Member Monday ~ Blush By Brittany

What better way to start a Monday than by learning about our newest member, Blush By Brittany! Read on for details from the Q & A session we had recently with Brittany.

Q: How was the name chosen for the business?     A: 10 years ago I was looking for a unique name beside “makeup by brittany” and ‘blush’ rhymed well.

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Q: What makes your business unique?     A: My business is unique because I can bring a fun experience to the whole day. You can eat, talk the way you want to, listen to music, etc., all in the luxury of your own home or hotel. Otherwise, if you are stressed the whole day, what happens is all of a sudden you sit down for dinner and you think “Wow, the day is over”.

Q: What services do you offer?     A: Airbrush and traditional make-up at your location of choice.

Q: How far will you travel to a client?     A: Southeastern Wisconsin.

Q: Why did you choose this type of business?     A: I am an acrylic artist on canvas and always had an interest in make-up. I decided in the very beginning, very young, that I only wanted to work for myself.

Q: What training/experience do you have?     A: Aesthetician license (from Vici Park, an Aveda Institute).

Q: If someone would like to book you for their event, is there anything they should know before the day?     A: Please don’t book according to bridal book planners. Most bridal books recommend that you book your make-up/hair stylist 6 weeks in advance. I book up to a year in advance and I rarely have a date available 6 weeks prior. You can still ask me, but if you want a particular stylist, then book them right away.

Q: What kind of events do you book for?     A: Weddings, photo shoots, commercial photography, television…

Q: What is your favorite part about being a local business in Southeastern Wisconsin?   A: Traveling to my favorite cities over and over.

Q: Where can we find you? What are your hours?     A: I only travel on-location. I am flexible on hours and days that I work, depending on what is convenient for the client.

Learn more about Blush By Brittany at blushbybrittany.com and thank you for taking the time to read Member Monday!

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Member Monday: Spirit of the Lakes Chorus

Being new to the area makes everything around Walworth County a surprise for me, and meeting the ladies with the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus was an absolute treat! They were all smiles, and I mean ALL smiles! And then they began to sing. My instant thought once they started: WOW. Their haromonies are as friendly and welcoming as their smiles. This genuine group of gals sing their heart out in practice every week, and when they perform for an audience, they wow them too, and often bring home honors of recognition for their talents. Lucky little me got to ask Director Tessa August a bunch of questions about herself as the Director, and the chorus. Read on to learn more about this incredible chorus, and where you can plan to see them perform in the upcoming months.

WCVB: Please tell us a little about Spirit of the Lakes Chorus.
TA: The Spirit of the Lakes Chorus is a women’s chorus, which performs a cappella four-part harmony. We have a great director, we love to sing, we laugh a lot, and we have become great friends on our musical journey. Get ready to sing, laugh, and meet other women who share your love of singing. We are an award-winning chorus! As part of Sweet Adelines International, we compete annually in our Regional Competition, and we often come home with medals to recognize our achievements.

WCVB: What type of music does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus perform?
TA: Barbershop, and other a cappella four-part harmony.

The Director of Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in Lake Geneva, WI.

WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself, as Director of the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus.
TA: I took over the reins as director of Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in July of 2015, after the retirement of co-directors, Joe and Kay Liles. I received my Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2012 from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. While at St. Nobrert, I studied in the Voice Studio of Dr. Michael Rosewall with an emphasis in Classical and Opera. I was very involved in  Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir, Vocal Jazz, St. Norbert Abbey Singers, and Knight Theatre during my years at St. Norbert College. A native of Walworth, WI, I moved back to Lake Geneva area and am currently the full time Director of Sales at Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva, and part-time Sales Manager at Gino’s East of Lake Geneva. I have stayed very involved with music by teaching private voice and beginner piano lessons. I also directs the musical production at myr high school alma mater, Big Foot High School, in Walworth. I am thrilled to to be the new director of Spirit of the Lakes!

WCVB: As Director of Spirit of the Lakes Chorus, what is your favorite part of being involved in the chorus?
TA: There is never a dull moment. I work about 75 hours a week in customer service, so to have my at least once a week night to completely escape into music is exactly what I need. My passion has always been music, hence why I have my Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. My favorite part of Spirit of the Lakes is the love. No matter what is going on, what we’re working toward, or even sometimes what we’re annoyed with…we really do love each other, and we make it through whatever we have to. Yes competition is fun and healthy, yes our performances are important, but if you’re not having fun what’s the point? And I’ll tell you..these ladies like to have fun!

Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in Lake Geneva, WI.

WCVB: What can a visitor expect by attending a rehearsal?
TA: We pretty much throw you in..in a good way. All the ladies are very welcoming. The director will normally ask what part you used to sing in chorus, and perhaps voice test you a little bit to see what section she would most likely have you in. Then it is completely up to you if you sing along or just listen. It’s a great time, and there’s never anything to be scared of!

WCVB: How many members are currently in the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus?
TA: 19 and growing

WCVB: Who can participate in the chorus, and how does one get involved?
TA: Any female singer. Coming by during a rehearsal is great. You can meet us in a relaxed atmosphere, and get to know us a little bit. They can get in touch with the director, or any member, there is contact information on our website!

Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in Lake Geneva, WI.

WCVB: Does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus have any upcoming events?
TA: We do! We will be performing on the Park Stage at the Walworth County Fair on Labor Day. We have a fall performance on Sunday, October 23rd at the Monte Carlo Room in Elkhorn. We will also have a Christmas/Holiday Concert at Horticultural Hall in December (date soon to be finalized).

WCVB: Does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus host local concerts?
TA: We can! We do a few every year, and can be hired out for performances as well. We usually do about a half hour to an hour of music depending on the event. We love to get out in our local community!

Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in Lake Geneva, WI.

WCVB: Where can the public see Spirit of the Lakes Chorus perform?
TA: At the above performances.

WCVB: Can Spirit of the Lakes Chorus music be purchased?
TA: It can! We have a few CD’s for sale, including a lovely Christmas one. Just contact us for more details!

To learn more about Spirit of the Lakes Chorus, visit their website and follow them on Facebook!

Welcoming Arbor Vista Nursery

Flower gardening and landscaping can be a tough business for home and business owners alike. Fortunately, Delavan has a local nursery that not only has a plethora of trees, plants and shrubs, but that also offers services to help you design exaclty what you have in mind. That nursery is one of the Walworth County Visitors Bureau’s most recent members: Arbor Vista Nursery. We had the treat of doing a little Q&A with Rita, from Arbor Vista and learned about all the amazing things they have to offer.

WCVB: Please tell us about Arbor Vista Nursery.
AVN:
 We are a locally owned and operated wholesale nursery of trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, and grasses with a retail sales yard for homeowners.

WCVB: How long has Arbor Vista Nursery been in Delavan?
AVN:
 Established here in Delavan in 1980 and now the size of 40 beautiful acres.
Arbor Vista Nursery in Delavan, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: What kind of plants, shrubs and trees can be found at Arbor Vista Nursery?
AVN:
 We have a wide and varied selection of hardy trees, shrubs, and perennials that are ideal for this area.

WCVB: What kind of specialty plants do you offer?
AVN:
 There are plenty of Wisconsin natives and butterfly and bird loving plants we have that we highly recommend!
Arbor Vista Nursery in Delavan, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: Does Arbor Vista Nursery offer any services?
AVN:
. Yes, we provide customer consultation on landscape design, plant health, and delivery and install for purchases. 

WCVB: Do you offer delivery?
AVN:
 We gladly do offer delivery in a local radius and with a delivery charge depending on location.
Arbor Vista Nursery in Delavan, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: Are your plants/products warrantied?
AVN:
 Yes, we do warranty for retail buyers, 100% up to two months and 50% up to a year.

WCVB: Are there any upcoming events/sales at Arbor Vista Nursery?
AVN: 
We will be having a fall sale on trees beginning in September and recommend keeping an eye on our Facebook page for updates and deals!
Arbor Vista Nursery in Delavan, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: Where can we find Arbor Vista Nursery, and what are the nursery hours?
AVN:
 We are located just past the arboretum on Dam Road (4348 Dam Rd) and we are open currently Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm.

WCVB: If someone would like to visit Arbor Vista Nursery, is there anything they should know before coming?
AVN:
  If there are any questions on future landscaping ideas or concerns on existing plants, pictures of the location or of your plant material are always handy to bring in and appreciated!

WCVB: What is your favorite part about being a local business in southeastern Wisconsin?
AVN:
 Seeing the beauty and joy greenery and landscaping can bring to individual home owners, businesses, and our local community in whole. That’s what has kept us going for 36 years and counting.

