Spring is in the Air at April’s Linens!

spring boutique

Spring is in the air and to celebrate it’s arrival, April’s Linens has added new bed, bath and table collections and new sleepwear lines!   You must see the new robe by Softies that I am carrying -it is amazingly soft and feminine with a ruffle yoke.  I have also expanded my products to include great soaps and sachets!  They are perfect for spring will instantly freshen up your closet and bathroom.

I am so excited to show everything to you, so I have gathered a few of my friends and we are having an amazing Spring Boutique!

Mark you calendars because I will be at the Lake Forest Club Tuesday, March 5 from 10-5 and Wednesday, March 6 from 10-3!  The Spring Boutique will feature one  of a kind jewelry by Designs by Charlotte, Paddle bags and More by M&J, stationery,gifts and monogram items by Invitation Station, whimsical and fun jewelry and accessories by Laura Lance Collection, one of a kind, handmade Easter eggs and topiaries by Whitehead Studios, and April’s Linens will be showing her new spring linen and sleepwear collections!  We can’t wait to see everyone and catch up after our long winter! There is no admission fee and we will have refreshments for all!

Bring your friends!

Look for the signs and the balloons!

See you there!

We promise, you are never going to buy linens any other way. Schedule an in-home consultation to create bed, bath and table linens that are uniquely yours today, by sending an email to April at aprilslinens@yahoo.com or by phone at 847 721 8939.


Guest Post by Ann Flood, Co-Founder/Managing Editor, Edible Chicago

Edible Chicago CoverSweet Potato Wedges





By Ann Flood, Co-Founder/Managing Editor, Edible Chicago

Sweet Potatoes are considered one of the more popular family-friendly choices of the winter season’s root vegetables because of its sweet and savory flavor profile. Not related to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are actually tuberous roots and are members of the morning glory family. The orange color is from beta-carotene, which is good for vision health and boosting immune function. It’s also loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals. In addition to Vitamin A and C, sweet potatoes also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help with arthritis, asthma and allergies; and fiber, which aids digestion and are naturally gluten-free. They are also an excellent food for a diabetic diets because they are a complex carbohydrate and contain no processed sugars, which in turn helps control glucose levels. This hearty root vegetable stores easily during the long winter months, making it easy to keep a supply on hand, ready for a meal. Plus, there are many ways to cook a sweet potato: baked, steamed, candied, fried, grilled, twice-baked, smashed, sautéed, or pan-roasted—all reasons why this versatile food is one of my favorite eats during the cooler weather season.


Look for sweet potatoes that are very firm, no soft spots, sprouts or blemishes. Choose a size that is best for your recipe—small for frying, medium for baking, and on the larger side for boiling or cubing. I prefer buying organic vs. conventional whenever possible, so that I know they are free from potential pesticide and fertilizer residues.


You can store sweet potatoes for up to three weeks in a loosely covered bag or an open cardboard box to allow for air circulation in a cool, dark area like your pantry or basement. Avoid refrigeration.



One Large Sweet Potato

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Fresh Black Pepper


Peel one large potato and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges. Parboil the wedges by placing them into a pot of water at a low boil for 8 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper toweling.  Place the potatoes in a large bowl with just enough olive oil to coat the wedges and add seasoning to taste.  Lightly toss; making sure that the seasoning is evenly distributed over all the wedges.  Lay the sweet potato wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside.

Serves two to four people as a side dish.


Check out the Midwinter issue of Edible Chicago for an engaging article we call “Sweet Potatoes, The Dry & The Moist” written by chef, author and leading vegetarian expert Deborah Madison from her new book, Vegetable Literacy. You’ll also find a reference to the many the sweet potato varieties and two original recipes. The print issue is out on the streets now, and the digital version is available at ediblechicago.com.

Exclusive special this week to Market Square Musings fans!

Sign up for a year’s subscription for $28.00 and get the Sweet Potato issue for FREE! Go to ediblechicago.com and select the Subscription tab. Enter MSM in the gift area and your copy will be sent out first class mail right away! Free issue offer good until March 1, 2013.  A one year subscription is four issues per season.

