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LOVE, MARRIAGE AND SAYING ‘YES’ TO THE DRESS with Magnolia Bridal’s Ashley Patyk


with a dream

Sign up for the Geneva Bride Wedding Walk on March 4th

INSIDE ROMANCE 8 DISCONNECTING Singles groups provide no-pressure alternatives to online dating 10 ONLINE DATING OVER 40? It ain’t for the faint of heart


13 BRIDE AMBITION Ashley Patyk, a bridal boutique owner tasked with helping other women find their dream dresses, gets her own fairy tale wedding

44 THE GLASS-HALF-FULL GUY: My lifelong love affair with travel

FAMILY IN FOCUS 16 BRING BACK THE ROMANCE Family therapists offer advice on how to maneuver marital melancholy

DINING & ENTERTAINING 18 CAT AND THE FOX Top 5 Valentine’s Day date night ideas 20 DISCOUNT DINING City of St. Charles corrals local eateries for Restaurant Week 22 WINE OF THE TIMES From extravagant to budgetfriendly, wine shops offer their picks for this Valentine’s Day 24 LOVE FOR LIVIA New Geneva restaurant fuses family, friends and ‘new’ Italian fare



ROMANTIC MANSIONS Five stately escapes in the Midwest

29 FASHION: FINE DESIGN Local boutiques showcase gorgeous gowns from this year’s bridal collections 36 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Venues that set the tone for a oneof-a-kind wedding

40 ROMANTIC MANSIONS Five stately escapes in the Midwest

BUSINESS & CIVIC 47 GUIDING LIGHT Career coach Cynthia K. Wade supports those seeking a second chance

BUSINESS & CIVIC 48 WASCO NURSERY: Who you callin’ a gardener?

HEALTH & WELLNESS 50 PATH OF DISEASE RESISTANCE Finding your way to a healthy heart

OUT & ABOUT 53 IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES Savvy seniors know the secret to ‘successful aging’ 54 BOOK NOOK Fall in love with these romantic reads 56 ARTIST SHOWCASE St. Charles sculptor shares bronze pieces ‘Like the Stars’ and ‘From the Waters Comes My Bounty’ 58 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County in February!

Photos provided by Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington











Editor's Note All you need is love. I’m not talking about romantic love or loving other people (or pets), even. Yes, it feels good to love and be loved. Of course! But what about the things we love? Life’s various aspects and instances; its intricate details and nuanced events. The fleeting moments that bring us joy, or – at the very least – allow a smile. If we stop to think about all of life’s necessary niceties that help to balance the chaos, frustration and injustice that we endure as human beings, it evokes an appreciation and sense of longing for the tiny, simple things we love. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning; the first snowfall; getting lost in a book; listening to the rain; belting out the words to your favorite song; the sound of the ocean; a beautiful view; drinks with a close friend; meaningful conversation; to laugh; to make others laugh.

What we hate we cannot halt or keep from happening; we can only control how we react. But the things we love – we get to choose when and how often to experience them. It’s simply a matter of taking the time. In life, you can’t make it rain but you can choose to listen when it does. •••

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating all matters of the heart – love and romance and weddings, too. From beautiful bridal fashions and one-of-kind reception venues to romantic Midwestern mansions and date-night hot spots, you won’t be able to help but “fall in love” with our February issue! Thanks for reading.


Kara Silva, Editor

The funny thing about the yin and yang of life’s simple pleasures and tiny cruelties, is that we have the power to tip the balance.

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

EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253

on the

COVER In the throes of planning her own wedding, Ashley Patyk – owner of Magnolia Bridal boutique in St. Charles – knows a thing or two about love, marriage and saying, “yes” to the dress, read more on Page 12. Photo by RON MCKINNEY Salon Services by MARIO TRICOCI Stylist - DAWN Makeup - TRICIA


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, Sherri Dauskurdas, 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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There’s no need to find the perfect lighting to snap a “selfie” or feign interest in golf in order to make a match with someone online, unless you want to. There are other seemingly untapped alternatives to dating in a digital world. While online dating has been prevalent for years, singles groups based around group activities and no-strings attached outings have become more and more popular. These groups allow individuals to be themselves and interact with other singles in a casual, comfortable environment, with no pressure to match or meet someone that day – or even at all. Joel McNabb founded and currently runs the Fox Valley Singles group on, which has around 1,700 members and 200 regularly active participants. McNabb, a divorcee, started the group in 2011 after realizing he had no way of meeting and connecting with people after relocating from southern California to the Chicago suburbs. While the group first started as a 30s and 40s singles group, there are now no parameters, other than each member being at least 18 years old or older and legally single. “Our purpose is not dating,” McNabb says. “We don’t do any type of ‘love’ events or speed dating. The idea is to get out of the house, have fun and get to know people.” This particular Meetup group averages around three or four events per week, which range from 8 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

Joel McNabb and his girlfriend, Gilly Photos provided

outdoor activities – like volleyball, biking and walking at the Morton Arboretum to pub crawls, bowling, and dinner and a movie. Another singles group at Christ Community Church in St. Charles also has a similar take on the singles dating concept, but really focuses on community. “To live a good life, marriage is not required, but community is,” says Cory Shumate, the 20s and Singles pastor for Christ Community Church. Shumate’s group is a 30 and older singles group with around 200 members that meets monthly at the church, but also has a strong online presence. “No two single people are the same,” Shumate ROMANCE

says, pointing out that there are divorced, widowed and never-married single people. “But everybody does have this one thing in common – you don’t have a built-in community of going home to a spouse or kids every day. Community is at a higher premium.” Monthly meetings consist of dinner, mixer activities, table discussions, musical worship and coffee and dessert. While there are religious undertones to the actual group and meetings, no religious background or beliefs are necessary. “We want to really emphasize that the single person in our culture and in the world is innately endowed with dignity and value and worth,” Shumate says. “That isn’t given to them the minute they get married. That’s not the vibe we believe in.” While online dating can be successful, both of these dating groups have seen success of their own. McNabb says there have been 12 marriages from the group so far, as well as two babies born.

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McNabb met his current partner, Gilly, at one of the events, and they started dating six years ago. The duo even bought a house together last September. “The beautiful thing about events are you can go to two or three events and see the same people, and you really get an idea of who they really are and how they act,” McNabb says. “It’s really a no-pressure opportunity.”

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The basic belief behind these two singles groups is that if two people make a connection, great. If not, it’s just a fun night out on the town with like-minded people.


Online dating over 40? It ain’t for the faint of heart By SHERRI DAUSKURDAS

I married my high school sweetheart. We met in 1987. No, this isn’t another romantic Valentine’s Day story. I start out with this bit of information because some 25 years later, I found myself single again. Single, with zero experience dating in a modern world, or even as an adult. If you dated in your teen years, the process itself was easy and expected. You’d pass notes to your favorite guy through the vents of hallway lockers and hold hands on your way to fifth period algebra. You were surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded teens who lived in the same neighborhoods, shopped at the same mall and knew the same people.

through page after page of available men, and trying to decipher fact from fiction. It seemed like another job. And what of a date with this unknown online guy? Would he turn out to be the man he claimed? Or would I end up with a Christian Bale “American Psycho”-type, chopped into bits after Sunday brunch by an egomaniacal yuppie who happened to look good in a suit? (Bloody Mary, indeed.) So, I avoided it. I worked, and I went out with friends. I joined a gym. I hardly was a hermit. But, still, I didn’t meet anyone. After a while, I decided to dive headfirst into this new world of social profiling and give it a shot. I started with the market standard: Match. com. And at the beginning, it was kind of fun. I liked compiling a story about myself (I am a writer, after all) and it was OK, even expected, to include only the good stuff.

