SL_Mag_February 2018

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Suburban Life MAGAZINE



Romance ISSUE

Clever Valentine’s Day options page 22

Romantic spots to escape with your love page 10


Latina style Author pens romance series set in Chicago page 7


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Editor’s Note It’s cold outside, but romance is in the air! February is the proclaimed month for love, and all over our communities, folks are celebrating, making reservations for Valentine’s Day date nights and planning weddings. So this month, we celebrate with you, offering romantic getaways, great local love-focused events, wedding planning shows and more. I share my own experiences with the new millennium mating ritual of online dating (the good, the bad, and the awkward). And we also offer up some out-of-the-ordinary options for Valentine’s Day whether you’re part of a happy couple or a “singleton” in the suburbs. Someone once said that a smile “is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.” So we talked to the experts about keeping your smile bright white and shining, for whatever your future holds!

And even if you’re not making any special plans, we’ve still got ideas to ramp up your romantic spirit. We highlight some great romantic reads with which to curl up on the couch, speak to a professional romance novelist about her inspiration and experiences, and clue in aspiring authors to a course in romance writing. Whatever your plans for the month of February, we wish you love – through family, friends and fun –right here in the suburbs! Thanks for reading —

Sherri Dauskurdas Editor

Suburban Life Suburban Life Magazine Published by Shaw Media 1101 W. 31st Street Downers Grove, IL 60515 Phone: 630-368-1100

Director of Niche Publishing Laura Shaw Advertising Bill Korbel 630-427-6230 Editorial Sherri Dauskurdas 630-427-6263 Kelli Murray

on the COVER

Novelist Priscilla Oliveros shares all she knows about romance writing in online course. Page 7 Photo by MICHAEL A.



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Designer Allison McCaleb 815-526-4485 Correspondents Jonathan Bilyk, Kelsey O’Connor, Aimee Barrows, Allison Horne, Peter Stadalsky and Allison Manley Photographers Ron McKinney, Michael Eaddy

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

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INSIDE ROMANCE 7 LOVE, LATINA STYLE Romance novelist shares her journey, and her inspiration in a heart-filled interview with us, and in the online classroom with aspiring romance writers. 10 MARVELOUSLY ROMANTIC MANSIONS Spoil yourself and your love with a nearby getaway filled with regality and luxury. 13 BOOK NOOK Find the love you crave in the pages of some really romantic reads this month! 14 LOVE, SONG Take in a night of love and romance on stage, shared a capella style, at North Central College in Naperville.




Spoil yourself and your love with a nearby getaway filled with regality and luxury.


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16 WINE AWAY THE HOURS Our local wine experts offer their favorite choices for Valentines Day, and any romantic meal. 18 PERFECT PLANNING There’s hardly a party more important than your wedding, so to make the big day perfect, start with a local bridal expo. We’ve got a variety coming to town this spring.

OUT AND ABOUT 20 ONLINE DATING OVER 40? Editor Sherri Dauskurdas shares her thoughts on the pros and cons of this social media-based mating ritual. 21 EDITOR’S CHOICE VALENTINES DAY If you’re heading out for an extraordinary date, we’ve got some out of the ordinary suggestions to consider. 23 LOVE OF HIS LIFE Travel writer Peter Stadalsky shares his life’s passion in this annual month of love.

FASHION AND BEAUTY 24 SMILE BRIGHT Get set for your biggest days with a smile that’s clean and bright. Our experts offer tips for how to get those pearly whites shining!

HOME AND LIFESTYLE 26 DO DOGS SMILE? Your pet deserves a clean and sweet mouth just like we do. The veterinarians at Noah’s Animal Hospital tell us how to keep pet teeth clean as a whistle, and maintain their best health.

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Priscilla Oliveras will publish her first anthology of romance novels this year.


Latina style

Author pens romance series set in Chicago | By ALLISON HORNE There’s no feeling like the one when an author holds their first published, printed book in their hands for the first time. It was no different for romance writer Priscilla Oliveras.

commit to full-time. Eight years ago, that changed. “It went from being something that I enjoyed doing when I had time to something that I really wanted to pursue,” Oliveras says. When Oliveras started writing, she admits that a lot of her novels were similar to the love stories she was reading. But over the last 20 years of writing and honing her craft, she started integrating her own experiences as a Latina into her stories.

Oliveras first got a taste for romance novels in high school when her father, Joe, passed along one of his romance books for her to read. Among her favorites were Victoria Holt’s gothic novels.

