KC Magazine_October 2021

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S Seeing g THE LIGHT PA G E 3 0


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Community oriented. Community minded. Community answers.

community bank.

St. Charles 10 Illinois Street | (630) 549-7065 | www.sterbank.bank

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We can create any of your remodeling ideas, from design to installation We Do It All.


To see this kitchen visit Havlicek Builder’s, Cooper Woods model in Geneva.

321 Stevens Street, Geneva • 630.232.9500 • www.genevacabinetgallery.com HOURS: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or by appointment

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NOTE It’s that time of year! The time of year for decorations, that is. I currently have one enormous plastic tub in my hall closet — it holds all things Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and more, in addition to random board games, an umbrella … you name it. If I look ahead 10 years, though, I could see a box for each holiday. If I’m being honest, a walk down any street in the Tri-Cities brings me closer to that reality; there are so many places to find irresistible home decor! There’s just something about decorating for fall that makes the season feel tangible and exciting. True to local designers’ expertise, which you can find on P. 16, I didn’t go overboard … just a few pumpkins, a cute sign and a fall-colored tablecloth. I’ve been baking all the autumn goodies, too, which feels just as necessary as decorating. Our fall home & hearth edition offers a wide variety of stories for your home, ranging from trends in lighting (P. 8) to what it feels

like to get some restorative time at home after a busy season of life (P. 26). These are so much fun to put together — if you have story ideas for features you’d like to see in future home issues, please call or email me! Hearing from readers is one of my favorite parts of my job. Lastly, Monique Howery’s culinary expertise has culminated in Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta in Elgin (P. 28). She blends Southern, Mexican and Jamaican flavors and collaborates with other business owners in the area. Partnerships like these — between businesses across the dining and retail scenes — are what make Kane County feel connected. Come to think of it, they're what make Kane County feel like home. Thanks for reading, and happy Halloween!

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, Katie McCall, Vicki Martinka Petersen, Melissa Rubalcaba Riske, Diane Krieger Spivak, Louise Treeny, Chris Walker and Kelley White.

Hannah Hoffmeister, Editor

on the


Update your interior or exterior lighting with simple fixes; read more on P. 8. Photo by Geneva Cabinet Gallery. Next month: We celebrate the winners of the Kane County’s Finest contest. Thank you to everyone who voted!


PUBLISHER Daily Chronicle & Suburban Weekly Group Laura Shaw 630-709-4497 lshaw@shawmedia.com

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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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.

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HOME & LIFESTYLE 8 SEEING THE LIGHT Brilliant ideas and trends for lighting, for fall and beyond 10 TAKING CARE OF THE CLUTTER A Q&A with Michelle Frediani, a professional organizer based in Batavia 12 CALL ELGIN HOME 7 reasons to consider a move to the Elgin area 15 CORNERING THE MARKET The Vintage Marketplace Co. is the place to go for high-quality, repurposed furniture and decor 16 LESS IS MORE FOR FALL DECOR Decorate for the season with green and rust hues, throw pillows and small design changes 20 NOT A DROP TO DRINK Wasco Nursery has watering advice for your plants during the drought 22 FROM THE GROUND UP With Geneva Design House’s wide variety, one could transform an entire room in one stop


28 ‘FUSION OF FOODS’ Discover Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta, an Elgin restaurant blending Southern, Mexican and Jamaican flavors

FAMILY IN FOCUS 30 SCARECROWS & OTHER SPOOKY EVENTS These Halloween-themed events are sure to brighten your October 33 GRAB A BOOKMARK Two book recommendations to check out in October 34 DARE TO BE SCARED Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour opens Oct. 15

BUSINESS & CIVIC 36 VALUE OF A GUIDE Tom McCartney and Sharon Piet on choosing a financial advisor

ART & FASHION 38 ARTIST OF THE MONTH Laura Lynne’s bright artwork often features nature and animals 40 A HOUSE WITH HEART House of 423 boutique has created a space for people to find connection while shopping

23 THE POWER OF MEDITATION This practice is the key to mental health, lasting peace and inner joy 24 EAT HEALTHY, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE OUT Digestive expert Dr. Tarun Mullick travels to Miami for his food review

DINING & ENTERTAINING 26 HOME AGAIN Katie McCall finds her way back to “normal” life — sans bakery




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By Diane Krieger Spivak | Photo provided by The Illuminators Outdoor Lighting



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hether your old lighting fixtures have seen better days, you’re remodeling or it’s just time for a change, local lighting experts are here to offer advice on what’s trending, both inside and outside your home.

“We work with builders, doing a lot of remodeling, but also going into new homes, and we do a lot of chandeliers in both,” says Mike Haas, who owns Geneva Design House with his wife, Susan, and daughter Kelsey. With house sales turning over like crazy, clients are looking to upgrade their lighting. One lighting trend Haas says he’s happy to see on its way out is strip lighting. “Homeowners are taking it down and upgrading to a semi-chandelier or a full chandelier, even in lower levels and basements,” says Haas. Though matte black has been trending with the farmhouse look, it’s slowly being replaced by bronze. “When we have choices, not only the designer but also the homeowners realize black is only a phase and bronze is a little more traditional, with

much better longevity,” says Haas. “It also goes along with doorknobs and hardware in homes.” Brass, Haas shares, is also making a comeback, as are chandeliers with crystals. “They’re beautiful. We’re selling a lot of them,” says Haas, who recommends putting them in the “important” rooms, like the foyer and even the master bathroom. “I always say, putting a little crystal on a chandelier is like putting on a little jewelry after you get dressed. It’s dressing it up with the finishing touches.”

says Joe Anthony, lead lighting designer at the St. Charles company. Even second- and third-story home exteriors can be illuminated with specialty mounted light fixtures, and automatic self-adjusting timers and Wi-Fi controls make outdoor lighting even easier. “The light fixtures and LED bulbs are becoming more advanced and reliable as the LED and Wi-Fi technology keeps evolving,” says Anthony, adding improvements have led to a much longer life span as well as energy cost savings.

If you’re on a budget, add new to two or three rooms, like the entry hall, dining room and kitchen, he advises. Kelsey, who is head designer, can help with in-house consultations or with photos supplied by the client.

Budgetary constraints are no problem with outdoor lighting. “The great thing about outdoor lighting is that it can be expanded and scaled at any time and any size according to a customer’s current budget,” he says. Low-voltage lighting systems can be installed in phases.

What about outdoors? Today’s customers are looking for energy-efficient LED outdoor lighting as opposed to lower-quality DIY lighting, according to The Illuminators Outdoor Lighting. Now that homeowners are spending more time at home, they’re expanding their outdoor living space, illuminating patios, pool areas, decks, gazebos, pergolas and outdoor kitchens,

“A free consultation with a professional outdoor lighting designer is recommended to educate a customer of all their outdoor lighting options and possibilities, regardless of whether they want a new outdoor lighting system or upgrade, to enhance and/ or add light fixtures to an existing outdoor lighting system, for their specific home and property,” says Anthony.


