Main-Dempster Mile fun

I am easing out of hibernation and it is safe (no longer too cold) to take angel out and about on my adventures.

Evanston’s Main-Dempster mile is full of fun adventures. Squeezebox has the right idea with these postcards.

I had tacos for charity on the day of the Woman’s March, and later went to La Principal again with friends.

A few weeks later Brothers K collected funds for the ACLU.

My frosty is still hanging out at Rolf’s Auto Care, where I took my car for service.

We rewarded ourselves with some Sketchbook beer after a Hip Circle workout.

Stumble & Relish’s lovely card selection, along with my stash of Curly Girl Design’s Love Delivered subscription has me writing a postcard on Sundays.

I got to sample SPARK Syrup with Prosecco on Thursday and picked up some earrings I couldn’t resist.

Vivian Visser explained the process and inspiration behind her beautiful creations during an Artist talk at Cultivate.

This wonderful show is up through the end of the month.

It is always neat to see who shadows interact with art work on the wall.

I attended a few recent The Collage Cafe workshops, and loved the glowing woman who emerged from the last Grown*UP Girls Club session.

My vision boards will be shown when they manifest.

Then I was introduced to Bullet Journaling at Hip Circle Studio.

Next weekend I hope to explore Evanston’s Black-owned Businesses during Tour de Noir.

There’s always something fun to do in Evanston.

Fun at the Sidewalk Sale

I always have a bit of a hangover after a weekend fair, and this week is no different.

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The Sidewalk sale was lots of fun, but setting up and tearing down two tents 6 times is a workout.

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Construction workers had just finished pouring cement when we started setting up but they were eager to help us maximize our space.

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Soon we were set up and ready to greet shoppers.

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Soon browsers started to shop.

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On Friday afternoon Sara Jane decided to move the party inside when the radar indicated rain, and I was glad for that decision.

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Sparkle Angel had fun with the sparklies, and so did I.

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I met a friend at Sketchbook after the sale, and love their new taproom.

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Saturday morning was overcast, but later the skies cleared up.

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A Pedi-cab gave lifts to downtown or Main Street for additional sidewalk explorations.

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Lots of friends stopped by.

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It was Christmas in July at the Stumble & Relish table.

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On Sunday I decided to take the Angels outside for some air.

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It is fun to rearrange the setup each time.

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Stumble & Relish had lots of deals throughout the weekend.

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Sara Jane did major markdowns as well.

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Most people on Sunday were looking for slashed prices, which is good to know for next year.

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I took home some bargains myself.SRLoot

Quite a few pieces were adopted, which makes me happy.

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Some of my inventory remains at See Jane Sparkle.

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Sara Jane kept the Swarm, so go peruse my butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs in her store.

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I hope they go home to new owners soon.

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I’m taking a pop-up break in August, so you’ll see me next at Platt-A-Palooza on September 3 in Bloomingdale.

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Meanwhile, you can peruse my pieces at The Collage Cafe and ChromaK8 Beautique as well.

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Making a Swarm

With Evanston Made kicking off June 3, I am thrilled to be part of the official Evanston Art Center Exhibit as well as a special show featuring critters near to my heart. SideTracked Studio will be hosting Swarm, a small works exhibition.

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Jason McPhillips, “Negentropy,”
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel, 10″x10″

The word can be defined in different ways – from an act of aggression/protection to simply a group of animals – and the Coynes thought it high time to mount their own swarm via artists interpreting the theme.

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Lauren showed me her concept art, which aligned with my vision of creating a butterfly mobile, and I am excited to be included in this show with such highly talented artists.

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Works on exhibit will be: Lauren Levato Coyne, Rory Coyne, Jason McPhillips, Erin Gergen Halls, Anthony Cramer, Gail Potocki, John Walker, Erich J. Moffatt, Victoria Fuller, Renee McGinnis, Maike van Wijk, and Stephanie Inagaki.

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This exhibit will be a wonderful spectacle of highly crafted works that are mostly no larger than twelve inches, and an installation made of smaller components by the artists to make one collaborative piece, or swarm.

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The opening reception is Saturday, June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. with beverages provided by New Holland Brewing Co. The exhibition continues through July 2, 2016.

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I had fun creating different critters, dressing them (aka making up my own species), and arranging them in various ways.

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There is no telling how Lauren and Rory will install them when they combine my pieces with the other artists’ submissions.

