NEW’s Halloween bash

The Network of Entrepreneurial Women had a lovely time celebrating Halloween early at RA Sushi in Lombard on Thursday.

Groupphoto

The manager gave us a sneak peek at the Boo Bash menu that will be featured this week, and we couldn’t resist the spider roll and vampire chicken.

BooBashRA

The other food was delicious as well, as were our drinks.

RABooFood

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in years, so it was fun to plan the costume and actually be seen in it.

costumepile

My clashing decades look is courtesy an old shirt from mom and raver pants from my sister, along with glasses I wore in the mid-2000s, and 60s-inspired shoes.

HappyHippie

shoes

My old gypsy wig got tangled and became frizzy during its brushing, so I had to iron it per these instructions.  It sheds a lot but I am contemplating getting some conditioner for it for next year.

flowerhair

Also present were a Vampire, a Masked Lady, Reese’s Peanut Buttercup, Afro Samurai and Working Girl.

dinner

We had a blast and look forward to our next event in Lemont, which will allow us to get a head start on Holiday Present shopping.

600_290035322

Happy Halloween!

costumespast

NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month.

KittyBoo

RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup. You can also like us on Facebook, where the events will be listed as well.

The Sleepy Hollow Trail–pondering bravery

The most challenging trail at White Pines Inn is the Sleepy Hollow trail.

0Trailmarker

It is aptly named as many trees look like creepy creatures even in the daytime.

3_SleepyHollow

All trails close at sunset, and this is definitely not an area to violate that notion.

1SleepyHollowbegin

Roots and rocks along the path make for tricky terrain.

2_sleepyhollowstairs

The stairs at the beginning of the trail make you think twice about whether to take on the challenge.

4_SleepyHollow

Armed with my walking stick I felt confident at wandering here alone.

0_Spookyleaf

I have two walking sticks but being the shutterbug I am one is more manageable.

6a_Overlook

The trail had me thinking a lot about spookiness and monsters and nightmares both on the imaginary and figurative level.

5_creepytree

My new benchmark of challenging trails is the Samaria Gorge which I hiked with a group in May 2011.

7_SleepyHollowtrail

It was an amazing and grueling experience I’ll have to share with you soon.

8_Soikeytree

That 17-day Greek island-hopping trip without cell phone connection (due to a phone company glitch) had me overcome many fears associated with traveling alone, being in unfamiliar places without GPS and having a language barrier to boot.

8a_trail

So compared to that I knew the creepy atmosphere and more tricky portions of the path were easy.

9_giants

The overlook’s erosion certainly is something to note and be cautious about.

10_overlook1

10a_overlook

10b_Overlook

All White Pines trails form a loop, so as long as you stay on the path you also know where you come out, which adds more comfort.

11a_tree

11bFaceintree

Incidentally, my phone’s GPS also gave out near White Pines, having me resort to the old-fashioned way of navigating how to get to my destination.

oldfashionednavigating

The trails are clearly marked and stairs ensure no one slips down steep hills.

12a_heightbarrier

It comes with a 5’4″ height requirement though. Taller people might lose their head if they don’t duck. 😉

12bHeightrequirement

13Stairwell

Before 2011 the potential of slipping into the creek would have deterred me from crossing the waters, but my walking stick gave me the needed support to keep going rather than turning around.

14ford

14b_prepared

This trail is a boon for bird-watchers, as many enjoyed the higher elevations to gather and hold chatty meetings.

22birdwatching

It also is the most interesting of the trails, as you get to experience different elevations, a nice overlook, and the crossing of creeks which makes for different scenery.

15wetleaf

17_ford2

17a_fordview

17b_Fordcrossing

This being a short trail, just over 1 mile, I wasn’t concerned with being lost.

16_deadleaves

gnarlyness

I drew the line at crossing this area by myself though, which was a branch off the trail and likely has a more accessible entry on the other side).