And once I got going, the search became addictive. Swipe right, swipe left – it was easy. But entering the world of online dating in my 40s Day by day, I got a little braver, sending notes to – which had become the vehicle of choice for those who sparked my curiosity, were unmarried, singles looking to connect – I knew nothing. decent looking, lived near me, had a job, didn’t smoke. It was empowering to be able to choose, The entire thought of online dating made me until I realized it didn’t really matter what I said, uncomfortable: devising a profile, swiping 10 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


or whom I chose. Other opportunities were headed my way, regardless. One man sent me a message offering to pay for my gas if I came to meet him. He had a Jacuzzi he’d be willing to share if I’d take him up on his offer. The message – his first to me – went on for some 10 paragraphs. Another asked me if I’d yet found Jesus. Not that there’s anything wrong with finding Jesus, but this was the first question he asked – after “hello.” At least he knew what he wanted. Others knew what they wanted, as well. I received at least six different photos of men below the waist, sent to me as primary introductions. Men don’t mince words, I guess. Some don’t even use words. Although, one gentleman used the words “nylon stockings” at least five times. I was approached online by married men, single women and married couples, too. Despite my best efforts to identify my intentions, no one cared. We were all just trying to make some kind of connection in the vast and cold social mediabased world. But even with challenges, I became intrigued by the clever conversations, when the banter

was good. A few gentlemen I even met. But nothing of significance came to pass. A couple of friends suggested that other websites were more suited for me, my age and my locale. So, I tried a few of them, as well. On Plenty of Fish, I liked the screening system better, and my matches came back closer to home. But it’s a freebie site; the response rate was dismal, and a lot of the profiles were the same people as I saw on At OK Cupid, survey questions were bold, intrusive and sexualized. Still I answered them all, wondering if more information might result in a better match. It did not. Instead, I found my investigative instincts triggered, as photos showed up on several profiles throughout the site with different names and backgrounds. My father was a country boy, and I fish, camp and can handle a chainsaw, so I even tried the most categorically-specific of all of the dating sites: Farmers Only. But, while the site is all it claims to be, it was not for me. Many of the men had photos of their dogs, their boats or their combines as primary profile shots. (I’m not looking to have dinner with your Evinrude 150, Stan, and I don’t need to see a photo of you kissing it.) After a couple of years, I opted out of the experience. It taught me a bit about what I could expect from people, and from myself, and how to handle awkward situations, both in person and online, but mostly it made me skeptical. And I already was skeptical. I still believe in romance, just not the kind you find online. Instead, I will continue to use social media as the internet gods intended: sharing recipes and complaining about Kanye West.  Sherri Dauskurdas is a Batavia resident. She is editor of Neighborhood Tourist, and she heads up content development for Shaw Media’s Niche products.

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BRIDE AMBITION Ashley Patyk, a bridal boutique owner tasked with helping other women find their dream dresses, gets her own fairy tale wedding By KELSEY O’CONNOR | Photos by RON MCKINNEY

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“I think I’m in a really unique position,” says Patyk. “When I was going into this, I always thought being young was a negative. But I feel like I can connect with my brides better being 26 and going through it myself. I truly understand where they’re at in life.” Patyk opened Magnolia Bridal in downtown St. Charles in the spring of 2016. While fashion has been a passion since she was young, she didn’t always plan on turning it into a career. She originally started studying medicine with plans to be a pediatrician.

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hoosing a wedding dress can be an emotional, personal process for bridesto-be. But it’s also the job of Ashley Patyk to stand by their side every step of the way. The owner of Magnolia Bridal strives to give each bride a fun, stress-free experience at her St. Charles boutique. She finds that she’s able to bond with her brides on a personal level, both because of her age and her own recent engagement.

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“I just realized it was a really long road and, though I loved it, I wanted other things, too,” she says. “I wanted to settle down and have a family. Owning your own business gives you more flexibility and that was appealing to me.” She began working as a consultant at a small bridal boutique as she prepared to go back to school for fashion business. The bridal consulting job led her to fall in love with the industry. “What drew me into bridal wasn’t just the beautiful gowns,” says Patyk. “I realized bridal is so unique. You’re working with the epitome of beautiful fashion and, at the same time, it means so much more. You’re


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-Continued on page 14



-Continued from page 13 getting to know brides and their families, and being a part of their big day.” Patyk opened Magnolia Bridal just a few short months after college graduation. The huge magnolia tree in her fiancé’s grandmother’s backyard inspired the name of the store. The tree’s pink blossoms also reminded her of her own grandmother, who had died when Patyk was young. “My grandma got me into fashion and sewing. She was always making beautiful costumes and outfits,” says Patyk. “And my fiancé’s grandma became like my own grandma. The name seemed like a good way to honor all the women who brought me to where I am today.”


It’s even easier for Patyk to connect with her clients now that she’s engaged herself. She and her fiancé, Grant, had been dating for almost 10 years when he proposed last July. The high school sweethearts were visiting Disneyworld and watching the firework display at Magic Kingdom when he popped the question. “I’m such a softy; those fireworks already make me tear up,” says Patyk. “Then I turned around and he was on one knee.” The wedding is set for this December in Hawaii. The ceremony will take place on a grassy cliff that overlooks the ocean, and will be followed by a beachside reception afterward. There’s just one more big decision left – her dress. It’s easy to imagine that being immersed in the wedding industry, and surrounded by





gorgeous gowns every day, might make it impossible to decide on a dress. But Patyk isn’t worried. “I’ve realized that the dress is super important, but – at end of day – you’re there to get married,” she says. “You should be comfortable and feel good about yourself, and if you have those things nothing else matters.” Like so many of the other women who have walked through her doors, Patyk is embracing the search for the right dress. “I have started trying on dresses which has been so exciting,” Patyk says, adding that she’s looking for an open-back look that will complement both her tropical destination and her own personal style. “I’ve loved so many of them. I’m a pretty traditional girl, so I love the clean, classic dresses.” The process of selecting a dress can be difficult, so Patyk tries to give all of her brides personalized advice and attention.

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Bring back the

romance Family therapists offer advice on how to maneuver marital meloncholy By KELSEY O’CONNOR

Even the strongest long-term relationships and marriages can have rocky times. A lack of communication, excitement and romance can erode partnerships that have lasted years, or even decades. And ignoring these problems can have serious consequences for any relationship. “As people age, they settle into a routine,” says Brent Atkinson, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Geneva. “That’s kind of death for a relationship. It’s comfortable, but it doesn’t keep a spark in their relationship.”

couples intuitively figure out ways to compromise and get on the same page. Others don’t.” Along with mutual respect, another important aspect is open communication. “A lot of couples have problems just communicating,” says Tomlinson. “You go into a relationship and have expectations. If you’re not communicating those and not getting what you need from your partner, resentment will build.” Once you’ve worked through any underlying issues, you can start trying to recapture that “falling-in-love” feeling. The best way to start is by making your relationship, and spending time together, a priority. successful, but there’s nothing left between them.”

But there’s a bright side. Tomlinson says that even couples in tumultuous situations can get In fact, the group with the highest rate of divorce through it – if they’re willing to put in the work. is couples who have been married for 20 years If you want to rekindle the romance in your or more. The trend, often called gray divorce, relationship, the first step is making sure you mainly impacts couples over the age of 50. have a solid foundation to build on. “These couples have raised children, worked “There are different layers you have to get on careers, and their marriage oftentime takes through in order to maintain a spark,” says the backseat,” says Marianna Tomlinson, an Atkinson. “The first layer has to be treating each individual and family therapist in Batavia. “That’s other respectfully, and handling differences what I see a lot of – these couples are very respectfully, so you can work as a team. Some 16 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


“Couples only spend an average of 20 minutes a day with each other,” says Tomlinson. “One thing I recommend is scheduling a regular date night. You need to go out, have fun together and develop that connection that’s been lost along the way.” But just spending time together isn’t enough. How you spend that time matters. A recent study compared couples who went on pleasant dates against couples who engaged in more exciting experiences. The couples going on more adventurous dates improved their relationship over time, while the other group remained the same.

“There are different layers you have to get through in order to maintain a spark. The first layer has to be treating each other respectfully, and handling differences respectfully, so you can work as a team.”

