Page 1

WHAT’S HOT in home trends PAGE 32

SOUTHERN COMFORT Best barbecue in the ’burbs

APRIL 2018



You are what you wear PAGE 8





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STYLE 8 YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR How clothes serve as an extension of your personality 10 BEAUTY 101 Hair stylists, makeup artists share industry insights 12 MASTERING THE ART OF AGING Beauty tips, tricks to turn back time 14 BODY ART Once taboo, tattoos continue to become more mainstream 16 A STITCH IN TIME From the Art Institute to New York Fashion Week, designer Cynthia Ashby looks back on how making clothes became a career 20 STYLE ON DISPLAY Water Street Studios showcases spring fashions from local boutiques

BUSINESS & CIVIC 27 ‘ART ELEVATES’ LIFE Sharon Schmidt finds creative ways to make Cultural Connections

FAMILY IN FOCUS 28 CAT AND THE FOX: What is this ‘Cabi’ craze all about? 29 SUBURBAN SUPERDAD ‘Dad style’ clothing is now cool, just not on actual dads

HOME & LIFESTYLE 32 SEASONAL DÉCOR TO ADORE Spring trends lean toward jewel tones, natural materials and colorful kitchens



Restaurant revamp means new mood, new food Photos provided

36 CLOSET CLAUSTROPHOBIA Take control of your chaotic wardrobe 38 ‘GOING NATIVE’ Bring nature home to help sustain wildlife


DINING & ENTERTAINING 44 PRESERVATION Restaurant revamp means new mood, new food 46 SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOOD) Best barbecue spots in the ’burbs

TRAVEL 48 EUROPEAN(-ISH) VACATION From Tuscan-inspired villas to an Edwardian estate, venture to the ‘old world’ without leaving the Midwest 51 THE GLASS-HALF-FULL-GUY: Five tips to saving cash during your travels

OUT & ABOUT 52 SCROLL ON THE GO Mobile-friendly websites mean easier access to park district offerings 53 BIG PLANS FOR PARAMOUNT! Theater receives $2.5 million grant for revitalization project, performing arts school 54 SOCIAL LIFE The 96th annual Charlemagne Awards Dinner spotlights community contributors 56 BOOK NOOK ‘Fashionable’ finds 57 ARTIST SHOWCASE Photographer Linda Roxe shares two architectural images: ‘Lake Point Tower’ and ‘Jeronimos Ceiling’ 58 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County this month!

41 HEART AND SOLES: Step into spring with these races and fun runs (and they’re all for a good cause!) 42 PEACE OF MIND Benefits of a daily meditation practice



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Editor's Note When I think about the evolution of my own style, a montage of cringe-worthy moments flashes before me: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cape I wouldn’t leave home without as a kid (strange because Ninja Turtles didn’t have capes); the onslaught of oversized NFL jerseys I wore to feel like an equal among my many male cousins; the denim overall shorts my female cohorts and I would combine with tights, turtlenecks and clogs (we looked like a bad ’90s girl band); or the Limited Too corduroy pants and flower power polyester shirts I accessorized with my Tamagotchi digital pet (which I wore as a necklace). Sadly, I could go on… Fashion is funny like that. What’s hip and trendy one moment, produces sentimental eye-rolling the next. And then, of course, some designer somewhere decides it’s time to regurgitate a former fad. And then you see a younger generation rocking neon bomber jackets and high-waisted acid-washed jeans. Suburban Superdad columnist Jonathan Bilyk touches on the revival of old trends in “‘Dad style’ clothing is now cool, just not on actual dads,” on Page 27. In his column, Bilyk describes a restaurant run-in with a group of teenagers donning the decades-past wardrobe of his youth:

“I have no idea how long I sat there, staring like a high-schooler waiting on dial-up AOL, when I realized this young man looked like he could have walked right off the set of the TV show ‘Saved by the Bell.’ The amazing sightings only continued. There, a pair of high-top Nikes. And there, high-waisted, loose fitting, light-colored denim. Polos. Ball caps with curved brims. And there, denim on denim on denim on denim – and none of it worn ‘ironically.’” Of course, the humor lies in the fact that I honestly believe that I’ve come a long way when it comes to fashion sense. That my choices in clothing and hairstyles have improved; that it’s unlikely that I will look back on this very moment with derision and say, “What was I thinking?” But the style saga continues, and I’m certain my future will be littered with regret when it comes to the clothing. Because fashion is funny like that. Thanks for reading,

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND SPECIALTY PUBLISHING Laura Shaw 630-427-6213 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253

Kara Silva, Editor

on the


For our style issue, three local boutiques contributed fresh fashions for spring. As the weather warms up start stocking your closet with the casual cool looks in “Style on Display,” on Page 20. Photo by RON MCKINNEY Model - MIRANDA Salon Services by MARIO TRICOCI Stylist - OLIVIA Makeup - ANDI Shoot location - WATER STREET STUDIOS IN BATAVIA Outfit - JORI AND JUNE IN GENEVA 6 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

Published by Shaw Media 333 N. Randall Road, Suite 2 St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 630-845-5288

NICHE ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Jaclyn Cornell 630-845-5234 ACCOUNT MANAGERS Sandra Petti 630-313-0251 Tricia Walter 630-845-5272 CORRESPONDENTS Kelsey O’Connor, Kevin Druley, Allison Horne, Peter Stadalsky, Allison Manley, Jonathan Bilyk, Melissa Riske, Aimee Barrows, Cat Battista PHOTOGRAPHERS Ron McKinney, Missy Donovan

Kane County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to Kane County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at

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You are what you wear When clothes are an extension of your personality By ALLISON HORNE

our clothing is one of the first things people notice when they look at you, so why not wear clothing that encapsulates your own personality? From preppy and sophisticated to tomboy and boho, there are so many different ways to use style to showcase your spirit and character. “Clothes allow you to express yourself,” says Niala Conte, who has owned her own clothing boutique in Geneva for nine years. “Whether you’re quirky, sassy or sophisticated, in my opinion, [clothing] tells the world who you are.”


Kanakaris, who has owned her boutique for three years, says that many women come into her shop knowing exactly what they want, while some prefer to just browse. She’s noticed that there are a lot of women who come in solely to shop for black clothes because that’s all that they wear, and Conte has seen a similar trend.

“I believe people make style choices based on their comfort zone,” Conte says. “I hear some women say that they want to incorporate color into their wardrobe, then – in the end For example, you may prefer – they buy something black. wearing clothing made by an There’s nothing wrong with that, avant-garde or edgier designer to show off your confidence and it’s just what they’re comfortable in and makes them feel more ability to take risks; maybe a unique pattern or print pairs well beautiful.” with your eclectic personality; Even if black is a staple in your or maybe you prefer bohemian wardrobe, there are a multitude attire because you’re a travelof ways that you can incorporate savvy free spirit. Maybe you’re your personality, including a conscientious person and like statement pieces or a pop of to shop at stores that sell fair color in a pair of shoes or a great trade wares or vegan-friendly bag. threads. All of these aspects of “You can [incorporate your look give those around you individuality] by having a a sense of who you are and what signature color or style,” is important to you. Conte says. “Some women Even where your clothes come from and who makes them can help pinpoint certain personality traits.

So, it’s important to find a store where you feel comfortable shopping and carries the kinds of clothing – and at the right price – that caters to your needs. 8 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“People have to be comfortable in their look,” says Maria Kanakaris, owner of the Ivy Love Boutique in Geneva. “People have different tastes, and it all really comes down to personality and who you are.”

like structured pieces, some like sexier or boho chic. Find something that suits you and run with it.” An easy way to incorporate style

Retire on your terms. and creativity into your wardrobe is simply trying items on, even if they’re not something you would ordinarily pick off of the rack. “A lot of people say they would never pick something out, but when they put it on, they’re like, ‘oh my gosh, I love it,’” Kanakaris says. “Sometimes people just need a little push.” Smaller items, like scarves, jewelry and other accessories, are simple ways to add a bit of personality to a wardrobe. They also can change the look of the same outfit very easily and affordably. “I always try to spice things up,” Kanakaris says. “I always want [customers] to come out of their norm and help women try something that’s out of the ordinary for them.”

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OPEN Weekends

While some people like to stay in their safe zones and others like to venture out and try new styles, every style choice can reflect your personality. “Whether it’s bold or simple, find things that fit well and make you feel confident,” Conte says. “Trends are great, but they’re not for everyone. Purchase timeless pieces that last.”

If you go NIALA CONTE 207 S. 3 St., Ste. 200, Geneva 630-845-9500 IVY LOVE BOUTIQUE 123 W. State St., Geneva 630-309-1575

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101 Hair stylists, makeup artists share industry insights By ALLISON HORNE

From foundation and concealer to eyeliner and mascara, makeup has the power to transform a face from tired and drab to flawless and stunning.

Makeup may be a great cover-up, but it’s only part of the process – keeping skin healthy underneath the makeup is key to completing your look. Drinking water will hydrate your face While there are many different eyeshadow, and skin, which is important. Regular facials help eyeliner and lip trends, the shape of your to remove dead skin while keeping your face features is what really matters. fresh and healthy. And don’t forget about those “You can’t do the same eyeliner technique and lips – they should also be regularly exfoliated, color on every shape of eye,” Jenkins says, noting scrubbed and moisturized. Hair is something that she personally has smaller eyes, so she While women have their own techniques and that also is overlooked. avoids using dark colors. “If you have smaller routines for applying makeup on a daily basis, “Hair is an essential part of your style, and several local beauty experts are sharing industry eyes, you should really use a beige or nude liner.” the first thing people see,” says John Gialluisi, insights to perfect the process. The same goes for mascara and eyebrow colors. creative director of Mario Tricoci salon and spa. Those with lighter colored skin should use black/ Most routines start with foundation, which But every head of hair is different and brown or brown for mascara and try to match is the base for the entire makeup application should be treated that way. Aside from eyebrow colors to their hair. process. Nini Jenkins, a freelance makeup artist different shampoos catering to based in St. Charles, emphasizes the importance “Don’t just follow the trends,” Santucci adds. various types of hairstyles, there of matching the color to your skin tone. She “Trends have to fit your fashion personality and are also products that help to recommends picking out a color based on your be age appropriate.” accentuate your kind of hair. chest color, which usually ends up being the While makeup is great during the day, one of the “If your hair is coarse or wavy, you color that blends the best with your skin. For biggest tips of all is putting in the effort to take want to stay away from alcohol, as it those looking for a sun kissed or darker color, it off at night. will dry out hair,” Gialluisi says. bronzer will provide that darker tone but with a “Please do not sleep with makeup on,” Jenkins more natural look. He recommends using cream base says. “It doesn’t matter how tired you are or how products, such as shea butter and argan “At the end of my makeup, I lightly brush on much you’ve partied. If you keep your makeup on and karinga oil for coarse hair. a soft, shimmery powder in the middle of at night it ages you faster. You need to clean and the forehead, upper cheekbones and chin,” “It’s best to use plant-based products hydrate your skin.” adds Cheryl Santucci, director of beauty and for dry hair,” he adds. “For medium aesthetics at Mario Tricoci, which has a location If you do happen to have a rough or late night, to light textures, you should use in Geneva. “It’s a total face brightener and makes don’t worry about those dark circles under your powders for volume and grip.” eyes. Jenkins says that salmon- and orangemakeup look fresh all day.” For anyone looking for a fun and easy tinted concealer will cancel out those dark blue While foundation and powder can accentuate style when they wake up in the morning, and purple bags, while peachy toned concealer features, Jenkins also warns about using too Gialluisi recommends putting blown-out hair works better for those with light and fair skin. much makeup. into a topknot or low bun before bed. It creates 10 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“It’s very important to have skin that looks like skin,” she says. “Don’t cake on the foundation; less is more.”