18_draingtheline

On a weekday I had the trail to myself, which meant I didn’t have to worry about the intentions of other humans along the way.

18yellowtree

21_easierpath

From the cabin area interactions this park attracts the type of people who just want to be in nature and relax, so in general this park feels safe to a lone traveler. (During holidays parks crowded with visitors tend to have a less peaceful vibe to me).

19Fall

24_trailendheart

Mid-October is a lovely time to take in all the fall colors, observe leaves falling and see the seasonal transition up close.

20_morefall

leaves

23_lastford

23_selfie

23_critter

After a few creek crossings, some climbs and descends, you come back to the beginning.

24_Trailend

Some lovely vistas reward the exercise.

25_beauty

25a_beauty1

25b_love

Fire safety is prominent as well.

FireSafety

And multiple locks keep a lone traveler safe in the cabin.

safetylocks

You don’t have to stay at the White Pines Inn to hike the park, by the way.

27Parkinglot

There are picnic areas and parking for day-trip visitors as well.

27b_picnic

28carford

y_pretty

I look forward to returning here soon.

27_Parkview

If you’re a lone lady pondering a solo trip but not sure if you have the moxie, the lovely Wanderlust and Lipstick web site will help you along (their book was my guidepost during my first solo road trip across 6 states).

 

Halloweeny pendants at Aurora Rose

I’ve dropped new jewelry off at Aurora Rose Boutique for your perusal.

shelf

Since owner Kim Peters loves Halloween I got inspired by my stamps…

HaloweenMaking

… and made a few spooky wax and wire pendants: Spiderweb, Bat House, and Triple Pumpkins.

HalloweenFinished

Princess Zoologist and Helix in the Round (a tribute to Rosalind Franklin) wax and wire pendants will slumber there by special request until they find their new homes.

PrincessZoologist

HelixInTheRound

Quantum Theory II rounds out the Princess Scientist pendant newbies for now.

QuantumTheoryII

Since the white butterfly ball got snapped up I replenished it with the caged wire-wrapped Pink Balled Butterfly pendant.

PinkButterflyCage

Aurora Rose’s love for pink inspired the Pink Scribble Ball Earrings.

Pinkscribbleballs

With greens being prominent in fashion I created a green butterfly.

BflyGreen

The Double Cypraeidae felt like staying in Lemont as well.

DoubleCypraeidae

And the Red Squiggly Heart, embellished from its ‘naked’ state, wanted to show Aurora Rose some love as well.

HeartRed

Maleficent will greet you at the window during Lemont’s Halloween Hoedown on the 26th (that’s tomorrow!).

window

maleficent

The dolls have their costumes picked out.

dollwitch

You can tell that this is a favored holiday.

Skullapron

My Magical Butterfly cast a spell on a customer and flew away.

MagicButterfly

As did the Angelic Halo.

AngelicHalo

Take a peek at all the Halloween-inspired merchandise for your holiday party.

LemontTree

The Network of Entrepreneurial Women will visit on November 13.

Shop & Munch with NEW

The Symbiosis of Lauren and Rory Coyne

My friends Lauren and Rory Coyne had their Symbiosis opening at Century Guild October 12.

1csign

1aOpening

Here are some snapshots from their night, which for many of us felt like a post-wedding party.

RoryWall2

If you follow them on Facebook you can see how they energize and challenge each other in their art.

selfie1

Their relationship truly is symbiotic.

9birthday

Rory posted a progress video of one of his paintings, along with more background about “Alter”.

RoryWall1

You can get a closer look at some of the art work here.

selfie2

I love all the details.

rorydetails1

Lauren’s menagerie is so cuddly.

LaurensMaryGoRound1

Dragon’s Milk beer was provided by opening night sponsor New Holland Brewery.

8Damilk

You will remember Rory’s Marked by Myth show.

largerthanlife

Lauren’s Wunderkammer is expanding.

15friends5bl

Her closet is a Wunderkammer too.