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“Novelty stimulates dopamine and dopamine gives you a sense of eager anticipation,” explains Atkinson, who is also the director of clinical service at The Couples Clinic in Geneva. “When you have high dopamine levels, you tend to attribute it to the person you’re with, and it’s probably what causes that spark in your relationship.” He suggests breaking out of your routine and seeking out new experiences together. Another way to strengthen your bond is by expressing appreciation. Make an effort to verbalize positive, genuine thoughts about your partner: what you like about him or her, what you like about your relationship, and why you’re grateful to have him or her in your life. “Appreciation is like a bank account,” says Tomlinson. “For every negative thing that’s said in a relationship, it takes five positive things to make up for it. If you can be appreciative and give compliments on a regular basis … if something bad happens it doesn’t hit you so hard.”


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My husband and I make a concerted effort to go on “date night.” And, as the parents of three little kids, our “date night” location radius is about 10 miles. Hence, we consider ourselves experts when it comes to selecting the best “date night” itineraries in Kane County. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to adopt one of these itineraries for yourself:

FIRST DATE: Unique and off the beaten path TOWNHOUSE BOOKS AND SG TOO (St. Charles) Not all dates have to be at night. Some of the best dates I have been on were during the day. For a unique dining experience, go to Townhouse Books Café located in the Century Corners area of downtown St. Charles. Peruse the unique collection of books and then grab a table indoors or – during warmer months – on its beautiful outdoor patio. Townhouse Books prepares incredible soups, salads and sandwiches, and fresh quiche daily. Afterward, walk next door to SG Too and browse through the odds and ends at this fun consignment boutique. You can spend a good hour just poking around in the “basement.” 18 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

SECOND DATE: Culture, beef and beer

THIRD DATE: Fine dining and chocolate

ELGIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND ELGIN PUBLIC HOUSE (Elgin) Many are surprised to learn that we have an award-winning orchestra right in our backyard. Visit the ESO for stunning classical music, as well as fun renditions, such as the recent Steven Spielberg Movie Concert – A program of John Williams’s film scores from Steven Spielberg movies conducted by ESO Music Director Andrew Grams. With music from E.T., Jaws, Close Encounters. Before or after the concert, grab a mouthwatering burger and a pint from Elgin Public House. (Tip: Try the Boursin Kobe burger with garlic-herb cheese spread – so yummy!)

NICHE AND GRAHAM’S 318 COFFEEHOUSE (Geneva) If you want romantic, contemporary fine dining – go to Niche. I recommend sitting in the bar area and sharing small plates while enjoying the extensive wine list or an artisanal cocktail. Niche sets the standard for a beautiful dining experience in Kane County. Afterward, walk down Third Street to Graham’s 318 and order the Chocolate Fondue. (Tip: Reserve a private room in advance.)



FOURTH DATE: Hip and creative SHAKOU AND PAINTED VINE CELLAR (St. Charles) You do not have to be a great artist to have fun at the Painted Vine Cellar. Its team will take you step by step on how to make your own “work of art.” A glass of wine while you paint helps take the nervous edge off. Next, go to Shakou for, what I consider, the best sushi in Kane County.

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FOX VALLEY ICE ARENA AND GIA MIA PIZZA BAR (Geneva) Want to get “close” with your date? Go to an open skate session at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. You will laugh a lot and handholding comes naturally. After working up an appetite, go to Gia Mia and order a Wood Fired Pizza. You should be polite on a first date, but once the taste of a Gia Mia pizza hits your tongue, feel free to scarf.

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DISCOUNT DINING City of St. Charles corrals local eateries for Restaurant Week By KEVIN DRULEY

St. Charles Restaurant Week falls during a traditionally slow time on the calendar, yet it still harkens back to the holidays with a cornucopia of diverse food options. Thirty-six restaurants shared in the 2017 event, and City of St. Charles communications manager Lisa Garhan says, this year, “We’re looking forward to that level of participation from our local businesses again.” The 2018 edition of restaurant week spans from Monday, Feb. 26, through Friday, March 2. As before, patrons can celebrate the dining scene by enjoying 20 percent discounts off the total bill on dine-in purchases of $20 or more. Consider it a taste of the town that leaves customers full and their pockets with a little more cash. “We have anything from casual restaurants to fine dining, or some ethnic cuisines,” Garhan says. “So, we just say, come down to St. Charles during Restaurant Week, and we have a place at the table for you.” For a list of participating restaurants, visit www., as a final list of participating restaurants was not available by 20 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

the time this issue went to press. Now in its eighth year, the promotion offers mutual benefit for restaurant patrons and owners.

All the better when patrons have a reason to venture out in the closing stages of winter.

“I mean, we love the timing of it, because the holidays are over and this is happening at the “It’s something we just like the idea of – bringing end of February into March, and so it’s kind of like a dreary time,” Garhan says. “It certainly people to our downtown – actually, all over St. gives everyone a pick-me-up to have a chance Charles, not just the downtown – but bringing people here so they can see the restaurant scene to go out to dinner and get a discount doing that. It’s also, I think, a good pick-me-up for the that we have here. Because we do have a big restaurants, as well, at a time when it’s probably variety of different types of cuisine … ,”Garhan usually a little bit quieter … .” says. “It seems like it’s been very popular.”


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Marwan Taib, owner of Spotted Fox Ale House, 3615 Main St., praises the event and looks forward to participating each year. “During the new year, you know, the winter is a little bit rough in the beginning,” Taib says. “And it almost is one of those events that jump starts the year for you. You can expect traffic, you can count on people coming in. It gives you a chance … to go out and meet new faces, and get to know them, and hopefully turn them into regulars.”

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The city mails St. Charles residents a St. Charles Restaurant Week coupon in the form of a postcard. Those who hail from other communities also can partake in the offer by downloading it online at Establishments accept coupons in paper or electronic form. Residents of various other suburbs – including Elgin, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton – ventured to St. Charles for the offer last year, Garhan says. Tax, tip and alcohol are excluded from discount. Only one bill per table is discounteligible. Gratuity is not included, and 18 percent gratuity is applied to the prediscount bill. The discount is not valid with other offers. Some restrictions may apply.

Wine and Craft Beers Fine Quality Meats & Sausages Fresh • Aged • Cured • Smoked 250 S. Main St. (Rt. 47) • Elburn South of the tracks • 630.365.6461 Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm • Sat: 9am-4pm • Sun: 10am-4pm





WINE OF THE TIMES From extravagant to budget-friendly, wine shops offer their picks for this Valentine’s Day By JONATHAN BILYK

During Valentine’s Day, the attention of most turns to romance – and, in particular, how to give the one you love more than just a nice time. Few things go better with a Valentine’s celebration than a bottle of wine. But how do you choose the best vintage to make the evening special? While for some, expense may be no object, but, for many, the constraints of a budget are real. So, wine experts, like Al Buchanan – owner of Geneva Wine Cellar and Tasting Room, located in the literal cellar of the lower level of The Berry House on Third Street – and the folks at SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits in St. Charles and downtown Geneva, stand ready to help would-be Cupids find just the right bottle to add magic to any Valentine’s dinner, dessert or nightcap. And, on Valentine’s Day, that list begins with something bubbly and pink, says Buchanan. “It’s Valentine’s Day – the day of romance – so, for me, that’s what delivers the best bang for the buck,” Buchanan says. But he also says that he knows, for many others, a wine with less fizz may be more desirable. No matter the varietal, you need not break the bank to acquire a quality pour, he adds. Though, a bit of a splurge can make the evening feel a little bit more special. 22 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“You do often get what you pay for,” he says. To aid in the search for that perfect Valentine’s Day vino, Geneva Wine Cellar and SavWay offer a few recommendations at different price points, ranging from budget-friendly to extravagant:

chocolate,” Buchanan says. “People who buy this come back to me all the time and say, ‘I never knew port could be this good.’”




GRUET BRUT SPARKLING - $11.98 (SavWay) BUTTER CHARDONNAY - $11.98 (SavWay) DECOY CHARDONNAY - $14.98 (SavWay) BELLINI CIPRIANI - $14.99 (SavWay)

JORGE ORDONEZ MOSCATEL DULCE - $24.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) – This dessert wine with vanilla and caramel notes is “incredibly good with milk chocolate and peanut brittle,” Buchanan says.

