KCC_ KC Magazine November 2021

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County Magazine’s


Readers’ Choice NOVEMBER 2021


Navigating holiday meals with sensitivity and grace



RECHARGE WITH A DAY OUT Take time for yourself at these local spas and salons

Finest Th Things


Celebrating top Kane County businesses in more than 50 categories

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Your Local Butcher HO-KA TURKEYS No Chemicals • No Defrosting Ho-Ka Turkeys are grown in DeKalb County. Open, airy sheds prepare the birds for their move to open ranges when they are six weeks old. When the time comes, they are herded to the plant on foot. This eliminates the stress on the birds created when hauled for hours on a large truck. The result is better quality meat. The birds are grown on a low-energy feed consisting mainly of corn. They are never fed hormones or antibiotics for growth promotion. The most important factor that insures high quality is the tender loving care these birds get during the time they are on the farm. The same people handle these birds from day one, through all the process to the delivery of the dressed product. This fact encourages us to do the very best every day to produce a bird that we can sell with pride. Please Order Early • Pick-Up Tuesday or Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

UR FILL YEO R FOR Z E E R F R! 3# Sirloin Steak WINTE

3# Round Steak 3# T-Bone Steak 3# Sirloin Roast 3# Pot Roast 3# Pork Chops

Try Our Autumn Pasta Specials Butternut Squash Gnocchi Pumpkin Raviolis Try Our Homemade Vodka Sauce

Turkey not to your liking? For Thanksgiving we also have: Prime Rib • Beef Tenderloin Honey Baked Ham • Crown Pork Roast Boneless Pork Roast Italian Beef & Gravy Trays Leg of Lamb

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Engstrom Plaza • 716 W. State Street • Geneva


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NOTE What does it mean to be the finest? This is a question I have asked myself, although in different terms, throughout all stages of life. What does it look like to put forward the finest version of myself? What does it mean to give my finest effort in my job and relationships? How do you make the finest weekend plans, the finest pie crust, the finest use of your time? For local businesses, that question might look something more like: What does it mean to give the finest experience and goods to my customers? This November issue is different than anything Kane County Magazine has done before. We asked readers to vote for their favorites in more than 50 categories, and this issue is a reflection of those results. From categories like best manicure to best sushi, readers took time out of their busy lives to recognize their finest lineup of businesses. We’ve done the same here with our presentation of the winners. For a lineup of the finest gourmet shops,

turn to P. 14. A guide to a romantic date night can be found on P. 38, complete with options for martinis, steaks and dinner on the waterfront. Hearing from the owners on what sets their businesses apart — what makes them truly the finest — has been a highlight of this issue for me. Last but not least, our cover and inside photo spread (P. 8-12) provides a visual look at these award-winning options. Our team had a blast spending a day galivanting around the Tri-Cities, showing off the winning businesses with dynamic photos. A look at those pages alone will show you how companies all across Kane County are providing residents with the finest quality of life. Thanks for reading!

Hannah Hoffmeister, Editor

on the


Lindsay Gierke is ready to shop on Geneva’s Third Street; see more on P. 8. Photo by Wendy Greenslade, Locked In Photography. Next month: We get into the holiday spirit — shopping, eating and more. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


PUBLISHER Daily Chronicle & Suburban Weekly Group Laura Shaw 630-709-4497 lshaw@shawmedia.com EDITOR Hannah Hoffmeister 630-427-6263 hhoffmeister@shawmedia.com DESIGNER Allison LaPorta 630-427-6260 alaporta@shawmedia.com LOCAL SALES MANAGER Kane County Chronicle & Niche Publishing Jaclyn Cornell 630-845-5234 jcornell@shawmedia.com CORRESPONDENTS Jonathan Bilyk, Kevin Druley, Patti MacMillan, Katie McCall, Vicki Martinka Petersen, Melissa Rubalcaba Riske, Diane Krieger Spivak, Louise Treeny and Kelley White.

This magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send your request with payment information to Shaw Media, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at subscriptions@shawmedia.com.

Published by Shaw Media 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014



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(630) 991 8700


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KANE COUNTY’S FINEST 8 KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE’S FINEST Celebrating the top businesses in more than 50 categories

HOME & LIFESTYLE 14 ITEMS THAT WILL CATCH YOUR EYE The area's finest gourmet shops are filled with artisanal delights 17 BUILDING A STRONG REPUTATION Hogan Design & Construction specializes in remodeling homes and commercial spaces 18 CARING FOR YOUR HOME These top-rated services will keep your house comfortable, clean and updated 19 DISCOVER THE FINEST TREASURES Kane County’s top gift shops offer one-of-a-kind finds for everyone 22 GARDEN ROOM WITH A VIEW Wasco Nursery on relishing the time spent looking out at your garden each season

HEALTH & WELLNESS 24 GETTING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR SKIN A Q&A with Lora Kassaros at Dermatique Laser and Skin 26 EAT HEALTHY, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE OUT Digestive expert Dr. Tarun Mullick eats at Moto Imoto, a new St. Charles restaurant 28 RECHARGE WITH A DAY OUT If you’re reading this, this is your sign to take some time for yourself 31 THIS TEAM HAS GOAT YOUR BACK Goat Yoga Chicago brings together lovable goats and mental health


BUSINESS & CIVIC 32 GRATEFUL EMPLOYEES Tom McCartney and Sharon Piet on recruiting and retaining talented workers

DINING & ENTERTAINING 34 SUPERIOR SUSHI From Mexican rolls to popcorn spicy crawfish, readers’ choices for best sushi do not disappoint 36 SEASONS’ EATINGS Navigating holiday meals with sensitivity and grace 38 DATE NIGHT, DINNER EDITION A romantic meal is in your future at these award-winning spots

ART & FASHION 41 GRAB A BOOKMARK Two book recommendations to check out in November 42 3 LOCAL SHOWSTOPPING VENUES No need to hold the applause for these beautiful theatres 44 ARTIST OF THE MONTH Georgia Schwender combines her interest in nature with photography and clay 46 SHOPPING SPREE Check out these 14 award-winning stores for an easy guide to your holiday shopping

FAMILY IN FOCUS 47 TELLING GENEVA’S STORY The Geneva History Museum, which is now free, offers an interactive look at local happenings 48 SURVEY SAYS Parks and trails are Park District’s biggest strength 50 A TRIBUTE TO UNCLE RONNY Remembering the man who loved his family, friends and motorcycle fiercely



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County Magazine’s

Finest Photos of model Lindsay Gierke by Locked In Photography


eaders cast more than 9,000 votes in the inaugural year of the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest. Kane County residents nominated businesses in more than 50 categories, all featured within the pages of this November issue. These photos display a sampling of the winners, from shopping to clothing and more.

Thank you to everyone who voted for their favorites!



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Third Street in Geneva is a fantastic place to shop and eat. Mark a day on your calendar soon to visit for your holiday shopping.


This white sweater, cozy hat and gray backpack are from Liz & Kate Boutique. The store is known for its hats, scarves and gloves.

Cafe & Barr was voted the finest coffee shop. Kane County Magazine pro tip: Get your coffee with some extra time to sit and enjoy the calm, comfortable atmosphere.


Head to Motto, the finest men’s shop in Kane County, for gifts for the most important men in your life.

FINEST: CAFE & BARR ONE OF THE FINEST: Graham's 318 Coffeehouse ONE OF THE FINEST: Elder + Oat



FINEST: Motto ONE OF THE FINEST: Stitch Switch Men’s Consignment ONE OF THE FINEST: Men's Wearhouse


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Lindsay Gierke’s hair was done by Meraki Artisan Hair Design. Read more about this salon on P. 28!

She's wearing a stunning bracelet, pendant, strappy watch and diamond earrings from State Street Jewelers.

The Arcada Theatre, which has been a St. Charles staple since 1926, was voted the top live music venue in Kane County Magazine's Finest.


She’s wearing a leather skirt and black blouse with frilled sleeves from House of 423. This store is a recent addition to downtown Batavia!

FINEST: Arcada Theatre ONE OF THE FINEST: RiverEdge Park


FINEST: State Street Jewelers ONE OF THE FINEST: Red Hive Market ONE OF THE FINEST: K Hollis Jewelers


FINEST: Meraki Artisan Hair Design ONE OF THE FINEST: Eddie Caruso ONE OF THE FINEST: Lisa's Heads Or Nails Salon



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FINEST: Peak Fitness & Boutique ONE OF THE FINEST: Orangetheory Fitness ONE OF THE FINEST: Thrive Fitness Club


FINEST: Red Hive Market ONE OF THE FINEST: Cocoon ONE OF THE FINEST: The Little Traveler

For the finest gift shop in Kane County, head to Red Hive Market. Read more on P. 19!

Her Peak Fitness & Boutique sweatshirt, necklace and stretch leggings make the perfect on-the-go outfit for an afternoon out in Kane County.


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FINEST: Liz & Kate Boutique ONE OF THE FINEST: Jeans and a Cute Top Shop ONE OF THE FINEST: Able Shoppe


FINEST: Geneva Wine Cellars and Tasting Room ONE OF THE FINEST: Balmoral Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: The Anvil Club

She wears red jeans, a stylish sweater and jewelry from Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, one of the finest women’s clothing boutiques in Kane County, as voted by readers.

The patio at Geneva Wine Cellars and Tasting Room is a perfect spot to have a glass of white or red when your day of shopping is done.

Bonus find! Her book is from The Gathering, a delightful store located in the Berry House.



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YOUR EYE Kane County Magazine's Finest gourmet shops are filled with artisanal delights, making your holiday shopping easy By Patti MacMillan | Photos provided by all three stores mentioned


ows of amber-colored olive oil bottles, old-fashioned decorative tins filled to the brim with ginger cookies, displays of golden honey — all prove to be very tempting alternatives for customers looking to bypass the grocery store in favor of something more unique. When readers weighed in on their top spots for gourmet finds in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest, three shops — each with their own distinctive flavors — rose to the top.

