WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel), invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.
Since 1964, Scandinavian Ski and Snowboard Shop has been outfitting its Chicagoland clientele for wintertime adventures. In 2011, readers of the Daily Herald singled out the shop as being among the best in the area. Inside its warm, wood- and brick-walled space, customers can peruse boots, bindings, snowboards, and skis, as well as cold-weather attire from brands including Burton, Patagonia, Spyder, Arc’teryx, and more. Additional accessories such as goggles, gloves, stocking caps, and helmets keep outdoor explorers bundled up more securely than King Tut before lying down for a fateful afternoon nap.
Hyundai dealerships chauffeur vehicles through an array of protective maintenance services. Speed demons and carpoolers alike can lengthen the life of their engines with an oil change, replacing up to five quarts of oil to lubricate pistons and joints. Technicians install a new oil filter before rotating tires for even wear and more efficient gas mileage. A quick inspection of brake pads and shoes, wheel cylinders, and your car's secret diary ensures the vehicle's overall road readiness. Autos trailed by dust bunnies and lovesick fast-food wrappers get the royal treatment with a machine wash, eviscerating built-up gunk for a sun-sweetening shine. A quick interior vacuum reveals long-lost carpet and upholstery, and a multipoint inspection checks vehicles for recalled or defective parts.
Artistic inspiration can strike at any moment, but the formally trained painters at Tipsy Paint believe that inspiration can be encouraged. They host social painting classes for students of all skill levels, helping them re-create an original piece of artwork one stroke at a time.
With assistance from a BYOB beverage, attendees can unleash their inner artist or simply enjoy the low-key atmosphere while picking up a few useful painting tips. The instructors also offer opportunities for visitors seeking more direct feedback, including supervised open-studio times and formal, technique-focused classes that hone painting fundamentals and give insight into topics such as color theory.
Chalet stocks its 4.8-acre retail center with thousands of chlorophyll critters, including botanical buddies plucked from Chalet's own nursery in Salem, Wisconsin. When they're not giving plants rubdowns on the undersides of their leaves, more than 100 earthy retail employees (up to 350 seasonally) can help you pick out an African violet ($4) or a host of sprouting vegetables (starting at $3). Nab cache pots for $3 or a gurgling fountain for $40. Birdhouses made from recycled, century-old barns ($24) attract brightly fluttering worm-eaters, and a bag of soil laced with nutrients ($4) satisfies even the pickiest sprout. You can even get an outdoor chair ($99), a bag of dog food (starting at $14), and floral body lotions (starting at $9.75).
Nello's Hair Salon originated after Sebastian Nello arrived in the ‘60s from Italy, where he worked at his father's barbershop. Now, helmed by his daughters Rosalba and Laura, the salon features certified stylists who work with their customers to create new hairstyles with cuts, color treatments, and straightening treatments.