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north shore—family, community and you

north shore

family, community and you

D E D I C AT E D T O

HEROES healthy & thin

the piven legacy regatta fashion the lake house al fresco dining

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FEBRUARY 2012

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north shore—family, community and you

dr. laura berman helping friends in need most romantic restaurants private quarters

Love

FOR LIFE 15 things kids can do kitchens take 2 explore bucktown shop your closet

APRIL 2013

north shore—family, community and you

BODY ISSUE WITH CHICAGO BEARS KICKER ROBBIE GOULD

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Fitness Fashion North Shore Trainers Brain Health Jump For Joy Romantic Getaway

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E DI TOR S L ET T E R

delicious food beyond

BY LAUR A HINE

WE LOVE WORKING ON THE food issue each year! Probably because our office loves food. It’s one of our favorite brainstorming sessions. Who’s doing something new? What’s trending? And can someone pass the chips/muffins/cookies that always seem to accompany a meeting? This month’s issue is infused with fantastic food ideas. Lindsay Roseman interviewed local celebrity chefs and got them to dish on, well, their favorite dishes. In our home section, Tate Gunnerson lets us peek at the home kitchens of two chefs, and even Marjie Killeen’s column talks about differing appetites—maybe that one has a little less to do with food than the others. Evangeline Politis found beautiful dresses that are perfect for a night out on the town. But if you want to eat in and not do all the work, Meghan Streit reports on meal delivery services that are worth the money on page 64. Of course, our dining editor, Julie Chenoff, LIVES MADE played a huge role in producing this issue, but she BETTER 82,582 herself is now a wisp. If someone who must eat for her job can lose weight, what excuses do the rest of $$ RAISED us have? Check out her story on page 34, and then FOR NFPs read her rave review of Grace — the acclaimed new $1,811,122 restaurant in Chicago. Finally, after finishing this sweet issue, it is time for two of us to say goodbye. Art Director Jessica DeJong, who is responsible for the beautiful layouts and design of the pages you’re holding–and our iPad edition that you might be swiping–and I are both leaving our roles at Make It Better to move on to new adventures. We leave you in most capable hands, and look forward to reading next month’s Men We Love issue when it arrives in our mailboxes.

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laughter julia sweeney’s happy life—laughter, entertaiment, curiosity and truth

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ulia Sweeney has had all the things people think will make them happy: money, success, fame, career, family. But, according to her, none of those things is the secret to happiness. “I wanted to be an actress, I never cared that much about being famous, but I wanted to be respected by my peers, and being funny was important,” she says. “Then I did get that, and it was good—I don’t want to downplay it— but it didn’t feel like a full meal.” After she left “Saturday Night Live,” where she created her iconic character, “Pat,” her brother died of lymphoma and she battled cervical cancer. “It was a real wake-up call about family and what was most important. There’s a lot of emptiness in show business—I know people will be shocked to find that,” she says with her trademark deadpan delivery, before she laughs. Based on these experiences, Julia wrote and starred in three monologues, “God Said, Ha!” “In the Family Way,” and “Letting Go of God.” She’s now working on a book, “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother,” that chronicles her life as a single, then married, parent of her adopted daughter. With marriage came her move to the North Shore, which she says is clearly a better place to raise a family than Los Angeles. “Now that I’ve got the family thing, I’m like, ‘Family’s great, but it isn’t

quite like getting out there on your own and making it.’ People aren’t telling you you’re great all the time,” she says. She uses these wry observations—totally true, and often an “aha” moment for the audience—to make a point, as well as to entertain. “When I did ‘Letting Go of God,’ it went down a lot easier because it was funny,” she says of her monologue that explored her serious journey from Catholic to atheist, but with a laugh-out-loud kind of humor. “People were able to hear it—I mean not my family because they were so upset—but audiences were much more open to what I had to say because it was funny.” When we moved the conversation to talk about happiness and what it means, Julia honestly admits that while she loves her family and her success, in the end, that isn’t what her happiness depends on. “Being curious is the greatest gift of happiness to yourself. People who are interested in knowing more and understanding what’s closer to being true are the happier people later in life,” she says. “I feel I have that, and that’s my insurance for whatever might happen.” It doesn’t hurt that she’s not terribly interested in possessions, and says that the things that make her the happiest are pretty much free. Books, movies— and, of course—the ability to make us laugh while we think about her ideas for what is true and right.

PHOTOS BY LEE ROSS, HAIR + MAKEUP BY JULES ROSS

By Laura Hine

To watch Julia’s monologues and TED talks, visit makeitbetter.net/sweeney or download the Make It Better iPad app in the App store

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food beth aldrich’s happy, healthy love affair By Laura Hine

PHOTO BY LEE ROSS, HAIR + MAKEUP BY JULES ROSS, COOKIE BY MDESSERTS.COM

W

hen Beth Aldrich talks about food, she’s not just happy; she’s in heaven. “I don’t just love eating food. I love looking at it, smelling it, thinking about it… It’s an obsession in the best possible way,” she says in the new book she wrote with Eve Adamson, “Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous” (NAL Trade, 2012). It’s not a diet book or a health book; it’s about loving food, but also about loving yourself enough to eat the very best food. We met just before the launch of her book, and Beth is a picture of her philosophy in action. She’s slim and full of energy. You’d never guess that a serious car accident in 2007 changed her life. She went from successful television host to patient, and while she worried that the damage to her face meant the end of her career, this mother of three sons had time to think about what was important and what would make her happy. “Food makes us feel good,” she says. “And I knew I could make a difference in how people think about food.” She started studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, because she says that she had a feeling that this was the place

that could teach her about food, health and—she hoped—happiness. The result? A new career, a new book and yes, she’s happy. “When someone I’ve helped calls back and they’ve seen results, I get giddy,” she says. “When you find the right path you know you should be on, there’s such joy.” From her lovely home in Wilmette, Beth lives what she teaches. In her book, she doesn’t ask you to deny yourself or count calories. But each week, for 10 weeks, she asks you to try five things. Most are simple: drink more water, have one ounce of dark chocolate each day (yay!) or try a new food. A few are tougher: start each day with a green smoothie, teach your children to help in the kitchen, and go vegetarian one day a week. But you only have to do five things for that one week. And in the end, it adds up to a healthy diet.

“The goal isn’t to be bone thin,” she says. “It’s about bridging the gap between guilt and pleasure, and enjoying food for what it is.”

Check out our writer’s experience trying out the “Real Moms Love to Eat” 10-week program at makeitbetter.net/real-moms To learn more about the book, go to realmomslovetoeat.com

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empowerment through

Katy drucker Photographer Evanston

The injustices women suffer in the other half of the world are mind-boggling and heart breaking. Girls are uneducated, women are marginalized and they are the victims of both poverty and culture. Most of us are unsure how we can change these women’s lives, but Katy Drucker did just that when she spent a year post-college volunteering in Africa and Asia. For several months, she lived at Antardristi, an organization dedicated to rescuing girls who are survivors of sexual assault. “It’s violent; it’s toward young girls,” says Drucker describing why she chose this project in Nepal. “It’s so common. Rape on the other side of the world; it’s a method of war, it’s power, it’s so frequent it’s terrifying, and little girls have to worry about this.” Founded by Vinita Adhikari, Antardristi provides

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safe houses, counseling, education and works with prosecutors to bring the perpetrators to justice. While Drucker was there, the girls ranged in age from 3 to 22. “I just wanted to help them because these girls meant so much to me,” says Drucker as we talk about her time in Nepal and how it changed her and the girls with whom she lived. “It was a heavy project, but even though I couldn’t do all that much, I felt like I was helping them. I showed them maps, we talked in English. It was great to see them smile and get excited about something.” Antardristi is the only program of its kind in the country, and Drucker says that Adhikari is barely scraping by, trying to keep the home open. “She’s the first one to bring attention to her country and community,” says Drucker. “She’s trying to re-educate the community that this is not the girls’ fault and they need to be supported in this.” When asked why anyone would consider the victim to be at fault, Drucker explains that it’s not a religious issue in Nepal, but one of culture. “Women in their culture are so below the men that if the men say it’s their fault, then it’s their fault.” It’s a cultural thing, she says. “Women do everything over there. We do a lot here, but they do everything over there.” Drucker also saw some of the same attitudes toward women when she traveled through Africa living and volunteering at a refugee camp. Everywhere she went, she asked girls if they liked being a girl, and none of them did. “They wished they were boys, or girls in America or even a cat in America,” she remembers with a laugh. “It was a very eye-opening year. I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat.” Drucker continues to work to raise awareness and support for Antardristi. She has held exhibits of her photographs from her year, and hopes to figure out a way to return soon. To contribute to Antardristi, donors can use firstgiving.com and search for Antardristi Nepal. It’s a secure site that takes a minimal fee for processing donor’s credit card donations. As Drucker notes, $100 goes very far in Nepal. —By Laura Hine

Photo by Autumn Stankay, skysight photography

storytelling

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empowerment through

advocacy Empowering parents to advocate for their chil-

dren is Jacquelyn Dortch’s job and passion. She manages and teaches Stand University for Parents (Stand UP) at Stand for Children, a nationwide organization that empowers parents, teachers and community members to advocate for excellence in schools. “It’s like professional development for parents,” says Dortch. Stand UP is testing the idea that involved parents can help Illinois students bridge the huge achievement gaps in math and reading scores. According to Stand for Children, only 32% of Illinois students are proficient readers by 4th grade and only 37% meet math standards. For minority students, the gap is even larger with just 6% of CPS students graduating from college by age 25. Stand UP classes start with the jargon of education and what it means. “Many parents drop their children off at school and they don’t know that the school is a level 1, 2 or 3 or what teacher turnover is,” says Dortch. “Why should I be concerned that the third grade class has had three substitutes this year?