 THE ROYAL WREN 11 S. Third St., Geneva 331-248-0344 www.theroyalwren.shopsettings.com At The Royal Wren, rustic tables and shelves with industrial hardware and accents are laden with a highly curated assortment of artisanal goodies, from pasta and sauces to tea, wines and craft spirits. Charcuterie boards practically build themselves with a wide selection of jarred spreads as well as imported cheeses and cured meats. Wine by the glass is available for purchase, and customers are invited to sip while they shop or even take a glass to a hidden outdoor space festooned in seasonal decor. “We want The Royal Wren to feel like an extension of our home and we hope to give our customers a very welcoming experience,” says Jen Feltes, who owns the store with her husband, Tom.



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 THE GIFT BOX 310 W. State St., Geneva 630-232-4151 www.genevagiftbox.com Scandinavia looms large and charmingly over shoppers of The Gift Box, which sells all manner of apparel and gifts. Open and familyowned since 1947, the shop also carries overseas culinary delights for those seeking a taste of home or, perhaps, something out of the ordinary. Among the most popular offerings are lingonberry jams, Swedish pancake mixes and packaged dry ingredients for breads, cakes and cookies. A refrigerated case houses herring, cheeses and chocolate, among other items. The holidays mark a can’t-miss time for those honoring the old-world tradition of imbibing in some Swedish glögg. A spice mix contains everything one needs to make the perfect wintertime brew, minus your alcohol of choice.

 THE HALF FULL NEST VINTAGE MARKET 205 W. Main St., West Dundee 224-484-8460 www.thehalffullnest.com An 1880s former church, complete with cathedral-style windows, a pitched roof and an abundance of character, is home to The Half Full Nest Vintage Market. Home furnishings, decor and apothecary items like candles, lotions and soaps with a vintage aesthetic fill the airy space, while its section devoted to gourmet foodstuffs and the like carries an array of teas, coffees, honey and olive oil. Customers can also pick up barbecue sauces and salsas while perusing dishes, glassware and other pieces that help transform a utilitarian kitchen into the heart of a home. Packages of mulling spices are a particular favorite of customers, and items are selected with care and a focus on small-batch and organic products.




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Thank you to everyone who voted in the inaugural year of the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest! We couldn't have made this issue without your participation. We're already looking forward to next year's contest!

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BUILDING A STRONG REPUTATION Hogan Design & Construction specializes in residential, commercial remodeling and custom home construction. By Louise Treeny | Photos provided by Hogan Design & Construction


Master bathrooms remodels were trending earlier this year, Hogan says, adding that whole house renovations have now risen in popularity. If you’re curious about updating your kitchen, basement, bathroom or house in general, the company provides free downloadable pricing guides on its website. “We like people to have expectations on pricing up front,” says Hogan.

f you lived in Geneva between 1925 and 2013, there’s a good chance you passed by or even visited Erday, the men’s clothing store at Third and State streets.

That building now houses women’s clothing store Edie Boutique, Leelyn Smith wealth management firm, Hogan Design & Construction’s inaugural showroom, Haven Design Group's headquarters, an apartment and an Airbnb rental space. The exterior, formerly burgundy, is now a light gray, providing a modern transformation.

Hogan Design & Construction and their project design partner, Haven Design Group, completed the project this past year, gutting the entire inside and restoring the exterior. “We could not be prouder to have been an integral part of this project," says Brian Hogan, president and owner of Hogan Design & Construction. The project was particularly rewarding because the building is “such a big part of Geneva’s landscape,” says Hogan. The company specializes in high-end residential remodeling, commercial renovations and custom home building. Hogan’s company won one of the finest home builders in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest, as voted by readers. The company’s distinction is in large part due to the team and its customer service, says

Hogan. “Everybody has their eye on the same thing,” he says, citing improvement and growth. For the last four to five years, Hogan Design & Construction has provided customer service through an online project software, which provides a login on an app or website. Clients can view their budget, change orders, daily logs of what happened at their home while they were away and more. In addition to the login, every client has a project manager as a main point of contact, whether the project is a home addition or bathroom renovation. This keeps communication open, allowing Hogan Design & Construction to prioritize budgets, consistent timelines and customer service.

Ever-present in the communities in which Hogan Design & Construction serves, as the holiday season of giving approaches, Hogan Design & Construction will once again prioritize their community-based efforts on regional charities. For the last several years, the company has selected a monthly charity for a donation, allowing employees to pick those charities. The initiative, called Project Hope, has expanded to random acts of kindness, scholarships and larger donations than originally planned. “It’s kind of taken on a life of its own,” says Hogan. He was referring to Project Hope, but he could just as easily be pointing to his business as a whole.  HOGAN DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION 21 N. Sixth St., Geneva 630-991-8700 www.hdcbuild.com


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These top-rated services will keep your house comfortable, clean and updated Compiled by Hannah Hoffmeister

We’ve all spent more time at home in the last 18 months. If you’ve been looking to upgrade your space — maybe with landscaping, a room addition or even a pool — look no further for the experts. These are the best companies in the home & garden and professional services categories, as voted by readers in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest.

 CARPET CARE COMPANY FINEST: Claesson Carpet Cleaning ONE OF THE FINEST: Great Guys Cleaning and Concierge ONE OF THE FINEST: Wolf Brothers Carpet & Furniture Inc.  HANDY MAN FINEST: Hogan Design & Construction ONE OF THE FINEST: Propheter Construction  HOME BUILDER FINEST: Havlicek Builders ONE OF THE FINEST: Hogan Design & Construction ONE OF THE FINEST: Ed Saloga Design Build

 MAID SERVICE FINEST: Lemonclean  NURSERY/GARDEN CENTER FINEST: Heinz Brothers Greenhouse ONE OF THE FINEST: Wasco Nursery & Garden Center ONE OF THE FINEST: Platt Hill Nursery  PET BOARDING FINEST: Ruffner’s Luxury Pet Boarding ONE OF THE FINEST: Hightails Hideaway ONE OF THE FINEST: Dogtopia

 PET GROOMER FINEST: Ruffner’s Luxury Pet Boarding ONE OF THE FINEST: Woof Wash ONE OF THE FINEST: Dogtopia  POOL COMPANY FINEST: Hot Tub Tony’s ONE OF THE FINEST: Cada Pools and Spas ONE OF THE FINEST: The Great Escape Batavia  SENIOR CARE FINEST: Covenant Living at the Holmstad ONE OF THE FINEST: Plum Landing Retirement Community ONE OF THE FINEST: Silver Glen Senior Living  55+ COMMUNITY FINEST: Covenant Living at the Holmstad ONE OF THE FINEST: GreenFields of Geneva ONE OF THE FINEST: Carillon at Cambridge Lakes Single Family Ranch Homes



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Discover the Finest Treasures KANE COUNTY’S TOP GIFT SHOPS OFFER ONE-OF-A-KIND FINDS FOR EVERYONE By Kelley White | Photos provided by all three stores mentioned


here’s a bit of magic in shopping for others, finding something that sparks inspiration and puts a little warmth in your heart. Local specialty shops invite you to choose from an endless selection of precious gifts. Look no further than this year’s top honors in the inaugural Kane County Magazine’s Finest contest: Red Hive Market, Cocoon and The Little Traveler. Explore these unique shops where you’ll find the perfect gifts — and, quite possibly, your new favorite store.

First, step into Red Hive Market, a shop with high accolades and fanciful wares located in downtown Batavia. “We have one word that customers use to describe our gifts: whimsical,” says Bridget Johnson, owner of Red Hive Market. “We are a small, sweet and charming vintage shop.” The folks at Red Hive Market prefer to roll up their sleeves and get in on the fun, working with several local artisans and refurbishing goods. “We have


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livable design FO R THE MODE R N HOM E

14 different artisans,” Johnson proudly reveals. “We paint and upcycle furniture and we are very much hands-on.”




A perfect stop for exclusive gifts, Red Hive Market is not a place for wholesale items. Instead, it is a haven for creativity and singular works of art. “You’re not going to find our jewelry at Home Goods,” says Johnson. An establishment steeped in tradition and rich in history, The Little Traveler still thrives after almost a century based out of a historical and beautiful house in downtown Geneva.

WE’RE MOVfoIrNouGr !

“The Little Traveler is the original specialty shop on Third

Street, everything else grew up around it when it started 100 years ago,” says owner Mike Simon. “We’re one of the most special destinations. It’s always gratifying when customers come in, they introduce me to their grandchildren, or they tell me that they came here as a little girl.” The Little Traveler has a gorgeous array of available purchases, offering everything from candles to kitchenware, accessories to baking mixes. The choices are vast — 36 rooms each adorned with its own unique treasures. Simon especially wants customers to check out the store’s expansive Christmas selection. “One of the

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The calming cream tones of the two-story Cocoon in historic downtown Geneva reflect the warm welcome its name evokes. “We’ve been here 26 years,” owner Sherie McGowan says. “The fact that we’ve watched kids

grow into adults and grandparents makes us special and unique.” Not only does Cocoon offer a treasure trove worth of gifts, it does so in a sustainable and creative fashion, filling every bit of its 10-room, two-story structure. “When people come here, it’s like coming to our house, it’s like ‘Cheers,’” says McGowan. “We carry anything from candles and soap, to sofas, artwork and Christmas florals.” Cocoon successfully blends warmth and welcome with great value. According to Cocoon, the store is “a little creative, somewhat eclectic and mostly a really good time.”


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main attractions to the store is our Christmas room which features, by far, the biggest selection of Christmas ornaments and decor in the area,” he says. “And our buyer does an amazing job of finding things that our customers haven’t seen anywhere else.” Make sure to relax after shopping and enjoy a warming cup of tea in their gorgeous tearoom!




