December 30, 2013

Race to the Finish Line

A very Merry Christmas to you, one and all--if somewhat belatedly--and a Happy New Year!  This is truly the first day I have had to draw a free breath, and corral my bewildered mind into composing some (hopefully) coherent thoughts.

What a season this has been!  We have literally wrapped thousands of gifts for Christmas, and the CG's have functioned as a team any drill Sargent would be proud of.  Scan, tissue, wrap, ribbon, add a jingle bell, add label, bag.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  What a good time we've had!  There is something in the "rhythm of the rush" that begins at Thanksgiving and does not release us from its grip until just about now...we love it here at the store.

We would like to thank everybody who came in to shop, as well as those who have discovered us online: Yes, we have taken the plunge, and have begun selling some of our products online.

So far we've packaged up lots of gifts to be sent to 15 of the 50 states, and counting.  (Nothing to Hawaii or Alaska just yet, but people in California and New York appear to be quite keen on us.)  

Our Christmas open house was  fun and successful thanks to the live music and festive atmosphere, and in spite of the early winter chill. CG also hosted a private shopping night one evening, and absolutely lovely ladies were in attendance, all having a very merry time.  The Village Christmas Walk was jam packed, and everybody enjoyed homemade cider and donuts.  Santa made a smashing appearance on the fire truck, and indicated that all of the Clever Girls were, indeed on the "Nice"  list once again...

My own house has been soaked in Nest Candles "Holiday" fragrance, and my Spotify playlists have had me on classic Christmas carol overload for more than a month now.  I did manage to catch one of my favorite it!
The New Year is rushing upon us, and I must soon depart for Atlanta and begin shopping all over again to fill CG with next Christmas's bounty...Thank you to all of our wonderful customers and friends for another amazing year.  We SO enjoy seeing all of you, your dogs, children and grandchildren, and being a part of the Western Springs community.  

A very Happy New Year to everyone!

December 4, 2013

Please Note...

A few updates...

We have officially started playing Christmas music here in the store, and we love it!  The season is upon us, and there's no point in denying it...
In the sips & snacks department, we're enjoying white hot chocolate with peppermint crunches. 
The new kate spade collection is so cute!  
The note cards, calenders, coffee cups and stationary sets are adorable! Perfect gifts for all the t'weens, teens and girlfriends on your shopping list this season.  You must stop in and see it!
How cute is this? This little guy is my favorite ornament in the shop this year today.
Don't forget!!! Our party is almost here.  Hope to see you all there.
As always, we are so thankful for all of our wonderful customers who shop locally:  
at the holidays, and throughout the whole year.  Thank you!

November 2, 2013

Ho HO HO, Here we go...

Today, the Clever Girls will be gathering together dressed in our most colorful Elf outfits. We will unwrap, unpack and ooh & ahh over our most scrumptious Christmas merchandise. There are goodies for every department, and you'll be able to see it all starting Monday morning. Here's the "plan" for how we do it...

First, we will be loading up on this...
And then a few of these...
So that we can make the shop...
In preparation for the man with the list...

This, will stay home...
We are so excited because, come Monday, 
we know everything will...
 And hope that you all will...

 See you Monday--don't miss out!!!

August 20, 2013

Here it comes...

It happened last week.  The first slight, yet definite hint was in the air ever-so-briefly.  A tiny little whisper was carried upon a current and it said
That, combined with the start of school, the distant rumble of a school bus at the corner, seems to signal the true end of summer.
I'm always wistful at this time of year--I've never finished all the summer chores that I intended to do, yet I love the brisk air of fall, a distant call of a goose honking from above, and walking the dog on a cool night when you can see your breath.  The leaves drift down into red, orange and yellow piles, and you feel like making soup.  I like the change a new season brings.

