I discovered this store when I asked a woman on the bus once where she got her unique and adorable bag. At the time, the owner held sales about twice a month on Halsted, and not long after that she opened the store in Chicago; there are now stores in Boston and Kansas City, MO and there is also a web site. This store makes adorable custom-made bags; the bags mostly come in basic, boxy shapes but the materials are very nice. You choose the material for the bag's interior, the interior pocket, the exterior and exterior pocket, and in about 4 weeks the bag is completed.
I have the Pamela bag, which I use everyday; it's nice because it has side pockets for your pens, cell phone, umbrella, etc. as well as the large exterior and interior pockets for keys, train pass, scraps of paper and other miscellaneous items. I bought the bag for over $100 more than four years ago (now it costs about $125), I have used it basically on an every day basis since then, and I still get compliments on it; it still is in good shape. A few weeks ago, I took the bag back to the store to have the straps replaced ($20) as well as the exterior pocket ($18), and it looks pretty good, I'll wear it awhile longer.
One thing I wish I had been advised to do upon purchasing the bag is to spray at least the exterior pocket with fabric protector; I actually have 3 bags from there and because they are fabric, they can get dirty-looking fairly quickly. If I had done that, perhaps I would not have had to replace the exterior pockets on two of my bags. Once they get dirty, it can be hard to find a cleaners that will clean your bag, especially if it is made of certain materials.
Long Grove Confectionery has excellent almond bark and good toffee. Other things I've tried there I've been less impressed by. The truffles have solid centers. The large, expensive peanut butter cup is a bit dry and not as tasty as it looks. They have cute gifts like decorative boxes, stuffed animals, decorative mirrors. They're a bit expensive--about $22 a pound I believe for most candies--but I go there fairly regularly for the things I like. This is a popular place at holiday times throughout the year especially. They have a few locations in Chicago, one in Wilmette, one in Long Grove of course, the one in Glenview closed recently after 20 years of business; there's an outlet store in Buffalo Grove that offers some candy at a discount, lots of gift items, and tours of the chocolate factory.
My mother really enjoyed the Jenny Craig program. She enjoyed the food, lost weight and would probably be on the program right now if it weren't so expensive. I personally find it to be unrealistic as far as long-term weight loss because of the heavy reliance on prepackaged food in order to ensure portion control; it is unlikely that one would eat their food for the rest of one's life. The frozen dinners are, of course, high in sodium. I personally prefer the Weight Watchers POINTS system and find that it is something that I can live with long term; it is extremely effective.
This store has been in Glencoe for over 20 years, and now there are locations in Evanston, Lake Forest, Glenview and Highland Park. I believe the Glencoe location is the original.
The weekly menu for all the locations is the same and can be found on their website, which is nice. They have excellent dips, a wide variety of cheeses and breads, excellent quiche, good chocolate chip cookies, pates and some excellent desserts such as Boston Cream Cake, lemon meringue pie, the chocolate chip cookie cake is good initially but actually a bit too sweet, the brownies are very rich but just okay, Jay's pecan tart is excellent but seems to be offered only once or twice a year. I check once a week for desserts, and they always offer what seems like at least 7 new ones a day, but I rarely find one that I want, which would be limited to the ones listed above. However, it is nice to be able to check the weekly menu so you don't waste time going there when they don't have something you want.
I tried Bittersweet after a friend told me that when she gets married she would order her wedding cake from there. I have ordered a cake from there and it was modern looking--ganache frosting, happy birthday message written in gold on a chocolate square--but a bit dry, even the recipient of the cake told me that she found the cake a bit dry and suggested I not bring a cake from there again. They are also pricey. Their tarts (about $3 for a small one) and Tiramisu (about $5+ for one that would serve 1 or possibly 2) are quite good, but expensive. I have not been impressed by any of the cookies even as delicious as they look. Their cherry clafloutis is outstanding, and I am not a cherry fan. Parking is not that bad.
PROS: Clafloutis, tiramisu, tarts
CONS: Prices, cakes
I have ordered from this restaurant many many times, from different locations, but mostly the same few things because the other menu items I've tried were not good, and I never ordered them again. I must say, the food does seem fresh. The Pad Thai and calamari and green tea have been excellent, and I have ordered them over and over again, including on my birthday once. But everything else I have tried has been not good at all, including the pot stickers. In fact, most recently I ordered the Pad Thai and calamari carry out--after a break of a few years--and did not even enjoy that and decided I probably won't go back.
PROS: Pad Thai, calamari, green tea
CONS: The remaining menu items