Sweet Potato Photos: © shutterstock.com

Cover: © Edible Chicago

Thank you, Ann, for contributing to Market Square Musings and for providing our viewers with your special offer!  Please visit Edible Chicago at http://ediblechicago.com/ and make sure to sign up for your year’s subscription today!


Guest Post by Kristin Gish of KAGE Handbags

tabitha wedge

Being a handbag designer, I obviously have a passion for accessories.  While bags are my first love, shoes are a close second!   I LOVE shoes and consider them an accessory because, like jewelry,  they spruce up any ol’ outfit.  With Spring around the corner, I have been coveting these Tabitha Simmons wedged oxfords. I have the flat version from last year, but I need this newer wedge version in my wardrobe stat!  I absolutely adore everything Tabitha Simmons designs.  Her shoes are whimsical and ironic, preppy with an edge!  The perfect addition to your Spring Break suitcase, or for everyday with jeans or a sundress.  So. put a Spring in your step and order now on Moda Operandi!

Thank you, Kristin, for contributing to Market Square Musings! Please visit KAGE Handbags and shop our totes, clutches and wallets at www.creationsbykage.com.  Right now, Kristin is offering a 40% discount on all purchases with the code BEMINE13 through February 14, 2013.  


Guest Post by Gaby, Caroline and Carrie of CPC Designs

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Started by a trio of Moms in 2009, CPC Designs creates classic childrenswear with a modern sensibility.  Caroline Linz, Carrie Grau, and Gaby Evers met each other in a playgroup as first time moms. Three years later, they began making well-made, simple, beautiful clothing for children.   As a tribute to their first children, Charlie, Paige and Cooper, they chose the name CPC Designs.

Heading to school in the Fall.  Holiday parties with family and friends.  An Easter egg hunt.  A July 4th celebration.  All of these images have inspired our collections over the past 4 years.  Our clothing evokes the nostalgia of our childhood, but also maintains a sense of practicality and comfort.  CPC Designs can be worn for dress or for play because, let’s face it, a 4 year old at a barbeque can’t expect to sit still or stay clean.

Four years ago, CPC Designs was created amid a surge of bedazzle, tie-dye, and, what was being called “hip”clothing, for kids.  We wanted to dress our babies like babies and keep the ‘Child’ in Childrens Clothing.

By using fabrics such as seersucker and embroidery designs like a lobster, a sailboat, or an American flag, we strive for our clothing to represent American culture at its best. And, it’s only appropriate that they are manufactured in our hometown of Philadelphia.

Thank you, Gabrielle, for contributing to Market Square Musings! Please visit CPC Designs and shop our favorite children’s clothing at www.cpcdesigns.com


W by Worth – Guest Post by Lindsay Nero

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Looking to “Spring” forward with Modern, Luxurious, “Ready to Wear” styles.  The folks at “W” believe that dressing fashionably should be easy and shopping should be fun and great clothes should last as long as you love them.  W by Worth offers a personalized shopping experience focused on customer service and satisfaction.  The spring 2013 line is now available – February 5-12. For your private appointment contact Lindsay Nero (lnero@wbyworth.com). To view the entire collection visit www.wbyworth.com


New Year’s Resolution Guest Post by Molly O’Neil – Hold Yourself Accountable



Hold Yourself Accountable & Be Proud of Your Progress

 If you made the New Year’s resolution to lose weight, gain energy, or just be more mindful & healthy, I urge you to buy yourself a daily health log.

I really believe that tracking your daily health habits and reviewing them weekly, works to achieve lifelong health and weight loss.  Depending on your goals, I recommend tracking what you eat (including calories), daily exercise, water intake and amount of sleep.   It is a great habit to get into as it holds you accountable, makes you more mindful of what you are eating and definitely makes it easy to see what works (and what doesn’t) for your body and weight loss.

I’ve tried out many different “food and exercise” logs and my favorite one is the Diet Minder: Personal Food & Fitness Journal,” and can be found on Amazon.com.  It has a weekly progress page where you note your weight, energy levels, and general health.

