December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very 
Happy New Year!  
...To all of our lovely, loyal customers and friends, our most sincere thanks for a wonderful year.  We are looking forward to a fabulous 2011, and already have lots of clever plans in mind!  

December 24, 2010

Santa's Newest Helper...

Meet Alison Perry McMillan--the cutest little Santa ever!  Congratulations to my brother John and his wife Kate on the best gift one could ever be blessed with............

December 21, 2010

Kathy's Christmas

We finish off this years Clever Christmas Quiz with Kathy, and her Danish holiday traditions...
Testing the new sled with Dad...
Tree? Real.
Lights: Clear or Colored?  Depends on the year, we've done both.  Outside we always do two giant wreaths with bows, and garlands around the door.
Favorite song?  What Sweeter Music by The Cambridge Singers. 
Christmas Dinner?  My mother always said grace in Danish.  Growing up we had a wonderful, traditional  feast that reflected the red and white colors of the Danish flag: Roasted duck or goose stuffed with apples and prunes, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, beets and cranberry jam.  Dessert was a traditional almond rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla and served with a hot cherry sauce.  A single, whole almond was slipped in the pudding, and a prize was give to who ever found it in their dessert.
Special current family tradition?  Presents DO NOT go under the tree until Christmas Eve, and to this day the kids have to wait on the stairs Christmas morning before they are let down to see if Santa came...
Best gift ever?  My baby-blue VW Beetle Bug Convertible a few years ago. It arrived with a massive green bow, and I spent the entire day in the car, in the garage, sitting in it.  Top up. Top down.  {The car top, that is}
Have you been good this year? Sadly, no.  
Treats for Santa?  Our Santa always gets a shot of Jack Daniels and a cold beer.  He comes back year after year......
Kathy & her brother Fred.
Happy New Year! 

December 17, 2010

Even MORE Christmas Quiz...

And now, for the fourth installment of the Clever Girl Christmas Quiz...
Michelle shares her Christmas with friends, family, at least two Pug dogs, and, apparently, you'll need some PJ's to get in on Christmas Eve...
Michelle, age 8
Tree: Real or Artificial? Artificial.
Lights? Clear.
How do you decorate your tree? I like it very traditional. Ornaments and an angel on top--all the family heirlooms.  We've never done it trendy or all in silver balls or anything like that...
Stockings? Oh, yes!  Family stockings in the living room, and one for each dog in the family room.
Best childhood present? The Betsy-Wetsy doll.  Loved it! She arrived on Christmas morning from Santa, and was presented in what had been my own childhood bassinet. Santa was pretty clever...
Best Christmas Movie?  For a classic, Christmas in Connecticut.  My more modern favorite is Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Favorite Christmas song?  O, Holy Night.  My Mother sang it in Church every Christmas.
Do you send Christmas Cards? Yes, to those far away that we don't see often.  But no "Holiday Newsletter".
Best family tradition? Following Mass on Christmas Eve, we have a scavenger hunt.  A new pair of PJ's for each family member are hidden somewhere in the house, yard or neighborhood.  We get 4 to 5 "clues" (that must  rhyme) and have to find them and put them on--only then can the evening proceed!  Homemade lasagna and crab legs are served.  (I get together with the same group of friends every year to make the lasagna.) We have lots of Champagne, and go to bed so Santa can come.
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?  Hot Chocolate with Kahlua and Whipped Cream.  Yum!
Clever Girl favorite this year?  I love the Go Dotty Go scarves.  They're all hand made, colorful, and one-of-a-kind.
Treats for Santa? Milk, cookies and always carrots for the Reindeer--you can't ever forget them!

Michelle's children in the "Early PJ Years"
Meredith, Dan and John

December 9, 2010

Merry Christmas, Ya'll

Lynn, our very own Miss Texas, shares her Christmas memories as we continue the Clever Girl Christmas Quiz...
Christmas morning, Lynn, age 5.

