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DECEMBER 2014 BETTER GIFTS

DECEMBER 2014

CHICAGO AND NORTH SHORE VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2

SEMESTER SCHOOLS PARTY DRESSES HOLIDAY TABLES CURE-ALL COCKTAILS SHOP CHICAGO PINTEREST HACKS

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Because our mission is to be the most-trusted, easiest-to-use community resource that helps you make your life and the lives of others better, we’ve just launched a new website that supports your lifestyle.

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Helpful content blends with innovative philanthropy to provide you a visually stunning website that is fun to use and share. ddddddddzz » Fully responsive design that functions on all of your mobile devices » Enhanced opportunities for integrated sponsored content to communicate your message

1. BETTER YOU

Beauty Fashion Fitness & Health Sex & The Suburbs Tech Your Career Your Money

2. DINING

Reviews & Recommendations Deep Dish Food News Drink Eat

3. ENTERTAINMENT Books Music Outings & Travel Movies & TV Theater Recommended Events

4. FAMILY

Parenting Health Education Family Fun Holidays Life Celebrations Older Adults

5. HOME

Editor’s Picks Green Living Organization Real Estate Decor & Design

6. PHILANTHROPY

Get Inspired Get Involved (Give Time, Give Support) Giving Circles

7. EVENTS

Calendar Editor’s Picks Make It Better Events Party Photos & Highlights Philanthropic Events

8. BETTER LIST

Discover & Review Community Businesses

9. SHOP FOR GOOD

Community businesses donate 10% of your purchases to our vetted nonprofits

10. MIB TV - Short videos that: Teach you how to do things better Make technology easier to use Champion our vetted nonprofits

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DECEMBER 2014 • VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2

PHOTO BY PAUL STRABBING

HOLIDAY TABLES Turn to page 44

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2014 BETTER GIFTS

32 FOODIE GIFTS By Julie Chernoff

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MOUNTAIN RETREAT By Andrea Guthmann

28 BEAUTY GIFTS

33 HOSTESS GIFTS

By Jenny Muslin

By Meghan Streit

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29 GLITTER GIFTS

34 GUY GIFTS

By Rachel Brown Kulp

By Evangeline Politis

By Evangeline Politis

30 KID GIFTS

35 TRAVEL GIFTS

By Anna Carlson

By Andrea Guthmann

31 TEEN GIFTS

35 PET GIFTS

By Anna Carlson

By Lindsay Roseman

36 TECH GIFTS By Lindsay Roseman

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THREE-FOR-ONE HOLIDAY TABLES

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CLASSIC MEETS MODERN, A HOLIDAY FASHION AFFAIR By Evangeline Politis

ON OUR COVER Tiny Tim (Nathaniel Buescher) and Bob Cratchit (Ron Rains) Our thanks to the Goodman Theatre staff and cast of “A Christmas Carol.” Photographed by Jennifer Avello

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DEPARTMENTS FAMILY

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10 SEMESTER SCHOOLS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

By Courtney Cook

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

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BOHEMIAN HOUSE: CZECH, PLEASE! By Julie Chernoff

A BETTER YOU

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15 PINTEREST HACKS FOR THE HOME

By Lindsay Roseman

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11 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY BUDGET By Meghan Streit

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SHOP CHICAGO

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS By Christy Coughlin

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SUPER-SOFT PORN FOR MOMS

CURE-ALL COCKTAILS By Amber Gibson

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2014 COOKBOOKS YOU’LL WANT TO OWN By Julie Chernoff

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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR HOLIDAY SHOWS By Robert Loerzel

By Jenny Muslin

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By Marjie Killeen

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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BETTER MAKERS AND THEIR IMPACT

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TWO SISTERS’ “THINK VIRTUES” MAY BE THE ANSWER TO BULLYING By Lisa Zimbler

IN EVERY ISSUE 12 | EDITOR’S LETTER 14 | MIB ONLINE 16 | CONTRIBUTORS 18 | FRESH 20 | RECOMMENDED EVENTS 22 | HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS 24 | MAKE IT BETTER COLUMN 76 | GIVE TIME, GIVE THINGS, GIVE SUPPORT 82 | CLOSING THOUGHTS Make It Better’s New Dining Page

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EDITORS’S LET TER

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING BY JULIE CHERNOFF

Like pretty much every sentient being, I love a good present. But why is it often impossible to find the right gift, especially for the ones you love most? There’s the pressure of wanting to share something special with them—to let that person know that you get them. You really, really get them. So you aren’t going to buy them something lame, but a gift that speaks to who they really truly are. Not so easy, right? So I’ve started buying gifts when I see a treat I think they’d like: the perfect book for Marea, the handmade bracelet for Trimmy, the oh-so-unique vintage fabric for Josh. And then, rather than waiting for the holidays or a birthday to happen (because let’s face it—we all know that I’m just going to forget I bought it or where I hid it), I’ll wrap it up and give it to them right away. Because if there’s anything I like better than getting a present, it’s giving one. If you’re racking your brain for gift ideas, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you this year. Our crack team of editors has scoured both local stores and the far reaches of the Web to find that something special for the techies, foodies, travelers and fashionistas on your list. Kids and pets? Got those, too. As if that wasn’t enough, we have a gift that’s the perfect fit for everyone: our brand new, bigger and better website (makeitbetter.net)! One new feature that we’re super excited about is the “Shop for Good” category. We’re partnering with merchants (both local and national) to offer you must-have items that come with a special bonus: for anything you buy, 10 percent of the purchase price will be donated to a partner nonprofit. Through the month of December, all donations will be earmarked for our 2014 Philanthropy Award Winners to share. Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Happy holidays to all!

MONEY RAISED FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: $3,766,206

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DECEMBER 2014

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ONLINE

SUBSCRIBE: MAKEITBETTER .NET/EMAIL-NEWSLETTER OUR BETTER HALF IS ONLINE

FOLLOW:

behind the scenes with tiny tim! Want more from our “A Christmas Carol” cover stars? Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this month’s cover shoot at Chicago’s historic Goodman Theatre.  MAKEITBETTER.NET/DECEMBER14

© NYC & Company/ Julienne Schaer as noted by NYC & Company

5 hat trends to try

 MAKEITBETTER.NET/HATTRENDS

hipster for a weekend: a beginner’s guide to brooklyn Spending the holidays in New York? Brooklyn is the trendy borough that everyone’s talking about. A dedicated Brooklynite shows you where to eat, shop and sightsee.  MAKEITBETTER.NET/BROOKLYN

what’s hot on makeitbetter.net

2014 cookie of the year contest

25 days of holiday cheer

FASHION & BEAUTY

Dust off your mixer—the cookie contest is back! Enter your best holiday cookie recipe by Wednesday, Dec. 10 to win the “Make It Better Cookie of the Year” title and a cookie-themed gift basket complete with cookbook, gift card and more.  MAKEITBETTER.NET/

The holidays are here! Between last-minute shopping and travel, it can be hard to slow down and enjoy the season. Use our 25 Days of Holiday Cheer, with something to do every day Dec. 1-25, to make sure you don’t miss out on the best seasonal offerings the North Shore and Chicago have to offer.

COOKIECONTEST

 MAKEITBETTER.NET/HOLIDAYCHEER

Contouring and Highlighting How-Tos from the Pros FITNESS & HEALTH

Finding a Way Back to Health After a Misdiagnosis REVIEWS

House 406: A Restaurant in Search of an Area Code GET INSPIRED

Kerry Wood Pitches In to Set Kids Up for Success

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DECEMBER 2014

HAT PHOTO BY ROBIN RYAN

What if we told you there was one item that could remedy bad hair days, protect your skin from wrinkles, accentuate your cheekbones and add interest to an otherwise ordinary outfit? It’s true—and it’s called the “statement hat.” Overcome your headgear hang-ups with these hot hats.

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BET TER YOU | finance

How to Raise More Money for Your Favorite Nonprofit WITH SUSAN B. NOYES

TBD How to Grow Your Local Business in The Digital Era WITH SUSAN B. NOYES

TBD Discover Your Life’s Passion

WITH CAROL MOSS, LCSW, AND MARJIE KILLEEN, MAKE IT BETTER COLUMNIST

January 13 Marketing Your MIB TV Video: Best Practices WITH KATY NIELSEN

TBD A New Year: Time to Get Your Financial House in Order WITH ANNETTE FINDLING, CFP AND LESLIE NORTH, CFP

HAT PHOTO BY ROBIN RYAN

TBD

register for classes:

makeitbetter.net/classes 588 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka 847-256-4642

MARCH 2014

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CONTRIBUTORS

CONTRIBUTORS We asked our writers, “What was the best gift you ever gave—or received?” Here are their answers to a tricky question.

1 | ANNA CARLSON

@agcarlson Every year since she was born, Anna’s parents have given her a new ornament. Among her favorites are her baby handprints, a “Nancy Drew” book cover and the Wrigley Field marquee.

5 | JENNY MUSLIN

@jenmuzz It may sound cliché, but the best gift Jenny ever received is her son. If we’re talking completely materialistic here, what woman doesn’t love receiving gorgeous jewelry or a fabulous purse?

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2 | JULIE CHERNOFF

@JulieChernoff Julie’s best gift given is a toss between the iPad she gave husband, Josh, two years ago or the cappuccino maker—still perky after 12 years of hard use. He would be bereft without either.

6 | EVANGELINE POLITIS

@EvaPolitis Evangeline’s dog Baxter is the best gift she ever received. The fluffy pup was a present for completing her master’s degree a few years ago, and she couldn’t imagine her life without him.

3 | ANDREA GUTHMANN

4 | MARJIE KILLEEN

7 | LINDSAY ROSEMAN

8 | MEGHAN STREIT

@AndreaGuthmann Andrea’s in-laws gave her and her husband matching robes when they moved into their first house, which had a jacuzzi in the backyard. They’ve long since moved, but those plush robes are still around—a warm and cozy memory of their first home.

@LindsayRoseman The best gift Lindsay ever received was Ava, her family’s dog that was rescued from the shelter on Christmas Eve— even though the shelter was supposed to be closed. Best surprise ever.

@MarjieKilleen Marjie still uses the black leather Coach shoulder bag her husband, Liam, gave her 20 years ago. It’s the perfect tote for notepads and laptop. Gotta love a gift that stands the test of time.

@MeghanStreit Meghan’s best gift ever was a built-in closet system in her dressing room. Her wife, Shira, installed it on Meghan’s last birthday, turning her dressing room into a gorgeous walk-in closet. Organization—the gift that keeps on giving.

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588 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL, 60093 | 847-256-4642

Publisher & Co-CEO Susan B. Noyes Co-CEO Mindy Fauntleroy

Associate Publisher Editor In Chief Managing Editor Digital Editor Assistant Editor Philanthropy Editor Art Director Designer

Michelle Morris Julie Chernoff Meghan Streit Lindsay Roseman Anna Carlson Maura Flaherty Lesley Smith Melissa Johnston

Beauty Editor Jenny Muslin Dining Editor Julie Chernoff Fashion Editor Evangeline Politis Finance Editor Meghan Streit Fitness Editor Christy Coughlin Home Editor Tate Gunnerson Senior Living Editor Stuart Greenblatt Sex & the Suburbs Editor Marjie Killeen Contributing Writers Courtney Cook Amber Gibson Andrea Guthmann Rachel Brown Kulp Robert Loerzel Photographers Jennifer Avello Amber Gibson Tate Gunnerson Paul Strabbing Design Intern Jessica Van De Loo

Chief Operating Officer Sandy Tsuchida Ad Sales Manager Megan Holbrook Senior Account Executives Patti Augustyn Julie Carter

Account Executives Denise Borkowski

Director of Videography Katy Nielsen GOT FEEDBACK? Email susan@makeitbetter.net TO ADVERTISE: Contact michellemorris@makeitbetter.net HAVE AN EVENT? Email anna@makeitbetter.net

Make It Better North Shore (ISSN No. 2151-0431) is published 11 times per year by Make It Better LLC, 588 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL 60093. Phone: 847.256.4642. Copyright 2014 by Make It Better LLC. All rights reserved. Application to Mail at Periodicals Rates is pending at Wilmette, IL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Make It Better, 588 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL 60093. Make It Better is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Copyright 2014 by Make It Better LLC. All rights reserved.

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WHAT’S NEW?

