Discussing being your best boss

“I believe in recharging as often as possible.
Go somewhere luxurious to luxuriate.”
~ Niquenya Fulbright of Building Bridges Consulting

Last week the Network of Entrepreneurial Women held a discussion on treating ourselves. As we nibbled on savory paninis and vegan chocolate pralines at Let Them Eat Chocolate, NEW co-founder Erica Thomas provided tips on how to become better bosses to ourselves, while facilitating a lively discussion around self-care.

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Erica stressed that as our own boss, we have to be the best boss, in order to keep our business functioning and energized. “Burnout can ruin a perfect production schedule,” Erica said. “Avoiding burnout has to be prioritized as highly as project goals.”

TreatYourSelfNEWGroup

Our attendees covered the full spectrum of women business care taking needs, including 2 nutrition and wellness experts, a fashion designer, a wardrobe stylist, a brand consultant, a technology consultant, and a small business coach. With our introductions we had to state how we treat ourselves. These treats ranged from booking luxurious getaways to pampering in retail and at home spa places.

A “2011 study found that frequent small pleasures,
like double lattes, pedicures, or soft socks provides
more happiness than infrequent large ones like sports cars or vacations.
Research shows that breaking up enjoyable experiences into brief events
— such as two 20-minute massages at different times
rather than one 40-minute massage —
gives people more pleasure. “

~ 33 Ways To Be Happier by Dina Spector

While massages and manicures and pedicures were popular, the majority of ladies present love to take a (jacuzzi) bath. To soak our stressors away, this article suggests taking a champagne bath, and offers a less extravagant milk and honey recipe a la Cleopatra. Before that bath, My Health Beet’s Svetlana Burak recommended dry brushing to exfoliate and detoxify.

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Highlighting that treats do not have to be high-cost or difficult to implement, many women also enjoyed getting lost in a story, whether through a popular TV series or by being transported into a book. Savoring a delicious meal or anticipating a glass of wine at the end of the day also served as pleasurable rewards for a job well done.

“Self-care is such a buzz word that it’s often tossed around
without people really thinking about what it means to practice it.
The truth is that integrating self-care into life is a choice
and a practice, and it only happens successfully
when someone is conscious and consistent about it.”

~ During Your Next Launch, Don’t Neglect Self-Care by Kate Swoboda

One way to treat ourselves better is by stopping to review what we have achieved. We each grow and learn every day, and looking back on a to-do list from a year to 6 months ago can indicate milestones we may not recognize as we adopt new skills into our regular routine.

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When asked what we would give our best employee suggestions ranged from a day (completely logged) off to family outings to writing down a daily or weekly list of accomplishments. Realizing that acknowledgement of things well done is a key motivator, we encouraged each other to print certificates of achievements for the things we sometimes fail to recognize.

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Getting in touch with nature also offers the opportunity for a re-set and turns out to be extremely helpful for the brain. John Haltiwanger writes that people who appreciate nature are happier, healthier and more innovative.

“Natural environments stimulate the brain
in ways civilization cannot,
exponentially improving our cognitive abilities
and igniting our imaginations.”
~ John Haltiwanger

Erica suggested that solopreneurs evaluate their businesses based on Crain’s “Best Places to Work 2015.” The selection criteria included: quantitative issues about pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices as well as fairness of pay, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other day-to-day workplace issues.

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Being self-employed can cause for some pitfalls of bossiness. Key to preventing burnout is to also acknowledge our biorhythms, which we can sometimes try to push through. Once again, the best places to work example came to the rescue with the question “Would you work for someone who made you come into the office during a blizzard?”

“It’s OK that you don’t do everything.
It’s OK that someone else does it for you.
You have the wisdom to understand:
‘that’s not my strong suit, that is not my best quality’.”
~ Brand Consultant Cierra Cole

Delegation was also discussed and encouraged, whether it be training a 3-year old to shred papers, engaging older children in answering the phone, or outright hiring someone. Erica stated that we tend to take the longest doing the things we don’t like to do, and outsourcing that task to someone else can free us up to more productivity. Being a perfectionist can hinder that process, but one member pointed out that getting it done is better than for it to be perfect.