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a ton of body when it is taken out in the morning, and the low bun stretches out the curl. For more beachy waves, he recommends putting wet hair in braids and removing when dry. Your hair and makeup should be a representation of yourself and the style you want to portray.

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“Makeup should be fun and the wearer should find her own style,” Santucci says. “Do anything that is your personality. Have fun with it.”

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MASTERING THEBeauty ARTtips,OFtricks AGING to turn back time By ALLISON HORNE

It’s happening right now as you read this – you’re getting older. While it is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be noticeable, and there are plenty of tips and tricks to ease into aging and keep looking like the best version of yourself possible. “Nutrition and physical activity are the power twins,” says Laura Barr, nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension in St. Charles. “Healthy eating and exercise are important to everybody, but, as we age, we have to really work at it.” Food is one of the simplest ways to keep your body healthy as you age. Lean proteins (eggs and beans), Omega-3 fatty acids (fish), and fiberheavy foods (fruits and vegetables) are key in keeping all parts of the body healthy. “Eating healthy is for everyone, but it becomes more and more important as we get older,” Barr says. “Your parts are wearing down, and you have to be more proactive as you age.”


A helpful resource for those trying to keep track of their food intake is the USDA’s online MyPlate feature, which helps manage meals and provides practical nutrition information for free. To ease into healthy eating and incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet, Barr recommends making them easily accessible both in the home and on the run. “If you like carrots or celery, have them cut up and have a yogurt dip or hummus handy,” Barr says. “Have attractive fruit on the counter so when you say, ‘oh I’m hungry,’ you’ll grab that.” She adds that the car is another perfect place to stash some nuts or fruit to avoid stopping at a gas station or fast food restaurants while out and about. Another part of keeping the body healthy and looking great is exercise. Barr says at least 150 minutes a week of exercise is ideal, which could be as little as 30 minutes per day in 10-minute increments. STYLE

“As we get older and activity levels decline, it’s important to find an activity you really like,” Barr says. “It could be walking or swimming, and you can put it in the calendar like you would any other event.” Drinking water is another huge part of keeping skin looking youthful and supple while also keeping all of the internal organs functioning properly. “Drinking water helps with skin and hair,” says John Gialluisi, creative director for Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas, which has a location in Geneva. “Staying hydrated on the inside keeps you looking good on the outside.” Gialluisi notes that hair also needs some maintenance to be healthy and youthful, and Mario Tricoci has a new service arriving in its salons in May, called “Rejuvenate,” which helps keep hair “young and fresh.” “Without water, everything kind of dries out, including your skin and cells,” Barr says. “Being hydrated is very important for internal organ function,

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“Hydration is really the No. 1,� says Nini Jenkins, a makeup artist based in St. Charles, but who has clients all over the Chicago suburbs. “Hydration and eating healthy – whatever you eat really shows on your face.�

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Jenkins says facials are an easy additional way to help keep the skin moisturized, and eye cream also helps to reduce fine lines. “As we age, we lose moisture, and it makes skin look very dull and dry,� Jenkins adds. “Facials help remove dead skin and help to prevent developing fine lines. It’s very important to get facials.� While it’s impossible to prevent aging, it’s possible to slow down the process and ease into it by eating healthy, exercising and keeping your body hydrated.

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Body art

Photos by Samm Swanson

Once taboo, tattoos continue to become more mainstream

many others are arriving at tattoo parlors with much more ambitious or grandiose plans – or at least a mental outline of a grand idea.

By JONATHAN BILYK Brian Pinto doesn’t need to look far to find proof of the indelible mark body art is leaving on modern American society.

On one hand, Pinto, who has worked as a tattoo artist for six years, notes the ever-growing popularity of body art not only among young For starters, Pinto, a tattoo artist at Sink or Swim adults, but increasingly among those in midlife, as well. This has spurred new investment Tattoos in St. Charles, could just point to the number of people – and particularly, the growing in technology, resulting in ever-expanding number of adults ages 18 to 40 – who are lining capabilities for tattoo artists. up to get inked. While the numbers of Americans Pigment producers continue to expand their sporting tattoos has proven a bit hard to pin offerings, enhancing the color palette available down, a recent report from the Pew Research to artists, while the makers of tattoo machines Center estimated at least four in 10 Americans continue to roll out new etching devices and born after 1980 have at least one tattoo. needles that “make our job easier and easier every day,” he says. Pinto has his own observations. Dozens of

“People are demanding more originality,” Pinto says. “And they want artists, like me, to help them realize it – to move it from their mind to paper, and then to skin. And I love it.” Pinto says that he has sketched intricate designs from an early age, inspired both by the wiring and circuitry diagrams his father would draw as an electronics technician and by graffiti art his older brother would create. It’s why every tattoo he creates “begins with a blueprint,” he says. It starts on paper or a screen, and then is traced on the client’s body before the artistic flourishes are added.

people brave even snowy winter weather to visit his tattoo shop, which is tucked away in a strip mall off of Route 38 (just east of Randall Road).

“We’re much less focused on tools now, so we can be much more art-focused,” says Pinto. “It’s really liberating for artists like us.”

“We’ve closed early because of snow, and we’ve still gotten calls from people saying, ‘Hey, where are you? I want to get a tattoo,’” Pinto says with a laugh.

But with the increased technological capabilities, Pinto says that customers and others often ask Pinto says customers are also demanding more him to name his favorite tattoo. of their tattoo artists. “I usually say something like, ‘The one I’m While many people, particularly those getting working on right now,’” Pinto says. “Because, their first tattoo, continue to ask for the seriously, for me, I love creating something new ubiquitous infinity symbols, crosses and little all the time.” pieces of text on various parts of their body,

But the biggest indicator of tattoo art’s ascendancy, says Pinto, is the growing sophistication. 14 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


“It’s a composition,” he says. “At the end, every tattoo should be something both my client and I are happy with.”

But Pinto notes that he retains a particular affinity for a design featuring a Japanese koi fish leaping out of a pool surrounded by flooring that he created for “an older client.” “He took great care of it, and it looks like it was just done,” Pinto says. “It’s just fantastic.” Customers, however, are not just seeking better artistry, but also increased “customer service.” This is reflected in the growing interest in tattoo industry standards, such as those promulgated by the National Environmental Health Association, and in research into the health implications of tattoos.


The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, issued a report in 2017. It indicated that their research demonstrates the risk of complications from tattoos inked in reputable shops to be “likely low.” The report, however, still encouraged all those interested in tattoos to take their time, educate themselves, both on the tattooing process and the artist and shop, well before allowing a needle to pump ink into their skin. Pinto says that he couldn’t agree more, whether for health or ultimate satisfaction. “Do your research,” he says, encouraging prospective clients to find a reputable shop that insists on proper sanitation. It’s also important to find an artist who “specializes in the style you want,” and with whom you get along. Then, let the artist help guide you through the process – which, Pinto says, could include counseling against a particular design, style or bodily location. “I’ve got tattoos on my own body from my younger years I can point to and say, ‘Don’t do this,” Pinto says. “People will travel 10 miles to a restaurant that’s got good food and great service for a dinner. We’re talking about art that’s going to be on your body for the rest of your life. Find an artist you click with, and have a great time creating something together.”

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A STITCH IN From the Art Institute to New York Fashion Week, designer Cynthia Ashby looks back on how making clothes became a career By KEVIN DRULEY Fashion designer Cynthia Ashby recently traveled to New York as part of its annual fashion week extravaganza, but she truly finds herself at home in a quainter setting. A resident of Sharon, Wis. – population roughly 1,600 – Ashby operates her clothing line from the Starline Factory in Harvard and sells her designs locally at Geneva artisan boutique Artemisia (among other locations). Ashby describes herself as a “self-taught designer” who studied performance art at the Art Institute of Chicago before transitioning to fashion. Kane County Magazine writer Kevin Druley got a chance to chat with the fashion designer about her industry background and inspiration. Photos provided 16 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


TIME The following interview is an edited transcript: KEVIN DRULEY: What does your New York experience entail?

CYNTHIA ASHBY: Well – what we do – we’re not [doing] what you’re picturing when you see the runway shows. There’s trade shows that happen during that time, so we’re basically in a big loft – and we’re set up – and then the buyers come around and they look at the line and write their orders. So, that’s what I’m doing when I go there. DRULEY: How did you get started in this profession? ASHBY: I started making clothes as a means of just supporting myself. And so, basically, I would just buy vintage fabrics, and I would make oneof-a-kind garments, and I had some boutiques in Chicago that I would sell them to. And that’s how I started my brand, basically. It just evolved from there … into an actual collection – actual brand. DRULEY: What has allowed you to remain successful? ASHBY: Doing it for so long is how I’ve learned and how it’s evolved. And one of the ways that I’ve managed to stay relevant is just to constantly be reacting to how the business is changing, and it changes very quickly a lot.

… I’m a very hands-on designer. I do all my patternmaking, and I do a lot of my samples, meaning actually sew them together. I also have, obviously, a team that helps with everything, but I’m very involved in the process. And that has been, I guess, the key to just being successful and managing to stay in the business. DRULEY: How would you describe the look of your line? ASHBY: Basically, my look, it’s a very comfortable, urban look. The fabrics I use are very soft. We garment dye most of my collections, so it has that soft and garment-washed look – a lot of textures. So, I’ll use a lot of fabrics that have a lot of textures woven into them, and my dye process will bring out those textures. My shapes are very easy to wear and very relaxed. … My look has been very, kind of, consistent throughout the years. Obviously, it’s changed as fashion changes, but it’s always based on this very soft feel of the fabrics. I’m always inspired by my fabrics and the processes that we do. Sometimes we’ll do a pigment dye painting on the garments or different techniques where we can add a graphic or a pattern to the fabrics. A lot of that is done on the surface after the garment is made, so it has a more edgier feel to it.


For more information about Cynthia Ashby or her designs, visit


Chic Style

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tylist Tom Stuart has been crafting stylish looks and trendy trims since he was a teen working out of his parents’ basement. The passion and love for the art of great styles continues to inspire Stuart as he leads his staff at My Salon, located in Geneva’s downtown business district. At My Salon, clients will find an upscale and chic salon, affordably priced for the entire family. Clients can turn to My Salon for special occasion and bridal party services, or usual trims, styles, perms and coloring, too. At My Salon, customers range in age from 2-97. Stuart opened My Salon 14 years ago in St. Charles. He built a successful salon, and a great business opportunity brought him to Geneva, where he previously worked for a number of years. A strong staff is one of the keys to success, Stuart says, adding that two stylists have been with him since he opened his first salon in St. Charles. The staff at My Salon stays in step with the latest trends and products through training and education programs. And at My Salon, clients will find quality products such as IGK, Moroccanoil, Redken and Pureology. While there’s always time for a trim, Stuart says his favorite part is when his clients put their hair in his hands for a new look. Stuart says he loves setting new trends with hairstyles. Stuart says this spring expect to see more hair colors,

By Melissa Riske Photos by Missy Donovan

but he thinks the trends will be pastel colors with soft versions of blues, grays and pinks. Stuart was just 10 when he began cutting hair. Stuart says he took the scissors and clippers in his own hands and under his dad’s supervision, crafted the stylish “skater” look he wanted. A few years later a classmate requested a haircut, and soon he was taking requests to clip classmates’ hair. And that first friend who asked for a haircut in junior high school is still Stuart’s client, almost 30 years later. In high school, Stuart says his principal and his father encouraged his dreams of becoming a hairstylist. They guided him to think beyond the scissors and mirrors to create a solid business plan, and to start saving for his goal of running his own salon. Stuart says he loves what he does and the passion that he felt as a young kid clipping hair in his parents’ basement remains with him today. He settles into his favorite spot, behind the chair, chatting with clients and delighting in their happy smiles as he tends to their curls, brightens their look with colors, and sets his own trends.


