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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, April 15

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Have Your Cake Cosmetics
At first glance, Have Your Cake looks pretty much like any other trendy cosmetics shop in Lincoln Park -- a trim little storefront with plenty of pink, whimsically girly embellishments, and, of course, an impressive array of luxury beauty products. When you sample the scrumptious scents from the various bottles, jars, and soaps, you may experience a familiar longing -- an itch almost -- that you've no doubt occasionally felt while shopping at The Body Shop, Lush or Philosophy. Have you ever wanted to eat a whole jar of hand cream just because it smelled like mangoes? Ever wanted to drink your vanilla-scented body wash? Apparently, at Have Your Cake, you can. Entrepreneurs Kristyn Kohl-Baker's and Tarah Blaise's new cosmetics concept takes the trend of enticing, food-themed beauty products a truly decadent step further by making them completely out of actual food.

Every bath, body, and beauty item at Have Your Cake is reportedly made from edible, fully digestible ingredients, according to Ms. Kohl-Baker, who says she saw a need for the upscale cosmetic confections among her female friends and co-workers. "A girl's got to indulge herself," she says. "She needs to give herself a treat every now and then. And sometimes she even gets hungry." As if to demonstrate her point, Kohl-Baker breaks off a small piece from the emery board she's been using and offers it to me. I'm a little hesitant to try it, but I discover it tastes just like toffee.

Among HYC's more popular offerings: the Lick It Clean skincare regimen, which includes a "powerful, anti-aging caramel flan," gift baskets of nougat soaps, and a bronzing powder that can be blended with milk to make a rich Chai latte. Some of the products, however, bring rather mixed results: the Cookies & Crème Rinse, for instance, requires refrigeration and leaves a decidedly sour scent when not rinsed out of hair thoroughly, and the Frostilicious Blush is a best-selling item despite reportedly causing frequent breakouts. "Some girls buy it two, three times a week," says Ms. Blaise, who is always patient to demonstrate the blush's custom spoon-shaped applicator to new customers, stroking it across her own cheeks in a gentle circular motion.

When discussing the cosmetic virtues of the Have Your Cake merchandise, Kohl-Baker and Blaise are quick to defend their products. "The lipsticks contain an almond extract which is a botanical emollient. They are not marzipan," says Ms. Kohl-Baker. Blaise agrees that such distinctions are important. "Candy? Please. Our customers wouldn't be caught dead in a Fannie May." Kohl-Baker is a bit more philosophical. "The whole problem with edible underwear," she says, "is that it's not very good underwear. But our makeup is makeup." Their products are not to everyone's taste, but if you're hungry for a new look, why not stop by Have Your Cake? Cake it on!

Have Your Cake, 2023 N. Halsted (near Armitage), is open Monday thru Saturday from 11am to 7pm. Closed Sundays. Special hours and group rates available for Merry Cake Makeover Parties.

There's a new boutique on Armitage in Lincoln Park, but the only Angora you'll find at Tricksie is attached to Bella, the owner's white rabbit.

Joyce Magee's magic shop is easy to miss, if you're looking for a magic shop. There are no black top-hats, magic wands or dried frogs in the display window. Instead, Magee has a small table and two chairs. The table has several photos of Magee on it.

You may have seen Magee on a few cable-run magician line-ups, or caught her act at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas, or even during last Christmas's USO tour in Iraq. But you've probably never even heard of the world's most famous female magician. That may be changing.

"Magic is a man's world. It's one of the few realms of our society that resembles the 1950s. Three years ago there were no female competitors in the World Magic Showcase in Vegas. This year I won the top two coveted prizes."

But even with that under her belt, she still had a hard time booking any long-term engagements, let alone shows that didn't expect her to strip as she performed.

"You've gotta be a staunch feminist to be a professional female magician. Club owners expect you to look pretty and act stupid, just like all their other female employees. It got me down, so I got out."

She grew up in suburban Lisle and most of her family still lives there. "My mother wanted me to be a teacher, my dad thought I should have been a doctor. But my grandfather encouraged me to follow my desire to become a magician."

Her grandfather tried making it as a magician, working as a magician's assistant for two years after he dropped out of high school. A sword juggling accident left him unable to perform quick and tricky hand movements, but his love for the trade didn't end until he passed away last winter.