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It was lovely to lounge in a welcoming and comfortable space while bonding over indulgences. We look forward to revisiting Let Them Eat Chocolate in Andersonville, and are excited to spur each other on in our respective ventures.

LetsCocoLounge

Continuing our theme of wellness and self-care, our next Wine Women and Wellness Event will coincide with a Women Out Walking presentation. NEW member Svetlana Burak of My Health Beet is partnering with Kim Leider, a Training Leader with Ava Anderson Non Toxic to present: “Clean Living Inside and Out” at the Evanston Public Library on Thursday, May 28 from 7 to 8:30 pm.

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Group photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com.

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. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

 

Join Our Treat Yourself Meet & Munch

Guess what? The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is back! With the unpredictable winter weather we decided to take a hiatus since long commutes are no fun. But now that spring has sprung and birds are chirping we are ready to connect with women business owners throughout the Chicagoland Suburbs.

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Our next event is coming up on Wednesday, a Chocolate Meet & Munch. We’ll gather at Let Them Eat Chocolate to pamper ourselves with delicious treats and discuss why we should indulge ourselves.

The high-powered businesswomen present will address the Return On Investment of treating yourself and creating strategies around being the best boss ever when you’re self-employed. If you can’t be your own best boss, who will be? There will be ample time for mingling to get to know each other and make business or personal connections.

Chocolate

“Treat yourself as well as you do your business,” advises Entrepreneur.com. We’ll tackle the best strategies by sharing experiences, wisdom, and questions as women entrepreneurs while we indulge in delicious chocolate. This lovely venue also offers paninis, baked goods, Italian soda and a jolt of caffeine with various coffee beverages.

Treat Yourself: Chocolate Meet & Munch will be held on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 2 to 4 pm at Let Them Eat Chocolate, 5306 N. Damen Ave., Chicago. For $5 per person, you can delight in advice, support, and sweetness. I’m looking forward to this treat and exploring Andersonville a little bit more. Andersonville was named by real estate site Redfin as the 7th hottest neighborhood in the country – attributing the ranking in part to the “abundance of charming small businesses”.

LetThemEatChocolateAndersonVille

Let Them Eat Chocolate is a high-end all natural chocolate shop and lounge. It offers Belgian and vegan chocolates as well as cozy chairs and gelato that is most commonly reviewed as “amazing.” Tickets for this event are $5. Each participant pays for her own chocolates and refreshments from Let Them Eat Chocolate’s Menu.

Graphic courtesy NetworkHoncho.com and photos courtesy Let Them Eat Chocolate.

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. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

 

Summer Partying

I’m working on my hiking posts but spent the weekend partying so those will have to wait.

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My friends Lauren and Rory celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary and several other special days with Sugarweek, and us friends were invited to tag along on their celebrations.

Sugarweekers

Friday evening marked the opening of a show at Zhou B Art Center, so before that 5 of us had dinner at the Honky Tonk BBQ. The ambiance is fun.

ambiance

One of the few things I miss about Texas is a good brisket, and now I’ve found a local place to have it. Their food was delicious.

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Fighting the food coma, we made our way to Zhou B, where the Self-Portrait Exhibition was in full swing.

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Lauren and Rory were part of it, and perused the other works.

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Here are a few of my snapshots.

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I’m mesmerized by encaustic artists who work large.

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Dan Addington’s Pereginus Cor: I am Content to Follow the Source with oil, wax, tar, collage on wood is striking and filled with texture.

DanAddingtonArt

Erin McClellan Zhoushi’s Untitled photography is so magical.

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InJung Oh’s Untitled oil on canvas is so vibrant, and I was especially drawn to the texture and layering of Corinna Button’s Now + Then (oil and collage on canvas).