630-513-6400 22 N. Third St., Geneva Closed Sunday, Monday Call for appointments, walk-ins accepted.





ON DISPLAY Water Street Studios opened its doors to Kane County Magazine in late February to showcase spring fashions by three local boutiques. Diane Levesque may have been the exhibiting artist that day, but her work wasn’t the only art on display at the Batavia gallery. From floral prints and embellished denim to statement necklaces and mirror sunglasses, Jori and June, Evernia and Jeans and a Cute Top Shop captured this season’s trends.



JORI AND JUNE 25 S. 3rd St., Geneva 630-457-5505 ARTWORK (from left to right): “A Chronology of Solitude” “Pluck from the Memory a Rooted Sorrow” “Cruel Mouth” By artist Diane Levesque |




 JORI AND JUNE 25 S. 3rd St., Geneva 630-457-5505





EVERNIA 219 W. State St., Geneva 630-457-5445 ARTWORK: “Knights Errant: Dreams of the Lonely Man” By artist Diane Levesque |




Season Opening!

Satt May S M 5th – Illinois Day Sat May 12th – Scout Day D ay Sun May 13th – Mother’s Day May 26th, 27th, & 28th Memorial Day Weekend

Go to for timetable and admission info.

7000 Olson Road • Union IL 60180 • 800-BIG-RAIL or 815-923-4000 STYLE


JEANS AND A CUTE TOP SHOP 161 S. 1st St., St. Charles 630-444-0999 ARTWORK: (on left) “Knights Errant: Dreams of the Lonely Man” (on right) “Pluck from the Memory a Rooted Sorrow” By artist Diane Levesque |

Elegance with an



      boutique offering stylish clothes that are comfortable, versatile,   

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BEAUTY  FALMOUTH ROAD 226 S. THIRD ST. | GENEVA 630-457-5606 | WWW.FALMOUTHROADJEWELRY.COM Falmouth Road carries a wide array of jewelry and accessories handcrafted by artisans from across the country and around the world. From handbags for girls’ night to the perfect gift for family and friends, there’s something for everyone. The boutique’s featured designers include Anna Beck, Taylor Kenney, Philippa Roberts and more. Follow Falmouth Road on Facebook at @FalmouthRoadJewelry and Instagram at FalmouthRoad to stay on top of special events.

 SPECIAL OCCASIONS ON THE AVENUE 2 N. BATAVIA AVE. | BATAVIA | 630-406-1515 WWW.SPECIALOCCASIONSONTHEAVENUE.COM Special Occasions on the Avenue has everything one might need to make any event a special occasion. The shop offers a wide selection of all of the latest prom and homecoming dresses, as well as long and short cocktail style dresses. The final details of a look can make all of the difference. Stop by the store to check out the newest selection of beautiful necklaces, trendy back necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Special Occasions now offers tuxedo rentals, too. The friendly staff can help customers with all of the details of a special event, from dresses and formal wear to accessories.

 PIXIES ON MAIN 227 S. THIRD ST. | SUITE 101 IN THE BERRY HOUSE | GENEVA 630-457-5587 Pixies on Main is an eclectic boutique located in the historical storefront of the Berry House in Downtown Geneva. Pixies originated in Sandwich, Illinois, in 2014 and relocated to the well-known shopping destination of Third Street in Geneva in July last year. The boutique is filled with fashion accessories, gifts, furniture, home and garden décor, and more. The shop continues to transform and improve its selection to meet the needs of customers. Pixies loves to seek and find the latest trends, especially in fashion and accessories. The shop also hosts private shopping parties perfect for girls’ night. The staff members love their new location and they think the customers will too. 26 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE



Sharon Schmidt finds creative ways to make Cultural Connections By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY


haron Schmidt says she imagines the cultural arts as a “delicate silver thread” that unites people and ideologies. In her latest endeavor, Cultural Connection, she has carved out a niche role bringing together artists and creative venues around the Fox Valley to showcase art. From a garden nursery to a theater in downtown St. Charles, she has helped establish galleries, highlight the arts and bring people closer to the arts as they go about their daily lives. “Cultural Connection is an innovative platform allowing me to search out unconventional situations that would be enriched with art,” Schmidt says. She helped establish galleries at Wasco Nursery, Greenfields of Geneva and Steel Beam Theatre; and, one of her latest venues is 116 Gallery, inside the Aveda Mixology Salon in St. Charles. And her work is causing people to take notice, as with each gallery reception and showing, she enjoys hearing from fellow art patrons and clients who travel from Chicago and beyond to the Fox Valley to dine, shop and view the latest installations. International performance installation Artist Lucy Slivinski will create a light and reusable material piece called “Re-Purposed Material Sculpture Wall” at 116 Gallery from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21. The event coincides with the Fox Valley Arts Ramble, a new event taking place this month when visitors will be able to see art work in five different communities located along the Fox River, from Aurora to Elgin. Long-time friends Robert and Manya Prahl

of St. Charles say they can’t help but admire how hard Schmidt works and all of the time and dedication she puts into each show, from selecting an artist to setting up venues. “She’s just an inspirational person and an inspirational friend,” Manya Prahl says. “I know she puts her heart and soul into every one of the exhibits. She is such an influence in our area.” Growing up, Schmidt says she always loved art and enjoyed experimenting with colors, designs and patterns through self-expression. After graduating from Ohio University she worked as a freelance artist and illustrator. Then she and a friend launched their own advertising agency. Schmidt handled the artwork, designing ads and often creating illustrations for the ads. Schmidt’s love of the arts has gone from her own work as an artist to serving as director of a gallery focusing on corporate art acquisitions. Each career advancement has built upon her skills, experience and developing professionalism in the arts. Even art that may seem unconventional has a way of grabbing Schmidt’s attention. She appreciates art in many different styles and forms. “I embrace it,” Schmidt says. “It’s compelling, exciting and so open to interpretation.” Schmidt has dedicated herself to the arts through volunteerism, too. She has served on the boards of Dellora A. Norris Cultural Arts Center, the Fox Valley Community Association for the Art Institute of Chicago and the Wayne Art League, to name a few.


And among her career highlights was her involvement in the implementation of the Julian Alden Weir National Park in Connecticut. She was honored to be a part of establishing a National Park Historic Site devoted to a visual artist. In many ways, it represents another moment when Schmidt has dedicated her time to making the arts more accessible. “Art elevates our life,” she says.


Cat and the Fox: WHAT IS THIS


It’s pretty common for a woman living in Kane County to be invited to a “Cabi” Party. Cabi markets itself as an alternative to traditional brickand-mortar clothes shopping. With Cabi, a stylist brings the latest clothing line to your home and he or she assists you (and a group of guests) in styling seasonal looks. Party attendees place their orders with the stylist and the clothes are shipped to their homes. Until recently, I thought the Cabi movement was just a trend. However, there is a woman who works at my office in Geneva that is dressed perfectly every day. I was always asking her “Where did you buy that?” or “That is precious – where’s it from?” and she’d respond “Cabi.” I became intrigued. So, one day over coffee, I asked my stylish officemate, Julie Hipp, about Cabi. She told me that in addition to her job at our office (a child advocacy organization), she works as a “Cabi Stylist.” She operates out of her home and partners with other women to host private parties to help women shop in For more a way that makes them look and – information about most importantly – feel good. the collection, visit juliehipp.cabionline. I never realized that Cabi stylists com or email Julie Hipp were small business owners directly at hipp.julie@ creating “pop up” boutiques right here in Kane County. Before our lattes were finished, I agreed to host a Cabi party with Julie at my home in St. Charles. The party was a huge success. Cabi stylist Julie Hipp Photo provided


On the day of the event, Julie arrived early to set up shop. Before I knew it, my living room was transformed into a hip boutique. The clothing line was beautiful and the presentation professional and fun. All of my guests had a blast sipping


champagne, snacking on appetizers, and trying on clothes. And Julie swiftly processed everyone’s order using an iPad. Within two weeks, the clothes arrived. When it comes to fashion, I consider myself particular. But the fit of every piece I ordered is true to size and perfect for my body shape, and I am very impressed by the quality of the clothes. I have worn them to work, church, on date night and while running around with the kids. The clothing washes beautifully and has maintained its color and shape. As a hard-working mom of three, there really is nothing more that I could ask for. The best part about Cabi is that by supporting a local stylist, like Julie, you also support women in developing countries who are trying to start their own businesses. Julie shared with me that Cabi is a company founded by women and infused with a passion for empowering women around the globe. When Julie became a stylist, Cabi sponsored a microloan to help a woman from the Philippines begin her business, she says. Cabi has provided more than $50 million dollars to women in need, and I am proud to partner with such an incredible mission, she says. This is one trend I hope sticks around, and I am already working with Julie to plan the next Cabi party.  Cat Battista is a wife and mother of three children. She celebrates faith, family and friendship in the Fox Valley, and writes about food, DIY, entertaining, home decor and style. Follow her on Instagram @FaithFamilyFete or visit


‘Dad style’ clothing is now cool, JUST NOT ON ACTUAL DADS By JONATHAN BILYK

It had been a long time coming.

articles proclaiming it as “Dad Style.”

But my interest was finally sparked by an article that I read by the light of a smartphone. I can’t remember the publication anymore, but the author had promised – Promised! – the one word at the heart of his treatise would improve my life: Declutter. At first, the notion had generated little but a muffled snort of derision. But the next morning, upon opening the closet door, the need could no longer be denied amid the inaudible, yet deafening snorts of derision echoing back at me from the 20-year-old fashion statements hanging far in the back, buried in what appeared to be the mists of time. The oversized bomber jacket; the vertical striped casual shirts; white, chunky athletic shoes; the light-colored stonewashed-denim-everything – all reminding me of a 30-inch waistline and windblown hair, back in the days before articles on smartphones or the term “declutter.” In that moment, the decision was made. After all, I rationalized, I had never intended to keep all of that stuff (rationalization is a powerful force.) No, it was the fault of our firstborn. When she came along, the nesting instinct obviously kicked in, and, well, we just kept nesting (obviously). With the freedom and clear head that follows deflected blame, within days, the work was complete. Everything in the closet not worn in the last three years was gone – stuffed into bags and given to the nice folks at the Salvation Army. Since then, I believe that someone (with a 30-inch waist, wavy hair, maybe round-frame glasses) who smelled like teen spirit and could quote Fresh Prince lines like they would never go out of style, is rocking the wares of my former self. And for some time, I conceded, the article by that writer was correct: Decluttering brought nirvana one step closer.

Then, this kid walked in the door.

However, for those of us with near-teenage kids, who – thanks to decluttering, thickened waistlines and the fashion-shopping budget constraints imposed by the aforementioned “near-teenage kids” – cannot partake in this renaissance of our youth, there may yet still be a measure of solace. For, in a few years, when those kids actually do enter their teen years, there may yet be clearance racks at Target, Kohl’s and other fine, dadfriendly retail outlets at least two years behind the trends, and loaded with unwanted knock-offs of our youth, offering us the opportunity to again clutter our closets and our wardrobes with the clothing styles we all once loved – and owned before deciding to declutter.