5Outfit

They’ve had nice press coverage as well, from the Chicago Sun-Times, New Holland Brewery and the Huffington Post.

15friends3bl

Symbiosis is at 2136 W. North Avenue in Chicago, IL 60642 until November 24.

9birthday1

Go take a peek before the pieces wander off into collections and other exhibits, such as The Age of Spontaneous Generation at The International Museum of Surgical Science from December 14 through February 2014. Medusa Syndrome at Packer Schopf will be exhibited September 2014.

4reddot

The Century Guild is a lovely gallery and I was mesmerized by the Klimts.

16klimt

The other art work also holds so many stories.

16otherart

This lady is mesmerizing and inspirational.

16swoon

I need to sell lots of art so I can buy more art.

A short cabin getaway

On the heels of 2 openings and an intense week prior, I decided to go off on a little cabin retreat.

farmville

My home is a disaster area from the flurry of creating and continuous appointments, and I had no energy to clean, but I also couldn’t think or process amid all the clutter.

holeytree

entrance

So the best thing to do was to get away and allow my brain to re-set before facing the chaos and getting organized again.

relaxed

A few years ago I happened upon the perfect log cabin getaway near Chicago, the White Pines Inn.

charilineup

I had stayed at a lovely B&B in Oregon (Illinois) to visit the state parks nearby, and I promptly took a brochure from the White Pines Forest Inn on my last day of that 2005 visit.

white3pines

This settlement was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, offering an employment program for young men during the Great Depression while also implementing a nature conservation program.

CCC

The cabins are nestled in the woods, offering a lovely peaceful setting.

cabinretreat

They all have (shower) bathrooms with a fridge, heat and A/C, a gas fireplace, cable TV and DVD player and fully furnished bedding (which I upgraded to cozy flannel sheets).

cabin8

A far cry from the AOK log cabin retreat I took on another outing where I was basically camping in something more sturdy than a tent.

cabin1

The trails are all a mile or less long and loop around the cabin ’settlement’ so even if you inadvertently traverse a different-colored path, you eventually end up at base camp again, perfect for the lone wanderer.

trailmapblank

Some are more difficult than others so I highly recommend sturdy boots and a walking stick to explore the forest.

overlooktrail

Day one was glorious so I snapped oodles of photos to catch the light.

seeing red

glory

chipmunkradiance

I gave up on this photo-op.

selfiefail

The colors were magnificent, and some unexpected.

brightpink

radiantleaf

There is a restaurant just steps from the cabin circle, where hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, for under $15.

squirrel

The chicken pot pie was delicious (as were the meat loaf and the pancakes, which don’t look as great on camera).

potpie

It offers senior discounts so you see many retirees having their meals here.

dining

I was tempted to crash the fire pit party of another visiting couple, but they forgot the S’Mores ingredients (they also come four times a year–great idea!).

firepit

The scenery and the safe surroundings were a balm to my Autumn-loving soul.

givingtree

goddess

The next day I spent the rainy morning getting a hot stone massage in a cabin just outside of the forest.

Massage

After that I was determined to get more walking in to continue loosening my limbs, and the drizzle wasn’t a deterrent with rainboots and a rain coat.

twotone

One section of the park has a tree identification area, which is more illuminating in the spring or summer, but still taught me a lot.

treeschool

The Grey Squirrel Trail gets a bit narrow at times (just the width of one’s feet), so I recommend a walking stick with this one.

narrowpath

Stairs are plentiful along the trails as well.

stairwells

Along with well-placed resting areas. There is also a handicapped-accessible trail and some cabins offer handicapped accommodations.

seating

I came upon some spectacular mushrooms.

shroomsorange

shroomsgiant

shroomsflower

 

shroomswave

In the afternoon it was clear enough to take the aptly named Sleepy Hollow trail, which warrants a separate post.

acorns

I was showered in gold several times.

pineblanket

pines

Here is a lovely article on what makes leaves drop.

leafyness

fallinheart

After my muscles were thoroughly stretched I settled into an adirondack chair for some reading.