“As I matured and I learned more about my writing, I felt comfortable in my craft and it reflected more of my American life,” she says. “It doesn’t mean that all of my characters are Latina; it’s more of contemporary While she has always had a knack for writing, marriage, romance with Latina flavor.” college, grad school and kids had always made her | Continued on page 8 writing more of a hobby than something she could

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| Continued from page 7 In her first-ever published series, Matched to Perfection, each book tells the love story of one of three sisters in a Latina family and is set in a fictional suburb of Chicago. Her first book, “His Perfect Partner,” tells the story of Yazmine Fernández, a professional dancer, and Tomás Garcia, a single father, while the second book, “Her Perfect Affair,” revolves around Rosa Fernández and Jeremy Taylor. The third book follows Lilí Fernández and Diego Reyes, while the Christmas anthology features their cousin, Julia Fernández, and Ben Thomas. The novels are set at different times, but throughout all of them, readers meet and interact with all of the characters at different points in their lives. “The characters have a lot of their family and their community members surrounding them,” Oliveras says. “I write with Latino characters, so families are involved whether you want them to be or not.”

Her second book is expected to come out in April, while the third book has a December release and the anthology is scheduled for publication in November. Oliveras’ book can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and Goodreads and it is available in both print and e-copy. “My dad reads it and says it’s perfect, while my sisters and my mom tell me it’s good, but they’re beta readers,” Oliveras says. “They’ll tell me, ‘this doesn’t make sense here,’ or ‘her eyes are green and now they’re blue.’ My mom double-checks my Spanish and my grammar and my sister really digs into the story.” Oliveras, who has a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, including an MFA in writing popular fiction, is also taking her love and knowledge of her craft and sharing it as an instructor with a romance writing class through Cengage Learning’s ed2go. The class is an online continuing learning class and is offered locally through College of DuPage.

Oliveras may not intentionally put her own Latina experiences into the stories, but sometimes, it’s hard to resist. As a former Illinois resident, she loved driving to the city of Chicago for weekends and attending Cubs games in the summer. In her third book, she integrated a Cubs game as part of the story.

“I wanted to put together a class that would help the basic foundation of romance writing,” Oliveras says. “I took a long time putting the class together with what I knew and what I learned from others. I really just wanted to provide an avenue for people who are interested in learning more about the genre.”

Oliveras says she often uses her parents’ relationship as an inspiration for her stories. Her mom, Migdalia, first met her Mexican-American father, Joe, while he was stationed in Puerto Rico for the Navy. They’ve been together 51 years and have been huge supporters of her writing and work. She also uses her three daughters as a source of strength in her stories.

One thing that has helped Oliveras develop as a writer has been the Romance Writers for America, which she is now a director-at-large for. As a part “I’m drawn to an equal partnership between two people,” Oliveras of that group, she’ll be participating in Chicago Spring Fling, a romance writers’ conference, on April 20-21 for a presentation says. “They are either equal or are learning to give and receive and book signings. with each other. I think with having three girls, I’m drawn to writing stories that show a woman who is fulfilled in herself and While Oliveras, who now resides in sunny Florida, may not be able not just in her romance.” to hack it through the Chicago winters, her characters do, and readers can grow alongside them as they brave the snow and Getting her series of four books published has been a long road embark on their very own love stories. for Oliveras. She was a four-time Golden Heart finalist and was close to getting published several times before she was finally “I still believe in the ‘happily ever after’ for right now,” Oliveras able to see her work in print in October. says. “I’m a big believer that a healthy relationship between two people can overcome the odds when you’re with the right “Just getting the call was amazing,” Oliveras says. “We always person.” ask ‘what is success’ because there’s so much rejection in this industry, so I feel like we need to celebrate every success.” 8 | FEBRUARY 2018 | SUBURBAN LIFE MAGAZINE

