Category Archives: Lifestyle

Retail Refinement

It’s official: downtown Naperville is a destination for face and body shopping, with five different storefronts to satisfy your every cosmetic craving, skin care need or brow-grooming emergency. Multibrand meccas Ulta and Sephora tie for the largest at about 5,500 square feet each, while Bluemercury is the newest, taking up residence in the former Starbucks space on the corner of Jefferson and Main. Pretty-in-pink storefront Benefit celebrates its 10th anniversary in downtown Naperville this year, while M·A·C joined the scene in spring 2017 with its sleek outpost. Read on for a refresher of what each has to offer.

Benefit Cosmetics Boutique & Brow Bar
214 South Main Street

Opened: 2007

Details: Thanks to a spring renovation, this sweet boutique now has fresh fixtures and a more spacious layout. Like the Benefit counters you’ll find in department stores (plus nearby Sephora and Ulta), the boutique stocks Benefit’s full line of cheekily named products—from They’re Real mascara to Boi-ing concealer—but what sets it apart is its lineup of beauty services, including makeup, body waxing, spray tans and brow services. The brow wax and tint are the signature services here: An aesthetician will assess your brows, wax them to achieve the perfect shape and apply a vegetable-based tint to darken them to a naturally flattering shade. During homecoming, turnabout and prom weekends, expect to find the shop buzzing with high school students getting glam with tans, makeup and faux eyelashes. In December, look for holiday gifts sets such as The Great Brownanza (five full-size brow products for $59, valued at $151, pictured) and the stocking stuffer-worthy Cable Car Cutie (three products for $19). 2018 brings the launch of Pore Pearl, a shimmery sibling to Benefit’s Porefessional primer.

42 West Jefferson Avenue

Opened: November 2017. The grand opening celebration (starting at 10 a.m. December 2) will feature free mini-facials and makeovers, plus gift bags filled with samples for the first 100 shoppers.

Details: This two-story newbie—which also has a location in downtown Hinsdale—has taken up corner residence and is set to stock 90-plus cosmetics and skin care brands. In addition to well-known, high-end names such as La Mer, Molton Brown, Trish McEvoy and Darphin, check out two lines created by Bluemercury co-founder Marla Malcolm Beck: M-61 Powerful Skincare and Lune + Aster Cosmetics. Fans of natural products should check out Indie Lee, One Love Organics and RMS Beauty, and shoppers can also book a facial, wax or microdermabrasion session in one of two lower-level spa rooms.

M·A·C Cosmetics
108 West Jefferson Avenue

Opened: April 2017

Details: M·A·C is known not only for its bold makeup, but also its social initiatives (such as the Viva Glam line, which benefits M·A·C’s AIDS Fund) and celebrity collaborations such as rock’n’roll eye shadows from jewelry designer Jade Jagger. Decked out in blond wood cabinetry and slick black counters, this location is the perfect playground to test-drive products such as Freshly Brewed, a collection of coffee-toned mascara, brow definers and Lipglass (pictured). Goodies from the Snow Ball collection make for some especially glam stocking stuffers.

132 West Jefferson Avenue

Opened: September 2014

Details: Shoppers can scope out—and try for themselves, thanks to ample testers—myriad skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fragrance brands, plus the in-house Sephora Collection. Hit up the Beauty Studio for a 15-minute mini-makeover; for more in-depth tutorials, enroll in a class (check for the latest schedule) to learn how to master false eyelash application or create the classic smoky eye. The customer rewards program—which includes purchases at any Sephora location and online—has three tiers: Insider (free), VIB (spend $350 in products per calendar year) and Rouge (spend $1,000 in products per calendar year), with the perks increasing as you ascend the ranks.

Ulta Beauty
103 South Washington Street

Opened: 2007

Details: Browse more than 500 brands, from budget to salon-quality, at this outpost of the Bolingbrook-based beauty chain, which celebrated a grand reopening in April. Hair products, skin care, nail color, fragrances—it’s all here. In-store salon services include hair (color, cuts, blowouts, relaxers, clarifying treatments), OPI gel polish manis and skin care ranging from a 10-minute facial for $10 to resurfacing peels. Shoppers who sign up for the Ultamate Rewards loyalty program rack up points good for discounts and freebies at any Ulta location or To learn more about the newest skin care on the market, attend the Love Your Skin event in January 2018.

From Bean to Cup

It’s hard to imagine a time when coffee drinkers had only two choices, cream or sugar. Or to remember when we marvelled at the efficiency of the six-cup coffee maker whose black, bitter brew was the norm. Thankfully, times have changed. And so has the art of brewing a cup of java.

Today, with an almost cult-like status, coffee is about an entire experience. Whether enjoying its warm ambiance, savoring the varied flavor profiles of single-sourced beans, cultivating new community relationships or sharing a commitment to eco-friendly practices, many coffee drinkers care as much about the artistry and taste experience of coffee as about the way it is made.

This past June, Naperville welcomed one of only twenty Starbucks Reserve Bars in the nation, and the first high-end store of its kind in the Chicago suburbs. After fifteen years on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Main Streets, the coffee icon relocated to a space almost four times its former size just across the street. Now on the southwest corner, the new Starbucks features its exclusive Reserve line of small-batch coffees from around the world.

Its aficionados—who have long since mastered the tongue-twisting, multisyllabic names for their coffee of choice—will be thrilled to discover a whole new vocabulary thanks to the latest brewing techniques like the Clover brewing system, a Chemex pour-over, coffee press, nitro taps, or a Siphon and Black Eagle manual espresso. Fancy a nitro cold brew with your Malawi Sable Farms cranberry and chocolate? Or an origin flight sampler? You’ve come to the right place.

Enter Sparrow Coffee Roastery, opening its doors on Water Street later this year, where master coffee roaster Chris Chacko takes the privileged few on a mind-altering gastronomic journey that begins with green coffee beans and ends—for many—with something akin to a religious conversion. With the complexity of fine wine, Chacko’s meticulously selected single-source coffee beans and innovative roasting and brewing techniques are enjoyed by only a few select Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, and one bakery, DeEtta’s, in Naperville.

“What I love about working with Chris Chacko, and the passionate team at Sparrow Coffee Roastery, is their appreciation and understanding of what we do at Sixteen,” says Executive Chef Nick Dostal about his acclaimed restaurant’s menu. “Instead of taking ‘the easy route,’ Sparrow takes the time to, and even insists on, setting up tastings or cuppings with myself and restaurant staff. They strive for a cohesive and symbiotic relationship between the client and the product.”

However, artisanal roasteries in the Fox Valley are proof positive that something wonderful really does come in smaller packages. Numbered among our region’s cozy, hand-crafted coffee venues like Kindred Coffee Roasters of West Chicago, FreshGround Roasters in Geneva, and Crazy Creek Roasters in Naperville, we see a shared passion not just about showcasing coffee in a fresh, new way, but for the experience of creating and fostering community.

In 2013, Kindred Coffee Roasters founders Ryan Hammer with Sarah and Patrick Harms, fired up their coffee roaster for the first time in the hope of achieving more than just an amazing cup of joe. Like many in their generation, they care deeply about fostering relationships in their neighborhoods and incorporating eco-friendly practices, as much as they care about crafting a delicious beverage.

“Aside from offering a specialty coffee experience—coffees that we could enthusiastically enjoy again and again,” says Hammer, “our primary hope is for Kindred to become a place where unique and vibrant relationships can form.”

Whether you prefer your special roast within the warmth of a cozy, neighborhood cafe, an exclusive boutique or eye-catching coffee icon, Naperville is blessed to have a front-row seat where we can enjoy them all.