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Photo by nathaniel perry

jacquelyn dortch Family Engagement Manager, Stand University for Parents, Stand for Children Lake Forest

Because it impacts learning.” The curriculum continues through test scores, grades, the learning environment at home, student performance and responsibility. The principals talk to parents, but most important are the changes parents make at home. One mom told Dortch about setting aside Mondays as reading nights—no television. Another talked about sitting with her children and studying for her GED. She said, “I want to do my best and I want them to do their best.” They also talk about the path to college, and how parental expectations and written goals can make a difference. When she talks about the curriculum, she’s passionate. But it’s the parents and their successes that make her job. She told me about one mom who was in court with her ex-husband in a dispute over their two children. “She told the judge, ‘I’m enrolled in a parent engagement class at our school. I’m doing everything I can to try and help my son.’ The kid was in the second grade and failing.” The mother completed Stand UP and then her ex-husband and current husband enrolled and also took the course. “They both had perfect attendance and they both graduated, and they’ve come together. They learned that the failing grades were a direct impact of their inability to get along.” At the graduation, the mother spoke and performed a tribute dance to a gospel song. Standing in front of the stage were her children, exhusband and husband. Not a dry eye in the house. In the program’s inaugural year, Stand UP graduated more than 500 parents in three states. This spring, in Chicago, they plan to expand to 200 parents at four schools, and in the fall they will grow into 8 to 10 schools with more than 50 parents at each school. And Dortch is the perfect person to lead this effort. She grew up in the Austin neighborhood, and she tells parents, “My parents were young, in fact my mother was just 15 years older than me, but one thing my mother did was she encouraged a love of reading in all of us.” The parents see Dortch as a role model, a success story. “They’re so used to people being put in front of them who don’t understand who they are or where they’ve come from.” And Dortch is committed to giving parents the tools to help their children rise up to better futures. “Many times the people I meet, they lack education so the idea of coming in and empowering people through education, I was like, this is great!” For more information about Stand for Children, go to stand.org/illinois. —By Laura Hine

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Luxury’s greater good By Laur a Hine

to create a “luxury” issue, I was, at the very least, cynical about the theme. How is luxury “making it better?” But then we started investigating, and our research crossed the spectrum of philanthropy. We found luxe-brand companies that give almost nothing to charity. One high-end appliance manufacturer touted that it gave about $10,000 toward a food-safety educational initiative last year. That’s not especially impressive, given that’s the cost of just one of their refrigerators. During my next kitchen renovation, I’ll be buying a different brand. We also found many luxury brands committed to philanthropy on a local level. These corporations—some privately held and some public— better the communities they operate in with generous donations to schools, arts and culture. And frankly, that’s the bare minimum of largesse one would expect from a business.

The brands featured on the following pages go beyond local, community-enhancing and employee-appeasing efforts to make a bigger difference in the world. It’s a commitment worth celebrating because it’s rarer than you would expect. How did we find them? Some, like Gucci, we were aware of because they publicize their connection to UNICEF through special products that benefit the charity. Others came to us through a connection to our Make It Better family. For example, my husband works for Beam, so I was aware of their philanthropic efforts. And some we gratefully stumbled across, happy to discover some of our favorite brands are also great “do-gooders.” No one “needs” these products—that’s why they’re called luxuries—but it’s nice to know that while we’re pampering ourselves and others, a little bit of our indulgence goes to those for whom luxury means clean water, safety from harm or a roof over their heads.

a d d i t i o n a l r e s e a r c h b y Ta l i a B e e c h i c k a n d S a m H e r s h

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When the idea floated around the office

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family-run artisanal producer of fine leather goods, the company has grown to over 500 corporate-owned stores in North America, plus a sizable international presence. The company’s headquarters are still in the original Manhattan loft that used to house the workrooms, and their success is based on interpreting classic American style. “We are a successful company, and we owe it to our surrounding communities to give back,” says Felice Schulaner, human relations executive for Coach. She also adds “We want the world to be a better, brighter, more positive place.” The Coach Foundation, which was started in 2008, has developed two major initiatives to empower women and educate children. Through this foundation, Coach has donated hundreds of thousands to various groups.

ESTABLISHED IN 1941 AS A

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In Chicago, they’ve worked closely with the KIPP Foundation, which runs several well-regarded charter schools, and their new initiative will involve over 400 Coach stores adopting a classroom in their immediate community and developing a relationship with the students and teachers. Their employee initiative also allows employees to nominate organizations to receive grants. Last year, the foundation received 82 nominations from employees, and donated $200,000 to 24 nonprofits. Also of note, if an employee holds a position of leadership or is a board member of a nonprofit for a year, Coach will donate $5,000 in the employee’s name to that organization. While a global corporation, Coach owns several retail stores in the area, including Michigan Avenue, Westfield Old Orchard, and Northbrook Court.

PHOTO <CREDIT> PHOTOS COURTESY OF COACH AND KIPP

COACH

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A SURPRISING WAY TO SAY “I DO” By Laura Hine

I

do” and “Surprise!” aren’t generally heard on the same night, but these couples astonished their guests to make their weddings unforgettable. Jeffrey and Naderé Sternberg had only been engaged for two months when they sent out invitations for their engagement party. They told their friends that their wedding was going to be a family-

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only destination wedding, so they hoped everyone would make it to the engagement party in Chicago. Of course, that was a clever cover story, which they went to elaborate lengths to make believable. The night of their party, they greeted guests in cocktail attire, socialized for the first hour, then quietly slipped away. When Jeffrey’s grandfather took the stage to welcome everyone with a toast, he said,

“We have a little surprise for you before dinner.” At that, a curtain parted, revealing a room set with chairs, an aisle, flowers—clearly ready for a wedding. “We could hear the guests screaming, cheering and laughing,” Naderé says. “There was just so much energy in the room,” Jeffrey adds. “People were so happy and surprised.” Including one aunt and uncle who were doubly surprised

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PHOTO PAGE 38 & 39 (BOTTOM ROW) COURTESY OF NADERÉ STERNBERG. PHOTOS PAGE 39 COURTESY OF LARA AND ED MEISSNER (LEFT), BARRY SIEGEL AND SHEILA FLAHERTY (TOP RIGHT)

because Jeffrey and Naderé had secretly flown in their daughter from Paris to be there for the wedding. A great cover story is clearly a must for a surprise wedding. For Evanston poet Barry Siegel, his 60th birthday party was already planned. As he was writing a poem about his longtime girlfriend, Sheila Flaherty, he decided that he would surprise her, and not only ask her to marry him at the party, but actually get married that night. “I got up to read ‘November Sun,’ ” Barry recalls. “And everyone assumed it would be about turning 60, but when I got to the lines, ‘Marry me now, Marry me please,’ there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” Sheila admits she would have worn a different sweater if she’d known, but loved every minute of the surprise and their wedding.

SURPRISE! Tips for Secretly Planning Your Nuptials For Lara and Ed Meissner, their cover story was their eminent move from Chicago to London. To say goodbye to friends and family, they planned a bash at Salvage One. Lara told 20 of her closest friends that a magician was going to start the evening off, so she needed each of them to hold a flower and envelope as part of the act. Instead, when the surprise was revealed, Lara walked down the aisle, kissing and hugging her girlfriends; their flowers became her bouquet. Each envelope held a letter, telling why Lara valued their friendship. Again, not a dry eye in the house. The usual surprise party has one honoree who’s shocked, but the dynamic changes when every guest gets to have that moment of thrill; when they all realize that the evening is not what they expected and a magical event is about to happen. For these couples, their weddings were the beginning of a lifetime of surprises.

If you’re considering a surprise wedding, the three couples we talked to recommend these steps:

1 2 3

Have a plausible cover story and stick to it. Keep your mouth shut.

Plan for the moment of surprise. Both the Meisners and Sternbergs had a curtain open after a toast for the reveal.

4

Accept that not everyone will come. Every couple mentioned that one or two people didn’t make it, but the people who care the most will make it.

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new places, favorite spaces By Julie Chernoff, Laura Hine, Liz Logan and Susan B. Noyes | Photos by Nathaniel Perry

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PHOTO <CREDIT>

hile we all have our favorite restaurants—the places where we don’t need to see a menu, but we’re likely to see a friend—there’s still a thrill to discovering a new dining experience. We love the possibilities of an unfamiliar menu: taste combinations we hadn’t previously considered, cuisine from a country we’ve always wanted to visit or a cocktail made with as much care (and as many ingredients) as an entrée. Add to that the excitement of being in a new space, and you know why our restaurant reviews are a must read week after week on makeitbetter.net. But no new restaurant becomes a favorite without a strong vision. For this month’s feature, we chose chefs and owners who have recently opened or will soon open new restaurants. Each one is taking a leap in a slightly different direction—and we’re confident these places will soon be added to your list of favorites.

