Page 1

T. 630.917.0051 E. T. 708.829.1894 E.

founder’s note

ingrid adomaitis


learned from my mother halina not to dwell on the sad things in life. We do better for ourselves and the people around us to celebrate the stuff that keeps us moving forward. That was how Halina lived before and after her cancer diagnosis. She kept her dignity through to the last moment. You can read more about her in our feature article (p6). It wasn’t easy or pleasant for me to revisit her long fight against cancer, but I had to do it. That story ends where the story of this publication begins. Two years ago, I founded the Halina Foundation ( in my mother’s memory, with the mission to empower cancer patients and their families. We continue to raise money to help offset the cost of care for individual cancer patients. Check out some of our prior fundraising events on p10. But Halina Lifestyle takes a different tack on philanthropy. In our launch issue, you’ll find inspiring stories, photographs and pro tips that give service to the things cancer would take from its sufferers—things like confidence, hope and ambition. As I learned from my mom, these are things we only lose

if we let them go. The celebration of those qualities is the Halina Lifestyle. Read on for an ode to the selfie by a queen of the medium, who views selfies as a tool of transformative power (p14). Read on to meet a woman driven to the point of financial ruin by credit card debt, who turned around her financial life by a few poignant conversations (p16). Meet an interior designer whose creative process hangs on the belief that the right design can help you reach your human potential (p18). Meet the entrepreneur who converted a bad shopping day into a personal expression of style and sophistication (p20). These are the champions of the Halina Lifestyle, which reimagines the project of philanthropic endeavor by turning the challenge back to you: Change the world. Start with yourself.

featured contributor

Our cover and feature photography was shot by Ernestas Stanulis, with makeup by Dawn Coute (p12) and hair by the inimitable Juan Jose Herrera. If you’re in the beauty industry in Chicago, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Juan. He is talented, passionate and hard at work behind the chair at Chicago’s Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas (847.202.1900), where he recently moved from Naperville. Juan sat down with Jennifer Jade of for a chat about his life, work and the words he lives by.

How did you get started in the beauty industry? It is interesting how organic the whole thing was, and that I didn’t ever plan on being in the beauty industry. It just sort of happened. I walked into the salon one day to get white highlights. I started talking to Judy Johnson, one of the Creative Color Directors of Mario Tricoci, and she just sort of recruited me. She straight up was like, “You need to work here.” And that was how it happened. Who have been the mentors and influencers in your life? There have been a number of people at Mario Tricoci in Naperville that have been amazing mentors in my career and in my life. My friends and brother, of course, have been a large influence. All of them have been such wonderful people to me. Anthony Muti had a major influence, as he helped me during my struggle of balancing school and work. As a whole, what influences me are the sometimes random interactions I have with people. I am constantly learning.

juan jose herrera

honored to say that recently I received the Presidents Scholarship, awarded by Chicago Cosmetologists. I am extremely excited about taking this opportunity to travel to Spain in 2016 and experience the hair scene. What do you see coming up on the horizon in terms of your career? That’s a hard one. I just want to be out there, doing what I love to do. I want to stay busy and do what makes me happy. Long-term future? I don’t know. But in my near future, I plan on taking on this new market I have in Chicago. Words to live by? Everything will be okay. When things are good, they’re good. When things are bad, they can still be good. It’s all about perception.

Your networking at Chicagoland industry events has given you so many great connections and friendships. How has your move to the city changed or affected your business? It was definitely a big change in my life. I developed a strong relationship with my peers in Naperville and our clients as well. Moving into the city was a wonderful step for me! I wouldn’t say it really affected my business. For me, business isn’t always about the money. My business is good when I am busy, and fortunately I am always busy. Do have any other projects at the moment? Primarily, I want to focus on my clientele. I just want to continue to build my client base at Mario Tricoci Chicago, and thrive doing so. I am

photo by Robert Beczarski and Akin Girav




These are the things we won’t let cancer take from us love


The story of the Halina Foundation begins with an only child who left home and the single mother who stayed behind. It is a story about the lessons we learn from the ones who love us and leave us—a story about a girl, her mother and the chances of a lifetime.



The Halina Foundation raises money to support its ongoing campaigns through a series of shopping, educational and inspirational receptions.



Dawn Coute, cosmetologist extraordinaire, presents a step-bystep guide to a well-dressed face for all seasons.





Interior designer Irena Feldman believes a well-designed home can make dreams come true. She is the designer who helps you be who you want to be.



Edita Marciulioniene couldn’t find the right colored necklace, so in the classic entrepreneurial tradition, she made one herself. Thus begins the story behind edita’s elegant enterprise.



You’re surrounded by inspiration every day, but can you see it? Friends of Halina answer the question: what’s your chicago muse? (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago.)


Hell hath no fury like a selfie scorned. Here’s why you should love thy selfie.



Janice Goldman presents a case study of a woman drowning in debt who managed to get her finances back in the black. She is the divorcee who wanted to catch fish. (Hint: The fish are a metaphor.)