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Write Romance


omance is the #1 selling genre in mass-market fiction with readers clamoring for more! To pen a novel romance readers love, you’ll need to understand how to meet and exceed their expectations — exactly what this class will focus on. Whether you’re a new or experienced writer, this course will help you broaden your skills and understand exactly what makes a romance reader finish a book with that “Ahh” of satisfaction. You’ll start by learning about the genre of romance and exploring why you fell in love with your favorite romance novels. Then we’ll build on these insights. You’ll explore how to craft three-dimensional characters your readers will love and how to weave a plot so your story grabs the reader’s interest from page one. And of course, you’ll gain valuable techniques — your “romance writer’s toolbox” — to apply to your own manuscript. But good writing is good writing, whether you’re drafting a romance, a sci-fi adventure, or a thriller. With that in mind, we’ll also spend a couple lessons looking at and practicing elements important for any writer to master: setting, pacing, point of view, dialogue, research, mood, and tone. You’ll take on fun assignments that will help you hone your craft. By the time you finish, you’ll be able to pick up a book and figure out what makes it a best seller, or why it’s been called a classic, or why it appealed to you as a reader. Even better, you’ll have mastered tools and techniques so you can add those same elements to your own writing. The course is led by Priscilla Oliveras, a longtime independent romance writer with a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. An active member of Romance Writers of America, she’s also a four-time Golden Heart finalist and multiple contest winner who writes contemporary romance novels with a Latino flavor. Priscilla has lectured on college campuses, presented for local writers groups, penned multiple articles on her craft, and completed five romance novels. Sharing her love of the written word and the information she’s gleaned over the course of her writing career is one of her greatest passions. The course is an online experience, offered through College of DuPage.

Session Start Dates are upcoming on February 14, March 14, and April 11.

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

Photos provided


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


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


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 Vrooman Mansion

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

 Alexander Mansion WINONA, MINNESOTA 507-474-4224

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


you’re looking for even more relaxation, massage services also are available. Outside the mansion, sample local wine at two nearby vineyards or head out on the Great River Road Wine Trail to explore wineries throughout the region. The area also has cycling, skiing, kayaking, golfing, fishing and more. | Continued on page 12


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| Continued from page 11

t The Inn at Irwin Gardens

COLUMBUS, INDIANA • 812-3763663 This small-town gem is so picturesque that it was featured in scenes from the film “Columbus,” a recent Sundance hit starring John Cho. The Victorian home is certainly worthy of the silver screen. It’s changed little in the past century, and has even retained its original fixtures, furniture and decorations. The gardens surrounding the inn are just as historic. First planted in 1910, they were inspired by a garden excavated at Pompeii. Today, the Italianate garden is open to the public and features ornate terraces, wisteria-covered pergolas, and bubbling water features. The gardener’s cottage has been converted into a health spa, with yoga, skincare, massage and more.

Photos provided

Outside the garden walls, Columbus is home to many noteworthy architectural feats. Visitors can rent a bike and explore the 20 miles of trails that wind through the heart of town.

Photos provided

 Beiger Mansion

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

Photos provided

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

Often referred to as Mini-Versailles, this boutique bed and breakfast blends European elegance and small-town charm. The inn boasts the style and sophistication of a big-city hotel in a quaint and calm area, just two miles from downtown 12 | FEBRUARY 2018 | SUBURBAN LIFE MAGAZINE

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Saugatuck. There are 10 guest rooms, including three suites, each with their own fireplace and private bath.

tea or a cocktail in the library, sunroom or on the wrap-around veranda. The on-site restaurant features a seasonal, prix fixe menu.

And there’s no shortage of romance. Guests The surrounding area offers a variety of activities, can opt for extra amenities, such as the popular with beautiful beaches, sweeping dunes and a “Lover’s Package,” which includes a cheese plate, bustling downtown. flower arrangement, bottle of wine, and a one-hour massage for two. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon ROMANCE

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Book Nook


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

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

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


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



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Love song Performance weaves story with melody to illustrate love’s intimacy over time | By AIMEE BARROWS


his Valentine’s Day, treat your better half to an evening of romantic stories, erotic madrigals and beautiful love songs as Chicago a Capella presents “Love Stories” on Sat. Feb.17 at Wentz Concert Hall on Naperville’s North Central College campus.


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“Love Stories” intricately weaves a Capella music with an intimate story about a longtime married couple who looks back on their relationship as they’re downsizing and cleaning their attic. The original script, written by award-winning playwright Tom Mula, takes audiences through the most passionate, poignant and even mundane moments in the couple’s lives. Veteran Chicago actors Michael Weber and Karen Janes Woditsch portray the couple as they join 10 Chicago a Capella ensemble members on the stage for an evening of unforgettable romance.

music and will be touched and tickled by the humor that the stories bring [to the show].”

“There’s a very broad range of love songs, from classical to modern. The scenes worked so well with the music and they lift each other,” Mula explains. “Love is one of those emotions humans do best and the audience will have an opportunity to re-connect with the loves of their lives. They’ll get an evening of lovely

“It’s a charming and sweet storyline, and regardless if people come with a significant other, they can still share in the storyline,” she says. “It’s an entertaining and a feel-good show. The singing is beautiful and the actors are engaging. There are moments that are magically beautiful and tickets would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.”


