Crash Candles lights up lives with candles made with long-lasting natural soy wax and pure cotton wicks, each of which arrives with a durable glass candleholder and matching scent designed by emerging artists. Vibrant geometric patterns by Angela Adams adorn candles such as Sea Fantasy ($24), surrounded by blue-hued bubbles and wave-like swirls and imbued with the calming scent of sea grass to invoke a beachside memory or night spent sleeping in a patch of sea grass. A Scandinavian flair infuses candles by Lotta Jansdotter, who creates such whimsical designs as the fruit-fragranced Kvitt candle ($24), and creations by the Binth group, such as the black-and-white fig-scented Wanted ($24) candle, add a down-to-earth edge to homes. Candle kindlers can also opt for wax in a classic metal tin, topped with a botanically bedecked lid by Susan MacConnell, or flambeaus with invigorating grapefruit and persimmon ($14) or soothing lilac and lavender ($14) fragrances. Candle forgers hand-pour each candle in Illinois, and every style is available sans fragrance by request for those with sensitive noses or overly sensitive lavender gardens.
Day in and day out, Metra’s northwest train pulls into the Des Plaines stop, just opposite of Pop O Licious Popcorn. A brick building on the corner, the shop brandishes a bright blue and yellow sign with promises of fresh-made, gourmet popcorn. The family of popcorn pioneers creates more than 60 varieties of classic and flavored kernels each and every day, from staples such as butter, kettle corn, and caramel corn to innovative flavors including creamy dill, hot cinnamon, and even fruity tutty. For casual snacking, the shop owners can scoop the fresh-popped kernels into bags that come in four sizes, while gift-givers and musicians in need of a new drum can order their snack in a decorative tub. Beyond popcorn, Pop O Licious purveys Maurice Lenell cookies and handmade milk chocolates.
Regardless of which of the hundreds of Target Portrait Studio locations you meander into, you can always count on a similar experience. Tucked into Target retail locations throughout the nation, each studio boasts a staff of professional photographers, premium lighting equipment, and advanced digital cameras. The seasoned crew takes pains to customize photo sessions to suit each customer's vision, setting up desired backgrounds and props before guiding families and high-school seniors through a mélange of poses. Afterward, customers will work with a professional to personalize their portraits with different special effects and styles, such as black and white or sepia tone. They then pick up their physical portraits at the studio in 7–10 days. If they don't feel like holding their breath that long to see the final products, they can access the images in an online gallery within 24 hours of the session, at which point they can order extra prints for gifts, collages, and greeting cards.
There is no store quite like Brie's. We are a mother-daughter team and offer a unique combination of handcrafted jewelry and gift items by local artists and vintage home decor and small furniture pieces. We conduct estate sales and accept quality jewelry and household consignments so our inventory is constantly changing.
Despite its rustic name, Liquor Barn purveys a wide array of sophisticated libations. Its shelves span continents with their stock—wines hail from Europe, South America, and Australia, and more than 2,000 domestic and imported beers appease hops aficionados. As for spirits, the store carries a mix of popular brands—Bacardi and Smirnoff among them—and exclusive collectibles, such as the cask-matured Auchentoshan 1975 limited-release bourbon, 1 of only 500 bottles ever produced. These coveted pieces display craftsmanship both inside and outside their containers. Tequila bottles, for example, might resemble painted skulls or ceramic cacti, instead of traditional flasks.
The staff facilitates purchases with onsite expertise. Each of the two Liquor Barn locations boasts specialists on certain types of drinks, from cognacs to craft beers. During social events, they showcase their know-how by leading pairing dinners, weekly free tastings, and cooking demonstrations along with special guests. Employees needn't be in the store to furnish parties, either: they can ferry drinks to nearby locales in a fleet of delivery trucks powered by popping champagne corks.