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Sidetracked Studio is the storefront studio of artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne founded with collector and advisor Michele Mahon Jahelka. Throughout the year Sidetracked Studio, located at 707 Chicago Avenue, also presents gallery exhibitions of visiting artists, workshops, and lectures. For information visit sidetrackedstudio.com or find them on social media.

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Sidetracked Studio is located near the purple line Main Street station, as well as the Main Street Metra station. Metered parking is available on Chicago Avenue, and you can find residential parking a few blocks closer to the lake. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

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Evanston’s Community Yarnbomb

Last year Evanston yarn bombed the Dempster-Chicago merchant area, and this year the initiative expanded to include Main Street as well.

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Intrigued by promises of finger knitting I signed up for the May 7 workshop, but then was more incentivized last month by a yarnbomb-making session at La Principal.

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Jaime gave us a tutorial on knotting, and then we all were off to the races.

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You loop 1 strand around two (or more) others to get the effect.

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She also showed a friendship-bracelet style technique.

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It was fun to see all the color combinations and listen in on conversations.

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Our drinks matched the first colors we were given.

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Tacos and margaritas made for much creativity.

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My first strand was fun.

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These get sewn together with fishing line by other volunteers.

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Number two of mine.

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The project uses only Bonnie Braid, a weather resistant and colorfast yarn.

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Donation checks for the yarn can be made payable to Stumble & Relish, they will use the funds to purchase more supplies.

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Stumble & Relish owner Jaime Leonardi offers knotting and finger knitting tutorials for the events posted around town.

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We cut longer and longer strands as we kept working.

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This one spanned the room.

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It was a productive evening.

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My friend did an interesting weaving thing.

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As we sipped one more drink we made one more strand.

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Quite a fun pile.

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I was given more yarn to play with at home.

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A few crochet tutorials later, I got the hang of doily making.

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Hip Circle Studio’s colors inspired me further.

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The last community knotting class takes place Saturday, May 7 from 2-5 pm at Evanston Stitchworks on 906 Sherman Ave. (Next to The Collage Cafe).

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The thick yarn makes for productive TV-watching.

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Yarn installation dates are May 11 from 2-5 pm at Evanston Stitchworks, 906 Sherman Ave.and Thursday, May 12, from 2-5 pm at the corner of Chicago and Greenwood.

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Some bombing was down over the weekend already, and on Wednesday.

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You can drop off home made yarn circles and strands at Stumble & Relish 1310 A Chicago Ave. until May 13.

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Feeding the meter might be fun after this.

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I’ll also be inspecting each tree closely to see if I recognize my pieces.

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It’s fun to make a contribution that adds color to our community.

Celebrating Life

Last week was quite celebratory with Pie Day kicking off the week, celebrating Irish lore on Thursday, and then opening my show on Friday.

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Monday started with Pie Day, and a CRAVE event offered perfect healthy pie by Pyrite Sun.

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We chatted about big dreams in growing our businesses at Creative Coworking and savored every bite of the pies.

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The Myer lemon and Matzo powder hand pie was just right for angel.

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I thought the grapefruit with black rice and berry was hard to beat.

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But then the Rum Raisin pie proved me wrong. Cultivate’s art openings tend to be catered by Pyrite Sun, so come on by and savor the deliciousness for yourself.

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On Thursday the celebrating continued with Green Prosecco at The Wine Goddess for St. Patrick’s Day.

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We admired the lovely chandelier from Little Light Bazaar.

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I brought a green angel along who loved all the Irish fashion.

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Then we moved on to our Hip Circle Fitness Party, where more socks can be rocked.

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We earn the party by attending 5 classes in a month, and this month we celebrated with the card game Pie Gow.

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For St. Patrick’s Day the drink had to be green, so minty Moscow Mules were served.

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It was a lovely way to unwind before gearing up for my opening night. Here’s to celebrating every day.

Open Studios Evanston this Saturday

June promises to be a busy and artful month. The artist community in Evanston has banded together to host Open Studios Evanston. In its second year, June 6 allows Evanston residents and visitors to poke around the studios of local artists, including those who do not generally open their studio to the public. This Saturday I will pop in at Creative Coworking. Several of the artists adorning the building’s walls will be present between 12 and 5 pm.

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From Central street to Oakton, painters, sculptors, filmmakers, jewelers, clothing designers, photographers, puppeteers, acrobats, singers, dancers, and other creatives are hosting open houses to let the curious wanderer explore Evanston’s art scene.