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Stephanie Izard

GIRL & THE GOAT AND LITTLE GOAT

Chicago

PHOTO <CREDIT> BY DAN GOLDBERG

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hicago’s still reigning “It” chef, the Evanston-born, Connecticut-bred Stephanie Izard, is an unlikely reality TV star— though she earned her fame when she became the first and only woman to win Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Yes, she’s an incredible chef who creates unusual and addictive flavor combinations that “make your whole mouth happy” (her unofficial slogan) but she also radiates “Midwestern nice”—not usually what TV producers are looking for. So it’s no surprise this down-toearth girl-next-door seems most comfortable back in Chicago, where she runs her much-lauded, perpetually booked restaurant, Girl & the Goat, and is currently planning her new casual diner, Little Goat, which will open later this summer. “It’s a place for us to go super causal and make some of our favorite comfort foods from childhood and around the world,” she says. In addition to her “Top Chef” win, Stephanie was named a “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine, and the James Beard Foundation just announced Stephanie is up for Best Chef: Great Lakes, following up on last year’s Best New Restaurant nomination for Girl & the Goat. Yet, it seems she hasn’t let any of it go to her head. “I’m all about having my restaurant do well, having fun with my cooks, and always remembering why I’m doing all this—because I like cooking and I love eating,” she says. She even claims that the cuisine at Girl & the Goat isn’t beyond the scope of the home cook, and for her 2011 cookbook, “Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats and Drinks,” she tested the recipes in her modest apartment kitchen. “Most of what we cook at the restaurant you can do at home. It’s simple, slow food driven and homey,” she says. “It’s about the flavor combinations and starting with fresh ingredients.” On the rare occasions when she’s not working at her own restaurant, or planning the menu at Little Goat, you might find her at Avec, her favorite restaurant in Chicago. “I love the communal seating. I always end up sharing my truffled flatbread with the person next to me. You make new friends,” she says. “And I love Koren Grieveson, the chef.” Just as she’s a fan of Grieveson, many people are fans of Stephanie—a thought that simply overwhelms her. “Having a book signing is something I never thought would happen to me,” she says. “Sometimes I just think, ‘Wow, life is strange.’ ”

—LL, additional reporting by LH makeitbetter.net

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love

for life

F Photo <credit>

ebruary is the month of love. Red hearts are everywhere from the grocery store to the artwork your child brings home from school. But living with another person has never been as easy as drawing a â?¤. So we set out this month to find couples who are in love and plan to stay in love, and who were willing to share a behind-the-scenes look at their marriages. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no one secret they all share, except that they all make their relationship a priority. And, they all have a sense of humor about the inevitable setbacks and bumps in the road. Need more love and laughter? We have an interview with Dr. Laura Berman on page 60, and romantic lingerie on page 56. And on page 36, we found over-the-top proposals that might give you and idea or two for a big romantic gesture on February 14.

By L au r a H i n e , L iz Lo g a n , S u s a n B . N oy e s a n d K i m T r eg e r p h oto s by l e e ro ss | h a i r a n d m a k e u p by j u l e s ro ss

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Meredith and Jon Sinclair Wilmette

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To check out Meredith’s blog, visit

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Photo <credit>

heir story could be an American fairytale. Blonde, perky cheerleader meets tall, handsome basketball player at a small-town high school in Pennsylvania. They fall in love and live happily ever after—married for 20 years, with two children, Truman and Max. When they first got married, Jon explains, “We moved to where we knew no one. So we were really forced to hang out with each other.” He adds, “That’s never gotten old for me.” And as befits the fairytale, both are successful. Jon is an executive vice president at Harpo, and he’s worked for Oprah for 16 years. Meredith is a writer/blogger, on-air contributor and has her own website hoo-dee-hoo.com. They’re also popular on Twitter, where their flirty interaction has over 11,000 combined followers. “Back in the day, we got two-way pagers,” says Jon. “We had those ten minutes and it turned into, ‘Hey, baby... ’ ” “It’s cheeky and flirty,” says Meredith of their communication evolution from beepers to Twitter. “Now it’s a really fun way to keep in contact with each other during the day.” And when they describe their schedules, it’s clear that keeping in touch through technology is part of what makes their relationship work. “With Jon’s schedule, we never have family dinners,” Meredith says. “I felt really bad about that, but we adjusted our reality. We have family breakfasts.” Jon adds, “You can have the same kind of conversations over pancakes as you can over pot roast.” And even with the crazy schedule, there are some definite advantages to having a spouse working for Oprah. “I give better gifts, I listen better, I know how you all work,” says Jon, who has worked on thousands of Oprah episodes with a staff of mostly women. “I can’t get away with anything!” Meredith says with a laugh. But Meredith didn’t use Jon’s contacts or access to launch her blog. Instead, she found her own path to success. Like her adventure last winter driving a MercedesBenz SUV to the Super Bowl, as part of a social media promotion. They might not work as business partners, but as life partners, the two are definitely in tandem. “I bring him out, and he grounds me,” says Meredith. Jon adds, “Without us getting together I don’t see how any of this would have happened.” —LH

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FE AT U R E

7 WAYS TECH IS CHANGING EVERYDAY LIFE

TECH

While scientists are working on global problems, they've solved a few everyday ones as well.

BY LAUR A HINE

How you learn. Massive Open Online Classes— MOOCs—let anyone take free classes ranging from “The Emancipation Proclamation” to “Cryptography.” You watch videos of the instructor, then work with other students for feedback on assignments. Meanwhile, for-profit sites offer courses on crafts, yoga and video production—almost any skill you're interested in mastering.

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PROS: With an Internet connection, anyone, anywhere can learn almost anything. CONS: Online classes don’t physically connect you with other students.

WANT MORE?

edx.org, coursera.com, udacity.com, lynda.com, yogaglo.com and craftsy.com

How you manage your health. In our office, we have writers who use BodyMedia, FitBit and LoseIt—devices and apps that track exercise, measure sleep, etc. As these devices get more sophisticated, your options for what to monitor will grow too, and if you choose, you could make your data available to researchers studying lifestyle diseases like diabetes.

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PROS: Information is power, and if you’re trying to improve your health by losing weight, you need all the help you can get. CONS: Information still won’t put the fork down or get the butt off the couch. That's all you.

WANT MORE? fitbit.com, bodymedia.com, loseit.com

How stores reward you. You’ll soon be able to toss the plastic tabs cluttering your keychain. With an app, local stores can track your visit and offer you rewards. Belly, a Chicago company, has an app that’s showing up on iPads at stores in our area.

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PROS: No more cards. CONS: It’s another privacy vs. savings tradeoff

to consider.

How you share stuff. Pre-tech, you could call a neighbor to borrow seldom-used items, but now apps let you search and share almost anything: spare rooms, pets, cars, dinner parties and household goods.

4

PROS: It’s environmentally friendly and pocketbook smart to share instead of buy. CONS: Watch out for scams and strange people, but most sites weed out weirdos via user feedback. WANT MORE? airbnb.com, dogvacay.com, blablacar.com,

WANT MORE? belly.com, passport app for iPhone

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feastly.com, zipcar.com and neighborgoods.com

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CHICAGO SMARTS These two innovative services will save you time, money and sanity.

How you manage information. The cloud simplifies information management through apps like Evernote and Tripify. Websites like Dropbox and Chicago-based 37signals, with its Basecamp product, make group projects and sharing a snap—use one for your next PTA committee assignment. And for pure fun, Pinterest has risen to be the digital scrapbook of our passions.

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PROS: A much more organized way to keep and store information, and share it with a team. CONS: There is a short learning curve. WANT MORE? evernote.com, tripify.com, dropbox.com, and 37signals.com

Use Desk Time to Scout Temporary Workspaces If you need a temporary workspace, whether it’s for one day or a few months, stop trolling craigslist and head over to desktimeapp. com. Desk Time is a searchable database of shared spaces that can be rented by the day or the month. Temporary offices include a variety of creature comforts, such as coffee, conference rooms, printers, monitors and lounge areas. DESK TIME FEATURES:

How you cook. Chef Chris Koetke, vice president of the School of Culinary 6 Arts at Kendall College says that the next big idea that will sweep home kitchens is induction cooking. Yes, the same technology from 20 years ago, but so much better. Safe, efficient, very precise and now works with most pans. PROS: You can boil water faster, melt chocolate without scorching, and set an exact temperature. CONS: Requires a new cooktop. WANT MORE? theinductionsite.com

How you watch TV. The revolution started with TiVo, which allowed consumers to easily record and watch shows when they wanted, but now tablets like the iPad, plus services like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes mean you can watch what you want, when you want and where you want. And the big screen in your family room can still be used with a $99 AppleTV device, Roku or Xbox to stream programs onto your television—and in HD.

