Friday, December 6, 2013

The Inside Scoop of Inside Out

Ya know how it happens...ya take a road trip somewhere and ya just have to find out more about that place. Where in tarnation did they get the idea? When did they open their business? What was this building before you moved in here? Hell's Bells! We just gotta know more about that there place!

Well, that's exactly how Thelma and Louise think. Wherever that Laguna Blue SUV takes 'em on this road of life, they seem to make new friends. Those road-trippin' gals want to know what makes the place tick - who those folks are and why they want to share it with other folks.

Going to Inside Out - a home and garden experience in Gilman, Illinois was just one of those times. A blog in November shared Thelma and Louise's first impressions with the business and their monthly shindig, "High Heels and Eyelashes, Mustaches, too". And what a bang-up impression that was! This time our gals are gonna tell you about some of the stories Paula Warmbir and her staff shared. And Thelma and Louise are sharing stories about the whiz-bang fun they had during "Get Your Merry On!"...the official kick-off of the shop's Christmas season.

A Beautiful "Painted Lady" Victorian Building
Some places are just a building, but that ain't the case here. Inside Out is in a building that's 108 years old, Heaven's to Betsy! The front of the building is painted like a beautiful Victorian "Painted Lady" home, and that "Lady" is an absolute beauty. When our gals walked in the door, it was like they were goin' into a family home. It was invitin' and welcomin', like they belonged there!

In the past, it was a grocery store. But Thelma and Louise were more thrilled to hear it was also a saloon in days gone by! They could just imagine fellers playin' cards while ladies dressed in saloon finery were strutting their stuff. Our gals would have been in the thick of it, fer sure!

Just a quick look above when comin' through the door, and - AHHHH! - a shiny tin ceiling! It's a real beaut! Nothing makes a place more welcoming to our Thelma and Louise than a room that shines from above! And, now, with all the Christmas finery out and displayed right nice, that whole shop is shinin' and sparklin' and makes Thelma giddy - lordy, how she loves those baubles and bling!

Paula Warmbir and Beth "Spike" Campbell -
Don't they look happy?!
After admiring the ceiling bling, there's a photo of two vibrant and smiling women on the wall to the right.  It's somethin' you just can't not see 'cuz you'll be tickled to see the look of goll-darn happiness on their faces. That, our friends, is a photo of Paula Warmbir and her partner and friend, Beth "Spike" Campbell. They opened their business together in March, 2009. (With a name like "Spike", Thelma and Louise are sure they would have been fast friends. They can't help but wonder how she came to have that name - did she spike the punch at the homecoming dance or was she a killer volleyball player?  Hmmmm....another question for another day, they reckon!)

Below that photo of those great friends, Paula and "Spike", there is an old oak piano with carvings like Grandpa did back on the porch in hill-country.  Paula had a nice fella from a local business give it to her for Inside Out. She feels like it probably made its way back home where it belongs since the piano is also 108 years old! It must have helped keep that tavern hoppin' with good tunes in the good old days, played by some feller with a bowler on his head and a stogie hangin' from his mouth.

And the best part is it still sounds like a peach (as long as Thelma isn't ticklin' those ivory keys!). During the "Get Your Merry On!" event during the first weekend in November, Nancy Coleman was playing Christmas Carols. Louise was gettin' all misty-eyed rememberin' how her Mammaw used to play the piano every Christmas for their family party. The piano player even played a special, sentimental song that Mammaw used to play for little Louise, "Suzy Snowflake"!  Louise couldn't help herself and recorded Nancy playin' a tune to share with y'all - you'll see all the bling-bling in the shop, and the hustle-bustle of the shoppers, too.  Make sure you stick around to see Thelma be-boppin' to the music! (

It doesn't take the girls long to find their way to the Tasting samples of Illinois wine is a good thing for these gals! Buy a glass of your favorite wine for a good price, or better yet, buy a bottle (or ten) for your home shindig. You can get wines from Blue Sky Vineyard, Aquaviva, August Hill, Prairie State, Fox Valley, and their newest addition, Lynfred. All from Illinois, and the best wine there is to wet your whistle. The shop also has special brews from Brickstone Brewery in Bourbonnais, just in case you don't care for the 'fruit of the vine'.