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I will mingle with the resident artists at 922 Davis Street arond noon before moving along the trail myself. Numerous arts organizations, galleries and boutiques are joining the celebration with special events. Maps and a list of participants are provided the day of the event at locations throughout the city.

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My friends at Sidetracked Studio are hosting a fundraiser raffle for the Trio Animal Foundation, and Hip Circle Studio will teach you how to choreograph a dance. Encaustic arts will also be represented at Gather and at Perspective Gallery. Dragonfly Boutique (hostess to my earrings and pendants) is having a 20% off moving sale through Sunday.

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So grab a map and meander around town on Saturday! Regardless of the neighborhood you’re in, you’re bound to find inspiration.

Maps designed by IDG Evanston and courtesy of Open Studios Evanston.

Winning fun things

2015 is promising to be a winning year. I’ve won something unexpected three months in a row, and it makes me happy to live in Evanston. During Suminagashi artist Amy Lee Segami’s presentation at the Evanston Public Library in February I was the recipient of her poster, which she autographed for me.

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Being in the winning category of a random drawing is new to me. I gave up holding my breath with those types of events over the years, and just considered participation a fun thing without attachment. Hashtagging proved lucrative in March, when I unexpectedly won Symphony tickets for participating in the #WeLoveEvanston campaign.

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I didn’t even know there were prizes involved with this campaign, but it was a lovely introduction to this local orchestra and some wonderful composers I didn’t even know.The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is made up of volunteers.

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Balikpapan, Indonesia got the most lovable city award, but Evanston was named the United States’ Earth Hour capital by the World Wildlife Fund.

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This week I won a drawing class with my wonderful friend Lauren Levato Coyne through Instagram. Evanston Merchants held a Loop Giveaway campaign to gain more Instagram followers, and I played along to support my friends.

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Incidentally SideTracked Studio was linked to my favorite shop, Dragonfly Boutique, where some of my pieces are having a slumber party among beautiful gift and fashion items.

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Check out their goodies!

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Lauren is a fabulous drawing teacher, and I cannot wait to see what models she has selected for us. SideTracked Studio is still hosting “What did she say?” through May 10, so take a peek at this intriguing exhibit, and grab some Hoosier Mama Pie around the cornerIt’s fun living here.

HVNSTN encaustic collage by Maike's Marvels

I also broke the 155 likes mark on Facebook, which makes me feel quite loved. Thank you for reading and for being a fan!

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Women Out Walking

“You’ve got to find something that makes you happy
to keep you moving.”

~ Malik of Hip Circle Studio

In mid-March, the City of Evanston launched Women Out Walking for the 8th year in a row. The 12-week program encourages women to become more physically active and lead healthier lifestyles. Every week women are asked to log their steps, and whether as individuals or part of a team, are incentivized with prizes for their achievements.

Not only does this program give you incentive to walk more in your personal life, but local businesses are offering special sample sessions of exercise classes, like yoga, martial arts, dance, and running. Workshops on nutrition and general health are also promoted through June 21.

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I attended the kickoff at Evanston Township High School and put on the pedometer that came with the goodie bag right after the speeches. Mayor Tisdahl endorsed the event, and Hip Circle Studio owner Malik offered a keynote speech.

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Urban Beat Dance demonstrated the joy of moving with two fun performances.

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Currently 400 women are part of the program, but registration is ongoing. Goals of the program are to engage women in meaningful and healthy activities, increase social interaction, provide access to healthy resources, and ensure a sense of safety while walking.

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You submit your steps for the week every Monday with a link that is provided in a reminder email. You can use any step tracking device you want, such as the Fitbit, the WOW-provided pedometer, or other tools.

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After the kick-off speeches we were sent to 3 different stations for exercise options. In Hip Circle Studio’s demonstration we learned steps to the bellydance flashmob that will be shown at the Custer Street Fair.

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Connelly Martial Arts offered tips on how to walk around more safely, which means taking the earplugs out, putting your phone in your pocket, walking straight and purposefully and being alert of your surroundings. The best way to deal with a suspicious person is to simply walk away.

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photo courtesy Hip Circle Studio

Balance Through Motion had brought various balance boards for us to try out. They can be used to improve your general sense of balance, but also as tools for moderate to more challenging exercises. While our instinct was to stand on them and use them as teeter-totters for our feet, you can also do exercises while sitting, laying down, and as part of a new pilates program.