PHOTO COURTESY OF APPLE

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PROS: Consumer flexibility and niche shows can find viewers. CONS: For live-action events like sports, you still need cable or satellite.

WANT MORE? hulu.com, apple.com, itunes, netflix.com, amazon.com/instant-video, roku.com

 Large, useful photo galleries of the spaces  Detailed location maps  Detailed pricing options  Listings filtered by amenities or proximity Spot Hero—Your New Parking Companion Whether you’re working downtown, or out to enjoy the town, use spothero.com to locate parking options closest to your destination. SPOT HERO FEATURES:

 Photos and maps for each parking lot  Hints for finding entrances  Detailed rate info for both daily and monthly parking (and exclusive deals)  Reserve and pay for your space online  Guaranteed lower rates We decided to put it to the test: Find parking near the Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue. Spot Hero recommended 540 N. State Street and offered a rate of $13 for 12 hours of parking, a savings of $18 over the drive-up rate of $31.

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2012 Everyone needs a friend that’s “in the know.” She’s the gal who will tell you where to get a dress hemmed, an entertainer for your kid’s birthday party or the sweatiest workout. Consider us that friend. When our readers filled out the second annual “Best of” survey this year, they shared where their kids learned to swim, moisturizers that they can’t live without, the most delicious pizza and favorite Chicago and North Shore museums. We love the anecdotes, testimonials about great service and passion that

people shared with us. It’s that passion that gives us hope our neighborhood businesses continue to be vibrant parts of our communities. When hundreds of our readers care enough to tell us about products they love, and local stores that provide the best service, it’s a good sign that people want their hometown favorites to succeed. And, we’re more than happy to share the information. Here are our reader’s picks for the Best of 2012 in fashion, beauty, dining, entertainment, home, fitness and kids.

p h o t o s b y n at h a n i e l p e r r y

For even more photos, and a few categories that didn’t fit in the magazine, make sure you download our free iPad edition. Go to makeitbetter.net/ipad

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BEST

2012

BEAUTY BY LAUR A HINE

best anti-aging strategy

The women of the North Shore fall into three distinct camps when it comes to trying to not look their age, with very little crossover. A gentle reminder—if you’re committed to a smile and great attitude as your aging strategy, you might also remember the sunscreen. And if you’re sure a Botox injection is the answer, don’t forget that attitude is more important than age. Botox By blocking nerve impulses and stopping muscle contraction— which is what causes the frown-like line between your eyebrows—Botox causes the wrinkle to relax and soften. Great in small doses, but let’s avoid the frozen face look.

Smile and Great Attitude A positive spirit, lots of water and clean living were the kinds of answers given by a lot of readers. We love the reminder that friends and sleep are great anti-aging tools, too.

37% facial moisturizers

2% nail polish

5% miscellaneous

8% facial cleansers

THE MOST POPULAR PRODUCTS

Topical Treatments From Retinol creams to Oil of Olay sunscreen, we got lots of responses. The most popular: Kiehls and Arbonne anti-aging creams. But remember, those night creams only work if you’re also using a sunscreen during the day!

best beauty products you can’t live without

29% make-up

BEST BEAUTY SERVICE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:

Mani/Pedi Mani/pedis rule with our readers. If you’re giving up something, it’s not your nails. As far as which nail salons were most popular, it seems most women choose somewhere nearby. We had nominees from Lake Forest to Libertyville, Evanston to Barrington! Interestingly, haircuts, highlights and blow-outs received very few votes. We’re guessing because hair care is considered a necessity, not a luxury.

BEST PLASTIC SURGEON

8% hair products

12% hand/body moisturizers or cleansers

 Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate  Arbonne Revelage Intensive Nighttime Brightening Serum

 Boots No. 7 Exceptional Definition Mascara  Moroccanoil Treatment Light  MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolour

Dr. Michael Byun Another split vote between “Don’t do it,” and “No one,” to women who were quite committed to their doctors. Dr. Michael Byun, who practices in Northbrook, received the most reader votes. 1775 Walters Ave., Northbrook, 847-513-6899, chicagocosmeticsurgery.com

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get gorgeous gifts by laura hine

For gals who are looking for a little pampering—think sister, mom, daughter or best friend—we have all kinds of glamorous goods that will make her glow this holiday season. And for the men in your life, we have a couple of ideas that are sure to up his game in the grooming department.

Moroccanoil Body Products The beloved hair care line has expanded into body products, still with the famous argan oil, and also with shea butter. Luxurious. Put together a gift package, and get a free bag. Hand Cream $29, Body Soufflé $53, Body Buff $43, Intense Hydrating Treatment $28, Cleansing Bar $11, Teddie Kossof, 281 N. Waukegan Rd., Northfield, 847-999-9500, teddiekossof.com Jo Malone Gift Set This London-based company is known for understated sophistication, from the packaging to the fragrance. Holidays bring special gift packages, so indulge in the citrusy Lime Basil & Mandarin, which works for men and women. $95, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard, Nordstrom.

Bobbi Brown Bellini Lip and Eye Palette One of our favorite makeup lines always puts together clever gift palettes that you might not be able to part with—so get one as a gift and get one to keep. $75, bluemercury, 680 N. Bank Lane, Lake Forest, 847-615-3000, bluemercury.com

Laura Mercier Honey Bath The little honey dipper sold us on this moisturizing and foaming bath. You only need a little to feel luxuriously clean. $40, Bloomingdale’s, Westfield Old Orchard and Chicago, bloomingdales.com

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ghd Midnight Deluxe The stylists at Teddie Kossof swear by ghd tools, and this deluxe gift set includes a blow dryer and flat iron. So if you’ve got a gal who’s hard on her hair, you know what to get her. $225, Teddie Kossof, 281 N. Waukegan Rd., Northfield, 847-999-9500, teddiekossof.com

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Trish McEvoy Effortless Beauty Deluxe Travel Brush Set Once you’ve used a perfect brush, you never go back, so this set makes it easy to take brushes with you, and the chic case even has room for travelsize cosmetics. $135, bluemercury, 680 N. Bank Lane, Lake Forest, 847-615-3000, bluemercury.com Fresh Sugar Soiree Mini Lip Collection Treat your gal to lips that are moisturized and have shine. Don’t forget the mistletoe! $65, Sephora, Northbrook Court and Westfield Old Orchard, sephora.com Tru Blooms Made from flowers grown throughout the Chicago area, this light, floral perfume is available only in limited quantities this holiday season. $38, The Garden Shop at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, 847-835-5440

Lollia Scented Bath Products These beautifully scented products have a following among ladies who always know the right gift to bring, and we love the humor of the foaming bath packaged in a faux wine bottle! Relax Foaming bath $34, Perfumed Shower Gel $22, Shea Butter Hand Creme $24, Perfumed Soap $10, Neiman Marcus, Chicago and Northbrook Court, neimanmarcus.com

Stocking Stuffers Pure Illumination This lip gloss is for the girl who loves to go out at night—it comes with its own built-in LED light and mirror. $20, Raven and Dove, 1143 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-9550, ravenanddove.com

Men's Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Refueling Set The 160-year-old apothecary brand is frou-frou-less, which appeals to men, and the products work, which should appeal to you. A smoother cheek to nuzzle. Includes face wash, brushless shaving cream, moisturizer, hand salve and body scrub soap. $58 ($80 value), Bluemercury, 680 N. Bank Lane, Lake Forest, 847-615-3000, bluemercury.com

Opi The Top Ten The top 10 selling colors of the year in a mini-bottle collection. Change your mind, change your color. $25, Teddie Kossof, 281 N. Waukegan Rd., Northfield, 847-999-9500, teddiekossof.com

Eight & Bob Eau de Toilette Discovered by John F. Kennedy as a student traveling in Paris, this scent was smuggled out of France in books to evade the Nazis. For a man who loves a good story as much as a good scent. $195, Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com

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The Gifted Child

 MONSTER RATTLE For the littlest Lady Gaga fan on your list, these handmade, soft rattles are cute enough to display when not being gnawed and squeezed. And they’re from a local Etsy shop! Ages 0-2. $9, etsy.com/shop/ shawnasmithhandmade

By Laura Hine

EDITOR IN CHIEF

MAGNA TILES Popular with boys and girls, it’s a building toy that encourages imaginative play (shhh!). More is better, so even if they have some, add to the collection. Ages 6+. $50+, Three Wishes, 1515 Sheridan Rd. Wilmette, 847-251-8622, threewishestoys.com

 PLAYMOBIL FALCON KNIGHT’S CASTLE The newest and coolest Playmobil set. Warriors for boys, fantasy for girls—it’s a toy that will last through several siblings. Ages 4-10. $105, Lake Forest Toy Station, 270 Market Square, Lake Forest, 847-234-0180

PENGUIN ENCOUNTER For the young animal lover, a face-to-face with a penguin is unforgettable. Ages 4-6. $111 (one adult/ one child, includes admission), Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, 312-939-2438, sheddaquarium.org

Kids still love to open something shiny and new. Parents want that shiny and new thing not to require a million batteries or make a lot of noise. So this year, when I’m shopping for my nieces and nephews, these are the gifts that will keep everyone happy—and maybe even playing together—for hours.