BY ANNA CARLSON AND JULIE CHERNOFF

MMMM Good

Go to Indigo

Deerfield’s newest boutique, Indigo, focuses on the yoga lifestyle and inspirational gifts, including spiritual jewelry and clothing, organic bath and body products, books, essential oils and more. Co-owners Joanna Hakimi and Elizabeth Kerndt, who opened their retail space in September, have a long-term goal of also opening a healing center. In the meantime, Indigo has a separate workshop space and patrons can enjoy a cup of tea while they shop. INDIGO : 1456 Waukegan Road, Deerfield, 224-515-8117, facebook.com/indigochicago —AC

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DECEMBER 2014

Glencoe General

Before BlackSheep General Store opened in September, a message was left on the shop’s windows: “BlackSheep aims to bring back the convenience inherent in the general store by creating a space for neighbors to gather, shop and share a sense of community.” BlackSheep has done just that, offering carefully chosen merchandise with a focus on small-batch, handmade items. Patrons will find wool blankets from Minnesota, cufflinks made from MLB game-used baseballs, handpoured beeswax and soy candles, and more items perfect for gift giving. BLACKSHEEP GENERAL STORE: 346 Park Ave., Glencoe, 847-242-0130, facebook.com/blacksheepgeneralstore —AC

Paris Comes to Evanston

Oh là là! Pascal Berthoumieux of Evanston’s Bistro Bordeaux and Crêperie Saint Germain has added a third jewel to his crown: Patisserie Coralie, which opened in October. He’s imported a big talent, French pastry chef Manuel Bouillet, to create magic for the new café, which offers all of the classics—macarons, éclairs, canneles, madeleines, croissants, tarts, baguettes—and more, including deep, dark Julius Meinl coffee. Bouillet’s artistry is evident in every bite. Calorie worthy? Bien sur! PATISSERIE CORALIE: 600 Davis St., Evanston, 847-905-0491, bestfrenchpastries.com —JC

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EACH BUSINESS; BLACKSHEEP PHOTO BY SUSAN MCCONNELL

Lettuce Entertain You has opened its first M Burger outside of downtown Chicago. It’s in Skokie, complete with drive-up window—also a Lettuce first. What better place to curb that hankering for a thick milkshake, crispy fries and a delectable griddled burger (like the Hurt Burger with spicy barbecue sauce and pepper Jack cheese)? Located in the brand-spanking new Touhy Marketplace, they are ready for your holiday catering order. Now that’s what I call an office party. M BURGER: 3654 Touhy Ave., Skokie, mburgerchicago.com —JC

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EVENTS

R E C O M M E N D E D

BY ANNA CARLSON

Stay up to date on all the happenings.  MAKEITBETTER.NET/EVENT-LIST

Evanston Dance Ensemble Presents “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” Dec. 4-7 | Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston | tic.northwestern.edu Step through the wardrobe and into Narnia with this production featuring original music by Emmy Award-winning composer Steve Rashid. Suitable for all ages, this show is a great way for your family to get away from the season’s hustle and bustle. DEC

editor’s pick Disney’s “Newsies” 10 Begins Dec. 10 Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago broadwayinchicago.com Get ready to seize the day with “Newsies,” the 2012 Tony Award winner for Best Score and Best Choreography. Based on the 1992 film of the same name (which itself was based on the actual New York City Newsboys’ Strike of 1899), this show will have you dancing in your seats with hits “The World Will Know” and “King of New York.” DEC

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One of a Kind Show  4-7 | The Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise 4 Dec. Mart Plaza, Chicago | oneofakindshowchicago.com With more than 600 artists taking part in one show, holiday shopping just got a whole lot easier. You’ll enjoy live music while making your way through the Etsy Artist Pavilion, Fashion District and Gourmet Gallery. DEC

The Second City’s “Holidays in the Heights” Dec. 4-31 | Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights | metropolisarts.com It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays also bring with them crowded stores, heavy traffic and awkward family gatherings. Take a break from the madness and just laugh at it all with this hilarious Second City show. DEC

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Frozemont Through March 1 | MB Financial Park at Rosemont, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont | rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark Rosemont is getting a chilly makeover with free outdoor ice skating through March 1. And don’t miss Polar Peak, a fourstory tubing hill opening Dec. 12.

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Kids-Only Holiday Shop Dec. 3 | Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest | gortoncenter.org Your kids can do their holiday shopping all on their own this year. Every item will be sold for $10 or less, and Wonder Wrappers will help make sure your child’s picks are underthe-tree ready.

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Winter WonderFest Opens Dec. 5 | Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago winterwonderfest.com Enjoy outdoor winter fun while staying inside Navy Pier this month. New attractions this year include the Wintertube, Toboggan Tunnel, Winter Rules Mini Golf and Snowglobe Live—but don’t forget about fest favorites like the Kringle Carousel, Hot Cocoa Cups and Ferris Wheel. DEC

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Holiday Farmers Market Dec. 7 | Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe | chicagobotanic.org Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t buy good produce from a farmers market. Stop by the Botanic Garden for seasonal food and herbs while also shopping lovely wreaths and handmade pottery. DEC

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PHOTO BY DEEN VAN MEER

“A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol” Through Dec. 31 | Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago | chicagoshakes.com This is a holiday classic with a twist—a hip-hop twist. The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge gets an update with Jamaican Jacob Marley and Lil’ Tim and is the perfect experience to share with your teens this month. DEC

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One of a Kind Show

Weekend Family Class: Joyful Gingerbread Dec. 7 and 20 | Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe chicagobotanic.org Gingerbread is a favorite winter treat, so why not discover how it’s made with your family? You’ll even receive a ginger plant and some dough to take home. DEC

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Hanukkah Storytime 9 | Barnes & Noble, 13 W. Rand 9 Dec. Road, Arlington Heights barnesandnoble.com Don’t miss this reading of Woody Guthrie’s “Honeyky Hanukah.” There’s an accompanying CD, so your kids will get to dance as they hear about a boy and his dog preparing their neighborhood for a large feast. Families can also visit the store in their PJs on Dec. 5 for the Polar Express Holiday Storytime.

STRAIGHT NO CHASER PHOTO BY LEANN MUELLER; ONE OF A KIND SHOW PHOTO COURTESY OF JODI RAE DESIGNS

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Northlight Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Party

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Dec. 11 | Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie | northlight.org Celebrate Northlight’s 40th anniversary with Jason Robert Brown, the Tony Award winner behind Broadway’s “Parade” and “The Bridges of Madison County,” as well as audience favorite “The Last Five Years.” Straight No Chaser q 14 | The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. 14 Dec. State St., Chicago | thechicagotheatre.com This group’s Happy Hour Tour is coming to Chicago and is a great way to enjoy some fun a cappella while you wait for 2015’s “Pitch Perfect 2.” DEC

Trans-Siberian Orchestra 27 Dec. 27 | Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont | rosemont.com/allstate One of this band’s most popular songs, “Christmas Canon,” was featured on their 1998 album, “The Christmas Attic,” which has never been performed live. That is, until now. DEC

Straight No Chaser

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HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS BY ANNA CARLSON

Illumination: Tree Lights Through Jan. 3 The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle mortonarb.org Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show Through Jan. 3 Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, 350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills | vernonhills.org Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light Through Jan. 4 Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | msichicago.org Wonderland Express Through Jan. 4 Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe chicagobotanic.org ZooLights Through Jan. 4 Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago lpzoo.org

Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus Dec. 22 Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe chicagobotanic.org New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dec. 31 Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago navypier.com

SEASONAL SHOPPING

Randolph Street’s 8th Annual Holiday Market Dec. 13-14 Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago randolphstreetmarket.com 19th Annual Christkindlmarket Chicago Through Dec. 24 Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago christkindlmarket.com

Holiday Magic Begins Dec. 6 Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield brookfieldzoo.org

MERRY MUSIC AND SHOWS

Candy Cane Train Dec. 7 Jewett Park Community Center, 836 Jewett Park Drive, Deerfield | deerfieldparks.org

DECEMBER 2014

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Hanukkah Happenings Dec. 14 Westfield Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills gojcc.org

Gingerbread Building for Charity Dec. 6 A. Perry Design Studio, 564 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka aperryhomes.com

Holiday Bricktacular Dec. 6 to Jan. 4 LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg | legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago

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Holiday Breakfast Dec. 7, 13, 20 Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago sheddaquarium.org

“It’s A Wonderful Life”—A Live Radio Play Through Dec. 21 Oil Lamp Theater, 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview oillamptheater.org “A Christmas Carol” Through Dec. 28 Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago goodmantheatre.org/joy Celtic Tenors Christmas Dec. 5 Center Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie northshorecenter.org

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MORTON ARBORETUM

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

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“The Nutcracker” Dec. 5-28 Joffrey Ballet, 10 E. Randolph St., Chicago joffrey.org The Mike Toomey Christmas Special Dec. 6 Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park | ravinia.org Cirque Dreams Holidaze Dec. 17-21 The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago thechicagotheatre.com Holidays A Cappella Dec. 20 Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston | chicagoacappella.org Hanukkah Concert Dec. 21 Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe | chicagobotanic.org

SPONSORED

Holiday Party with Eve Alfillé Saturday, Dec. 13 from 1-5p.m. We will be celebrating with cocktails, raffles, tasty treats and holiday fun!

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MAKE IT BET TER COLUMN

BRAIN RULES & COMMON SENSE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOME, SCHOOL AND WORK BY SUSAN B . NOYE S

attention to any one point. Emotion captures our attention.

Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and brain scientist who wants everyone to benefit as quickly as possible from the knowledge being amassed by leading brain researchers. So, he wrote a particularly useful book: “Brain Rules: 12 Principles For Surviving And Thriving At Work, Home, and School” (brainrules.net). “There is still much we don’t know about how brains work, but these 12 facts we do know,” Medina explains. “They include important information about sleep, stress, exercise and music that can benefit everyone.” Common sense intersects with science in the book to produce many good recommendations for anyone raising or educating children, managing employees, or working to maximize their own potential. In short, “Brain Rules” can help everyone.

for eliciting an emotional response.

1. Over time, the human brain evolved to solve problems, which were related to survival in an outdoor setting in almost constant motion. Think primitive humans

9. Vision is the most powerful sense. Sight engages 50 percent of the brain, so a picture really is worth 1,000 words. Communicate with images. Use animation and video, as movement and color particularly capture our attention.

hunting and foraging in the wild. Our brains are not wired to thrive when we are stuck at a desk doing routine work for long periods of time or leading the life of a couch potato.

Therefore, lead with emotion whenever possible. In school or work presentations, bait the emotional hook every 10 minutes by referencing something relevant to the others in the room.

7. Repetition aids memory, as does a compelling introduction. 8. Brains learn more when multiple senses are stimulated at the same time. However, smell is uniquely powerful

10. Study or listen to music to boost brainpower from infancy through older adulthood. Music improves language

2. Exercise boosts brainpower. Kids need recess/exercise at

skills, listening skills, social skills. It even teaches us to better detect emotions in others and to be more empathetic. It also makes us happier, causing our brain to release dopamine, cortisone and oxytocin. Music is powerful therapy for healing.

3. Sleep well, think well; take short naps. Good sleep is

11. Male and female brains are structurally, biochemically and genetically different. X (female) chromosomes

least twice per day. Employers should encourage use of exercise equipment—like bikes and treadmills—during the workday. Regular exercise reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s as well.

fundamental to good learning and maximum thinking power. Everyone functions best when they take naps; most adults only need 20 minutes. Employers should include napping rooms.

4. Brains suffering chronic stress don’t learn well. Long-

term emotional stress has a huge impact on society; it affects children’s ability to learn and adults’ work productivity. A little stress is good; our bodies respond to it by releasing cortisol and adrenaline. But chronic stress can damage brain function.

5. All brains are wired differently, and this wiring changes as we continue to learn. Encourage development

of multiple intelligences. Don’t just teach to standardized tests. Nurture lifelong learning. Customize workplaces to draw on each employee’s strengths.

6. Humans don’t pay attention to boring things; ten minutes is the average maximum time a person can pay

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have 1,500 genes that include the control of cognitive brain function. Y (male) chromosomes have only 100 genes. Male and female brains respond to acute stress differently. Females remember the emotional details of a stress-producing situation; men better remember the gist or essential facts. Schools should teach to those differences and employers should organize workers into teams that will maximize their strengths.

12. Humans are powerful and natural explorers.

Babies aren’t born with a blank mental slate, as was originally believed. Rather, infants are powerful exploration and learning machines—the model of how humans learn their entire lives. Some parts of our brains stay as malleable as they were at birth, so that we can create neurons and learn new things throughout our lives. Parents, schools, employers and society as a whole should encourage exploration of every person’s passions to improve lives and our broader world.

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All we want for Christmas—or Hanukkah, as the case may be—is something with a little thought behind it. If you don’t have time to put into the gift hunt, don’t stress; we’ve come up with some great ideas for that special person in your life, be they young, old, male, female, tech savvy, hungry, adventurous or hospitable. In short, we’ve covered all the bases in our quest to find the best new products out there for holiday gift giving. And this year, a little something extra in the stocking: check out our new Shop for Good category on our beautiful new website, makeitbetter.net, where you can find something special for someone special while giving back to a deserving nonprofit at the same time. It’s a win-win! Please note that prices are average retail and are rounded to the nearest dollar. Photos courtesy of each manufacturer.