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ONE OF THE FINEST: Cocoon ONE OF THE FINEST: The Little Traveler

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hen we were looking for a new home last year, one requirement was a sunroom. I had a sunroom on my last house and couldn’t live without it. Luckily, our new old house has a sun “parlor,” and it’s got a view of almost our entire yard no matter which side you look out. I spend almost every day sitting in my comfy chair looking out the windows at my gardens. Some days I only get a few minutes to reflect; other days, I can actually sit, read and watch the birds flitting about, the grasses swaying in the wind or the snow falling. I have learned by sitting and just staring out the window to appreciate every season that we have here in northern Illinois. It also really helps to have a nice view. I always tell my clients to consider the views out their windows when planning a garden. I know


with a

that I look out the window above my kitchen sink every single day, so that is the view of my garden that I try to keep updated and intriguing. I have a Japanese maple, which I’m guessing is about 25-30 years old, that has a graceful, draping branching structure that shades a hosta and hydrangea garden below it (and its fall color stops traffic!). I have hung several feeders from it and see nuthatch, downy woodpeckers and various other species almost every day. I sometimes find myself staring at them and creating a dialogue in my head of how the bird world works. Do they worry about their kids? Did they volunteer one too many times to bring snacks to football? Are they having a girls’ day out or just trying to sneak a snack before feeding the kids? In my own gardens, I try to have something interesting blooming at all times — there are daffodils and tulips in the spring, hydrangeas for puffs of color all summer, a gorgeous 'Northwinds'

Korean maple that looks to be on fire in fall with the sun setting through it. I planted six different colors of annual salvias this year, and each one is still in full bloom. Just last week the last of my hummingbird friends visited to bulk up before their long flights. I planted some 'Pearl Glam' beautyberry this summer and they are already loaded with deep purple berries. I love to watch passersby on our busy street stop and admire the unusual grasses, hydrangea and giant lavenders I have planted right by our sidewalk. I even cut a bunch of fresh flowers this summer and left them on our walk with sign that said “Take me home and have a great day!” (Always share your garden if you can….)


I can see a large maiden grass swaying in the wind next to the huge 'California Giant' zinnias I tried for the first time. We have already planted 13 new trees at our new house, and we can see each one from inside as well as outside — redbud, magnolia,


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OOM View

katsura, tupelo horse chestnut … so many great trees that have all kinds of interest. For WOW color, I have a 'Holy Grail' hibiscus that will reward me with paper plate-sized red blooms in July and August but still has a few stragglers now in October! All of this color and action just viewed through a few windows! Imagine what you can see if you create a backyard oasis that you can view from every window as well as the outside! I’m already planning for spring to fill the gaps in my views. It might just help that long winter go a little faster. Take some good notes at this

Meagan is the Senior Landscape Designer at Wasco Nursery in St. Charles. She can be reached at 630-584-4424 or design@wasconursery. com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Let us grow them into the garden of your dreams.

time of year. Look out all of your windows and note what you see, what you don’t see and possibly what you would like to show off or hide at this time of year vs. the summer. Take some photos, too. It really helps when everything leafs out again and you can’t remember what January looked like. You don’t have to list specific types of plants — that’s what I’m for! I can help you choose plants that give you four seasons of interest and make every view of your yard a magazine worthy snippet. Go grab a cup of coffee, check out your view, make a wish list and let’s start planning for spring 2022! HOME & LIFESTYLE NOVEMBER 2021

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A Q&A with Lora Kassaros at Dermatique Laser and Skin, the finest place for Botox in Kane County as voted by readers By Hannah Hoffmeister | Photos provided by Dermatique Laser and Skin



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BEST PLACE FOR BOTOX  DERMATIQUE LASER AND SKIN 407 S. Third St., Geneva 630-262-2515 www.dermatiquelaserandskin.com


hen you walk into Dermatique Laser and Skin, you’re greeted by a beautiful reception area playing upbeat music. The good energy only continues from there; the treatment rooms are spacious and filled with natural light. Patients have the option to choose from a variety of anti-aging or preventive skin care services, including facials, Botox, dermal fillers and more. Kane County Magazine spoke with Lora Kassaros about the Botox process, the importance of patient education and more at Dermatique. This interview has been edited slightly for length.  KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

brand. We really get to know our patients, and create relationships, and I want them to feel beautiful. That’s what we want. Patient safety is first and foremost. Safety and patient outcomes kind of go hand-in-hand. And education — we are constantly educating our team.  KC: What does that look like? LK: We travel. We go out, or we bring in. We’re always training. We all crave it: to be better, to learn. We want our patients to think of us as the go-to gal … you don’t have to be using Google. If you’re curious, pick up the phone and call us.  KC: What is the typical age demographic?

LORA KASSAROS: I’ve been in the aesthetic business for over 35 years. I’ve been here at Dermatique for 11 years. Dermatique is owned by Dr. Gina Lesnik, and we’ve been running together ever since. I’m the business manager.

LK: We’ve actually kind of developed our whole brand message on different demographics because we understand that 20, 30, 40, 50 — they’re all a different decade, and we all have different needs and wants.

 KC: Congrats on being the winner of the “best place for Botox” in Kane County Magazine's Finest! What do you think makes Dermatique the best place in Kane County for Botox?

Me and My Decade was created for that specific reason. We wanted to reach into every decade … understand their lifestyle and really be able to communicate with them on that level. Our 20-yearolds: We know what they look like, we know their struggles, we know what they’re worried about. And every decade after that.

LK: Turns to computer, plays “Dove Real Beauty Sketches: You’re More Beautiful Than You Think” video. That’s how we train. We train on understanding the patient perspective, and what it feels like. And that’s powerful. We’re so rough on ourselves. It’s so difficult. People don’t look in the mirror for their beauty; they look in the mirror for their imperfections. We’ve really gotten here from delivering a very natural approach. We want our patients to look natural and to look refreshed and rejuvenized, but not different. And we’ve taken that on as our mission, as our

 KC: It seems like education is a really big component here. LK: It’s huge. We spend tons of time giving you as much information as possible. I want to give you as much information so you can make your own decision, therefore you feel comfortable to make your own decision. I think we have — between all of us combined — over 100 years of experience.

 KC: Where is the most common place that people in Kane County get Botox? LK: The angry lines in between your forehead — patients are, like, “Oh, I look angry when I’m not.” We hear that all the time. And that’s a really simple correction in here. You always remember how somebody made you feel. Always. So that is what we are always striving for. We want to help our patients feel better. Trending right now, of course, is the “lip flip.” Everybody is talking about the lip flip. It’s all over TikTok.  KC: Tell me more about that! LK: The lip flip is four little Botox injections, and it kind of just tips this (top) lip up just a little bit to give you a little bit fuller of a lip. That’s a super popular treatment right now. It doesn’t add volume to your lip; it’s almost like a little sample of what a lip filler could do. Lips are very popular. We do lots of laser hair removal, too. Hair is a very emotional service. If you’re a woman and you have excessive hair in the wrong place, it’s very personal. And you shouldn’t have to go through that — why? We can help you with that. Everything that we do here is very personal. I think listening to your patients and not minimizing something … is super important.  KC: Do you do consultations beforehand? LK: We see between 115 up to 180 new patients a month. For a new patient, I’m going to give you all the information over the phone. We give you as much information as we possibly can. Then, when they’re ready to come in, they’re ready for a treatment. That really helps our patients. We’re constantly giving information.


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s we give thanks for the blessings in our lives, remember our community’s local restaurants. We are lucky to have so many nutritious, delicious options right in Kane County. Let’s keep supporting them by dining in or getting takeout as we enter the holiday season.

In the spirit of the time frame of fall, I went to new restaurant Moto Imōto in downtown St. Charles to try out the fancy, delectable Asian delights. With a bright and Californiastyle open atmosphere, this restaurant breeds a great vibe. Our server greeted us with a smile and helped us to a booth. The customer service here is bar none. Once we absorbed this kindness, I tried the chicken dumplings. These handcrafted delights are cooked to perfection with ginger, green onion and a yuzu ponzu

dipping sauce. The sauce alone provided a delightful amount of zing. Served in a traditional bamboo circular steamer and opened for you tableside, you are taken back to Japan. If that wasn’t enough, now that I had a balanced carb and protein, I selected the Hunan beef entree. A well-done flank steak in a tasty brown sauce and adorned with bean sprouts and carrots, this was one to remember. It was served with a bed of jasmine rice. To be careful on the carbs, I had two teaspoons of the crispier part of the rice for texture. It was amazing. I love Asian food and this spectacular new hot spot in St. Charles will bring me back!

Mochi for dessert; you get to pick three flavors!

 Dr. Tarun Mullick is a specialist trained at Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy based in Geneva. Connect with him at www.mullickmd. com or by phone at 630-232-2025.



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WWW.DEDUCTIBLESHOP.COM IT'S YOUR DEDUCTIBLE! Why pay thousands more for care, tests, repairs MEDICAL - AUTO - HOME - VET (PETS)

Ask the doctor

It is my honor and privilege to serve the community and readership of this publication. Our practice’s focus is to care for patients, to help them and tailor their care individually with current therapies.

Q: What is NASH? A: NASH is Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. This is a liver disease

where the fat deposits in the liver and turns to scar over time, causing liver cirrhosis. It is truly a rising concern in the world now. If you are concerned, get screened with some liver tests; if elevated, then go to the gastroenterologist. We help several with that problem.

Q: Do you offer telehealth? Many practices don’t? What do you think about that?

A: Yes, we offer telehealth. This means you can get treatment

without leaving your home. We will only bring you in for necessary tests, and you can choose locations away from hospitals, which likely have more serious COVID-19 patients. It’s safer to go to smaller practices and centers away like ours. In general, it appears telehealth is here to stay for years to come. It presents an alternative. And, for those, who don’t like waits — we call you. Thus, you can continue to do whatever you need to in the meanwhile.