 WON’T BREAK THE BANK: $15-$20 LOUIS LATOUR MACON-VILLAGES CHAMEROY 2013 - $16.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT - $17.98 (SavWay)

LOUIS LATOUR POUILLY FUISSE CHARDONNAY $25.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) PIO CESARE BARBERA D’ALBA - $26.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) – This “fresh and fruit-forward” wine is Buchanan’s pick to serve alongside an Italian dinner, particularly if it is spicy or garlicky.

SIMONET-FEBVRE BRUT ROSE - $18.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) - From the Burgundy region of France, this pink and bubbly wine “is consistently MOET CHANDON IMPERIAL - $29.98 (SavWay) WORTHY SOPHIA CABERNET - $29.99 (SavWay) excellent,” says Buchanan. “It’s everything it should be.”  SOPHISTICATED PEDRONCELLI RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR - $18.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) QUINTA DE LA ROSA RUBY RESERVE PORT $19.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) - This Portuguese port wine is a “perfect pairing with dark


PALATE: $30-$50

BRANDBORG WINES LOVE PUPPETS PINOT NOIR - $34.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar) – “When you don’t know anything about the tastes of the person you’re buying this for, you can’t go wrong with a pinot noir,” says Buchanan. “And


Moet Chandon Imperial

$29.98 onsale

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut

$24.98 onsale

Roederer Estate Brut

$17.98 onsale

Bellini Cipriani


this is a very impressive pinot noir, with a really cute label and a great story behind the name thanks to love notes the vineyard owners would pass to each other, which they called ‘love puppets.’”

Gruet Brut Sparkling

$11.98 onsale


 EXTRAVAGANT EXPERIENCE: $50+ BILLECART- SALMON EXTRA BRUT - $58 (Geneva Wine Cellar) – “It’s the perfect pairing with caviar,” says Buchanan. ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT ROSE 2006 - $64.99 normally (Geneva Wine Cellar) – The rose will be on sale the week before Valentine’s Day. “It’s pink and bubbly, so people think it’s sweet, but it’s definitely not,” says Buchanan. “I had three bottles of this over the holidays. It’s magnificent.”

Hinsdale • Geneva • St. Charles




Love for Livia New Geneva restaurant fuses family, friends and ‘new’ Italian fare By ALLISON HORNE | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN

Livia Italian Eatery is so much more than just a restaurant. Restaurateur Brian Goewey and his culinary partner Michael Bomberger are the brains behind the new Italian eatery, which brings their friendship, family values and locally sourced food to each and every table. Livia isn’t the first time the duo has worked together and found success. They met at work in Columbus, Ohio. After 10 years of working together, they both moved away to start their own restaurant concepts. But it didn’t take long for the two to reunite. Goewey has launched Fire + Wine in Glen Ellyn and GIA MIA in Geneva and Wheaton, but he was hoping to open a new restaurant and asked Bomberger to take on the task with him. Bomberger agreed, and the concept for Livia was born. The first location in Geneva has been open for eight months, while a second location opened in Elmhurst just eight weeks ago. “We decided to do an Italian concept because that’s what we enjoy,” Bomberger says. “We love to challenge each other, and create, and be that entrepreneurial spirit. Brian [Goewey] and I collaborate on the menu together, and we actually cook them together.”

Not only does the duo work together, but they also spend plenty of time together with their families outside of work. When they say they treat each other and everyone in their restaurants like family – they mean it. GIA MIA is named after Goewey’s daughter, Gia, and Livia is named after Goewey’s oldest daughter. “We think of ourselves as one big family – not just a big conglomerate company,” Bomberger says. “That’s how you lose touch with the people and you lose touch with the guests.” Bomberger, who has been living in Geneva for around nine months, is Goewey’s culinary partner and helps run all five of the restaurants currently under the BG Hospitality Group umbrella. “Really the key for Brian [Goewey] and I, and what stands out, is our people,” Bomberger says. “From our management to our chef’s team, they’re the front line. They really embrace the concepts, the food and the guest experience.” Aside from the people, the real star at Livia is the food. While it’s an Italian restaurant with classic dishes, Bomberger and Goewey are constantly collaborating to make new and creative items that are hard to find in the suburbs.

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If you go

LIVIA ITALIAN EATERY 207 S. Third Street | Geneva 630-402-6444



February Special!


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ALL MONTH LONG! Dine-in ONLY. Not valid with any other offer. Beverage purchase required.

ROOKIES 1 ST. CHARLES 1545 W. Main St. St. Charles P: 630.513.0681 F: 630.513.1030 SM-CL1495721

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WWW.ROOKIESPUB.COM “Rookies All American Pub & Grill”

Join us for... Sunday Brunch 10am to 1pm

“We want to be more new Italian,” Bomberger says. “I think you can see that in our menu and the flavor profiles we put out there.” Some of the notable items include flatbreads with a cauliflower crust option, zucchini mozzarella fritters, crab toast, meat and cheese plates, and short rib and braised kale risotto. Bomberger notes that the kids’ menu also is not just a bunch of fried junk, but rather, small portions of salmon and filet. Weekend brunch with extravagant bloody Marys is extremely popular, and Bomberger plans on having a special prix fixe meal for Valentine’s Day. “Livia is really based on small plates, flatbreads, and a lot of great farm-to-table salad items and locally sourced meats,” Bomberger says. “You can get a lot of these items in the big city if you want to take the train out there, but – really – people are blown away by what we do with the food and our price point.” Not only is the food sourced locally, the alcohol is too. Livia serves Geneva-based Penrose Brewery beers and Fox River Distilling Company spirits.

Try Stockholm’s Raider’s Root Beer (ABV 7.5%)

“When we get into these communities, we want to be involved and embedded,” Bomberger says. “That’s really where we want to be.” Livia may have just opened a new location in Elmhurst, but the duo is looking forward to expanding again with a new concept in Hinsdale. “I love to put out a dish to a guest and have them look at it and see the ‘wow’ on their face,” Bomberger says. “That’s just kind of what we do. Eat to live, love to eat.”




CITY AUTO • From Major Collision Damage to Minor Dent & Scratch Repair

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is inatthe Air Your Local Butcher

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Residential, Commercial and Municipal

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Engstrom Plaza • 716 W. State St., Geneva 630-262-1878 • DINING & ENTERTAINING


Aurora Country Club Bringing Your Vision to Life

weddings - showers - parties - golf outings - meetings


DESIGN Timeless bridal fashions

With dreamy, sweeping allure, the Zamara dress by Maggie Sottero has a vintage vibe with lace motifs and a sophisticated attention to detail. Dress available at The Crystal Bride 207 W. State St., Geneva 630-397-5040

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Accented in Swarovski crystals, the fit-and-flare Khloe gown by Sottero and Midgley is both sexy and refined.

Dress available at The Crystal Bride 207 W. State St., Geneva 630-397-5040 |

-Continued on page 34 32 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


Absolute Elegance in Bridal Hair & Air Brush Makeup Artistry


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2002 W. Main Street, Ste P, St. Charles • 630-587-4100

Chicago & All Suburbs For Your Personal Consultation, Call 630-587-0111



Vineyard & Winery

Specialty Wine Glasses & Champagne Flutes for All Occasions Add a Bottle of Wedding Cake Wine with a Delicious Almond Flavor ~ Makes for a Great Gift!

TAILOR, NEEDLE & THREAD 2000 W Main Street St Charles, IL 60174 630.549.6048

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See Our Wide Selection of Wine Accessories & Gifts

477 South Third, Suite 100, Geneva • 630-232-9463

Winter Hours: Sun - Wed 10 -6 • Thurs - Sat 10 -8




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REFINED ROMANTICISM 1. The Paraguay low-waist mermaid wedding dress by La Sposa offers fanciful flair 2. The long-sleeved Patri dress by La Sposa maintains sensual femininity 3. The Blush bridal collection by Hayley Paige is characterized by casual elegance. Dresses available at Magnolia Bridal 141 S. 1st St., St Charles 630-549-6726






LOCATION Venues that set the tone for a one-of-a-kind wedding By KEVIN DRULEY


edding reservation and preparation transpires at nearly every turn throughout the year. There’s a peak season, but hardly a hiatus when it comes to getting hitched. Couples undoubtedly bring different preferences and wish lists to the process, but the wedding venue often sets the tone for the rest of the event. From a historic theater to a regal estate, here are a few unique locations to consider for a Kane County wedding:


THE PARAMOUNT THEATRE AURORA Aurora’s iconic Paramount Theater appropriately offers a big-ticket backdrop and a staff accustomed to the demands of making everything look, feel and go right. “We produce events for a living every day of our work lives, and we put that same dedication into a wedding,” says Paramount Theatre marketing director Jamie Gronwick. “So, we’re kind of like, let’s make your wedding our next big production. We are definitely event-savvy, and we bring that to the wedding department, as well.” Given the Paramount’s bustling event schedule, the theater itself typically does not house ceremonies. However, the Grand Gallery leading to the theater at 8 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora is a popular option, as is the Meyer Ballroom at the adjacent North Island Center.



