In between making handmade jewelry in her home studio and working for Northwestern University’s Writing Arts program, Lincoln Square resident Stacy Oliver soaks up all the pleasures the neighborhood has to offer. Over the years, in no particular order, she’s been busy doing the following: singing, playing guitar and writing songs for a comedic singing duo which toured in New York and performed all over Chicago, studied and taught the art form of improvisation, discovered the beauty of cooking and baking, started freelance writing, and did some traveling at home and abroad.
After serendipitously discovering a joy for beadwork when she attended a jewelry show with a friend, for the past six years Stacy’s been honing her beading skills and reveling in the colorful and creative world of jewelry making. See her work at www.dancingstonesjewelry.com.
1. As a resident of Lincoln Square, what amenities or attactions brought you into the neighborhood?
Being so close to everything brought us here. You have great access to the train, terrific Mom and Pop stores, and the atmosphere is so friendly. The neighborhood is full of families, kids, and lots of dogs. It’s nice to be part of a neighborhood that promotes community with groups like yours and the Greater Rockwell Organization in our area.
2. Where are your favorite hidden gems–places or shops or restaurants that perhaps are a bit off the beaten path?
I have discovered the best place to get your hair cut (and colored, yes I admit it) in the neighborhood. It’s KE Salon. The owners are so warm, they are incredibly talented, and the prices are very reasonable. My husband and I like to stroll around the neighborhood in what we call our architectural tour. There are so many vintage bungalows and buildings, it’s a joy to see all the detail and history. There are so many little side streets with charming gardens and homes to look at and dream about them in yesteryear.
3. Do you think Lincoln Square is an area that is known for a signature fashion or style? For example, Wicker Park is known for hipster-chic, Lincoln Park for clean-cut Yuppie-types…does your neighborhood reflect the look of a certain clique or group?
There are definitely a lot of families in the ‘hood, so if a stroll could be a fashion statement, it would be one here. Just kidding. I adore kids. There is such a diverse group of people in age, ethnicity, and occupations that I think there’s a realness to what they wear. I find myself admiring the fashion of ladies and how it’s practical yet stylish. People are on the go, but aren’t pretentious. They’re living life and there’s an ease to their clothes.
4. It’s summer and that means outdoor dining! What are your favorite al fresco spots?
We just found out the rooftop is open at Gene’s Sausage Shop so we are headed there soon. A beer at a front table with the windows open at the Huttenbar is always a good time. Of course some delicioso Italian food al fresco at La Bocca Della Verita is dreamy.
5. What advice about Lincoln Square would you give to someone thinking about moving into the area?
It has all the amenities a neighborhood should have: a butcher, a baker, a shoe repair person. There are families, schools, an amazing thriving Park District, and people are engaged in their neighborhood. In a way it’s a throwback to how neighborhoods used to be. We actually know our neighbors and engage in community activities. You can be downtown in 20 minutes and yet still live in a quiet neighborhood. You can walk to Rockwell Crossing and have a cocktail or take a deep and enjoy some yoga. It covers the spectrum of whatever you want to do in your daily life.