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A Q&A with Michelle Frediani, a professional organizer based in Batavia By Kevin Druley | Photos provided by Precisely Practical


an you find your things? Do you know what you have?

These questions frequently occupy the top of Michelle Frediani’s mind in part because of her bustling background, but also because others may not always have time to keep things organized. Make no mistake — Frediani has that aspect covered. The owner of Precisely Practical LLC in Batavia grew up the oldest of four children, and now, alongside her husband, James, has a blended family of five kids. They once called a 1,300-square-foot Texas house their home.


With many households focused on simplifying and streamlining as fall revs into gear, Kane County Magazine spoke with Frediani about some principles of home organization. This interview has been edited slightly for length.  KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE: Where does the organizing process start? MICHELLE FREDIANI: Sorting is going to be your first step. You have to sort everything to see what you have. Because you could have piles of things or boxes of things and they’re all mixed up without a real home in your home. So, if they don’t have a place to belong, then you might buy duplicates, or you won’t know that you have it, or things


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like that. So, we start with that. I do the consultation to make sure that I’m going to tailor whatever my suggestions are to their lifestyle.  KC: Is there a rule of thumb related to purging or casting something aside? MF: It depends on the person, because everyone has a different type of an emotional attachment, and I always leave it up to them. So, if there is something that they just do not want to get rid of, I will figure out a place for it. And so that’s the main goal. Not everybody wants to get rid of stuff. Not everyone wants to be a minimalist. Some people like their stuff, and that’s OK. … As long as everything finds a home and it gets put back in that home every time it’s used, then I don’t make them get rid of anything they don’t want to. Even someone with a large amount of stuff can be organized and be able to find their things.  KC: To what extent can

organizing be a family affair? MF: So, that’s a really big step in organizing when you have children. If you make them accountable and give them little, small duties and make them responsible, then they feel like it’s their decision and they’ll do it. So instead of trying to force them or make them do something, if you give them the time and the effort to let them put in their decisions on what you’re doing with their stuff, then it helps them to feel proud about doing the things that need to be done to keep everything in an organized manner.


 KC: What might you tell someone reluctant to get assistance? MF: My (business) tagline is “Organizing to connect the pieces of your life.” … I just want people to know that there’s no shame in asking for help. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means that you need that beginning “Where do I start?” And it’s totally judgment-free.


Furniture To Fit Your Lifestyle And Budget


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iscover what makes Elgin a great place to live. We’ve compiled a list of the top reasons to live in Elgin, including downtown Elgin, things to do, the art scene, local restaurants, biking accessibility and more.

1 . Special events

The city of Elgin’s commitment to quality of life for its residents is supported by a comprehensive yearly calendar of special events. In addition to programs available through the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin, public events also include the Fourth of July fireworks, free concerts in Wing Park, free movies in Festival Park and Elgin Short Film Festival, among others. A full list of Elgin events is on www.ExploreElginArea.com.

2 . Attractions & Recreation

There’s no shortage of things to do or see in Elgin. History buff? Explore the Elgin Area History Museum and Elgin Public Museum all year round. Nature lover? Hawthorne Hills Nature Center offers a picturesque 67-acre natural area. Love to read? One of Elgin’s most popular attractions is the award-winning Gail Borden Public Library. Whether it's playing 18 holes at Bowes Creek Country Club or The Highlands of Elgin, swimming laps at Adventure Island or Wing Park Pool, shooting hoops in the fieldhouse or ascending the 32-foot climbing wall at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin, or enjoying family time in one of 76 city-owned parks, Elgin is your place. The Fox River Trail offers cyclists, hikers and water enthusiasts the joys of the outdoors all within steps of downtown Elgin.

3. Arts and Entertainment

Arts and culture truly help define Elgin as a city, as evidenced by multiple performing arts venues such as the Elgin Art Showcase, Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin Community College’s Spartan Auditorium and the 1,200seat Hemmens Cultural Center, which continues to host the nationally renowned Elgin Symphony Orchestra. The Funky Rooster Tattoo and Art Studio has recently been recognized as an Illinois Maker by the Illinois Office of Tourism for its unique and artistic flair. Stop in to see for yourself, or book an appointment! For local entertainment, look no further than the Grand Victoria Casino, which offers Las Vegas-quality gaming, dining and nightlife. If gaming is not your thing, the smart play would be to double down on the cuisine from one of the on-site restaurants: The Slice Pizzeria, Crave Deli or Buckinghams Steakhouse and Bistro.

4 . Downtown

Downtown Elgin is arts, culture, events, niche shopping and a wide array of eateries and drinking establishments. Amenities such as Festival Park, the splash pad, Riverside Drive Promenade and the cobblestone courtyard of DuPage Court are all home to concerts and popular events. Elgin’s Cultural Arts Commission has sponsored public art pieces by local artists featured throughout downtown Elgin. Take a walking tour to see them all!

5 . Transportation

Commuting to Chicago is made easier with Elgin’s proximity to Interstate 90 and easy access to public transportation, including three Metra stations and a

By the Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Pace Bus facility. Elgin is also bicycle-friendly with miles of bikeable thoroughfares both in town and along the Fox River Trail.

6 . Public safety, health and community services Elgin’s responsive, award-winning public safety department includes the Elgin Police Department, employing more than 180 sworn officers, and the Elgin Fire Department, with more than 130 sworn firefighters operating out of seven stations. The city’s Elgin 311 call center is a tremendous resource to help connect residents to Elgin’s local government. During normal business hours, Elgin 311 citizen advocates answer general questions and process nonemergency service requests, including reporting potholes or missed garbage collection, or processing water bill payments.

7 . Education An Elgin student could conceivably attend school locally from pre-K all the way through a doctoral program without leaving the city. Elgin is primarily served by School District U-46, the state’s second-largest school district. U-46’s award-winning dual-language program enables more than 10,000 students to develop bilingualism and biliteracy skills in U-46 classrooms. Elgin Community College offers associate degree and certificate programs. Judson University is a four-year Christian college with more than 50 undergraduate majors, minors, pre-professional programs and adult undergraduate programs.




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          

Call Elgin Home 

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cornering the market T h e V i n t a g e M a r k e t pl a ce C o. is the place to go for hig h-q ua lity, r e p u r pos ed furniture and decor By Louise Treeny |Photos provided by The Vintage Marketplace Co.


intage and midcentury modern furniture are universal trends right now when it comes to home decor in Kane County. For 12,000 square feet of hardto-find, one-of-a-kind furniture, wall decor and more, The Vintage Marketplace Co. is your destination. The store has a “wowing” effect upon arrival, says co-owner Stacy Gyuricza. Four different styles of chic, unique furniture and decor are visible from the door, creating an experience that makes for varied, easy browsing.

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Gyuricza and her husband, Mike, started fresh and opened the store last June after the former owners closed the business. Previously, the two were avid furniture restorers, creating a natural route to owning The Vintage Marketplace Co.