The average cost for a 120-person wedding is $9,375 at the Meyer Ballroom and $11,000 at the Grand Gallery. Visit www.paramountaurora. com/weddings or call 630-723-2468 for more information. Paramount Events allows the rental of multiple spaces. Each wedding reservation includes tables, chairs, black or white tablecloths, dining table setup and takedown and four hours of standard open bar at no additional charge. Recently renovated, the Meyer Ballroom offers panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Fox River and Paramount Theater. “You have the downtown area all around you, so there’s many, many photo locations,” Gronwick

Looking for a private dining room to host your next special occasion? Photos provided by The Paramount Theatre in Aurora

says. “Really pretty spots to take photos with all the old buildings and designs and the river. So, it does make a good backdrop for a photo album. And then the Meyer Ballroom itself, because of the windows, it’s like you’re never inside. You still have that outdoor ambiance.”


Quaint country hospitality awaits couples at the Oscar Swan Country Inn, 1800 W. State St., Geneva. Owner Nina Heymann and her staff strive to help couples through every step of the way. “They can choose what they need and want to have, and we talk to them any time throughout the year, while they’re planning, and help them with decisions if they are interested in getting our insight into weddings,” Heymann says. “We’ve been doing them there for about 30 years. … And we’re open to a lot of people’s creativity.” Approaching its 30th anniversary in May, the Oscar Swan abounds with options for ceremonies and receptions on the eightacre property. A front garden area features

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Please call 630-208-8181 and ask to speak to a manager. We’ll help make your next function easy, fun and delicious!

Make Your Event A Memorable One!

Located at the Northeast Corner of Fabyan Pkwy & Kirk Road.

2095 S. Kirk Rd. • Geneva • (630) 208-8181 WEDDING


-Continued from page 37 a modern suspension tent and a special ceremony site. There also is a back garden, which includes access to a renovated 1901 mansion that is used as a bed and breakfast. Further, couples can choose to have their outdoor venues. Visit or call 630-232-0173 for additional information. Heymann says that rates depend on desired guests and amenities, and that guests should bring their appetites. “We’re known for our really, really, really good food, and we do all our cooking on site,” Heymann says. “Almost any time we have an event, people just rave about what we offer, and we can offer almost anything people can think they would like to have.”





Bowes Creek Country Club is an ideal wedding ceremony and reception venue. Perfectly suited to accommodate large celebrations as well as unforgettable intimate events, Bowes Creek Country Club provides a variety of stunning indoor and outdoor spaces to create the wedding of your dreams. Bowes Creek Country Club perfectly melds striking views, a convenient location, and flexiblypriced menu options to make your dream day a success. Menus are planned and executed to perfection by Porter’s Pub culinary team, and all details are personally cared for by our staff, giving you the freedom and peace of mind to truly enjoy your special day. For more information regarding hosting your wedding or special event at Bowes Creek Country Club, please contact Denise at 847-214-5877

1250 Bowes Creek Blvd, Elgin, Il 60124 | 847-214-5880 |



A restored space that dates to the late 19th Century, and once housed dairy and piano businesses, among others, The Haight stands out to those who visit the venue at 166 Symphony Way in Elgin. That’s what the staff is aiming for. “You only get one day,” reads a section of The Haight’s weddings website, “let’s make it memorable.” Couples who rent The Haight can access 9,000 square feet of urban chic space that encompasses two floors. The space includes custom-built farm tables and round tables, two bars and two private suites. An event and venue manager helps couples create a floor plan, outline a full wedding timeline and find the perfect space for personal items. The Haight can seat up to 250 guests, and also can house a ceremony for 175. Staff recommends a guest count of at least 75 to fully enjoy the benefits of the space, which includes deck access during peak wedding season. The deck is available at an additional charge for weddings held in non-peak season. The venue does not stipulate a minimum catering requirement. Visit www. or call 224-801-4166 for more information.

A distinct venue for your perfect celebration .C




Bridal Showers • Rehearsal Dinners Ceremonies and/or Receptions





SINCE 1911



Baker Community Center 101 S. Second Street • St. Charles, IL 60174 • 630-584-1055 •

Romantic MANSIONS Five stately escapes in the Midwest By KELSEY O’CONNOR

Photos provided


here’s something special about historic mansions that can’t be duplicated by a modern hotel. These sprawling Midwestern estates have been converted into bed and breakfasts with modern amenities, luxurious accommodations and plenty of oldworld charm.


Whether you want to cuddle up by the fire, stroll through exquisite gardens or enjoy a massage in your suite, staying overnight in a mansion just might have everything you need for a romantic weekend escape. Check out these swoon-worthy Midwestern retreats that are perfect for couples:


 Vrooman Mansion

BLOOMINGTON • 877-346-6488 Situated in the heart of town, the Vrooman Mansion is an historic estate in a quiet neighborhood. The spacious rooms, each named for a prominent local family that has stayed at the mansion, have been carefully decorated with antique period furniture. Suites include down pillows, microfiber robes, fluffy towels and quality bed linens. Built in 1869, the picturesque Victorian home was stripped of its character during previous expansions. Since then, the mansion has been lovingly and meticulously restored to its former glory with authentic, Romanesque details. For a night on the town, catch a classic film at the Normal Theater – a breathtakingly restored art deco theater from the 1930s.

 Alexander Mansion

This historic bed and breakfast is nestled WINONA, MINNESOTA along the scenic bluffs along the Mississippi River. Built in 1886, the mansion has been 507-474-4224 completely renovated with careful detail and Victorian-era antiques. Chat with other guests at wine and cheese socials and gourmet breakfasts, or retreat to your spacious suite. The five guest rooms are each uniquely decorated and feature a luxurious bed and deep-soaking tubs. If


you’re looking for even more relaxation, massage services also are available. Outside the mansion, sample local wine at two nearby vineyards or head out on the Great River Road Wine Trail to explore wineries throughout the region. The area also has cycling, skiing, kayaking, golfing, fishing and more.

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Photos provided

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 Beiger Mansion

MISHAWAKA, INDIANA • 574-256-0365 The palatial mansion was originally built in 1908 as a private home for a wealthy entrepreneur who had served in the Civil War. In 1973, the neoclassical structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, everyone can experience its elegance and opulence. The mansion has been converted into a luxurious bed and breakfast that features six guest rooms, a pool, workout facility and gardens. In town, guests can stroll along the banks of the St. Joseph River or visit the Snite Museum of Art on the nearby Notre Dame campus. 42 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

Photos provided

 The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant SAUGATUCK, MICHIGAN • 269-857-5777

Often referred to as Mini-Versailles, this boutique bed and breakfast blends European elegance and small-town charm. The inn boasts the style and sophistication of a big-city hotel in a quaint and calm area, just two miles from downtown Saugatuck. There are 10 guest rooms, including three suites, each with their own fireplace and private bath. And there’s no shortage of romance. Guests can opt for extra amenities, such as the popular “Lover’s Package,” which includes a cheese plate, flower arrangement, bottle of wine, and a one-hour massage for two. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon tea or a cocktail in the library, sunroom or on the wrap-around veranda. The on-site restaurant features a seasonal, prix fixe menu. The surrounding area offers a variety of activities, with beautiful beaches, sweeping dunes and a bustling downtown. TRAVEL



Let us cater to you!

