The Barn Nursery & Landscape Center's landscape architects, horticulturists, and construction crews regard any stretch of dirt and grass as blank canvas. Upon that canvas, they paint vistas of domestic bliss, blending beautiful plants raised in their 10-acre nursery with elaborately designed custom patios, decks, and pools. They capably incorporate any elements into their design that a homeowner might desire, including built-in fire pits for old-fashioned pig roasts or new-fashioned ritualistic sacrifices of cell phones. They draw not only on their artistic eye to inform their designs, but also upon more than 50 years of experience turning backyard dreams into practical realities.
Tree Classics features a wide selection of artificial Christmas trees, with variations in width, height, weight, and type, as well as a Tree Selection Wizard to help pinpoint the perfect pseudo-tannenbaum. Pre-lit trees, such as the American sterling fir ($199.95 for 4.5') or the slim frosted alpine spruce ($69.95 for 4'), take the lighting legwork out of trimming, whereas revelers preferring to light their own trees can opt for a bare fir such as the ready-to-light deluxe evergreen ($189.95 for 6.5'). In addition to spruce-able spruces, Tree Classics boasts a large selection of wreaths, garlands, candleholders, and storage solutions to help deck the halls and leave every garlanded nook, holly-boughed cranny, and non-denominational crawlspace needle-free.
Inspired Art Studio's classes take BYOB to new heights. Not only do students furnish their own wine—in one class—they also paint their own wine glasses, creating a fully DIY drinking experience. Other classes focus more on painting than imbibing, such as teaching students to mimic Van Gogh's brushstrokes or decorate clay tiles with contemporary holiday scenes. Artists Diane Wlezien and Kris Blum lead the classes, and show off their own chops in the gallery, which displays their original paintings.
Gordmans restocks bureaus and residential nooks with an expansive inventory of name-brand merchandise discounted below department store prices, including team apparel and seasonal decorations. Flaunt support for a collegiate club by sliding arm branches through an Illinois color-block polo ($24.99). Fans can also don a pair of Chicago Bears lounge pants ($19.99), ideal for relaxing while watching the game or ripping off to expose Mike Ditka knee tattoos. Artistic wall art festoons vacant environs in colorful creations, such as canvases coated in tones of still-life wine ($24.99) and scenic vistas ($29.99+). Alternatively, a harvest of men's and women's fragrances allows shoppers to uncork new scents for seasonal parties, class reunions, and heated negotiations with the shopping-mall Santa Claus.
Since its grand opening in 2004, JC's Guitars & Music Lessons now boasts locations in Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, and St. Charles. Each location hosts a professional musician teaching staff with a comprehensive knowledge of string, wind, and percussion instruments. They also provide recording equipment in each studio so students can record their progress at no additional cost.
Inside House of Tobacco, an enormous humidor houses row upon row of Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars. Once shoppers have unsheathed their favorite one, they can complement it with accessories ranging from cutters and lighters to travel humidors and hookahs. At the Lakemoor location known as Kenny The King Lakemoor, an onsite cigar lounge—complete with television and poker table—awaits patrons who’d like to stick around and enjoy their purchases right away, practicing smoke rings or working on their smoke self-portrait.