The store is tastefully designed. “We stage everything so that you can have a visual to inspire,” Gyuricza says, noting the couple’s approximately 50 vendors carry “a really good mix of styles.” Those styles include boho, midcentury modern, grand millennial, farmhouse and other eclectic items. The non-furniture items are hard to find in other stores, including oneof-a-kind pillows, art, plants, mirrors and handmade items. “It’s clean, very organized,” says Gyuricza, noting that’s something they hear often from customers. Vintage stores can feel crowded — but not The Vintage Marketplace. Gyuricza says the team has prioritized making sure the store flows well and there is ample aisle space for everyone. The Vintage Marketplace Co. is currently decorated for fall — you’ll find decorative signs, handmade

pumpkins and so much more. After Halloween, be sure to mark your calendars for the Nov. 6 “All I Want for Christmas” sale, where you’ll get 15% off everything in stock. “If it speaks to you, it’s probably something you need,” says Gyuricza, whose motto is “go big” when it comes to design. The team updates their Facebook page frequently with newly stocked items, so following along will ensure you stay on top of recent arrivals and upcoming events. Gyuricza has coined a term to describe her store: “modish,” a combination of modern and stylish. The Vintage Marketplace Co. is your spot for all things modish.  THE VINTAGE MARKETPLACE CO. 211 S. Lincolnway St., North Aurora 630-296-8470 Facebook: The Vintage Marketplace Co.

The “All I Want for Christmas” sale is scheduled all day Nov. 6! You’ll get 15% off the entire store at this holiday preview sale. HOME & LIFESTYLE OCTOBER 2021


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Fall Deco


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By changing the throw pillows in the family room, you can interject color or patterns and can just take on a different look in the room.” It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a huge difference. “Foliage vases, pillows or a new throw blanket with a plaid, fall theme,” Peppeard says. “Less is more and it’s just more tasteful.” As the leaves change colors, many are looking to capture that palette within their own home. “Right now everybody gravitates toward those dark, green, burnt orange and reds,” says Kaitlyn Jane Miller, an interior designer based in Geneva. “Neutrality and minimalism are big.

We’re seeing a lot of that in homes these days, so those who have gone to the neutrals and whites and grays are tying those colors in with white pumpkins and light beige pumpkins and baskets.” Bolder colors are trending, too. Rust has become sort of a must. “One color that’s gaining popularity is rust,” Peppeard says. “Even prior to fall, I’ve seen a lot of rust in pillows and different pots and plants. The blue-greens and jewel tone colors are trending and can be interjected into space through pillows, vases and pots. It’s simple additions to space that give it that fall feeling.” Since fall is harvest season, many




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people are looking to capture that look and feel by mixing in pieces that help set up the home in preparation for Thanksgiving. “People are looking for that fall-oriented warmth of the season and going for that harvest kind of look,” Miller says. “People are really mixing textures. The chunky knit throw (blanket) goes well with their pumpkins. Lanterns and candles also can add a nice touch.” Plopping a bunch of pumpkins in a room can overwhelm a potentially warm and cozy autumnal feel to your home, but adding some greenery, flowers and baskets can be subtle and really tie a room together. “People are mixing different types of grasses, there’s been a lot of wheat

grass and there is some pulling of burnt orange, brown and rich colored green leaves,” Miller says. “Green is also a fall color and people like to mix it in with the dark brown leaves.” Fall decor doesn’t have to pay homage to Halloween, but it’s another element that many like to incorporate into their fall makeovers, especially if they have children or simply want to have a ghoulishly good time. “I actually like to do the fall stuff in September and then leave that as a base for some Halloween stuff in October,” Peppeard says. “For instance, I have a big wooden bowl of gourds on the island now, but by Oct. 1 I’ll be putting in creepy rubber spiders and some of that webbing.”



Deck the Halls!

HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR, DECEMBER 3 & 4, 2021 Discover yuletide treasure in Geneva! Visit five spectacular homes all decked out with festive holly and sparkling holiday warmth. Tickets go on sale mid-October—visit genevachamber.com for tickets, details and a complete schedule.

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


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and not a drop to drink


e have experienced several pretty severe periods of drought in the garden this year and as of writing this, there is no end in sight. It’s well before any of our collective memories that we can remember it being this dry, especially this dry late into fall. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that grass is brown, plants are drooping and trees are turning brown and losing leaves without getting their fall color. These are warning signs that trouble is brewing and if we ignore it, there will be sad consequences. In a normal growing season in suburban Chicagoland, we get cool, wet weather in April and May, followed by sort of dry weather in June, really dry in July and August, then nice again for September through November. But it seems the past few years that Mother Nature has been putting Chicagoland to the test. We’ve had longer winters with heavy snowfall, followed by extremely cold temperatures that swell up to normal then drop again, dumping


snow on us in APRIL! This year it snowed at the end of April and early May was just gross, followed by real spring. But then it stopped. And we didn’t see good rainfall for over a month or so. We got some rain in June, but it just wasn’t enough and the sporadic storms that followed in July were few and far between. August and September have been just brutal and it seems like we can’t water enough! I don’t know about you, but I feel like the hose is an extension of my arm and the city is doing quite well profiting from my water bill. But it’s a price I will pay to have a healthy garden. So, what can you do? It’s not too late to give your plants a much-needed drink. Here are some tips on what to do this fall and into early winter to help your plantings get through this rough patch and come out on the good side next spring. It’s important to water until at least midNovember — if not later — if we don’t get moisture and/or cooler temps.

 ESTABLISHED/OLDER TREES: While it may seem like these old guys don’t need water, it’s important to not forget about them when it’s been this dry. You can place a sprinkler about 8-10 feet away from the trunk and run it for about an hour or so (moving it as necessary to encompass the whole dripline). An easy way to test to make sure you water enough is to put a rain gauge or a small dish under the sprinkler. When it reaches 1 inch deep, you can move the sprinkler. If you do any watering at all, hit your big trees first as they need it to go into fall without suffering. Evergreens benefit from fall and early winter waterings, also.  YOUNG TREES (PLANTED LESS THAN FIVE YEARS): The same rules apply as the big guys, but you can put a hose at the base of the tree trunk and let it run at a slow trickle for about 30-45 minutes maybe once every week to 10 days. DO NOT WATER EVERY DAY!


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 SMALLER SHRUBS/TREES: Established plants (more than five years old) would need a soak at their base for about 10-15 minutes each, maybe once per week to 10 days. Younger plants would need it twice per week.  PERENNIALS/GRASSES/ GROUNDCOVERS: You can either water with the hose or you can use a similar method as the established trees and put a sprinkler out if you have larger landscape beds. They still need an inch of water, so watch your gauge. If you have time to water by hand, then soak each plant for a few minutes with the garden hose wand and move onto the next. I usually circle back around to the beginning and give them one last drink. Depending on your soil and age of plants, you may do this two to three times per week if your soil is very well drained (mine is as we live near the river; soil is sandy and doesn’t contain much clay). If you have a heavier soil, you could water maybe once or twice per week. Sometimes I use a plant or two in the garden as my warning system. Hydrangeas are pretty quick to wilt so they are a good tool to help judge. If

your hydrangea are wilting and don’t perk up by the next morning, there’s a good chance the other shrubs would need a drink. For trees, we always recommend checking the soil because different species will show different signs of stress and wilting isn’t always a sign. Poke a sturdy stick in the soil (use a paint stick, dowel or even a screwdriver) and check the soil around your trees like a cake. If you can push the probe in deep and it comes out with mud on it, plenty wet, wait a few more days to water. If you can’t break the surface or have a hard time pushing it in, then it’s time for a good soak. Watering is a delicate dance. We struggle with it daily. But just know that if you listen to your plants, they will let you know. Don’t assume that each plant has the same needs. Sometimes even groups of plants of the same type can struggle independently because soil can be very different from spot to spot. But help is out there — we are always ready to help you figure out a plant’s water needs. We watch the weather more than most humans do, and we are always digging in the dirt and know the conditions. When in doubt — give us a call!

