Brainstorming at Aurora Rose

This week I picked the warmest and sunniest day to make my way to Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont and freshen up my inventory (look for the earring and pendant sets next time you’re there).


It was nice to come out of hibernation and be inspired by the creativity of the other 40+ vendors who have spaces here. These seashell flowers by East Coast Shells make me feel quite beachy.


The boutique has just announced its first monthly trunk show, which will be held on the fourth Saturday of each month. The calendar of in-store vendors presenting at these shows is filling up fast. You’ll be able to get to know the vendor, place custom orders, and learn about their creative process.

MoJo purses

The first trunk show will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 111 Stephen Street, Lemont with MoJo Re-Creations, a mother-daughter team  that creates purses, wallets, gloves and hats out of used garments. I have my eye on their Pixie purses, which beat designer labels in quality, uniqueness and price, and look forward to placing my customized order in the near future.


At last week’s Tea Women and Wellness event my cheap department store gloves almost gave me frostbite getting into the below-zero car, so I immediately gravitated toward the felted mittens made from old sweaters and lined with fleece. My fingers are now toasty warm whenever I venture outdoors.


Butterduck Farms is next on the trunk show list in March, and their lip scrub and balm is healing my peeling smile as I type this.


Owner Kim Peters and I brainstormed events and promotions for 2014, which promises to be an exciting year for our customer base. My trunk show will be in June.


You’ll find lots of gifts with heart at Aurora Rose Boutique this February, including my heart-shaped pendants that are all $5 off until 2/28. Kim received my ‘Write’ pendant for Christmas.


Keep up with Aurora Rose’s Facebook page to check their opening hours in this shifty winter weather. If you’re too far to make the trip look at their inventory online and see if Kim or Amber can make shipping arrangements with you.


Warming up with Tea in Geneva

“We each have gifts and we should explore them.”
~ Flying for Hope

Last week a few fired up ladies braved the cold to warm up to tea, entrepreneurial inspiration, and some ecochic shopping at NEW’s Tea Women and Wellness event.


Our energetic attendees included holistic wellness experts, charity founders, storefront managers and technological innovators.


Shari Ralish introduced us to three of her favorite blends: Smokey Chai, Peaceful Synergy and Romance. We also had snacks to complement the teas.



As we gathered in the circle, we learned how each woman reinvented herself from a wide variety of backgrounds, and were inspired by the vast amount of ideas and occupations in the room.


“It was very inspiring
to hear of all of the new business adventures taking off.
I was also very impressed with all of the women
who braved the cold and showed up ready to talk business and network.
Very professional.”

~ Peaceful Parlour


Of course we couldn’t resist shopping Shari’s fabulous eco-friendly, locally bought and fair trade products, which includes children’s toys that don’t require batteries, earth friendly home goods and decor, and energy clearing items.


With National Hot Tea Month in full swing, the tea accessories were abundant as well, including the hand-blended teas to fill them with.


Shari also offers energy healing workshops, such as Feng Shui for Romance on February 9, followed by a Downton Abbey inspired Jewelry Show that day, Animal Communication on March 22, Crystal Singing Bowls on April 22 and regular psychic medium readings.


It was a wonderful evening filled with numerous dates for future connections, and we look forward to our next Meet & Munch on February 12.


Hats were not required for this tea party, but the ones in Peaceful Parlour are quite adorable.


“Memorable experiences are
when you go to places that are different from the rest.”

~ Geneva Smiles


Photos by Maike’s Marvels and

deliciousness around the corner

Right before Thanksgiving we had a new pie and coffee shop open in Evanston.  On my first visit there hey didn’t offer pies by the slice yet, but their third month into the venture everything is operating smoothly and pies by the slice are abundant.


Hoosier Mama Pie also offers mini-pies, which are going to be a danger for me.


It is a fun new place to meet friends in addition to the lovely Main street venues. I’ve been there twice this week for some quality girlfriend time.


Here’s to deliciousness to warm up to during this frosty weather.


Have a sweet weekend.


Some of you will envy me for this post, because I have a luxury this month: time.

I was lucky getting stuck in vortex-land near family, so I didn’t lose money on hotels and cab fares waiting out the winter storm that stranded flights for almost a week.


Nor did I need to call a boss to tell them my return to work was iffy, losing salary and vacation time (although my inner boss felt like I had to get started on 2014 business-wise).


Instead we had extra family time which was lovely.

Then when I got home I was exhausted from the stress of not knowing when I would get home. So I literally hibernated.


This cold weather and the abundance of grey skies this year is throwing me for a loop. Chicago winters are quite sunny in spite of the cold, but the past few weeks the sun has seemed sparse to me.


When I have these kind of drudg-y days I go to my neighborhood cafe for a boost in caffeine and good cheer, but the thought of bundling up has kept me inside more so that kickstarter has been lacking the past 2 weeks as well.


It has been freeing to just listen to my body and pretend to be a bear while I can, but at the same time I feel that guilt of needing to be productive, shoulding all kinds of things, and wanting to push on.


The thing is, it is just me in this life and this business, and the holiday season with all its new-to-me experiences, the holiday rush in a rushed season to begin with, and all the unknowns I’ve been learning about pretty much burnt me out. When I am down, my whole business is down, from production to promotion to planning for what’s next. Calling in sick means hitting the pause button.


So I am trying hard to be gentle with myself. I set smaller goals for each day rather than trying to get to a big list that exhausts me just looking at it. Just because I can’t get 5 things done in a day doesn’t mean I am not living each moment purposefully.