Audiences will recognize some of the music, including the popular jazz standard “Fever,” and selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein, but also will be treated to more eclectic pieces, like a 16th Century Italian madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi. Longtime Chicago a Capella ensemble member Kathryn Kamp says this production is a unique hybrid of a concert and theatre performance.

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Facing page:

The Chicago a Capella group.

Top right:

Tom Mula, director and playright of “Love Stories.”

Below left: “Love Stories” is part of Chicago a Capella’s 25th season under founding Artistic Director Jonathan Miller. The acclaimed ensemble performs unaccompanied music from Gregorian chants to the Beatles and more at venues across the Chicago area.

Karen Janes Woditsch, veteran Chicago actress.

Below right:

Michael Weber, veteran Chicago actor.

Soprano Megan Bell explains that the ensemble’s standard performances usually don’t feature actors, but that the two actors in “Love Stories” bring an entirely different element to the show. “They tie this program together because they perform little vignettes that correspond with each song,” she says. “The actors and the story line make the performance a more dynamic experience for the audience. Some of the pieces are funny or sexy, and others are heartwrenching. We explore a wide variety of emotions within the concept of love. It will be a great date night for any couple, and all music lovers will enjoy this show.”

Lovin’ Downtown Wheaton!

Tickets for the Feb. 17 performance begin are $43 for preferred seating and $35 for general admission. Discounted tickets are available for seniors and students. There are also several other performances in February at various locations throughout the Chicago area. For tickets or more information, visit www.chicagoacapella. org or call (773) 281-7820.

IF YOU GO “Love Stories” 8 p.m. Sat. Feb. 17th Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville

Make Downtown Wheaton your destination for romantic dining and specialty gifts that even cupid would love! Valentine’s Day is February 14th. From chocolates, wine, specialty gift items, flowers, and unique dining options, your celebration will be a memorable day!

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

During Valentine’s Day, the attention of most turns to romance – and, in particular, how to give the one you love more than just a nice time. Few things go better with a Valentine’s celebration than a bottle of wine. But how do you choose the best vintage to make the evening special? While for some, expense may be no object, but, for many, the constraints of a budget are real. So, wine experts, like Al Buchanan – owner of Geneva Wine Cellar and Tasting Room, located in the literal cellar of the lower level of The Berry House on Third Street – and the folks at SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits in St. Charles and downtown Geneva, stand ready to help would-be Cupids find just the right bottle to add magic to any Valentine’s dinner, dessert or nightcap. And, on Valentine’s Day, that list begins with something bubbly and pink, says Buchanan. “It’s Valentine’s Day – the day of romance – so, for me, that’s what delivers the best bang for the buck,” Buchanan says. But he also says that he knows, for many others, a wine with less fizz may be more desirable. No matter the varietal, you need not break the bank to acquire a quality pour, he adds. Though, a bit of a splurge can make the evening feel a little bit more special. 16 | FEBRUARY 2018 | SUBURBAN LIFE MAGAZINE

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


PALATE: $30-$50

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

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St. Andrews golf & country club this is a very impressive pinot noir, with a really cute label and a great story behind the name thanks to love notes the vineyard owners would pass to each other, which they called ‘love puppets.’” BELLE GLOSE CLARK TELEPHONE PINOT NOIR - $42.98 (SavWay) FLOWERS SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR 2015 - $44.99 (Geneva Wine Cellar)

Brides may start their day in one of Chicagoland’s largest bridal suites, equipped with both make-up & hair bars, as well as, mirrored viewing platform & large sitting area. For those choosing an onsite ceremony, take a stroll out to the exquisite, lakeside ceremony site with mature shade trees, ornamental grasses & perennials, & seating for up to 200 guests. Or stay inside where a luxe draping & twinkling curtain light background is also available. After the ceremony, make your way to one of three banquet rooms that can accommodate 25 – 375 wedding guests. 

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

The St. Andrews Room, with its large, covered private outdoor patio, offers a picturesque view of the St. Andrews Course & adjacent flower gardens. This room seats up to 275 guests by itself or up to 375 by opening up into the trophy Room. The Trophy Room can seat up to 100 guests. It offers views of the 32 acre wooded Practice Center, original hard wood floors, & a cozy stone fireplace. It may also be used in combination with the 19th Hole room for cocktails & dancing. The 19th Hole room with two walls of windows, offers seating for up to 45, rich wood paneled walls, & original brick fireplace. St. Andrews golf & country club 2241 Route 59 West Chicago, IL 60185


630.231.3100 ext. 115

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Expos offer one-stop planning for your perfect day June may reign as the month for weddings, but February is all about the planning! It’s wedding show season in the Chicago area, and that means everything bridal is at your fingertips. Bridal fairs and wedding expos are the best way to plan to get loads of information from potential vendors across the region, in every area you need – from flowers and food to your gown itself! Here are a few great wedding shows headed our way in the coming weeks: WINDY CITY WEDDING SHOWROSEMONT Sunday, February 11 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fashion Show 2 p.m.