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I like the multidimensionality of Robin Monique Rios’ Beyond Midnight with acrylic/liquid plastic. There are numerous other great pieces, so go see the exhibit this month.

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Saturday was spent making a few trips to Belgian Chocolatier Piron, first to order mousse from last year’s birthday gift certificate and then to pick it up.

PironChocolate

For once a party was walking distance for me, which I took full advantage of. Our friend Dean smoked a meal for us, that actually was quite a competitor to the Honky Tonk fare we had just feasted on yesterday.

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Then we ate our hearts out on chocolate mousse and devil’s ganache cake.

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We sampled various beers and whiskeys and had fun conversations until deep into the night.

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Needless to say, not much writing was done on Sunday, so the blog will need to catch up later.

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This is what summer is for, to enjoy the days and nights among friends and savor the love and joy that is in one’s life.

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I am reminded almost daily how blessed I am, and how quickly things can change, so I am going to celebrate where I am, who I am with and whom I hold in my heart every single day.

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Chocolate Fun

Since Easter is also Chocolate Celebration weekend, here is some trivia we shared back in December during a Network of Entrepreneurial Women gathering:

After Chocolate was presented to the Spanish King by Hernán Cortés in 1528, the Spaniards kept it a secret from the rest of the world for 100 years. Cortés presented the Spanish King, Charles V with cocoa beans from the New World and the necessary tools for its preparation. Cortés later postulated that if this bitter beverage were to be blended with sugar, it could become quite a delicacy. The Spaniards mixed the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon.

Symphony'sDessert

In 1609, The first book devoted entirely to chocolate, Libro en el cual se trata del chocolate, was written in Mexico. A recent book reported scientific evidence that pregnant mothers who eat chocolate will have children that are sweeter.

Pepero Day in South Korea is a holiday when friends and loved ones give each other long, thin cookies dipped in chocolate. Scheduled on the date that looks most like the cookies themselves, Pepero Day is held on November 11.

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Roald Dahl suggested in his autobiography that he was at least partly inspired for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by the time he spent as a child testing flavors for Cadbury.

Ruth Graves Wakefield invented Chocolate Chip Cookies when using a chocolate chip substitute in the chocolate cookies she was preparing to serve at her Inn. The Inn was named TollHouse, thus becoming the origin of TollHouse cookies.

The Field Museum’s World Fair exhibit is on display now (and NEW will visit it in August).  Chicago Woman Bertha Palmer of the Palmer House Hotel invented the Chocolate Brownie for the Chicago World’s Fair. A chef at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel created the confection after she requested a dessert for ladies attending the fair; it should be, she said, smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts, and they are still being made at the hotel according to the original recipe (definitely a lovely activity to do with out-of-towners).

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The Women’s World’s Fair of 1925 was held April 18–25 in the American Exposition Palace. It attracted more than 160,000 visitors, and consisted of 280 booths representing 100 occupations in which women were engaged. The fair was the idea of Helen Bennett, the manager of the Chicago Collegiate Bureau of Occupations, and Ruth Hanna McCormick, a leading clubwoman and Republican politician. Women publicized and ran the fair; its managers and board of directors were all women.

The fair had the double purpose of displaying women’s ideas, work, and products, and raising funds to help support women’s Republican Party organizations. The booths at the fair showed women’s accomplishments in the arts, literature, science, and industry. These exhibits were also intended as a source for young women seeking information on careers. Among the exhibitors at the fair were major corporations, such as Illinois Bell Telephone Company and the major national and regional newspapers. Local manufacturers, banks, stores, and shops, area hospitals, and women inventors, artists, and lawyers set up booths demonstrating women’s contributions in these fields and possibilities for employment.

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Mayans and Aztecs knew chocolate offered a high and called it magical. The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California believes that “chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances that have the same effect on the brain as marijuana, and that these chemicals may be responsible for certain drug-induced psychoses associated with chocolate craving.”

