181. “Top Secret” Recipe to be Featured at UnCork Barrington

181. “Top Secret” Recipe to be Featured at UnCork Barrington

 Are you ready for the most heavenly cheese puffs you’ve ever tasted? And the most perfect wine pairings to accentuate and elevate their incredible flavor? If so, you’re in luck, because Wild Asparagus Catering will be featuring their “top secret” Famous Cheese Puffs to complement the full menu of food and wine selections available during this year’s Uncork Barrington event from 6 to 10 p.m. on … Read more…

275. Growing Cents of Style Sale Gives Back

275. Growing Cents of Style Sale Gives Back

 When Barrington resident Jenny Welsh first dreamed up Growing Cents of Style, her seasonal children’s consignment sales, she had no idea how large they would become. Once held in a tiny boutique, the twice-yearly sales now occupy an expansive warehouse and draw devoted customers from all over Chicagoland. As the sale grows, Jenny is delighted to give back more to the Barrington community–and to causes close to her … Read more…

183. A Taste of UnCork Barrington’s 2014 Featured Wines

183. A Taste of UnCork Barrington’s 2014 Featured Wines

 With the 10th annual UnCork Barrington wine and food tasting event coming up on July 11th, we thought we’d share a closer look at this year’s featured wines and check the 10-day extended weather forecast for Barrington.  According to Weather.com, it looks like Mother Nature will be serving up sunny skies and a high of 80 degrees for Barrington’s most anticipated outdoor wine festival of … Read more…

154. CrossFit and ChiroFit Team Up for Student Athletes

154. CrossFit and ChiroFit Team Up for Student Athletes

Calling all middle school, high school and college athletes: It’s time to get fit! ChiroFit chiropractor Dr. Dave Crosson and CrossFit Barrington co-owners/coaches Brian Niven and Chris Bluse have joined forces to create a new summer Athletic Enhancement program to help you improve your game – whatever that game may be. Their goal is to provide a structured, safe, and properly coached program that addresses the whole athlete.

All three coaches are former college athletes: Dr. Dave Crosson played basketball, and CrossFit Coaches and Co-Owners Brian Niven and Chris Bluse were Division 1 and professional lacrosse players. Their athletic and professional experiences equip them with an exceptional knowledge base, all of which they applied in the creation of this program.

Teen Session at CrossFit - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Teen Session at CrossFit – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Dr. Crosson, who goes by “Dr. Dave” at ChiroFit, found CrossFit Barrington through a patient. He was immediately hooked on the diverse workouts, and has worked out there 5-6 days per week ever since. “In two years of working with CrossFit, I’ve personally seen more gains in strength and overall athletic ability than anywhere since I got out of college,” he says…

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145. Caledonian Furniture & Antiques Celebrates Move with Rare Sale This Weekend Only 5/31 & 6/1

145. Caledonian Furniture & Antiques Celebrates Move with Rare Sale This Weekend Only 5/31 & 6/1

 We’re lucky enough to have a treasure trove here in Barrington, and it’s almost time for a hunt! Barrie Heath, the third-generation owner of fine English antiques and reproductions dealer Caledonian, Inc., is busily preparing to relocate his business from his Cook Street storefront to a new, larger location on James Street. In doing so, he’s tripling his showroom space and gathering all of his … Read more…

144. The Gentleman Farmer Returns to Barrington Roots

144. The Gentleman Farmer Returns to Barrington Roots

After five years of reverse commuting from the city to their Barrington Hills farm, The Gentleman Farmer, organic farmers Dominic and Jessica Green are relocating their family to Barrington–and returning to Jessica’s roots. As they begin their fourth year growing for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, they’re also expanding their offerings and looking forward to selling their delicious, locally-grown produce at the Barrington Farmer’s Market.

Dominic and Jessica Green at the farm with their boys Henry and Oliver - Photograph courtesy of Christina Noel
Dominic and Jessica Green at the farm with their boys Henry (5) and Oliver (3) – Courtesy of Christina Noël Photography

Dominic and Jessica didn’t always plan on becoming farmers, nor did they envision a move to Barrington. It’s home for Jessica, a Barrington High School graduate, but Dominic hails from the South of England–and both are dyed-in-the-wool world travelers. They each had careers in the arts – Dominic as an actor, and Jessica as a dancer and Pilates instructor – but were looking for a lifestyle change. As new parents to their son Henry, born in 2008, they craved a more direct connection to food and community.

They also had access to Jessica’s family’s land in Barrington Hills–beautiful, fertile land just 35 miles from the city. As Dominic and Jessica sought direction for their next move, farming began to emerge as a strong contender.