Let us grow them into the garden of your dreams.

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!


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 GENEVA DESIGN HOUSE 210 W. State St., Geneva 630-232-7141 www.strawflowershop.com

from the

Ground up With Geneva Design House’s wide variety, one could transform an entire room in one stop

By Louise Treeny | Photos provided by Geneva Design House

eneva Design House by Strawflower offers the ability for you to make a big impact on your home, whether you’re looking to upgrade on a small scale or in a big way.

to find the perfect match to a rug or your existing furniture. After Geneva Design House renovated its space during the pandemic, the furniture department is closer to the window, allowing for natural light to emphasize the fabrics. The store also offers sectionals, sofas and chairs to fit your space and family’s needs.

For example, a rug or custom silk flowers will change the look and feel of your home, making it feel customized to your personal tastes. Or you could theoretically build a new room from the ground up, all from Geneva Design House — a rug, furniture, home decor, lighting and more. “We really try to have everything a homeowner would need” to update their home’s look, says Mike Haas, who co-owns the longstanding store with his wife, Susan, and daughter Kelsey. Formerly Strawflower Shop & Rug Merchant, the team rebranded earlier this year to keep their name as updated as the store’s inventory. Geneva Design House boasts one of the largest rug collections in the western suburbs, including 60+ room-sized carpets that are ready to go home with you on the day you stop by. Haas suggests taking photos of the room you’re hoping to design around — the rug inventory runs the gamut of sizes, he says, so there’s something available whether you’re looking to


Once you’ve established the bigger pieces in your room, finishing touches are what remain on the to-do list. Geneva Design House offers lamps, wall decor, artwork and custom floral arrangements. elevate your entryway or a living room. The store carries three collections of low-profile rugs, which are synthetically produced versions of hand-knotted silk rugs. This trending design feels exactly like a silk rug, says Haas, and fits nicely into a master bedroom or other room of importance. Colors beyond gray, including browns and baby blues, are starting to crop up. “Kelsey and I can help customers find their niche,” Haas says. As for custom upholstery for your furniture, the showroom contains hundreds of fabric swatches

A floral arrangement “really warms it up and puts that client’s signature on their house,” says Haas. It’s just October, but the holidays are quickly approaching. The team is also available for Christmas decorating at your home. “Our clients love being able to cross decorating off their list and enjoy a magical wonderland with none of the work!” according to the website. For more about Geneva Design House, stop in to the store or call to schedule a consultation. You can’t go wrong at this store with a home upgrade, big or small.


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n these times of change and uncertainty, meditation is a proven tool to help navigate life with greater ease, less stress and more clarity. Meditation steadies the mind so that you are better able to see the path ahead.

Scientific studies continue to report that a meditation practice causes both structural and functional changes in the brain that impact our ability to process and respond to life’s stresses. A regular meditation practice teaches you to develop an internal locus of control and to stay in the present moment. With this presence comes a greater sense of self-awareness, clarity and better decision-making. BENEFITS OF MEDITATION  Improved attention Research shows meditation improves concentration by developing the ability to stay in the present moment and focus the mind. When thoughts come into your awareness, meditation teaches us to witness them and return to the breath. This skill translates into every aspect of life.  Stress reduction A well-known benefit of meditation is stress reduction and meditation’s positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which can be attributed to greater awareness of the breath and an enhanced mindbody connection. The calming effects of meditation also decrease stress hormones and promote decreased

inflammation, bettering overall health and enhancing well-being.  Increased self-awareness Meditation trains the mind to remain present. In the space between thoughts is the present moment. This is where you can rediscover your true self and the vast potential of the mind.  Experience contentment within Meditation takes you on a journey from the external world to the inner world — from chaos to the peace and quiet of self-essence. When your contentment is established from within, you develop greater resilience to life’s day-to-day challenges and remain steady even in the midst of change, challenge and stress.  Embrace silence The practice of meditation is about returning the breath to the body, getting still and quieting the mind. By developing inner stillness or silence, you are able to cultivate sensitivity, or a listening relationship, with your own inner intuition. HOW TO ESTABLISH A MEDITATION PRACTICE  Start simple Don’t ask any more of yourself than sitting quietly for five minutes with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath. Get into the habit of showing up for meditation and committing to being quiet. Then build the time you sit each week. The goal is 20-60 minutes.

of Prana Yoga Center

 Select a time to meditate every day Create a regular time and space for your daily practice. You may choose the morning because your mind is not overstimulated, or the evening to center yourself and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Regardless of preference, it’s essential you commit to a time and create a dedicated space.

technique that is accessible for meditation students of all levels. It is a highly systematic technique rooted in ancient tradition and is supported by a rich body of wisdom, refined over generations. Prana Yoga Center is proud to have two certified Vishoka meditation teachers on faculty. Learn more by visiting www.pranayogacenter. com/meditation.

 Focus on the breath to anchor your attention When you begin meditation, expect your mind to wander. When that happens, simply notice and return your attention to the breath. Follow your breath on the inhale and exhale. Consider nadi shodhana or a breath technique taught by a qualified teacher.

PRANA YOGA CENTER Prana Yoga Center has been a leader in the field of yoga and meditation since 2002. The center combines traditional wisdom with contemporary research of movement science and mind-body health, providing a path to greater health and well-being.

 Release your expectations Let go of any preconceived notions of what meditation should or should not be. Let go of worrying about doing it right or pushing yourself to increase your sitting time. Take a calm, curious approach.

Whether you are seeking strength and flexibility or to restore inner balance, we have it all! With over 30 classes per week offered in person, livestream, and video on-demand, it’s convenient for you to practice and grow with us.

 Practice makes perfect There are many meditation techniques to choose from. Research and practice a proven technique, rooted in the ancient tradition of meditation. Find a practice that inspires you and stick with it. The more time you invest, the greater the benefits. As you deepen your practice, you will discover it is a key to mental health, lasting peace and inner joy. VISHOKA MEDITATION Vishoka meditation is a masterful


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on’t forget to keep supporting local restaurants a couple times a week if you can! Outdoor dining and autumn are the perfect pair.