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.

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The basis for cocoa powder was invented during the 1830s in the Netherlands (my father land). Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to “natural cocoa” extracted with the Broma process. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa, and baking.

The Dutch process was developed in the early 19th century by Dutch chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten, whose father Casparus is responsible for the development of the method of removing fat from cacao beans by hydraulic press around 1828, forming the basis for cocoa powder. These developments greatly expanded the use of chocolate, which had been mostly used as a beverage in Europe until that time.

BelgianBonbons

The Broma process is a method used to remove cocoa butter from cocoa mass, leaving cocoa solids (cocoa powder). In about 1865, someone at the Domingo Ghirardelli factory discovered that when a bag of cocoa mass (ground cacao beans) was hung in a warm room, the cocoa butter dripped off, leaving behind a residue that could then be processed into cocoa powder. More cocoa butter (fat) is extracted by using the Broma process than by using a hydraulic press, and less fat remaining in the cocoa (powder) makes it easier to dissolve the cocoa into liquids. Broma process cocoa also has a more intense flavor than Dutch process cocoa, as no alkalis are added to the cocoa.

All chocolate photos are from Belgian Chocolatier Piron, except for the mousse which is at Symphony’s in Evanston.

Enjoy chocolate mousse with us at Symphony’s on Thursday evening.

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Speednetworking with chocolate

We had a blast closing out Galentine’s month at Anna Shea’s Chocolate Lounge last week.

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In spite of another polar vortex front several suburban ladies were lured by the chocolate bar, and we cozied up to the fireplace to imbibe.

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The Pistachio Pomegranate cupcake was delicious, and I opted for a Bailey’s Chocolate cocktail this time.

Delicious

Erica and I had done some chocolate research and found some great nuggets to present as chocolate trivia.

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Then Karen launched us into speed networking, which was energizing and inspirational. Due to an odd number of attendees I sat out most rounds, which introverted me didn’t mind at all. It was great watching the energy build and connections grow.

speednetworking

We are super-duper excited to celebrate Women’s History Month with a women’s history expert, Barbara Joan Zeitz for our Meet & Munch on Wednesday, March 12.

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Spending time with my Galentines is always so uplifting.

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Seeing Curly Girl Design represented was a bonus surprise.

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Here’s to a delightful week for everyone.

Photos by Maike’s Marvels and NetworkHoncho.com

Closing out the NEW year

The Network of Entrepreneurial Women closed out the year with a lovely party at Anna Shae’s Chocolate Lounge in Barrington last week.

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We warmed ourselves by the fireplace as we enjoyed the whimsical and girly setting.

fireside

whimsy

Chocolates are made on site here, and we couldn’t resist sampling pieces.

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I imbibed in the delectable S’mores Martini.

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We exchanged business cards as we discussed what’s new and big in our businesses.

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Then we had fun with a pub-style trivia quiz on which both teams did quite well.

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They didn’t go home empty-handed.

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After wishing each other happy holidays we were on our way to more merry-making.

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The three NEW cofounders crafted our fun and varied calendar for 2014.

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The recipe exchange continued with a buttered rum demonstration.

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It was delicious.

cheers

We will see you in January for our next event!

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

snowwoman

Summer Retreat nuggets

“The ABC’s of Success:
Attitude, Belief and Commitment.”
~Valerie Beck

One perk of the Women’s Innovation Network is rubbing elbows with Chicago’s chocolate expert, Valerie Beck. As the founder of Chicago Chocolate Tours, she ensured that WIN’s 2012 Summer Retreat was sweetened at all times.

We were even given a private Geneva Chocolate Tour, which certainly is one of my favorites.

“Dedicate yourself to listen twice as much as you speak.”
~ Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

We also listened to inspirational speakers who gave us tips on how to better our own businesses.