Q: I have been trying to find doctors who have experience with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and the newer therapies?

A: We have helped many over the years. It is our honor and

privilege. We look to bring new therapies and make it easier for patients. We have good support with the patient ambassadors programs. If you are looking in the Kane County area, please feel free to make an appointment with us. I was the co-chair of the CCFA educational course a few years back and keep up to date on new treatments.

Q: Has the screening age of colonoscopy for cancer changed to 45?

A: Yes, recently a study was done that demonstrated a significant increase in colon cancer for current 27-year-olds compared to a 27-year-old from 40 years ago. This prompted the change of the guidelines for men and women to get screened with a colonoscopy at age 45 rather than 50.

LOSE WEIGHT NOW! Connie, Batavia -- “Lost 44 lbs, with Dr. Mullick’s recommended system, and it stayed off.”* Jamie, Geneva -- “Lost 12 pound in my FIRST MONTH!! It really works.

Call for appointment 630-232-2025

Pay LESS for your colonoscopy or endoscopy.

Facility Fees are significantly lower. Cost of health care is going up. Pay less for your test. We are JCAHO certified. Met your Deductible?? Get in before year end. Save on your deductible. Pay LESS. Heartburn, Diarrhea, Constipation, Liver Disease, Pancreatitis, Abdominal Pain, Colitis, Crohns/ Ulcerative Colitis, Gallbladder, Rectal Bleeding We have quality doctors and team on staff to serve you well. Its our honor to take care of you.


2631 Williamsburg Ave 301. Geneva, IL. Call now for your appointment. 630-232-2025

IF YOU DO BREAST CANCER SCREENING, GET COLON CANCER SCREENING. It affects men and women BOTH and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. It is VERY important to get this screening done - colon cancer is beatable and treatable if caught early enough through colon screening.


Dear Dr. Mullick, My family never had polyps or cancer. Do I really need a colonoscopy? Jane Dear Jane: Great question. Colon cancer can affect anyone, regardless of family history. Everyone over age 45 should get a colonoscopy. If you have family history you should start at age 40 or 10 to 15 years before the youngest relative with a problem. Screening helps reduce risk.

Dr. Mullick, I’ve got bloating and gas. Sometimes I have diarrhea or nausea after I eat. Could I have food allergies? My doctor said it’s IBS (irritable bowel). Kristen

Dear Kristen: Yes, food intolerances to lactose, sucrose and fructose are common, so you may need to avoid those. We have tests in the office for that. The symptoms of IBS and food allergies are often similar, so testing for food allergies is reasonable. We can test for that, too. We have helped many patients diagnosed with food allergies, so it’s not all IBS.


Get colon cancer screening. Beatable, Treatable, Preventable in most situations. S. from Geneva. “I am glad I had my colonoscopy done at the American Colonoscopy and Endoscopy center. I had some polyps removed and that will likely prevent a cancer. The facility was wonderful and it saved me money.”

LET’S BEAT IT! 630-232-2025.







PERIPHERAL NERVE TEST Certified center & trained team. Call now for your clinic appointment and test date. 630-232-2025. PPO, Medicare, and Cash payment accepted

*Results may not be typical.

ANSWERS: Fall, Football, Colonoscopy, Telehealth, Pumpkin


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R Recharge echarge DAY AY OUT WITTH A

If you’re reading this, this is your sign to take some time for yourself, perhaps with a massage or pedicure

By Melissa Rubalcaba Riske Photos provided by Sage Healing Collective and Meraki Artisan Hair Salon



e asked, and, readers, you answered with your favorite places in Kane County — including where you go for some pampering and care.

Earning the top spot in the Kane County Magazine's Finest categories of cosmetic skin care, day spa, manicure/pedicures, yoga and massage was Sage Healing Collective, a relative newcomer that is quickly making a name for itself in the area. After chatting with owner Emily Loveland, it’s easy to understand why readers are gushing. The Collective is a team of more than 20 of

the most talented individuals in their fields, including chiropractic and nutritional medicine, yoga instruction and massage therapy. At the helm is Loveland, a chiropractic doctor who says it was always her dream to open a day spa.

Loveland and her team provide services and treatments while using high-quality products, many of them plant-based and locally cultivated. “We do our best to do our research on what we are putting on the body,” Loveland says. “We are a small business and we appreciate support, and we too support other small businesses.” For example, the lavender oil used in the salon


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PAMPER YOURSELF WITH A DAY OUT AT THESE WINNING BUSINESSES:  COSMETIC SKIN CARE FINEST: Sage Healing Collective 525 S. Tyler Road, St. Charles 331-901-5672 www.sagehealingcollective.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Skin Deep Day Spa ONE OF THE FINEST: Simply Crystal Electrolysis and Skin Care  COSMETIC SURGERY FINEST: St. Charles Plastic Surgery 2900 Foxfield Road, St. Charles 630-762-9697 www.stcharlesplasticsurgery.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Dr. Jennifer M. Hein ONE OF THE FINEST: Been Facial Plastics  DAY SPA FINEST: Sage Healing Collective 525 S. Tyler Road, St. Charles 331-901-5672 www.sagehealingcollective.com is grown on a farm in Woodstock. A manicure or pedicure is enhanced with a scrub made with salt, sugar, coffee and simple oils to exfoliate skin, leaving it soft and smooth. The nail technicians use a vegan, nontoxic polish that cures in around five minutes without the use of LED lights. These beautiful polishes are long-lasting without requiring harsh chemicals to remove.

Loveland has worked in a variety of settings. Her experiences and vision for health care have, in turn, shaped her business. With its long menu of services and team approach, clients can book multiple treatment appointments for a day spa experience that is sure to refresh. Check out the Collective’s monthly calendar for yoga classes, including aerial yoga classes for teens and workshops.

“We wanted something that would look good but we also want to consider how it will affect our bodies over the long term,” Loveland says.

Readers selected another relative newcomer for its top choice in hair salons: Meraki Artisan Hair Design in St. Charles. Owner Erica Molak launched the business in October 2019. Having grown up in Elgin,

During her career as a chiropractor,

ONE OF THE FINEST: Skin Deep Day Spa ONE OF THE FINEST: Simply Crystal Electrolysis and Skin Care  LASER & MEDI SPA FINEST: Dermatique Laser and Skin 407 S. Third St., Geneva 630-262-2515 www.dermatiquelaserandskin.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Larimar Med  MANICURE/PEDICURE FINEST: Sage Healing Collective 525 S. Tyler Road, St. Charles 331-901-5672 www.sagehealingcollective.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Cici Nails & Spa Inc. ONE OF THE FINEST: Lisa’s Heads Or Nails Salon HEALTH & WELLNESS NOVEMBER 2021

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 MASSAGE FINEST: Sage Healing Collective 525 S. Tyler Road, St. Charles 331-901-5672 www.sagehealingcollective.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Halsa: The Aromatherapy Shop and Spa ONE OF THE FINEST: Massage Envy (Geneva)  PILATES FINEST: Bent Dog Yoga and Pilates 1560 E. Main St., St. Charles 630-513-9642 www.bentdogyoga.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Hella Hot Aurora  YOGA FINEST: Sage Healing Collective 525 S. Tyler Road, St. Charles 331-901-5672 www.sagehealingcollective.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Prana Yoga Center ONE OF THE FINEST: Goat Yoga Chicago ONE OF THE FINEST: YogaSix

Molak says she always loved St. Charles and selected a more than 100-year-old home for her business to create a cozy, welcoming vibe for clients. “We wanted to be in the small town where people feel comfortable coming to us,” Molak says. Walk through the front door of Meraki, and take a seat in a stylist chair in what was once a bedroom of the house. Or sit in the barber chair, located in the home’s sunroom. While stylists wield their scissors, a barber can use his

clippers to create a tight fade or a straight razor for a close shave. Molak says one of the popular services is the Milbon Smoothing Treatment, which tames curls and removes frizz. Her staff has also earned a reputation in the wedding industry, winning accolades on WeddingWire and The Knot. Her team is available to travel to on-site weddings as well as hosting bridal parties and groomsmen in for wedding day treatments.

“I have hand-selected a group of people who are really amazing at everything they do,” Molak notes. In her search for a perfect business name, she selected “Meraki,” a Greek word which means to create with love, with soul. To Molak, it perfectly sums up her dream and her passion. “We use our hands to create something beautiful and we always put a piece of ourselves in our work,” she says.

Red Hive Market is a charming home decor boutique specializing in unique one-of-akind artisanal gifts and distinctive products for Makers and DIYers. % W& WILSON ST&# BATAVIA# IL • %$!-$)%-(!'% • W W W& R E D H I V E M A R K E T&CO M



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Goat your back


t Reverse the Kerrs Farm, you’ll meet Harley, who acts like a model. And Jack, who’s known to be a bit mischievous. And Chandler, who thinks he’s a human.

Except Chandler isn’t a human. Neither is Harley or Jack. The three are goats, and along with their 15 other roommates, they make up the goat share of Goat Yoga Chicago. “They all have different personalities,” says Danielle Kerr, owner of Goat Yoga Chicago, of the farm’s five Mini Nubians and 13 Nigerian Dwarf goats. “Our goats are everyone’s goats. They really just love people.”