In the spirit of fall, I thought, “Let’s venture out of town.” How many of us run out of town and just get stuck eating more than you wanted, or eating the kinds of food that put on 10 pounds before you return? Well, that’s what I was hoping not to do. I was, however, hoping to get enough flare and taste when I went down to Miami’s South Beach. I went to the Dior Cafe where I met up with some friends. This is one of the trendiest spots in Miami. Fortunately, it’s outdoors and has limited seating. But that’s part of the vibe, being super hard to get into with lines a mile long just to have a look. Fortunately,

with my VIP foodie reviewer status, I didn’t have to wait in line. Trendy is an understatement — this is a place where the who’s who go to catch one picture. But when you take a look at their menu, a lot of what you see is sugar-laden or fattening. I was not going to give in, so I found this wonderful, trendy version of a parfait. With the delectable Greek yogurt in a star shape, you got your protein packed. Trendily adorned were the berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries). Topped with a little homemade granola that had the elegance of design and freshness, this was not a typical parfait. It was glam! Topped with a gold leaf with the imprint seen in the highend purses. Christian Dior had an imprint on my parfait!

 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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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: Heartburn and gas are bothering me. What should I do? Should I try over-the-counter medicines, and for how long?

A: It is important to go to a gastroenterologist for evaluation of

the heartburn. An evaluation should include an endoscopy to determine the level of esophagitis and rule out a precancerous condition, Barrett’s esophagus. In addition, it is important to identify ulcers and gastritis. Other conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis, which are related to food allergies, can present similarly. Length of treatment and types of treatment, along with lifestyle and dietary changes, can be determined.

Q: Liver disease and pancreas problems run in my family. I heard that baby boomers and others should get screened for hepatitis C and other diseases.

A: Yes, baby boomers should be screened for hepatitis C. There

are great treatments for this now. In addition, fatty liver can occur from diet or alcohol. A periodic evaluation of liver function tests and, at times, an ultrasound are helpful. Present to a gastroenterologist for evaluation and determination of need for other blood tests and workup.

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: Does colorectal cancer screening work? A: Yes, the data suggest that the effects of proper screening

and surveillance work well. The key is to get it done and with appropriate follow-up. Don't neglect. And if you have family history, start at 45. And if you have any symptoms, then prior.

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.

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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: Summer, Football, Colonoscopy, Telehealth, Pumpkin


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a fresh take


FINDING MY WAY BACK TO “NORMAL” LIFE — SANS BAKERY By Katie McCall, local food columnist


poiler alert: For those not familiar with the editorial world, publications plan their content calendars out a year in advance (sometimes more), which means I have a lovely prompt each month for writing. But the truth is, I often forget to look at the editorial calendar before I start writing this column, and somehow, it naturally fits right into the magazine’s theme. Maybe it’s just coincidence, or maybe fate.

This month’s theme is “home” — and boy, that couldn’t be more accurate. For new readers just joining, our brick-and-mortar bakery, Two Wild Seeds, officially closed at the end of August. We handed over the keys and walked out the back kitchen door with our hearts full and a true sense of accomplishment. Since then, we’ve received countless messages, emails and letters, thanking us for our contribution to the community. So many echo the same question: “What’s next for you? What will you do now that the bakery is closed?” Some days I feel like I owe an explanation, but the


truth is, I find myself right where I want to be: at home, without an agenda. For the first time in over a decade, I’m home without the constant pull of a business that relentlessly demanded my time and energy. The never-ending, deafening ping of texts between myself and staff have silenced. The dozens of daily emails that once flooded my inbox have slowly come to a standstill. And perhaps more than anything, the emotional, ever-elusive tug of balancing my work and home life has disintegrated into thin air — overnight. Now, my calendar boasts overdue get-togethers with friends, family and colleagues. Mornings involve a quiet cup of tea as I plan the day, followed by breakfast at the kitchen island with my family and dropping my son at preschool for a few hours a week while I focus on my own professional food and writing projects. I have the flexibility to come and go as I please and dictate the flow of my day; in other words, I run the day rather than allowing the day to run me.

And while cooking and baking has always naturally been a focus in our home, I’ve even noticed a shift in my approach to preparing meals. With this newfound time, I’ve taken a deep dive into my 150-plus cookbook collection (yes, I counted), planned meals and grocery shopped in a more methodical, less hectic manner (aka throwing every single thing that looks good in my cart at Trader Joe’s), with the goal of trying new cuisines and expanding my base of cooking techniques. So, when I’m asked what’s next for me, the truth is — I finally get to decide what lies ahead, and that’s incredibly freeing, even if it’s paired with a bit of internal guilt for not being “busy” in the same manner. Life is short, folks; it’s important that we hit the pause button every so often to evaluate our purpose on this planet and prioritize our health, goals, wishes and dreams. As a wife and mama to the sweetest little boy in the world and a girl on the way, I know being right here at home is the best place I could ever be — no explanation needed.


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WITH CINNAMON STREUSEL TOPPING Gluten- and dairy-free, refined sugar-free My 3-year-old son loves baking with me, and banana bread was the very first thing we made together. Growing up, I always remembered warm, homemade banana bread sitting on the counter when I’d get off the school bus. It’s my favorite snack, and now my son and I can create our own traditions and memories at home with my decadent, guilt-free version.

Banana bread: • • • • • •

2 large bananas, mashed 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted 2/3 cup maple syrup 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups almond flour

• 1/4 cup all-purpose, gluten-free flour blend (Try Bob’s Red Mill, Betty Crocker, etc.) • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is our favorite)

Streusel topping: • 3 tablespoons all-purpose, gluten-free flour blend • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar • 1 tablespoon vegan butter substitute

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon • Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your pan(s) with a light coating of coconut oil and set aside. (I used a 10x7 glass baking dish for this recipe and it turned out perfectly!)

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.

In a large bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla with a stand or hand mixer. Add the two types of flour, baking soda and salt. Beat again until the batter comes together. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chips and then pour batter into greased baking dish. Set aside for just a minute while preparing the streusel topping. In a small bowl, make the streusel by combining the flour, coconut sugar, vegan butter, cinnamon and sea salt. Combine gently with your fingertips until small, pea-sized crumbs form. Finish by topping the banana bread with the remaining chocolate chips and streusel topping. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. If using deeper loaf pans, increase baking time in 2-3 minute increments until done. Allow to cool at room temperature — and enjoy!

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Discover Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta, an Elgin restaurant blending Southern, Mexican and Jamaican flavors

By Melissa Rubalcaba Riske Photos provided by Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta and Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin


onique Howery isn’t just cooking up delicious meals for customers who come in search of her legendary dishes. She is serving up her own brew of confidence and support for her fellow business owners through collaborations.

Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta is a fusion of cultures and cuisines, meant to be enjoyed together. She loves when people hop around the menu, trying the jerk chicken tacos, fried catfish nuggets, oxtail dinner and sides like greens or macaroni.