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LED Bluetooth Vanity Mirror The modern-day “mirror, mirror on the wall.” Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device, this makeup mirror has magnifying and true-image lenses as well as hands-free speakerphone, phone charger, and built-in FM radio. $150, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago, nordstrom.com

Kilian Fragrances Killian’’s luxurious perfumes smell divine and come in the most exquisite packaging. The “Love Don’t Be Shy” scent is a favorite, but you’ll also love three new fragrances they’ve added just in time for the holidays. Starting at $155, Cos Bar, 662 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847- 432-6249, cosbar.com

Foreo LUNA Mini Step aside, Clarisonic, Vogue claims this soft silicone twospeed facial cleansing brush is “revolutionizing the beauty world.” Foreo’s compact skin perfecter is the ideal stocking stuffer. It works on all skin types to remove dead skin, unclog pores and enhance absorption of products, leaving skin rested and radiant. Available in a variety of bright colors. $139, foreo.com

Stephanie Johnson Madison Avenue Concord ML Traveler Stephanie Johnson’s fabulous cases will keep her essentials organized. While we’re big fans of Johnson’s makeup pouches, the glossy Ikat travel bag is a gift she can use all the time, particularly when exploring. $85, stephaniejohnson.com

King Terry Monogrammed Bathrobe Many first-class hotels use this big, cozy cotton-terry robe in their luxury spas. The unisex style works for both men or women and the optional monogram makes for a lovely personalized touch. $95 ($7 additional for monogram), monogrammedbathrobes.com

Smashbox On the Rocks Exclusive Luxe Brush Set This Nordstrom exclusive includes five full-size makeup brushes, with two that are double ended. $62, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago, nordstom.com

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KORA Organics Beautifying Pack The best of KORA’s essentials all in one: Tinted Day Cream, Vitamin-Enhanced Lip Balm, Blemish Gel and Recovery Eye Gel. Creator and supermodel Miranda Kerr calls this kit, “My hidden secrets for a beautiful, glowing, flawless complexion and soft luminous lips.” $138, koraorganics.com/us

Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Scotch on the Rocks Highlight Powder Available in two shades, this new lightreflective highlight powder can be swept across cheekbones for that “lit-from-within” glow. It’s perfect for brightening up dull winter skin and available in a glam tortoise compact. $45, Bloomingdale’s, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; 900 N. Michigan Stores, Chicago, bloomingdales.com

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White-Gold Diamond, Sapphire and Tanzanite Pendant Concentric circles of dazzling jewels, this 18-karat whitegold pendant is an extra-special way to say “I love you” to the amazing woman in your life. Price upon request, Burdeen’s Jewelry, 1151 W. Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, 847-459-8980, burdeens.com Khai Khai Gold and Diamond Midi Ring Indulge with this 18-karat gold diamond midi ring—or two. Available in white, yellow, and rose gold, these simple bands are easily stacked. $500 each, Bloomingdales, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; 900 N. Michigan Shops, Chicago, bloomingdales.com BY EVANGELINE POLITIS

Tiffany T Necklace Accented with citrine and diamonds, this piece from Tiffany’s newest collection is for the woman who wants something out of the ordinary. It's a statement piece for the ages. Price upon request, Tiffany & Co., Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; 730 N. Michigan Ave.,Chicago, tiffany.com

The holiday season is the time of year to express your appreciation for all that our mothers, wives, sisters and friends do to enrich our lives. Say thank you with a little something sparkly this year.

Tory Burch Sawyer Watch Inspired by one of Tory’s favorite pieces of vintage jewelry, this Swiss-made timepiece is fit for the eclectic fashionista in your life. $895, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago, nordstrom.com

Reversible Cashmere Shawl A mix of classic and wild, this reversible shawl can adjust to her location: the leopard side for when she’s out with her girlfriends and the equestrian print for work. $278, J.McLaughlin, Winnetka, 847-784-1730; Lake Forest, 224-5445399, jmclaughlin.com

Jimmy Choo Stars This limited-edition holiday fragrance was concocted to turn heads. The gold lacquer bottle holds notes of pear, candied orange, orchid and sandalwood, all mixing to create a sweet and sensual scent. $98, Ulta Beauty, Deerfield, 847-509-8066; Glenview, 847-4869925; Skokie, 847-6757320, ulta.com

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Moa Wine Two-Tone Tote This vegan-leather bag is for the deserving philanthropist. With each purchase of this tote, a donation is made to Keep a Child Alive, an organization providing treatment and support to families affected by HIV/ AIDS. $165, Angela & Ro, angelaroi.com

Lilo Pump A party girl’s dream: These glittery, feathered stilettos will infuse any ensemble with a bit of flirty fun. $350, Kate Spade New York, Northbrook Court, Northbrook; 900 N. Michigan Shops, Chicago, katespade.com

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Little Girl Charm Necklaces These necklaces don’t just sparkle; they also make sure your daughter has an inspirational message with her all day long. You can even create your own custom necklace with a favorite phrase and charm. $25-30, bethquinndesigns.com

Nene Imagination™ Puzzles Without Borders This puzzle’s unique shapes fit together in a variety of ways, so your child can decide what pattern to make as he or she creates new designs. The pieces are magnetic, so you can show off their creativity on the fridge, a white board or other magnetic surface. $20, Becky and Me Toys, 620 Grove St., Evanston, 847-492-1030, beckyandmetoys.com

BY ANNA CARLSON

Shopping for children can be fun and overwhelming. (How many new “it” toys can there be?) Here are our suggestions for cool gifts your little ones will love. Lost My Name Books This personalized book follows a little boy or girl who wakes up to discover that they’ve lost their name. As they search for it, he or she meets fun creatures that provide letters. Spoiler alert: Those letters will spell out your own child’s name. $31, lostmy.name

‘Lil Snowflake Door “Frozen” meets "Elf on a Shelf" with this door that lets winter fairies into your home. These fairies only come out at night and leave your children notes and other surprises. The door also comes with a small bottle of Fairy Dust. $38-47, littlefairydoor.com

Joules Blast Off Tee This super-soft tee with a jetpack appliqué is perfect for your adventurous boy. Don’t worry—it’s machine washable. $30, Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony, 1901 Central St., Evanston, 847-866-6292, maya-tony.com Gravity Maze™ The goal is to get a marble from one end of the board to another, but you’ll have to build a maze using colorful, translucent towers to do so. With 60 challenges ranging from beginner to expert, your child will get hours of fun out of this gift. $30, Marbles The Brain Store, Water Tower Place, Chicago; Westfield Old Orchard Mall, Skokie and Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, marblesthebrainstore.com GoldieBlox and The Builder’s Survival Kit Only 14 percent of engineers worldwide are women, but GoldieBlox hopes to change that. This kit gets girls ages 7-12 building, and comes with Goldie’s Diary of Inventions and prompts that allow your future engineer to choose their own difficulty level. $60, The Children’s Gift Shop, 310 Happ Road, Northfield, 847-441-5970, thechildrensgiftshop.com

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SamsSimpleDecor Prints Your teen will love the prints available at this Chicago Etsy shop. They can show their local pride with a Chicago typography map (also available for Boston, Manhattan and Milwaukee) or stay motivated with a favorite quote. $15-60, etsy.com/shop/SamsSimpleDecor

Guinness World Records 2015 This book has been printed for 60 years, and the newest edition will showcase how much has changed in that time. Your teen will love flipping through photofilled pages with new categories like 3D printing, alien hunting and social media records. $29, The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, 847446-8880, guinnessworldrecords. com/2015

Bandolier Your teen wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without her phone, but she doesn’t want to be weighed down. This phone case comes with a strap and slots for a driver’s license and credit card. Choose from a variety of colors and materials, including faux snakeskin and leather. $40-125, Valentina, 227 E. Westminster Ave., Lake Forest, 847-535-9600; 566 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847446-5480, bandolierstyle. com

Vintage Marquee Lights Light up your teen’s bedroom with their initial or favorite symbol, or even spell out a word. Each sign (12”, 24” or 36”) comes with a hanging bracket to make wall installation easy. $159-329, vintagemarqueelights.com iFLY Indoor Skydiving Give your teen the gift of skydiving without actually jumping out of a plane. Packages include two or four flights, training session and flight instructor, flight suit/helmet/goggles rental, and a personalized flight certificate. $70-141, iFLY Chicago (Rosemont), 5520 Park Place, Rosemont, 779-368-4359, chicago. iflyworld.com

BY ANNA CARLSON

Finding that perfect gift for your teen can be tough, but gift cards aren’t your only option. We guarantee one of these fresh ideas will connect with even the hardest-to-please teenager. Made with Love Bracelets Give back by purchasing these flexible bracelets made with recycled rubber by women in Djenné, Mali. When you purchase six bracelets, you’ll give a child one day’s care at the “L’Empire des Enfants,” a center for homeless children in Dakar, Senegal. $28, Juniper Boutique, 1346 Shermer Road, Northbrook, 224-326-2412, juniperboutique.com

Sbyke This skateboard-scooter combo provides a cardio workout with balance and muscletoning benefits, but is still a fun way to get from one destination to the next. $149-249, Brookstone, 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, sbyke.com

Faux Fur Neck Warmer This super-soft scarf, which also doubles as a hood, is the perfect gift for the teen looking to stay warm without sacrificing style. $48, joshestyle.com

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Bison Airlighter Looking for the ultimate toy for your favorite grill nut? This is it. The super-heated 2,600-degree flame can ignite wood and charcoal instantly, then switches to air to spread the flames. It operates no matter the weather—plus, it looks awesome. $99, thebisoncompany.com

BY JULIE CHERNOFF

The holidays are all about entertaining and spending time with family and friends. And all quality time includes eating, right? Here are some can’t-miss gifts for the foodand drink-obsessed.

Lillie’s Q Gift Box One of the best gifts I got last year was this pine box filled with delectable barbecue sauces, six in all: Smoky, Hot Smoky, Carolina, Carolina Gold, Ivory and E.N.C. Every one a gem and super versatile. Bonus points for presentation! $60, Lillie’s Q, 1856 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773772-5500, lilliesq.com

Perfect Drink App and Scale Take your amateur mixology efforts to a whole new level with this app-controlled smart bartending system that knows exactly what you’re adding. Follow the curated list of recipes or make up your own. Dark and Stormys for everyone! $50, Brookstone, Northbrook Court, Northbrook; Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie, brookstone.com

Hand-Painted Tunisian Tagine As functional as it is beautiful, this earthenware dish is for the cooking and serving of Moroccan tangines, couscous or rice. The conical lid keeps food moist by funneling condensation. Plus, it's oven and microwave safe. Pair it with some harissa or Moroccan spices and you're good to go. $55, Williams-Sonoma stores, williams-sonoma.com

Krups Wine Aerator For the serious wine lover, consider this countertop wine keeper/dispenser with two customizable “chilling chambers,” an aerator to open up the bouquet and a vacuumpressurization feature that ensures your wine will stay fresh for a week. This one’s on my list! $500, Crate and Barrel stores, crateandbarrel.com

American Spoon “Buy the Store” I’ve long been a fan of this revered Michigan store and find it hard to decide what to buy. The Up North Breakfast Box is always a winner, but even better is this all-encompassing option, with tons of preserves, fruit butters, salsas, grilling sauces and more. It’s the whole enchilada. Serious eaters only! $225, spoon.com/buythe-store

Kohler “In Celebration of Chocolate” If chocolate is your drug of choice, you will hit the motherlode at this awe-inspiring festival Feb. 6-8, 2015. This chocolate-covered extravaganza includes tastings, seminars and celebrations. It won’t be low calorie, but it’s certain to be delicious. Packages with hotel start at $436

The Bar10der This ingenious gadget is all you’ll need for the ultimate bar: muddler, jigger, zester, strainer—all here. Best of all, the 10-in-one compact design makes it easy to store and highly portable. Available in five bright colors. $30, quenchproducts. com; also available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and more

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Smart Tools Kitchen Stand for Tablets So simple, yet guaranteed to make life in the kitchen just a little bit easier. This handy stand lets modern cooks follow recipes or watch how-to videos while keeping their hands free and their tablets safe from drips and splatters. $35, williams-sonoma.com

Illustrated Playing Cards Staying with family or friends in another city? Stoke their hometown pride with an artful deck of illustrated playing cards. There are decks depicting scenes in Manhattan, Portland, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and, most importantly, Chicago. $20, illustratedplayingcards.com

Vinnebago This high-performance beverage container keeps drinks cold for 25 hours or hot for 12 hours. That means its lucky recipient can use it now to tote (spiked!) hot cocoa to football games and next summer to sip chilled chardonnay at the lake. It fits an entire bottle of wine, so you may want to pick up one for yourself as well (just saying). $30, corkcicle.com