To learn more about Arbor Vista Nursery, please visit thier webiste, or follow them on their Facebook page.

Member Monday: The Historic Steppingstone House

The Historic Steppingstone House in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI. This week’s featured member is the ever charming Historic Steppingstone home in downtown Lake Geneva. Not only is this home full of intrigue, it’s also filled with incredible local history. I had the chance to meet with Charlene Klein, the owner of this lovely private estate, and was delighted by the luxurious style and historic beauty of this home that was built in the late 1800s. This tour is where modern day life meets a bygone way of living, complimented by stunning historical architecture. The stories that Charlene shares are simply icing on the cake!

WCVB: Please tell us a little about the Historic Steppingstone House.
CK: Steppingstone was built in 1875 by Phillip Moore, owner of the Moore Hardware Store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Italianate in style, it is typical of a “Lake Geneva” house of that time, painted white with dark green shutters.

WCVB: How did you come to acquire Steppingstone?
CK: I decided to move to Lake Geneva in 2003, and found Steppingstone after an extensive search for a family home. I believe that I was meant to live in this charming home and become it’s guardian for as long as possible.

WCVB: What makes Steppingstone unique?
CK: Steppingstone stands as a testament to the hard working full time citizens who made Lake Geneva a center of commerce and culture. After Mr. Moore sold the home to the town barber, generations of  the Chapman family lived in the home until the early 1990’s. I am only the fourth owner of Steppingstone in 141 years!

The Historic Steppingstone House in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI. -copy

WCVB: Your brochure states that Steppingstone has been “saved from the wrecking ball.” Would you please elaborate?
CK: After Margaret Chapman’s passing, the home had fallen into disrepair. Scheduled for demolition in 1995, a Lake Geneva craftsman, Ronald Weber, purchased the home and lived in it for 7 years while lovingly restoring it. He replaced and upgraded the electrical, heating and plumbing systems, while retaining all of the original architectural elements. The wavy glass windows, the curved banister, wood trim, exterior shutters, and transom windows are all original to 1875.

Then, as recently as four years ago, the home was threatened once again when the city devised a plan to demolish all of the homes on the north side of Wisconsin Street to erect a parking garage. I, along with several area residents, mounted a fierce protest and after many hours and months of phone calls and meetings with city officials, saved this and the other homes.

WCVB: What is your favorite story that has followed Steppingstone over the years?
CK: I very much like to think about the people that have lived and visited here. I can picture the early days with carriages making their way to the town square just at the end of the block, and pilgrimages down to the lakeside for picnics, and friends and neighbors gathering here. In later years, resident  Margaret Chapman was a singer with the Florentine Opera, and I imagine she and her beautiful baby grand piano filling the house with operatic melodies.

Very recently, though, I had a visitor, Mrs. Vorpagel, who had rented an upstairs room from the Chapmans in the 1940’s. She related to me that being of short stature, she had to stand on the second or third step to give her suitor a goodnight kiss!

The Historic Steppingstone House in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI. -copy

WCVB: Do you have a favorite room in the house? If so which room, and why?
CK: Each room has a different character, so that is a difficult choice! I do like to hear the giggles of my grandchildren in the playroom upstairs while they spy through the window at the people on the screened in porch. And that porch is where I take my morning coffee and has been the location of many “girl talks”, buffet dinners for my family and other gatherings. Of course, when I invite friends and family at Christmastime and Santa himself pays a visit, the parlor becomes the center of attention. I can’t omit the wine cellar – cool on hot summer days!

WCVB: What do you like most about owning a property in downtown Lake Geneva?
CK: I love being able to walk to everything and reduce my “carbon footprint”!

The Historic Steppingstone House in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: Why did you choose to open Steppingstone up to the public for tours?
CK: Since 2004 I have opened the home to charitable organizations as well as the AAUW and the like, and everyone always has suggested to me that I do this on a regular basis and give others the opportunity to see the home and hear its story.

WCVB: Can Steppingstone be rented for small gatherings?
CK: Yes! It’s perfect for ladies groups, cocktail parties, off-site meeting groups, etc. The pergola and terrace can also be configured to accommodate an intimate wedding.

WCVB: What does a tour of Steppingstone cost?
CK: $10.00 per individual

The Historic Steppingstone House in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: When is Steppingstone open for tours?
CK: Sundays at 11am, 1,3, and 5 pm. Free parking is available for tour guests.