 CALICO CRITTERS So cute, I want a set for myself. The plastic is covered with a little fuzz, so they’re pleasant to touch. And they have baby animals— awww! Ages 3+. $20+, Children’s Gift Shop, 310 Happ Rd., Northfield, 847-441-5975, thechildrensgiftshop.com

 REVERSE CHARADES In this twist on regular charades, everyone acts out the word and one person guesses. Available in regular and junior editions for the under 6 crowd. $24, marbles thebrainstore.com

 AMERICAN GIRL OUTING Put away the catalog, and take your daughter or niece to the palace of girldom. Bring her doll for a hairstyle, and stay for tea or lunch. Reservations a must (online only). Ages 7+. American Girl Place Chicago, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 877247-5223 americangirl.com

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By Laura Hine

EDITOR IN CHIEF As the mama of a tween, I promise you that no matter what they say or how plugged in they are, tweens want to connect with you (parent, auntie or grandparent). So this list is heavy on ideas you can experience together.

The Gifted Tween

LOADED DERVISH LONG BOARD The cooler version of a skateboard, this is your chance to show your kid how you used to carve it up in the ‘80s. $321, Shred Shop, 3801 W. Oakton St., Skokie, 847-855-7669, shredshop.com

 BABYCAKES BAKER These mini-sweet bakers are super fun for the budding Gale Gand in your family. Coordinate with friends’ mothers and you can have a mother-daughter baking party. $25-$30, bedbathandbeyond.com

 WOLVES HOCKEY GAME Affordable and family-friendly hockey action. Real fans? Wrap the tickets up with a team jersey. $22.50 and up, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, 800-THE-WOLVES, chicagowolves.com

 LOCKER LOOKZ The school year has started, but come the end of winter break, she’ll look forward to going back to school if she can bedazzle her locker with wallpaper or a mini chandelier. $26, Wishes Toy Wonderland, 1885 Tower Rd., Glenview, 847-657-9474, wishestoywonderland.com

BOWLING AND A BAND Too young to go to Schubas, but if they love live music, gift them a night at The Alley. Under 21s (with parents) are allowed for bowling and most live shows (on Fridays and Saturdays). Wrap with a T-shirt from their favorite band. The Alley Highwood, 210 Green Bay Rd., Highwood, 847-433-0304, bowlhighwood.com

BLUE MAN GROUP Blue Man Group is hard to beat for this age group. Great group gift to give with another family, and even if you’ve seen BMG before, the show is all new (but still blue). Blue Man Group, Briar St. Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 773-348-4000, blueman.com

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PHOTO <CREDIT>

CRAFT TOGETHER Artsy girls would love to explore and create with you. (Husband Hint: You can give this to your wife and daughter, and give yourself the gift of an afternoon watching the Bears!) Go to makeitbetter.net/craft for a list of knitting, beading and other crafty classes

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Photo by aaron fedor

fa m i ly

susan cain on

parenting an introvert By Laur a Hine If you have a child who is an introvert, Susan Cain wants

to talk with you—preferably one-on-one and in a quiet, thoughtful manner. She’s an introvert and the author of The New York Times bestselling book: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” and a wildly popular TED talk.

We spoke before her local appearance at a Family Action Network event. She wants to help quiet children reach their full potential—especially given that schools, sports teams and the social whirl favor the gregarious and talkative versus the contemplative. Here is the edited version of that interview. continued on page 42

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If you have a child who is an introvert, what’s the best thing you can do for her? The best thing a parent can do is to really love—not just tolerate—but really take delight in the child for who she is. Because what you find is that introverted children often have gifts that extroverted children don’t, and vice versa. So these children often have rich inner lives, they’re very conscientious, they’re very creative, they tend to get passionate about something and those passions can be a delight to behold. But given that it’s such an extroverted society, if you have an introverted child, she’s going to be out of step with what is expected of her, and that’s the part she can use help with—learning how to navigate that. So school is one area where an introverted child is probably out of step. What’s your advice there? It’s understandable from a teacher’s point of view to want kids to be participating in the class, to make the class discussion rich and to know what the kid is thinking, but I think we’ve gone a little haywire with that. Try to work with your child to find ways of participating in a class that are comfortable for him, like preparing before a class what he wants to say, and then pushing him to say those things early in the discussion. A lot of people feel a rising anxiety when they haven’t spoken, and they feel like when they finally do raise their hand, it’s too big a deal. If you can speak up earlier, it removes all of that anxiety. What happens when an introverted child reaches middle or high school? Social expectations really change in those years. Hold on tight! Middle and high

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school for many introverts is really the hardest part of life. It gets better after that! In high school, the main social currency is being gregarious and vivacious. Later on in life, there are a lot more forms of social currency, but it’s much more limited in those years.

up to a new bunch of kids, you can say, “What are you going to do when you get there? Who are you going to speak to first?” Look for the kid who seems the most approachable and talk to her one on one and let her be the gateway into the group. When do you push a child who is an introvert versus let him stay in his comfort zone? It’s an art, not a science. I would be guided by the principle of push where you think there’s actually a benefit on the other side. If you think it’s something your child would enjoy once he overcame his initial discomfort, then it’s worth pushing through it. But if it’s asking him to participate in something that’s not meaningful to him, then let it go.

So how can parents help? One thing is to help a child figure out what her passion is. That’s obviously important for any child, but it’s especially important for introverted kids because they often form social groups and derive support from being around kids who are interested in the same things they are. And they often ascend to leadership positions that they wouldn’t do for its own sake, but they do in the service of something they really love. And what about socially? It can be tremendously helpful to role play situations that are tricky before they actually have to encounter them. So a kid who has trouble going

Do you have special advice for parents who are extroverts versus parents who are introverts? Introverted and extroverted parents who have an introverted child each have their own pressures. The extroverted parent might just be bewildered by the child who doesn’t want to do these things. The introverted parent might be reliving some of his or her own pain from high school, and might want to spare the child that pain, but inadvertently cause more by pushing in ways that they’re not comfortable. I think it’s so important to make peace with who you are and your own feelings about (high school) before you even think about the concrete steps to take with your kids. What other suggestions do you have for parents who are struggling? The last chapter of the book is on how to cultivate the gifts of introverted children and it’s filled with concrete

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suggestions. But the most important thing is to not just tolerate the child for who they are, but to truly take delight in them. I believe that whatever we feel inside manifests itself. Regardless of what we tell ourselves to say or do, people have a way of knowing what you’re thinking or feeling, and your children most of all. So if you think your child is really cool, your child knows that you feel that way and vice versa. None of the concrete tips are really as important as that, and if you need to do your own work to get to the point where you can really appreciate your child, then that’s the work you need to do. And for parents who see their own social worth wrapped up in their children’s popularity? It’s understandable if you get caught up in that sort of thing (Are they invited to parties? Are they popular?) because your child’s currency is your currency, but you need to step back and look at what you’re doing and try to make peace with your own issues. Parents who are struggling should give themselves a break because it’s hard to parent an introverted child in this culture because all your friends and all the signs around you are saying your kid should be playing soccer and going to parties and having birthday parties with 50 other kids, and you can feel worried or anxious or impatient, so give yourself a break if you’re feeling those things, and then work beyond it.

Not sure if you’re an introvert or extrovert? Take Cain’s online quiz to find out at thepowerofintroverts.com

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FA M I LY

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great tips for college essays BY LAUR A HINE

“Summer is a great time to get a jump on your college applications.” Sounded great last spring, didn’t it? Well, it’s August, and between the beach, friends, summer jobs and sports schedules, your average rising senior hasn’t done much beyond look at the Common App essay questions and sigh. Before you begin to panic, (or worse, nag) take a deep breath. There’s still plenty of time before school starts to find an angle and write a draft. We talked to experts, read the books and found 11 great tips. Some are for parents, some are for kids, but sharing these is a great starting place for both of you.

topics to avoid 4

Skip the following topics:

Bragging of any kind. Political/social/controversial public issues, including world hunger, homelessness and the environment Trips/events that cost a lot of money Topics that cause the admissions committee to question your judgment, integrity or ethics A crime, misdemeanor, drunken or sexual experience or other inappropriate behavior (Editor’s note: You may think one of these would make a hilarious story that college admissions officers would love, but you’d be wrong.) —Lillian Luterman and Jennifer Bloom “In! College Admissions and Beyond” (Abbeville Press, 2011)

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finding the topic 1

Dig deep. You need to explore your real, authentic self and be willing to take risks. Think about difficult situations you’ve overcome, a challenging relationship with a parent or sibling, your greatest fear, a time you messed up, or a time when you let a good friend down. The things that make you human are the experiences that help you grow and the stories that make you stand out in a crowd. —Matt and Stacey Baker, Riley Baker Educational Consulting, Northfield

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Great topics for a personal essay: After-school jobs, travel, volunteering, quirky hobbies and experiences that made you learn something new about yourself. —David C. Bennett , Director of Admissions for Enrollment, Lake Forest College