It was during that time that the couple fell hard for the lifestyle and ethics of the River Cottagea self-sustaining farming community founded by British chef and journalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Jessica began researching the Stateline Farm Beginnings program through Angelic Organics, and the couple decided to apply.

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Dominic says that the program provided them with invaluable training, but nothing compares to the farming experience itself. The Gentleman Farmer was certainly born in the Stateline Beginnings program, but has grown only through seasons of work in the field. “I’m like a toddler learning to walk, gaining stability each year,” he says. In his first year, he farmed a third of an acre, and grew vegetables for fifteen families and friends (Dominic and Jessica affectionately refer to that as year zero).

As their farm grew, so did their CSA membership and their following at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, where loyal customers sought them out each week. Dominic increased his yields, and Jessica managed CSA subscriptions, maintained the website, and crafted newsletters each week.

Now in his fourth official year, Dominic is farming seven acres, two and a half of which will rest each year, planted with cover crops. The Gentleman Farmer is offering 100 twenty-week CSA shares this year (click here to sign up). “I’m planting 130 varieties of about 45 different vegetables,” Dominic says. This diversity is a key component of sustainable farming practices, and also ensures gorgeously varied boxes for CSA members.

A summer CSA share contains veggies ranging from staples to exotics - Photograph courtesy of Christina Noel Photography
A summer CSA share contains veggies ranging from staples to exotics – Photograph courtesy of Christina Noël Photography

Full Share CSA members receive a box each week; Half Share members receive a box every other week. The boxes – which members can either pick up at the farm or at Norton’s USA – each contain about 7-10 fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables. Members also receive a weekly CSA newsletter including notes from the farmer, recipes, nutritional information, photo and video updates on the crops and weekly harvest, and usually a fun farm anecdote.

Dominic and Jessica are also offering a new membership option this year called Worker Shares. In exchange for one shift of work at the farm each week of the season, Worker Share members will receive 1 full Vegetable CSA Share (worth $595). This is a formal commitment to work on the farm for one morning or one afternoon per week (4 – 5 hours). The work will include everything from seeding, planting, weeding, harvesting, washing and packing etc. It’ll be hard work, but the rewards will be delicious–and made that much sweeter by your labor.

Dominic and employee Scott Speer discuss the next wave of transplanting - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Dominic and Scott Speer discuss the next wave of transplanting – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Barrington resident Cory Flahaven tried two CSA programs before finding The Gentleman Farmer. “We really think that three times is the charm,” she says. “This is true Barrington local, and the communication Jessica provides is unsurpassed. Her recipes range from simple (which is sometimes perfect) to more sophisticated, and they’re always good.”

Cory and her husband have a four-year-old daughter, Kendall, who adores her weekly trips to the farm…

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125. Hands of Hope’s 14th Annual Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire

125. Hands of Hope’s 14th Annual Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire

Spring has finally arrived in earnest: the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire will soon hold its highly-anticipated 14th annual event on June 13 & 14. This feast for the senses is your key to three luxury Barrington estates, where you’ll delight in lush gardens, shop for sought-after furniture and accessories, and savor delectable food. And with every purchase you make, you’ll empower Hands of Hope to improve lives in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a true win-win, wouldn’t you say?

(CLICK HERE to purchase tickets now.)

So grab your mom, sisters, friends or all-of-the-above and make your way to the Faire!

A lovely scene from the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire - Photo courtesy of John Staab
A lovely scene from the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire – Photo courtesy of John Staab and The Brickman Group

In the Garden Faire’s thirteen-year history, nearly $4 million has been raised by attendees and donors. Hands of Hope, which is a 100% volunteer-run organization, has used every cent to improve the lives of the impoverished in Southern Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, and Nigeria. The organization focuses on ensuring access to education and health care, establishing wells, improving agricultural practices, and providing micro loans to aid in business growth. (You can read more about past and current Hands of Hope projects here.)

Sandy Bollenbacher, who is in her sixth year co-chairing the event (and her third year with co-chair Starr Shum), can’t wait for this year’s Faire: “We have gorgeous accessories, and we’re focusing on repurposing and reusing beautiful pieces of furniture.” Look for these items in the Avant Garden, the upscale flea market where you’re likely to find your new favorite furniture and accessories. Sandy highly recommends the Early Buy ticket for serious shoppers: “You pay a bit more, but you get first crack at the shopping. It’s so worth it – don’t forget your checkbook!”