LucyReading

lucyreading1

I continued cozied up by the fireplace into the night.

Bed1

The next day temperatures were much cooler, and though I was tempted to spend another night, I packed my belongings and moved on to Lowden State Park (which I will report on in an upcoming post).

Trail2

Next time I’ll definitely do a 3-night stay, as getting away from the hustle and bustle (and only having WiFi in the restaurant) did help me get back to being in the moment, rather than continuously thinking of what’s next.

trailmapfilled

redleaves

Crain’s Small Business Roundtables

October began with much energy that has not let up yet.

3bCrainsFun1a

The Network of Entrepreneurial Women was invited to Crain’s Small Business Week, and we hosted an afternoon of networking, business discussions, and fun at Shannon’s Irish Pub in Glen Ellyn.

roundtables1

photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

We had some wonderful and lively ladies attend and each of us took away new wisdom.

group
photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

Karen McCormack hosted a roundtable discussion on health care reform, which garnered a lot of attention and discussion. She had prepared some handouts for us that shed more light on the upcoming changes, including the different healthcare standardized plans, called metallic tiers.

7bCrainsHealthcare2

Navigators are available to assist consumers in enrolling in a plan on the new (insurance) Marketplace. Navigators are not licensed insurance brokers and cannot offer advice about the insurance itself.  Healthcare brokers can assist in determining whether one should change to one of  the new plans or allow a ‘grandfather clause’ to take effect and stay in their current plan for another year.

“People will still deal with health insurance companies.
They will either get help paying for it or not.”
~ Karen McCormack

Karen is a certified healthcare broker, which is different from a navigator. She has federal and state licenses, certifications to sell on the new marketplaces and is also certified in Medicare. Her consultation is free of charge and provides a well-researched overview of individual options, including catastrophic supplemental plans. She has extensive knowledge and experience with health insurance and the companies that provide this insurance.

7cCrainsHealthcare3

“Our country is undergoing a paradigm shift in the way that insurance is delivered and used by consumers. We are all learning what this means individually, but insurance brokers have been immersed in the changes for the past several years and are on the front end of the learning curve,” Karen said.

7aCrainsHealthCare1

Technology expert Erica Thomas facilitated a discussion on social media, something many business owners are daunted by. Highlights of her discussion included insider tips on how to maximize the impact of social media for business, and group collaboration on how to translate successful traditional marketing techniques into equally successful online marketing campaigns.

figures3

Erica shared several of her tried-and-true tips for managing an effective social media presence for your business, focusing on methods she has used in social media consultations for years, and on what she has learned as one of two lead programmers at NetworkHoncho.com.

5CrainsSocialMediaTable

Then, each attendee shared what their favorite traditional non-internet methods of marketing were, and the entire roundtable group participated in suggestions for using the same methods online.

crains

The most popular non-internet marketing was word-of-mouth, and each roundtable found itself noting how mind-to-mind business connections online, when approached correctly, can be as effective for business as face-to-face interactions.

connectionsmade
photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

Then those who hadn’t visited my table yet gathered for a fun and colorful creative session.

Creatifity

Even those claiming not to have a crafty bone in their body realized that making a flower and a stick figure is easier than it seems. To me it is the perfect analogy to business and life. We can look at a straight line and bend it any way we want to.

creativity2

You can be daunted by the end goal but it might be simpler to complete a project than it seems.

flowers

Like pipe cleaners, life is very forgiving in letting us make changes, and we can infuse our own personality into our business and our lives.

22awino

Our roundtables were followed by Shannon’s delicious dining options, and we had a blast toasting to a successful day. More photos are in our Meetup album, and past events can be perused on this blog.

23clink

We are looking forward to the Halloween bash at RA Sushi October 24 from 6 to 8 pm. RSVP at our Meetup page or Facebook page.