Leather and Crystal Cuff Give the gift of bling. This chic leather cuff is an easy and modern way to dress up a basic jeans-and-tee ensemble. $105, Willow Boutique, 1060 Gage St., Winnetka, 847-3866869, willowboutique.com

BY MEGHAN STREIT

Recycled Glass Carafe and Glass Set For the philanthropist in your life, you need a gift that gives back. Proceeds from this upcycled drinking set from the UNICEF Market directly benefit children in developing countries. Mission accomplished. $46, market.unicefusa.org

Blackboard Garland The couple that is constantly hosting will get a lot of mileage out of this festive banner that can be changed to suit any occasion. $18, anthropologie.com

Sure, you could grab a bottle of wine (once again) on your way to the party. Or you could delight your host with one of these more memorable tokens of your affection. You'll definitely be invited back next year! With broad appeal and affordable prices, these gifts are also ideal for friends (think book club gift exchange or office grab bag). Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag This "plastic baggie" is actually a functional piece of hand-blown glass art that will be right at home in laidback households. Don't forget to fill this playful dish with your host's favorite confection! $17, uncommongoods. com

eCreamery Ice Cream or Gelato Rose water gelato with strawberry swirls, peanut butter ice cream with brownie bites, pink grapefruit sorbet with coconut—these are just a few of the customized flavors you can create through the online ice cream shop eCreamery. You can also create a personalized label for your special pint, making for a thoughtful hostess gift that will be quickly consumed, but not soon forgotten. $60 for half gallon (in four pintsized containers), plus $5 for each mix-in, ecreamery.com

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Chopard Superfast Power Control This watch is the epitome of cool for guys. Its stainless-steel case makes it not only durable, but also a powerful fashion statement, and the unique see-through back allows for a sneak peek into its inner workings. Price upon request, Burdeen’s Jewelry, 1151 W. Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, 847-459-8980, burdeens.com

BY EVANGELINE POLITIS

From practical to luxurious, these gift ideas will enliven holiday cheer in gents of all ages and interests. David Donahue Plaid Bow Tie This classic bow tie is the perfect finishing touch to any holiday outfit. Pure silk and adjustable, it allows even the most modern guy to sport the look without watching an instructional YouTube video. $65, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard,Skokie; Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago, nordstrom.com

Men's Pattern Wool Topcoat A rare find, this wool coat has a waterrepellent finish. It will shed both rain and snow on his way to a special occasion, or just commuting to and from work. $249, Land’s End, landsend.com

Jack Spade Mitchell Leather Tie Case This handsome leather case will get his finest silk ties from point A to point B wrinkle-free. And it only gets better with age: the all-natural, vegetable-dyed Italian leather will develop a rich patina. $248, jackspade.com The Men's Store Gloves These ultra-luxe, cashmere-lined leather and suede gloves guarantee protection from the elements and are touch-screen device friendly. $125, Bloomingdales, Westfield Old Orchard,Skokie; 900 N. Michigan Shops, Chicago, bloomingdales. com

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Luckies of London Smartphone Projector Just right for the techie guy in your life, this portable projector can screen personal vacation videos of his world travels or just his favorite movie at up to eight times magnification. $28, Nordstrom, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago, nordstrom.com

Garret Leight Sunglasses These rectangular wayfarers are the perfect gift for a tropical winter break trip or even for combatting the glare of the snow in the Windy City. $315, Bloomingdales, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; 900 N. Michigan Shops, Chicago, bloomingdales.com

Airplane Cufflinks These sterling silver cufflinks are the perfect gift for a world traveler or an aviation fanatic. They're a modern complement to a classic French cuffed shirt. $300, Tiffany & Co., Westfield Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, 847-763-8775, tiffany.com

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Bric’s Quattro Light Cabin Trolley Keep calm and carry on—in style. Want to treat your jet-setter to something special? This Italian luggage line has an international reputation for hand-crafted items of the finest Tuscan leather. $1,675, Kaehler Luggage, 553 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 800-314-2247; 670 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847-433-6500, worldtraveler.com

Anne Taintor Luggage Tag Frequent fliers will get a laugh out of this luggage tag. Hopefully, it’ll help them smile— even if their flight’s delayed! $10, Fixture, 2108 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-244-3100, shopfixture.com

4Yosi Samra Ballet Flats Smart fliers know a slip-on is the way to go. These comfortable walking shoes fold up and easily fit in a purse. They even come in an adorable gift box. $66, Gigi Bottega, 612 Davis St., Evanston, 847- 4255158, gigibottega.com

Coolibar Sun-Protective Tunic Headed somewhere warm? Your beloved will look chic on any shore with this colorful cover-up made from sunprotective fabric. At night, wear the tunic with a pair of white pants to take it from the beach to cocktail hour. $80, coolibar.com

BY LINDSAY ROSEMAN

Don’t leave your furry friends off your list! These picks will surely get tails wagging (plus a little something for your favorite animal-lovers).

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BY ANDREA GUTHMANN

Life’s a journey! Say "Bon voyage" in style with these great travel gifts for your favorite globetrotter.

STM Drifter Laptop Backpack Tech-toting travelers will get a charge out of the plethora of pockets allowing easy access to e-reader, computer, smartphone, cables and charger. Plenty of padding keeps your computer safe and makes it comfy to carry. $44, amazon.com

“Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me” by Cynthia L. Copeland Described as “a collection of the timeless lessons we can learn from man’s best friend,” this heartwarming photo book will put a smile on any doglover’s face—and remind us of things we sometimes forget, like Lesson #1: “Joy is meant to be shared.” $13, The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-4468880, thebookstall.com

Hip Doggie Chicago Bears Puffer Vest Bear down! Dress your furry friend for the game in this officially licensed NFL Chicago Bears Puffer Vest with a waterrepellant quilted shell, soft fleece interior and removable hood. $39-55, Noah’s Ark Pet Supply, 831 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-784-0125 Dog Diggin Designs Sniffany & Co. Pet Bed Treat your pet to the finer things in life as it goes to bed resting its head on a Tiffany-blue “Sniffany & Co.” bed. Naptime has never been so luxurious! $118, Wags on Willow, 840 Willow Road, Northbrook, 847-272-2918

Harry Barker Personalized Ultimate Toy Basket Show your pooch some serious love with this personalized toy basket stuffed with goodies. Bin includes a large stuffed Scottie toy, reindeer toy, woven bone, tug toy, tennis balls and treats— plenty to keep Fido busy during Christmas dinner. $140, Neiman Marcus, Chicago, Northbrook, Oakbrook, neimanmarcus.com

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iKettle Perfect for the caffeine addicts in your life, the iKettle is the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle, which will send a text to your smartphone to wake you up and let you boil water from anywhere in your home with the push of a button. $160, wifikettle.com

BY LINDSAY ROSEMAN

Wish there was an app to do all your holiday shopping? Luckily, we’ve done the groundwork for you to please all the techies on your list. These innovative new products are changing the way we communicate, create and listen to music, work out, and even make tea. Kobo Aura H2O Kobo’s brand-new e-reader is the first premium e-reader with a waterproof and dustproof design, so you can read by the pool, beach or in the bathtub worry-free. You’ll love the extra-large, no-glare screen and fully adjustable ComfortLight. $180, kobo.com

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones Beats is back with a new and improved version of their über-popular Beats Solo Headphones. The Solo2 features a more comfortable fit, sleeker design and wider range of sound with increased clarity for easier listening. $200, Apple Retail Stores, Michigan Avenue, Northbrook Court and Westfield Old Orchard, apple.com

Chromecast Give the gift of streaming for less than $40. Plug this tiny device into your TV’s HDMI port to stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Pandora, YouTube and more in 1080p right from your mobile device. $35, google.com/chromecast

Withings Activité Finally, a fitness tracker that won’t ruin an outfit. This luxe Swiss-made watch tracks activity, monitors sleep, and notifies you when goals are reached, all while displaying daily progress on a smaller analog dial and simultaneously syncing to an iOS device. $450, withings.com/activite

jamstik Turn your mobile device into an instrument with jamstik, a guitar controller that connects to your device so you can learn, play and create music. The jamstik uses infrared light to detect what your hands are doing so it knows your next move before you even touch the strings. Rock on! $300, jamstik.com

Ringly Stay connected in style. Ringly connects to your phone via Bluetooth and discreetly alerts you when important emails, calls and texts come in. Control who and what comes through, and you’ll receive notifications via custom vibration patterns and colors. $195, ringly.com

Cord Taco Wrangle wires in your purse, car or desk drawer with these premium leather pouches that secure with a gold snap. Perfect for travel, these tiny organizers secure headphones and chargers and are easy to toss in your bag. $29 for pack of 5, thisisground.com

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FAMILY

AP, SAT and ACT tests are also often available, so students won’t fall behind. “Partaking in both traditional and non-traditional education experiences made me a better, more independent student,” says Natalie Serrino, both a New Trier and CITYterm alumna. “A semester school is a great decision for students who are pretty independent and want to explore different approaches to learning.” Semester schools are a unique experience that can be enjoyed by students of all personality types and from all types of schooling environments. The one common theme among the students that attend and enjoy semester schools is that they are academically curious and willing to invest themselves in the experience on which they are embarking. Check out these popular semester schools to see if they might be right for your child:

YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BY COURTNEY COOK

There are many alternative schools on the North Shore, but have you ever heard of a semester school? Semester schools are accredited boarding schools for high school and gap-year students looking to dive deep into specialized curriculums for one semester. With a price tag about equal to half a year’s tuition at an independent boarding school, they are academically rigorous and provide ample opportunity for students to flourish in and out of the classroom. Kids who attend will gather in-depth knowledge of the specialty of the school they are attending, as well as community skills acquired by living with a small group of people, particularly in dorms. They aim to cultivate independence, active participation and creative thought. Offering specialized courses such as intensive fine-art training or hands-on marine biology, semester schools are heavily academic and teach advanced junior-year schedules. Many schools also offer classes like math and foreign language to keep students on track with their sending school’s requirements. All credits acquired at the semester school will easily transfer back to students’ sending school.

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For the city dweller… CITYterm Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. The CITYterm classroom is New York City. CITYterm believes that the best education is rooted in experience, and students recognize learning can happen anywhere. With a focus on interdisciplinary assignments, CITYterm’s curriculum is based on the Urban Core curriculum, which is comprised of three courses: History of New York City, Literature of New York City, and Urban Environments. Utilizing this curriculum, students come to see New York City as both laboratory and text, and are able to translate this back in their hometowns in order to actively give back to their communities. For the conservationist… Conserve School Land O’ Lakes, Wis. The Conserve School is for sophomores and juniors who love the world and want to conserve its resources. The aim of the program is to engage in the outdoors, study environmental history, nature literature and the science of conservation, and to explore careers related to conservation. Students ski, bike, canoe, snowshoe and walk their way into understanding the wilderness and world that surrounds them.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITYTERM

10 SEMESTER SCHOOLS

For the scientist or environmentalist… Chewonki School Wiscasset, Maine The Chewonki School for high school juniors is located on a 400-acre, saltwater peninsula, where students work on an organic farm, in a woodlot or on maintenance and construction projects. Students explore the natural world through rigorous courses on topics such as natural science and environmental issues. Students who attend Chewonki work hard physically and academically and figure out firsthand what it means to contribute to the world.

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The Island School

For the athlete… The Island School Eleuthera, Bahamas The Island School’s goal is to develop a sense of place, model sustainability and create an intentional community. It offers coursework in ecology, scientific research, history, mathematics, art and English literature while teaching through real-world applications. Students either run a half marathon or swim four miles by the end of the program. They also learn to scuba dive, go on a kayak trip and have a homestay experience with a local family. “[The Island School] was the first time where I felt supported in a community that was telling me what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do,” says Gretchen Meyer, an Island School alumna living in New York. “I learned just as much from my teachers as I did from my peers.” *Only place-based coursework is offered; students do not complete foreign languages or standardized testing. For the sailor… Discovery High School Semester at Sea Boothbay Harbor, Maine The ocean is your classroom at this semester school, where sophomores, juniors and seniors sail on a 3,000-mile ocean voyage. For example, applied mathematics is learned through the navigation and physics of sailing. The program aims to develop a oneness between student, sea and sky, all while promoting the concept that the whole world is a classroom.