For those of you who are “paperless,” there are apps you can download and are really fun to use.  They will show graphs of your progress, calorie burn for any activity you engage in and will give nutrition facts on the foods you consume… all you do is plug them in (most importantly: calories, fat, sodium and fiber). My personal favorites are “Livestrong” and “My Fitness Pal.”

Try it out! And remember, even if you have an “off day” or even an “off week,” do not get discouraged… just update your goals for the new week and push forward.

Oh and most importantly…When you do notice you start drop a pound or two or gain muscle and energy at the end of a week, feel proud and REWARD yourself (i.e.: dark chocolate, a pedicure, 30 minutes with a trashy magazine…. The list of possible rewards is endless).

Thank you, Molly for your Guest Post!  We know that we are inspired to find a a daily tracker that works for us.  We always love your posts!


AMAZING Arcona Skin Care: Guest Post and Giveaway!

This summer I asked our friend Jane Duncan (who has the most beautiful skin and who happened to be in the skincare business for years) to point me in the direction of a good cleaner, moisturizer, eye cream – the works. I have never been into skin care and it showed. Without hesitation, she said Arcona. The next day, I found them online, bought exactly what she told me to buy and quickly fell in love (by the way, the customer service is second to none!). We’ve asked Jane to tell you what she loves about Arcona and where to begin with the line…

For a couple of years, I worked at a boutique in Chicago that carried hard to find, niche, luxury cosmetic and skincare lines. A self-proclaimed product junkie, I loved trying and learning about different products, but for years I’ve been faithful to only one……Arcona. What makes them different is their active ingredients are cold processed in small batches to maintain effectiveness.  The products contain no petrochemicals, binders or fillers, chemical stabilizers, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphates, perfumes, dyes, or any other caustic, toxic ingredients. Basically, all the good stuff and none of the bad makes your skin GLOW.

The Basic Five is the starting point for everyone who uses the line.  There are different Basic Five options for different skin types or issues.  The Arcona website has a good guide to helping determine your Basic Five, but another thing I love is you can call their toll free number and speak with someone at the studio who will tell you exactly which products are best for you.  After you use the Basic Five for about 4-6 weeks your skin balances out and you can incorporate A.M. serums and/or P.M. treatments to  target more specific concerns. I love most every Arcona product, but here are some of my favorites:

Triad Pads - they are perfect for travel or the gym! A quick swipe of your face leaves you cleansed, toned, and moisturized with tons of antioxidants. I use them before bed when I’m too tired to wash my face.

Mandarin Brightening Peel - this mask is a facial in a tube. A little hint, put it on clean skin before you shower. Leave it on for a couple minutes in the steam, rinse and follow with moisturizer and Desert Mist.

The Solution or Gentle Solution – it’s part of the Basic Five used at night after cleansing this treatment is brightening, firming, and nourishing. It’s stimulates cell renewal and strengthens skin’s immune system.

Arcona.com or The Arcona Studio (877) 272-6620

Here’s the GREATEST news!!! The darling girls at Arcona are offering the first five people who make a purchase after reading this post a complimentary full size container of their brand new and totally FABULOUS Brightening Gommage (which retails for $52). Here’s the scoop: If you make a purchase, email us at katie@marketsquaremusings.com and we will handle the rest. BUT you must make the purchase between today and October 10th. So take Jane’s advice on where to begin and call The Arcona Studio today (if you don’t know Jane, I promise, she has the most beautiful skin that glows – you want to trust her on this). 




Wine with a Heart – Guest Post by Jane Duncan

Our friend Jane just returned from a weekend in Napa Valley. Jane has great taste so of course we asked her to pick a couple of her favorite finds to share with you. Here is what she had to say about one of her favorite vineyards:


Ehlers Estate produces world class wines with heart. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of their wines goes to support the Leducq Foundation, a highly regarded, not-for-profit foundation dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research. Ehlers Estate is the perfect blend of quality and conscience. They’re recognized for their Cabernet Sauvignon 1886, but if you like big reds try the Cabernet Franc.

For more information about the vineyard or to order any wine, click here.