the halina magazine team Ernestas Stanulis, photography Indre Stanulis, makeup Ingrid Adomaitis, founder and halina foundation president Dawn Coute, fashion and beauty correspondent Dovile Riebschlager, cover and ad design Matt P. Jager, managing editor and production manager



a girl and her mother and the chances of a lifetime the halina foundation origin story by Matt P. Jager 6

a childhood memory captured by the girl’s mother


ver since ingrid immigrated to the united states, she wanted her mother Halina to visit. Once, she went so far as to buy a plane ticket and book the hotels for a motherdaughter trip to the California coast. It would be the American version of their childhood trips to Palanga, the Baltic seaside resort town where they vacationed each summer. But Ingrid’s mother backed out at the last moment. “She was already diagnosed with cancer,” says Ingrid. “She said, ‘What if something happens?’ And I said, ‘If something happens, I’ll be there.’ But she didn’t want to take the chance.” Ingrid came of age in the former Soviet republic of Lithuania, in two rooms of an old house in the center of town. There was no shower or telephone. On weekends, her mother would drive to a friend’s place for a shower. During the week, they washed up with a basin and a washcloth. Back then, you either had money or you didn’t. You couldn’t improve your status through education or ambition. And for a single working mother like Halina, life was especially unforgiving. Whatever dreams Halina had for herself, she shifted onto Ingrid or gave them up altogether. Somehow, Halina managed to enroll Ingrid in one of the

a grown-up memory captured by Ernestas Stanulis, with make-up by Dawn Coute and hair by Juan Jose Herrera (pictured)

most prestigious schools in town. Ingrid remembers the shock of seeing her classmates dropped off in private cars by personal drivers. That was the first time she realized she was a have-not, disguised among the haves by the single whimsy her mother refused to surrender: a taste for high fashion. halina always stood out in a crowd. In her day, the only way to wear the latest fashions was to make them from scratch. Halina used to bring little Ingrid along to the seamstress. They would sit for hours until every seam and hem wore perfectly. “She had a vision,” says Ingrid. “Elegant, but with an edge. With a twist.” Halina would tear pages from fashion magazines to give the seamstress an idea of what she wanted. But she never stooped to bald imitation. She might begin with a classic silhouette and zap it with a sharp color contrast, or spice it up with chiffon or lace. Says Ingrid: “When you went into a room, you noticed her. She was different from everyone else.” Their tiny apartment could hardly contain the dresses. Dresses overflowed from the freestanding wardrobe in the bedroom. Dresses filled the drawers of the china cabinet. The money that remained at the end of each month went to

helping Halina and Ingrid dress as if they weren’t living handto-mouth. This double life took a toll on Ingrid’s self image. She kept her domestic situation a secret from her friends at school. Even now, she doesn’t care to dwell on those days. “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me,” she says. “That’s just how it was.” halina had studied english in high school and once dreamed of finding a career involving the language. But for most of Halina’s life, speaking English wasn’t an easy way to make a living. Instead she went into pharmaceuticals, which promised better job security. If she regretted that choice, she kept it to herself. Halina wasn’t a complainer. When she felt discouraged, she kept a lid on it until the mood passed. She seemed to skate above feelings of misery or self-pity. To Ingrid, who knew her better than anyone else, Halina’s good nature was so convincing it almost rang false, suggesting a secret bitterness buried deep and paved over. The value of English proficiency went through the roof with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Halina pushed Ingrid to study the language. She helped out with homework, with the 7

love result that Ingrid finished at the top of her class. Toward the end of Ingrid’s university days, she was proficient enough to moonlight as an English teacher. An interpreter training program offered to fly Ingrid and a few other star pupils to live and work in the United States. Ingrid had an aunt in Melrose Park, Illinois who agreed to put her up. The trouble was, Ingrid had one semester left before graduation, and she didn’t want to leave without her degree. Years ago, Ingrid’s father had dropped out of medical school with a single class to go. He was a gambling addict who, in Ingrid’s words, “caused more trouble than love.” Although he did love his family, it wasn’t enough to counterbalance the pull of his addiction. He pinballed from rock bottom to rock bottom, dragging his family behind him. Even after the divorce, he remained involved in the lives of his wife and daughter for all the right reasons, though his presence kept Halina from moving on. Halina never said a bad word about him, just told Ingrid the truth when she turned eighteen. Ingrid had been crazy about her dad, which made his flaws that much harder to forgive. His failure to complete medical school was fresh in her mind when the interpreter program came knocking. The last thing she wanted was to follow his example and quit school without a degree. But she couldn’t turn down the chance to help her mother in a way her father never had: to move her out of that junkhouse apartment and into a better life. if the streets of Melrose Park weren’t paved with gold, at least they were made of shinier stuff than back home. Ingrid’s aunt and her family had lived in the U.S. for 15 years. They had a whole house to themselves, with showers and a telephone and Chanel Mademoiselle perfume. They hosted Ingrid for two rent-free years. Their hospitality gave her the jump on her new American life. Without the promise of their help, Ingrid doubts whether Halina would have allowed her to go abroad in the first place. Ingrid spent her early twenties in a frenzied effort to make good on the opportunities that hadn’t existed back home. A checklist of her activities reads like the outline of a Horatio Alger story. She was a court interpreter, a live-in caretaker for the elderly, a babysitter, a janitor, a sales rep for a cleaning crew and finally the owner of a cleaning business for office and residential properties. As a business owner she made good money, but running a cleaning company wasn’t exactly her career ambition, now that she could afford to have one. Plus, the thought of her lost degree kept niggling in the back of her mind. So she sold the business and went back to school. It was the Alger plot all over again: a marketing degree from Roosevelt University, an operations position at a cigar store (“I sold cigars but never smoked and still haven’t”), a job selling wireless subscriptions for a mobile provider, a marketing gig with a media consultancy in the city, a stint as office manager for a staffing company. By this time, Ingrid had saved enough money to move Halina into a more comfortable apartment—except now Halina didn’t want to go. After so many years, Halina claimed to like the old dump Ingrid had been desperate to escape. So instead of buying a new place, Ingrid paid for a facelift of the old family apartment. “For me it was a waste of money,” Ingrid says. “But that’s what Mom wanted.” halina would never have described her life as tragic. She was too optimistic for that. But you get a sense for the concessions her life demanded of her from the advice she gave 8

Ingrid. Don’t shoot for the sky, Halina said. Be realistic. Go with the flow. Think small. Improve your life a little at a time, step by baby step. In other words, renovate the old house rather than turn everything upside down to find a new one. That may not appear terribly optimistic to the American mind, but the point is Halina trusted things would turn out all right as long as she hunkered down and stayed out of the way. Ingrid has the opposite instinct. She’s the type to bend the world into a bow and shoot herself at the moon. But despite her best efforts, part two of her Horatio Alger story ended when she hit the ceiling in an effort to land her dream marketing job. Ingrid says, “I wanted everything faster. I was very forceful and aggressive and it just didn’t happen.” Halina’s advice kept Ingrid grounded and open to new opportunities, no matter how humble. When something opened up on the ground level in luxury retail, Ingrid dropped the office management gig and dove headfirst into the fashion world, where she remains today.