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For the outdoorsy environmental scientist… The Oxbow School Napa, Calif. The Oxbow School features studio art making and interdisciplinary humanities for juniors and seniors. Oxbow offers an intensive studio experience in painting, sculpture, photography, digital media and printmaking, allowing students to grow as conceptual and technical artists as well as work alongside professional artists. These artistic skills are translated into the classroom, interweaving creative approaches to inquiry. Additionally, students grow their own vegetables and fruit, care for the chickens that provide them eggs, and manage the Oxbow beehive. (Note: Author Courtney Cook is a graduate of The Oxbow School.) For the future government leader… The School for Ethics and Global Leadership Washington, D.C. Aiming to create hopeful, infectious and powerful change in the world, this school fosters the next generation of global leaders. It caters to juniors who reflect the racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity of the United States. They study ethical thinking skills, leadership development and international affairs in Washington, D.C., while taking advantage of all the nation’s capital has to offer. When they leave, these students are ready to change the world. For the girl who loves to travel… The Traveling School Locations vary Open to girls in any year of high school, the Traveling School enables students to fully integrate themselves into the countries, villages and families they visit. During the semester, they volunteer in schools, orphanages and villages, meet with the freedom fighters that helped end Apartheid, and visit Inca archaeological sites. Students take a full course load, and they can even practice travel journalism skills, having their photographs and articles published at the end of the semester.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ISLAND SCHOOL

For the outdoorsy student… High Mountain Institute Leadville, Colo. The semester spent at High Mountain is one where students live, travel and study in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the canyons of southeastern Utah. With three 10-day wilderness expeditions, students have the chance to learn about the world around them while developing leadership skills. The mountains surrounding them allow academic lessons in science, history and English to come alive.

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KATIE SAVAGE PRIVATE CLIENT ADVISOR, WILLIAM BLAIR Katie Savage, a Financial Advisor at William Blair and presenter at our September “Smart Women, Smart Finance$” program, gives her candid take on some frequently asked questions about money management. MIB: What is the biggest money mistake you think women tend to make? Savage: Personal finances can be overwhelming to many people. You do not need to understand the financial markets in great depth, but you should ask questions and educate yourself about the fundamentals of money management—compounding, dollar-cost averaging, and risk and reward. How can I make my charitable gifts have the most impact? Will it be an outright donation or a gift made through your estate plan? Will you give securities, cash or real estate? Will it be a restricted gift to a cause that is important to you? Can you tie your giving to your company’s matching gift program? Can you

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integrate your giving with a contribution of your time and talent? There are several factors to consider in making a charitable gift. What can I do today in 30 minutes or less to take better control of my finances? If you haven’t already done so, we recommend creating a simple balance sheet to serve as a starting point for a financial plan. On a micro level, it takes just a minute to setup an online banking plan to help track and budget your spending, as well as help to avoid late fees and other penalties. How do you teach your own kids to be financially responsible? I have nieces and nephews who range in age from toddlers to teenagers. At those ages, I encourage them to understand the value of a dollar with my own “matching gift” program. I also try to educate them that money can be used to save, invest, spend or give away, which applies no matter what age you are.

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FAMILY | travel

Northstar Summit

MOUNTAIN RETREAT BY ANDREA GUTHMANN

LAKE TAHOE (CALIFORNIA/NEVADA)

Get your serenity fix atop the High Sierra in California’s North Lake Tahoe (skilaketahoe.com), then drive an hour south to the Nevada side of the lake, with its flurry of casinos and nonstop nightlife, as well as prime ski slopes. If you’re looking for high-end luxury for the whole family, head to the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe (ritzcarlton.com), the mid-mountain location at Northstar (northstarcalifornia. com). More of a high roller? Make tracks for the brand new Hard Rock Hotel (hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com) in South Lake Tahoe. Scusa Italian Ristorante (scusalaketahoe.com), with breads and desserts made fresh in-house daily, is a solid dinner choice.

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING

The spirit of the Old West is alive and kickin’ up its cowboy boots in Jackson Hole. After skiing amidst the stunning beauty of the Grand Tetons, round up your posse and head over to the popular Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (milliondollarcowboybar.com). Then swing your partner over to one of the many art galleries or restaurants.

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Enjoy happy trails—2,500 acres of them—at the main ski area, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (jacksonhole. com), only a half hour from the Jackson Hole Airport. The slope-side Four Seasons Jackson Hole (fourseasons.com/ jacksonhole) has long been a favorite choice for lodging. Fireplace in your room? Check. Heated outdoor pool and hot tubs? You got it. Add in a world-class spa, decorate the hotel with native stone and Navajo carpets, and you have luxury combined with casual chic. There’s no need to rent a car. When you’re ready to explore downtown Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone National Park, Four Seasons puts you in the drivers seat with an awesome amenity. You get to test drive a Mercedes SUV for one day during your stay, free of charge.

KEYSTONE, COLORADO

There’s a flurry of great mountains, but the most convenient, affordable option is flying into Denver and choosing a nearby ski resort. The closest is Keystone (keystoneresort.

PHOTOS BY JACK AFFLECK, COREY RICH AND AARON ROSEN

For many, winter’s a time to stay inside and stream Netflix. Need an excuse to get off the couch? Consider one of these fabulous ski getaways. Whether you’re in it for the top runs or the hot toddies, we’ve got just the lift you need.

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com), one of Colorado’s most family-friendly, which is 90 minutes from the Denver airport. If you spend two nights in the mainly condo-style Keystone lodging, kids 12 and under ski for free. Plus, you’ll get a full kitchen and washer/ dryer, another sweet perk for families. Lone Eagle and The Timbers are two suitable ski-in/ski-out condo options. From Keystone, take the free Summit Stage bus over to nearby Breckenridge (breckenridge.com) which was settled in the 1859 Gold Rush and has the feel of a vintage Western movie. The Gold Pan Saloon (thegoldpansaloon.com) is a great place to hang out in this mining town.

BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO

Two hours west of Denver, Beaver Creek (beavercreek.com) is one of Colorado’s most upscale ski resorts. Freshly baked cookies offered at the mountain’s base each afternoon amplify the joy of breathtaking views and great runs. The Pines Lodge (pineslodge.rockresorts.com), a ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel decorated in alpine chic, is perfect for a romantic getaway. Its elegant Grouse Mountain Grill,

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specializing in farm-to-table Colorado-centric cooking, has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Beaver Creek Valley. After dinner, soak in the scenery from the hot tub, perched high above the surrounding pines and aspens. If your perfect hotel includes a kids club, choose Westin Riverfront Beaver Creek (westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com). There’s an on-site gondola, ski rental and valet, heated lap pool and Jacuzzis, world-class spa, a hip restaurant serving upscale Mexican cuisine, and a popular après-ski scene.

WISCONSIN

The Grand Geneva Resort (grandgeneva.com) in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is the perfect spot for beginning skiers. It’s not the Rocky Mountains, but there are three chair lifts, 18 runs, and a terrain park if you want to give snowboarding a whirl. After a day on the slopes, warm up with a hot toddy around the outdoor firepit at Embers Terrace. Let the kids dive into the fun at Moose Mountain Falls Waterpark while the adults chill out in the world-class spa. Time to hit the slopes!

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HOME

BY RACHEL BROWN KULP | PHOTOS BY PAUL STRABBING

It's the season for Pinterest to beckon with the candle-lit glow of exquisite holiday tables and Rockwellian visions of family gatherings. But with a cupboard full of mismatched china from Grandma and mundane everyday dishes, we felt ill prepared for entertaining, so we brought in some professional help. With little more than glitter twine and some strewn leaves, mastermind food and prop stylist Johanna Lowe used a simple place setting as the basis for three stunning (and totally Pin-able) tablescapes.

BASIC SETTING ď ą

You don’t need a suite of dishes for every season, a basic wardrobe of simple pieces can be dolled up to suit any occasion. We started with a clean palette: A wood table, white dinner plates, silver flatware and clear glasses make for a versatile foundation, upon which Lowe built up lush layers of accessories, vintage pieces, candles and botanicals for a complete transformation three-times over. (White dishes from westelm.com)

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HANUKKAH

An elegant Hanukkah table feels magical with twinkling candlelight, glittering silver accents and a traditional palette of blue and white. Scattered crystal Stars of David add dimension without visual clutter. Lowe deconstructed the Menorah—silver candles in vintage cordial glasses run the length of the table, acting as a meaningful centerpiece while leaving plenty of space for dreidel-spinning. (Crystal stars from westelm.com)

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HOME

CHRISTMAS ď ą

Break out of the red-and-green rut! A festive Christmas table can be a sophisticated affair. Lowe devised a rustic, wintry fantasy with a warm but subdued palette and loads of texture. Birch bark and conical centerpieces suggest an enchanted forest. Twinkle lights impart a soft glow amid the white peacock feathers, which look spectacular and are a subtle nod to traditional Christian symbolism.

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NEW YEAR'S EVE 

New Year's Eve calls for getting glitzy and (a little) tipsy. Ditching the centerpiece keeps the Champagne close at hand and encourages intimate conversation. A languidly draped runner in sumptuous fabric is luxurious but nonchalant. Lowe opted for subtle shimmer and vibrant color—creating a sparkling, convivial atmosphere—perfect for ringing in the New Year with old friends (and luscious oysters). (Gold tray from Crate & Barrel)

JOHANNA LOWE’S TRICKS OF THE TRADE: 1. Strike a balance between food and decoration. “Don’t crowd out the table with too much décor,” Lowe says. 2. Consider sightlines—keep centerpieces low so they don’t impede conversation. 3. Group decorative items in odd numbers and vary heights, and make sure your décor runs the length of the table so no one is left out. 4. Coordinate scents with your menu using botanicals and potted herbs. For instance, suggests Lowe, “Rosemary in winter would be lovely.” 5. Mix in different china patterns and vintage pieces. It encourages conversation and personalizes each place setting. Remember

to keep everything cohesive by using similar scale, colors and patterns. 6. Invest in good basics: white or cream dishes and beautiful flatware are great for everyday and can easily be transformed for special occasions. 7. Venture outside the box for inspiration. Along with Pinterest and European magazines, Lowe looks to thrift and antique stores because they “take your mind to a resourceful place.” 8. Look around you! Lowe used simple findings like ribbon, dried leaves and flowers and Christmas tree ornaments. There’s a wealth of material right in your own backyard. 9. “Plan, plan, plan. Research, research. Make lists and shop on a full stomach and a glass (just one) of wine!” Lowe says.

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AT HOME

15 PINTEREST HACKS FOR THE HOME B Y L I N D S AY R O S E M A N

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Fill a glass container with marbles to store and display makeup brushes and tools. You’ll never have to go digging for the eye-shadow brush again.

Attach shower curtain hooks to a hanger or closet rod to neatly hang scarves. Each scarf will be visible and you’ll save space for more clothes.

Mount printed clipboards on the wall above a desk to clip important notes, papers, receipts, etc.

Use clothespins to divide mail into categories and label: paid, unpaid, urgent, save, file or toss.

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Use bread clips to label a mess of power cords. Next time you reach to unplug the DVD player, you won’t accidentally shut off the TV, stereo system and lamp.

Use a tension rod to hang bottles of cleaning solution and maximize storage space in bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

Use an old tissue box to corral the plastic grocery bags floating around under your sink. They’ll be in one easy-to-find place and will neatly dispense one at a time.

Make the most of the space in a small bathroom by using a large wine bottle rack as a towel holder—perfect for guest bathrooms!

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Keep tabs on all of your bobby pins and small bathroom tools by adding a magnetic strip inside a drawer or medicine cabinet.

This is also a great way to store knives. Or tools. Or random office supplies.

Hide unsightly files and paperwork by turning a blanket chest into a secret file cabinet.

Create an easy-to-manage ribbon dispenser using dowel rods and a slotted plastic bin—the ultimate gift-wrapping sanity-saver.

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PHOTOS VIA PINTEREST

If you’re fresh out of get-organized ideas, Pinterest is here to the rescue. These easy, low-cost hints and hacks will conquer clutter and make every room in your home a little bit more organized—just in time for the holidays.

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follow us! pinterest.com/ makeitbettermag New to pinterest? Learn helpful tricks and tips at makeitbetter.net/learnpinterest.

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Store snacks, treats, baking ingredients and more in beautiful glass canisters that make even broken pretzels look good. No storage? No problem. These canisters are pretty enough to be out on the countertop.

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Streamline your linen closet by folding and storing a flat sheet, fitted sheet and one pillowcase inside of the other pillow case. Stack sheet sets together for easy access.

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Clean up your laundry room by storing all of your supplies in a hanging door rack. Want to break it down even more for kids? Paint the back of the door with chalkboard paint and label each shelf.

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FINANCE

PHOTO BY BLISS WEDDINGS & EVENTS

11 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE

YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY BUDGET BY MEGHAN STREIT

Whether you’re hosting a cocktail party for 75 or an intimate dinner for 12, you want to spend your holiday entertaining budget on the things your guests will enjoy and remember.

$20 bottle is minimal and your guests won’t notice,” says Megan Estrada of North Shore Weddings and Events (northshoreevents.com). Just make sure the wines you choose are light and drinkable with a variety of foods.

We talked to local event planners to help us figure out where to skimp (hint: expensive wine) and where to spend the big bucks (you’ll never regret hiring wait staff). Follow these guidelines for a holiday affair to remember that won’t break the bank.