BRIDAL EXPO AND FASHION SHOW Sunday, February 11 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

BRIDAL EXPO CHICAGO – OAK BROOK Wednesday, February 21 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fashion Show: 8:15 p.m.

Crowne Plaza O’Hare 5440 North River Road • Rosemont Tickets - $20 available at

Clarion Hotel Banquet and Convention Center 411 South Larkin • Joliet

Drury Lane Theatre • Oak Brook Tickets are $25. To purchase advance tickets by phone, call 847-428-3320 x 225. Or simply order online at You will find everything from invitations to honeymoon destinations and everything in between for your wedding day all in the same beautiful ballroom. Our show features over 80 different local vendors to assist you with your planning. Stay for an amazing fashion show featuring the latest wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses as well as formalwear for the handsome groom and his groomsmen.


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Fabulous wedding professionals on hand to assist you in all your planning needs! See the latest trends from our local DJ’s including Tone Productions, Kosack’s Black Tie in Joliet, photographers, florists, limousine services, bakeries, hair & make-up artists and more! $5.00 Admission at the door.


Meet Monte Durham of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress! Mingle with 90 of Chicago’s top wedding professionals! Sample cake, and gain hundreds of ideas to personalize your wedding. Plus, enjoy our couture runway show featuring the latest designer gowns from around the globe!

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WINDY CITY WEDDING SHOW NAPERVILLE Sunday, March 11 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Fashion Show 1 p.m. Embassy Suites Naperville 1823 Abriter Court • Naperville Tickets - $20 available at


Charm & Elegance

Imagine a full day of wedding planning, conveniently located, one-stop-shop for everything you need for the most important day of your life! It’s the best Wedding Expo in Chicago and the suburbs. The best wedding professionals on hand to answer all of your wedding needs, from Chicago bridal salons to honeymoon travel specialists. Attend our amazing fashion show featuring the latest dresses from the House of Brides, and formalwear from the Men’s Wearhouse and Black Tie Formalwear. BRIDAL EXPO CHICAGO – GLEN ELLYN Sunday, March 25 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Fashion Show: 2:30 p.m. Abbington Distinctive Banquets – 3S002 Rt. 53 • Glen Ellyn Tickets are $25. To purchase advance tickets by phone, call 847-428-3320 x 225. Or simply order online at

Century Memorial Chapel at Naper Settlement Chapel Open House • Free Admission February 4, 11AM–2PM See all the trends from top wedding professionals and find unique ways to personalize your wedding. No matter the size of your budget, you will find the perfect vendors for your big day. Décor, floral, invitations, cakes, gowns, DJs, and so much more!

RSVP is suggested but not necessary: or 630-420-6010 630.420.6010 523 S. Webster St., Napersville


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

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

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

And once I got going, the search became addictive. Swipe right, swipe left – it was easy. But entering the world of online dating in my 40s Day by day, I got a little braver, sending notes to – which had become the vehicle of choice for those who sparked my curiosity, were unmarried, singles looking to connect – I knew nothing. decent looking, lived near me, had a job, didn’t smoke. It was empowering to be able to choose, The entire thought of online dating made me until I realized it didn’t really matter what I said, uncomfortable: devising a profile, swiping 20 | FEBRUARY 2018 | SUBURBAN LIFE MAGAZINE

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

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Life Isn't Perfect... but Your Outfit Can Be!

was good. A few gentlemen I even met. But nothing of significance came to pass.

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A couple of friends suggested that other websites were more suited for me, my age and my locale. So, I tried a few of them, as well.

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On Plenty of Fish, I liked the screening system better, and my matches came back closer to home. But it’s a freebie site; the response rate was dismal, and a lot of the profiles were the same people as I saw on At OK Cupid, survey questions were bold, intrusive and sexualized. Still I answered them all, wondering if more information might result in a better match. It did not. Instead, I found my investigative instincts triggered, as photos showed up on several profiles throughout the site with different names and backgrounds.

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My father was a country boy, and I fish, camp and can handle a chainsaw, so I even tried the most categorically-specific of all of the dating sites: Farmers Only.