The Garden Faire’s French Market will showcase the wares of 20 outside vendors, and the Farmhouse will be staged by Junk Warehouse of Lake Barrington, local experts at breathing new life into well-loved pieces. New to the Faire this year is the Boutique. Located in its own quaint cottage on the main Faire grounds, the Boutique will feature jewelry, purses, scarves, dolls and other fashion and home accessory items.

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The Faire also features many Garden Party Vignettes, which are chock full of gorgeous decor and inspiration. And you can do more than just admire the fabulous designs: you can also chat with the professional Vignette designers and gather great entertaining tips.

Starr Shum, co-chair of this year’s Garden Faire, can’t wait to see the designers’ creativity in action. She says that Celeste Jackson will design a romantic “Herb-Inspired Bridal Shower for Juliette”;  Toms-Price will create a French-themed “Salle de Soliel”; Michelle D’Arcy of Horticultural Associates will stage a “Midsummer’s Dream” in the garden; and Lori Lennon will transform the main garden’s signature gazebo.

Event planner Christina Currie of Christina Currie Events has created an Enchanted Garden Wedding Vignette for the Greenhouse, and it sounds downright dreamy. “It will be filled with white orchids and crystal chandeliers–it’ll be stunning,” Christina says. “It’s an amazing event – bring your mothers, daughters, cousins, and girlfriends. Make a day (or two) of it!”

[Thanks to the Faire’s generous ticket policy, you can pay once (just $45 through June 8th, $55 June 9th and after) and attend both days of this two-day event. Feel free to return to just one garden, or revisit them all – the continuously operating shuttles let you design your own itinerary.]

Christina Currie Events will create a wedding-themed Garden Party Vignette for this year's event - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Christina Currie Events will create a wedding-themed Garden Party Vignette for this year’s event – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

In addition to these wonderful shopping opportunities, Faire attendees can attend a variety of workshops offered throughout the event. (And what a fabulous deal: any one of these workshops would normally cost more than the price of admission to the fair.) Here are this year’s featured presenters:

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354. Little Shop of Papers has Gifts Galore

354. Little Shop of Papers has Gifts Galore

If you’re still in the market for gifts this holiday season, we have a great new local resource for you. Okay, maybe not new, but most definitely reimagined, refreshed, and restocked. Little Shop of Papers, located in the Foundry of Barrington, has long been a destination for custom cards and invitations. Did you know, though, that they’ve recently expanded their giftware to include luxe lines like Juliska and Michael Aram? And that they even have great gifts for the men in your life? Get ready to be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of offerings in store.

Little Shop of Papers
Little Shop of Papers

When Jean Stahr first opened Little Shop of Papers in 1988, paper cards and invitations were all the rage. Jean had found a great niche, and earned a loyal following from customers in the Barrington area and beyond. They still have a very strong customer base, but Amy Hawking, Jean’s daughter and the store’s co-owner, says it’s time to “open the next chapter.” Amy came up with a plan for helping the business evolve, while still “bringing manners back.”

Mother and daughter team Amy Hawking and  Jean Stahr - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Mother and daughter team Amy Hawking and Jean Stahr – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

The shift to digital photo cards and invitations certainly changed Little Shop of Paper’s business, but not its raison d’être: Jean and Amy are still on a mission to maintain civility in a culture that often prefers efficiency. And since gift giving is such a gracious art, they’re determined to offer a selection of gifts that you’ll be proud to give.

Amy and Jean are thrilled to introduce their new high-end, collectible lines. Juliska, which is headquartered in Connecticut, and Michael Aram, based in New Delhi, India, both offer artfully designed dinnerware and home decor items. The store is currently featuring Juliska’s Winter Frolic line, which features nostalgic scenes of winter fun against the backdrop of an English country estate. The pieces are timeless, and each is packaged in a keepsake box – no wrapping required!

Juliska's Winter Frolic line of tableware is beautiful and collectible - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Juliska’s Winter Frolic line of tableware is beautiful and collectible – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Each piece in Michael Aram’s line is artisan-made, and showcases natural forms. You won’t find two alike, and that’s the beauty of his creations: each are hand-crafted in metal to reflect the beauty of both the materials and the uniqueness of the subject. From candles topped with a single perfect magnolia, to cheeseboards featuring black orchids, each gift is an enduring appreciation of nature – and of the lucky person who receives it.

Michael Aram's artful items are unique and recognizable - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Michael Aram’s artful items are unique and immediately recognizable – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

If you have a few more holiday parties on your calendar, Little Shop of Papers is the perfect place to purchase hostess gifts. The shelves are still stocked with fun items–from candles and holiday-themed matches, to floral trays and pillows–at very reasonable price points.