3. Filling Foods

1. Signature Cocktail

Setting up a full bar is pricy. Opt instead for a signature cocktail, which feels more festive for a fraction of the cost. Renny Pedersen, founder of Chicago’s Bliss Weddings and Events (blissweddingsandevents.com) recommends Rosemary Pear Sparklers (1 shot pear vodka, 1 teaspoon rosemary syrup, top with dry Prosecco or sparkling wine). Serve in chilled coupe glasses garnished with fresh sprigs of rosemary for a pretty presentation.

2. Affordable Wine

Expensive wine eats up more of your party budget than it’s worth. “The difference between an $8 bottle of wine and a

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Estrada says foods that combine starches and protein in each bite are more filling, which means you don’t have to serve as many pieces per person. Some of her favorites include Brie and apricot tartlets, mini beef empanadas, and bacon-wrapped dates with cheese.

4. Passed Appetizers

People eat less from a passed tray than from a buffet, says Chicago event planner Stacy Saltzman (sostacy.com). So, pass your most expensive hors d’oeuvres instead of leaving them out for guests to graze.

5. Action Stations

Supplement passed appetizers with bountiful buffets of less expensive foods. Pedersen recommends creating a budgetfriendly bruschetta station with slices of toasted French bread and an array of interesting toppings like blue cheese, honey, olive tapenade, goat cheese and apricot chutney.

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6. Comfort Food

During the chilly holiday season, people want warm, rustic comfort food. “That’s why all the yummy meatballs served on cocktail sticks always get eaten up first,” Pedersen says. So take the cash you were going to spend on an elaborate seafood display and splurge on another element of the party.

7. Get Help

Saltzman says hiring wait staff, bartenders and parking attendants is the best splurge you can make at your holiday party. If you have a piano, also consider hiring someone to play live music. “Regardless of the size of your party, hiring outside assistance is worth every penny so you can be a guest,” she says.

8. DIY Flowers

Professional floral arrangements can add hundreds to your holiday party budget. Pedersen says you can buy flowers in bulk at Costco or Home Depot for close to the price the pros pay at wholesale flower markets. Arrange store-bought flowers in vases and other vessels (antique teapots, colorful glass bottles) that you have at home.

9. Printed Materials

Estrada says it’s worth devoting some effort and money to printed materials for your party—beginning with beautiful invitations. “I like to put up themed signs throughout the event, directing guests or labeling food,” she says. “Even a nice sign on the bathroom is helpful and makes people feel like the party is cohesive.”

10. Personal Touches

Fine wine and gourmet nibbles are wonderful, but what your guests will really remember is feeling welcome in your home. “Perhaps you have an ornament made for each guest with their family name and the year on it and hang it on your Christmas tree, or hand out slippers to brunch guests to make them feel at home,” Pedersen suggests.

11. Plan Ahead

If you host a holiday party every year, Saltzman says to stock up for 2015 the day after this year’s holiday, when things like cocktail napkins and decorations will be on sale.

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SHOP FOR GOOD Support these local businesses that will donate 10% of your purchase to our vetted nonprofits. Visit shopforgood.makeitbetter.net for even more items that give back.

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BRIGHTON POCKET MIRROR “Be the fairest of them all” pocket magnifier mirror from Brighton, $34. Mattie M (Winnetka) mattiem.com 847-784-8701

TEDDIE KOSSOF BONUS GIFT Bonus $15 gift card with purchase of $100 gift card, no limit. Teddie Kossof Salon Spa (Northfield) teddiekossof.com 847-999-9500

YOUR LIFE IN BOOKS Photos everywhere? We organize, enhance, and design your memories into customdesigned books. Books of Life (Chicago) yourbooksoflife.com 847-859-9442

HOLIDAY CANDLE & GIFT SET Lightly scented candle set beautifully presented and designed to be re-used as wine or juice glasses, $38. Juniper Boutique (Northbrook) juniperboutique.com 224-326-2412

SIGNATURE SUEDE CAPE Luxury suede and wool reversible cape. $850. Mountain Hides (Chicago) mountainhides.com 773-472-2220

SILVER GEMSTONE CHAKRA BRACELET A beautiful way to balance your seven chakra energy centers, $64. Full Bloomed Lotus (Wilmette) fullbloomedlotus.com 847-853-0600

ELIZABETH ARDEN RED DOOR SPA Receive bonus spa dollars with every $100 gift card purchase. Red Door Spa (Chicago, Deerfield, Northbrook) reddoorspas.com 866-733-3667

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FASHION

B Y E VA N G E L I N E P O L I T I S P H OTO S B Y J E N N I F E R AV E L LO MODELS L AUR A HANSEN A N D B AY L E Y A L E X A N D R A , CO U RT E S Y O F 1 0 M GMT.

On Laura (left): Kate Spade red bow dress, $428, CUSP Oval citrine ring in yellow gold, $2,370, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Stone bracelet, $55, Danelle Designs Kate Spade bow pumps, $350, Tria Boutique On Bayley (right): Kate Spade pearl embellished sweater, $348, CUSP Tibi midi skirt, $395, CUSP Oval sapphire and platinum ring, $3,770, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Teal Tourmaline and 18K yellow gold ring, $4,180, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Jerome C. Rousseau booties, $945, Tria Boutique

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Fashion eras clashed on the Goodman Theatre’s rehearsal stage for our holiday fashion story. While some of the characters from the Goodman’s famed production of ”A Christmas Carol” were appalled by the modern dress of our models, others admired the newfangled frocks of the 21st century. This season, celebrate by donning looks in the holiday spirit: sparkles, satin, bows and jewel tones.

On Bayley: Smokey quartz and diamond blush gold earrings, $860, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Ted Baker herringbone metallic dress, $295, CUSP Rebecca Minkoff rose gold clutch, $175, CUSP Ametrine blush gold cocktail ring, $3,280, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Kate Spade bronze sandal, $328, Tria Boutique Stone bracelet, $55, Danelle Designs On Laura: South Seas pearl necklace with 18K gold clasp, price upon request, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio South Seas pearl necklace with 18K white gold clasp and sterling silver black stars with diamonds, price upon request, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Wayne Clark black bow party dress, $1,375, Avenue Fashions Rebecca Minkoff quilted bag, $195, CUSP Kate Spade bow pumps, $350, Tria Boutique

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DECEMBER 2014

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On Laura (left): Wayne Clark print dress with flower embellishment, $1,600, The Lake Forest Shop Sterling silver cuff, $1,500, Eve J. AlfillĂŠ Gallery & Studio Sterling silver abalone pearl ring with one sapphire and 14K gold detail, price upon request, Eve J. AlfillĂŠ Gallery & Studio Emy Mack black bejeweled heels, $475, The Lake Forest Shop On Bayley (right): Diane von Furstenberg powder pink and gold dress, $398, CUSP Sondra Roberts rhinestone embellished clutch, $220, Lake Forest Shop Stone bracelets, $55 each, Danelle Designs Kate Spade bronze sandal, $328, Tria Boutique

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On Bayley: Moonstone earrings, price upon request, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Wayne Clark print dress, $1,600, The Lake Forest Shop Stone bracelet, $55, Danelle Designs Sondra Roberts gemstone clutch, $288, The Lake Forest Shop Kate Spade bow pumps, $350, Tria Boutique On Laura: Black diamond necklace with platinum clasp, price upon request, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Black diamond and platinum earrings, price upon request, Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio Halston Heritage party dress, $495, Avenue Fashions Emy Mack black bejeweled heels, $475, The Lake Forest Shop

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PHOTO <CREDIT>

BET TER YOU | finance

DECEMBER 2014

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BET TER YOU

SHOP CHICAGO

Peruvian Connection

BY JENNY MUSLIN

Ad Hoc Ukranian Village’s newest boutique is also quickly becoming the most popular addition to the neighborhood. You’ll find women’s and men’s clothing as well as handmade jewelry and home goods. Best selling items include Chaser Brand vintage-inspired tees, Level 99 super-soft denim and ByBoe handmade jewelry. The store also becomes an event and gallery space at night. 1948 W. Chicago Ave., 312-343-9991, chicagoadhoc. com

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Alice + Olivia This top contemporary brand finally has its own store in Chicago, and it couldn’t be more beautiful. Set on Michigan Avenue, you’ll love the bright interiors and the fabulous fashions from dresses to shoes. 919 N. Michigan Ave., 312-273-1254, aliceandolivia.com Ancien Cycles Along with a great selection of bikes and biking accessories, this shop also services bikes. The friendly and informative staff has already made this spot a favorite among cyclists. Look for Ancien Cycles’ newest venture, a neighboring restaurant called “Roll Out Cafe.” 688 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-888-3048, anciencycles.com Alice + Olivia

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EACH BUSINESS

Update your wardrobe with key pieces from some of Chicago’s latest and greatest boutiques, now filled to bursting with holiday fashions and gifts. You’ll want to spend an entire afternoon exploring these chic shops.

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Sandro This popular Parisian line (and sister store to Maje) opened its first Midwestern freestanding store in January. Fashionable men’s and women’s clothing hangs in a modern, sleek space. You’ll find lacy blouses, edgy dresses and sweet suiting. 102 E. Oak St., 312-649-9224, us.sandoparis.com Another 20 You’ll find a curated collection of clothing, accessories and home goods from obscure designers like House of Holland and Liberty Garden, along with favorites like 3.1 Phillip Lim and Current Elliott. The boutique is constantly updating its inventory and adding new brands to its rotation. 1041 W. Madison St., 312-929-2212, another20.com

Soñador Owned by mother-daughter team Gisele and Ari Washington, this contemporary men’s and women’s boutique carries labels such as J Brand, Moschino, Vince and IRO. 1006 W. Armitage Ave., 773-799-8084, sonadorboutique.com

Maje Oak Street’s becoming hot again, and Maje is just one of the stylish boutiques to occupy the old Esquire Theater space. While this French clothing line is carried at some department stores, here you can shop the entire women’s collection. Expect the signature, sophisticated fashions the brand is known for. 104 E. Oak St., 312-649-9928, maje.com

Souchi It’s likely you’ve seen Suzi Johnson’s designs on your favorite TV show, worn by one of your favorite characters. Lucky for us, Chicago has one of two stores in the U.S. where you’ll find Johnson’s Souchi line. While you definitely must try the exquisite cashmere sweaters that Souchi is known for, the store also sells contemporary labels like Ace & Jig and Enza Costa. 1205 W. Webster Ave., 773-687-9638, souchi.com

Meadowlark If vintage is your thing, you’ll love this Humboldt Park gem. No digging through piles either. The edited selection is spaced out neatly and includes quality silks, sweaters and more. 1107 N. California Ave., 312-568-9313 Peruvian Connection All of Peruvian Connection’s knit alpaca sweaters are designed and produced in Peru by Annie Hurlbut. Among the fabulous sweaters, you’ll find dresses, jackets and tunics in an array of luxurious fabrics. 925 W. Armitage Ave., 773-975-4088, peruvianconnection.com

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Timbuk2 Bucktown’s newest shop is another San Francisco original. Timbuk2 sells its signature messenger bags along with other carryalls like travel bags, laptop bags and backpacks. Even better: Many of the bags can be customized so yours is unlike any other. Tip: Mention the word “shotwell” to get 20 percent off your first in-store purchase. 1623 N. Damen Ave., 773-661-4433, timbuk2.com Zadig & Voltaire Like Sandro and Maje, this line is huge in Europe and now we’re finally getting a freestanding store in Chicago. Referred to as “urban luxe,” you’ll want to snag ultracool pieces like a studded cashmere cardigan or leather detailed blazer. 114 E. Oak St., 312-643-1240, zadig-etvoltaire.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EACH BUSINESS

Marine Layer What started as a T-shirt company has now evolved into a full lines of both men’s and women’s clothing. Hailing from San Francisco, this shop sells a variety of sporty contemporary wear, but it’s the super-soft tees the company is known for that will make you a devotee of the line. 1646 N. Damen Ave., marinelayer.com

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BET TER YOU | finance

SPONSORED CONTENT

celebrating the best of 2014

ANDREAS HOGUE SALON READY FOR A FRESH SALON experience? Andreas Hogue Salon brings to the North Shore the urban energy of the city along with nationally recognized talent and superior customer service. Based in Northbrook’s vibrant Willow Festival Shopping Center, the salon provides a broad range of services including hair cutting, hair color, nails, makeup and aesthetics. Fans of Aveda, Pureology, and Matrix will find those products and many more in the retail area of the salon, as well as great spa gifts...just in time for the holidays.

MENTION THIS AD FOR A COMPLIMENTARY DEEPCONDITIONING TREATMENT WITH ANY HAIRCUT OR COLOR (VALUE $25). EXPIRES JANUARY 31, 2015. 840 Willow Rd, Suite K, Northbrook 847-272-1616 • andreashogue.com

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BEST HAIRCUT AND BEST HAIR COLOR APRIL 2014

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BET TER YOU

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS BY CHRIST Y COUGHLIN

The holiday season is a time to create lasting memories with friends and family, partake in outdoor activities, and enjoy delicious meals. But of course, life rarely goes as planned. As you begin this special time of year, heed these expert words of advice to help keep your holidays injury-free, healthy and relatively sane.