Cancer’s black magic can rob your confidence and hopefulness and happiness— one night in the fall of 2008, a car plowed into a vehicle carrying Halina home from a social engagement. That accident marks the moment her life went skidding sideways. She visited the doctor with a rather mundane complaint stemming from the accident and within a few days had a diagnosis of Stage II breast cancer. Halina took the call from the doctor’s office on a weekday morning. After hanging up, she finished her breakfast, did the dishes and put in a day’s work at the office. Then she came home and cried all night. That is as much as Ingrid knows. Halina kept the diagnosis secret. Only after Halina scheduled the mastectomy did she share the news with her daughter. Ingrid dashed home to Lithuania as soon as she could make arrangements with her employer. Her mother picked her up at the airport. That first night they sat together in the old apartment with a bottle of cognac. They drank it dry without feeling the effects. They sat across the table, not talking much, just drinking and hugging each other. For the first time Ingrid can remember, they cried together. Immediately, Ingrid began to work through the logistics of moving back to Lithuania. She could live on Mom’s couch, just like the old days. The apartment was slightly less miserable after the renovation. But Ingrid kept running against the cold, hard numbers. No matter how badly she wished to nurse her mother through the coming struggle, she simply couldn’t afford to move to Lithuania and scrape by with a dead-end job. With medical bills looming, they were going to need all the money they could get. Ingrid returned to Chicago with fresh urgency. years earlier, halina’s younger brother had died of lung cancer. Ingrid was a girl at the time, but she remembers the twisted power of the disease. Cancer’s black magic can rob you of your confidence and hopefulness and happiness, which leaves space to grow for pettiness and ugliness and the rest of

the small-minded emotions our better angels usually keep in check. If you have a kernel of jealousy wedged somewhere deep inside, cancer will puff it up until there’s no space for anything else. You’re left hating the people who love you, because they are living while you are dying. Maybe watching her brother wither away helped Halina to not go down the same road. Or maybe she was just wired differently. Through the surgeries, the chemo, the hormone therapy, the radiotherapy, the shrinking energy reserves, the hair loss, the puking, the blackening veins—through all that, Halina never gave in to self pity. She remained strong, ceding ground to the disease inch by hard-fought inch. Except in occasional flashes of vulnerability, she appeared not to engage the thought of death. It was like her mind had quarantined the idea. Instead she turned to the coping mechanism that had gotten her through the obstacles of her life to date: She accessorized. Halina didn’t look like a cancer patient. She looked hip. Strangers would compliment her on her head scarves as if they were the next season’s fashion items. If she didn’t have the energy to dress up, she would stay in and ring her friends and family to chat about the newest developments in their lives. If she couldn’t manage the courtesies of a phone call, she would stay in bed and flip through fashion magazines, getting ideas for when her strength returned. A framed portrait of Halina’s brother hung prominently on the wall, pinned in the corner with a black ribbon that indicated his death. Ingrid argued to move it out of sight: “Mom, it’s so morbid!” But Halina said, “You don’t understand. I get energy from him.” For several years, that’s how it went.

­ which leaves space to grow for — pettiness and ugliness and the small-minded emotions our better angels usually keep in check. back in the u.s., Ingrid made strides toward her own goals. At the workplace, she continued clawing her way up the ranks. She felt close to a breakthrough when she would be able to support Halina in a major way. Not long after one of Ingrid’s trips back to Lithuania, she received an email from Halina’s doctor saying, “I just want to let you know, I think this is it.” Ingrid fired back, “What do you mean this is it? I was just home and everything was stable. How could the situation change so quickly?” The doctor said that’s just how cancer behaved: tame one minute, the next minute, ravenous. Halina called Ingrid in tears. Her medical team wanted to put her through another chemo cycle of a certain drug, the first course of which hadn’t had any effect. Halina didn’t know what to do. Ingrid flew home to a grim scene. Her mother was hospitalized with liver failure. Her skin had gone yellow. She couldn’t do anything by herself. It must have been hell on Halina, who hated nothing more than to burden the people around her. Each night, Ingrid slept at the foot of her mother’s bed until one day Halina practically ordered her to go home and