It's an exciting time at the store, too.  We have so many wonderful new lines of clothing and jewelry and accessories to share with you for the fall season.  You already love our Iris handbag line, and have discovered the new scroll necklaces. Several of you have snapped up our colorful fall scarves as well.  Lots of new cookbooks have just been published, and there will be several new candles that evoke the cooler season... The 2014 Susan Wallace Barnes calendars have arrived, and look as adorable as ever.
 Dare I say it, but many of you crazy, organized girls have already bought some Christmas gifts, tucking them away, because you know things come and go quickly around here...

You can keep up with all of our new goodies in so many ways.  Visit us on our brand new Instagram page for photos from the store, be inspired on Pinterest, and the Facebook page is a great way for frequent information about new items. And, as if that weren't enough, our Twitter page has updates, too.  Wow.  One could almost monitor social media and the web 24/7 for nothing but Clever Girl activities!!! Actually, it would be great if you would...we'd love it!  The point is, there's a lot going on; and we don't want you to miss any of it.


P.S. Just a few things on the upcoming calender include: Our annual Eyebobs Trunk Show, (date to be announced soon) the return of Tasty Thursday's, Cider and Donuts Saturday's, and the Western Springs Pumpkin Festival.  We will also be selling tickets for the Hinsdale-Oak Brook AAUW Home Tour, which will be held on September 29th, 2013. There's lots more to share with you in the coming weeks, too, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, enjoy what's left of this summer--it will never come again...

July 28, 2013

Summer Sale

Time to pile in for the Summer Sale!

I love this picture!  Where on earth are they all going?  Perhaps it's to the Clever Girl Summer Sale! Such deals and treasures for everybody!  Fall merchandise will soon be here, so it's time to clear the decks. Save 50% and more...  (If you follow us on Facebook, click here, you'd already know this little gem.  Facebook fans get the scoop first, so sign up!)

A few random things to share with you...

We're not above jumping on the baby bandwagon, as the world welcomes George Alexander Louis the Prince of Cambridge.  This is a chance to remind you that we have lots of darling items for the wee ones.  A current best-seller is the Chill Baby Pacifier; these ensure some pretty hilarious baby pictures... We have lots of thoughtful books, bibs and toys to celebrate babies, Royal or not.
In case you missed it, Nest Candles has a heavenly new scent, Sicilian Tangerine.  Sicilain tangerine and bergamot are blended with the tropical nuances of exotic mango and passion fruit over a base of musk and praline. The citrus scents are dominant, producing a fragrance that is fresh, crisp, and beckoning.  We love it!
Several new Nest fragrances will be coming out this fall, and Tahiti Vanille will be retired soon, so stock up now while you can...
Finally, allow me to point out one of my favorite pantry items.  This set of four, flexible, colorful cutting mats is genius!  Avoid cross-contamination with these clearly labeled, light weight mats.  As we enter the peak season for fresh produce and grilling, these are a must-have item.  (Did I mention that the set of four is only $12?  See, genius!)

Hope that you all are having a good summer--it's going fast!

June 11, 2013

Where the Boys Are...

Clever Girls! We have heard your cry
and established a department
exclusively for the Clever Guy...

For quite some time now, our customers have been bemoaning the absence of clever items for gentlemen; a lack of gifts for a host or for the "Birthday Boy", and the like. (Dare I say it, but some of you actually have been whining about it.)  So, Clever Girl to the rescue with:
"The Men's Department"
With Father's Day day just around the corner, please remember that we've established a domicile--albeit a small one--for those with the Y-chromosome.  Items you'll find here include great books, pens, playing cards, bar items, and one-of-a-kind vintage treasures.  We have also discovered the softest (yet very manly) slippers in plaids and stripes that any gentleman's toes will find quite delightful. 

One of our offerings, of interest to any modern man that secretly has become enraptured with Downton Abbey, will surely be The Butler's Guide to Running the Home.  Within its pages lie instructions on all manner of things including: how to stage “impromptu” romantic picnics, open a door soundlessly, roll an umbrella perfectly, and iron a newspaper.  Any man in the market for a good factotum will certainly find this a refreshing primer on what a good butler should be able to do...