AVOID THE EMERGENCY ROOM

During the holiday season, “Some of the most common injuries include broken wrists, knee injuries and hand lacerations,” says Dr. Leon Benson, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon with NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute and Illinois Bone & Joint Institute. Dr. Benson offers this advice: Slipping on ice often results in broken wrists. Shoes or boots that are specifically designed with extra traction can be critical in preventing falls. “Black ice” conditions develop overnight and falls occur with that first step outside. Injuries related to winter sports activities—skiing, sledding, ice skating and snowboarding—are common. Prevent injury by wearing the protective gear, mastering the skills required to perform the sport (selecting the appropriate ski run difficulty, for example) and keeping an eye on the weather and lighting conditions. Take a break when fatigue sets in. Sharp utensils and preparing complicated holiday meals mean an increase in hand injuries. Key safety principles include never having children use sharp utensils and using the right tool for any job. Never use a knife to cut toward yourself or separate frozen foods.

ENJOY THE MEAL

With so much good food, it can be torture to resist the temptation fearing weight gain. Registered dietician Karen Raden encourages her clients to indulge within reason. She offers these tips to help you enjoy the food without going overboard: Have realistic goals, like focusing on maintenance rather than trying to lose weight. Take the pressure off and enjoy some of your favorite holiday goodies but set limits. Enjoy what you are eating, consciously. Spend time reconnecting with people you care about instead of focusing solely on the food. When the emphasis goes away

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from the food, you will be amazed at the new relationships you make with friends and family. Add activity by taking in a holiday-themed 5K or hitting the gym. You will be relaxed and enjoy the rest of the day preparing for the festivities. Encourage a friend or family member to go for a 30-minute walk to get some fresh air. Eat well with balanced eating in mind. Don’t skip meals, protein and/or calories during the day as a way to allow yourself free reign later in the evening, as your low blood sugar will drive you to overeat.

MANAGE YOUR STRESS

Keep your sanity and enjoy the holidays by managing your expectations. “Many people believe that family gatherings should be stress-free, with everyone getting along.” says Robert R. Farra, Ph.D., director of solutions for depression and anxiety, NorthShore University HealthSystem. “For most of us, this ideal doesn’t match our experience, so we’re disappointed and stressed. With some of these individuals, we have a history of disappointments, hurts, and resentments.” Farra suggests the following strategies to help adjust your expectations: Your “self-talk” is crucial in decreasing stress. Become aware of your habitual ways of thinking. Remember, if you’re ruminating about things over which you have no control, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to be happy. Be kind to yourself and others by being non-judgmental. Being self-critical and judging others are, for many, extremely bad habits. Practice gratitude even when everything isn’t perfect. Be grateful for the small things: the opportunity to gather for a meal, catch up on the lives of those present and celebrate another year.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

We tend to overdo things like shopping and cooking. “This extra activity, in addition to our normal activity, is often too much. Space out your shopping trips and cook what you can ahead of time,” says Anne Biala, clinical risk coordinator at Athletico. “Marathon online shopping can lead to low-back and neck pain, and often headaches. Get up from your chair at least every 45 minutes. Go outside for a break.”

makeitbetter.net

11/12/14 3:33 PM


BY PRESBYTERIAN HOMES RECENT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT TREATING older adults that are experiencing cognitive issues requires a friendly and inclusive physical environment that focuses on the positive. The dedicated assisted living staff at Presbyterian Homes uses a variety of innovative methods to create a safe, engaging and interactive environment for residents that are memory-impaired, while still helping to maintain a level of their independence. Working in small groups that are less intimidating to residents who are a bit withdrawn, the goal of The

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Highlands at King Home staff is to find activities that will allow the participants to be easily engaged. These might include trivia questions, music, poetry readings and art classes. In warmer weather, these activities can also include garden work and walks throughout the newly planned sensory garden, which will be used to soothe and enhance mood and stimulate pleasant memories. Engaging the residents through meaningful activities like these are all critical elements in treating those that are memoryimpaired. The residents are provided with multiple opportunities each day to feel part of the community, and to give them a sense of purpose and fun. Along with these engaging therapies, residents at The Highlands Assisted Living at King Home enjoy a charming, boutique-style residence located in a quiet neighborhood near downtown Evanston where they can feel secure and completely at home.

To learn more, call (847) 866-2111 or visit presbyterianhomes.org

11/11/14 9:53 AM


BET TER YOU | sex & the suburbs

SUPER-SOFT PORN FOR MOMS BY MAR JIE KILLEEN

Has your sexual desire been dwindling? Join the club. Many women experience diminished libido, especially after they have children. It happened to Suzy Olds, 46, a biomedical engineering professor who lives in Glenview. By the time her kids hit kindergarten, her sex drive still hadn’t bounced back, so she consulted her gynecologist. Her doctor told her, “Yep, you and every other mom out there. What you need is some super-soft porn. But you won’t find any.”

Suzy’s research showed that women also want a storyline that focuses on romance and a stable relationship, backed by a sensual setting. “Staycation” delivers all those elements. Simone’s lover is her husband, a cutie who is savvy enough to whisk the kids off to Grandma’s and leave his wife a sexy invitation early in the day, giving Simone plenty of time to prepare for and anticipate the passionate evening to come at—every busy mom’s favorite—a hotel.

But Suzy, a Ph.D., is a professional problem solver, so she kicked into research mode. Sure enough, she found there are very few sensual videos available that meet the needs of women. To fill the void in the market, Suzy and her husband Doug launched After Nine Tonight (afterninetonight.com), a website packed with supportive information and spicy videos to help women, especially moms, rekindle the passion with their mates.

The actual sex scenes are steamy, but not explicit. The 15-minute videos hover somewhere between a PG-13 and R rating. In fact, I was surprised to realize that there’s no actual nudity, because it certainly feels like the couple is naked and you can totally imagine exactly what’s going on. And that’s Suzy’s intention. “For women, imagination is better,” she says.

Launching second careers as video producers has been a learning experience for the Olds, and they’ve approached it professionally. The film series is cast with SAG actors and written and directed by an awardwinning production team. I watched the first video, “Staycation,” and I liked it. It’s fun, sexy and relatable, which is important. “A woman wants to envision herself as the character,” Suzy says. “That’s the number one factor that heightens her arousal.” The “Staycation” female lead, Simone, is beautiful but not intimidatingly so. There’s a refreshing jiggle to her tummy that makes me imagine I could look just like her after, say, a 10-day juice cleanse.

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The video even has an element of humor. Simone relates the details of her hot date night to her sex-starved mom friends, who gobble chocolate and chug wine as they beg for details. The videos are geared toward women, but there’s a benefit for men too. By showing how enthusiastically women respond when guys are considerate and romantic, they’re getting a few educational seduction tips. And of course, “men will sit through pretty much anything to get sex,” Suzy says . How has this new venture affected Suzy and Doug’s intimate life? “Oh my gosh, it’s great,” Suzy says . “It’s opened up our communication. We really get what each other wants. Now I know what I want and need better. I didn’t know what to fantasize about before. Now I do.”

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11/17/14 11:15 AM


BET TER YOU | finance SPONSORED CONTENT

Alan and Teddie Kossof

celebrating the best of 2014

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DECEMBER 2014

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DINING | review

self, the interior is warm and inviting, with exposed brick walls, wood rafters, comfy lounge seating, and lots of throw pillows in shades of red, gold and brown. The lighting feels dropped in from an earlier century; the whole place is suffused in a warm glow. The cocktail menu, which is updated seasonally, features many house-infused liquors, like the vanilla-fig bourbon that graces the Infused Fashion ($12). Beverage Director Daniel Pagano also favors updates on classics like the Bohemian Bee ($13), which adds sage to the classic “Bee’s Knees” combo of gin, honey and lemon.

BEER IS THE CALL There is a wine list (although don’t plan on bringing your own—they have no corkage policy, as we found out the hard way), but the name of the game with this food is beer. Local craft and Bohemian beers abound, like the Czech stalwart, Pilsner Urquell, or the Praga Dark; Krombacher from Germany is another thematic option. Skip the “Flight of Three” ($10); the pour was pretty chintzy (although fine for the single draft).

CZECH, PLEASE! BY JULIE CHERNOFF

A GLORIOUS TRIP TO HUNGARY

Bohemian House 11 W. Illinois St. Chicago 312-955-0439 bohochicago.com

and the Czech Republic last fall opened my eyes and taste buds to the food of Central Europe. It’s not just pretzels, beer and knackwurst—though they are all, of course, delicious—but a world of flavors and textures, from the sweetness of root vegetables to the tang of dark sourdough breads and whole grains; from briny pickled fruits and vegetables to crispy schnitzels and chewy dumplings. I loved it all. So I was thrilled to hear that Chicago, a city of immigrants and once home to numerous old-style “Mitteleuropa” restaurants (many long gone), was finally getting a restaurant with a new take on an old cuisine. I must admit, I was quite surprised to see a chef named Jimmy Papadopoulos at the helm, but my trepidation was quite unfounded. Turns out, this nice Greek boy knows his way around the soul-warming cuisine at the heart of Bohemian House.

COMFY AND INVITING The restaurant, once a recording studio, was cleverly repurposed and designed. Much like the food it-

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THE PERFECT MOUTHFUL Don’t miss the Deviled Eggs ($7), which had great texture and flavor contrast: creamy mashed egg yolk, smoky whitefish, vinegary cherry bomb peppers, crispy shallots and a heavy sprinkle of paprika, all in one perfect mouthful. Also loved the Potato Pancakes ($12), lacy little latkes topped with silky cured salmon, sweet apple preserves, julienne kohlrabi for crunch, and a little sour cream and dill. People had raved about the Bacon Buns ($7), which come with Bohemian pickles, and the fat brown rounds looked delicious, but they lacked oomph—though clearly stuffed with bacon, they disappointed just a little. Although the dough was a bit thick, the Beef Pierogi ($13) satisfied, surrounded by roasted heirloom carrots, pickled onions, fresh sour cream and a rich beef jus. The Cauliflower Salad ($9) was a party on a plate: roasted cauliflower topped with smoked onion, crispy watermelon radish slices and a wobbly poached egg, which is gilded with bits of crispy chicken skin. It’s a winner.

OFFALLY GOOD Don’t be put off by the presence of smoked beef tongue in the surprisingly light Spätzle ($17), especially when it is joined by crispy Brussels sprout leaves, caramelized onions and an aged gouda cheese sauce. I am emphatically not a lover of offal, but this was super tasty.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOHEMIAN HOUSE

BOHEMIAN HOUSE:

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The Wild Striped Bass ($28), the seafood nod here, is served with a warm bacon vinaigrette, sweet onion puree, cherry tomatoes and a tangle of fried shallots. It was cooked well, but the flavors didn’t excite. Poultry is well treated here; we loved the Czech Roasted Duck ($24) surrounded by roasted fall produce (apples, turnips), brandied prunes and smoked hazelnuts. The duck meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. The star of the show, though, is easily the Grilled Chicken Paprikash ($24), a tender half chicken served with dense potato dumplings in an absolutely spectacular version of Hungarian paprikash sauce, redolent with lots of hot paprika, onions and garlic. Ask for a side of grilled bread (don’t be surprised if they charge you $2) to sop up every last drop.