get a good night’s sleep. The next morning, on the way to the hospital, Ingrid took a detour to a flower market. She picked over the offerings, assembled a bouquet of yellow and red roses, and hopped back in the car. Minutes before she arrived at the hospital, Halina died. ingrid thinks her mom didn’t want her to see her go. Whatever death was like for Halina, it was private. If she had seeds of bitterness secreted away, she took them to the grave. Later, while going through her mother’s things, Ingrid found a timeline in Halina’s handwriting that tracked each stage of the cancer fight, beginning with the accident in 2008 and ending with the latest failed chemo treatment. The surgeries and hospitalizations and chemotherapy cycles were written out alongside the corresponding dates. That list is as close as Ingrid could come to a glimpse into her mother’s private thoughts. Later, while flipping through screen grabs from their Skype conversations, Ingrid realized she had, by sheer accident, captured an image of Halina blinking back tears. Today, Ingrid agonizes over the thought that Halina needed someone, anyone, to persuade her to uncork whatever frustrations she kept pent-up. Says Ingrid: “Maybe you should push people to talk more when they don’t want to. I was afraid to do that. I thought we were pretty open with each other, but when I found she had looked up the dates and listed everything like that—it means it was hard for her. Very hard.” After the funeral, Ingrid felt about how you would expect: “I said, ‘Life doesn’t have meaning for me.’ I felt empty. Didn’t want anything. Talking about it was the most painful thing in the world for me. But I knew I had to do something.” That something became a foundation in Halina’s name. Ingrid began raising money to offset the cost of medical intervention for cancer patients and their families. Among the beneficiaries was one of Halina’s oldest friends, a colon cancer sufferer. ingrid can’t bear to pin black ribbons on pictures of her mother. It is still too morbid. She would rather celebrate than grieve. But she better understands what Halina meant about drawing strength from the ones who are gone. “I always go back to her. She is my strength. For me, that’s what the Halina Foundation is. I want my mom to stay close by.” cancer is mortality looking you in the eye. It is big hopes and long dreams washing away like sand castles in a rising tide. You die if you don’t treat it, but the only treatment in today’s age of marvels is to drip poison in your veins or scorch yourself with radiation. If that doesn’t kill you, the cancer will. Halina’s body and mind afforded her seven years—far longer than anyone could hope for given the initial diagnosis. She didn’t spend those years mesmerized by the deathbed. She lived as well as she could, keeping possession of the things that cancer would take away—pride and confidence and the small pleasures of everyday life. After Halina’s diagnosis, she and Ingrid made several more visits to Palanga, the Baltic resort town. They walked by the sea. They lay on the beach and read fashion magazines. They dressed up for dinner, just like the old days. “That’s the thing about my mom,” says Ingrid. “The years when she got sick opened my eyes. Not all at once, but slowly, slowly. You have to focus on small things. And if it doesn’t happen the way you wanted? It’s still okay. Life is still good, you know?” 9


BMW limos for VIP ticket holders, sponsored by Viga-Design

Guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by the Alhambra Palace

Left Giedre Prialgauskiene (Halina Foundation board member); Center Janice Goldman; Right Liucija Astrauskiene (Halina Foundation board member)

Last year’s Halina Foundation Annual Kickoff Campaign culminated with the Silent Auction & Fashion Show, an evening of celebration supporting Vida D. of La Grange, Illinois, recently diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. Attendees enjoyed a silent auction and fashion show highlighting designs on the theme of “Courage.” Janice Goldman delivered keynote remarks. (Read her insights on p16.) Raffle prizes included an Ultimate Tailoring Experience by featured designer Leandro Mulet, and an international escape to a tropical resort. Proceeds offset the cost of treatment for Vida D. Featured designers: Leandro Mulet, Audrone Stankuniene, Dovile Riebschlager, Nadia Dovidi, Viktoriya Khomenets

Center Daiva Malukas (HMD Trucking, Rodan Fields) with guests 10

Lithuanian fashion outpost Monique Boutique hosted the Halina Foundation Fashion Show and Reception, with 10% of proceeds going to Rose P., 33, diagnosed last summer with Stage III colon cancer.

Center Viga Pilipavichius (Viga-Design)

Invited friends of Halina Foundation attended a spring chat with Rodan+Field skin care consultants at the blow dry and color bar Blow By Blow. Attendees networked over cupcakes and cocktails. A portion of proceeds benefited Halina Foundation. The Well Heeled Wonder Woman Wealth Creator Series, a course by Janice Goldman and son Cory, aimed to demystify investment and help attendees find freedom, security, confidence and peace of mind. A portion of proceeds benefited Halina Foundation.

Leftmost Olga (Blow By Blow); Rightmost Audrone Stankuniene (Halina Foundation featured designer)


elegance before & after

a step by step guide to a well dressed face

a makeover by Dawn Coute



he key to achieving this look is the use of highlighter to illuminate the face from within, contour to define the cheekbones and slim the jawline, and color to enliven the overall look. After applying your skincare of choice, always prep the skin with a zinc oxide-based sunscreen to protect from aging environmental factors, such as UV rays and pollution, the latter of which has recently been shown to cause just as much damage to the skin as the sun.


After prepping the skin, I created a cocktail of hydrating foundation combined with illuminating primer for an all-over healthy glow, but used full coverage concealer under the eyes, on spots and in areas of depression to lift them out visually. I set the entire face with a mineral veil powder that has a subtle shimmer to create a polished yet dewy look.


Contouring has become all the rage for its transformative powers. While contour kits, sticks and liquids are gaining popularity, good old-fashioned bronzing powder works just as well and is easier to apply. The key is to find the right color, texture (shimmer versus matte) and brush for application. Since you need precision to create chiseled angles, a small- to medium-sized angled or domed blush brush works best. Apply bronzer in an upside-down heart formation from under the cheekbone, along the perimeter of the hairline, and to the other cheekbone hollow. Also apply on the sides of the nose and along the jawline, ending in downward strokes to blend the color into the neck. A swipe of brightly colored sheer blush on the “apples” of the cheeks, nose and forehead adds vitality and warmth to the face.

Lining the top lash line makes lashes look fuller, while lining the bottom lash line makes eyes look larger and more round. I suggest experimenting with liner, trying out different techniques on each eye for comparison to see which you prefer. Lastly, brows and lashes are currently the MVPs of the beauty industry. Create the desired brow shape with pencil, pomade and gel, using brow stencils if needed, to ensure perfect results every time. A welldesigned brow will upgrade your face by creating balance and connecting the dots to enhance your bone structure. Lash grow serums, lash primers, fake lashes, and lash extensions are widely available to enhance the look of natural lashes and create a more youthful, feminine appearance.