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But, while the site is all it claims to be, it was not for me. Many of the men had photos of their dogs, their boats or their combines as primary profile shots. (I’m not looking to have dinner with your Evinrude 150, Stan, and I don’t need to see a photo of you kissing it.) After a couple of years, I opted out of the experience. It taught me a bit about what I could expect from people, and from myself, and how to handle awkward situations, both in person and online, but mostly it made me skeptical. And I already was skeptical. I still believe in romance, just not the kind you find online.

 Sherri Sherri Dauskurdas Dauskurdas is a is editor of Batavia resident. SheNeighborhood is editor of Tourist, and she Neighborhood heads up content Tourist, and she development for heads up content Shaw Media’s Niche development for Shaw Media’s Niche products.products. KC_FebruaryAllison.indd 2 SL Magazine February 2018_USE.indd 21


Instead, I will continue to use social media as the internet gods intended: sharing recipes and complaining about Kanye West.

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editor’s CHOICE

Out-of-the(heart-shaped) box Valentine’s Day ideas

If you are looking to spend Valentine’s Day with the same old romantic plans from last year, or posted up on the couch eating every last chocolate in the heart-shaped box your mom bought you, it is time to change things up and hit the streets for a new Valentine’s Day experience. Here are four of our favorites, from around the area.




6 pm. Sunday, February 11 or Wednesday, February 14.

6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 10.

Valentine’s Beer & Brunch Sunday, February 11.

Tired of the same old Valentines plans? Try a wild night out at an unexpected locale, the Brookfield Zoo. Begin your adventure with a cocktail reception amidst the majestic Giraffes at Habitat Africa. Then let us transport you to the romantic setting of Bocaditos dining room for a delectable four-course meal of tantalizing creations as unexpected as the destination! Full bar service included. Musical entertainment provided. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Visit Brookfield-ZOO/Events

All hearts are aligned when bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys are involved. Nevin’s Brewing Company, 12337 South Rt. 59. This event includes a la carte menu options such as Double-Crossed Beer Batter Chicken & Waffles, Duck Confit Hash and Eggs, and Midnight Pigs and a Blanket. In addition to this, guests can take part in a Midnight Pig Build - Your - Own Bloody Mary Bar and sip on a variety of specialty craft cocktails. For more information or to book your reservation, please call 815-436-3900.


Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with a delectable dinner at the Gingko Restaurant, overlooking the Arboretum’s Meadow Lake. Enjoy a spectacular five-course meal, expertly paired with a variety of wines, and the romantic sounds of classical guitar by Jim Perona. Each couple will take home a beautifully-crafted floral arrangement made by our talented display horticulture staff and volunteers.



 WHO SAID SINGLES CAN’T CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY, TOO? 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, February 10 Muldoon’s Irish Pub, 133 W Front Street in Wheaton, is hosting a Singles Awareness Anti-Valentine’s Party on Saturday, February 10th from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Attendees can sip on delicious specialty cocktails such as Love Potion #133 made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Apple Puckers, splash of cranberry and a caramel rimmed glass and dance the night away with music mixes by DJ Tony Trixx. For more information, please call 630-668-8866.


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The GlassHalf-Full Guy:


 BALANCE Eventually, every adventure ends. Only a small fraction of people have found a way to travel and work indefinitely – and that’s OK! There are many ways to maintain a balanced life with loads of travel.


I always appreciate traveling because I work so hard to get myself there. I also appreciate my return, which provides a break from the spontaneity of wanderlust. All healthy relationships have a balance of give and take. If you travel too much, it becomes ordinary; it can lose its luster. You don’t travel enough and the passion can wither away. Each person finds his or her own balance.


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

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 TIME Over the holidays, I traveled up to New England to mountaineer the ice-covered mountains in the Adirondacks. I posted some photos online, and a friend asked me how I have the time to do these trips. My reply was something a gentleman told me years ago, “You will never have time for anything in life, you must make it.” I try to take that advice as much as possible. It’s necessary because I don’t have a magical hour glass that creates extra time. Like the rest of the world, my tray is full. Finding the time means planning ahead and making time for what really matters. The time begins to open up where the excuses end.

 HONESTY A large hurdle of travel is having a career. But I get a lot of support from the people around me. I am always honest and upfront about my passion for travel with my employer. That way, we’re able to make sacrifices for each other and we both keep our values respected. Everybody has things that they love. And everybody has things that get in the way of what they love. Such a dilemma is life and is – simply – a part of the journey.