“We’ve had Michel Design Works for many years, and it’s done very well for us,” Amy says. “Plus the scents are so much fun! Even my husband, who is not exactly discerning when it comes to scents, said, ‘That is the prettiest candle!'” The candles (pictured below, on the center shelf) come in festive scents like Sleigh Ride, and White Christmas, and sell for $25. “Michel also makes these fun foam soaps, like this one, Nutcracker Sweet, which go flying out of here.”

And if you’re setting a holiday table, why not make it easy with paper placemats? These fun Roseanne Beck designs (pictured below, on the bottom shelf at left) come in packages of 20, for just $12.

Holiday charm at Little Shop of Papers - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Hostess gifts await at Little Shop of Papers – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Amy has some great ideas for gifts to put under the tree as well. “We also have these fun Chicago-themed items by Dish,” Amy says. One of Amy’s customers was delighted to find the collection so close to home. She purchased several pieces for her grown children, not because they live in Chicago, but because they had recently run the Chicago marathon. A large platter is $54, and will serve as a reminder of their accomplishment for years to come.

And look at the beautiful glass ornaments with a winter snowfall scene, all tied up with a plaid bow. Wouldn’t they be lovely as gift toppers?

Chicago-themed tableware by Dish - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Chicago-themed tableware by Dish – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

For trimming the tree, Little Shop of Papers has an amazing collection of ornaments from designer Eliot Raffit. Raffit, who is also a Cornell-trained architect, designs the vintage-inspired shapes and covers them in glass glitter. The glitter is made from pure silver in a seven-step process, so the ornaments reflect light like a diamond….

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345. Learning Trek Academy is Growing!

345. Learning Trek Academy is Growing!

 Denise Tenyer started Learning Trek Academy with one goal in mind: to make literacy learning fun for young children. She’s been doing just that for over twelve years now, and has inspired countless preschoolers and kindergartners on their learning journeys. As they travel the road from Alphabet Adventurers to Reading Rangers, her students become readers, building all-important confidence along the way. After helping so many … Read more…

331. Five Reasons to Beat the Holiday Heft with CrossFit Barrington

331. Five Reasons to Beat the Holiday Heft with CrossFit Barrington

 Each holiday season, many of us start off with the best of intentions: just one appetizer, one drink, or one sweet at any given event. But it’s all so delicious, and the company’s so delightful…and pretty soon we’ve lost our resolve for good. But what if we strengthened our resolve instead of losing it? This year can be different, according to Brian Niven of CrossFit … Read more…

295. Holiday Inspiration Awaits at TT Patton

295. Holiday Inspiration Awaits at TT Patton

 If you stroll by TT Patton’s display window on Station Street, you’ll see holiday cards adorning the secretary. Some are engraved, others letterpress, but all are works of art as unique as a custom-printed snowflake. Owner Theresa Patton isn’t trying to alarm you—she knows it’s mid-November—but now is the time to start thinking about the season just around the corner. After all, she knows better than … Read more…

264. Onion Pub & Brewery Business is Expanding, Hopping, (and Squirming)

264. Onion Pub & Brewery Business is Expanding, Hopping, (and Squirming)

 The Onion Pub & Brewery is breaking ground this week on a 5,000 square foot addition to expand their brewing operations. They’ll add additional warehouse and cold storage to the existing brewery, along with a bottling line to package their limited release beers and an IPA.  This expansion coincides with the Onion’s Pub & Brewery’s busiest time of the year. They’ve been working overtime to … Read more…

227. Barrington Wardrobe Consultants Unveil W by Worth’s Winter Line

227. Barrington Wardrobe Consultants Unveil W by Worth’s Winter Line

 If you want to rev up your fall and winter wardrobe but don’t have hours to spend at the department store or searching websites, two Barrington women are providing a simple shopping solution that will save you time as you update your style for each season. Four times a year, Mary Dale and Sarah Cuthberson receive the latest collection created by W by Worth, a … Read more…

204. ‘Skin Wellness by Renee’ Moves to Barrington & Offers September Discount

204. ‘Skin Wellness by Renee’ Moves to Barrington & Offers September Discount

 If you live in or around the Village of Barrington, it just got a whole lot easier to put your best face forward on a regular basis.  We’ve heard people raving about the work of esthetician, Renee Diak-Witek.  She just moved her business, Skin Wellness by Renee, from Lake Zurich to 118 S. Wool Street in Barrington. Her facial salon is on the top floor … Read more…