Photos provided

 The Inn at Irwin Gardens

COLUMBUS, INDIANA • 812-376-3663

Our Park and Banquet Facility is on 26 Beautiful acres, that makes us ideal setting for your next event. You tell us! We’ll do all the work, you just come and enjoy!

Banquet Facility Rental

Playground - Baseball Diamond Volleyball - Bags and more!

South Pavilion

Mobile Catering

This small-town gem is so picturesque that it was featured in scenes from the film “Columbus,” a recent Sundance hit starring John Cho. The Victorian home is certainly worthy of the silver screen. It’s changed little in the past century, and has even retained its original fixtures, furniture and decorations.


The gardens surrounding the inn are just as historic. First planted in 1910, they were inspired by a garden excavated at Pompeii. Today, the Italianate garden is open to the public and features ornate terraces, wisteria-covered pergolas, and bubbling water features. The gardener’s cottage has been converted into a health spa, with yoga, skincare, massage and more. Outside the garden walls, Columbus is home to many noteworthy architectural feats. Visitors can rent a bike and explore the 20 miles of trails that wind through the heart of town.


(main pavilion) For All occasions up to 240 people

(with trailer and crew)

Contact us today for more information 500 Filmore St., Elburn 630.365.6315 • 630.365.6362 Fax

Like us on Facebook Elburn Lions Club




The GlassHalf-Full Guy:



here’s a saying that goes around in the travel community, “life is just time in between trips.” And how true that is. Heck, most the time I’m planning my next trip while I’m still on a trip. Ever since my first road trip to the Badlands in South Dakota – piled in an old Jeep – I’ve been hooked. There also have been times when life took a turn, and it seemed my dear love of travel had abandoned me. At one time, I even said to myself: “Well those years I traveled were the best years of my life. Now it’s time to grow up.” I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself and, instead, I journeyed on. Here’s how I know that I’m in a lifelong relationship with travel:




Over the holidays, I traveled up to New England to mountaineer the ice-covered mountains in the Adirondacks. I posted some photos online, and a friend asked me how I have the time to do these trips. My reply was something a gentleman told me years ago, “You will never have time for anything in life, you must make it.”

All things worthwhile in life involve sacrifice. My reality is that I can’t have it all.

I try to take that advice as much as possible. It’s necessary because I don’t have a magical hour glass that creates extra time. Like the rest of the world, my tray is full. Finding the time means planning ahead and making time for what really matters. The time begins to open up where the excuses end.


Sometimes the decision might be a new wardrobe or a surfing trip to Costa Rica. Other times it means staying late at work or picking up a second job to fund an adventure. There is plenty of grinding and hard work that goes into the preparation of epic traveling. The way I look at it is, for each situation I restrain from splurging now is one more day I get to spend exploring the world. When you find something you love, it’s always worth the sacrifice.

 BALANCE Eventually, every adventure ends. Only a small fraction of people have found a way to travel and work indefinitely – and that’s OK! There are many ways to maintain a balanced life with loads of travel. I always appreciate traveling because I work so hard to get myself there. I also appreciate my return, which provides a break from the spontaneity of wanderlust. All healthy relationships have a balance of give and take. If you travel too much, it becomes ordinary; it can lose its luster. You don’t travel enough and the passion can wither away. Each person finds his or her own balance.

 HONESTY A large hurdle of travel is having a career. But I get a lot of support from the people around me. I am always honest and upfront about my passion for travel with my employer. That way, we’re able to make sacrifices for each other and we both keep our values respected.


Everybody has things that they love. And everybody has things that get in the way of what they love. Such a dilemma is life and is – simply – a part of the journey.

A distinct venue for your perfect celebration Bridal Showers • Rehearsal Dinners Ceremonies and/or Receptions

u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world.

3795 Campton Hills Road • St. Charles, IL 60175 • 630-513-4399 • TRAVEL






Career coach Cynthia K. Wade supports those seeking a second chance By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY


t’s Cynthia K. Wade’s job to provide support and resources to help others find a job of their own. And for those candidates facing struggles, she also lends a sympathetic ear, as she has walked in many of their shoes – stretching a paycheck, asking for help to pay bills and accepting assistance to keep food on the table. She’s been fired from a job when a company downsized. She was a single mom. And, at one point, she hit bottom, reaching a point where she considered whether her life was even worth living. But she wasn’t ready to give up. “I could do the things I’ve always done or I could do something new,” Wade says. “I decided to try something really different.”

probably one of the strongest persons I know and with the most perseverance. It hasn’t always been easy … but she believes in it so much, she’ll do what is necessary to be able to see things through.” Each week at, Wade meets with people seeking work. Clients include recent college graduates, those seeking a career change and those in need of employment. Wade sees each person who walks through the door and tailors a plan to help him or her based on individual needs and goals.

“I’m just getting started. I have big dreams.”

Though she is helping others to find work, Wade doesn’t accept a salary. She uses the fees garnered from services to support – CYNTHIA K. WADE the nonprofit and utilizes The former executive recruiter volunteers and interns to says she didn’t want to go back to corporate lend a hand in the office. With her experience as work and the financial struggles of working on a recruiter, she has the tools to help clients get a commission. So, at age 60, she decided to their resumes noticed. create a company and do the work she loved. She combined her skills with job placement, her experience with nonprofit work and marketing, and – in spring of 2014 – she launched do-over. me, a career counseling nonprofit. This spring will mark the nonprofit’s fourth anniversary and, for Wade, there is no time to slow down and celebrate. She has plans for more. “She is probably the definition of persistence,” says Wade’s daughter, Kate Kaplan. “She’s

She’s also created programming, such as improv classes, designed to help clients boost their confidence and skills. This spring, she plans to launch Guiding Lights to be able to pair clients with volunteers in the community who can serve as a model and advocate for those seeking employment. She’s also backing “Faces of the Fox,” a project to showcase the diversity in the area.

dreams.” Wade says the struggles of her past fuel her determination for the future. “I know what it’s like to not have money to be financially strong,” Wade says. “But I didn’t let it define me. I try hard to hold my head up high. People lose a job – a title – and they start to think they’re a failure, and it’s not true. Everyone needs to believe that about themselves.”

“I’m just getting started,” Wade says. “I have big




gardener? I


n the dead of winter, we plant people gather around a full pot of coffee and a space heater to discuss the upcoming season.

We look back on the previous year’s numbers. We talk about trends we noticed. We brainstorm new ideas. We look with hope and optimism toward the coming growing season (that hopefully will start before July this year). One of the trends we are noticing is that many people who visit us don’t consider themselves “gardeners.” Merriam-Webster defines a “gardener” as someone who spends time cultivating plants and tending to a garden for pleasure or recreation. Pretty vague definition, if I do say so myself, but it also includes a multitude of people who don’t usually see themselves as gardeners.


Do you spend time working the soil so you can plant vegetables or perennials or even a tree or two? Then you are a gardener! Do you love to pull weeds because of the satisfaction it brings when the garden is clear and perfect? You are a gardener! Did you trim back your perennials last fall and put them to bed for the year? Gardener.

Did you hire a professional to help you with your yard? Still a gardener, but also a good delegator. Did you research plants that attract birds to your yard? Wildlife gardener. Did you have dirt under your fingernails and clippers in your pocket at least once last year? Gar-den-er. Do you like to just wander among the plants at your local garden center? Stalker. Oops! I mean gardener. HOME & LIFESTYLE

The bottom line is – don’t let a term define how you enjoy the outdoors. If you see something marketed to “gardeners,” that’s YOU! You don’t have to be good at it. You don’t have to do it for a living. (We all started off in the same place you are, by the way.) You just have to enjoy it. So, put a new skill on your life’s resume, pick up that shovel, and get to work. Make it your New Year’s resolution to visit a family-owned garden center or farmer’s market at least once a week. Find a corner in your yard to start a fairy garden; grow an extra tomato plant so that you can donate your harvest; try out that new hydrangea that we are all buzzing about; read a book about garden design; or visit the Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanic Gardens to soak in their magnificence. All of these things make you a gardener, and you should be proud of it.