“If you took the fear and money out of it,
what would you do, what would you be,
what would you bring to the party?”
~ Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

During the Greening your Business Workshop, Shari Rajish of Peaceful Parlour introduced to sugarcane paper, wax sandwich wraps, bamboo sporks, and other green items.

“You can live in style and comfort
without sacrificing the green lifestyle.”
~ Shari Rajish

She recommends using glass jars and bottles over plastic for both human and earth longevity. Shari shared the following links with us to further research greening our business and our lives: Rebinder; Power2Switch; Earth911.org; green e-mail; Environmental Working Group.

“Once you become aware it becomes a snowball effect,
you can’t unlearn it.”  
~ Shari Rajish

One key nugget was to not have ‘green guilt’: if we are forced to drive to our work, we should not feel guilty about not biking there. We can only do what our circumstances allow, but with awareness, we can be better stewards of the earth one small change at a time. Shari herself made gradual changes, without throwing things out ‘just to throw them out,’ but instead using them to the end of their life cycle/usability.

“There’s progress, not perfection.” 
~ Shari Rajish

The Peaceful Parlour was also a Chocolate Tour stop.

Our cupcake supplier The Sugar Path presented more sweetness at Galena Wine Cellars.

We also sampled wine, including my first taste of Rhubarb wine.

And we bumped into sweetness again at the farmers market the next morning.

Pie with heart, so cute!

 

I’m in charge of my attitude, nobody else is.”
~ Valerie Beck, Tips for Confident Networking

Preservation Bread and Wine had the best ganache tart, and became a lunch stop the next day as well

Our dinners at Atwaters Restaurant  and Fiora’s were well-documented.

“If you don’t meet a goal it doesn’t matter,
because you learned from that process.”

~Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

Graham’s 318 offered a chilled hot Cocoa which was a lovely refreshment on a hot day.

The retreat was capped with a fancy high tea at Atwater’s Restaurant, after which we all left for home with new tips to implement, ideas to ponder, inspiration to guide us, and a deepened support network. We’ll be checking in with each other on October 2, when the Women’s Innovation Networks hosts a Creativity for Business Day at Lillstreet and MySpa.

 “You are the best you in the world.”
~ Valerie Beck

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

Daytrip to Geneva

“There are four basic food groups: 
Milk chocolate
Dark chocolate
White chocolate
& Chocolate truffles”
~ seen at the All Chocolate Kitchen

On Wednesday I visited Geneva, IL for the Geneva Chocolate Tour. I’ve know founder Valerie Beck since my first Chocolate and Champagne Tour in 2010. I took my mom on the French Market Chocolate Tour in July 2010.

Chocolate and Champagne Tourguides at Chicago Chocolate Tours

My first Chocolate tour

Having a Groupon to spend I opted for a day trip this time. I wish I had done so sooner!

Geneva is a lovely town with numerous boutiques, antique shops and eateries in a lovely downtown area. Many shops are housed in converted mansions. I walked the Third Street area for a bit and had lunch at a nice diner.

Geneva Illinois collage by Maike's Marvels

Then I discovered chocolate raspberry tea at The Berry House’s Coffee Drop Shop. YUM! (For my Dutch friends, there wasn’t any licorice in the store).

Coffee Drop Shop Geneva IL

After a bit more boutique browsing it was time to gather for the tour, which started at Graham’s Chocolates. Founded 24 years ago, Graham’s likes to demonstrate chocolatey freshness with an open kitchen, so we watched as cookies were being dipped in dark chocolate to become a groom’s tuxedos.

A family-business, the founder’s daughter served us chocolate with seasalt caramels and a lovely nutty praline.