Kerr and her husband, Brad, moved to Elgin in 2016. After she became interested in the Curious how goats fare in emotional and the winter? Similar to humans physical benefits adding layers of sweatpants and of yoga, the family jackets, goats grow thick winter started learning coats. The Goat Yoga Chicago about goats team hosts indoor classes at the and goat yoga Arboretum of South Barrington specifically. The farm during wintertime.

launched in fall 2018. “Yoga just changed my life,” says Kerr. But Goat Yoga Chicago isn’t just about spending time with sweet, personable goats — although there’s certainly plenty of cuddling and time to make connections with the animals. The Kerrs lost a family member to suicide in 2015, so the farm uses goat yoga to start conversations about mental health. “Reverse the Kerrs” represents a nod to their last name, the Chicago Cubs and their work to reverse the stigma around mental illness. “It all points back to improving mental health,” Kerr says of the farm’s mission. Goat Yoga Chicago was named one of the finest yoga studios in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest. The cleanliness and happiness of the goats, the passion and expertise of the instructors and the added focus on mental health all clearly contribute to this recognition. In the spirit of helping conversations about mental health through animal-assisted activity, Goat Yoga Chicago has begun hosting groups

Goat Yoga Chicago brings together lovable goats and meaningful conversations about mental health By Louise Treeny | Photo by Ron McKinney Photography

and nonprofits for private sessions. Boxing Out Negativity, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps at-risk youth, recently brought 25 participants for a goat-filled session. “I specifically requested that a trauma-certified teacher lead the group,” Kerr adds, noting how meaningful and fun the session was. The farm has also recently incorporated mindfulness techniques into the yoga classes. Several times a month, participants take part in a 30-minute course in deep breathing, muscle relaxation, grounding and more after the yoga class concludes. Participants leave with a small postcard detailing the techniques they learned in class. “You may not be able to bring the goats with you,” says Kerr, “but you can always go back to the yoga.”  GOAT YOGA CHICAGO 11N435 Muirhead Road, Elgin 224-276-6001 www.goatyogachicago.com Facebook and Instagram: Goat Yoga Chicago

If you’d like to book a private class for your group or nonprofit, email goatyourback@goatyogachicago.com or call 224-276-6001! HEALTH & WELLNESS NOVEMBER 2021

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f you have met any member of our team, you know our favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. The simplicity of stepping back to reflect on one’s blessings can be so powerful. It is far too easy to get caught up in the stress of deadlines and the daily grind and to forget about the many privileges we have. Thank goodness we have a national holiday that directs us to take time to reflect with family and friends. Before we get too nostalgic, ask yourself if your employees feel grateful for their work environment, pay and benefits. How do you show them that they are appreciated? If your company’s retirement plan does not have contemporary features — or worse yet, if you don’t have a retirement plan for your employees — you may find yourself in a difficult spot.

A TICKING TIME BOMB? My college buddies traditionally reunite each fall at a former housemate’s lake home in northern Wisconsin. This year, the group was larger than usual, which only meant that the stories and recollections were even more abundant. I found one new attendee’s life story post-graduation especially poignant, as it relates to the subject of this article. Let’s call him “Mike” to protect his identity. Mike is now 58 years old and splits time between his homes in Florida and Minnesota. He has been semi-retired for 15 years thanks to the success of a company that he and two partners started when he was younger and which has done phenomenally well. We’ll call this company “Widget Distributor B.” What really caught my attention was why the company ever started in the first place. It turns out that Mike was a salesman for “Widget Distributor A.” Mike, another salesman and their manager were hardworking and one day approached the owner to request that a 401(k) plan be established so that they could save for their retirement. When the owner learned that it would cost him $2,000 to establish the plan for his employees, he quickly discarded the request and instructed them to get back to work. This turned out to be a bad decision.



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For Mike and his two coworkers, the owner had created a culture where the employees did not feel valued. Nine months later, they left together and started Widget Distributor B with one of their top priorities being to treat their future employees with the same care that they would treat their future customers. Their success has been greater than they could have ever imagined as they grew their company to dwarf their prior employer. Top talent from their industry, including from Widget Distributor A, came knocking on their door as the word was out that Widget Distributor B was the place to be! One can only imagine the regret and pain that the owner of Widget Distributor A still feels today. How shortsighted he was.

RECRUIT, RETAIN, REWARD. One of our firm’s niches is working with private business owners, and today one of the biggest concerns we hear is about the challenges they face in recruiting, retaining and rewarding talent. The good news is that workplace retirement plans have become even more featureand cost-competitive! There are also ways to contractually mitigate both your potential fiduciary and administrative liabilities. With the battle for talent intensifying, there has never been a better time to review your current offering or to start a new plan if you have not yet done so. For more detail and insight, you are welcome to contact us. We would be happy to help assure your lifestyle and legacy, as well as your employees’!

This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor, or plan provider.

Photo by Indre Cantero

FILE# 3869996.1

 Tom McCartney and Sharon Piet are teammates at My Advisor & Planner and are Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives with M Securities. Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Adviser, Member FINRA/SIPC. My Advisor & Planner is independently owned and operated. Tom and Sharon can be reached at info@mapyourfuture.net, at 630-457-4068, or you can visit them at www.mapyourfuture.net.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC). My Advisor & Planner is independently owned and operated. File #0709-2018


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From Mexican rolls to popcorn spicy crawfish, readers’ choices for best sushi do not disappoint


izza and burgers might be top of mind when trying to decide where to eat out, but consider adding sushi into your rotation. There’s no need to trek downtown to get your sushi fix when there are plenty of tasty locations close to home. Here you’ll find out why our readers named the following restaurants their picks for the finest sushi in Kane County.

 MR. SAMURAI 558 S. Randall Road, St. Charles 630-762-8500 www.mrsamuraisushi.com For 10 years, this family-owned restaurant has been a go-to destination for sushi, hibachi, sashimi and more. The extensive sushi offerings feature unique combinations from deep-fried California rolls to a Mexican roll that melds traditional sushi ingredients — tuna, avocado and cucumber — with a bit of heat from cilantro and jalapeño. Or try the Chef’s Specials, which feature a number of shrimp tempura rolls, including the mango roll with tuna, cream cheese and avocado.

By Vicki Martinka Petersen

Photos provided by Mr. Samurai



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Not sure what to try? The dinner combination boxes offer a little taste of everything such as tempura, sushi, hibachi steak and various slices of sashimi. All boxes come with miso soup, salad and steamed rice. Be sure to save room for mochi ice cream for dessert. In addition to coming in, you also can call or place an order online if you prefer dining at home.  SWORDFISH 207 N. Randall Road, Batavia 630-406-6463 www.swordfishsushi.com If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, this contemporary sushi and grill restaurant delivers. Begin your meal with a cold or hot appetizer, from the tuna and sashimi samplers to crab Rangoon and popcorn spicy crawfish. For the main course, you have your choice of fresh sushi and an assortment of specialty rolls, including the shrimp tempura roll, spicy salmon roll and dragon rolls. If raw fish isn’t your jam, there are plenty of entrees and rolls with cooked fish to choose from. Whether you’re team raw or cooked sushi, you’re sure to find the perfect beverage to complement your meal — including herbal teas, American and Japanese beers,


wines or signature martinis.  KUBO SUSHI AND SAKE LOUNGE 70 S. Grove Ave., Elgin 224-856-5590 www.kubosushi.com Kubo Sushi and Sake Lounge’s lunch menu offers a variety of options to help you break out of a fast food rut. For a nice hot lunch, the teriyaki lunch comes with your choice of chicken, steak or salmon served with a potato croquet, steamed veggies and rice. Or if you’re inspired by all the bento box combinations on Pinterest, try a bento box lunch, which comes with your choice of protein, three-piece California rolls, two-piece gyoza, potato croquet and steamed rice. All lunch meals come with miso soup and ginger salad. When it’s time for dinner, start off your meal with the tartar pyramid appetizer: tuna, salmon and avocado served with aioli and a dipping sauce along with fried wonton chips. For the main course, you can’t go wrong with one of Kubo’s signature rolls like the Aloha roll: white tuna, mango and avocado wrapped in wasabi tobiko and soy paper. Not ready to dine in yet? You can order your favorite sushi online to enjoy at home.

 BAKERY Finest: Harner’s Bakery Restaurant One of the finest: Eye Candy Bake Shop One of the finest: Herb’s Bakery Inc.  BLOODY MARY Finest: Stockholm’s Restaurant & Brewery One of the finest: Benedict’s Eggs & More One of the finest: Nobel House  BRUNCH Finest: Bocaditos Cafe One of the finest: Stockholm’s Restaurant & Brewery One of the finest: Benedict’s Eggs & More  CATERER Finest: Enticing Cuisine & Banquets One of the finest: Balmoral Restaurant One of the finest: Josef’s Elegante Meats & Deli


Serving Breakfast All Day Long 630 W. State St., Geneva (331) 248-0646 www.statestdiner.com

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oliddays! Ho Ho Hol

CHRISTMAS WALK & HOUSE TOUR, DEC. 3 & 4, 2021 ‘Tis the season to be jolly… especially in downtown Geneva! Festivities start with Santa’s arrival and our annual House Tour December 3 & 4. Visit five spectacular homes all decked out with festive holly and sparkling holiday warmth. Visit genevachamber.com for tickets, details and a complete schedule. Discover the holiday magic in Geneva!

Mon-Fri 10am-6pm ~ Thurs 10am-8pm ~ Sat 10am-5:30pm ~ Sun 11am-4pm

315 James St. • Geneva, IL • (630) 262-0210 • www.olivemillgeneva.com

Events will follow the prevailing state public health guidance and covid-19 regulations in effect.


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a fresh take



or those familiar with this column, it’s no surprise that food plays an important role in my life. From gardening and cultivating to cooking, sharing and celebrating it with others, food brings me a sense of joy and purpose. But what happens when food isn’t a safe space?

As we enter the holiday season, we’re automatically thrown into a marathon of cooking, baking and eating with back-to-back parties, each one filled with fizzy cocktails, endless appetizers, hearty meals and decadent dessert spreads. These large gatherings often invite — let’s be honest — too many opinions when it comes to the way we eat. More specifically, it’s a vulnerable time for anyone experiencing issues related to food, from those starting a new diet for health reasons (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, etc.) to those with a deepseated, difficult food relationship that stemmed from an eating disorder where recovery can be a lifelong journey.