I had never met him before, and still don’t know who he was. But his sudden appearance at the restaurant stirred some neon-clad memories, as my mind raced. And I have no idea how long I sat there, staring like a high schooler waiting on dial- But, this time, the snorts of derision will only come from the embarrassed children entering up AOL, when I realized this young man looked like he could have walked right off the set of the their teen years. TV show “Saved by the Bell.” The amazing sightings only continued. There, a pair of high-top Nikes. And there, high-waisted, loose fitting, light-colored denim. Polos. Ballcaps with curved brims. And there, denim on denim on denim on denim – and none of it worn “ironically.” When Bruno Mars popped up on my TV screen, dancing on a mock-up of the set of “In Living Color,” complete with white, chunky sneakers, it was official: The ’90s were back. And while the knowledge that fashion is cyclical can seem reassuring, it certainly isn’t helped by reading FAMILY in FOCUS

 Jonathan Bilyk writes about the triumphs and travails of being a modern-day dad who legitimately enjoys time with his family, while tolerating a dog that seems to adore him. He also doesn’t really like the moniker “Superdad” because it makes it sound like he wants to wear his undergarments on the outside of his pants. (Also, the cape remains on back order.) KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | APRIL 2018 | 29


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WINTER 2010 E. Main St, St Charles, IL 60174 630-377-6288

SEASONAL DÉCOR TO ADORE Spring trends lean toward jewel tones, natural materials and colorful kitchens By KELSEY O’CONNOR If spring cleaning is already on your agenda this month, why not spruce up your home’s decor while you’re at it?

In the spring, clients tend to gravitate toward bringing new life to the most social areas in their homes, such as living rooms and kitchens.

And now would be a good time to cultivate a green thumb. Plants are a natural fit for a springtime home refresh.

Springtime, often thought of as a period of renewal and change, presents the perfect opportunity to refresh the interior (and exterior) of your home, whether it’s a major remodel or simply switching up its accent pieces.

“Spring is a natural time for people to be nesting, and it’s natural to start thinking about entertaining and engaging socially,” says Schulman, who owns Paul Schulman interior design in Chicago. “At this point in the year, we’re thinking about entertaining, and our public spaces are first to get that focus.”

“We like to use lots of living plants, such as succulents and air plants, which you see everywhere right now” says Koertge. In particular, searches for “patterned plants” are up 533 percent on Pinterest this year, according to Elle Decor.

“I think it’s impossible, if you live in the north, not to feel a sense of weightlessness as the winter breaks and we’re able to engage outside again,” says interior designer Paul Schulman. “This thinking makes people reflective and often leads to thinking about their home projects that were dormant all winter.”

And just as the seasons change, interior design trends change, as well. This year, think light and natural when it comes to your home’s decor and furniture.

When it comes to color, don’t be afraid to go bold. Pantone’s color of the year is ultra violet, and these types of deep, saturated hues will be huge this spring and throughout 2018. If that sounds too far outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to embrace a slightly toned down palette. More subdued colors still can be on trend for spring.

“We’ve been seeing a great trend toward natural materials,” says Schulman. “Nubby, rich textiles are especially huge now, and mixing those with lighter, airier colors. I think this actually may be a “We’re still in a place where lighter colors, counterpoint to the technology that seems to be whites and off-whites are very popular,” says taking over our lives.” Schulman. “Right now, we’re also seeing a trend toward a pastel palette, blush and skin tones Natural accents, such as wood, concrete and leather, also will be huge, according to with dulled down and lighter gem-tones colors. I love using these colors as accents.” Country Living magazine. Debra Koertge, owner of Artemisia in Geneva, says this organic aesthetic is popular with customers at her store. “We definitely like to bring the outside in,” she says. “We like to decorate with natural elements, like different trees, wood products and natural fibers. It could be a beautiful old piece of driftwood that’s mounted on a stand or a piece of moss wall art.”


But you may want to step away from the white paint if you’re planning a kitchen refresh. Allwhite and monochromatic kitchens, which have been popular on Pinterest and HGTV the past few years, might be on their way out. Designers say that dark countertops, colorful cabinets and high contrast marble will be must-haves in 2018, says Elle. When it comes to picking out pieces for their home, people are becoming more conscious

The Right Choice, Right in Your Neighborhood. Proudly Serving the Tri-Cities Area Since 1985.

of where these products come from. The newest generation of homeowners in particular, notes Koertge, are more willing to seek out responsibly-made pieces. “I’m starting to see more people care about these things,” Koertge says. “What sets us apart from a lot of the other stores is that we’re artisan-based. We’re more interested in who made it and did they make a fair wage making it.” This socially-conscious trend will continue into 2018, and for years to come, predicts Koertge. And while these artisan pieces can be more expensive, it seems like customers are becoming less likely to bargain hunt at department stores and more open to spending a little more for quality pieces. “Why buy that cheap piece of furniture and it’s sitting out in a garage sale in five years?” says Koertge. “Invest in quality. If you buy a good, traditional piece that’s made by an artist or master craftsman, you’re going to have that piece for the rest of your life.”


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Décor more at Little Red Barn Door

By Melissa Rubalcaba Riske | Photos by Missy Donovan

Customers at Little Red Barn Door will find a treasure trove of home décor, custom furniture, and items created from architectural salvage. With each visit, there is something new, sure to spark customers’ interests. Tony and Sylvia Torres opened the business after the success of their décor business took off online, and they decided to create a retail space for customers. With a storefront, Tony and Sylvia found an opportunity to bring in larger, heavier items including custom furniture. This spring, they plan to bring in custom vintage pieces from Legna Iron Works, Inc., a local steel company with family ties to the owners. At Little Red Barn Door, customers will also find the shelves stocked with merchandise created by local artists and small businesses. The name Little Red Barn Door comes from a door that Sylvia found while at a market. She saw the door and immediately fell in love with it. With that door came a proverbial door to a new business, as they launched into a home décor and design business. But Sylvia Torres isn’t a novice when it comes to being an entrepreneur. After graduating from Northern Illinois University she took a job at Legna Iron Works, Inc., her family’s steel business, where she honed her skills in accounting, human resources, and marketing. But her heart and passion is in home décor. She is always searching for unique pieces to bring to her customers. She and Tony work with local artists

and businesses to bring in an eclectic mix of new and vintage items to stock the store. Customers will find items from the latest trends, such as wooden wall signs and cute throw pillows, to more unique pieces such as a custom arch to adorn a fireplace mantle. Though the space is small, inventory stays fresh and there is always something new to see. Customers can find the perfect hostess gift, housewarming present, as well as home décor perfect for a couple about to say, “I do.” The move from an online business to retail space on the second floor of the Berry House means Sylvia can spend more time talking with customers, to learn their interests and help them make selections. On a recent visit, a customer came in to purchase a church pew from Congregational Church of Batavia. The customer’s parents were married in the church, and she wanted the pew as a unique furnishing for her home. The first year has been busy for Little Red Barn Door, and the Torres’ have enjoyed immersing themselves in the bustle on Third Street. Stop in and see what’s in store, behind the Little Red Barn Door. F LITTLE RED BARN DOOR (630) 402-0072 227 S. Third Street, Suite 205, Geneva Open Tues. and Wed., Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Closed Monday

Timeless Artistry,

Photos provided



From its start as a small tile and marble company in the 1980s Marble & Granite Tech, Inc. of Barrington has grown into a full service fabrication shop and includes custom cabinetry for homeowners, businesses, and large-scale construction projects. Marble & Granite Tech provides stone products such as granite, marble, quartzite, onyx, slate, travertine, limestone, soapstone, and many brands of quartz. Clients can visit the Marble & Granite Tech showroom and warehouse in Barrington to personally select their pieces for any number of projects, from kitchens, bars, vanities, showers, tubs, reception desks and tables, fire pits or any creative, custom piece. At Marble & Granite Tech the staff has the experience, passion, and talent to help a customer bring a vision into reality. Understanding the industry, the staff truly enjoys working with clients to create a space that is practical, functional, durable, as well as beautiful. Inside the old brick warehouse, clients can visit the large showroom and the top-of-the-line fabrication showroom, as well as the selection of slabs and remnants. Everything is housed in a single location. And, Marble & Granite Tech staff can handle a project from start to finish. From the client’s first inquiry to al in-home measurements, Marble & Granite the digital Tech is there to help. Clients can select their product tha thatt will be created at the Barrington fabrication shop and inst alled by Marble & Granite Tech staff. installed Using Marble & Granite Gr Tech’s Vein Match capability, clientss can see a digit digital match of their countertops ore cutting. This visual image allows the clients to before see how the vveins eins in the slabs will match up at seams, corners, and the backsplash. This gives the client an activ ole in seeing what wha to accent and avoid. active role This technology is available to all clients at no extra charge. The look of stone is classic and timeless, yet the staff at Marble & Granite Tech understands it is important

to understand the latest trends and products to answer the clients’ needs. As times changes, so do the products. Whether the clients want marble, granite, quartz or quartzite, Marble & Granite Tech has the answer to each project, from individual homeowners to large-scale projects for hotels and businesses. And Marble & Granite Tech continues to evolve, utilizing cutting-edge technology. Owner Tom Gust grew Marble & Granite Tech from a small shop into the successful business it is today. He continues to select staff who are passionate and talented in their work and able to take a client’s vision and build it. It takes artistry and product know-how to successfully take an idea and make it a reality. Whether it’s an individual homeowner’s remodel and design, or large-scale project, the Marble & Granite Tech staff strive to offer the very best to each project. MARBLE & GRANITE TECH, INC. 847-382-1120 1749 S. Randall Road, Ste. B, Geneva Open Monday- Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. 847-382-1120 817 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington Open Monday- Friday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

CLOSET CLAUSTROPHOBIA! Take control of your chaotic wardrobe By AIMEE BARROWS


Spring is here and with warmer weather right around the corner, it’s time to put away the winter coats and boots, and dig out your sandals and sundresses. For many people, cleaning out the closet can be a daunting task, especially if it’s been a while since you last did so and everything you own is strewn about. For motivation, just imagine what it would feel like to have a clean, organized closet. Imagine the sense of peace and accomplishment you would experience, as well as the instant alleviation of stress. Did that do it for you? OK; then let’s get started!

often keep things that don’t fit or things that have memories attached even if we don’t wear them. You need to ask yourself if it’s something you love, is it something you want to keep forever and is it useful. If not, donate it to someone who will use it. The point is to keep only things you truly appreciate and that you’ll use.” Patrick says one trick to help you realize what you’re actually wearing is to face all hangers one way and, for the next six months, every time you wear something, return it to the closet facing the opposite way. Using the same color for all of your hangers is also a great way to make the closet more visually appealing. She also recommends using dividers, which are like mini shelves that can hold shoes or other items under hanging clothes. And for those old concert or race T-shirts, making them into a blanket or quilt is a great way to de-clutter while preserving the memories attached to them.

