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Thursday, October 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 42.0° F  Fair

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Isthmus Indie Awards 2013: Market Spark -- Angela Kowieski, Divine Body & Styles Organic Salon & Spa

Angela Kowieski knew something had to give. The toxic cauldron of harsh chemicals associated with the beauty business " formaldehyde, parabens, ammonia, artificial dyes and more " was taking its toll on the 32-year-old owner of Divine Body & Styles Organic Salon & Spa. It all came to a head two years ago, when she was pregnant. She experienced headaches, rashes and chest pains. "I knew that if I didn't change, I wouldn't be able to continue to do what I love," she says. >More
 Guilt-free garb: Fair fashion at Change boutique on Willy Street

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi. Not a bad quotation to use as inspiration for a shop called Change. Spend a few minutes talking with owner Nikki Anderson, and you'll understand why she chose it. The east-side mother of two has a passion for collaboration, creativity, sustainability, local and global responsibility, and just plain neighborliness, and her clothing boutique reflects it. >More
 Batteries not included at I'm Board!

We live in a world dominated by electronics, and it can be a lonely, isolated place. Whether plugged in or wireless, we're surrounded by glowing panels and touch screens, beeps and bleeps. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the games we play. (Angry Birds, anyone?) >More
 La Lingerie is the perfect fit

You've seen the infomercials, ladies. Women of various shapes, ages and sizes struggle to get comfortable in their ill-fitting bras, tugging and wriggling and contorting as if staked to a nest of fire ants. The poor things are rescued by a bevy of B-actresses squealing about the virtues of whatever cheap, made-in-China, one-size-fits-all bra they happen to be shilling. >More
 Be a penny pincher at Ben Franklin

I'm in love with Ben Franklin. Oh, I know what you're thinking: He's old and set in his ways. What could he possibly have to offer? Well, girlfriend, what makes him so lovable is that he always has what I need, whether it's a pincushion or a piñata, and he's easy on the pocketbook. The Ben Franklin I'm referring to, of course, is the old-fashioned variety store, what used to be called a five-and-dime. >More
 Adventures in wonderland at Chi World & Health

As I headed for Chi World & Health, I had no idea what to expect. (Actually, I'd expected chai, since I'd misread the sign.) The modest building is tucked behind Suter's Gold Medal Sports and across from the Inferno, near the corner of North Sherman and Commercial Avenues. A large gold and white maneki neko, or beckoning cat, waves customers inside. >More
 You better run to Catalyst

With the Crazylegs Run behind us and (theoretically) warm weather upon us, Madison's active outdoor season is officially started. Do yourself a favor and ditch those blown-out running shoes and threadbare sweats for better performing duds. Do both, and more, at Catalyst, a recent addition to Madison's thriving fitness apparel scene. >More
 Urban blight to urban beauty at Hatch Art House

Hatch Art House is Tammy Schreiter's baby. While the gallery was officially born last December, it was years in gestation. She'd always dreamed of having her own gallery, a place that would showcase local art and give emerging artists a way to get a foot in the door. She carried that dream through years of waitressing and making art in Door County (where she organized gallery shows for the Peninsula School of Art) and, finally, to Portland, Ore., with its thriving arts scene. It was time. She packed up, drove to Madison, and Hatch Art House hatched. >More
 It's a man's world at Duluth Trading Co.

"Would you like a cup of coffee?" I'd just wandered into the new Duluth Trading Co. store in Mount Horeb on a brutally cold Wisconsin day. I turned, and a pleasant middle-aged woman in jeans and khaki vest motioned me over to a quiet alcove, where she proceeded to brew a cup of coffee for me. "Cream or sugar?" I was sold. >More
 Protesters sign the guest book in Wisconsin Capitol

At the state Capitol information desk, there's a guest book -- you know, the kind you see at weddings and funerals. Curious, I flipped back through the pages. Up through Feb. 13, it's about what you'd expect from awestruck visitors. >More
 My Hero: Dr. Jeff Patterson

I've known and admired Dr. Jeff Patterson for nigh on 35 years, since shortly after he joined the practitioners at Northeast Family Medical Center. He delivered my son (an endeavor, as I'm sure he'd agree, that required a doctor of stout heart), treated my mother's arthritis with a therapy for chronic pain he helped pioneer, and has seen me through difficult life passages, always listening carefully and giving me sound advice. >More
 January splurge at A Stone's Throw

The holidays are behind us, and after all the planning and trimming and cooking and partying, you must be exhausted, poor thing. So put that check you got from Aunt Mable to good use and treat yourself. And where better to find all the goodies that are near and dear to your heart than A Stone's Throw? >More
 One sweet trip to Slack's Jelly Farm

On a recent reconnaissance trip to the newly completed Gibraltar Segment of the Ice Age Trail near Lodi, the final climb to the trailhead was on Slack Road, a scenic lane winding through the Baraboo Hills. Along the way, we passed several insistent signs pointing to "Slack's Jams & Jellies," so we decided to check it out after the hike. >More
 Old is the new new at Zip-Dang

"Vintage" and "repurposed" are the buzzwords of the day. Mix in "indie," "creative," "DIY" and "local," and you have the recipe for Zip-Dang, an eclectic new shop on Monroe Street across the street from Michael's Frozen Custard. >More
 A gander at The Purple Goose in Verona

If you have a yen for one-of-a-kind items, a sense of play, a creative impulse, and maybe a kid or two, get thee to Verona. At the far end of Verona Avenue, in a lovely two-story brick house with a purple door, you'll find the Purple Goose. >More
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