"As I was going through my grandfather's boxes of mementos I realized he had a copy of every playbill with my name on it. I was so touched, and so amazed by his value of my life choice, that I decided to take my inheritance and open a magic shop where I might be able to convince more women to follow in my footsteps."

But how'd she decide on the name for her store? "A few years ago my brother started complaining about all these "Trixies" he was meeting at bars. I thought he was calling them Tricksies and silently cheered them on, thinking they were getting the better of my brother and his friends who had very little respect for women. But then I realized I was spelling the name wrong and instead of it being a term with a background of fear, it was a negative description of women. So I thought I'd do what I could to switch that up, and the name for the store was born."

She's gotten several women to hold their bachelorette parties at the shop, and she's received nothing but positive vibes from her female -- and male -- customers. "Lots of guys love coming in here. Several men regularly wander over while their girlfriends or wives shop in the boutiques."

Business is booming and she's training more than a dozen young women to help her in the store and teach basic sleight of hand classes. "If I get any more successful, I'm going to have to get a bigger space," she laughs. "Not bad for being in business for six months."

Her brother? He married a young woman he met at Mother Hubbard's two months ago. "His treatment of women has improved dramatically," Magee says.

Tricksie is at 1020 W. Armitage. The shop is open from noon to 8pm, closed Mondays.

As actress, socialite and author Paris Hilton so succinctly put it in her new memoir, Confessions of an Heiress, "People act differently toward you when you've got jewelry on your head." At Tiara-Me-Sue, they think the same way. Whether you're a corporate lawyer, a marketing manager or the wife of a corporate lawyer or marketing manager, you can't beat a good Swarovski crystal tiara for every day of the week.

At Tiara-Me-Sue owner/tiara diva Sue Foxbane stocks her lavish Peruvian violetwood jewelry counters with only the finest tiaras, each one a work of sparkling head art. Whether you're planning a day of trying on clothes, running errands, picking the kids up from a playdate or just talking on your cell phone while sipping a non-fat latte, a tiara's your one must-have head accessory.

Tiaras say, "Hey you, I'm a queen!" while you're strolling the aisles at Whole Foods. They sweetly remind non-tiara-wearing folk that making eye contact is not a requirement in social interaction. Keep unpleasant incidents of touching at bay with a fine sparkling tiara nestled in your hair -- after all, one must not touch royalty! Tiara-Me-Sue's tiaras say all this and more!

Now, Tiara-Me-Sue is not just Chicago's finest tiara boutique, but also Chicago's most famous one! Featured twice so far on the new Chicago edition of the Daily Candy newsletter, Tiara-Me-Sue has a head up on all other bejeweled headwear purveyors in the area. The latest review calls the store "Chicago's hottest spot for some cold rocks... for your head." Nothing could be more true!

Of course, you'll only find quality tiaras at Tiara-Me-Sue. Their fall collection includes "The Majestic," a rose-hued crystal tiara inlaid with platinum filigree, reminiscent of a royal bridal bouquet; "The Impressionistic," a swirling gold and light blue crystal tiara, designed after every girl's favorite Monet painting, "Water Lillies"; and "The Orientated," with crystals forming a glittering Asian-influenced series of symbols spelling out the word "happy" in either Chinese or Japanese. And, of course, they stock the entire all-new Paris Hilton tiara collection.

This past year, Tiara-Me-Sue was warmly welcomed to the ever-growing blocks of boutiques on Southport Avenue in Chicago with a basket of Atkins-approved snacks and Red Bull drinks from the merchants association. Foxbane responded with a special collection sale for her fellow Southport-area business owners and a select group of regular clientele. The result was a fine evening of cosmopolitans and tiara fittings that left the entire corridor sparkling into the late-summer night.

Tiara-Me-Sue is located at 4200 N. Southport Ave. Open 4pm to 7pm Wednesday through Friday, 11am to 6pm Saturdays.


About the Author(s)

The Critic is Gapers Block's monthly feature of "real reviews of fake things." Wendy McClure is the author of the upcoming book, I'm Not the New Me. Cinnamon Cooper and Anne Holub are Gapers Block staff members and crafty types.

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