The first step in cleaning out your closet is to carefully go through each item and determine if it’s something you currently wear or if it’s just taking up space. Lynn Patrick, professional organizer and St. Charles resident, recommends using three garbage bags when organizing: one for donations, one for damaged or stained items you’re throwing away and Of course, cubbies and plastic bins are must-haves when organizing your closet because they can be one for items you’re keeping. She says that most easily labeled and are great for keeping like-items people only wear about 20 tops a season. together. Bobbi Alderfer, lead designer of Lifestyle “You’ll be surprised at how few of your clothes you Design in Geneva, says that she often includes pullactually wear. For every new piece that goes in the out hampers that are built into closets or bathrooms closet, another should come out,” she says. “We HOME & LIFESTYLE

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to help keep clothing clutter at bay. “Those are great space-savers, and part of what makes our closets so messy is all the clothes on the floor,” she says. “Another good tip is to keep like items together and then organize by color, so you know exactly where to go when picking out your clothes. People can get very anxious when their living space is unorganized. When you feel organized, it affects your confidence level and makes you feel better.”


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But if you’re feeling too overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your closet, it might be time to call a professional organizer. “We’re all so busy and it’s not that we’re incapable [of organizing], but we’d rather spend our time doing other things. I can help free up some time,” Patrick says. “I work with clients and teach them a skill so they can do it on their own. The most fulfilling part for me is making someone’s life easier. If I can make your day less stressful, then it’s a win for me.”


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‘GOING NATIVE’ Bring nature home to help sustain wildlife with MEAGAN PROVENCHER


ative plants are the topic of many blogs, in magazine and newspaper articles, and at garden shows and seminars. So, why is everyone talking about natives? Because natives make sense. Native plants “grew up” in Illinois. From the soil to the weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate the conditions; they seem to thrive in them. And, most of all, “native plants” don’t mean “weeds.” Native plants are easily incorporated into the landscape – you may even have some already and didn’t even know it. Since native plants enjoy the local climate and soils, they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens


without help from humans. This means that you, the gardener, doesn’t have to spray them with chemicals.

42 percent of that land is in agriculture, and an additional roughly 54 percent of that land is urban and suburban development. Backyard Another benefit is that native critters, butterflies, gardens have never been more powerful or more birds and bees recognize them as a food source. necessary than they are today. Any contribution to a healthy ecosystem, no matter how small you You might be thinking, “Ahhh ... I don’t want think it may be, benefits you and those around critters eating my new plants.” Well, yes you you. do! You see, once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from native critters with A healthy insect populations means a healthier no problem. For example, Swamp Milkweed food chain. Insects are kind of at the bottom (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by of the natural food pyramid. Many animals monarch caterpillars – and that’s OK! The plant is depend on insect protein for food. When no worse for wear. insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, What does any of this have to do with you and reptiles and mammals. Healthy plant and animal your yard? Your yard is an ecosystem. About populations mean that there is a healthy food 95 to 97 percent of the land in the lower 48 states has been modified, according to “Bringing chain, cleaner water, cleaner air and healthier humans. Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants” by Douglas W. Tallamy. In the book, the author states that approximately HOME & LIFESTYLE

The local “natural” areas and many backyards are overrun with invasive plant species, such

as Buckthorn, Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, Multiflora Rose, Crown Vetch, Tall Fescue, and the list goes on. Even just removing these species from the garden is a step in the right direction. Introducing native species in the place of invasive plant species will help the yard to thrive, balance the ecosystem and reduce yard maintenance. Native Viburnum, Allspice, Dogwood, Witch Hazel, and more, make excellent replacements wooded/shaded areas of the invasive species are being cleaned out. Again, “native” does not translate to “weedy.” Native plants integrate seamlessly into a regular landscape. Prairie Dropseed are magnificent in the garden and are virtually bug-, disease- and drought-proof. Purple Coneflower attracts a multitude of birds in search of its seeds. Buttonbush makes an excellent shrub for soggy spots where most other plants won’t grow. Oaks, the stalwart of our early savannahs, make excellent shade trees and have few known pests. They are replacing the non-native ash trees felled by Emerald Ash Borer. With proper planning and proper plant choices, the backyard can be a functioning and beautiful ecosystem. Stop by a local garden center to ask how to incorporate a few natives into the garden.  Carrie BoehmCorrie and Matt Zerby contributed to this article. Meagan Provencher is the Sr. Landscape Designer for Wasco Nursery & Garden Center in St. Charles. Provencher can be reached at 630-584-4424 or




Vintage Finds, Vin Fresh Looks

By Melissa Rubalcaba Riske Photos provided


here is always something new, and old, to see and shop for at The Vintage Market in North Aurora.

Lori Durham and her daughter Ashley Durham have taken their love for all things old, new, and refurbished, and created a store filled with unique furnishings and home décor.

Step inside to discover multiple furnished vignettes, and feel as though one is shopping in a living room or bedroom. The Durhams have gathered more than 60 of their favorite vendors to be part of the market, and showcase their designs. This means customers will always find a variety of styles, from classic to farmhouse, to whimsical and romantic. There is always an array of merchandise, from dressers and bedroom armoires, to painted tables, chairs, decorative doors, signs, and accents, sure to add interest to any mantle or shelf. Customers can find the perfect gift for a hostess, a housewarming, bridal shower, or wedding. Mother and daughter share a love for restoring old furniture. Whether it’s adding a coat of paint, new accents, or changing out hardware, they enjoy seeing a classic piece of furniture get a whole new look. On any given day, shoppers can find Ashley and Lori answering questions, working on their own refurbishing projects, or bringing a fresh look to an old piece of furniture. The Vintage Market is truly a family business. Shoppers are likely to encounter other members

of the family, including Lori’s son, and even her grandparents, lending a hand by arranging furniture, or chatting with customers. The whole family loves working with home décor and furnishings, and has a passion for vintage items. Getting to know customers is the other best part of Lori and Ashley’s work. The two say they find inspiration helping customers select the perfect furniture piece or decorative accent for their home, or a unique gift. Through engaging with customers, Lori and Ashley share ideas and even their expertise. In addition to their retail work, they also host painting classes. Customers can keep tabs on the latest classes, sales, or just check out some of the newest additions through The Vintage Market’s Facebook page. Lori and Ashley also enjoy posting quick videos of some of the newest items on the sales floor. Vendors typically bring in new items each week, and the vignettes get a fresh look to showcase the newest items and designs. With more than 60 vendors, there’s always something new to check out at The Vintage Market. THE VINTAGE MARKET (630) 229-6821 211 S. Lincolnway Street, North Aurora Open Tuesday- Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Heart and soles

Step into spring with these races and fun runs (and they’re all for a good cause!) By JONATHAN BILYK

As the year bends evermore toward spring, and the sunny warm days begin to outnumber the days of dreary cold, the itch begins to grow in many to slip on a pair of running shoes and hit the streets, trails and tracks. For some, this will include some variation of the “couch-to-5K” plan while, for many others, a 5K is just the beginning, as runners work their way toward half-marathons and standard marathons, or mud runs and obstaclecourse-like, off-road trail races. Whatever your speed this spring, Kane County and the not-too-distant neighboring communities are hosting a multitude of organized runs and races through the end of May.

APRIL  APRIL 21: Sly Fox Half-Madness and 10K St. Charles These USATF-certified half-marathon and 10K races will be run on a street course through St. Charles. The event is suitable for both beginners and experienced runners. Half marathon registration costs $85 by April 16; and $100 between April 17 and race day. The 10K registration costs $55 by April 16; and $65 between April 17 and race day. Registration is limited. The event benefits the St. Charles Fourth of July Committee.  APRIL 28: Fox Trot 5K and 10K Batavia

The seventh annual event will fund efforts to provide school uniforms, supplies, transportation, tuition and meal programs for 160 school children in Haiti served by Hope for Haitians. It costs $25 to register before May 12, and children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free of charge.  MAY 17: She Runs the Fox Fabyan Windmill, Batavia The fourth annual She Runs the Fox event is a fun, noncompetitive female-friendly run along the Fox River. Registration is $15 and will benefit Mutual Ground, a nonprofit offering services to women and children of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The 18th annual Fox Trot 5K and 10K will include a free quarter-mile run for children up to first grade and a 1-mile youth run (though donations are encouraged for participants). There is a $30  MAY 19: Cougars 5K Run/Walk registration fee for the 5K and a $40 registration Northwestern Medicine Field, Geneva fee for 10K. The event benefits Batavia schools The seventh annual Cougars 5K Run/Walk and other local charities in the Fox Valley area. course will begin and end at Northwestern APRIL 28: Strong as Oak Team Wreck Bag Medicine Field –home of the Kane County 5K-ish Adventure Run Cougars. Participants over the age of 21 Oakhurst Forest Preserve, Aurora can enjoy a complimentary beer after the race, and all participants also will receive a Registration is limited and ends April 25. complimentary bratwurst or hot dog, along Teamwork is the focus of the race, as participants are asked to carry 25- or 40-pound with other snacks. Registration is $33 for adults wreck bags through an off-road course featuring until May 17, and $20 for youth ages 5 to 18. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Special a mix of dirt, grass, limestone, hills and mud. Teams can be all-male, all-female or co-ed. The Olympics Illinois. registration fee is $45.  MAY 20: Heart of the Fox Run and Tugs  APRIL 28: Blackberry Farm Barnyard Dash and Pig Pen 1-miler Blackberry Farm, Aurora The USATF-certified, chip-timed race consists of a 5K and 1-mile Pig Pen race for children ages 5 and older. Entry fees are $29 ($34 day-of-race) for the 5K; and $15 for the 1-miler ($20 day-ofrace.) The event is hosted by the Fox Valley Park District.


 MAY 12: Hope for Haitians 5K Walk/Run for Education Kane County Government Center, Geneva

Pottawatomie Park, St. Charles This certified, chip-timed 5K and 10K race will take place along the Fox River and through neighborhoods in St. Charles. The races will be followed by a 1-mile color run and tug-of-war across the Fox River. Registration is $35 for the 5K; $45 for the 10K; and $30 per team member ($300 per team) for tug-of-war. The event will benefit the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles and St. Charles Noon Kiwanis Club.

 MAY 6: Great Western Half Marathon Great Western Trail at Sycamore Speedway, Maple Park

 MAY 20: Vets Week Aurora 2018 Fun Run, Walk, Woof and Roll Phillips Park Zoo, Aurora

The 21st annual Great Western Half Marathon is one of the premier events in the 2018 Fox River Trail Runners Race Circuit and is designated a 2018 Road Runners Club of America Regional Championship Race. The race is limited to 1,200 entries, and there is no race-day registration. It costs $100 to register, and registration ends May 3. Proceeds will benefit Fox River Trail Runners and Special Olympics.

The annual event will benefit veterans service programs in Aurora, which includes sponsoring service dogs and providing scholarships. Registration is $15 for adults and $5 for children age 18 and younger.



Benefits of a daily meditation practice By AIMEE BARROWS

Crystal Krause Photo provided 42 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

It’s no secret that life can be hectic and stressful. And, as busy moms, wives and professionals, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself to nurture the soul. A daily meditation practice is an easy way to slow down, calm your mind and help you relax so that you can better face the day.

busy, it gives you a sense of anxiousness. [Meditation] also helps you respond properly to stress throughout the day. A physical reaction is driven by emotions, and – with regular meditation – you can slow down your reaction and think of a better response.”