Tree: Real or artificial? Real
Lights: Colored or Clear?  Clear.
Best gift ever?  My blue bike.  I was so surprised, amazed and thrilled to receive it.  Apparently, I even tried to sleep on it--that's how much I loved it.  It was bright blue, had training wheels, and was the best thing ever!!!
Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?  I've never turned down either...
Best Christmas memories?  As a child I really looked forward to driving downtown in Austin to see all the Christmas decorations, looking at the wonderfully decorated windows with animated figures, and, of course, getting dressed up to go visit Santa.
Favorite Christmas dessert?  I loved what we called Sandtarts, made with fresh pecans from the trees that my father planted in our yard the first year we lived in our house, and the wonderful vanilla that was manufactured in the Adams Extract factory outside of Austin, Texas.
Favorite song?  The jazzy sounds of the Vince Guaraldi Trio playing the tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas. No techno Christmas for me, I'm stuck in the 1960's. 
Best Christmas movie? My whole family truly enjoys, A Christmas Story, about  Ralphie dreaming about his Red Rider BB gun, going to visit the department store Santa, and wishing for all the toys in the department store windows.
Favorite Clever Girl item to recommend this year?  Baggallini  totes and bags are something I'm a big fan of.  I'm not real good at traveling light, and they hold everything I need--no easy feat!
Have you been a good girl this year? As far as Santa knows, I've been an angel...
Snow: Love it or hate it?  Not sure yet...  My Christmases were never white, so it was quite a shock when my first "White Christmas" happened to be during the winter of 1978 in Chicago--the beginning of the legendary worst winter for many years!  It was a Texas sized, "Merry Christmas ya'll, and Welcome to Chicago!"
Strike a pose...
Modeling her new Christmas watch.

December 6, 2010

Hollywood Holiday Shopping Announcement

As a service to our customers, Clever Girl  would like to inform you that THIS Thursday, December 9th, you might, just might, have to stand in line at the counter behind Matt Damon or Gwyneth Paltrow.  
In case you've missed it these past weeks, Hollywood is in Western Springs, filming Contagion.  This Thursday, they will be filming on Burlington Avenue all day--some of it right in front of the store! The cast includes: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Marion Cotillard.  Not bad, right?  You've heard of one or two of them--yes?  One of those little golden statues has even found its way to several of them...
We apologize in advance if Ms. Winslet snaps up the last pair of Magic Mittens, or Lawrence Fishburne buys up all of the Cheese Ball kits. (They are delicious!)  Jude Law might pick up a sparkly baubble or two, and Marion Cotillard will surely need some warm, snuggly sweaters while in Chicago.  And Gwyneth?  Well, we suspect she'll go for the Christmas ornaments and scented candles to jazz up her hotel room. As for Matt Damon--he's the one we know will actually be working, so we'll let him shop later...
Matt Damon on location for Contagion 

So please don't say we didn't warn you, and remember a digital camera and a pair of good binoculars are a stalkers super-fans best friend.
PS Western Springs Patch is a great way to get all the movie coverage and local news....{click here} and check it out.

December 3, 2010

Christmas Quiz Part II

Continuing in our series of the Clever Girl Christmas Quiz, this time, it's our resident fashionista Linda's turn...
Linda, on right, applying tinsel...

Tree: Real or Artificial?  Real.
Lights: Colored or Clear? Colored--probably because growing up Grandma had bubble lights, and I thought those were so fun!
What's on top of the tree? An angel my parents brought back from Italy, and underneath we have a Manger.
Favorite Christmas song? Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt.
Best gift you ever got?  The Christmas when I was 7 my sister and I each got a Patti-Playpal doll.  It was almost life size, and we were overwhelmed with them.  One year we came downstairs to find my Dad had a brand new, bright red Plymouth delivered (for himself).  It had the huge bow on it and everything.  So that was pretty dramatic too....
How did you learn the truth about Santa?  What truth?
Christmas dinner: Home or away?  Growing up, we went to my Grandmother's house in Queens, NY.  My Mom had 11 brothers and sisters, so it was always a packed house.  The adults ate in the dining room, but the kids all squished in the kitchen.  Now it's family at home.
Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?  Oh, definitely Hot Chocolate.  With rum.  And Cinnamon on top.  And rum.
Favorite holiday activity?  In a word: Shopping!
Any special tradition with your kids?  When they were little, I used to hide these funny elf-gnomes all around the house.  Ostensibly they were there to "report back" to Santa on how well everyone was behaving.  A new one would appear every day leading up to Christmas.  My kids were half happy, half scared to have them around...
Clever Girl favorite this year?  Jewelry, jewelry, jewelry.  I'm in love with the Bohm collection.
Your best movie to recommend?  Anything with Fred and Ginger.  Top Hat is one I have always loved...

