Exploring Crystal Lake

On Friday I was scheduled for an evening art fair at the Immanuel Lutheran School in Crystal Lake, a suburb I had never visited before. So prior to the 4:30 pm setup time I decided to take the afternoon to explore the town. An online search produced an intriguing map of a nice walkable cluster downtown, so I figured out where to park and set the coordinates for a leisurely drive.

The weather was lovely (albeit slightly chilly), and I parked my car in a 4-hour spot. Then I oriented myself based on the map by the train station.

Since it was lunchtime I checked the list of restaurants first, and picked two that looked intriguing. While passing a bunch of enticing windows I decided on Le Petit Marche, a lovely french-inspired bistro.

I ordered a tuna salad brioche with tea, which was served quickly.

The ambiance is lovely, and I would love take part in a wine and cheese evening sometime.

I was going to leave some postcards for Affair of the Arts, but someone already had. 🙂

Fully nourished, I walked to the end of the street and fell in love with the Crystal Lake Antique Mall. This place has rooms upon rooms of vintage pieces that inspire nostalgia and tempt those with a flair for spinning stories about old pieces. I saw a lovely wooden desk secretary at a bargain price, but instead settled on a tray I actually needed. I do think I’ll visit again though, maybe I will know a place to put that piece by then (if it is still there).

Fully uplifted by this historic surprise, I strolled back outside and made my way back into modern times in an old-town setting.

I meandered 2 fabric stores, some fashion boutiques, and then stumbled onto Kaleidoscoops via a gift shop, and couldn’t resist treating myself to a cone. This is a nice after-school hangout for teens. I needed caffeine for a long evening so “The Grind” was a perfect fix with its delicious caramel and the crunch of chocolate covered espresso beans inside.

Across from the ice cream store was Evolve, a store with yummy-smelling chakra candles, lots of healing crystals, altar pieces, incense and beautiful instruments to center the soul. I could have spent hours in there but had a schedule to keep.

So I strolled in and out of a few more cute stores before being stopped by the Metra. In the future I could catch the UP-NW metro line in Mount Prospect for a mini trip to Crystal Lake.

On my way to the car I spotted this fun sign that applies to so much of life.

Five minutes later I was at the Lutheran School to unload my car in the gym.

Soon the place was transformed into a vibrant and colorful fair.

Fancy meeting Le Petit Marche here again!

It was fun getting back into the booth setup routine.

I had fun doing a quick perusal.

 Tupperware is more vibrant these days.

Now that I am sewing again, this coat by Ginspiration spoke to me.

A raffle drawing was held every 30 minutes.

I gained some new admirers and a few pieces walked away.

My angels, dragonflies and ladybugs were all petted.

A friend stopped by and snapped me in action.

My neighbors were fun to connect with.

Soon it was time to pack up again and head home. It was a good evening and I look forward to visiting here again.

On to Affair of the Arts!

Sunny Spa afternoon

On Wednesday the Network of Entrepreneurial Women held its first Meet and Munch event.


photo courtesy Networkhoncho.com

We met at Avalon Spa, located at the Deer Park Town Center. Chief inspirational officer Bonnie Conte greeted us and provided an overview of the Spa. Avalon Spa has been named one of the Top 200 Salons in Salon Today for the last 9 years.


A brief tour indicated why. There is a manicure room and a separate pedicure room. The salon has several talented hair stylists and a designated coloring area. As an Aveda Salon, the spa participated in the Guinness Book of Records challenge of providing the most charity haircuts in 24 hours.


The true experience, however is in the Spa area. Here, one can have a private pedicure experience for two in a cozy separate room. Pairs can also take advantage of a couples massage in a designated room. In addition to several other massage rooms, there is a designated Thai Massage space, where I wanted to lay down right away.


Bonnie pointed out that men are pampered just as much as women, and tend to opt for the private pedicure room. You could see her beaming with price as she introduced the staff, services and facilities to us. I love a spa that has a positive ambiance as well as aesthetic appeal, so I’m eager to book a spa day here (which would include a facial, massage, spa mani-pedis and optional shampoo and style).


After our tour we were treated to mini-hand and neck massages, which certainly made my wire-bending muscles happy.


Our group mingled with Aveda tea and small snacks. Business synergies were discovered, connections made, and spa appointments booked. We left happy to have met such wonderful, positive like-minded ladies.


It is always good to see my customers wearing my Maraviglia. Here is Wollgras, and one of my new creations, Three Pearls of Wisdom.


We eagerly anticipate the upcoming Wine Women and Wellness event at the Swap Shop Resale Boutique at 484 Main St., Glen Ellyn the evening of May 30 (6-8 pm).


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.

Zer0-degree 0uting

Last week we had zero degree weather—not counting the windchill factor. I tend to forget the ‘realfeel’ notification and regret that a lot this time of year. Best to be overdressed than underdressed. On Tuesday I heeded the notion and set out for my little downtown venture.

First I saw Backyard Monsters at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on its closing day. We’d walked past the robotic creatures in the dark before Pinning Class, when I thought I’d have lots of time to go see this. Time sure flies when you’re living the good life.

backyard monsters at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

I learned more about insects (such as wasps being able to make paper) observed some critters, drooled over the morpho display case, pushed buttons of  the fun mechanical demonstrations, and posed by the giant monarch.


There are so many more butterflies and moths to discover!

 thousands or butterfly species

Then I perused “A Meticulous Beauty” which is up through May 2013.

Meticulous Beauty by Jennifer Angus

Who knew a wall covered with pastel-colored insects could be so beautiful?

Meticulous Beauty Wall

Having some time to spare, I also spun through the Judy Istock butterfly haven, to warm up in rainforest temperatures.

orange wings

One the three Atlas Moths that had recently hatched was still there, and it perched waaaayyy up high.

Atlas moth

There are still more to come, though. 🙂

Atlas Moth hatchery

This lace-edged longwing was new to me.

lace longwing

The smiley-faced Zebra longwings always make me happy.


The Cairn’s Birdwing had a butterfly spot on its wing.

Cairns Birdwing butterfly at Istock Haven

When the museum closed it was time to head on over to the next adventure, a Skate & Sip outing with the Women’s Innovation Network. We warmed up on hot cocoa before heading out to the rink, which turned out to be closed after our sipping and chatting. So we’ll just have to do the skating another time.

Cloud Gate looked pretty, and it was a lovely ending to a joyful day.

Chicago's Bean

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.