Krause, who’s been meditating regularly for about eight years, Crystal Krause, owner of Power Moves Yoga in Batavia – began with guided meditation, formerly Sure Movements Yoga which she says is a good starting point. Many audio – says meditation is a great way to “de-clutter” your mind, programs are available for free and it also can help lower blood or for purchase online. She pressure and reduce anxiety. recommends that beginners check out Mind Valley “When you calm your mind, Academy at www.mindvalley. you actually make more time com and Calm at www.calm. for yourself,” Krause says. com to learn more about “Because when your mind is guided meditation programs, HEALTH & WELLNESS

which lead participants step-by-step into a state of physical relaxation, and then into mental relaxation through a visual exercise. By imagining a happy, peaceful place, your body gets into a deeper state of relaxation, Krause explains. “In order to get to physical relaxation, you focus on specific points in the body, from head to toe. We focus on the tension and pressure there and work down the body,” she says. “Then you get to mental relaxation. It’s normal to be interrupted by your thoughts. Acknowledge them and go back to a peaceful and tranquil scene.” And you don’t have to spend

UPCOMING MEDITATION WORKSHOPS, CLASSES BUDDHA, GANDHI AND ME 11 E. Wilson St., Batavia 630-326-9285 • Anti-Anxiety Meditation WHEN: Mondays at 5:45 p.m. • Exploring Meditation WHEN: Mondays at 8:30 p.m., Fridays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 8:15 a.m.

hours meditating to reap the benefits, Krause says. She suggests finding a quiet, comfortable space in your house that you only use for meditation. For some, getting their minds to “turn off” can be difficult, but she encourages those types of people not to give up.

group at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, says it’s more about acknowledging your thoughts instead of eliminating them.

“Our thoughts are kind of like clouds in the sky that float by and, when you meditate, you just watch them float by,” she says. “Meditation isn’t about “Some people find meditating problem-solving; it’s about the frustrating at first because they experience and being more aren’t able to sit and be still, but present in the sensations the more you practice physical of the moment. We’ve been programmed to have value in and mental relaxation, the easier it is to get to that point,” what we do rather than who we are. Society is more ‘doing’ she says. focused than ‘being’ focused.” However, meditation doesn’t mean you have to completely shut off your mind. Debbie Leoni, leader of the meditation

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY OF GENEVA 102-112 S. 2nd St., Geneva 630-232-2350 • “Meditation for Connection” WHEN: Second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m.

This class offers guests the PRANA YOGA CENTER opportunity to practice and experience group meditation as 321 Stevens St., Geneva a spiritual discipline. The format 630-262-9642 includes both guided and silent meditation. • “The Four Desires: A ThreeDay Program of Transformation” POWER MOVES YOGA *Formerly Sure Movements WHEN: April 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; April 14 from 10 a.m. Yoga 1822 Mill St., Batavia to 5 p.m.; and April 15 from 630-621-8292 noon to 5 p.m. COST: $225 • The studio offers yoga • Restorative Yoga and classes, several teacher training Acupuncture Workshop programs and workshops, such WHEN: April 20 from 7 to 8:30 as gong meditation. Owner p.m. Crystal Krause recently hosted COST: $45 the “Mindfulness: Attracting • Sound Healing Meditation in Abundance” workshop in Infrared Heat February. Check the studio’s WHEN: May 4 from 7 to 8:30 calendar for upcoming events. p.m. and June 1 from 7 to 8:30 SHINE YOGA p.m. 5 N. River St., Batavia COST: $25 in advance 630-482-9700 HEALING ARTS METAPHYSICAL • “Journey Within,” a four-week CENTER meditation series with Sandy 4 E. Wilson St., Batavia Dixon 630-937-4094 www.healingartsmetaphysical. WHEN: Sundays, running from April 8-29 from 5 to 6 p.m. com COST: $48 for the series • The center offers drummaking workshops, a shamanic apprenticeship series, “Awaken the Healer in You” series, “Develop Your Intuition” series and more. Also available are drumming circles, restorative yoga and singing bowl meditation.



he word “preservation” typically implies an effort to keep things exactly the same. But Lawrence Colburn is mixing things up at Preservation in downtown Geneva. The owner of the Third Street restaurant is bringing new energy into the local favorite formerly known as Preservation Bread & Wine.

bottles of wine and a gourmet flatbread for $20. One of the biggest changes is that Preservation will be open on Sundays. Sundays will be dedicated to “The Gathering” – a weekly event that celebrates smoked meats, bourbon and beer. Preservation will start serving up barbeque at 11 a.m. and keep going until it’s out. Along with a new menu, the restaurant has a new look. Colburn has completely revamped the restaurant’s décor for a more contemporary vibe, from all new tables and chairs to more modern lighting and window treatments.

“It’s not a new restaurant; it’s an evolution of the concept,” says Colburn. “The original vision for Preservation Bread & Wine was a café and wine bar driven by freshly baked breads and a global wine selection. We wanted to take that concept and make it into more of a dining destination.” That meant taking a fresh look at the menu. The revamped options are on the heartier side to supplement the existing small plate offerings. New dishes include a bistro filet over sunchoke puree, scallops with seasonal risotto, braised pork shoulder and house-made pasta. “We wanted to broaden our audience a little bit,” says Colburn. “Many of the core items are still there, we just made some changes to those to give them some freshness. And we still prepare all our breads fresh on site everyday.” 44 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“We changed everything from front to back,” he says. “The aesthetic is almost 100 percent changed. It’s a little more contemporary.”

The beverage program also has been refreshed. The drink menu now includes extended cocktail offerings – such as a ginger martini and a Moscow mule with plum sake – and an expanded selection of spirits, bourbon, whiskeys and other high-end options. And, of course, there’s still wine. The eatery offers daily wine flights and a happy hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. On Wednesdays, patrons can choose between select DINING & ENTERTAINING

When the wine bar first opened in 2010, the original space included a 30-seat front room and bar. After building an addition five years ago, Colburn had much more square footage at his disposal. Now, the front room is set with high-top tables and functions as a full-service bar area, while the back room is a seated dining area. Soon, they’ll have more outdoor amenities, as well. Along with an extensive outdoor dining area added last year, an outdoor bar will be ready this spring. It’ll be the perfect spot to grab a cocktail while enjoying live, local music that


PRESERVATION 513 S. Third St., Geneva 630-208-1588

Photos provided

plays on the patio Wednesday through Saturday. Colburn says he hopes the changes bring in both new and old faces to the restaurant. “We’ve had such a loyal following,” he says. “We wanted to give our regular customers something to look forward to on their next visit and also get new people through the door.”



Southern comfort (food)

SATISFY YOUR CRAVINGS FOR BARBECUE AT THESE TOP SPOTS By KEVIN DRULEY For certain grillmasters, barbecue knows no season. For others, the barbecue blitz begins once Mother Nature says it’s safe to bring out the grill. Because this is Illinois, the latter scenario might seem sensible one day and foolish the next. So, for those of you waiting to get your barbecue on without having to rely on the weather, here are a few restaurants (and dishes) to satisfy those barbecue pangs regardless of the forecast:

 Noonan’s BBQ & Sports Bar 19 S. Randall Road, North Aurora 630-486-1132 | Fast approaching its one-year anniversary in July, Noonan’s offers barbecue favorites, such as brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, smoked beer can chicken, pork belly, pork chops and smoked sausage alongside an impressive roster of craft beers. Noonan’s smokes all of its meats on site, and even extends the delicacies to dishes you might not expect – like the brisket salad, which blends brisket with mixed greens, jack cheese, pico de gallo and a tortilla haystack in chipotle ranch dressing.

 The Grandstander 507 S. 3rd St., Geneva 331-248-0919 | What’s that unique flavor you’re enjoying on the five-spiced smoked ribs? “We use a sriracha sauce with a little bit of cilantro and scallions,” owner Miguel Villanueva says. “So, it’s a little more spicy than regular barbecue. And they go really well with all our beers we have on tap here.” The Grandstander prepares its ribs in a smoker and uses the same equipment for the meat that highlights the pulled pork poutine, which is piled high with Wisconsin cheese curds and topped with a fried egg.

A diverse kids menu gives the younger crowd a chance to expand its palate, too. 46 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


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 Nobel House 305 W. State St., Geneva 630-402-0452 Labeled as “meat candy” on the menu, burnt ends – a Kansas City barbecue favorite – are nonetheless offered as an entrée, not a dessert. These charred tips of burnt ends are offered with limited availability, but are well worth trying. Another Nobel novelty are the BBQ tacos, which include a choice between chopped brisket or pulled pork. The meat is served with three corn tortillas, red cabbage coleslaw, avocado and lime crème fraîche. Barbecue-inspired dishes also help comprise an extensive brunch menu. The smokehouse omelet consists of three eggs, smoked pork, brisket, bacon, coleslaw and cheddar cheese sauce served with breakfast potatoes and a choice of toast.

 Johnny Q’s Backyard BBQ

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Owner John Spalding has transformed a pleasant childhood memory into a creation fit for a barbecue savant. After first offering meatloaf as a dinner option at his off-thebeaten-path locale, Spalding randomly elected to use it on a sandwich, channeling the bygone lunches of his youth.

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Spalding smokes a 10-pound meatloaf for three to four hours, chills it, slices it and sizzles it on a flat top. The sandwich is served on a hoagie roll with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and barbecue sauce. “For the first couple weeks, we just couldn’t even keep enough of it in stock, you know,” Spalding says. “And we’re going through it like crazy nowadays. … People come in, they grab it, and they love it, you know. It’s a big sandwich.” Johnny Q’s also serves smoked pork ribs on Fridays and Saturdays, another dish that has had the locals buzzing since Spalding and his wife, Gaelen, opened the restaurant in December 2016.


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European(-ish) vacation From Tuscan-inspired villas to an Edwardian estate, venture to the ‘old world’ without leaving the Midwest By KELSEY O’CONNOR


European vacation is never a bad idea. But it’s not always reasonable to hop across the pond, especially when your free time and budget are tight. Luckily, the Midwest is home to several European-style getaways that will make you feel like you’re on another continent – no international flight required. Here are a few European-inspired retreats you can get to by car in six hours or less:

Gervasi Vineyard CANTON, OHIO Say “ciao” to a slice of Italy nestled in northeast Ohio. The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard are a boutique inn featuring 24 luxury suites and six Tuscan-inspired villas that overlook a pristine, spring-fed lake. “Gervasi is designed to make you feel like you’ve left the USA and are now visiting Tuscany,” says owner and founder Ted Swaldo. “The whole property is designed to help you relax and enjoy life. You can get a European vacation without leaving the country.” Each detail exudes Tuscan opulence, from the architecture to the decor. The suites include cozy fireplaces, spacious bathrooms with walk-in showers and heated towel bars. Other amenities include in-room spa services and complimentary Italian-style homemade continental breakfast delivered to your room. “The buildings all look like they were transported here from Europe,” says Swaldo. “Our room furnishings look like they came directly from Italy, and the landscaping is full of flowers that you see a lot of in Italy.” The 55-acre vineyard offers endless activities. Guests can enjoy winery and vineyard tours and tastings; live music; a nature trail for walking, hiking and biking; cooking classes; shopping at the gift store; and dining in any of the three Italian restaurants, which offer

Photos provided 48 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


guests a full bar – as well as Gervasi wines and craft beers – lunch and dinner options. “I think it exemplifies a simpler more enjoyable way of life,” Swaldo says of the European flair at Gervasi. “It says slow down and smell the roses. Take time to enjoy life. Have some great food and great wine and relax. It’s time for you.” DISTANCE: About 387 miles from Chicago (Drive approx. 6 hours) ADDRESS: 1700 55th St. NE, Canton, Ohio WEBSITE: PHONE: 330-4970-1000

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-Continued from page 49

Alpenhorn Gasthaus HERMANN, MISSOURI Tucked away in the heart of Missouri’s wine country, Hermann is a historic town with deep German roots. And just outside of the downtown area, you’ll find a charming bed and breakfast with its own European origins. Alpenhorn Gasthaus, an authentic old-world style inn, was inspired by the owner’s heritage. Adrian Sigrist, who owns the bed and breakfast with his wife Kate Schandl, grew up in Lucerne, Switzerland. The pair has infused traditional Swiss-German touches into almost every aspect of Alpenhorn Gasthaus – including its hospitality. “We are a very welcoming bed and breakfast,” says Sigrist. “It’s almost like you are visiting friends.” In the morning, you can often hear laughter emanating from the dining room as Schandl serves a gourmet breakfast and regales guests with stories of life at the bed and breakfast. Sigrist delights visitors with his Swiss accent and has a knack for making guests feel comfortable. Schandl, who’s also the chef, serves a variety of traditional Swiss and German dishes that are both comforting and stylish. All food is prepared

in house each day. For breakfast, guests might enjoy German apple-pecan pancakes, creamed eggs with locally produced sausage, and freshly squeezed orange juice with champagne. There also are nightly chocolate and wine tastings, along with multi-course dinners available Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The inn also offers Swiss chocolates, photographs and travel books of Switzerland, and even an original 12-foot long Alpenhorn that guests are welcome to use. “There’s so much history in Europe,” says Sigrist. “Most of the people who come to us have some relatives from Europe or fond memories of an overseas trip. However, with busy schedules, they never make the time to go visit, so Alpenhorn Gasthaus and Hermann is about as close as you can get to feel the European charm.”