There was a vendor scavenger hunt with Bingo during which we learned more about nutrition, spinal alignment, footwear and other health-related resources. 1914 steps later, I was encouraged with all the walking we did at the event itself.  At the end of that very active first day, I logged more than 6000 steps!

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However, attaining the goal of 10,000 steps a day (recommended by the American Heart Association) is a challenge without an out-of-the-home commute. My ‘commute’ only logs about 33 steps. Thankfully the weather is nicer so I will be enticed to walk around the block more often during lunch time. Still, with Moxie Boxing, the most active of my workout sessions, the most steps I have gotten in one day is 7000.

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I have experimented and found that the pedometer does count shimmies—albeit not one-for-one, something I am told the Fitbit doesn’t do. Ultimately the point is to get moving and be motivated to move more.

If I hit the 10,000 step mark during summer I’ll be happy, but I am allowing for the sedentary under 1000 steps days too. Maybe I’ll see you at the final Women out Walking Session, Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate at Long Field at the corner of Lincoln Street and Sheridan Road.

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PS-I loooove this vending machine at ETHS.

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It’s a writer’s dream.

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A Falcon’s Visit

The Evanston Public Library is the host to a pair of Peregrine Falcons each year, which means sighting them isn’t a big surprise.

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However, having one right outside your window and watching it devour a pigeon is quite the thrilling distraction from other chores.

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I had to ship an order so I reluctantly went out to run my errand.

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Upon my return, the falcon was still there.

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I watched a squirrel get too close and be chased away.

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Since 2004, the Library’s third floor window ledge has become a nesting site for falcons. Since 2005 Nona has come to lay her eggs, and as of 2006 she was accompanied by Squawker.  A falcon cam tracks the nest when eggs are laid and hatchlings come out.

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Each year the hatchlings receive names voted on by the community, and after their banding ceremony by wildlife preservation experts they are free to roam Evanston and beyond.

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While I was distracted that day, I am heeding this totem animal’s call to focus and strategize.

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“When they show themselves to us, we are being called to focus on our desires and our goals, and do what is necessary to bring our desires into our reality.”

Small Business Saturday

This is a week of gratitude, and I am particularly grateful for all the small business women I have gotten to know over the past year. Through the Network of Entrepreneurial Women I have been exposed to a variety of fascinating businesses, and I am inspired by the ladies who run them.

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On Saturday, November 29 many of us will be celebrating Small Business Saturday, an initiative sponsored by American Express to counteract the Black Friday craze of big box retailers. Local and family owned businesses can’t compete with the deep discounts that come with mass manufactured goods, but we do offer personalized and unique goods and services that are designed to lift your spirits and enhance your life.

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In my hometown Evanston, all three merchant associations (Main Street, Chicago-Dempster and Central Street) have joined forces to create a holiday event with a trolley service. Hip Circle Studio will be hosting family dance sessions. My favorite Main Street Businesses are listed here. The Chicago-Dempster Corridor also offered lovely businesses that I explored during a recent wine tasting event.

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Dragonfly Boutique, which hosts several of my pieces, offers a free tote when you spend $75 on Small Business Saturday, and you get more perks when you bring in that tote throughout December.

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Another lovely venue for a Small Business Saturday field trip is Geneva, where Peaceful Parlour owner Shari Ralish resides. She was recently featured in Black Friday Is Fading Away and Customers Are Noticing.

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Per the article, Small Business Saturday has grown consistently since 2010. Last year, it was estimated that $5.7 billion was spent as part of the Shop Small movement. “It really is a special day that seems to be growing each year among customers and businesses both,” Ralish said.

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While you are in Geneva, I highly recommend sweetening up at the Sugar Path with a cupcake or a slice of pie. All of Third Street and State Street offer really fun small businesses filled with delights to gift or indulge in this holiday season.

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My favorite family-owned business is in Lemont. Aurora Rose Boutique was the first shop to carry my products, and they have a variety of events this holiday season that should have you checking out the Historic Downtown area.

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Also supporting local artisans is the Evanston Art Center with the 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO from November 22 to December 22. You can peruse my jewelry and ornaments there while taking in the taken and creativity of other Evanstonians.

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I admire all the brick and mortars willing to take on overhead that I don’t dare to fund yet. Your local merchants are invested in the community and make your hometown what it is, so support them with your wallet and your referrals.

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