November 28, 2010

The Clever Christmas Quiz

As we finish off the last of the turkey leftovers, our thoughts now happily turn toward Christmas.  This season I thought it would be nice to share our Clever Girl Christmas Quiz with you--some of our favorite memories, recipes and traditions...
First up is Donna.
Donna & Santa.  Age 3
Tree: Real or Artificial?  Real!
Lights: Colored or Clear? Clear.  Definitely clear.
Favorite Christmas Song? Anything "Classic Christmas". Standards from the 1950-60's like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dorris Day are my favorites... Hold the modern remakes please--Sorry, no Miriah Carey.
Favorite Christmas Movie? The Bishop's Wife.  Who wouldn't want Cary Grant as their Guardian Angel?  The scene where he decorates the tree is pure magic.  The whole film is just perfect--It wouldn't be Christmas without it!
The best gift you ever got?  It was the Christmas when I was 6 years old.  I received a momma dog and puppy with a remote control that made them sit, beg and roll over.  I  loved them, and took them absolutely everywhere with me!
Worst Gift?  The only gift I've ever returned was a pair of purple, crushed velvet, bell-bottom hip hugger pants. Exchanged them for pink hot pants.  In retrospect, kind of a no-win situation...
Favorite holiday food?  Smoked Salmon from Seattle.  Delicious!
Can you ice skate? Yes, absolutely!  I took lessons for 10+ years.  Jump, spins I can (could?) do it all!  I lived at the rink when I was growing up...every morning at 6am I was there.
Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate, please.
Favorite Clever Girl Gift to give?  Well, something from the Donna Sauers Jewelry Collection, of course!  But I'm also slightly addicted to our scarves this year, and they make wonderful gifts.
Treats for Santa?  We always left him homemade Peanut Butter Cookies, but no milk, because we figured he was in a hurry...
Anything for your dog Reggie under the tree?  Don't tell him, but he'll be getting gourmet treats.  He's a rescue dog, so every day is like Christmas for him.  Last year he got a Santa hat...

Reggie waiting for Santa

November 23, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey...

Thanksgiving plans have been a hot topic this week here at Clever Girl.  Plans large and small have been made--34 guests for dinner is the biggest gathering I've heard of so far, and several customers have mentioned that they will be dining out this year.
I've only had one Thanksgiving Dinner at a restaurant, many years ago: Ma's Coffee Pot in South Haven, Michigan.  Early that Fall, my parent's contractor had give full assurances that their new cottage was right on schedule.  Everything would be buttoned up, and the kitchen, while not fully finished, would certainly be usable.  HA! Famous last words.  {What he neglected to mention was that Deer Hunting season was also on the schedule ahead of the kitchen} So no kitchen, thus no Thanksgiving dinner, and off to Ma's Coffee Pot we went...
I wondered if they were still even open, so I grabbed the phone book this morning, and sure enough, there they are, listed as "casual dining".  Let's be honest, people.  It's a truck stop.  Casual dining is a rather generous description if you ask me. Actually, it really wasn't that bad, and we've joked about it ever since.  Our one and only Thanksgiving out...

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love................

November 18, 2010

$ Free Money is Quite Clever Indeed $

Well here's some News You Can Use!  American Express (which Clever Girl conveniently accepts) is going to pay you to shop.  Yes, you read that right, they are going to give you $25.00 in statement credit for shopping.  Quite the nice perk, wouldn't you agree?
Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2010--but you need to register ASAP. {click here}  In honor of small stores that give our neighborhoods character and boost our local economies, AmEx is encouraging you to "shop local", and we certainly agree with that!  So sign up and get ready to CHARGE!