Find a lip color that coordinates with your hair, skin and eye color while making your teeth look white versus matching your outfit. Bold lip colors, such as red, wine, pink, orange and even plum have been leading the charge over the past 5 years. The end result is a well-dressed face that showcases radiance, femininity and beauty.


To make the eyes appear more open, lifted and vibrant, always begin with a brightening eye base. Top the eye base with an allover bright shadow color, such as pink, peach or cream. For eyes with greater texture, avoid shimmer all over the lid but opt for “pops of shimmer” where the skin is smoothest, such as under the brow and on the inner corners of the eyes. Floral hues, such as mauve, lilac, and sienna are flattering in the crease for their iris-popping abilities versus traditional brown. To make eyes stand out, eyeliner, full lashes and groomed brows are a must!

Suggested products SPF: MD Solar Sciences Tinted SPF 30 above FOUNDATION PRIMER: Laura Mercier Radiance Primer FOUNDATION: Armani Luminous Silk Foundation CONCEALER: Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer above top POWDER: Bare Minerals left EYE BASE: Too Faced SHADOWS, BRONZER, & BLUSH: NARS BROWS: Anastasia Beverly Hills LASH SUPPORT: Revitalash LIPS: Bite Beauty & Makeup Forever

Dawn Coute is a professional makeup artist with over 15 years experience in TV, editorial, runway and bridal makeup. She is the proprietor of Edit Faces (, a mobile makeup application service that provides onlocation makeup for every occasion. 13


love thy selfie a rumination by Dawn Coute


f a picture is worth a thousand words, what does your selfie say about you? In a world where our digital representations on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook play a vital role in the impression we put out to friends, loved ones, colleagues and the world at large, the humble selfie takes on an importance out of proportion with the act itself. Although the practice of frequent arm’slength photos of oneself has garnered its fair share of criticism, most of which hinges on the perception of narcissism, the selfie can be a powerful tool by which you portray yourself as you wish to be seen. Therein lies the power and 14

the art! Done well, the selfie can be an inspiring tool of self-expression and creativity. Kim Kardashian, an evangel of the medium, went so far as to release a book of selfies earlier this year. In fact, the entire Kardashian clan has created an empire mounted on the popularity of their wellcrafted and ever-evolving image. While they have withstood accusations of vanity, there’s a lot to be said about the value of a riveting photo. Which brings us to the original question: What would your self-portrait say about you? Are you fun and spontaneous? Professional but creative? Finicky with everything just-so? The average grainy photograph, taken with

inconsequential details in the background, can be transformed by a few tricks of the trade such as professional makeup, hairstyling, proper lighting and utilization of phone apps. With these tools, you can play, inspire and live up to your potential on a variety of platforms that play an increasing role in how others view you. Let’s explore some of my favorite tips to create a head-turning selfie!

Find your light Turn toward the light source and get close enough that you are sufficiently illuminated. If your back is to the light, your image will be dark in comparison. The LuMee smartphone case ($49.95,, favored by none other than the selfie-loving Kardashian clan, eliminates this problem by illuminating its subjects with LED lights placed directly into the phone case. The strategically positioned lighting instantly brightens any face, ensuring superior selfies every time.

Know your angles Everyone has a good side and an even better side. Discover your best side and most flattering angles, and stick with them. These can be interchanged with various facial expressions to create a myriad of combinations, but this way you will ensure you are always putting your best face forward. You can use a smartphone app (see “App magic”) to invert the picture to make it appear that it was taken from the opposite side, which will add variety to your selfie portfolio.

Flip the script Newer smartphone models have a lens located on the front of the phone which can be enabled for a mirror-like effect so you can see yourself on the screen. Using this feature allows you to see your facial expressions and easily control the end result. Now all of those bathroom poses can be put to good use in the form of a lasting image.

Dress the part Make sure your styling—hair, makeup, accessories, outfit—reflects the image you want to portray. For instance, a face free of makeup, adorned with hat and glasses, may be perfect for a beach shot. But for a more versatile portrait, indoors or out, a full face of makeup and a smashing outfit go the distance. Make the effort to look extra-polished. What seems like overkill in real life translates to an attractive, more youthful-looking you on screen.

App magic Create selfie art with the limitless phone apps available for download. My go-to apps are Camera360 (free) and Afterlight ($0.99) for total photo retouching; YouCam Makeup (free) to add lashes and makeup and to adjust skin and eye color; Pic Stitch (free) to create collages and add text and props; PEP-Fotolr ($2.99) to create customized, artistic effects via overlays, and Real Cover (free) to turn any finished product into a magazine cover. Retouching is about balance. You want to put forth a believable yet highly attractive version of yourself. From there, you can add the artwork to desired effect.



the divorcee who wanted to catch fish a financial makeover by Janice Goldman as told to Matt P. Jager


hen i first met sally, she had hit rock bottom. Five years earlier, her marriage of three decades crashed and burned in an acrimonious divorce that left her single and unemployed, with a scant lump sum settlement that had to sustain her for the next forty years. Until the divorce, Sally had deferred to her husband to manage their money. Throughout her married life, she worked for his enterprises, although never on the payroll. As a result, she paid nothing into Social Security. Furthermore, as a single woman she hadn’t established any credit. After the divorce, she hired a financial advisor, trusting in his expertise to help build her credit rating in anticipation of purchasing a home. But after absorbing several hits in bad investments—hits she couldn’t afford—things looked bleak. She had zero income. She was drowning in credit card debt. When she sat down with me for a new client consultation, she described these events with a helplessness that bordered on hysteria. She felt victimized. Her husband had screwed her over. The financial advisor had screwed her over. She invested her trust and money in them, and they ruined her. But she wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. “I refuse to be a victim again,” she told me. “I want to learn from you. I’ll listen to your advice, but I need you to look at me as an active partner.” Perfect. That’s my favorite kind of client. a good financial adviser is more than a technician. You have to connect with your clients on a personal level and be willing to understand their values in order to have any lasting effect. That’s just the kind of relationship Sally was looking for. She didn’t want a fish dinner. She wanted to catch fish. So we discussed some of my guiding principles. I told her hitting rock bottom is perfectly fine as long as you don’t delude 16