For me, personally, I experienced the former 10 years ago. Though a dancer and presumably healthy person my entire life, I continuously found myself feeling “off” — bloated, tired, irritable, foggy. One day, I stumbled into the book aisle at Whole Foods and a title caught my eye: “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr. Intrigued by the synopsis, I figured attempting her elimination diet couldn’t hurt; for 21 days, I would rid my body of processed sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat products, fish, eggs, dairy, refined starches and gluten. Holy moly. A self-proclaimed foodie who loved to cook, entertain and dine out — not to mention with a fresh culinary degree and a year-plus working in one of the city’s best restaurants with access to incredible food — I knew I was entering uncharted territory. While it was somewhat manageable at home (truth: The body’s natural detox process is anything but fun), the social gatherings became

most uncomfortable. I quickly learned to eat a meal prior to any social event and then armored myself with an array of responses for those wondering why I wasn’t eating “normal” food. It was exhausting and, at times, discouraging enough to consider throwing in the towel. Who cared that for dinner I replaced a piece of bread and slice of ham with a huge salad? Though the cleanse itself only lasted three weeks, the results were powerful and, ultimately, led me to understand my body, how it processed certain foods and what I needed to eliminate moving forward to live a healthy and happy life. At the end of the day, regardless of your journey, it’s important to be sensitive to others, remembering that we all have different relationships with food. What you or another person chooses to eat is a personal choice, or in more serious cases, may be out of one’s control.


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LEAVE YOUR OWN INSECURITIES AT THE DOOR: It never failed that a certain family member would question my new way of eating because those were the foods she personally enjoyed and seeing me not eat them made her uncomfortable. Remember that someone else’s journey isn’t your journey.

DON’T TAKE OFFENSE: If you’re hosting this holiday season and notice a guest avoiding a certain dish, having very little on their plate, etc., don’t automatically assume they don’t like your cooking! Rather, consider they might be trying a new approach or managing any of the above-mentioned situations.

DROP EXPECTATIONS: As a guest with any restriction or aversion, nothing’s worse than showing up to a gathering and expecting there to be dietary-friendly dishes

waiting for you. More importantly, remember it’s not the host’s responsibility to accommodate your diet; eat a meal beforehand and nibble on what you can at the party, or consider asking if you can bring a dish.

HAVE A BLANKET STATEMENT PREPARED: Ward off nosy friends and family questioning your eating habits with something as simple as, “I’m trying a new way of eating to make my body feel better, and so far I’m pleased with the results.” This will shut down most conversation.

ASK FOR HELP: If your concerns with food are more serious, talk to those who love and care about you. A support system from your closest friends and family will help you navigate these difficult times and be essential for long-term recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please consider contacting TriCity Family Services at www.tricityfamilyservices.org or 630-232-1070.

Photo by Victoria C Photos


 Katie McCall, former owner of Two Wild Seeds Baking Co., is a bona fide Midwestern girl. Raised on four acres of rural property in Yorkville, she was always taught to respect nature and all of its bounty. From foraging morel mushrooms in the woods to picking wild black raspberries for homemade jam, Katie feels most at home when in nature and preparing food for others. When she’s not creating new dishes in the kitchen (and writing about them) she can be found nosedeep in cookbooks, exploring the outdoors with her family — and eating … always eating.

Pottawatomie Golf Course

Most Beautiful Golf Course in the Fox Valley! M

Voted 2021 Kane County Finest Public Golf Course

Signature Hole #3 Originally designed by the pioneer golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. It’s here you will find his first island green. A Certified Audubon Sanctuary along the Fox River • A facility of the St. Charles Park District

845 N. Second Avenue, St. Charles, IL 60174 • In Pottawatomie Park

Pro Shop: 630-584-8356 • pottawatomiegc.com DINING & ENTERTAINING NOVEMBER 2021

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By Kevin Druley | Photos provided by Balmoral

almoral Restaurant owner Colin Smith beams about the establishment’s standing as Kane County Magazine readers’ choice for the finest romantic dinner in the county.

vote in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest. Still, various humbled awardees offered feedback on starting points for the next time folks venture out to celebrate something.

But did he envision the Campton Hills location as such a setting as first constructed?

As with the alphabet, the first popular, mutually agreedupon facet begins with an “A”: ambiance.

“Not really,” Smith says.

At Balmoral, Smith and Co. aim to capture the comforts of the Old Country. A native of Perthshire, Scotland, Smith spent much of his early career as a chef at hotels and restaurants in his homeland, as well as England.

“I knew it was going to be a special venue for special evenings — birthdays and anniversaries,” he continues, “but the romantic setting came from the people who have been there. Just lots of little touches.” If a bona fide formula existed for crafting a tailor-made romantic restaurant or meal, there arguably would be an enormous tie atop this category next time readers

Inside Balmoral, Smith says, “It’s all beautiful Scottish artifacts. Kilts, tartans, huge swords, shields, beautiful ceilings and Royal Albert Old Country roses, fine china plates, gold-plated cutlery, crystal glasses. And a bagpiper greets you at the door on the weekend. So it’s

 DINING ON THE WATERFRONT FINEST: Atwater’s Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: Bleuroot ONE OF THE FINEST: Harner’s Bakery Restaurant  MARTINI FINEST: Balmoral Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: Stockholm’s Restaurant & Brewery ONE OF THE FINEST: ROX City Grill  ROMANTIC DINNER FINEST: Balmoral Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: Atwater’s Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: Villa Verone  STEAK FINEST: Balmoral Restaurant ONE OF THE FINEST: Stockholm’s Restaurant & Brewery ONE OF THE FINEST: St. Charles Place Steakhouse


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all about the ambiance, and the food itself is just outstanding.” While the team at Atwater’s Restaurant, voted one of the finest romantic dinners, is in accord about ambiance, the group holds another coveted attribute in its hands. Or outside its windows. For those who haven’t been, Atwater’s, in Geneva, is situated adjacent to the Fox River, offering serene views of the waterfront.

Looking to do a romantic dinner at home? Consider grabbing a bottle from these three shops, voted best wine shop! FINEST: The Wine Exchange ONE OF THE FINEST: Geneva Wine Cellars and Tasting Room ONE OF THE FINEST: SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits

“I think an intimate dining experience with a warm ambiance is key to romance,” says Lisa Landers, director of sales and marketing at The Herrington Inn & Spa, where Atwater’s is located. “A double-sided fireplace will greet you entering Atwater’s and the panoramic views of the Fox River and our courtyard offers a relaxed setting.” Now that we’ve established the where and why that comprise a romantic dinner, it’s time to explore the what. A Kane County Magazine consensus for a good romantic meal called for steak and

martinis among the courses. St. Charles Place Steakhouse knows a thing or two about both. The restaurant serves multiple varieties of hand-selected, USDA Prime-certified angus beef that chefs cut in-house. Cuts include New York strip, rib-eye, filet mignon, steak Diane and — the house’s top special — steak au poivre, crusted with black pepper, finished in a cognac sauce and served with asparagus and a side dish. Ten different varieties of martinis highlight the menu, as well. At Balmoral, Smith finds the key to a good martini is this: “Gets you drunk.” That’s quite direct, to be sure, but isn’t candor also part of romance? And isn’t keeping romance alight hard work? Or at least romantic dining settings? “Now you’ve got to keep that standard up,” Smith says. “That’s the challenge. You can’t do it just one year, then nothing again for five years. You’ve got to really focus on keeping the standard up to keep the customers coming in to keep the interest in your business.”

Make Yourself at Home! Monthly Food Specials Outdoor Patio Seating Dine In or Carry Out Seasonal Brews $4.00 Daily Handcrafted Beer Specials Try Raider!s Root Beer (ABV 7.5%)

306 W State Street Downtown Geneva 630-208-7070 www.stockholmsbrewpub.com



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Grab a Among so many other things, this year we’re thankful for good books to read. Here are two recommendations for your November reading list, courtesy of the librarians at Geneva Public Library.

 FOR YOUR KIDS OR GRANDKIDS: “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Keller

 FOR OUR READERS: “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin

If you love the legends and magic in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” and the wise guidance of a grandma in Disney’s “Moana,” then “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Keller is for you! This Newbery Medal-winning novel blends the power of magic with the power of human connection. Like an artist, the author weaves Korean folklore and the love of storytelling into a magical adventure about the life of 12-year-old Lily. After moving in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger from one of her grandmother’s stories appears. Lily’s grandmother stole something from them and now they want it back. They even try to strike a deal with Lily — give them what grandmother stole, and they will cure her illness. But Lily isn’t sure she can trust them. Now she must harness the power of her inner tiger to fight for herself and her family and uncover the truth behind her grandmother’s secrets. Through Lily, you will learn that knowing and understanding your inner tiger can help you be courageous and take risks when it counts the most. You will want to trap this story of connection and hope in your heart and read it over and over again. — Maureen Fako, librarian

A heartwarming tale of transformation, second chances and what it means to truly live, love and be loved, “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin will leave you feeling uplifted. A.J. Fikry is a notoriously grumpy independent bookshop owner on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. He’s haunted by past traumas, including the death of his wife. With the theft of his most valuable rare book (a collection of Edgar Allen Poe poems), he faces financial ruin. Things are not going well for him. So, with one hand he keeps everyone at arm’s length and with the other hand he guzzles bottles of wine. That is, until he discovers 2-year-old Maya in his bookstore with a note asking A.J. to take care of her. Maya’s arrival changes everything. The baby captivates hardhearted A.J., and his feelings for her transform his relationships with other people and his business. His failing bookstore becomes a successful, valuable community hub where people gather to share their love of books and reading. This book will make you laugh, cry and everything in between. You’ll be so captivated by this book that you won’t be able to put it down. — Rebekah Noggle, librarian


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hether it’s Broadway-style shows, top-tier musicians, children’s theatre or classes for a budding actor, Kane County’s theatre venues continue to entertain, enrich and provide culture to northwestern Illinois and beyond. Without further ado, enjoy a deeper look into the Kane County Magazine's Finest winners for live theatre.