Photos provided

DISTANCE: About 370 miles from Chicago (Drive approx. 5 hours and 30 minutes) ADDRESS: 179 E. Highway 100, Hermann, MO 65041 WEBSITE: PHONE: 573-486-8228

The Inn at Irwin Garden COLUMBUS, INDIANA The Inn at Irwin Garden shouldn’t come as a surprise. Featured in “Romantic Mansions” in the February issue of Kane County Magazine, the inn also boasts plenty of old-world charm. The well-preserved Edwardian estate now houses a luxurious bed and breakfast with historical allure. “We believe the atmosphere of the Inn at Irwin Gardens is one of a relaxed, elegance,” says innkeeper Brittany Snowden. “It’s an opportunity to take a step back in time to a European estate with elegance and beauty all around you.” The inn is surrounded by lush, Italianate gardens that were originally built in 1913. Inspired by a garden excavated at Pompeii, the gardens cover most of one city block. As visitors stroll through the grounds, they’ll find raised terraces, turtle pond fountains, wisteria-covered pergolas, and marble statues of Greek philosophers. And the grandeur doesn’t stop once you enter the home. The five spacious guest rooms feature furnishings that have been in the home since the 50 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

Photos provided

original owners resided there. The craftsmanship and ornate details are evident in each room, from the stained glass windows in the library to the sweeping grand staircase. “It’s a well-preserved piece of history that one can stay in to experience an era gone by,” says Snowden. “No matter how many times you walk into a room or through the gardens, your eye is seeing something new.” The inn deftly blends these historical touches with modern amenities. Suites include Wi-Fi, a private bath, locally made all-natural bath products and luxe linens. A full plated breakfast, made from organic and locally grown produce, is TRAVEL

served each morning. And the on-site spa offers plenty of pampering services. “We strive to make a guest’s stay one of total luxury,” says Snowden. “The historic ambience is unique, especially in the Midwest. The combination of contemporary amenities with an historic immersion makes it truly a one-of-a-kind B-and-B.” DISTANCE: About 230 miles from Chicago (Drive approx. 4 hours) ADDRESS: 608 5th St., Columbus, Indiana WEBSITE: PHONE: 812-376-3663

The Glass-Half-Full Guy:



hen someone overhears my travel resume, I’m often asked if I’m a trust fund child or a day trader. The answer to both of those questions: no.

So, how has a 28-year-old guy like myself afforded to travel to nearly 20 countries and spend more than 500 days on trips in nine years? I’m going to break down some of my best techniques for saving money and getting you out into the world no matter what your income level is.

 TIP 1: It’s all in the planning If you wait to plan your trip a month before you leave, you better believe you could have saved hundreds on airfare and accommodation. Start deciding where you want to go next year, and then start planning each specific trip at least a few months in advance. A cool secret about some airlines is that if their prices drop after you bought your ticket, you can exchange it for the cheaper price and get a credit for the difference. Only some airlines honor this (Southwest! Cough, cough).

spider-infested cave; these are condos on the ocean and nine-bed houses in the mountains. The trick is bypassing big name agencies and going directly to the renter. Apps like Airbnb are great for this. If you’re a little more adventurous, you can find free accommodation on apps like Couchsurfing.

It can be tempting to buy eclectic trinkets and eat fancy meals, but moderating your spending on trips can keep your bank afloat for the next one. The perk of staying in B-and-Bs is that most of them have a kitchen. Maybe limit yourself to eating out once a day. Also, there is so much awesome free stuff to do everywhere, and –  TIP 3: Don’t let the most the time – it’s infinitely better than guided (international) fees get you tours (my worst nightmare) and shopping. down There’s no better way to lose dollars over dimes Thanks to the internet, you can find endless free things to do all over the world. I try to find a than from international fees and currency balance of things that are worth paying for and exchanges. Skip all of this nonsense with a few quick hacks: First off, find a credit card that has 0 some great free activities to do, such as hiking, percent international fees – they’re out there and swimming, exploring small towns and making friends – get creative! free too! Second, open a checking account that has 0 percent international ATM fees. You can Don’t limit or discourage yourself; start small link your account to the international one and with some reading/researching and saving loose withdrawal the local currency as desired without change if that’s all you can do at the time. Find conversion fees. an easy trip and get one under your belt. For those who are more experienced, see if you can  TIP 4: Don’t buy be a little more frugal and get an extra trip in a phone or GPS next year. Most phones nowadays can accept a SIM card

from any carrier. The last 3 iPhone models will accept a SIM card from any provider. In most international airports you can find a kiosk that has a local carrier. Purchase a SIM card with data  TIP 2: Package deals (minutes are less important) and pop it in the and B-and-Bs I’m not one for package deals, but you can save a side of your phone. Make sure you have the kiosk load if you catch airfare, lodging, and car rentals employee help you activate it, because the menu options will be in the native language. You can in a bundle. I like to have more freedom and call home using data on apps, like WhatsApp, choice, so I go with B-and-Bs. I planned a trip and use your phone’s navigation for GPS. to Costa Rica for two friends and myself and, Technology rocks. for 10 days, we each paid $250 for the entire trip’s lodging. And we are not staying in some

 TIP 5: Contain yourself


Traveling doesn’t have to be exclusively for the privileged. Anybody can go out and enjoy our wonderful world – it just takes a little saving and planning. u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world. KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | APRIL 2018 | 51

Scroll on the go Mobile-friendly websites mean easier access to park district offerings By CAROL HAGGAS Fun fact – there are now more mobile devices than people in the world, according to data from GSMA Intelligence. So, for a website to be truly user-friendly, it also has to be mobile-friendly. For any non-techies out there, this means that a website has to work the same way across all devices – smartphone, tablet and, of course, desktop PC. Industry insiders refer to this as a “Responsive Web Design” – a mobile-first design approach that doesn’t require a lot of zooming and scrolling to navigate. With numerous URLs directing information-seekers to its most popular facilities and programs, the St. Charles Park District began embracing mobile-first design as early as 2012, when it launched a mobile app for its main website. Year by year, other sites came on board and, by the end of 2017, all domains were fully mobile-responsive. “The St. Charles Park District has been well ahead of the curve with regard to mobile responsiveness,” says Visionary Webworks owner John Staples, who develops and manages the park district’s web presence. “They have long been aware of the need to better serve mobile customers in terms of responsiveness and security.” With community survey respondents referencing the importance of easy, fast and secure online interaction, adopting a mobile-first approach was an important part of the park district’s communications strategy. “More than half, and sometimes nearly two-thirds, of the people viewing our sites are doing it on a mobile device, such as a smartphone,” says Erika Young, public relations and marketing manager. “We’ve been proud to be able to offer this technology for more than five years now.” Having such net universality means that the park district can be more responsive to the way patrons use its websites. Gone are the days of pinching 52 | APRIL 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

and zooming. With a mobile-friendly interface, functionality is no more complex than scrolling. Here’s how it works: Enter the park district’s URL – – on your device’s browser, and scroll down to see what’s happening at the park district, such as promos for upcoming events or the latest news in “The Buzz” section. There’s also a quick clicks section offering easy access to “Announcements,” “Forms” and “Handbooks” tabs for preschool and Baker Station after school programs. Web browsers can check out the new season of programs and events in the “Activity Guide” or find out what’s going on just this week in the “Calendar” section. The new mobile-friendly design also is easy for staff to use on their own devices to quickly attend to web administrative duties. “We can post updates, such as weather alerts much more easily,” says Young. “This means our patrons are getting up-to-the-minute information.” A big part of mobile-friendly functionality is a user’s ability to register for programs and events online. While the “Online Registration” tab allows a user to sign up for a program on the spot, the “Forms” tab accesses general program registration, special event registration, and household and emergency and medical information forms. And because these documents contain the most sensitive information a patron can submit to the park district, website security was paramount in the new mobile-friendly design. “We are happy to be able to offer more convenient and functional websites for our patrons,” says Young. “Mobile use of the internet has increased dramatically over the past few years, and we’re glad to be on the leading edge of this technology.”


Useful URLs In addition to the St. Charles Park District’s main website, the new mobile-friendly interface is available for all of the park district’s domains, including:  ST. CHARLES PARK DISTRICT  POTTAWATOMIE GOLF COURSE  PRIMROSE FARM PARK  STC UNDERGROUND  OTTER COVE AQUATIC PARK  RIVER VIEW MINI GOLF  SWANSON POOL  HICKORY KNOLLS DISCOVERY CENTER  NORRIS RECREATION CENTER  SCULPTURE IN THE PARK  ST. CHARLES PARK FOUNDATION

For even easier accessibility, favorite park district sites can be added to a device’s home screen by clicking on the bookmark icon.

Big plans for Paramount Theater receives $2.5 million grant for revitalization, performing arts school By KEVIN DRULEY


aramount Theatre chief executive officer Tim Rater admittedly expressed some misgivings during preliminary stages of the $4.5 million Act 2 Capital Campaign to revamp the iconic downtown Aurora spot. But now that the wheels are in motion, Rater feels elation almost exclusively. A recent donation of $2.5 million from The Dunham Fund has helped trigger construction of a new, state-of-the-art school of performing arts – the lynchpin of a project that includes new seating at the Paramount and renovations to the adjacent Copley Theatre in North Island Center. “It’s been a tricky, very complex, but very positive and collaborative effort to kind of get everyone where they needed to be to where this project can actually happen,” Rater says. “And it is. It’s actually happening. It’s actually going to be open. It’s no longer if this happens, it’s just when. And it’s very exciting. The community is excited; the city is excited; we’re excited.” Dozens of new group and private studios are among the various aspects planned for the Paramount School of the Arts, including those for acting, dance, instrumental, voice and art instruction. The center, which is being constructed at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, also will feature artist-preferred loft apartments, a restaurant

and rehearsal areas for Paramount and Copley performers. About 25,000 square feet will be devoted to school space. The facility is scheduled for completion in January 2019. Rater praises the ongoing efforts of Paramount director of education and community engagement Shannon Cameron, who has corresponded with leaders from numerous Fox Valley high schools, colleges, civic groups and other organizations that may have interest in utilizing art center services and space. “We’re trying to find ways to help support what they do – not take from what they do,” Rater says. “We’re not trying to take business from anyone; we’re just really trying to help bring something to the community that’s not there right now. And everyone has responded really, really well to that. Everyone has been very excited about our approach to support rather than to cannibalize what’s happening in the community already.”

in 1931. The process, slated to begin in the summer, will allow for Photos provided installation of larger and more comfortable seating for patrons, some of whom have donated their own money toward the endeavor. In addition, the project will call for seating replacement and other facility upgrades at the 173-seat Copley Theatre, constructed in 1981. “[The Copley Theatre] was all built 40 years ago, and it needs some help,” Rater says. A “vast majority” of the Paramount’s 325,000 patrons in 2017, Rater says, hailed from outside Aurora, signifying the city’s continuing emergence on the regional arts scene. Rater remains confident the Act 2 Capital Campaign will only augment the movement. “People are coming,” Rater says. “And I think they’re beginning to understand that this is a really unique community. … This town is being built right now on the arts, and it’s beginning to see some really tremendous interest from developers in downtown. New restaurants, new buildings – just a lot of new activity.”