November 16, 2010

Congratulations to Vie!

Western Springs has a "STAR"!

Congratulations to Vie!
Congratulations to our own hometown Vie on winning their first Michelin star.  The best meals of my life (with all apologies to Mother) have been enjoyed in this outstanding restaurant.  Vie's consistency, attention to detail and simply amazing, flavorful, beautiful food is superb!  How very lucky Western Springs is to have a talent such as Paul Virant and his  staff in our own back yard.  If you've never been, a truly memorable meal is in your future...  See you there soon!

November 8, 2010

The Elves have Been Here...

Clever Girl's little elves were super busy this weekend putting out all of our Christmas Best.  We're stocked up on all sorts of good goodies to make the season Merry & Bright.  Delicious scented candles to set the mood, adorable ornaments in abundance, lots of fabulous gifts for the hostess as well as presents for all the clever ones on your list.  You have made your list, haven't you?
Scarves, sweaters, jewelry, and books galore are all just waiting to be wrapped up and tucked under the tree.  {We'll be oh-so happy to tie up all your parcels in pink ribbons and add our signature Christmas jingle bell.} For the biggest selection Santa shops early--so don't miss a thing, be sure and stop in soon.  Only 46 days to go!!!  Bring your list...

November 1, 2010

Advance Notice...

All the details to follow...  
Trust us.  It's going to be terrific!

October 28, 2010

October 31st...

Happy Halloween
Clever Girls!

A great big owl
In a great big tree

On a night so dark
You could hardly see

He was watching the lights
In the deep ravine

Where the witches danced
On Halloween.  

Hope everyone has a spooktacular weekend
full of clever tricks and tasty treats...

October 23, 2010

Meet the Doodle!

Meet the Doodle!  This adorable Doodle Dog bag is made from Crypton super fabric that is machine washable, stain and odor resistant.  It's a roomy 24" x 20" size that makes it perfect as a travel tote, or reusable grocery bag.  We love the super-cute design, and the six yummy colors that it comes in....

Once you get those groceries home, it's time to get cookin' in the Doodle Apron!  Comfortable, machine washable and easy to spot clean, you can cook with confidence knowing nothing will get through the fabric  onto your clothing.  Oh, and did we mention it's all made in the USA?  

October 19, 2010

Do NOT Panic!

You know we change the clocks and "Fall Back" soon...November 7th to be exact--but are you aware that there are fewer than 10 shopping weekends left until Christmas?  There are still leaves to be raked, storm windows to install, and pumpkins to be carved, but the Holidays are just around the corner. Now, not to panic, Clever Girls, but it IS time to get the lists made, and begin a bit of shopping.  The leaves are falling fast, and surely the snow can't be too far behind, so consider this a gentle reminder of what is to come, and  keep those friends and loved ones in mind when something wonderful presents itself.

October 10, 2010

Color Color Color

I do not believe in horoscopes or that broken mirrors bring bad luck.  The stars are beautiful, but I'd never base a decision based on their alignment.  I live with two adorable black cats {so far, so good}, and never broke my Mother's back stepping on a crack.  So, simply as an amusement, I'm passing on Colorstrology.
I do believe that certain colors can make us feel better or worse {hospital green, anyone?}  I love my sunny yellow kitchen, and the Tiffany blue in my guest room is forever soothing.  I could never be happy in a black room, and all white is way too boring for see what color you lean toward just for fun....

October 5, 2010

Just Too Clever!

I came across this cake, and had to share.  What looks so plain and simple on the outside, is really rather wonderful on the inside.  They say, "Don't judge a book by it's cover"--nor, apparently, a cake! Reports are it tastes as good as it looks....                             
{recipe at the store if you want it.}

Make Your Layers...
Stack & Frost...

Slice & Serve...


September 15, 2010

Jane Austin~Who Are You?