 SACRIFICE All things worthwhile in life involve sacrifice. My reality is that I can’t have it all. Sometimes the decision might be a new wardrobe or a surfing trip to Costa Rica. Other times it means staying late at work or picking up a second job to fund an adventure. There is plenty of grinding and hard work that goes into the preparation of epic traveling. The way I look at it is, for each situation I restrain from splurging now is one more day I get to spend exploring the world. When you find something you love, it’s always worth the sacrifice. OUT & ABOUT

u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world. SUBURBAN LIFE MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 23

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smile BRIGHT! Get those pearly whites perfect for the big days ahead



If you’ve visited your dentist and your smile is still looking dull or yellow, you might want to consider some extra whitening efforts. sparkling smile is said to be a first impression But with so many pastes, strips and gels out there that claim to necessity. And if you’re looking to meet someone get you results fast, it can be difficult to decide which route to go. special, shining up your online profile, or planning your wedding, you’ll probably want to start polishing We’ve narrowed down your options to a few proven methods to get a those pearly whites. But there are a few things you brighter, whiter smile on any budget. should know before shelling out for expensive white DENTIST OFFICE OPTION strips or concocting a DIY treatment. Your fastest, most powerful option will always be getting your teeth First of, a lot of the “stains” your may see aren’t actually on your professionally whitened. This usually requires visiting a dentist that teeth, says Dr. Sami Diab, a dentist at Smile More Dental in Lombard. offers whitening services. Your best bet is to find a reputable expert “It’s plaque and tartar build up on your teeth that are stained. That that provides in-office laser whitening treatments. means that getting a cleaning usually gets the results people want These so-called laser treatments actually don’t involve lasers at all. easier than whitening.” They use a certain color wavelength of light that appears blue. When A good way to tell if plaque is your problem is to look at the location used correctly, this light reacts with a gel applied to your teeth and of any discoloring. If there are darker stains between your teeth, that’s whitens the surface almost immediately. probably caused by buildup that can be taken care of during a routine cleaning appointment.


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“The gel does the whitening and the light activates and enhances,” explains Diab. “The light emits heat and just like any reaction the heat makes it go faster.” He prefers to use Pola, a professional tooth whitening system. Sessions last about 20 to 60 minutes. The best part of this option is that you’ll walk out the office with a noticeably brighter smile. But those immediate results come with a cost. Each session goes for about $350 a pop. Diab recommends getting a treatment once every six months. You might need to come in sooner if you smoke or drink a lot of wine, coffee or tea, all which can yellow your teeth.

DIY OPTION If you want to scrub away stains without breaking the bank, you might want to consider a DIY method. These old-school solutions might not have the horsepower of more expensive treatments, but they can still offer real results. And most can be thrown together with common household items. One popular method involves an everyday ingredient you probably already have in your pantry. Baking soda has been a main ingredient in whitening solutions for decades. The powder is made of a chemical compound that works as a mild abrasive. It can be used to gently polish away discoloring and stains on the surface of your teeth. Another at-home option borrows from the main ingredient in most whitening strips. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide can be found at almost any drug store for just a few dollars. Diab says that swishing a mouthful for two minutes morning and night should create a noticeable brightening effect that will leave you smiling.

DRUG STORE OPTION While most drug store shelves are crowded with mountains of different whitening options, one type of product reigns supreme. Forgo the gels and pens and head straight for the strips. Whitening strips are an effective and extremely popular option that comes in a variety of price points to suit any budget. “Whitening strips work just as well as the in-office treatment,” says Dr. Diab. “However, you have to have to use them for longer so you don’t get the instant gratification.” But not all whitening strips are created equal. When shopping for strips, keep an eye on the ingredients. You’ll want to look for one of two powerful ingredients: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. A quality whitening product should contain about 20 percent carbamide peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is about three times stronger, so look for something with about 7 percent. Diab says any Crest brand strips probably make the cut. A word of warning: if you have sensitive teeth, you’ll probably want to skip these harsh treatments. Even strips labeled “sensitive” or “gentle” can still be irritating or cause damage if you’re prone to sensitivity.

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Baking soda has been a main ingredient in whitening solutions for decades.


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Fang-tastic February Pets need dental care, too | With THOMAS F. DOCK, CVJ


our precious pet looks and acts as if she is in perfect health, but odds are that she suffers from a common, preventable disease. If you find yourself avoiding those doggie kisses because of your pet’s breath, maybe it’s time to talk to your veterinarian about pet dental health.