yourself as to how you arrived there. A financial makeover is like the 12-step program: If you can’t admit the lapses in financial management that landed you on rock bottom in the first place, you’ll never haul yourself out of the pits. But now that you’re here, you have to see the opportunity in a crisis. The first rule of investing is to buy when there’s blood in the streets. Back in 2008, when it seemed every Sunday another Fortune 500 company went bankrupt, you could have bought Ford or Citigroup Bank for two or three dollars a share. If you had a clear eye and a level head, that was the million dollar opportunity. Just when you think the world is crashing around you, there’s your chance to turn everything around. Take me, for example. One Thanksgiving thirty years ago, I became pregnant with twins; five weeks later my husband passed away. And I couldn’t even take a Xanax. One way to come back from a setback, to keep yourself from feeling like a victim, is to embrace your financial life. To take control. That’s what I did. In the words of financial author Barbara Stanny, every financial breakthrough is preceded by a financial breakdown. before sally came to me, she was always saying to her husband or financial advisor, “You make the decisions about my money.” Whereas when she came to my office, she wanted partnership instead of delegation. She wanted to transform herself into a responsible financial investor. She presented me her terms: “Number one, I need safety and security in my financial life. Whenever we’re investing, make sure I understand what I’m buying and how much risk I’m taking. No one has ever explained that to me before. Number two, whenever there are gains, we have to take them off the table rather than reinvesting. I can’t afford to lose more money.”

Janice Goldman is a financial advisor and life coach specializing in empowering women who have suffered a setback to get their lives and finances back on track. She is the author of the upcoming book “Let’s Talk About Money: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Protecting Your Assets,” available for preorder at Do you need a financial makeover? Contact Janice at

I agreed to her conditions. Then came the technical work of sleuthing through her finances. Almost every time I do a financial makeover, we dig up anywhere from ten to forty thousand dollars just by paying attention to the details. Maybe there’s an old gym membership that pays automatically every month. Or by reviewing the finances of someone with terrible student debt, and poring through the regulations or taking advantage of new legislation, we’re able to reduce the amount owed. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, it makes more sense to save and grow your money than to hurry to pay off the debt. But Sally had credit card debt, which is debt that has no benefit. Credit card debt is classified as consumer debt and bears no tax deductibility, so there’s no way to leverage it into a plus. Paying off credit card debt is like flushing money down the toilet. The only solution is to develop a rigorous plan of attack by finding less expensive interest rates. Some cards charge thirty percent, others zero. That’s a big difference. If you’re really in a bind, you can call the credit card companies and tell them the truth. Don’t hide from them; stay in close contact. Admit you can’t afford the entire balance, but ask if they would settle for a portion of the owed amount rather than forcing you into bankruptcy, in which case they wouldn’t recoup anything. The trouble with Sally was she had a goal to buy a house within the next five years, which took bankruptcy off the table. We had to figure out how to get more income from her portfolio or think up some other way for her to generate income.

Sally didn’t want a fish dinner. She wanted to catch fish.

over the course of the investigation, Sally and I got to know the details of each other’s lives. In addition to her other obligations, Sally cared for her eighty-year-old aunt, unmarried and childless, who had saved a couple million dollars over the course of a lifelong career as a nurse. Most families operate under the assumption that an estate ought to be divided equally. This seems to be garden-variety fairness. No one wants to enrich themselves at the expense of their own siblings. Sally’s family was no different. She stood to inherit half her aunt’s wealth, with the other half going to Sally’s sister—let’s call her Susie—who lived across the country in California. Susie was financially stable, married to a surgeon. Hearing this, I told Sally a story from my life. One day, toward the end of my mother’s life, she pulled me aside and said, “Janice, you’re a widow and a single mom. When I’m gone, I want to give my apartment to you. You need this more than your two brothers.”

But before she was able to voice that desire to anyone else or put it in the will, she passed. In the event, I couldn’t bring myself to repeat the conversation to my brothers or the lawyer. I thought, “How could I say that to my own siblings? They’ll get mad. It’ll screw up the family.” So I chose to keep my mouth shut, and we split everything down the middle. That, I told Sally, was one of the silliest and stupidest things I had ever done. I could have used that apartment a hundred different times. My brothers wouldn’t have begrudged me a square inch of it. But I was too scared to talk about money with my loved ones. That story inspired a series of conversations between Sally, Susie and their aunt. They ended up bringing in a C.P.A. and an estate attorney who found some estate planning benefits that would save money for the whole family. (In brief, the aunt applied her funds to pay off the student loans for Susie’s children, which reduced the aunt’s estate, which translated into less estate tax going to Uncle Sam. Win-win.) As a result of these conversations, the aunt wound up bequeathing seventy or eighty percent of the inheritance to Sally. It turned out that’s what the aunt wanted all along. She knew Sally needed the windfall, but she hadn’t known how to explain it to the other niece. Most families don’t talk about money. It took Sally bringing the issue into the open for them to come around to a solution. i like sally’s story because her breakthrough didn’t come by putting a magnifying glass up to the fine print of new legislation or credit agreements. Her solution was a matter of summoning the raw courage to talk to her aunt and sister about money. So many people don’t have the guts to have that conversation. I know I didn’t. But there’s no good reason to be afraid to talk about money. Conversation leads to clarity; clarity helps you make intelligent decisions. And as Sally learned in the wake of her divorce, the reverse also holds: Lack of clarity leads to poor decision making. The inheritance was a game changer for Sally’s finances. With those funds, she was able to pay off her debt and is today financially independent. She will have to generate twenty to thirty thousand dollars a year to remain solvent through to her nineties, but that’s a manageable amount. She can do it, knowing that everything else is in place. The whole process transformed her into a meticulously careful investor. Now, when she goes car shopping, she draws up a ten-column spreadsheet outlining the pros and cons of buying versus leasing. In other words, she learned catch herself a fish dinner.