Celebrate Father's Day, this Sunday, June 16th...

An unrelated post script: The daughter of one of our most clever girls is in need of oodles of cardboard egg cartons for a major art project that she will be dong this fall.  Dear customers, would you be so kind as to bring us your spares?  No Styrofoam--just the cardboard.  Thanks!

March 30, 2013

Easter Greetings...

"This is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life."
                                                                                                                        --1 John 2:25

A most joyful Easter to you all...

March 27, 2013

Yummy in the Tummy

For those of us not off on a sunny beach somewhere, or swishing down a western slope this week, today is your lucky day. We're giving away happiness in a bottle--otherwise known as Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam.
Every spring when I drive out to Maine, I have to stop at the Stonewall company store in the southern Maine town of York. It's a great chance to see (and sample) some of their new products; and we always have lunch. They make all sorts of scrumptious sandwiches and salads right there, and you can sit outside in their lovely garden area.   
The classic blueberry jam remains a best-seller, and captures the essence of Maine like nothing else can.  We sell a tremendous amount of it here at Clever Girl--so I know it's not just a Maine thing...
We recently won a little award from Constant Contact, the email service provider; and to celebrate, we're handing out Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, Thursday, March 28th from 10-5.  Please stop in and sample this delicious item, and take home a sample-size jar on us!  
Here's a tasty idea from Stonewall Kitchen, too.  Try this Blueberry French Toast. Perfect for Easter brunch, this make-ahead recipe will make your whole house smell amazing.  Serve with some crispy bacon, and fresh squeezed orange juice...Delicious! 
Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
Serves 8-10
Ingredients: 1 loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 ounces or 5 cups)
1-8 oz. package of cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
6 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup Special Blueberry Syrup:
1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter
A dash of cinnamon

Grease a deep-dish pie pan.
Place half of the French bread cubes in the bottom of the prepared pie dish.
Equally distribute the cream cheese cubes, fresh blueberries, and Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam over the top of the bread cubes.
Top with remaining bread cubes.
In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, maple syrup and milk. Whisk until uniform. Pour over bread mixture.
Place in refrigerator several hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake approximately 15-30 minutes more, or until the casserole is set and the top is golden.
While the casserole bakes, combine the syrup ingredients in a small sauce-pan and heat over low heat on the stovetop.  Drizzle over each serving.

February 11, 2013

NYC goes to the Dogs!

A quick reminder clever girls: Tonight is the final judging for Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club.  Westminster is the ultimate beauty pageant for those with four legs--the Super Bowl of the canine world--and I've never yet picked the winner.  Have you?  

This year the competition  has gone high tech with tons of information and videos of the preliminary judging, so perhaps it will be easier to spot the winner in advance, or at least view your favorite breed being judged.  {Click here for the site.} 

There are two new breeds this year, the Tree Walking Coon Hound and the Russell Terrier. Quite cute!
Interestingly, the most popular dog in America, the Labrador Retriever, has never won.  How can this be?!?
The Wall Street Journal even wrote it up this week. Read this, I may have to cheer for them just because they are the "Underdogs" (yes, roll your eyes and groan).  

Whatever the outcome, it's certainly fun to watch.  I'm hugely entertained by the handlers and all of the last minute grooming they frantically do until the very last moment.  (Also, some handlers might do well to invest in some better foundation garments, right? I'm just saying...)  
Remember, your dogs are always welcome here at Clever Girl, and there are treats at the counter.  We love seeing all of your BFFs, purebred or not.

Speaking of treats, we'll be sampling our amazing new toffee for you this Thursday, so be sure to stop in and try it...As it happens, that's Valentine's Day, and we have all sorts of things for everybody on your love list.  

I'll leave you with this...

February 6, 2013

A Top Chef at Clever Girl

You didn't forget, did you?  It's Tasty Thursday at Clever Girl.  We can't wait to share a sweet little something we found in New York with you. Carla Hall, that hilarious, talented gal from Bravo's Top Chef,  has launched her very own line of little amazing treats. 