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People are fascinating and you are a person. By happy coincidence, there is no topic in the world about which you are better prepared to write. If all the applicants in the country suddenly wised up and wrote about themselves, most would have good essays. Everyone is different, and people are endlessly interesting. —Edward B. Fiske and Bruce G. Hammond, “Fiske Real College Essays that Work” (Sourcebooks, 2011)

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Your essay should not be one long excuse for academic issues. If you have a rough academic record, tell us quickly what happened and then tell us why things are changing. We have seen too many essays about how “I didn’t get along with my teacher.” Tell us the solution, not just the problem.—David C. Bennett, Director of Admissions for Enrollment, Lake Forest College

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Avoid “resume prose” where your essay is an endless list of activities and accomplishments. And don’t write about unicorns or prom! —Rafael S. Figueroa, Director of College Guidance at Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, Former Admissions Officer at Occidental College and Wesleyan University

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writing style percent of the applica7 Ninety tions I read contain what I call

McEssays—usually five-paragraph essays that consist primarily of abstractions and unsupported generalization. They are technically correct in that they are organized and have the correct sentence structure and spelling, but they are boring. —Parke Muth, former Senior Assistant Dean and Director of International Admission, University of Virginia first paragraph should be a 8 Your short, punchy sentence or two

that gets the reader’s attention… Your story should start out with the most interesting, exciting detail. One that is sensory and concrete.—Linda Metcalf, “How to Say It to Get into the College of Your Choice” (Prentice Hall Press, 2007) Spell check isn’t your 9 Proofread! friend. Go through the essay

looking for basic grammar mistakes, like homophones: their/there/ they’re, its/it’s, stationary/stationery or holy/holey/wholly.

parental “help” experience with hands10 My on parent editing is that it

usually turns a good kid essay into a mediocre lawyer essay. —Sarah Myers McGinty, “The College Application Essay” (College Board, 2006)

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Essay topics are like dinner parties—there are good ones and bad ones, but at 17 you’ll probably want to avoid those that are cooked up by your parents. —Evan P. Cudworth, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, Director of Content and Media University of Chicago

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family

reducing the stress of college admissions Advice for parents (even though it’s not about you) By Laura Hine

I

f you have a teenager, chances are you spend a lot of time talking to other parents about college admissions. The rumors (he got in where?), the fear (she had a 5.23 GPA and got 12 rejections!) and the sport (crew is the ticket to the Ivies) come up again and again. College admissions is a blood sport, and on the North Shore, too many parents are prepared to play to the death. “Every year, I have several students come into my office and tell me, ‘I’m a disappointment to my family,’ ” says James Conroy, department head of the post-high school counseling office for New Trier Township High School. His basic message to parents: It’s your child’s process, not yours. But that’s a hard message for most parents to hear. Andrew Ferguson, who wrote the best-selling “Crazy U,” about the col-

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lege admissions process, notes, “Quite a few studies show that the vast majority of students get into one of their top three schools.” But he admits that as a parent going through the process with his son, it was hard to see how it would end well. So how to reduce the paranoia? S TA R T W I T H A L I T T L E RESEARCH

And no, cocktail party chatter doesn’t count. There are great resources—check out the box at the end of this article—that walk you through the process. A little knowledge does wonders to reduce fear of the unknown. Then the next time someone asks you about SAT subject tests, you can confidently talk about your son’s plan, versus panicking because you don’t know the SAT II from a Sea-Doo.

K N O W T H AT T H E S Y S T E M I S N ’ T FA I R

If you expect fairness, you’ll be outraged every time you hear about an athlete with a 28 on her ACT who got into the school that rejected your slightly clumsy, but brighter (or at least better test-taking) child. “Admissions are not predictable at all,” admits Laura A. Robinson, associate director of admissions at Northwestern. “As it’s become more competitive, what you once thought you could count on, you can no longer count on.” RESIST RESUME STUFFING

Knowing that the situation isn’t weighted in your child’s favor leads many parents to “help” a little too much. Encourage, but don’t push. “We can see through resume stuffing,” Robinson says. She recommends letting stu-

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dents follow their passions. They should “do the best they can and do what they love,” she says. “There’s no magic recipe.” And she notes that paid experiences, whether a leadership conference or mission trip, don’t really count. TEST FOR MORE THAN THE SCORE

P R I VAT E H E L P C A N H E L P (BUT NOT AS MUCH AS YO U T H I N K )

Many families turn to private college counselors to help navigate the process, but a few cautions are in order. First, know what you’re getting. No one can get an average student into an above-average school. You’re paying for advice and management, and any suggestion that the counselor has special “pull” should be regarded with suspicion. Also, as Conroy notes, anyone can hang out a shingle and be a “College Counselor.” There are no regulations or licensing requirements, so do your homework before you pay out a dime.

must-know terms

For the 20 Must-Know College Admissions Terms, plus a list of great websites and other resources go to makeitbetter.net/college-adm

need some test prep help?

Check out our Better List at makeitbetter.net/the-better-list

meet the author Laura Hine, Wilmette Our editor in chief’s best has been raising three great kids! (An accomplishment she happily shares with her husband.) makeitbetter. net/meet-our-writers

PHOTO <CREDIT>

Admissions committees need a common assessment of college readiness, says Matthew Pietrafetta, founder of Academic Approach. “Families from the North Shore see tests as just another source of stress,” he says. But he thinks they can be much more. For instance, he knows that a child with a low score on the English section of the ACT isn’t proofreading his or her English papers well. Looking at it as a diagnostic can change the focus from

just a number to a blueprint for what is necessary for college success.

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fa m i ly

brain health for every age By Laur a Hine

No matter how old or young you are, you can take steps to protect and improve your brain’s cognitive function.

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Additional reporting by Jody B u ck

licensed clinical psychologist for the Chicago Center for Cognitive Wellness and a consultant with Mather LifeWay’s Brain Fitness Program, “You want to think about your brain like a bank account. If you have high reserves, you can ward off cognitive decline.” She sites autopsies that found some people who were still very functional had brains that showed as much evidence of Alzheimer’s disease as those who were profoundly compromised. The difference might be the level of cognitive reserve the individuals had banked over their lifetime.

According to Dr. Sherrie All, a

Here are six areas where you can build brain reserve: 1. Physical Exercise – Research shows you can actually grow new brain cells, and exercise is one of the best stimulants. Dr. All says that exercise releases chemicals that are like “Miracle-Gro” for your brain.

2. Intellectual Stimulation – According to Dr. Konstantinos Arfanakis, who just completed a study for Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of Technology, lots of activities beyond puzzles use our intellect in different ways. He recommends going to the theater, writing a letter, reading a book or playing games as fun challenges.

3. Socializing – Friends help protect our brains. It takes cognitive work to organize outings, remember details of others’ lives and navigate social mores (just ask any teenager). “Social isolation is a stress on par with smoking,” says Dr. All. “We are social primates who need to be with others.”

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4. Stress Management – If you don’t have a break from stress, it’s toxic to brain cells. “It’s okay to have challenge,” says Dr. All, but she emphasizes that our systems need breaks like vacations or meditation to rest the nervous system.

5. Nutrition – If it’s heart healthy, it’s brain healthy, and that includes moderate consumption of alcohol and coffee (yay!). To keep it simple, focus on whole foods that are full of phytonutrients, and avoid processed foods and packaged foods.

6. Spiritual –While scientists still aren’t sure of the mechanism, they consistently see links between attending religious services and living a longer, healthier life. Even if you don’t actively practice a religion, you can still practice gratitude or believe in a cause that’s bigger than yourself.

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tick tock

10-MINUTE RECIPES

pulled pork memphisstyle barbecue By Laura Hine

G

ot 10 minutes? We thought so. Each month we’ll bring you a recipe that takes 10 minutes of prep time (or less) and for 2012, each month, we’ll be featuring a small appliance that can help you get the job done. For January, it’s a busy mom’s all-time favorite: the slow cooker. Need an upgrade? Go to makeitbetter.net/slowcooker to see the results of our Better or Bust test. SERVES: 10-12 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 8 HOURS

1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke 1 onion, finely chopped 3-4 pounds pork shoulder (bone-in)

1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon mustard 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 teaspoon paprika 1/4 cup brown sugar

1. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, garlic, paprika, sugar, Liquid Smoke and onion to make BBQ sauce. 2. Trim any visible fat off the pork shoulder. Put in a slow cooker and coat with the sauce. 3. Cook at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours on low. Take meat out and let rest. Put sauce into a glass measuring cup and let the

fat float to the top. Skim off the fat, then return the sauce to a small pan and boil until thickened, about 10 minutes. 4. When the pork is cooled, shred the meat, discarding the fat and bone. Then add to the hot barbecue sauce. Serve on buns with coleslaw. Cook’s Note: I turned up my nose at Liquid Smoke, but it’s actually an all-natural product and when there’s snow on the grill, it’s a great substitute for smoking. You won’t fool a Memphis pit boss, but it’s pretty darn good!