the designer who helps you be who you want to be Irena Feldman’s philosophy of interior design by Matt P. Jager

Mantelpiece The mantelpiece, pictured here with Irena Feldman (irena@decarte. com), is the focal point of the sitting room. Blue sky frames the artwork by Tamar Sima, while the reclaimed wood backing grounds the piece into the earth. The artist dusted the layered oil paint of the flower in gold powder that shimmers in the changing light of the sun throughout the day.

Piano The metalwork behind the piano tells a story of three materials that add up to something greater than the sum of their parts. This C. Jere piece, made by a pair of artists who joined forces in 1965 with a mission to create gallery-quality art for the masses, is today viewed by collectors as a kind of vintage chic. The art dictates the accessories; the floor lamp reflects the feeling of volume, while the small lamp echoes the stem of the floor lamp.

Den Artwork and shelving frame the television in squared masculine edges that engage the feminine curves of the ottomans. The communication between the genders echoes a theme of the artwork above the television by Marysia Burr, which portrays a man and woman dancing in formalwear. The man of the house, a film buff, appreciated the style and elegance in the postures of the dancing pairs.


hen Irena Feldman meets a new client of DecArte, her interior design consultancy, her first question isn’t about furniture or window treatments or your design style. She wants to know what’s on your horizon. Your aspirations. Your dreams. “The whole idea,” she says, “is to build this space for the person you want to become.” Her design philosophy hinges on a view of the home as an extension of the self. So a space furnished entirely in neutral colors and massmarket furnishings (what Irena calls the “safe zone”) does not inspire or invigorate but suggests a certain dullness of anonymity. Similarly, a large-budget decor crowded with pricey centerpiece items can come off panderly. Irena once visited a property cluttered with tremendously expensive antiques. She recalls: “Separately, every piece was good, but together they did not add up to anything.” It was as if the design decisions had been made to satisfy a set of external expectations. The beating heart of the space—the resident—was missing. Irena’s ideal project ends with a client who, from the waking moment until the lights go out, inhabits a web of intimate personal connection. “The home should be a sanctuary,” she says. “Like a heaven, because it’s all about you.” Delivering that effect requires a human-tohuman connection between designer and client. Run-of-the-mill designers work according to a set of personal stylistic biases. They tend to design for the space rather than the individual, viewing art and accessories as the finishing touches to fill a wall or decorate a tabletop. But Irena’s guiding principle is to begin with art and allow the more functional elements—table, sofa, chairs—to riff from that starting point. “Art,” she says, “bridges the gap between who you are and who you want to become.” Personal transformation comes up frequently in conversation with Irena. The concept underpins her entire methodology. And it makes sense: Who wakes up each morning energized to continue being the person he or she already is? Oh, by all means, strive for contentment in the present moment—but even the most enlightened soul must attend to the clock in, clock out tasks of everyday life. Check the mail. Sort the laundry. Do the dishes. Brush your teeth before bed. These are the things that set everyday life apart from a dream. Nobody dreams about unloading the dishwasher—which is not to say wall art will complete your chores, but that a living environment tailored to your highest aspirations may just inspire you to live up to them.

survive to the present day. Sitting across the table from her, one can almost see the woman she was then: young, bright-eyed and whip-smart, persuading museum guests to open themselves to the artwork in the galleries, which had at great risk survived the ravages of the wickedest villains in history—a factoid Irena narrates in a brief and seamless transition to museum-guide mode. After a master’s degree in art theory and history from the prestigious Academia of Art in St. Petersburg, Irena set out on a life journey best described by the word “cosmopolitan,” which in the classical Greek sense refers to a citizen of the world rather than any one polis. Several countries later, she landed in New York, where she studied at the Sheffield School of Interior Design, and from there to Chicago. Clients sometimes ask about her preferred style, but the question doesn’t quite apply. Irena prides herself on discovering and executing a client’s vision. So if you always dreamed of visiting the pyramids, she would thrill to the idea of incorporating Egyptological notes into your home. Once, a client with minimalist taste wanted to feature an inherited grandfather clock—not exactly a contemporary item—in the sitting room. The grandfather clock would stick out like a sore thumb in a room of stripped-down, less-is-more contemporary furnishings. The trick was to make that juxtaposition appear deliberate. So she riffed off the colors and materials of the clock, with a sleek glass table held on wooden legs, which matched the stain of the clock wood, and gold-accented accessories that referred back to the pendulum. Other clients may say they want French