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“It’s Southern food, it’s Mexican, it’s Jamaican, it’s all a perfect combination,” Howery says. And always save room for her incredible desserts, says customer Karen Kauffman of Elgin. Kauffman and her colleagues work nearby in downtown Elgin and discovered the restaurant during a lunch break last year. It quickly became a go-to spot. “It’s a fusion of foods,” Kauffman says. “It all works.” Howery opened the restaurant in September 2020, mid-pandemic and at a time when many businesses were struggling as a result of restrictions. She launched her first restaurant in DeKalb, serving chicken wings and sweet potatoes to hungry college students, then decided to move to Elgin where she was drawn to the community.

her family dishes and delivering them on weekends to barbershops and beauty salons she knew. With these businesses, not located near other restaurants, she soon had customers coming in on the weekends and requesting her homemade macaroni and cheese, fried okra and entrees of jerk chicken. After years of cooking on the side in addition to her daily work and raising her young son, she decided to take their encouragement and open her own restaurant. Her food has become something of a legend, with people planning their travels with a visit to her restaurant. “Last weekend I had someone who was on their way to Florida and they stopped in,” she says. “On weekends people drive out from Schaumburg, from Rockford and from the nearby areas too.”

Her culinary foundation was in her grandparents’ kitchen, where her grandmother would “call her back” to the kitchen to help prepare meals, meanwhile sharing many of the recipes and techniques. “I come from a huge cooking family. My grandparents had 12 children as well as grandchildren and greatgrandchildren,” Howery says. “On the weekends we used to come together and have massive birthday dinners, holiday dinners. I learned to cook in bulk.” Howery decided to try cooking for others by preparing

But Howery isn’t just preparing dishes for her customers and handling corporate catering assignments for nearby businesses. She is using her cooking skills to build collaborations with fellow business owners too. Kauffman, a partner at DPK Creative in Elgin, says it’s this type of collaborations among businesses that make Elgin a great place to live, work and visit. “There really is a spirit of coming together,” Kauffman says. “And for creative businesses, it is kind of a mecca for creative businesses and arts.”

The flavor and diversity of Elgin’s restaurants can appease every palate, and with destinations like Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta, there is always a reason to try something new. Just be sure to save room for dessert.  MONI’S SOULFOOD FIESTA 13 Douglas Ave., Elgin 224-268-3197 www.monissoulfoodfiesta.com

You can learn more about Moni’s Soulfood Fiesta and other restaurants at www.downtownelgin.com!


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orking remotely. Carrying hand sanitizer. Dining outdoors. These are some of the changes from COVID-19 that seem here to stay. Now, socially distanced scarecrows can be added to this list.

Last year during the pandemic, Scarecrow Festival expanded from its usual home at Lincoln Park to around the downtown St. Charles area, allowing visitors to view the handcrafted scarecrows on display. This year’s Scarecrow Fest, taking place Oct. 8-10, will see the return of socially distanced scarecrows along with new and beloved attractions. Organizers hope to have the same number of scarecrows — around 75 — within walking distance in the downtown area. “We’re really excited to bring back Scarecrow Fest and have it come back on a larger scale this year,” says


Amy Curione, events manager for St. Charles Business Alliance, which puts on the event. “The handmade scarecrows are the main focus of this event. We want to provide a nice relaxing atmosphere for families and the community to enjoy the fall season,” Curione says. Attendees are encouraged to stop by the information tents near the Municipal Building and Lincoln Park and pick up a ballot to vote for their favorite scarecrow in each category — mechanical and mega; clubs/notfor-profits/schools; individual/family; and businesses. While visitors look at the scarecrows, they’re welcome to check out the local businesses as well. “Many businesses will be offering fall specials and offering products spotlighting flavors of the season like soaps, cocktails and beer,” Curione says. After viewing the scarecrows, families

can stop by the new Family Zone at Lincoln Park. The area will be chockfull of activities for the whole family, including a magic show, face painting and professional pumpkin carvings. Vendor booths also will feature family activities. Attendees can continue the fun at home by purchasing a “Scarecrow in a Box.” Each box contains all the supplies to build your own scarecrow: pantyhose, twine, clothes and straw to stuff the scarecrow. “We offered this last year in place of making scarecrows during the festival. It was so popular that we decided to offer it again,” Curione says. Scarecrow Fest will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10. Visit www.scarecrowfest.com for more information about the event, including the latest information related to health guidelines.


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PUMPKIN WEEKENDS Oct. 2-3, 9-11, 16-17, 23-24 and 30-31 Blackberry Farm, Aurora www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org

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Celebrate fall with special autumn-related activities on the weekends in October. You can also enjoy Blackberry Farm’s regular attractions.


A NIGHTMARE AT WEST MAIN Oct. 15 and 22 West Main Community Park, Batavia www.bataviaparks.org

See what’s creeping in the forest during a haunted hike through the trails. Note this event isn’t intended for kids younger than 10.


PROJECT DAFFODIL Oct. 16 Mt. St. Mary Park, St. Charles www.projectdaffodilstc.com

This is the second year the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles has hosted the daffodil planting day. This year also includes Virginia bluebells!


DOWNTOWN TRICK-OR-TREATING Oct. 28 Downtown Geneva www.geneva.il.us

Youngsters can get a head start on Halloween by wearing their costumes and trick-or-treating at participating shops and restaurants.


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Grab a Cold weather? No problem — you can read in the warmth of your home. Here are two r recommendations for your Octobe reading list, courtesy of the . librarians at Geneva Public Library

 FOR YOUR KIDS OR GRANDKIDS: “Houdini and Me” by Dan Gutman

 FOR OUR READERS: "The Wedding Dress" by Rachel Hauck

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn magic from the great Harry Houdini? An 11-year-old boy gets that opportunity in “Houdini and Me” by Dan Gutman. Harry Mancini is obsessed with magic, Houdini and cell phones. All of his friends have a cell phone, but his mom doesn’t think he needs one. After waking from a coma following an accident, Harry finds a flip phone among the cards and gifts he received from friends. Late at night, the phone starts buzzing. Stranger still, the person texting him is Harry Houdini — who died in 1926! Houdini shares many secrets, including the East Indian Needle Trick, the trunk escape and other famous death-defying feats. Houdini later reveals the reason he contacted Harry. He wants to escape the one thing he could not escape: death. Will Harry be able to help him? This book will appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced, humor-filled time travel books — and readers who want to know how Houdini performed his illusions. — Lynne Schick, librarian

Charlotte Malone owns a stylish bridal boutique and is renowned for finding the perfect gown to highlight the bride’s special day. There is only one customer she hasn’t satisfied with a dream dress — herself! As her wedding day draws closer, Charlotte still can’t find a dress, and she tries to shake off the feeling that her fiance is Mr. Wrong in "The Wedding Dress" by Rachel Hauck. At an estate sale, Charlotte discovers the ideal gown. The 100-year-old dress has been stored for decades in an old trunk but looks new. Charlotte is curious about the origin of her gown and wants to know more about the three women who wore the dress before her. Is she simply researching history or avoiding her doubts about getting married? As she probes the lives of the three previous brides, Charlotte learns about her heritage and the influence of fate … and realizes the splendor of true love. This sweet, enjoyable story has a dusting of mystery and magic and is the first in a series of four. —Kay DiVerde, library associate

PAINTING ANGELA The award-winning novel from former St. Charles resident James Breeden is now available from TOWN HOUSE BOOKS Painting Angela is a fast paced mystery set in New Orleans and published by the North American Review, the oldest literary press in the country.