Graham's chocolate samples

On our way to the next stop we learned that brownies were invented for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 by Bertha Palmer, who wanted to serve something to visitors at Palmer House. 27 million people were given a brownie at that time. We sampled A Moveable Feast’s deeply fudgey brownies, one of Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things”. The store had other chocolate goodies too.

a moveable feast Geneva IL

After another history lesson we entered the All Chocolate Kitchen, Geneva’s newest chocolate addition. Chef Roby has been on the Food Network Challenge and after designing kitchens for the Hyatt Hotels he decided to build one for himself. In addition to the fascinating chocolate and sugar-blown sculptures, the store offers truffles, gelato and beverages. I couldn’t resist the truffles here.

All Chocolate Kitchen, Geneva IL

We then marched on to Preservation Bread and Wine (I like those food groups too!) where we sampled a delicious chocolate espresso tart.

Preservation Bread and Wine

Our last stop was Graham’s 318, the coffee shop founded by the chocolatier we visited at the beginning of our tour. Here we had a lovely hot cocoa made from dark chocolate shavings with a marshmallow garnish. This heat helped me stay warm during the freight train windiness as I waited for my ride home.

Graham's 318 coffeehouse

I plan to revisit Geneva for some holiday shopping. Now that I remember how restorative it is to get away from the daily task list I’ll take a day trip once a month going forward, if not an overnight trip. There are so many lovely towns and parks to visit within a two-hour radius of Chicago.

What is your favorite getaway from your daily grind?

 “Anything is good if it is made of chocolate”
~ seen at the All Chocolate Kitchen

 Praline pincushion at Designers Desk Geneva

Chocolate praline pincushion at Designers Desk

midweek bliss

It’s been a fun and full week already. I visited the Chocolate Exhibit at the Field Museum and learned a lot more about Chocolate’s history. The Mayans used huge vessels to drink their bitter frothy cocoa from, ranging from 8 to 10 inches tall with a 6 to 8 inch diameter. And here I thought American mugs were getting larger! Photography wasn’t allowed inside but there were some fun props by the exit, and witty items in the museum shop. I treated myself to a frothy sweet cocoa for lunch.

chocolate exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum

Afterwards I visited the Hall of Plants, which used to take up the whole Eastern side of the second floor, but it has now made way for other exhibits. I took a tour this time, and learned about the origins of these beautiful plant models that were handcrafted in the 1920s. The Field has an amazing amount of research and history that takes a lot of time to process. Their Nature Walk is impressive too. I can’t wait to learn more about their butterfly collection, which has an online home.

plant models at Chicago's Field Museum

Yesterday was an overcast rainy day and the wind created some beautiful leaf collages. The colors definitely brightened my day.

maple leaf collages blown by the wind

My brain hasn’t been this full in a long time, and I haven’t even written about last Friday’s gallery visit yet! It’s wonderful to be in the midst of all this momentum though. May your mid-week be pleasant and filled with small joys and new discoveries.

R.O.C.E.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

May you shower the people you love with love today.

It’s been a few years since I had a Valentine. But that doesn’t mean love is invisible.

Filled with expectations, hope, and tokens of affection, this day represents great joy for some, a lot of pressure for others, or a reminder of loneliness to those who aren’t recipients of flowers, hearts or poems.

Personally, I’ve decided that “romance” without the ‘man’ makes for a Really Outstanding Chocolate Experience.

Since chocolate is one of my first loves, I declare today a calorie-free day and will indulge! If you need help in this arena, you can get guidance in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile I raise a champagne toast to Mr. Absolutely-worth-waiting-for.

“I know I’m still young and there’s a lot of time for things to happen, but sometimes I think there’s something about me that’s wrong, that I’m not the kind of person anyone can fall in love with, and that I’ll just always be alone.

But I think if I knew someone was going to fall in love with me when I’m fifty-three or something, I think I could wait. Maybe. If I knew it would happen.”

~ said by 13-year-old protagonist Debbie in Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Don’t lose heart if you are not recognized as the object of someone’s affection today. It just means something wonderful is yet to come (hopefully in less than 40 years!). For those lucky souls who have a mate, revel in the miracle of love, and ENJOY today and every other date to the hilt!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13