TREND REPORT

what the north shore is reading about By Liz Logan 5 8 9 10 1. BEAUTY TRENDS - 17.3%

2. NEW RESTAURANTS - 15.7% 3. FAMILY OUTINGS & ACTIVITIES - 15.1% 4. COOKING - 11.8%

5. NEW BOOKS - 11.8% 6. MARRIAGE - 4.9%

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8. HELPING FRIENDS - 4.4%

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9. BREAST CANCER - 4.2% 10. AFFORDABLE HOUSING - 3.7%

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11. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS - 3.7% 12. SAVING MONEY - 3.5% 13. FLIRTING - 3.4% Based on the most popular articles on Make It Better’s website in a given month

FUEL RESTAURANT PHOTO BY ERIK DAVIS

7. HORSEBACK RIDING - 4.8%

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family

5 foods to avoid

5 foods to eat

By Laura Hine

W

e’ve long heard that there are no “bad” foods, but researchers at Harvard Medical School might not agree. For 20 years, they followed the diet and exercise habits of more than 120,000 individuals, and they found that eating certain foods led to greater weight gain than other foods. The results were published earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine. On average, participants gained 3.35 lbs. over each 4-year period—almost a pound a year. So, over 20 years, the participants—mostly nurses and physicians—were packing on more than 16 pounds, but that’s the average. Some gained more and some gained much less.

the worst foods

As the researchers analyzed the data, they discovered that the kinds of foods participants ate made a big difference. Here are the foods that you should avoid or at least save for special occasions.

1. FRENCH FRIES: Over 4 years, the classic drive-through splurge added 3.35 lbs. to participants’ hips and thighs (okay, the researchers weren’t that specific, but you know that’s where the fat cells like to congregate and party). 2. POTATO CHIPS: More with the fried potatoes. These weren’t as bad as the fries, but still added 1.7 lbs. 3. SUGAR-SWEETENED DRINKS: Sodas, shakes and slurpees go down quick and add a pound of weight. Think you don’t drink any of these? All those flavored lattes are full of calories and sugar. 4. PROCESSED MEATS: Fancy talk for hot dogs, sausages and chicken nuggets, and these foods added a pound. 5. RED MEAT: Also added about a pound over the 4-year time period.

the best foods

The happy news? With some foods, the more servings participants ate, the less they weighed.

1. YOGURT: Associated with almost a pound of weight loss. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s the action of the good bacteria in the yogurt or something else, but results were consistent. 2. NUTS: Yes, they have a lot of calories, but people who ate nuts were down about half a pound compared to those who didn’t eat nuts (and nuts have the good kind of fat). 3. FRUITS: Not a huge surprise, but good to know that eating yummy fruits will also keep you thin. 4. VEGGIES: Again, not a shocker, but a little surprising that veggies had a lower effect than yogurt. 5. WHOLE GRAINS: Switching from refined grains to whole grains is one of those changes that looks small, but adds up over time.

SOURCE: Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H.; Tao Hao, M.P.H.; Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D.; Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.; and Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D., “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long- Term Weight Gain in Women and Men,” The New England Journal of Medicine, June 23, 2011.

For a delicious strawberry parfait recipe, check out our digital edition at

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makeitbetter.net/nov-2011

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family

H E A LT H Y A N D TA S T Y

CEREAL YO U R K I D S W I L L E AT By Laura Hine The trick? Find a cereal that’s healthy and tasty. We gathered up some of our own children to serve as taste testers at the Whole Foods in Northbrook. Patti Fell, marketing and community relations specialist for Whole Foods, found nine cereals that met the following criteria for a healthy breakfast cereal: Sugar: 12 grams or less per serving Fiber: 3 grams or more per serving Whole grain: first ingredient listed Here are the cereals in order of our seven tasters’ thumbs up/thumbs down rating system. The first three cereals tied for first place, so they are listed in alpha order.

PHOTOS BY EMMIE HINE

You want to break your kids’ choco-sugar-pufffrosted breakfast habit, but the risk of tears, sulking or a missed bus is holding you back.

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Cereal

Rating

Comments

6

1

Amazing, cinnamon-y
 Tastes good
 Nutmeg-y, crunchy



Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls


6

1

Good texture, slightly nutty
 Great with milk



Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Nut O’s


6

1

Favorite so far
 Looks familiar
 Yummy, tastes like Frosted Cheerios

365 Everyday Value Honey Crunch and Oats


5

2

L ike Honey Bunches of Oats without the bunches
 Sweet and flaky, with a corn taste
 Favorite



Kashi Island Vanilla Whole Wheat Biscuits


5

2

Smells and tastes like vanilla, crunchy and sweet, good, but inconsistent flavor
 Frosted Mini Wheats without the frosting
 I would eat it every day



Arrowhead Mills French Toast Squares


   

These are the cereals that were, well, less popular. Great for the adults in your household, but probably not going to be your kids’ favorite.
 Cereal

Rating

Comments

4

1

2

Tastes like strawberries
 Spicy, too tart
 Delicious

Back to Nature Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Granola


2

1

4

Tastes like sunflower seeds
 I’m not going to eat the rest
 It doesn’t smell good



Arrowhead Mills Organic Spelt Flakes


1

4

2

Kinda bland
 Looks like it has lots of fiber 
 Pretty bland
 It has no taste



365 Everyday Value Honey Almond Flax Protein & Fiber Crunch

2

Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch


 

5

Very crunchy, vague coffee taste
 This is a cereal for people who like nuts
 I don’t like it



A huge thank you to our testers who tried everything! Amelia, Ben, Caroline, Eli, Emmie, Max and Sam— children everywhere send their thanks for your willingness to be the healthy cereal taste testers!

 = Thumbs Up  = Thumbs Down 

Photo <credit>

KEY:

= Meh

meet the author Laura Hine, Wilmette Laura started rinsing and reusing ziplock bags when she had her first apartment, and she's still rinsing and reusing today. makeitbetter.net/meet-our-writers

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hom e

10 things you can throw out right now By Laur a Hine

Now that the holidays are over, take 10 minutes for the next 10 days and throw out 10 things each day. You will dramatically change the way your home looks and feels, and at no cost! Here’s my handy list of 10 things that you don’t have to donate or find a home for—toss them guilt free.

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Clothing with holes or stains Sorry to tell you, but not even charities want your ratty clothes. Toss them with a clear conscience.

 Stacks of old magazines The content is online (and in Make It Better’s case, also on the iPad for free!). You don’t need physical magazines all over your coffee tables, end tables and stacked up in your kitchen. Keep the current month and toss the rest.

Product boxes

The box your DVR came in is of no use to you once you’ve plugged it in and started using it. If it works, toss the box.

You can’t donate it if it’s not pristine, and if your kids aren’t playing with it, toss.

Beauty products you don’t love  The scent isn’t quite right or it makes your hair greasy, not shiny. The product isn’t improving with age, so toss.

8

Anything that makes you feel bad

9

Old bank statements, credit card bills, etc

Open food packages

If you opened it more than 7 days ago, toss it. Chances are it won’t kill you, but it’s not optimally fresh either. And face it, no one is going to cook the last 2 ounces of pasta that are rattling around in a box.

Toys or games that are missing pieces

The exercise DVDs you don’t have time to use, the self-help book your sister-in-law sent. If it’s staring at you, making you feel guilty, pitch it. (You can donate, if it’s in tip-top shape, but I say why pass on the bad karma?)

If it’s for your taxes, obviously hold onto it, but anything older than three years should be shredded. All your records are online, so no need to have duplicate paper copies (and sign up for online statements while you’re at it!).

10

 Old craft projects

If you’re not working on it, it’s just clutter. I kept a halffinished baby quilt until I went to the “baby’s” bat mitzvah and realized I would never finish it. Out it went!

Broken anything

I have a beautiful glass bowl with a chip that has sat on my husband’s workbench for six months now. Even if he does try to fix it, the bowl will never be the same. I have other bowls, time to let this one go.

Check out the online version of this article for our reader’s ideas on what to toss, plus some donation ideas. It’s at makeitbetter.net/ at-home.

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12/14/12 10:08 AM


fa m i ly

turtles stingrays Cayman Islands luxury By Laur a Hine

if you’re done with winter and need a beach getaway, there are few places more stunning than the Cayman Islands. Three islands make up the Caymans: Grand, aptly named because it’s the biggest and has the most to do; Cayman Brac, a much smaller island with bluffs, caves and great diving; and Little Cayman, which is largely uninhabited but offers beautiful beaches if you’re looking for a getaway day.

WHY GO CAYMAN?