Come back this afternoon for another one of Jane’s favorites…



Time to Get the Lillys Out! – Guest Post by Stuart Mesires

Yesterday was the first day of summer, it’s time to get the Lillys out! The photos in this post represent just a small portion of my collection. I am a HUGE collector of vintage Lilly Pulitzer. You could say that I am obsessed with collecting it. I am always on the hunt for a vintage Lilly “find”. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about them that I am drawn to. It could be – the color combinations….

the whimsical prints….
looking for the hidden “Lilly” in every print….
or the sumptuous guipure lace that so many of them used as trim….
Some of my favorite vintage Lillys are the atypical ones – the ones that are colored differently from the iconic ‘pink and green’ prints and the ones that have different subject matters. For example, I love the red and white print below of the ladies with long flowing locks of hair – so bizarre yet so great!
Or the print below from 1976 that was made to commemorate the Bicentennial. It comes from a ladies knit shirt and I actually also have a matching men’s tie. I keep trying to get my husband to wear the tie on the 4th of July when I wear my shirt but so far to no avail – maybe this is the year!
I also love this lemon print.
While I’m thrilled to be getting out the Lillys and I’ll be sad in a few months when they all have to go back into storage, I’ll be comforted by the fact that I have an amazing wide wale corduroy printed Lilly caftan with brightly colored yarn trim to wear throughout the cold months.
And as Lilly is famous for saying, “It’s always summer somewhere!”
*This beautiful post was created by our friend Stuart Mesires of Lady Bug Vintage. Please visit Stuart on her website www.ladybugvintage.com to see her exquisite collection of vintage jewelry, clothing and accessories. Thank you for creating this lovely post, Stuart – Happy Summer!


Guest Blogger: Susie Parks from A Girl Named Spark

Today, MarketSquareMusings.com is so excited to feature a post from one of our favorite bloggers and people,Susie Parks, from the blog, A Girl Named Spark. We asked Susie what she thinks is the perfect way to spend 24 hours in her current hometown, New York City.  She shares her hilarious musings with us below.

If I were coming to NYC for 24 hours  and only wanted to shop (and eat), this is how i’d spend my day…

First, I’d make sure to get on the flight that gets in dead early. Despite what my cab driver has to say I’d insist he take the Williamsburg bridge in. There are no tolls on that suckerand it’s close to Prune, where I’d have my breakfast, replete with one of their famousBloody Mary’s. From there I’d walk off my Soft Scrambled Eggs or Egg “En Cocotte” by high-tailing it to Soho.

I’d start by going to Steven Alan, Calypso and Rag and Bone. All three are in Nolita.Then I’d head to  C. Wonder. I love their home items and monogrammable bags.Then I’d stop by Balthazar’s bakery for a coffee (as I’ll probably need a pick-me-upafter the Bloody’s at Prune). Whilst sipping my coffee I’d pop into Dean&Deluca, not to eat anything but just to peruse. Their produce always looks heavenly and I love to see all the different food brands they carry. Then I’d power shop the following:Top Shop, Kirna Zabete, Curve, Opening Ceremony, Tibi, J. Crew, Intermix and Barney’s Co-Op.

After all that shopping I’ll obviously be hungry so up to Eataly for Pasta or thePlaza Food Court for a roll from Luke’s Lobster. Both are food mecca’s and make my stomach grumble. Once I refueled I’d go to my favorite Zara on Earth, their flagship store at 666 Fifth Avenue. It’s a little piece of heaven. Did you know they re-stock every 30mins? How divine is that?

While I’m not usually a department store shopper I’d have to go to the4 B’s (Bergdorf’s, Barneys, Bloomies and Bendels) and drop by the 9th floor shoe department at Saks.

With all my shopping bags in tow I’d cozy up to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis or, if the weather was good, I’d go to the rooftop bar at the Peninsula for a Dirty Martini. It’s the perfect cocktail pre dinner at Bilboquet.  Oh, Bilboquet, how your foie gras appetizer and poulet cajun treat me right.  And while their desserts are amazing I’d say, “sorry but no” and go to Laudure for a few salted caramel macaroons. The perfect way to end the day.