"At Alchemy by Carla Hall our COOKIECOLLECTIONS are petite bites of love made for sharing.  We start with a basic idea and opt for sweet or savory. Next, we hand-shape, roll, or dunk each cookie to completion. Voila! 

Our artisan cookies are baked to perfection and contain only the finest ingredients – European-style butter, organic sugar, flours, couverture chocolate, artisan cheeses, fresh nuts, seasonal fruits… and they wouldn't be made by Carla Hall without lots of love!"

Please stop in today (Tasty Thursday, remember?) and sample her Mexican Chocolate Chip mini cookies...They are perfect as a grown-up treat, hostess gift, or a sweet snack for your Valentine.  It was really fun to meet and hang out a little bit with Carla, and her terrific crew in New York. You're going to like what a little love can do...

January 28, 2013

Oh, Dear...

Oh, Dear.  It's winter.  But it feels like Spring.  But it's not.  Is anyone else as confused as I am?  
May I suggest that the antidote to this weather confusion is a cozy pair of PJ's, some good reading material and a comforting beverage?  Time to read all of those great books I got for Christmas, and sit in front of the fire.  The Beagle (who is, incidentally, sitting in my lap as I type this) made only a half-hearted plea for a walk; even she has decided a nap is in order.  So let us leave the chores until tomorrow--and read a book instead. 
As it happens, we have just received these darling pajamas here at Clever Girl.  Meant to be worn like a morning uniform, our PJ shirt is flattering and a perfect match to the ankle length pant. With so many people working from home these days, not to mention the new baby boom, it's no wonder that everyone seems to need several pairs of these PJs

As to the choice of book and beverage: That, dear readers, I leave entirely up to you...

January 8, 2013

Ok, YUM!

This little book is my new favorite thing...Tom Skilling says that there is cold weather coming next week, so I advise you to lay in a few supplies, and sample a few of these recipes...No longer just a simple, syrupy sweet drink, today's hot chocolates are brimming with extraordinary flavors like cayenne, vanilla beans, Nutella, buttered rum, pistachios, wasabi, peanut butter, and malted milk balls. 

Featuring white chocolate foam, marshmallow cream, and frozen and fondue versions, the 60 recipes presented in Hot Chocolate are setting trends in haute chocolate consumption. Contributed by the world's preeminent chocolatiers, these luxurious concoctions range from ancient Latin American originals and European cafĂ© classics to comforting childhood treats, cocktails spiked just for adults, and imaginative modern variations for the hip chocoholic of any age.  With recipes from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Serendipity 3, Citizen Cake, Fran's Chocolates, Scharffen Berger Chocolate, and many more. 
A perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up, a cozy mug of cocoa is so comforting this time of year.  And, don't forget, chocolate is good for you!  A cup of hot chocolate is twice as rich in antioxidants as a glass of red wine. And, some would say, is just as intoxicating...   Cheers!

January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

   “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
 –  C.S. Lewis 

A most Happy New Year to everybody!  I can't believe how swiftly this year has passed.  We had a fantastic season here at Clever Girl, and are REALLY excited about  new things on the horizon in the not-to-distant future. 
Our Christmas Open House was a huge success--there was shopping, laughing, sipping and snacking, and even some dancing with the band. Midwest Living came by to photograph us for next year's December issue. By now I think Santa has delivered a pair of our famous slippers to everybody in the entire Chicago area, and there is a Nest candle burning in every home.  We've already got great, new things restocking the shelves, and are off to market very soon to find even more goodies.  
None of it would be possible without all of you--our amazing customers.   We truly appreciate each and every one of you, and love sharing our discoveries with you.   Thank you for subscribing to our Clever Girl Chronicle, and peeking in on our Pinterest and Facebook pages.  We love keeping you up to date on all things clever... It is with hope and optimism that we enter this new year, 2013.  We look forward to seeing you often...

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