There are lots of islands in the Caribbean, but the Cayman Islands offer something for everyone in your family (unless you have a serious golfer). Stunning white sand beaches, eco-tourism, friendly locals, great food, outdoor adventure, culture—my daughter and I were there for a week on a trip sponsored by National Geographic Kids and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and we were busy every minute of the day. Islands Department of Tourism, and WHAT TO DO

Snorkel or Scuba at the USS Kittiwake: This retired submarine rescue vessel was scuttled off of Seven Mile Beach in 2011. The wreck is already attracting marine life, but what we liked best was the feeling that we were snorkeling in a movie. The ship is so mysterious and silent; it’s not scary or creepy, but it definitely gives an added thrill especially if you’ve done a lot of snorkeling. Alternative: Non-snorkelers should try the Atlantis Submarine. You stay dry,

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while the sub dives to depths of 100 feet. Fun for all except the claustrophobic. Cayman Turtle Farm: Home to the endangered Green Sea Turtle, this kid-friendly facility is raising and releasing turtles into the wild, but while they are growing, you can see and even hold a turtle. You’ll learn about how they are increasing populations (including raising some turtles as food!) in a fun, interactive way. Just before we left, we watched turtles trudge out of the water and up the man-made beach to dig nesting holes—we held our breath and just quietly watched. Few things are as unforgettable. Stingray City: Local snorkeling trips include a visit to Stingray City, where you can hand feed the wild stingrays that congregate where fisherman used to clean their catch. Although stingrays sound scary (and yes, one did kill Steve Irwin) they are very docile and sweet creatures. The water on this sandbar is waist deep, so even non-swimmers can kiss a stingray. WHERE TO EAT

Rum Point Beach: This beach is the antidote to the built-up Seven Mile Beach. It’s at the end of Grand Cayman, and has a laid-back outdoor beach restaurant with hammocks, picnic tables and Mudslides. The food was fine and the drinks even better, but it’s really the atmosphere you’ll remember. Bonus: The very shallow, non-wavy beach is perfect for little ones. We found live conch in the water, and that was a thrill for everyone.

Photos by emmie hine

Spring break is fast approaching, and

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Warf Restaurant: Another great setting right on the water. Here the food is memorable—fresh, delicious seafood—but what your kids will talk about for days is the staff feeding the Tarpons at the end of the night. The ugly, red-eyed, 50-pound fish are best encountered with you on dry land. The Brasserie: The best meal of the trip, which is saying a lot because we loved the food in the Caymans. The restaurant has its own garden and fishing boat, so yes, the chef is committed to local food. Also loved the pretty, tranquil dining space. Less frou-frou than some of the other upscale restaurants on the island.

Family Friendly: The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa: Also on Seven Mile Beach, this hotel is in need of a spruce-up. Still, the beach is amazing and the pool/ bar area fun, but not too rowdy. We stayed in this hotel, and while we didn’t love our room, it was comfortable and quiet.

WHERE TO STAY

ANYTHING TO AVOID?

Lux: The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman: Located right on Seven Mile Beach, the Ritz is the nicest hotel on this touristy strip. It has all the amenities one expects of this luxury hotel chain: beautiful lobby, well-appointed guest rooms, twice-daily maid service, gorgeous pool. Make sure if you’re paying top dollar that you stay in the building on the beach and not the one overlooking the lagoon.

Private Homes, Apartments and Condos: There are lots of rental options on Grand Cayman, including over-the-top beachside homes and two-bedroom condos. Check out vrbo.com or caymanislands.ky for options and ideas.

There were only two activities we didn’t love: hiking the Mastic Trail and the Pedro St. James Castle. The Mastic Trail is a point-to-point hike, so it takes some coordinating. It’s also very hot and humid inland, so while hiking is always on our vacation itinerary, this wasn’t one of our favorites. The Castle is historic, but best for a short visit on a day when you need a break from the sand, surf and sun.

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The pool at Kamalaya

destination spas When You Need More than a Massage By Laura Hine

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F

or most of us, the spa getaway doesn’t happen all that often. So when you finally get the time, money and motivation, you want to pick the perfect spa. Sometimes, that means spa treatments, a beautiful pool and enough staff so that you’re not lifting a finger—unless it’s to call for another skinny-tini. But if you want to jump start a weight loss program, lower your husband’s cholesterol or really commit to a yoga practice, consider a spa with all the goodies plus a dedicated program.

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kamalaya photos by JD marston; left photo on page 101 courtesy of the ranch at live oak & center photo courtesy of miraval,.

Weight Loss

The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu, CA Less than a year old, this destination spa is for guests looking for an intensive fitness and wellness program. The week sounds slightly alarming at first, with 10 hours of exercise daily, but Program Director Marc Alabanza emphasizes that the program isn’t high-intensity exercise, but more moderate. Guests go on four-hour hikes in the Santa Monica mountains, practice yoga and stretching and indulge in massages. After the week, guests are encouraged to stay in touch with the staff to continue their new healthy habits.

Heart Health

Andrew Weil, M.D. Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval, Tucson, AZ If you or your spouse need to make a dramatic (or subtle) change in your health, the integrative health program at Miraval includes a consultation with the Medical Director, Jim Nicolai, M.D., and time to meet with nutrition, exercise and stress management staff. Guests are referred to spa, hiking, biking and challenge adventures, and given specific recommendations for diet and other lifestyle changes. Outdoor fitness, stress reduction and integrative health education

Specialties:

Outdoor group hikes, holistic approach to weight loss, unplugging from technology Specialties:

Private cottages (encouraging adequate sleep is a priority), outdoor pool and spa, exercise pavilion

Accommodations:

Vegetarian, excludes alcohol and caffeine

Diet:

Yoga/Detox

Kamalaya, Thailand Built on an island in southern Thailand, this exotic retreat is a beautiful place to further your meditation or yoga practice. Founder John Stewart spent 16 years in India studying with a yogi and working on an ashram. With his wife and partner, Karina Stewart, they chose Kamalaya’s location for its beauty and for the island’s cave, which has been used by Buddhist monks for meditation and retreat and can now be used by guests. Specialties: Yoga packages include one-on-one sessions, classes on meditation, yoga, qigong and tai chi. Spa services are holistic and include over 70 different treatments.

Accommodations: 117 rooms and suites, 3 swimming pools, yoga studio

Accommodations:

A mixture of 59 rooms, suites and villas; outdoor pools; meditation spaces

Diet:

Food is healthy and seasonal, some grown on location; alcohol and coffee available

Diet:

More information at miraval.com

More information at kamalaya.com

Detox menus available, or fresh local food with vegetarian and nonvegetarian options

More information at theranchmalibu.com

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bet t e r you

lu x u ry = s pa When I want luxe, I think spa. Keep your Jimmy Choos—I’ll take a beautiful space, soothing music and an aesthetician whose only job is to make me look and feel better than I did when I walked in the door. Sadly, our staff didn’t have the luxury of time to sample all these amazing treatments (bucket list!), but we talked to spa managers and here are their most pampering recommendations.  The Spa at Trump

The Signature Gemstone Spa Treatments are super luxe because the oils used are infused with rubies, sapphires, diamonds or emeralds. According to Grant Bruce, director of spa and fitness operations, the oils come from Dubai and are unique to Trump. If the oils aren’t pampering enough, the 90-minute massage is long enough to relax and recharge. 401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-588-5020, trumpchicagohotel.com

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Allyu

Owner Tamara Wills designed a luxurious urban escape that offers traditional massage and facial options, but the unique luxury offered at this spa is Chakra Balancing. “People are very responsive to it,” says Wills. “It really does go to a different level, and organically, it’s becoming something we’re known for.” Each practitioner has her own style, but most incorporate Reiki, gentle massage and visualization. At the end of the treatment, Will says clients find

the frenzy is gone and they’re in a peaceful, balanced state. 600 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-755-1313, allyuspa.com

Elysian Spa & Health Club According to Melissa Jansma, spa director, their Perfect Lift Facial is results driven, but the end result of glow plus lift is what makes it so pampering. The 90-minute treatment uses plant stem cells and microcurrent lift to give you a gentle exfoliation and glow that makes it a perfect pamper the afternoon before a big event. Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E. Walton Ave., Chicago, 312-646-1310, waldorfastoria3.hilton.com

The Heartland Spa

The Detoxifying Herbal Duo is Salon Manager Tiffanie Caputo’s personal favorite. The 80-minute treatment starts with a detoxifying herbal exfoliation. While your body is wrapped and swathed in warm oils, your aesthetician performs your facial. “Truly from head to toe all new again,” she says. 1237 E. 1600 North Rd., Gilman, 800-545-4853 , heartlandspa.com

Photo courtesy trump hotel

By L aur a Hine

aaah

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2. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be afraid of color Add a pillow or cashmere throw in your favorite color. It brings vibrancy and luxury to a space.

1. Photos = personal

personal yet stylish 5 TIPS TO MAKE A ROOM

By Laura Hine

Lauren Gold and Sasha Adler are the design directors of Nate Berkus Associates here in Chicago. These chic gals know that once you get the furniture in place, then the real fun begins. Here are their tips for making a room personal and warm, but still chic and stylish.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF NATE BERKUS ASSOCIATES

Add your favorite photos of family and friends, but streamline your picture frames. Go for variations of a classic silver frame.

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4. Incorporate treasures from your travels

It helps a home feel unique and well collected.

3. Love vintage

5. When in doubt, keep the walls neutral

Gold and Adler always go for a pale, warm gray or a true ivory. Let your furniture, accessories and art speak for themselves.

PHOTO <CREDIT>

Never stick to a “color scheme.” Instead, use what you love. Have your grandmother’s fur coat or your favorite vintage rug made into a pillow. Vintage textiles go with just about anything and they add an interesting layer.

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Laura Hine Sample Magazine Articles  

Magazine articles written by Laura Hine.

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