 PARAMOUNT THEATRE 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora 630-896-6666 www.paramountaurora.com

NO NEED TO HOLD THE APPLAUSE FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL THEATRES By Diane Krieger Spivak Photos provided by all three locations mentioned


The beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong Art Deco influence and original Venetian decor, has been Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931. After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount grew to be the second-largest subscription theater in the U.S. in 2019-20, with more than 41,000 subscribers, according to the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. This fall, the Paramount reopened with “Kinky Boots,” with “Cinderella,” “Groundhog Day” and “Rock of Ages” on tap. The Paramount also presents well-known comedians, musicians and more. Next spring, the theater plans to welcome comedians Jay Leno and Frank Caliendo and music group Straight No Chaser to its majestic stage.


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 ARCADA THEATRE 105 E. Main St., St. Charles 630-962-7000 www.arcadalive.com

“We are humbled and grateful to be nominated for this award, and we are thankful for the support we have received during the past year. After a 16-month long closure, we are back with a musical vengeance!” says Ron Onesti, president and CEO of Onesti Entertainment. “From jazz, to oldies, to country, and classic rock — we have a concert for everyone! And … after a complete building renovation, we have heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer … and 26 new bathrooms.” Located along the Fox River in historic St. Charles, the 1926 Arcada Theatre offers world-class entertainment in a safe, enjoyable atmosphere in the heart of Kane County. “Come dine, drink and ROCK with us. We can’t wait to welcome you back or welcome you for your first time. Thanks again for your support!” says Onesti.  STEEL BEAM THEATRE 111 W. Main St., St. Charles 630-587-8521 www.steelbeamtheatre.org

Steel Beam has been showcasing entertainment and serving as leaders in youth theatre for 20 years. “We’ve done a wide variety of shows for professional non-equity actors,” says Marge Uhlarik-Boller, artistic director. “The commitment of the actors, the educators, the board — all of the people who are involved in the theatre have made it a popular place to visit in St. Charles. We do all kinds — comedy, drama and musicals. Our current season features one-, two- and three-person shows because of the pandemic.” The Steel Beam’s mainstay is its popular, long-running Christmas show and singalong with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves. The theatre’s intimate setting in an older building (seating capacity of 79) is a major draw, says Uhlarik-Boller.


 ART GALLERY FINEST: Water Street Studios 160 S. Water St., Batavia 630-761-9977 www.waterstreetstudios.org ONE OF THE FINEST: Fine Line Creative Arts Center 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles 630-584-9443 www.fineline.org ONE OF THE FINEST: Trend + Relic 1501 Indiana Ave., St. Charles 630-803-5253 www.trendandrelic.com  MUSEUM/CULTURAL FINEST: Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall 23 E. Downer Place, Aurora 630-256-3348 www.aurora-il.org/372/GrandArmy-of-the-Republic ONE OF THE FINEST: St Charles History Museum & The Curious Fox Gift Shop 215 E. Main St., St. Charles 630-584-6967 www.stcmuseum.org ONE OF THE FINEST: Geneva History Museum 113 S. Third St., Geneva 630-232-4951 www.genevahistorymuseum.org  PHOTOGRAPHER FINEST: April Duda Photography 630-358-9480 www.aprilduda.com

ONE OF THE FINEST: Craig Wassel Photography 503 Appleton Drive, Batavia 630-326-9908 www.craigwasselphotoart.com  PUBLIC GOLF COURSE FINEST: Pottawatomie Golf Course 845 N. Second Ave., St. Charles 630-584-8356 www.pottawatomiegc.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Hughes Creek Golf Course 1749 Spring Valley Drive, Elburn 630-365-9200 www.hughescreek.com ONE OF THE FINEST: The Highlands of Elgin 875 Sports Way, Elgin 847-931-5950 www.highlandsofelgin.com  TRAVEL AGENT FINEST: Travel A Latte 331-248-1896 www.travelalatteltd.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Going Places Travel Center Inc. 322 W. State St., Geneva 630-232-1191 ONE OF THE FINEST: Wilson Travel & Cruise 203 Illinois Ave., St. Charles 630-377-3700 www.wilsontravelandcruise.com

ONE OF THE FINEST: KimberleeB Photography 8 S. Northampton Drive, Geneva 630-661-5828 Facebook: KimberleeB Photography

With a faithful subscriber base, the ART & FASHION NOVEMBER 2021

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GEORGIA SCHWENDER The Tri-Cities are booming with arts and artists — perhaps nowhere more vibrantly than Batavia’s Water Street Studios, which hosts events, galleries and up to 25 artists in residence. Each month, Kane County Magazine and Water Street Studios are partnering to highlight artists and their work.



or Georgia Schwender, much has changed since 1996. But then again, not everything.

In a 1996 article published by the Kane County Chronicle, Schwender noted she was hoping to look into digital photography. She was quoted as saying computers are “where everything is going.”

But in the time since computers are, indeed, where everything has gone, parts of Schwender’s artwork remains the same. The article details the process of creating cyanotypes, or a printing process that creates images using coated paper and natural


light. Schwender still creates these, alongside other projects using clay. Schwender serves as the visual arts coordinator for Fermilab Art Gallery, curating more than 100 exhibits so far in her tenure there. At Water Street Studios, she is a member of the Clay Lab, which gives her full-time access to the clay studio. “Having an outlet for my artistic side was a big draw,” she says. The longtime Fox Valley resident recently had her work shown in a three-person show called “Accelerating Inspiration: Art from Fermilab.” “Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is a curious

combination of pioneering high energy physics research and restored tallgrass prairie,” writes Schwender in her artist statement about the show, which incorporated both cyanotypes and clay work. “This is my visual exploration of these two topics developed over many decades.” The exhibit is just one of an impressive number of shows featuring Schwender over her longtime career as an artist and curator. “Whatever I am working on, that’s what I am most proud of,” she reflects. “Balancing my career as curator and artist has always been a challenge; however, it is a symbiotic relationship.”


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DETAILS OF GEORGIA SCHWENDER’S WORK: To purchase or learn more about her creations, visit www.georgiaschwender.com or www.waterstreetstudios.org/ shopwaterstreet.  Particles & Prairie: installation view at Water Street Studios showing vases, clay, hand-drawn bubble chamber tracks with native prairie grasses. On the wall are cyanotypes of bubble chamber imagery.  Cyanotypes: This was a large installation. The blue were native species, the brown invasive plants.  Particles & Prairie: cyanotype, particle tracks with big blue stem, 16x20

Georgia Schwender has worked for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory since 2001. She is a lifetime artist and a member of the gallery committee at Water Street Studios. Learn more at www. georgiaschwender.com. Photo taken by Reidar Hahn at Fermilab Art Gallery.

 Eutrochium maculatum: cyanotype, 20x24  Prescribed Burn: This image is part of a series For more information on the artist of the month, head to www.waterstreetstudios.org or the organization’s social media pages. ART & FASHION NOVEMBER 2021

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ovember is a prime time to begin your holiday shopping, especially if you want to beat the last-minute December crowds. Whether you’re shopping for others or grabbing Thanksgiving attire, here are many of the winning retail businesses in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest.

 BRIDAL/FORMAL WEAR FINEST: Love Theory Bridal 407 S. Third St., Geneva 331-248-0591 Facebook: Love Theory Bridal ONE OF THE FINEST: Bridal Boys By Complete Bridal ONE OF THE FINEST: The Crystal Bride

 HEALTH FOOD/SUPPLEMENTS FINEST: Trader Joe’s 1942 W. Fabyan Parkway, Batavia 630-879-3234 www.locations.traderjoes.com/il/ batavia/689 ONE OF THE FINEST: Sage Healing Collective

 SPECIALTY ITEM SHOP FINEST: Red Hive Market 6 W. Wilson St., Batavia 630-326-9016 www.redhivemarket.com ONE OF THE FINEST: The Gift Box ONE OF THE FINEST: Wilson Street Mercantile

 FURNITURE STORE FINEST: Geneva Design House 210 W. State St., Geneva 630-232-7141 www.strawflowershop.com ONE OF THE FINEST: Red Hive Market ONE OF THE FINEST: Geneva Home Works

 SHOE STORE FINEST: Dick Pond Athletics 303 N. Second St., St. Charles 630-587-0745 www.dickpondathletics.com/st-charles ONE OF THE FINEST: The Gift Box ONE OF THE FINEST: The Little Traveler

Did you know the Geneva Chamber of Commerce sells gift certificates that are accepted at approximately 150 area businesses? Learn more at www. genevachamber.com/gift-certificates.

Furniture To Fit Your Lifestyle And Budget



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TheGeneva Geneva The History History Museum, Museum, which is now which now free, offers offers free, interactive ananinteractive lookatat local local look happenings happenings By Louise Treeny Photo provided by Geneva History Museum


ou’ll find stories about Geneva High School. The Herrington family. The filming of “Road to Perdition.”

But what you won’t find at Geneva History Museum is the feeling of being in a musty, old place. The Third Street building and the display of its historical artifacts inside are meant to look “vibrant, high-tech and very inviting,” says Terry Emma, director. Geneva History Museum was named one of the finest museums in the Kane County Magazine's Finest contest, and from the building’s technology to its exhibits, it’s not hard to see why. The museum’s pandemic-induced closure provided a springboard for the museum to do long-planned renovations, including a complete overhaul of its archive system. With the help of a $300,000 grant, staff installed compact mobile shelving — a state-of-the-art system, according to Emma. With the reorganization of 50,000 objects, staff unearthed some previously

hidden items, some of which were added to the core gallery on the building’s main floor. The gift shop was also redesigned to allow for custom shelving and new inventory.