don’t have enough chairs around the kitchen table, you’ll know as soon as you sit down for breakfast. Same with mood. If a small-town grandmother opens her bedroom door into a black-lit space splashed over with neon colorings, the reaction will be immediate and may manifest itself in signs of physical revulsion—slamming the door and fleeing, perhaps. Harmony, the most subtle of the three components and the most important to Irena, is a thing you only really notice in its absence, and then as a mild perturbation. A room in balance with itself and the rest of the home conveys not exhilaration or revulsion, but a sense of rightness. You might say Irena’s solution in the case of the grandfather clock was a matter of composing harmonies to the melody provided by that item. the preconceptions people have of art—that it is suitable only for the aesthete or the supremely wealthy—echo the reservations holding people back from hiring an interior designer. But art doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Neither does design. In fact, Irena argues she saves her clients money. Who has time to research the advantages of hand-knotted over hand-tufted rugs, or the relative merits of granite versus concrete countertops, or which retailer offers the best deal for which item? Who will supervise the subcontractors, negotiate the boundaries of their responsibilities and hold them to the schedule? That is not to say you can’t manage a renovation on your own, only that it takes time—and you know the old line about time and money. A designer can guide you through budgetary decisions such as: What’s a better investment, wall art or furniture? The answer depends on several factors. Do you intend to move within the next several years? If so, will you ship your furnishings or buy new? If the former, calculate the moving fees into the price of purchase. If not, tack on the cost of new furniture to the original bill of sale. Consider that furniture devalues like a new car, whereas art transports easily and grows in value. A good designer can guide you to work of art that fits within your design budget. And when you measure the value of art, consider that the right piece will, over time, come to reflect your emotions like a piece of fine jade. It will accompany you through the springs and storms of your life. It’s like that line from Picasso: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Your art, like your home, will become a haven. Of course, one woman’s cherished masterwork may well be a lump of clay in the eyes of her neighbor. That’s why Irena starts off with that question: What’s on your horizon? Because she can help you get there.

The whole idea is to build the space for the person you want to become.

irena got her start as a docent in the Sevastopol Museum of Fine Art. The qualities that make for a good museum guide—self-assuredness, effortless enthusiasm, the ability to hold attention—

Provencal when what they mean is American Farmhouse—and many don’t know what they want besides a change of some kind. That’s when the detective work begins. Says Irena: “Even if you tell me, ‘I don’t know anything about design,’ it’s not true. You do have ideas. It’s my job to figure them out.” Just as everyone has hopes and dreams, everyone has a design style within them. The challenge you hire someone like Irena to surmount is to transpose those dreams into your space. interior design breaks down into three principles: function, mood and harmony. The functional elements are easiest to identify. If you




Edita and her handiwork captured by Sergei Zhukov. Check out more from Edita on Facebook (@eelegantaccessories) and Twitter (@e_EditaM)

edita’s elegant enterprise

a conversation with Edita Marciulioniene, owner and founder of e’Elegant Accessories


t all started because i couldn’t find what I liked,” says Edita Marciulioniene. Last summer she went shopping for a necklace, but couldn’t find anything in the color she had in mind. The shops told her, “Burgundy is not a summer color.” So she kept quiet but kept her eyes open, and when she found burgundy beads, she made a necklace herself. It was only when her new piece began to get positive feedback from her friends that the idea of e’Elegant was born. Since launching her Etsy shop earlier this year, Edita’s designs made it all the way to New York Fashion Week, and recently broke into a new market: Edita’s native Lithuania. The expansion is exciting, but Edita doesn’t let it go to her head. “I’m just creating things that make me happy,” she says. “Expressing myself.” HF: Tell us about your collection. EM: I have a few little necklaces that I’m proud of. I was inspired by 1920s style. If you look at old pictures of jewelry from that period you’ll see what I mean. My designs are classy, elegant and timeless, with subtle details like the irregular beads to set them apart.

How did your upbringing influence your personal style? Every family is like a little country with certain rules and traditions. Well, the women in my family paid attention to the way they dressed. My mom used to dress me so nicely, in beautiful little dresses. I’m not saying we were fancy girls—absolutely not—but we had to pay attention to the way we looked. To dress appropriately. And we didn’t just go to the store to buy an outfit. We had to create our own style. What’s on the horizon for e’Elegant? I have a few more products in mind. I visited Lithuania a few years ago when Halina was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. I brought her a very colorful scarf. She was so excited! It brought tears to my eyes to see how small things can truly bring someone happiness. So I have a plan to launch an e’Elegant scarf, but I’m still looking for a particular material. It takes time. I don’t move on anything until I’m a hundred percent sure. What advice do you have for someone working on turning an idea into reality? You have to think about what you want to do. You have to search. You have to feel. You have to think. Then one day you have to do it. Just like me. I don’t think I’m something more than I am. But I do have something inside, and I want to use it. As women, we deserve to shine and be cared for, and that plays a large part in the inspiration behind my creations. 21

inspiration Architecture provides a constant source of inspiration for Chicago creatives. Irena Feldman (p18): “I like Gehry and have great respect for van der Rooy. Also Chicago is a mecca for the art deco style. I love the Palmolive Building. For contemporary buildings, the Trump Tower is kind of a focal point for me.” Above Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion; Left Trump Tower Chicago. Photos courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography and City of Chicago

what’s your chicago muse? We want to know! Write us at

Janice Goldman (p16) takes a load off at High Tea at the world-famous Drake Hotel, another of Chicago’s architectural landmarks. Above The Palm Court at the Drake Hotel, home of the original Chicago High Tea. Former tea sippers at the Palm Court include Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and the Empress of Japan. Photo courtesy of The Drake Hotel. Ingrid Adomaitis (p6) gushes over the downtown lake shore where road meets water. She says: “I like to walk by the lake and check out the boats at Belmont Harbor. Something about the lake view helps to unwind.” Left Lakeshore Drive and Oak Street Beach. Photo courtesy of City of Chicago. Dawn Coute (p14) gets inspiration strolling the sidewalks of the Gold Coast, Chicago’s original millionaire colony: “I admire the beautiful residences and landscaping, which is always evolving. I get immense energy by envisioning the activity beyond the gates.”

Halina Lifestyle: Issue One  

The official publication of the Halina Foundation celebrates a lifestyle motivated by confidence, generosity, ambition, and the virtues we w...

Halina Lifestyle: Issue One  

The official publication of the Halina Foundation celebrates a lifestyle motivated by confidence, generosity, ambition, and the virtues we w...