I must say, it's suprising how often Jane Austin's characters pop up in conversation here at Clever Girl.  {Ms. A. was a very clever girl.} So when I came across this fun little quiz, I thought I should share.  ...Now don't over-think this, but take a moment to see what character you are most like.

Click on the link below to find out...but seriously, don't we all really want to be Miss Elizabeth Bennet?

September 2, 2010

Going Hunting...

Off to find vintage goodies today in Maine.  Hurricane EARL is going to blow up here over the weekend {90 MPH winds-Yikes!} so I'm off to poke around today and see what's got Clever Girl written all over it.  I'll let you know how I do.....and promise to bring home some wonderful stuff.  UPDATE: Pictures from our "hunting" trip are now up on Facebook.  {Click Here}

August 30, 2010

Ring out the News...

Here's another something I just know you're going to thank us for.  All of the magazines are touting big, beautiful rings for fall, but the price tags that go along with them could break a girl's heart.  Vogue shows several stunners for fall --however, starting at $7200.00 seems just a bit dear.  Clever Girl to the rescue... The ring is the thing this season, and these are big and bold in looks, but won't break the bank.
Some have sparkle, others channel a vintage vibe.  We've got colors, brights, neutrals and some that stop just short of over-the-top.  

Here's the other brilliant thing...these babies are adjustable, so they are comfortable on any size finger.  Plus--you can pick one up for a friend--no ring size needed...

No broken hearts here Clever Girls, we're ready for fall--and at these prices, and in these great styles, there's no reason you can't buy one for every finger!  

August 18, 2010

Busy Brains...

For those who have been living under a rock lately (or hermetically sealed inside all summer) let me update you.  School is about to begin.  Pencils, protractors and new gym shoes are being snapped up everywhere out there.  Bus routes are being reviewed, and lunchroom buddies are being sought.  

I was a crayon girl, myself.  Mom would take me for supplies every year, and make a half-hearted case for re-using last years crayons.  I lobbied hard against this idea, and got a new box every September.  The joy of all those colors!!!  Cracking open that box and inhaling the distinctive fragrance of 64 Crayola Crayons was, to me, like a sommelier pulling the cork on a fine bottle of wine. {Surprisingly, now, I'm just as excited by the wine...} 

There is something about this time of year that inspires scholarly  pursuits--at least a little bit. To that end, perhaps you'll want to challenge yourself ever-so-slightly with our newest little books.  There are over half a dozen titles in our Pocket Posh series, and one is sure to entice you.  Crosswords, Sudoku, Brain Teasers, etc. etc. They have a bit of bite--you will have to think some of them through--but isn't that what makes solving puzzles so rewarding?  Best of all, you can write your answers in crayon if you want........just pick a color........

August 13, 2010

Cool it!

Allow me to offer brief praise to the man above.  This has been a Mid-West summer like few others.  Heat, humidity, torrential  downpours, and bugs like you can't believe have plagued us all season.  The wall of hot air that snaps out at us every time we set foot outside is like a blast furnace working on overdrive.  Thus, my unwavering love is declared for one Mr. Willis Haviland Carrier--inventor of Air Conditioning.  Bless you Mr. Carrier.  Bless you and that wonderful whirring machine you created that dares to battle the hot, licking flames of scorching summer heat.
On my travels back and forth to the east coast, I stop off in Syracuse, NY at none other than "Carrier Circle"  the headquarters for the company he founded (it's exit 35, in case you want to visit).  I shall offer prayers of thanks forever more as I zip past it on my way to a lovely, air conditioned room. Keep cool, Clever Girls...

August 6, 2010

Something So Charming

Often I'm asked, "What's your favorite thing in the store?"  And while that answer is subject to change frequently (daily, sometimes) the answer for awhile now has been the Clever Girl Charm Bar.  It's endlessly interesting to see what people are picking and choosing and putting together.  Basically all you have to do is chose a base chain--from simple to really fancy, and then find the charms that speak to you.  
The subjects and illustrations available promise something for everyone: travel, shopping, motherhood, friendship, sisters, pets, baby and children just to name a few.  Some are sweet and sentimental, while others have a delicious sense of snark.  We also have numerous charms with initials, so you can really make it personal, and our new sparkle chains allow for a dressier look as well.  Our customers love hanging out at "The Bar" and putting it all together.