Gardening is one of the oldest skillsets and can be done at any skill level. So, embrace your inner gardener and enjoy the coming growing seasons. But also remember that you have the entire local gardening community to help you out, and we’re a likable bunch. ď ľ Meagan Provencher is the Senior Landscape Designer for Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles. She can be reached at 630-584-4424 or design@





Finding your way to a healthy heart By JONATHAN BILYK Many of the patients Kunal Karmali meets will know the general keys to maintaining the health of their hearts and cardiovascular systems: proper diet, exercise, perhaps some medication and keeping in touch with your doctor. Those are all things that most people know from years of hearing about them in reports, bulletins and presentations from news media, the government and, of course, their doctors. But Karmali, a cardiologist practicing at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, says the disconnect for many comes over the question of what kind and how much of those elements they should incorporate into their lives.

says are some simple steps to improve heart health, at any age. The “Simple 7” center on managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, getting active, eating better, losing weight and quitting smoking. While not a part of that campaign, Karmali indicated that he believed no one would go wrong by following the Simple 7 suggestions to improving heart health. Similar to the Simple 7 campaign, Karmali noted that some of the suggestions are simpler than others. For instance, he noted everyone could begin immediately by simply walking 10 to 15 minutes more every day. Then, he says, increase the walking time by about 5 minutes each week, until total walking time is at least 30 minutes a day.

beverages, such as soda, from their diet. “The benefits of those things are pretty clear,” he says. From there, he recommends adopting a more holistic approach to foods, rather than a specific diet plan or focus on particular nutrients and so-called “superfoods.” “We’re inundated with diet fads, with superfoods, but there’s not a lot of evidence to back those up,” Karmali says. “Instead, we emphasize a healthy pattern, with meals that include fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, fish and low-fat dairy.”

“It’s a great sort of addition,” Karmali says.

People who may suffer from a higher risk of cardiovascular disease should also talk to their doctors about the benefit of medications that have been proven safe and effective at reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, among other factors known to increase heart disease risk, Karmali says.

“And people are generally surprised by that,” he adds.

From there, he and the AHA recommended that people work on what they eat and drink.

“It’s not a question of medication or healthy lifestyle, it’s both together,” Karmali says.

In February, as Americans turn their attention to affairs of the heart due to Valentine’s Day, it’s also worth noting that this month is American Heart Month.

Julia Kersey, a spokeswoman for the AHA in Chicago, acknowledged that seemingly conflicting reports on diet and nutrition could add confusion to the process.

Karmali and the AHA agree that everyone should know the most important element of improving heart health – that it’s never too late to start making beneficial changes.

While Valentine’s Day may deal with the heart in abstract, for many doctors and the American Heart Association, among others, the month represents a chance to talk with people about the condition of the actual, physical organ.

But she says that the AHA recommends sticking with diets focused on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet plan.

“Every little bit counts,” Karmali says. “Even small changes in lifestyle can have significant benefits.”

“A lot of people, for example, think they need to run miles every day to get the benefits for their heart from exercise,” Karmali says. “But, in reality, the important part is just to be physically active. Even just 10 to 15 minutes a day can generate results.”

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, with related conditions claiming around 630,000 American lives each year, nearly a quarter of all deaths in the U.S.

People can begin immediately improving their health by increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables, says Karmali, while also reducing or eliminating sugar-sweetened

To combat the sustained prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the country, the American Heart Association has launched its “Life’s Simple 7” campaign, designed to help encourage Americans to learn what the AHA 50 | FEBRUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


START THE NEW YEAR BY VOLUNTEERING By Anderson Animal Shelter Featured Sponsor DePaw University Canine Campus With every new year, comes new resolutions and goals. Why not make one of them getting involved in a local nonprofit? You can make a significant difference in your community and world. At Anderson Animal Shelter (South Elgin, North Aurora & Bloomingdale), volunteers (ages 18 and up) are not only important, but they are an integral part of the daily business, operation and success of the shelter.


Individuals or groups that volunteer dedicate time to helping with animal enrichment activities, cleaning kennels or cages, assisting with adoption events, offering foster care support, assisting at fundraising and outreach events, preparing mailings, sharing expertise, skills and more. Our extensive adult volunteer program enables individuals or groups to become involved in helping the shelter according to their own personal interests, skills and talents. Do you

have an hour a week, or even just an hour per month? Corporate groups, service, social and civic groups are welcome. Each volunteer, regardless of their role and amount of time they spend at the shelter, play an instrumental role in the organization. Utilizing volunteers to assist with daily tasks allows the shelter to save money and to direct resources and staff time where most needed. The shelter utilizes volunteers 365 days a year and typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Every volunteer and every hour makes a difference! For more information on how you as an individual, or a group or company can volunteer please visit or call (847) 697-2880.

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100 S. Glengarry Dr., Geneva, IL 60134 • 630-232-8663 •


IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES! Savvy seniors know the secret to ‘successful aging’ By CAROL HAGGAS


here was a time when it seemed that the most exercise a senior citizen got was from pushing back the recliner and hitting the buttons on a remote. Now, the concept of “successful aging” has turned these notions upside down. The over-55 age group may represent one of the fastest growing demographics for gym memberships, but proponents of productive aging know that there’s more to life than keeping physically fit. It’s also necessary to keep one’s mental and emotional health in peak shape. Giving one’s brain a workout through games that sharpen the mind and new experiences that encourage socialization are every bit as important as exercises that focus on increasing muscle strength and flexibility. “For seniors, keeping the mind active, as well as having access to a social atmosphere, is vital for mental well-being,” says Taylor Krawczyk, Adult Activity Center supervisor for the St. Charles Park District. Located in the Pottawatomie Community Center, the AAC is a one-stop shop for a variety of scheduled and drop-in programming designed to fire up those mental synapses and jump-start friendly interactions. Regular drop-in programs to play games, such as pinochle, Mahjongg and bridge, provide daily opportunities to exercise the “brain muscles.” Brain muscles? Just like lifting weights

strengthens arms and shoulders, playing bridge or doing puzzles can work specific parts of the brain responsible for complex thought and memory formation. Even the act of picking up cards or game pieces has its benefits, as these actions improve fine motor skills and dexterity. Such mental gymnastics are the focus of a new AAC program called “Brain Games” being offered this winter. Scheduled for March 15, the onehour session (10 to 11 a.m.) will provide a gentle mental workout by playing games that sharpen the mind. For additional fun, participants are encouraged to bring a friend and compete during activities, such as crosswords, Sudoku, word jumbles and puzzles. The “Brain Games” event also will encourage participants to share their favorite activities with others in hopes that participants will find an enjoyable past time to keep the mind active. “Doing games, such as these, doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit,” says Krawczyk. “A little competition between friends can be so much fun.” Laughter really is the best medicine, and games often encourage laughter. Not only is laughing a great ice breaker, but it can have quantifiable health benefits, such as reducing stress and releasing mood-enhancing endorphins. Fun also is the name of the game during the


AAC’s “Funtastic Fridays!” outings. Once a month, the AAC conducts day trips to local area attractions, such as the Aurora Regional Fire Museum or Chicago History Museum. Sometimes the group will dedicate an entire day to exploring a nearby town, such as Elmhurst, where participants can learn about the art and science of polishing stone at the The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art or tour the 19th-century mansion that is home to the Elmhurst History Museum. “There are so many activities right in our own backyard that we haven’t heard of that need to be explored,” says Krawczyk. Other trips on the AAC’s winter roster include a “Thrift Shop Hop” on Feb. 7; a visit to Geneva mainstays, such as the Hi-Hat Resale shop and Always In Style shop; a performance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this month; or a chance to watch the Chicago Steel junior hockey league in action in March. “The greatest feedback we constantly hear from participants about their favorite part of the AAC is the friendships they make by attending multiple events throughout the park district,” says Krawczyk.  For more information about the St. Charles Park District Adult Activity Center’s regular programs and special event activities, contact Taylor Krawczyk at 630-513-4324. KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 53

Book Nook


February may be one of the coldest months of the year, but it also is a great time to fall in love with a good book. There are plenty of straightforward stories in novels and movies about two people falling in love, but both cynics and die-hard romantics can appreciate books that explore the complexity that stems from romance. If you’d like to take a more cerebral approach to love this Valentine’s season, consider these investigations into what romance is all about.