Get your copy TODAY!

Town House Books, 105 N. 2nd Ave. St. Charles, IL FAMILY IN FOCUS OCTOBER 2021

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CT. 15 O S N E R OP istrict U O es Park D rl T a h C S t. S ME vided by


hotos pro arlson | P By Sara C



or families participating in the St. Charles Park District’s Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour, Halloween is not just a day to go trick-or-treating. It’s a serious passion.

Participants begin planning for the Ghoulish Homes Tour months in advance to create, build and decorate haunted scenes throughout their properties, complete with animatronics, lighting effects, music, fog machines and interactive displays. Some even include haunted trails and tents to tour — if you dare. The Park District even has a Facebook page

dedicated to the event — and a few families have created Facebook pages dedicated to their own houses, with all their haunting and spooktacular fun. Back this year will be live actors to roam throughout the yards as zombies, ghouls and ghosts, adding a touch of drama to the creepy scenes. In its 21st year, the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour lures hundreds of families out nightly to visit about 25 homes from dusk to 10 p.m. Opening night is Oct. 15, and the tour runs through Halloween, Oct. 31. Judge’s night is Oct. 16. It’s not too late to sign up. Registration is open until Oct. 13, and participants can choose to compete in one of the following award categories: Best Actors (1-6 ghouls); Best Actors (7 or more ghouls); Best Rookie; Craftiest Creeper; Best Use of Technology; Eeriest Haunt (without actors); and Family Fun. Awards also will be given for Judge’s Favorite and People’s Choice.


While the recognition is nice, families agree the


reason they participate goes beyond the awards. “We love the holiday and have so much fun doing it as a family,” says Danielle Sumoski, whose family of four has transformed their property on Hemlock Drive into the “Sumoski Erie Acre” for 11 years now. “We love to win, but we love making fun memories and sharing our passion for Halloween with the next generation,” Sumoski says. Susanna and Joseph Vitale couldn’t agree more. For 15 years they have created spooky displays at their house in the Harvest Hills subdivision. “To us, it’s like celebrating a major holiday,” says Susanna Vitale. “We’ve been doing this for so long, there are adults who visited as kids who are now bringing their children to see our haunt. Creating a family tradition like that makes it all worth it.” The Sumoskis and Vitales are not alone in their Ghoulish Homes Tour addiction. Many returning participants were hooked from the first year. Mandy and Bill Isaacson first entered in 2016. “To hear all the laughing and screaming from visitors


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for a Beautiful 2022 Spring! Skyline Tree Service was established in 1988 and is family owned and operated. After more than 30 years of service, we still hold strong to our original commitment to excellence to provide y tree care services. our customers with q quality

Removal • Emergency Services • Tree Trimming • Stump Removal • Tree Risk Assessment • Plant Health Care • Certified Arborists R E S I D E N T I A L , CO M M E R C I A L & M U N I C I PA L 6 3 0 - 58 4 - 2 2 21 | WWW.SKYLINETREESVC.COM was truly amazing and we knew then that we had to keep doing this,” says Mandy Isaacson.

animatronics. We try to stay away from the gore and just make it spooky,” Jen Rose says.


Located on a corner lot, they take advantage of decorating all three sides of their house. This includes a haunted woods walk, built by their two sons. On judge’s night this year, the Batavia Academy of Dance will perform.

The Isaacson house on Osage Drive will include a haunted trail and tents, their “signature graveyard” and popcorn for visitors at the end “to help people recover,” Isaacson says. They also plan to include live actors on opening weekend. Geared toward visitors who want to be scared, each year the Isaacsons change up the displays. “There will always be new scenes and scares, hopefully to keep everyone on their toes,” Isaacson adds. Catering to the family-friendly crowd, Jen and Jason Rose have decorated their home in the Timbers neighborhood since 2017. “We love

The Sumoski family’s house meets families at their scare level, providing scary and nonscary haunted trail options. Live “ghouls,” the infamous farm, stockyard, voodoo swamp and graveyard will all be returning this year. But visitors will have to see the new features this year for themselves. “We don’t want to ruin the surprise!” Danielle Sumoski says. Tour guides will be available Oct. 15 at www.stcparks.org/halloweenfun.


Ghoulish Homes Tour

Pack up your family for an eerie evening cruise & drive by some of the spookiest houses in St. Charles!

View displays from either your vehicle or the sidewalk. Please be courteous and respect the homeowners’ rights and property during your adventure. Warning: Some displays may not be appropriate for all ages.

Best Viewed at Dusk to 10pm • Oct 15-31 Judging Night: Saturday, Oct 16


Tour guides available Oct 15 at 9am:

stcparks.org/halloweenfun Follow the event on Facebook! /galleryofghoulishhometour


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The value of a



hen I was younger, I had the good fortune to embark on a canoe trip into the Boundary Waters. For those unfamiliar, there are millions of acres of strictly controlled wilderness on the Minnesota/Canadian border where moose, bears, eagles and many other animals flourish in their natural habitat, unspoiled by humans. Whether you are on the U.S. side of the border (Boundary Waters) or the Canadian side (Quetico), the setting is nothing short of spectacular and — thanks to our guide — so was our trip. Not only did we become well schooled in the proper techniques and best practices for everything from canoeing to


stowing our food packs (on ropes up between trees at night to keep bears out of our campsite) we also covered an amazing distance and saw spectacular sights that we otherwise would not have even known were there.

We passed several other groups who were on their own. Some were lost and asking us to help them read their maps. One group had made a reckless decision and tried to “shoot” some rapids that culminated in a waterfall which had claimed their canoe. Although their experiences probably made for memorable stories, I’m confident none of them had as productive a result as we did. When it comes to the financial wilderness, many of the same benefits can result from working with a qualified financial advisor.


When choosing your financial guide, here are a few suggestions for areas to explore:  Qualifications Not all financial advisors are alike and you will want to do your homework. • What licensing does the advisor have? To help assure that recommendations are based on solutions that might best fit your situation rather than run the risk of them being restricted due to a lack of advisor qualification, look for FINRA Series 7, 65 and/or 66 securities licenses as well as Life & Health Insurance licenses for your state. • Is there a history of any client complaints or any enforcement actions by regulators? (Visit


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www.brokercheck.finra.org as well as your state’s insurance department’s website to review the advisor’s history.) • Are there any additional industry certifications? If so, what are they and why are they relevant to you?  Nature of relationship What capacity will your advisor be working in? • Will your financial professional act in the capacity of a broker or will they have a fiduciary responsibility holding them to a higher standard? Brokerage activities are held to a suitability standard, whereas investment advisory relationships require that the advisor put your interest before their own. Both can have their place. Make sure you know in which capacity your advisor functions and why. • How will you pay for services? Commissions, fees or both? What are your total costs going to be including the underlying investment products’ expenses?  Communication, commitment and chemistry When preparing to work with a financial advisor, keep in mind that this relationship could well last for years if not decades. • With what frequency will you communicate with your advisor and how will contact occur? • What confidence do you have that your advisor will stay current with the marketplace as your situation evolves? • Are you comfortable conversing with your advisor and her/his team? Is there a mutual respect? Will he/she have the rigor to stick with their principles or will they just tell you what you want to hear? Whether you are evaluating your current advisor or seeking to start a new relationship, we wish you a safe and prosperous journey!