The other great thing is that we get new designs all the time--just when you think you've seen it all, another fresh batch arrives!  So whether you want a single initial for yourself, or cluster up several for a gift, this is one bar that's always open...

August 3, 2010

One of Those Days...

Don't sweat it, Clever Girls.  We've got the air ON, and lots of great finds to fill you in for the last dog days of summer.  Summer Sale items are 50% off, and Fall preview items have arrived.  (The new Hanna pants are flying out the door already...)  Stop in to cool off and peek at all the new goodies.  

July 19, 2010

Put on Your Pearls, Girls!

 As you know, we are always on a quest to bring you the most clever of everything, and our latest find is absolutely tops on the list.  Clever Girl is very excited to announce our custom pearl collection.  Designed by a former New York fashion editor (you've heard of In Style Magazine, no?) these are NOT stuffy Grannie pearls. These are pearls with a twist.  Instead of ho-hum pearls on a boring basic white cord, these are hand knotted on COLORFUL silk threads.

As the designer says, "From jeans and a t-shirt, to a couture gown, a backyard BBQ to your best friend's wedding, these freshwater pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings will complement every occasion."  We couldn't agree more.

When you visit, we will show you samples of the beautiful pearl pieces, and all the yummy silk thread colors.  You just have to decide what pieces to start with.  A zippy bracelet (on the super-girly pink silk) would be a great gift for a dear friends Birthday, and the darling earrings would be a perfect sweet sixteen gift.  Perhaps a pearl necklace on lime silk is just what you are craving....
Oh, and did we mention that each piece comes lovingly packaged in its own darling, handmade pink and green keepsake pouch?  See, we told you this was a good find!  P.S. Special orders take a little time, so don't delay...

July 14, 2010

Summer Sale!

Don't miss it, girls!!!
 The Clever Girl Summer Sale begins today.  
 Shop early for the best selection 
of sizes and colors...
25%--50% off

July 10, 2010

Four Legged Friend

As some of you may know, my little hound is summering at the shore with out me this year, and I am beginning to really miss her.  While I know she's having a wonderful time with her sister Lilly, I do miss having a dog around the house.
(Now, it's not like I've left her with someone creepy....she's staying with very lovely people) I do miss that wagging tail, but I get to see quite a few canines at work....
At Clever Girl, the "men folk" and the dogs are often waiting around out on the sidewalk while their clever girls shop--but all are welcome to come in!  We love it when our customers bring in their four legged shopping companions.  Charlie, Hanna, Roy and Gretel are just some of the regular dogs in here, and it's great when they pop in for a visit and one of the treats we keep at the counter.  So if you and your best buddy are out and about, stop in.  There's always fresh water by the front door and room for one more.  Oh, and the guys can come in too.

July 2, 2010

Cheers on the 4th!


May we suggest a tasty libation for your weekend enjoyment?   Clever Girl's very own Clever Kathy has tested and tested and re-tested this (and many other) beverage recipes. Perhaps this is why blonds have more fun.... The term party-girl suits Kathy quite well--don't let the Donna Reed appearance fool you. She's our party planner extraordinaire, and if she says it's good, it is!  Here then is her very own Patriotic Sangria, guaranteed to get the party started, and maybe even set off a few fireworks.  A Happy 4th to you all!
  1 750 ml bottle fruity white wine

  1/3 cup sugar
  3/4 cup apricot flavored brandy
  6 Tbsp thawed lemonade concentrate
  1 cup sliced red grapes
  1 cup whole strawberries (if large, slice in half)
  1 cup sliced purple (blue colored grapes)
  1 cup blueberries
Mix together the white wine, sugar, brandy and lemonade until well mixed.
Add the red grapes, strawberries, purple grapes and blueberries.
Refrigerate overnight.
Serve the next day from a large pitcher filled with ice.
Decorate with flags or streamers...

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