not for me. Everything in our home has a story and we love it that way. (Nena’s note, check back on Thursday for Candace and Chuck’s amazing home in my Collections posting! Candace, by the way, is a HUGE supporter of Randolph Street Market, www.randolphstreetmarket.com, not only as a passionate collector but also a huge advocate of the monthly event on her blog.)
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE?
I would have my mother, father, Mary and Jim Johnson (who helped raise me), Chuck’s Grandma Nora and his mom Jean….I miss them all every day. To add to this list, I would include my dear friend from high school who passed too soon, Susie Sager.
With Susie Sager at a school reunion.
And I love and was raised on, Southern cooking so I would bake a ham with collard greens, fried green tomatoes, corn bread and lots of wine. Oh, and peach pie!
LET’S TALK FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND WHERE DO YOU WANT TO VISIT:
My favorite vacation spot that we had the good fortune to visit yearly for 15 years or more was St. Tropez and the French Riviera. We would meet friends from all over the world there around July 4th and it was the most exciting time.
Group of friends at annual St. Tropez gathering.
I had my 50th birthday party there and the guests still talk about it as the best party they’ve ever attended. Great memories! We also loved our visits to Morocco. We had friends who owned a villa in Marbella and we would take lots of trips to Marrakech, Casablanca, and Tangier–so exotic and so beautiful with the friendliest people.
Riding a camel in Doha, Qatar.
On my wish list are Hong Kong, Hanoi, Egypt, Buenos Aires, Greece, India, and Budapest.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED:
As someone who made people smile, always kept her word and was loyal to her friends.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PUBLIC ART PIECE AND WHY:
By far, my favorite piece of art that moved me the most upon seeing it for the first time was the statue of David in Florence. We cried.
Nena…I love the strength of David’s head, which we rarely see up close, it is magnificent!
From Candace’s recipe box:
Upside Down Apple Crisp Cake (from Cast Iron Casseroles cookbook)
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 cup plus 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
2 large tart crisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
FIRST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the cake, in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt 1/3 cup butter over medium heat. Add 3/4 cut brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp, nutmeg, stirring to combine. Cook stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Place apple slices over caramel. Set aside.
NEXT: In a large bowl, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and remaining 1 cup brown sugar with a mixer at medium speed, until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. Add egg, beating to combine.
NEXT: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg. With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla until combined
NEXT: Spoon batter over apples in skillet, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
NEXT: For the crumble: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, oats, butter, flour and salt until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over batter.
LAST: Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully invert onto a flat serving plate.
Chicago Magazine’s Belle of the Blog feature.
Candid Candace Chicago Tribune column (http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/chi-candace-jordan-staff-staff.html); Candid Candace blog (http://www.candidcandace.typepad.com/); Candace’s award-winning internet show, Candid Candace TV– (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaWrZFA8UZegcNEP9rroqDQ and Candid Candace Chicago Now blog (http://www.chicagonow.com/candid-candace )
Social Media info: Candid Candace on Twitter and Facebook; Candid Candace on Instagram; Candace Jordan on Facebook; Candace Jordan on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/candidcandace/)