Like us, dental disease in our pets can cause a lot of different issues. Bad breath, bleeding gums and loose teeth are universally known, but more serious problems also can occur. There is a link between dental disease and heart valve problems in both people and pets. Infections of the kidneys or lungs also are possible due to the significant bacterial shower coming from the mouth and traveling throughout the body. Most importantly, your bond with your furry friend might not be the same if she is trying to give you kisses from a nasty mouth.

Along with pre-anesthetic bloodwork, we want to ensure that there aren’t any bigger, more serious problems that need to first be addressed. Next, pre-anesthetic medications are given to relax the pet and an intravenous catheter is placed. Once your pet is nice and calm, she is placed under general anesthesia, an endotracheal tube is positioned, and she will start on a safe, gas anesthetic.

It is important to stop here and state that YES, your pet needs to be completely anesthetized for these procedures. It is simply not possible to completely and safely assess pets’ teeth Many owners look at their pet’s mouth and without it and attempting a cleaning is think that tartar build-up, strong odors or even nearly impossible in an animal that is awake. Every February, veterinary offices across extra teeth might be normal, but all of these Guidelines from the American Animal Hospital DuPage County and the entire country observe are signs of more significant disease. Even pets Association (AAHA, require National Pet Dental Health Month. Thinking who have pearly white teeth could have hidden general anesthesia and intubation of any pets about your pet’s teeth is probably not a high issues. More than 28 percent of dogs and 42 undergoing dental cleanings. While some priority for you, but the fact is more than 80 percent of cats with “normal” looking mouths businesses will claim they can clean your pet’s percent of adult dogs and cats suffer from will end up showing signs of dental disease on teeth without anesthesia, they fail to address some sort of dental disease. Problems with our X-rays. the underlying disease of the mouth, and end pets’ smiles are the most commonly diagnosed up simply making the teeth whiter, but not When your veterinarian says your pet needs issue with our adult dogs and cats, beating healthier! a dental cleaning, here’s what you can out cancer, injuries and even obesity. Now that expect during that visit. First, after proper After your pet is fully asleep, a highly-trained you know, what can you expect when your identification of the pet has been made, the veterinary technician or veterinary assistant veterinarian starts discussing that needed veterinarian will give her a good physical exam. will make sure that monitors for vital signs dental cleaning?

80% of adult dogs and cats suffer from some sort of dental disease


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are set up and functioning and then start a charting process of the pet’s mouth, much like what you would experience in your dentist’s chair. Abnormalities, such as masses, broken or missing teeth or substantial gingival recession are noted for the veterinarian. As the standard of care evolves, many practices also are employing digital dental x-rays for a complete assessment. With 60 percent of the tooth residing under the gum line where it can’t be seen, this step helps identify those hidden issues mentioned above. Once the oral cavity has been fully assessed, the cleaning begins. Using ultrasonic scalers along with hand-held instruments, dental tartar and plaque are removed from the surface of the teeth. Because this step will actually create microscopic divots in the tooth enamel, the scaling of the teeth is always followed a polishing step, to remove those defects. This is another step that often is forgotten or simply not done by individuals offering anesthesia-free pet dentistry. Now that your pet’s oral health is fully documented, the veterinarian may give you a call and discuss findings. Problem teeth are extracted or, in some cases, you might get a referral to a veterinary dentist for more specialized work, such as root canals or restorations. After the treatment has been completed, your pet will recover in a safe and warm area, all while being closely watched by the veterinary team. The final step in all of this involves you, the pet owner. According to our veterinarian, Dr. Nicki Ciura, home care can greatly reduce the severity of dental disease and possibly extend the time in-between dental cleanings for your furry family member. Your veterinary team will discuss different diets, teeth cleaning toys and even teeth brushing. Now that you know about dental disease in pets, what will you do to make your pet’s smile brighter? Thomas Dock, BSC, Certified Veterinary Journalist, is the Practice Director for Noah’s Animal Hospital at Wheaton. With more than 27 years experience in the pet and veterinary professions, Tom helps the Noah’s team focus on “Putting the Needs of the Pet and the Pet’s Family First.” See more at

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a priority.

Get on our Priority List for special savings on select apartments! Arbor Terrace offers a beautiful, carefree lifestyle filled with comfortable living spaces, great amenities and plenty of opportunities for visiting with friends, old and new. When you call or stop in, we’ll put you on our Priority List – so you’ll have the opportunity for special savings on select apartments while they last! CALL (630) 219-3670 TODAY TO LEARN MORE OR ARRANGE A TOUR.

2920 Leverenz Road, Naperville, IL 60564 | (630) 219-3670 |


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