WCVB: Are there any restrictions or limitations that visitors should know about prior to scheduling a tour?
CK: Steppingstone is not handicap accessible, as there are stairs and uneven terrace surfaces. No beverages or food is allowed on the tour. No smoking on the premises.

WCVB: How can people schedule a tour at Steppingstone?
CK: Best way is to phone or text me at 847-867-8684, but a reservation is not generally necessary. Weekday tours for groups can be scheduled with advance notice. Parking is available for small motorcoach vehicles.

The Historic Steppingstone in downtown Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI.

WCVB: Where is Steppingstone located?
CK: 817 Wisconsin Street, Lake Geneva, WI. 3 blocks north of the lake, and two blocks north from Main Street (Rte. 50). ¼ block west of the intersection of Broad and Wisconsin Streets.

To learn more about the Historic Steppingstone home and to see more pictures, visit their Facebook page.

Member Monday: Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is one of Lake Geneva’s hottest new attractions this year, and I had the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one convo with the magic man himself, Tristan Crist. He’s full of wit and entertaining humor, and his show delivers just that. If you’re thinking about catching one of his live performances, here’s what you can expect: to laugh, to be impressed and amazed by his illusions, and perhaps to be his “assistant” for a trick or two. He shares heartfelt stories, never misses a beat with his quick wit, and even takes time out after the show to chat with his guests and sign autographs for the little ones. Up close, Tristan is just as charming as he is on stage.

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WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself.
TC: I’m a 33-year-old professional magician and illusionist with a dog, a cat and several beautiful magical assistants.

WCVB: Please tell us about your assistants.
TC: Nancy and Shannon are my two full time assistants.  Nancy has worked with me for the past 8 years and Shannon for the past three years.

WCVB: How did you get your start in the magic business?
TC: I started with card tricks as a young boy, worked my way up to performing at birthday parties and scouting events.  Fast forward 20 years and thousands of shows in venues big and small – I can now call myself a professional!

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

WCVB: Where have you previously performed?
TC: I spent ten years as a featured entertainer at Circus World in Baraboo, WI performing for over half a million people.  I have also performed at large theatres and performing arts centers throughout the Midwest.  In addition, I enjoy performing for a variety of corporate parties and functions throughout the year.

WCVB: Besides your Lake Geneva location, where was your favorite place to perform and why?
TC: I had a 400 seat theatre at Circus World before coming to Lake Geneva.  It was a favorite place to perform because it was built specifically for my show and included all sorts of special secrets to help with the magic!

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

WCVB: How did you come to choose Lake Geneva as the destination of choice for your theatre?
TC: I was looking for a tourist destination close to Chicago and Milwaukee that didn’t currently have a permanent evening entertainment option.

WCVB: What is your favorite part of performing?
TC: Seeing the audience reactions!

WCVB: What kind of training do your assistants need in order to perform with you?
TC: Flexibility and a strong work ethic are a must.  Nancy has a gymnastics background and Shannon was a professional water-skier with the Tommy Bartlett show prior to doing magic.

Family fun at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre in downtown Lake Geneva, WI

WCVB: What kind of audience does your show cater to? Is your show family friendly?
TC: The show is designed to fool adults, but is certainly appropriate for the entire family audience.

WCVB: How many performances do you do in a week?
TC: During the summer season we will average around 7 shows per week.

WCVB: In addition to illusion mastery, what else can your audience expect at your live performances?
TC: The biggest surprise people consistently mention is how funny the show is.

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

WCVB: Is it necessary for tickets to be purchased in advance, or can people buy tickets at the door?
TC: Tickets can be purchased at the door, however, the show does tend to sell-out fast so advance tickets are recommended.

WCVB: What is your favorite illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our motorcycle appearance is my favorite because it is so incredibly fast it just seems impossible.  We put a lot of time into rehearsing it to make it what it is today and the audience reactions when a real motorcycle appears onstage in an instant are priceless.

WCVB: What is the most difficult illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our most difficult illusion to perform is our Houdini act that involves a split second switch.  It is a very physically demanding illusion for myself and Shannon which makes it difficult to pull off consistently every night.

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

WCVB: How long did it take you to learn that particular illusion?
TC: We practiced it daily for 3 months before it was put into the live show.