 ‘THE ANSWERS’ By Catherine Lacey In Catherine Lacey’s novel “The Answers,” the premise is simple: Mary Parsons, sick with a painful, unnamed disease, takes on a well-paying second job in a research study called “The Girlfriend Experiment.” Her role is to play the “emotional girlfriend” to a celebrity actor/writer, Kurt Sky, whose failure in romance affects his creative output. It’s difficult to talk about the story without spoiling some of the strange surprises, but as you can imagine, the scenario isn’t as simple as the researchers and subjects involved in the study would hope. Both the main characters, as well as their close acquaintances, are jolted around as the experiment continues. Lacey mirrors the twists in her winding storytelling, which frequently shifts perspective and jumps around in time, effectively showing how small choices affect our long-term romantic prospects. As the characters ask questions about love – Why does it happen? How does it begin? – I found myself asking the same. While the book itself isn’t romantic, it’ll leave you thinking about what romance really is and re-affirm why love is something that we all need.

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.


 ‘HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES’ By Carmen Maria Machado “Her Body and Other Parties” is Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, but it’s written with the maturity and nuance of a writer at the height of her career. The stories in this National Book Award nominee feature women in various types of romances – some healthy, some troubled – and how those relationships reflect and relate to overall happiness. Some stories are more romantic than others, but a common thread is that the stories have a fantasy or science fiction element in them. In the short story “Inventory,” the main character outlines the lovers she’s had in her life, both before and after a highly contagious virus has wiped out most of mankind. “Especially Heinous” imagines “Law & Order: SVU” with creatures, like demons and doppelgangers. In this version of the show, however, the complex romantic tension between Stabler and Benson takes up much more of the story than the TV show it’s based on. The short story “Real Women Have Bodies” is about a young adult woman in her first serious relationship, but it’s set in a world where many women’s bodies are gradually fading away like ghosts. Machado’s writing is smooth and sleek, and you’ll fall in love with her silken prose and knack for writing about love.


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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.”









he highly-sought work of nationally known sculptor Ray Kobald can be seen on display in private collections, and in courtyards, galleries, parks and public and private buildings across the country. “From the Waters Comes My Bounty” depicts a young fisherman exiting the river with his full catch of the day. The bronze sculpture “Like the Stars” shows a couple embracing under the stars, while vowing their eternal love, says Kobald. “This is a new style and piece for me,” says Kobald of the sculpture of the couple. “Patrons like the simple lines of the figure or figures. I am currently creating a threefoot version of this sculpture.” For more than two decades, Kobald has been creating whimsical art in mixed media and bronze sculptures. Native American culture is a common theme seen in the artist’s work. A passion for the arts led Kobald to pursue a degree in industrial art and design, with a minor in fine arts from Bradley University in Peoria. He continued his fine art education at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. Also a painter and printmaker, Kobald taught art for years while pursuing a passion in woodcrafts and painting, as well as sculpture. Kobald completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Instituto Allende, part of the University of Guanajuata in Mexico, which is where the artist developed a love of sculpture. After receiving his master’s degree, Kobald began working as a senior interior designer for Northern Illinois University, while also teaching art and design at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.  To view more of Kobald’s work, visit

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 KaneCountyMagazine@, subject head “Local Artist Submission.”




FIND A CURE FOR CANCER SCAVENGER HUNT WHEN: (Registration ends Feb. 5) 6 p.m. Thursday, March 8 WHERE: Riverside Receptions 35 N. River Lane, Geneva

THE OLD HOUSE NEW HOUSE HOME SHOW WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, through Sunday, Feb. 11 WHERE: Pheasant Run Resort 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles

Find a Cure for Cancer Scavenger Hunt will raise funds for LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva. Those interested need to create a team of four, a cellphone, and a general knowledge of downtown Geneva. Costumes are encouraged. Registration ends Feb. 5. For more information, visit

Update, renovate and revitalize home surroundings with The Old House New House Home Show at the Pheasant Run Mega Center and Ballroom. The event will feature displays from 300 contractors, designers, craftsmen, national brands and industry innovators. Attendees can explore the latest in kitchens, baths, basements, additions, landscaping, interior design, architecture, exteriors, painting, tile, floors and more. There will be daily workshops to spark ideas for spring home improvements, as well. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit the Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley. For more information, visit

‘CABARET’ AT PARAMOUNT ARTS CENTER WHEN: Times vary; Wednesday, Feb. 7, through Sunday, March 18 WHERE: Paramount Theatre 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora “Cabaret” is one of the most well-known Broadway musicals of all time. In “Cabaret,” it’s the early 1930s in Berlin, and life is changing. On the horizon is an ugly and dangerous threat, but that’s no concern for sensational cabaret singer Sally Bowles whose only goal in life is to have a good time. Sally soon finds herself living with a young writer visiting from America to work on a new novel. While their relationship moves beyond just being friends, around them the lives of citizens go from ordinary to a nightmare. Rated PG-13 for strong language, adult content and partial nudity. Tickets range from $36 to $64. For tickets or more information, visit


present cast members of “Wicked,” “Hairspray” and “Rock of Ages.” Tickets cost $20. For tickets or more information, visit entertainment/mainstage-theater.aspx.

‘SUMMER OF LOVE 1967’ WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 WHERE: Mainstage Theater at Pheasant Run Resort 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles “Summer of Love 1967” is a flower-powered tribute to the music that still resonates 50 years later. Songs were culled from surveys of Chicago’s – then – powerhouse AM radio stations, WLS and WCFL, as well as the Billboard Magazine Charts. Attendees will hear music from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Mama’s & Papa’s, The Monkees, The Doors, Turtles, Lulu, The Buckinghams, Jefferson Airplane, The Young Rascals and more. This 90-minute show is performed by past and

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The Harvest restaurant will host a three-course dinner event this Valentine’s Day. Diners will enjoy farm-to-fork dining for $49.95 a person (doesn’t include tax or gratuity). Menu items include the Surf and Turf – 6-ounce Maine lobster tail, 5-ounce filet mignon, mascarpone whipped potatoes and vegetables – and French Roasted Chicken – organic chicken, raw honey herb mix, truffle asparagus and creamy Asiago risotto – among others. Reservations fill quickly. Call 630-584-6300 to reserve a table. For more information, visit ‘THREE THE HARD WAY’ WHEN: Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays, running Feb. 23 through March 18 WHERE: Steel Beam Theatre 111 W. Main St., St. Charles In “Three the Hard Way,” by Lisa Eisenstein and directed by Ann Keen, how far must sisters go to come together? About as far as a Reno, Nevada motel room it seems. Three strong sisters take steps to reconnect, grieve and reframe their past – and future – in this surprising comedy. Winner of the Gilmore Creek Play Competition, “Three the Hard Way” is a Midwest premiere at Steel Beam. For more information, call 630-587-8521. For more information, visit



VALENTINE’S DINNER AT THE HARVEST WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 14 WHERE: Harvest Restaurant at Pheasant Run Resort 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles

The Natural Resources Committee of Geneva will host its seventh annual Wine, Cheese, and Trees fundraiser. A ticket gets an attendee three wine pours or two craft beers, live music, artisanal cheeses and appetizers. There will be a live auction with trips, sports tickets and more. All of the proceeds will be used to replant trees that have been lost to Emerald Ash Borer in Geneva. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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For its second pop-up dinner, FoxFire restaurant will host a five-course meal in honor of Mardi Gras. The menu includes Amuse Bouche (Creole shrimp and grits); seafood gumbo; duck etouffée with dirty rice; jambalaya stuffed pork loin; Brennan’s house filet; and banana foster. For more information, visit

WINE, CHEESE, AND TREES WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 WHERE: Stephen Persinger Recreation Center 3507 Kaneville Road, Geneva

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MARDI GRAS DINNER WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 WHERE: FoxFire, 17 W. State St., Geneva


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KC Mag February 2018  

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