The campaign also will replace each of the 1,888 original seats from the Paramount’s opening OUT & ABOUT


SOCIAL Life Spotlight on Charlemagne

Community contributions celebrated at 96th annual awards ceremony The 96th annual Charlemagne Awards Dinner took place in February at the Q Center in St. Charles. The Charlemagne Award is a lifetime achievement award given to someone with a distinguished history of service in the community. The prestigious honor went to Circuit Court Judge Clint Hull of St. Charles. The recipient told the crowd of roughly 360 guests that it was an honor he has always dreamed about, according to the Kane County Chronicle.

The Women’s Business Council’s L.E.A.P. Award, which recognizes excellence in leadership and achievement, went to Diana McClow of Wilson Travel and Cruise; and Victoria Haines received the 2017 Chairman Award. Radio personality Scott Mackay served as master of ceremonies. For more information about the event, which was presented by the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, visit


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The word “fashion” elicits a lot of stereotypes – one image you may conjure could be models strutting across a runway donning the latest clothes from some designer’s collection. Possibly that designer is eccentric and demanding, and he or she lives in New York City, Paris or Milan. And the models are dressed in edgy pieces that can only be worn on a runway (and by models). While there might be some truth to these stereotypes in the fashion world, it’s actually about so much more than that. Check out these books that discuss the less-traveled roads of fashion.

 ‘BELIEVE ME: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, DEATH, AND JAZZ CHICKENS’ By Eddie Izzard Eddie Izzard may not be the first person that comes to mind when you think of fashion icons, but he is a brilliant comedian with a unique relationship to clothing and makeup. He reveals this relationship, as well as many other details from his life, in the quirky new book “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens.” As a self-identified transgender individual, Izzard discovered his identity by exploring his interest in women’s clothing as a young child. A recurring theme throughout the book is how many of his decisions in life were affected by his desire to be himself. “Believe Me” is smart and funny as you read about bombing at comedy shows and how he strategized (or tried to strategize!) what schools could help his success. The goal of the book isn’t just to make you laugh; it’s to show you the tragedies and successes in Izzard’s life that led to him being one of the most celebrated and complex comedians of our time.  ‘THE DIARY OF A NOSE: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A PARFUMEUR’ By Jean-Claude Ellena

Allison Manley was born in Georgia and raised in Island Lake. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. She loves opera, craft beer, and (of course!) reading.

In “The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur,” you get a first-hand account of the elusive perfume industry from Jean-Claude Ellena – a head perfumer at Hermès. Through Ellena’s stream-ofconscious scribbles, we see the research, methods and motivations that go into the elite perfumes offered by one of the world’s top fashion houses. Ellena doesn’t go into a lot of detail on how he rose to his prestigious position. Instead, he uses his diary to remark on things, such as a bouquet of sweet peas he once smelled and how he tried to recreate it; and how trying to capture the greenfloral essence of nasturtium has proven more



difficult than he anticipated. He describes some of his works-in-progress (some of which have since been released) and how he tries to explore new scents around the world. The end of the book is a sort of guide to the chemicals in many perfumes, and what combinations produce the effect of wellknown and loved scents, like lily and pear. “The Diary of a Nose” is a dreamy stroll through the mind of an olfactory genius whose thoughts live in the abstract.  ‘THE COAT ROUTE: CRAFT, LUXURY, & OBSESSION ON THE TRAIL OF A $50,000 COAT’ By Meg Lukens Noonan “The Coat Route” explores the story of a $50,000 coat commissioned by an affluent man from Canada. That’s the book’s premise, but Meg Lukens Noonan explores so much more in this thorough investigation into clothing, the concept of luxury, and how fashion has helped shaped history. Each chapter focuses on a certain aspect of the coat: the silk lining, the elegant buttons, the decorative gold trimming, and so on. Throughout these chapters, Noonan visits the vendors whose lives have focused on designing that part of a piece of clothing perfectly. We get a glimpse into production processes, the training methods used by the small companies excelling in their craft, and, of course, we see how much each aspect of the coat costs. Other topics, tangential to the coat-making process, are discussed as well. Noonan explores the importance of language in luxury and tailormade items: What one person calls “bespoke” is different than what another person might think. Conservation efforts and animal rights also are discussed, as both llamas (vicuñas, to be specific) and silkworms were needed to make the titular piece of clothing. Noonan argues that despite the high cost, the coat is essentially worth it – and this book, in turn, is worth a read.




essentially – photographs are made, not taken, summarizing the difference between snapshots and photographs, which, if artistic, reflect not only the object of the image, but the creativity of “Having taken mostly vacation pictures for years, the photographer, says Roxe. when I got my first digital camera and saw my Photography has become a way of life for Roxe, images on my computer screen, I was inspired who still takes photographs during trips, but also is inspired by subjects found closer to home and by the possibilities and thrilled that [I] had so much personal control over my images.” in environs where the architecture, parks and attractions provide inspiration and opportunity. Similar to the viewpoint of iconic landscape inda Roxe considers herself a picture-takerturned-photographer. She says that when she got her first digital camera, she realized the potential of the art form.

photographer Ansel Adams, Roxe believes that –

In “Lake Point Tower” and “Jeronimos Ceiling,”

the photographer used architectural elements to create mood. “Lake Point Tower” was taken in Chicago, while “Jeronimos Ceiling” was taken in Lisbon, Portugal, at a monastery built in the 1500s. More of Roxe’s work can be seen at exhibits sponsored by the St. Charles Art Council, North Shore Art League, at Des Plaines and Park Ridge events, Lombard Art Council events and – of course – at her website, www.landdimages.

To submit an entry to Artist Showcase, email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three - sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to, subject head “Local Artist Submission.”




MICHAEL BOLTON CONCERT AT ARCADA WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 4 WHERE: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles

of about two dozen historic homes and businesses in St. Charles. The tours take approximately one hour. For more information, visit www.stcmuseum. org.

The Arcada Theatre will host Michael Bolton for one night. Tickets start at $69. For tickets or more information, visit michael-bolton.

JAY LENO AT PARAMOUNT THEATRE WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, April 13 WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

STEEL BEAM THEATRE MUSICAL: ‘I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE’ WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, running April 6-29 WHERE: Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles will stage the witty musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Directed by Bernie Weiler, the play tackles the journey of modern love in all of its forms – from the perils and pitfalls of the first date to marriage, children and the twilight years of life. For more information, visit HISTORIC HOMES OF ST. CHARLES TROLLEY TOUR WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 8 WHERE: St. Charles History Museum, 215 E. Main St., St. Charles The St. Charles Park District and the St. Charles History Museum will team up to offer a trolley tour

The late-night TV host Jay Leno is coming back to the Paramount for another evening of comedy. Tickets cost between $89 and $109. For tickets or more information, visit BACK COUNTRY COOKING WHEN: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 14 WHERE: Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles During the event, attendees will discover how to make cooking the best part of a camping trip. The event will cover types of camping stoves, stove safety, menus, food preparation and campsite kitchen gadgets. There will be food to sample. The cost is $15 a person. For more information, visit STOCKHOLM’S MONTHLY BEER DINNER WHEN: 8:15 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19 WHERE: 306 W. State St., Geneva

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FOX RIVER ARTS RAMBLE WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 21 WHERE: Various locations in Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles and Elgin The inaugural Fox River Arts Ramble – a collaborative effort of Fine Line Creative Arts Center, St Charles Arts Council and Water Street Studios – is a one-day, self-guided tour of art in the Fox Valley. The event will feature multiple artistic disciplines in more than 40 locations in Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles and Elgin. There will be nearly 20 art galleries and 15 studios to visit. In addition to these locations, “ramblers” can explore the Art in Public Places project, which includes a website and an Art Tour app that will allow cultural tourists to see and learn about more than 170 pieces of art in public places in St. Charles. For more information or a map of participating locations, visit

GENEVA GARDEN CLUB SPRING LUNCHEON EXTRAVAGANZA WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 WHERE: Eagle Brook Country Club, 2288 Fargo Blvd., Geneva

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Chris Kattan is best known as one of the longest serving cast members on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” He currently tours the country with his standup act. Tickets cost $25. For more information, visit

The Montessori Academy’s Earth Day Celebration will feature live music, food, local vendors, kids activities, a silent auction and more. Vendors will include local nonprofits focused on creating a healthy, sustainable world. The cost to attend is $25 for adults and children will be admitted free of charge. For more information, visit

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CHRIS KATTAN AND FRIENDS AT ZANIES WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, April 20 WHERE: Zanies Comedy Club at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 WHERE: Montessori Academy Campus, 595 S. River St., Batavia

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The perfect setting to get away from it all to relax and rejuvenate.

Stockholm’s will host its April Beer Dinner on two evenings. The beer-pairing and four-course dinner will include Pork Belly Ramen, Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, Veal Cordon Bleu and Pear and Candied Pecan Crème Brule. The cost is $65 a person (tax and tip included). Reservations are required. For more information, visit www.

The luncheon will include raffles, a silent auction, a fashion show featuring apparel from local shops, and a floral demonstration by John Windisch. Tickets cost $35 each and must be purchased by April 14. For more information, visit www.

WE’RE EXPECTING…..litters and litters of kittens! By Anderson Animal Shelter Featured Sponsor DePaw University Canine Campus Do you hear that? It’s the pitter-patter of tiny kitten paws! That’s because not only do April showers bring May flowers, they bring kitten season as well. In order to stock the shelter and ensure we are equipped to save as many of these purrrr-babies as possible, we’re throwing a kitten shower, and you’re invited! Join us on Saturday, April 14th, anytime between 11am and 5pm for our Purrs and Paws Kitten Shower. Enjoy whiskerlickin’ treats, games and fun for all ages, and of course, time with our cute and cuddly kittens! Admission is free with your kitten supply donation.

Items most needed are: • Solid Gold dry kitten food (all formulas) • KMR (kitten milk replacement) • Kitten feeding bottles • Cat litter (non-clumping) • Kitten treats (soft/moist only) • Gently used towels, flat sheets, and blankets • Gift cards to Petco, Pet Supplies Plus, and Target

The Purrs and Paws Kitten Shower will be held at the following Anderson locations: South Elgin (1000 S La Fox Street), Bloomingdale (inside Petco, 412 W Army Trail Road), and North Aurora (next to Pet Supplies Plus, 180 N Randall Road).






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KC Mag April 2018  
KC Mag April 2018