WCVB: What is your favorite thing about the Lake Geneva area?
TC: We are all enjoying exploring the many restaurants in the area.

WCVB: When you’re not honing your skills or performing, what do you do for fun?
TC: I tend to work on magic around 80 hours a week.  There are tons of things to do to run the business side in addition to the magic.  When I’m not working I am relaxing with my dog and cat, or checking out some local food or drink options.

To learn more about the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, or to order tickets to one of his upcoming performances, please visit http://www.lakegenevamagic.com. Catch him if you can…

Member Monday: Atrium Senior Living of Williams Bay at Sherwood Lodge

Choosing a senior living facility for yourself or someone you love can feel like a daunting task. Knowing what questions to ask, and where to begin looking for the right facility can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Walworth County is home to many facilities that offer a wide array of care and services. Today we talked with Jessica J. from Atrium Senior Living. Read on for an inside look into this senior living organization, located in Williams Bay.

Q: Please tell us a little about Atrium Senior Living.
A: Atrium Health and Senior Living strives to be an industry leader and to create healing environments with clinical programs that are focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for our residents and patients. We value our team members at all levels of the organization and our goal is to create a family-like atmosphere that is motivating and rewarding. We enhance the lives of our residents and patients through our unwavering dedication to leading the health care industry in supporting every stage of senior life. Our innovative spirit and commitment to caring for the lives and well-being of our residents and patients will help them achieve greater independence, comfort and more fulfilling lives.

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Q: What type of services does Atrium Senior Living provide?
A:  Our Senior Living program provides permanent housing for seniors and others requesting some level of assistance or oversight that provides the comforts of home with added services such as nursing care, housekeeping, personal care amenities, fitness and wellness programs, social activities, courtesy transportation and prepared meals.  The team members in our communities provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living, coordination of services by outside health care providers and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety and well-being. Assistance may also include the administration or supervision of medication and personal care services provided by our trained staff.

Q: Who is the average age of your residents?
A: We have residents ranging in age from 70 – 96.  Our average age is approximately 85.

Q: What is your favorite part of being involved with Atrium Senior Living?
A: Having a positive impact on the lives of our residents is the most fulfilling part of working here.

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Q: What types of activities do you offer for residents to participate in?
A: We often have frequent bingo games, various entertainers, shopping trips, movies, hand therapy, arts and crafts, ice cream socials and many more exciting activities.

Q: Does Atrium Senior Living offer both Assisted Living and Nursing Home care?
A: Atrium Senior Living has an assisted living facility that is attached, yet separate, from a skilled nursing home facility.  This aspect is unique in that if a resident at the assisted living facility declines in health, the transition to our skilled nursing home facility is familiar and much easier for the resident.

Q: What kind, if any, of Respite Care is offered?
A: Created with the caregiver in mind, our Post Acute Care and Senior Living centers offer Respite Care programs for those who care for loved ones an opportunity to take time away to relieve stress, restore their energy and regain balance in their daily lives. Caregivers feel peace of mind knowing that our compassionate team is focused on meeting their loved one’s medical and emotional needs. Guests receive expert supervision, medical care and have access to a restaurant-style dining room, entertainment room and a diverse array of planned outings.

1241392_3Q: What is the staff’s top priority for residents at Atrium Senior Living?
A: Our staff’s top priority is to ensure resident safety and to do everything in their power to help the residents sustain a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Q: Does your facility offer private or shared rooms?
A: We have both 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.

Q: What types of classes/events does Atrium Senior Living host?
A: We often partner with Mercy, the Walworth County ADRC and other entities throughout the area to provide educational classes and community events.  We have hosted American Red Cross Blood Drives, Bone Density Scans, community meetings, weekly bridge clubs, historical club meetings and many more events.

Q: Is the general public invited to attend the educational sessions that Atrium Senior Living offers?
A: Most of our events are open for the community to attend.  We love bringing the community into our lovely facility!

Q: Are there fees to participate in these classes/events?
A: Most of our classes and events are free.  There are a few that have had a small fee to attend.

Q: Is Atrium Senior Living ever in need of volunteers? If so, how would one become involved in volunteering at your facility? What requirements must an interested individual meet?
A: We are always open to having someone come in and help if they would like.  Volunteer opportunities would be considered on a needs basis.  Please call us if you are interested!

For more information on Atrium Senior Living in Williams Bay at Sherwood Lodge, please visit their website.