RAPromo

The pipe cleaner men project is here. And the flowers came from this link.

flower1

NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month.

roundtables

Celebrating Encaustic Adventures

For every setback there are new opportunities, and so it was the weekend following Ravenswood.

2_Cindy1

Art work by Cindy Hogan

My friend Cindy, who helped set me on the encaustic path, held the opening of her Last Hurrah show at PerficalSense Studio.

Opening

Several FUSEDChicago artists participated, and we were each given our own wall to showcase our pieces.

6_AliciaWall

7_AliciaSculpture

Alicia Forestall-Boehm

5_Mary1

4_Mary2

Mary Krebs Smyth

11_Ahavani
Ahavani Mullen

10_Michele
Michele Thrane

9_Gina
Gina Vanderreyden

13_Butterflies
Maike van Wijk

It was fun to catch up with friends and admire their latest pieces.

14_Group1

The show is on display through October 25, so set an appointment with Cindy to take a look at everyone’s talent and the variety of encaustic techniques used.

palette

A bit raw about RAW

When every day is an adventure, it is hard to get your bearings.

Day0_SetupPrep

After much anticipation, repricing and retagging, the Ravenswood Art Walk wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be.

 Day0Pricing

I brought in the borrowed table and old shelving unit the night before to keep nerves and muscle strength preserved.

Day0_Hauling

Day0_dropoff BigTent

The next morning the true setup began.

Day2_loading

Day1Boothsetupbegins

Day1_settingup

I was in awe of the pros with their amazing displays.

succulents

professionalsetup

The big tent had a lot of traffic and I received many positive compliments, but I made no sales on day one.

day1boothme

Predicted thunderstorms held off for some time, and when they came we initially thought the additional traffic was a boon to business as everyone sought shelter. Our glee quickly turned to concern however, when the water didn’t drain away and more kept coming in.

day1rain

It turns out that Chicago shuts down drains to control how much water enters the Chicago River, which is fine when the parking lot is filled with cars during a rainstorm. However, as the runoff from outside started pooling around the drain in the center of the big tent, we realized we had to move things off the ground and away from the center.

day1rainnodrain

Soon we were ankle deep and had to evacuate our wares, a rough way to learn one’s new boots aren’t waterproof.

day1closed

The RAW volunteers profusely apologized at this unanticipated, never-before-seen incident, and ordered a water-vac to drain the mini-pond for the next day.

day1wetfeet

It was quite the adventure, especially since the point of renting space in the big tent was the assurance that professionals would deal with all the weather hazards.

Day1_ankle deep

This was just an unprecedented occurrence no one had anticipated.

puddle

Even the outside tents were affected.

Day1outsidetents

Painter Jason McPhillips was able to greet anyone coming after the flood (but his feet got soaked too).

Day1Jasondry

The sound guys had a rain-playlist ready, playing “Singing in the Rain”, “It’s raining Men”, “Blame it on the Rain” and other wet standards.

day1rainmen

The next day I put on the covenant pendant in which God placed a rainbow in the sky to pledge that he would never destroy all life again after Noah’s flood (Genesis 9:12-17). Gotta have a little humor, right?

Day2floodpendant1

The puddle had been vacuumed up.

Day2_1dryer

Temperatures had dropped significantly, changing the dynamics of tent flow and likely keeping many people inside.

day2tentbrowsers

Fewer people were touchy-feely about my wares, though I still got a lot of nice compliments and encouragement (along with unsolicited advice, as is always the case at these things).

Day2Booth

Those who had promised to come back never did (unsurprisingly).

day2boothdetail

I only made a few sales in the late afternoon, but analyzing the situation doesn’t give me much to go on.