“It was very emotional” to reopen after 16 months of closed doors, says Emma. She notes Zoom programming began almost immediately in spring 2020, allowing the museum to still share with the public. The museum saw record attendance this July and August following the reopening. The museum is now free, allowing visitors to pop in for a quick visit while shopping or dining in downtown Geneva. “I’m seeing people walk out and go, ‘Wow, that was really cool,’” says Emma. You can see the renovations downstairs with the help of a staff member; simply request a tour at the front desk. One of the first things you might notice upon entering the building is the teal color. It covers floors, walls and serves as an accent color in many cases. The bright, modern teal is a nod to both the

longstanding history of Geneva blue and the patina on the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in front of the Kane County Courthouse.

Geneva History Museum has prioritized telling people’s stories instead of just displaying the facts, making the exhibits interesting and easier to digest. For example, after seven years of fundraising, the main gallery now includes a “story booth,” in which visitors can record themselves telling stories about the community, or watch previously recorded stories. For Emma, who’s been with the museum since 2005 and its director since 2011, this approach seems like the natural way to go. “I’ve always had a love for Geneva,” says the fourth-generation Geneva resident. “What I love are the stories.”  GENEVA HISTORY MUSEUM 113 S. Third Street, Geneva 630-232-4951 www.genevahistorymuseum.org


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By Sara Carlson | Photos provided by St. Charles Park District

he recreation amenities offered through the St. Charles Park District’s parks and facilities are endless. With access to more than 20 miles of trails and nearly 1,500 acres of public open space — including 400-plus acres of natural areas — there is no shortage of outdoor recreation in the community.


And those parks and trails are what residents like best about the Park District. According to a recent Park District Community Survey, the majority of respondents believe the parks and trails are the district’s biggest strength, ranking above state and local benchmarks. In fact, 97% are pleased with their overall experience as related to cleanliness, maintenance, safety and accessibility.


“This survey confirms the Park District’s commitment to improving and maintaining our parks, trails and natural areas,” says Holly Cabel, director of parks and recreation. The majority of respondents reported most recently visiting Pottawatomie Park for all its amenities as well as Mt. St. Mary Park for the sculpture display and walking paths in the past year. Both parks are a favorite because of the spectacular scenic views along the Fox River.

Pottawatomie Community Center, Hickory Knolls Discovery Center and Primrose Farm. Survey respondents indicated they were less familiar with the STC Underground Teen Center for middle and high school students and Adult Activity Center for ages 50+. Cabel encourages residents to explore a new park or facility this year. “Get to know your community park district. Visit a location you’ve never been to before. Experience a new program. It just may become a new favorite.”

“Pottawatomie and Mt. St. Mary are popular destinations and each offer unique experiences,” says Cabel. “We are proud to support and maintain all our community parks in all corners of St. Charles.”

 NEW EXPERIENCES This winter, Primrose Farm will be lit up for the holidays, offering a winter stargazing event for ages 21+ on Dec. 3. Advance registration is required.

The most popular facilities throughout the District include

Norris Recreation Center will host an open house Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.

Parks and trails a Park D re istrict’ s bigge st streng th

to noon with facility tours, fitness demonstrations, chair massages and prize drawings. Indoor walking will be available at various days and times at Haines Gymnasium and Sportsplex. Pottawatomie Golf Course is open for play, weather and conditions permitting, until Dec. 23. The Pro Shop remains open with golf simulator play reservations. You can also head over to River Bend Community Park, on the north side off Seminary Road by way of Route 25. This 43-acre park has more than 2 miles of trails that link up to the Fox River Trail and Illinois Prairie Path, a great opportunity for cross-country skiers. Parents who want dynamic programming for their teens should check out the STC Underground Teen


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DASH 5K Fun Run & Walk

Saturday • November 13 • 8:30am Gobble! Wobble! Before you stuff your face on Turkey Day, it’s time to run this race! Oh, what fun it is to run with everyone! A family & pet-friendly event. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Kids. Finisher awards given to all participants. Medals presented to the Top Finisher in each age group. This chipped timed course features various terrain including gravel, grass and a paved trail.

Entry Fee: $45 per person Race Packets Emailed Nov 6 Advance registation required.

Primrose Farm Park

Bolcum & Crane Rds • St. Charles, Illinois

REGISTER: stcparks.org/drumstick-dash

Celebrating Over 30 Years

Center. For 20 years, the teen center has catered to the needs of teens, offering a place to call their own for socializing and engaging in fun, age-appropriate activities. Survey respondents indicated an interest in day trips, esports and group improv events, so staff plans to incorporate them soon into the offerings.

residents’ priorities for upcoming projects. Reported as extremely important to respondents are the following: maintaining existing parks and facilities; acquiring/converting the abandoned east-west railroad line into a walking/biking trail; and acquiring land for additional open space and recreation.

Another niche area of programming is offered in the Adult Activity Center. This dedicated space in the Pottawatomie Community Center for ages 50 and older provides a variety of drop-in activities ranging from card games and billiards to day trips off-site. The survey summarized that future activities focus on social opportunities such as running and walking clubs.

For more information about the Community Survey, visit www. stcparks.org. For an interactive map of Park District parks and facilities, visit www. stcparks. org/ interactivemap.

The survey also shed light on

Skyline Tree Service was established in 1988 and is family owned and operated. After 30 years of service, we still hold strong to our original commitment to excellence to provide our customers with quality tree care services.

Save your Ash trees, EAB injections for the Emerald Ash Borer.

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A Tribute to

UNCLE RONNY Remembering the man who loved his family, friends and motorcycle ercely


here were a few things Ron loved more than Harley Davidson. Not many, mind you.

But if you landed on that list, count yourself fortunate, indeed.

Because those people, things and concepts that managed to land that high on his list of favorite things? Those, Ron loved deeply and intensely. You can take to the bank that my wife and kids were on that list. I may have been on that list, if for no other reason that one of his goddaughters chose to marry and raise a family with me. Now, you may want me to use this space to really let you in, to help you know the man we called “Uncle Ronny,” in full. But if you know Ron, you know he would’ve hated that — and then probably would’ve loudly demanded to know what the … we were thinking, and who the … we thought we were. But, if nothing else, I hope this little piece can help you know him better than merely “the guy on the Harley who died after a hit-and-run near South Elgin back in mid-September.” On the final day of September, Ron passed away as a result of injuries he suffered after his three-wheeled Harley was struck from behind by another vehicle. Many of you reading this have probably heard this part of the tale. Some have undoubtedly also seen the deeply disturbing video of the incident, which was widely shared on social media and even made the evening news — and which appeared to help the police locate the man presently charged in connection with the incident. But this isn’t really about the incident. Or about the other man. Rather, it’s about Ron.


There are few things Ron loved more than all things Harley. He and his bike could often be spotted all across the country, particularly roaring over the desert roads of Arizona and elsewhere across the western U.S. The siren song of the explorer beckoned loudly to Ron, and he regularly answered, sometimes even hopping on a plane for trips to places his motorcycle couldn’t go. Back at home, the trademarked rumble and roar of that motorcycle engine was often the first sign that family functions had officially begun. If you somehow missed the roar from the street, the gruff growl of his voice and laughter from around the corner also served the same purpose. Ron was one of those people whose voice both perfectly complemented his persona, and yet conceals some aspects of their true nature, just below the crust. While many Harley owners merely choose to wear denim and leather and rumble around the neighborhood and on back country roads on the weekends, Ron was the real deal. His favorite fashion accessory was a heavy, brown leather and metal motorcycle vest, nearly every inch covered with motorcycle patches. He wore it nearly everywhere. You knew it was a truly special occasion when Ron wore just about anything else. Mind you, we’re not talking “Sons of Anarchy.” He wasn’t out trolling for trouble. While he’d growl about how no one has time for that bull----, such questionable behavior would also ride against the grain of everything Ron loved more than Harley. For starters, there were the decades of hard work he invested, building a reputation as a home

construction contractor. But even more so, there was also his reverence for America, and most of all, for the U.S. armed forces. Ron didn’t serve in the military but found deep satisfaction in honoring those who did, particularly as a volunteer and road captain for the American Legion, through their American Legion Riders wing. Because beneath the rough biker exterior lived a warm, caring heart, ready to take action on behalf of those people and causes he cared most about — whether it be the extraordinary, like taking his elderly mama to the family’s ancestral home in Sicily, or simply ensuring he almost always rolled up for holiday dinners, backyard barbecues, birthdays, graduations, christenings or any other excuse to gather, eat good food, knock back a cold beer or glass of wine, and spend time with the people who meant the most to him. More than anything else, that love and commitment has reverberated through the decades, felt by all he called family, whether by blood or choice. And that, more than anything else, is the legacy I hope my children remember from their time with Uncle Ronny — because they might look rather odd in one of those vests.

 Jonathan Bilyk writes about the triumphs and travails of being a modernday 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.)


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Home Is Where the Hearth Is

Visit our show room to see over 40 burning models on display. See a wide selection of electric, gas, and wood fireplaces designed to enhance the warmth and beauty of your home. You’ll also find a full line of mantels, fireplace screens, and hearth accessories to complete the picture.

Sales • Service • Installation

1255 Bowes Road, Elgin (847) 741-6464 • thehouseoffireplaces.com Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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F r e s h F o rr FFaallll......

230 W. State Street | Geneva, Illinois | 630.232.2085 230 W. State Street | Geneva, Illinois | 630.232.2085 www.statestreetjewelers.com www.statestr welers.com KCMAG_November.indd 52

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