Jim Eyers, the owner of Blue Sky Vineyard in Southern Illinois, was pouring his fine wine that particular weekend.  He was right nice and such a friendly fella! Some of Thelma and Louise's favorite wines are from his winery! He sure helped folks "Get Your Merry On!" Especially when he shared his personal favorite, "Chambourcin Reserve". Don't get much better'n that!

Jim Ewers from Blue Sky Vineyard was happy
to help folks "Get Your Merry On!"
The shop has cheese from Fair Oaks Farms to purchase - and who doesn't like some cheese with their wine?! Free-choice Beef from Conn Farm, that'll melt in your mouth, is available to take home and throw on your grill, too. Upstairs you'll find plenty of kitchen gadgets and gizmos, Cugino's fixins' for soups and dips, and more things than you can wrap your head around. Ooo-wee, those things could really dress up a kitchen!

While they were enjoying the "Get Your Merry On!" event, these girls were ready to do a little shopping for the holiday. The hardest thing was findin' things for other folks instead of themselves. Sleevy-Wonders, fancy-schmancy jewels and jangles for the lady in your life or for your home can be found in every nook-and-cranny of this shop. Our Thelma and Louise have their eyes on a couple cute little aprons for the holidays. OOOH-LALA!

Paula even let our gals put their beaded wine glasses in her shop for folks to buy - they're the best to use when drinking that great Illinois wine! Yee-haw...the gals hope they'll make money for more road-trips!

Paula always makes sure there is some good entertainment for her Inside Out friends! Barry Cloyd from Peoria was also playing some tunes on his gee-tars and pickin' his banjo while singin' his songs for the party-goers upstairs that weekend. He has a very nice voice that helped the folks enjoy their time at Inside Out "Get Your Merry On". Folks were gathered around on the benches and tables listening while they tapped their toes and sipped on their wine. Yep, they were all gettin' merry!

Thelma with Susette Cole
from "YES!" Magazine
Thelma and Louise were tickled pink to meet some local ladies who are responsible for a new magazine, "Yes! For the River Valley Women". Those ladies from that there local magazine were such fun! What a co-ink-ee-dink that our Thelma's sister is friends with one of the ladies! By the end of their time together, Thelma and Louise felt like friends with Rachael Reynolds-Soucie and Susette Cole, too!

So many ladies came in that weekend...and you could tell so many of them were friends. Lots of smiles from lots of happy folks! Among those special friends who visited was Paula Roberts. She won a special gift from Thelma and Louise for just being swell and one of their most dedicated followers!

Paula Roberts with a special gift from Thelma and Louise
with owner Paula Warmbir

Inside Out is currently owned and run by Paula and her faithful staff, some of the most fun-lovin' gals you ever did meet! Shoot! It's like goin' home to your kinfolk! You'll love Ellen, Heather, Sue, Sarah, Celeste and all the folks you meet there...and they make sure you feel right to home when you visit. 

Paula is mighty thankful she has been able to carry on with the help of those ladies after losing her friend and business partner. "Never, never, ever give up" is her motto. Sadly, "Spike" was diagnosed with cancer in December of the year they opened their shop. Beth Campbell lost her brave battle 18 months later.  (Thelma 'sposes it would be like losing Louise, or vicey-versey. Egad!)

So that's the skinny - the inside scoop - on that shop down yonder in Central Illinois. It's easy-peasy to get to Inside Out, Gilman isn't far, and it's well worth the road-trip. We reckon you'll put Inside Out on your list of favorite places, just like Thelma and Louise did! In fact, our fun gals will be guest-pouring on December 13th for "High Heels and Eyelashes, Mustaches, too!" Come on down and sit a spell! They'll be waiting to serve you some fine Illinois Wines!