Day1 ChiLonghorn

glassware

It wasn’t my location, since I basically acted as a greeter all day long, being across the main entrance. Some veterans also did worse than prior years, and others were happy with their results.

day2frontentrance

My pricing was similar to that of the other jewelry vendors, but having 7 of us in the same tent might have been a drawback, even though we each had different types of work.

gayleWeiss

Like the armchair advisors I have numerous display ideas, but practically and funds preclude me from going all out before I know for sure what venues work best for me. At the end of the day, all you can do is pack everything up and let the fair go.

day2TentEmpty

Fortunately Jason did better than me in his tent.

Day2Jason

It helps to have supportive friends take you out for comfort food after the fair.

food

Energetically I do feel buoyed by the support and compliments I received, and by the fact that many people picked up my business cards for their holiday shopping list.

friends

I can check off another ‘what if’ from my bucket list, and I got to practice being extroverted and making random small talk in spite of my introverted nature.

moijason

My outfits were a hit too, which proves that dressing the part and feeling good in what you’re wearing goes a long way. The fashion was fun to watch throughout the weekend.

A booth neighbor fell in love with Faith with Deeds and took it home with her. It has parts of James 1 and 2 peek on the front and  the back quotes James 2:15 to 21, including “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Day2FaithDeeds

Encaustic artist friend Kathleen Roman picked up Green Honor and an oval with the hymn of Christ the Lord is Risen Today.

Greensold

My tiny coils matched the pendant another customer was wearing, rounding out my weekend sales.

day2soldearrings

Art fairs, especially outdoors, are not for the faint of heart, and I deeply admire those who choose this gypsy-like lifestyle on a weekend-by-weekend basis.

Day2collages

I will be testing out some indoor shows over the holiday season and am pleased to have the support of select boutiques as I learn the ropes of what sales venues will be most effective for me. My Etsy store is open (please heart your heart out!), and Aurora Rose in Lemont and Stella Boutique in Evanston both have select jewelry in their storefronts.

Day2brightskies

Hope springs eternal!

Too busy for (written) words

Well I was planning on having a recap post ready by now, but that didn’t happen.

fall

I needed Monday to decompress from the wet Ravenswood adventures and had my muscles unkinked with a massage gift certificate.

RAWflooded

Then I had to get a birthstone commission completed, which was a lot of fun.

birthstones

The past two days were spent making things for a boutique.

prepping

So the other posts in my head will come out this weekend I hope.

cage-ing

I hope to see you at PerficalSense on Saturday if you are local, and I hope to swing by Symbiosis, too.

brightness

Enjoy your weekend!

PerficalSense’s Last Hurrah Show

PerficalSense Studio  in Evanston is hosting its last exhibit through October 25, with an opening on Saturday.

   MvWPapilio

Fluttering Papilio by Maike’s Marvels

Owner Cindy Jevon is shifting gears and will no longer host workshops or exhibits after this month. I am glad her life is leading into new and wonderful directions, but sad to say goodbye to the workshops that fueled my inspiration and set the course for my encaustic explorations.

AliciaForestall-BoehmTendencyofThoughtNL

The FUSEDChicago show, which includes Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Mary Krebs Smyth, Ahavani Mullen, Michele Thrane, Gina Vanderreyden. and me will have an opening reception from October 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. Join us to toast to Cindy’s new adventures with beautiful art, wine and conversation.

MicheleThraneUntitledNL

The show is on display from October 5 through October 25 with viewing times by appointment in Evanston. You’ll see my butterfly pieces, including a new tribute to lady lepidopterists. You can still keep up with Cindy via her blog at PerficalSense.com.

Speaking of FUSEDChicago, I am October’s featured artist of the month. You can read additional artist profiles here. Meanwhile, my Malachites are still on view at Powell’s Bookstore at Art Lakeview. I look forward to exploring that corridor later this week.

MvW_MigratingMonarchs

Migrating Monarchs by Maike’s Marvels

I told my newsletter subscribers Chicago Artists Month is busy! Stay tuned for recaps of the past week. My Etsy shop is open again with new pieces going up soon.