Photo by Indre Cantero

FILE# 3768587.1

 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. BUSINESS & CIVIC OCTOBER 2021

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LAURA LYNNE 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.



happy mood tends to lead to happy art. “It’s my goal to be in a contented state while I create, so I often gravitate towards bright color combinations,” says artist Laura Lynne.

Lynne rented a studio within Water Street Studios for about six months during the COVID-19 pandemic. She used the studio to create a collaborative video series for the DuPage Children’s Museum, where she was previously slated to do an in-person artist-in-residence program before the pandemic. “When I started the video series project for the DuPage Children’s Museum, I had minimal video editing knowledge and no acting skills!” recalls Lynne. “It was a challenge to be in front of the camera and learn editing, but in the end the final project is something I’m very proud of.” You can learn more about the process through videos and an article posted at www.dupagechildrens. org/a-virtual-artist-in-residency. Lynne’s colorful, creative and whimsical artwork is inspired by a deep connection to nature, which she says she developed in childhood. She also finds inspiration in poems, song lyrics, fairy tales and more. “I look for the magic in nature, then add in some bright colors and design twists. There is most always music on while I work, and often it influences my art and illustrations,” she says. In 2008, Lynne and her husband moved to Aurora, where she recently completed her largest mural and community project. The Aurora Gateway Unity Mural, which reads “Love Aurora” surrounded by colorful designs in blues and purples, was completed by volunteers after being designed and drawn by Lynne and local artist Catalina Diaz. The mural fits one of Lynne’s central beliefs when it comes to art. “Beautiful, happy art should be accessible to all, whether via public art or affordable reproductions for our homes.”



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Don’t miss Laura Lynne’s solo show, opening at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 on the second floor of Water Street Studios!




DETAILS OF LAURA LYNNE’S WORK: To purchase or learn more about her creations, visit www.lauralynneart.com or www. waterstreetstudios.org/shopwaterstreet.  Illinois Prairie Collaboration with DuPage Children’s Museum: mixed media — collage and acrylic, 36x48, located in DuPage Children’s Museum  Woodland Walk: mixed media, 30x45, private collection  Purple Dragonfly: mixed media, 11x14, private collection  Soar: mixed media, 36x48, printed mural installation at Water Street Studios  Namaste: mixed media, 36x36, $1,500, located on display at Chicago Premium Outlets  Aurora Gateway Unity Mural: exterior latex and acrylic paint, 15’x30’, located at 210 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Laura Lynne is best known for her colorful representations of nature and animals. Much of her mixed media work is also available online as prints, maintaining accessibility for all price points. Learn more at www.lauralynneart.com.

For more information on the artist of the month, head to www.waterstreetstudios.org or the organization’s social media pages.


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 HOUSE OF 423 10 E. Wilson St., Batavia 630-423-1664 www.houseof423.com


HOUSE Heart with


By Kelley White | Photos provided by House of 423


new telephone prefix, address and her very own birthday inspired the name behind House of 423, a new clothing boutique that features classic style with a sophisticated flair.


storefront. The space has allowed Whitt to curate products and foster an atmosphere that reflects her own warmth and style. At House of 423, Whitt purposefully matches each customer with clothing that accentuates their best characteristics.

Owner Sarah Whitt’s tenacity to have a successful business helped her transition her shop to a brick-and-mortar

“What a time to start a business!” Whitt cheekily reflects on the beginning of her journey, which coincided with the


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We've Moved

Come see us at our new location!

Dawn, Esther & Walter Locally owned & operated with fair service pricing and quality experienced stylists here to serve your every hair care need. Conveniently located at

615 S. Randall Rd., Ste. 104, St. Charles 630-400-4470

Readyto ride? Looking for local bike trails? Find the 2021 Fox River Trail Guide at www.foxriverbiketrails.com Coming soon to the local park districts and most retail locations noted below.

w w w. f o x r i v e r b i k e t r a i l s . c o m ART & FASHION OCTOBER 2021

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pandemic shutdown. Initially, she launched her business while attached to another local clothing store. She adapted and generated interest in her clothing by hosting outside parties and using social media. In summer 2020, Whitt arranged a pop-up shop at the Batavia Boardwalk Shops, developing consumer interest and excitement around her store. “It was amazing!” she recalls. By November, one of the producers of the Batavia Boardwalk Shops called to tell her she had found a permanent home for her business at 10 E. Wilson St., behind baby clothing store Ruby Jane. Whitt opened House of 423 in April and has been sharing her passion and expertise with customers ever since. “I want to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think, ‘I need an outfit,’” she says. An elegantly gilded mirror from Anthropologie leans against the back wall of Whitt’s shop, inviting people out of the dressing room to admire their prospective purchases and connect with other

customers enjoying their own retail therapy. “When it’s busy, it’s so fun because it is like you’re hanging with family,” says Whitt, who enjoys making personal connections with her customers, hosting personal shopping parties and helping find the perfect outfit for any customer. Dr. Priscilla Sarmiento-Gupana, a dedicated customer turned friend, regards Whitt as someone who “not only carries style, she carries friendships.” Gupana laughs at the “comedic duo” dynamic between Whitt and her sister, Mary Naylor, who helps Whitt run the shop. The pair have a magnetic energy that makes everyone feel at home and confident with each purchase they select. “Classic with a little bit of a twist” is how Whitt describes her approach to selecting items and clothing lines for her shop. From everyday wear to wedding attire, Whitt supplies a myriad of choices seasonally. House of 423 has a simple logo, but one that was created with purpose. A house with a heart at its entrance stylishly illustrates the foundation of the business: community. She reiterates her love for her shop with a simple statement: “I love dressing people.”

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Our commitment to providing excellent service and an extraordinary mortgage experience has made us stand out since 1995.

Learn what sets us apart at goFCM.com!


Founders Steven & Dave McCormick NMLS#132763(Forlicensinginformation,gotowww.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)877.463.2610.FirstCentennialMortgageCorporationoperateswiththefollowinglicenses: IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.0004239. This is not an offer for extension of credit or a commitment to lend as defined by Section 12 CFR 1026.2 Regulation Z. Interest rates and products are subject to change at any time without notice or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock. All loans must satisfy company underwriting guidelines. 2471 W. Sullivan Road, Aurora, IL 60506. 22062_2108

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October is “Make a Wish” Month Stop in to start or update your Wish List for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate

For each Wish List created, a donation will be made to

230 W. State St. | Geneva, Illinois 630.232.2085 www.statestreetjewelers.com SM-CL1918056

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