I still feel present, even when I am resting. The downtime will fuel inspiration for the coming year. We don’t begrudge trees for not producing leaves when the world is frozen.


Our modern world is able to defy nature with electricity and snow removal, when maybe human beings should take a cue from nature too at times instead of seeing storms as a nuisance. Frozen fuel lines do tell us to stop in our tracks and stay indoors.

I am clearly meant to ease into the new year slowly rather than rush into it with energy blazing.


Hopefully by February I will have my equilibrium back, and the ideas I have for 2014 will be implemented one day at a time.

Celebrate National Tea Month with NEW

Due to the Polar Vortex I missed NEW’s first meeting of the year at Blue Violet Body Works, so I am mighty excited to attend Thursday’s Tea, Women and Wellness Party in Geneva. The fun begins Thursday, January 23 at 6 p.m. and we can sip tea, mingle and sample organic goodies until 8 p.m. at 212 S. Third Street, Geneva, Illinois 60134.


January is national hot tea month and Peaceful Parlour owner Shari Ralish is eager to showcase her personally created blends that promote wellness and soothe the soul. I’m a fan of her Fairytale blend as well as Peaceful Synergy, which both are tasty in summer and in winter. Peaceful Parlour also carries organic honey, a perfect sweetener to the black breakfast teas I am a fan of.


If Peaceful Parlour sounds familiar to you, it is because my ornaments have spent the holidays there, and I’ve mentioned this lovely store before. Geneva is one of my favorite day trip destinations, and I enjoy visiting Shari’s store in particular because of its earth-connectedness and cozy atmosphere.

“The less processed the tea leaves, the greater the amount of antioxidants per cup. Therefore white tea contains the most antioxidants, followed by green tea, then lastly black tea.”
~ Peaceful Parlour’s Facebook page

This article provides a lovely overview of the health benefits and differences between green, white, black and Oolong tea.


Peaceful Parlour’s focus is to find products with environmental and community benefits, supporting local artists, small businesses, fair trade and women co-op groups around the world. These products include household items such as recycled-glass water bottles, cork bowls; gardening accessories; personal adornments such as scarves, hats, jewelry and purses; and home decorative items including lamps, paintings and chimes. With its focus on positive energy flow, Peaceful Parlour also offers incense, purifying sprays and other meditative tools.


The woman-owned store also hosts a variety of pop-up events, including a psychic medium, meet the artisan, outdoor music in the summer and tie-ins to Geneva’s special holiday festivities. Like their Facebook page for a peek at current inventory.


One bonus of Peaceful Parlour’s location is that it is just a few blocks north of the UP-W METRA train station in the historical shopping district of downtown Geneva. I find train rides soothing, particularly in this kind of weather. One evening train conveniently leaves at 8:37, and lingerers can get home with the 10:37 train. Ample street parking is also available near the store on Third Street. Downtown Geneva is full of charming stores and service businesses, so make an afternoon of it and browse this lovely area.


The Midwest was gridlocked in a polar vortex in the past week, which snarled my travel plans quite a bit (and called for extra Margaritas).


It took 4 cancelled flights before I could fly home.


The good part was that I didn’t risk frostbite coming home, but Texas wasn’t too warm either.


The nice part was spending bonus days with family members (and Facetiming with some).


We skipped the gift exchange this year to focus on being PRESENT with each other rather than stressing over presents, so it was nice to extend that intention into the new year for a bit.


I imbibed on TexMex and a few other local favorite goodies.



There were several movie nights.



We also had a reading party courtesy of my sister-in-law’s extensive Romance novel collection.


Extra days also made for an excuse to get a mani-pedi and a massage.


Now I am eager to start off the business year, beginning with the home studio organization that has been on hold since this snowcation.



Texans know how to put the X in Christmas.


With no snow on the ground, many homes compensate with extra sparkle and very big garden decorations.


I didn’t have my camera with me on our neighborhood Christmas light ride, but enjoyed the daytime look the next day.


Texas ‘snow’ looks like this.

Pickup trucks abound.


We savored cookies and sweets throughout the holiday week.


Mom cooked a moveable feast which we packed in the trunk to dine at my brother’s home.


My brother took me on a Polar Express ride with the Palatine Historic Railroad.


We were served hot chocolate to the song of the soundtrack.


Then we read along to the Polar Express book by Chris Van Allsburg and waved at Santa who awaited us at the North Pole.

north pole

Then he joined us aboard and gave each of us a bell.


We can hear it ring, yay!


It was a lovely train adventure that I hope to take again in daylight.


My sister-in-law found glasses that create prismic shapes, and I had fun seeing deer (Rudolph) in headlights on the long ride home.


Holidays with family are the best.



“But all the possibilities
No limits just epiphanies”

I love that line in the American Authors song I posted on January 1.

It has so much promise and hope, along with the positive spin of learning lessons. Everything is an epiphany in some form, even what we don’t like to experience at the time.

So on this epiphany day, I am reviewing the epiphanies of 2013, while also trying to glean what possibilities to focus on for the new year.

I am not sure I will publicly post my goals for the year or even hold myself to specific resolutions. Last year was such a whirlwind of exploration, accepting opportunities and responding to requests that weren’t even on my radar on January 1, 2013 that I may just have to ‘wing it‘ rather than try to plan out this coming year.

Here’s to dreaming with a dose realism for a prosperous, balanced and healthy 2014.