THE SWEET STORY For a sweet ending, there are three desserts to choose from—all calorie-worthy. The Dark Chocolate Custard ($9), topped with salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and butterscotch, is a solid choice, but the light-asair Cheese Kolacky ($8) with powdered sugar and plum ice cream, or the Coffee & Doughnuts ($9)—Bow Truss coffee gelato served in a demitasse cup, topped with crushed hazelnut brittle, accompanied by warm sugardusted doughnuts—is definitely the move. “Bohemian House is a place that’s focused on connection,” Papadopoulos says. “It’s focused on people coming in and enjoying the food, and enjoying the company, whomever they choose to dine with. Ultimately, what we want to do at Bohemian House is to be a refuge from that business of the city.” Mission accomplished. This is a place I can really get behind. Check out more reviews and recipes online.  MAKEITBETTER.NET/DINING

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DINING

CURE-ALL COCKTAILS

Vie’s Come to Drink of It

BY AMBER GIBSON

Getting sick this winter isn’t inevitable. We may not be doctors, and these suggestions are based on personal experience only, but we’ve found that warm drinks and those with certain superfoods keep our bodies in prime condition. Get your buzz on with these flu-fighting cocktails available at local restaurants. Sometimes a stiff drink is just what the doctor ordered. Honey and ginger are served warm here, with lemon, in an apple brandy and rye drink named Bedford Falls. Rye beefs up the full sweetness of the brandy and the two early 19th century American spirits intertwine. “The fruit and spice of the rye will take the warmth right down to your toes,” says Beverage Director Michael Rubel. 1664 N. Ada St., Chicago, 773-697-7069, adastreetchicago.com

AY CHIWOWA

A classic Paloma gets a little healthier with extra grapefruit and notes of ginger and honey. Ginger chunks are chopped coarsely and boiled with honey to make a syrup that will settle stomachs and add spice to the citrus notes of grapefruit juice and red grapefruit liqueur. 311 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-643-3200, aychiwowa.com

BOLTWOOD

A ginger hot toddy will keep you warm and do the body good. Ginger syrup, lemon juice and hot water purify blood and flush out toxins along with calming upset stomachs and boosting immune systems. Lemon juice also helps strengthen your liver, perfect for counteracting the crux of the drink: tea-infused Old Forester bourbon. 804 Davis St., Evanston, 847-859-2880, boltwoodevanston.com

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HOUSE 406

Gin and tonic gets a handcrafted touch at this modern American steakhouse. Beverage Director Tim Russell makes his own tonic with cinchona bark, which has been used medicinally to treat the common cold, flu and fever. He adds cinnamon and gentian root (an herbal bitter that aids digestion) plus lemon and grapefruit peels before blending the special recipe tonic with lightly herbaceous St. George Botanivore gin. 1143 1/2 Church St., Northbrook, 847-714-0200, house406restaurant.com

MOTT ST

Shaved ice in winter? If you grew up in Hawaii, like Beverage Director Nate Chung, why not? These refreshing drinks are nostalgic for Chung, who makes each one to order with a traditional shaved ice machine. The “Ants on a Log” in particular is quite light with low alcohol and sugar content from Lambrusco and house-made celery syrup. A sprinkling of basil seeds, which help with digestion and sore throats, tops it off. 1401 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, 773-687-9977, mottstreetchicago.com

RIVER ROAST

Wassail—an ancient southern English hot mulled cider—is the inspiration behind a strong boozy punch at Tony Mantuano’s newest restaurant. “My mom still makes the best hot cider—ever,” says Beverage Director Chris Jecha. We think he’s giving her a run for her money with a blend of gingerpeach hard cider, rum, cognac, brandy, gentian and mulled spices. Jecha uses a halogen beam to infuse the cognac with cranberry and makes his own cinnamon, clove, cardamom and star anise syrups to eliminate the grittiness from using raw spices. The drink is then heated to order (to 140 degrees) in a syphon by the halogen beam and garnished with a torched cinnamon stick. 315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, 312-8220100, riverroastchicago.com

PHOTOS BY AMBER GIBSON

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DINING

drated rose hips and adds a touch of rose water to make a syrup for his Whistle Stop cocktail. This riff on a pisco sour includes a little Cocchi Rosa and is served in a coupe. Stanton says, “The sharp, herbal notes of rose hips strike a balance with the sweetness of the wine, acidity of lemon and fire of the pisco, while egg white pulls the flavors together.” 505 N. State St., Chicago, 312-755-9704, sablechicago.com

TWO

ROKA AKOR

Try hot sake at this Westfield Old Orchard restaurant (or the River North location). In old Japanese tradition, women add sake to hot baths to improve health and detox skin. We’ll settle for how the ginger and pine extracts help breathing. Ask the bartender to whip up something for you on the fly. 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-329-7650, rokaakor.com/old-orchard

SABLE KITCHEN & BAR

VIE

Soothe a sore throat with a chamomile tea and gin drink by head bartender Bill Anderson. He steeps Rare Tea Cellars Egyptian chamomile tea, then cuts it with sugar to make a tea syrup for the Come to Drink of It. “My inspiration was a spicy, slightly toasted version of the classic Last Word,” Anderson says, using chamomile to replace the traditional luxardo maraschino and a half-ounce of mezcal to give the drink floral, fruity and smoky notes. 4471 Lawn Ave.,Western Springs, 708-246-2082, vierestaurant.com

PHOTOS BY AMBER GIBSON

Rose hips, the fruit of the rose that ripens after flowers are pollinated, are exceptionally high in vitamin C and strengthen the immune system. Bartender John Stanton steeps dehy-

Mixologist Graham Crowe’s “Not Your Cup of Tea” cocktail can be served either hot or cold. A base of Prairie organic gin is blended with bright green tea with notes of ginger and pineapple. Add a dash of Bad Dog sarsaparilla dry bitters (for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties), lemon and a calming lavender sprig garnish to pacify any winter demons. 1132 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-624-8363, tworestaurantchicago.com

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ENTERTAINMENT | books

2014YOU’LL COOKBOOKS WANT TO OWN BY JULIE CHERNOFF

Whether buying cookbooks for yourself or a loved one, you want a book that will actually get some use. No foofy, over-complicated recipes for me; just give me the righteous, straightforward flavor. These eight cookbooks bring the delicious.

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Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Ina Garten With this book, Queen Ina clues you in on how to prep, assemble and cook ahead recipes that will make your life so much easier, whether entertaining at home or making a lazy supper for the family. The always-gorgeous photos will inspire you.

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi Yotom Ottolenghi His first vegetable cookbook, “Plenty,” was a massive global smash. Here are 150 new veggie recipes—sorted by cooking method—that will have you running for the nearest farmers market.

Heritage Sean Brock “Cook with soul” is part of Sean Brock’s manifesto. This James Beard Award-winning chef owns the wildly popular restaurants Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C., where he reinterprets Southern cuisine on a daily basis.

Flour + Water: Pasta Thomas McNaughton McNaughton, chef of San Francisco’s Flour + Water, shares the secrets of his Italian pasta favorites like Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds, or soul-stirring Tagliatelle Bolognese. Mangia, per favore.

Baking Chez Moi Dorie Greenspan This James Beard Award-winning author shares the dessert secrets of French home kitchens. From simple cakes to petite pastries and mousses, these are flavors you will crave. Case in point: the “Smoothest, Silkiest, Creamiest, Tartest Lime Tart.” Sold.

The Baking Bible Rose Levy Beranbaum Legendary dessert diva Beranbaum is back with a meticulously planned book that spans the breadth and depth of baking. You will taste her passion for baking in every bite. Start with the White Christmas Peppermint Cake for your holiday gathering.

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories David Lebovitz You’ve read his blog, you follow him on Twitter, now buy the cookbook. These 100 French recipes—both sweet and savory—chronicle his time living in Paris, complete with charming stories of their inspiration.

Indian for Everyone Anupy Singla This Chicago-based author knows about flavor. Her third book of Indian home cooking is her most comprehensive; it makes this often daunting cuisine approachable with a helpful ingredient primer and easy-to-follow instructions.

DECEMBER 2014

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11/12/14 3:37 PM


1. MAKE IT BETTER FOUNDATION

About Us Philanthropy Awards Warming Hearts & Hands

Discover more content... 2. GUIDES

4. SEND US YOUR NEWS, THOUGHTS OR EVENTS

3. TESTIMONIALS

5. MEET OUR STAFF & WRITERS

Lifestyle Guides Gift Guides

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ENTERTAINMENT | theater

The Merry Widow

A CHRISTMAS CAROL AND THE SECOND CITY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL: TWIST YOUR DICKENS

Through Dec. 28 | Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago | 312-443-3800 | goodmantheatre.org Everyone knows Charles Dickens’ story about Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation on Christmas Eve. And just about anyone who’s a regular theatergoer in Chicago has seen the Goodman’s stage version at one time or another. But “A Christmas Carol” remains irresistible—especially with the esteemed Larry Yando starring as an especially cranky Scrooge going through a thrilling change of heart. This year, the Goodman is also teaming up with The Second City for a parody in its smaller theater, featuring tangents into other holiday humor. If you’re weary of the traditional staging of “A Christmas Carol,” this irreverent alternative could be your ticket.

THE MERRY WIDOW

HOLIDAY SHOWS

BY ROBERT LOER ZEL

The area’s theaters are stuffed with holiday shows in December. Unless you’re a Grinch, you’ll find plenty of seasonal cheer in shows like the Goodman’s perennial “A Christmas Carol.” Meanwhile, Light Opera Works and the Hypocrites are ending the year with shows that promise to be festive, even if they aren’t actually about the holiday. And for people who want to get as far away as possible from heartwarming Yuletide stories, there’s always Steppenwolf.

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GILBERT AND SULLIVAN REP

Through Feb. 7 | The Hypocrites at the Den Theater, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | 773-989-7352 | the-hypocrites.com The Hypocrites have been performing their quirky versions of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas during the holiday season for several years, with singing actors playing their own musical instruments. This year, the Hypocrites are bringing back two of these shows, “The Mikado” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” and adding a new one filled with high-seas high jinks: “H.M.S. Pinafore.” The same 10 actors perform all three shows. If you enjoy one of these frothy delights, you may end up wanting to see all of them.

AIRLINE HIGHWAY

Dec. 4 – Feb. 8 | Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago | 312-335-1650 | steppenwolf.org Lisa D’Amour’s incisive, dark comedy “Detroit” made its world premiere to rave reviews at Steppenwolf in 2010, and now the theater is showcasing her new play. The setting this time is New Orleans, where a ragtag bunch of strippers, hustlers and philosophers are celebrating the life of a burlesque performer who wants a funeral before she dies. As far as we know, there’s nothing Christmas-y about it.

PHOTO BY RICH FOREMAN

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR

Dec. 19 – 31 | Light Opera Works, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston | 847-920-5360 | lightoperaworks.org Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehar’s popular 1905 operetta returns, but there’s something different about it this time: Two local writers, Gregg Opelka and Jack Helbig, have penned a new English adaptation based on the original German libretto. Don’t expect this “Widow” to get an extreme makeover—Light Opera Works is renowned for the historical authenticity of its productions. Artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller is directing and choreographing the escapades of the famously flirtatious widow with a lot of money and a lot of suitors. The show stars Light Opera Works favorite Larry Adams and the Lyric Opera’s Stacey Tappan, with Nyela Basney conducting a 29-piece orchestra.

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE

BY MAUR A FL AHERT Y

GI V E T I M E MENTOR HOMELESS YOUTH Good News Partners 773-764-4998 | goodnewspartners.org Volunteer to tutor and mentor children in after-school programs, or help rehab housing units for the homeless. The mission of Good News Partners is to end homelessness and hopelessness. The organization provides affordable housing and support services for homeless families with a step-by-step transition from interim housing to independent living. Good News Partners was founded in 1976, when Bud Ogle, director of Christian Campus Ministry at Northwestern University, and a group of his students committed themselves to serving the poor. In 1980, Good News Partners purchased the Jonquil Hotel in Rogers Park. Since then, the organization has rehabbed hundreds of units of rental and cooperative housing and established a shelter, as well as jobs, tutoring, and youth programs. For more information, email Jan Hubbard at jan@ goodnewspartners.org.

GI V E T H I NGS

PROVIDE HOUSING FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED Riverside Foundation 847-634-397 | riversidefoundation.net Volunteer to spend time with a Riverside resident, or join the Riverside Foundation Auxilary Board. Riverside Foundation provides quality services and support to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Specifically, the agency provides residential services for 97 individuals in an Intermediate Care Facility located in Lincolnshire and developmental training services for 120 individuals in Vernon Hills. Befriending a Riverside resident can be a truly rewarding experience. For more information on volunteer opportunities, call Deborah Rogers at 847-634-3973.

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GET CHICAGO’S YOUTH IN THE GAME Cubs Charities 866-800-1275 | chicago.cubs.mlb.com Donate to Cubs Charities online to help grow our city’s athletic opportunities for children. Cubs Charities harnesses the passion of Cubs fans to improve the lives of children and families across Chicago. The organization, founded in the 1980s and named “Cubs Care,” was started through efforts to raise money for cancer research after Cubs infielder Steve Macko tragically died of cancer at the age of 27. Since then, the organization has partnered with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to donate over $18 million to local nonprofit organizations. Cubs Charities runs several of their own signature programs that benefit inner-city children, including Cubs on the Move, Cubs Scholars and the Diamond Project. The Diamond Project, introduced earlier this year, awards grants to eight different schools and organizations to help them build and refurbish their athletic fields and training facilities. Monetary donations can be made online. SUPPORT MELANOMA RESEARCH Skin of Steel 847-329-0458 | skinofsteel.org Donate money online, or volunteer to raise awareness on improving melanoma research. Skin of Steel focuses on improving healthcare for melanoma patients in Chicago and across the Midwest. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is the fastest growing cancer among young adults. SOS started in 2008 when Susan Steel began a personal battle with melanoma. By 2010, Steel and a board of directors founded Skin of Steel to provoke change in Chicago’s approach to melanoma awareness and research. Almost four years later, as a stage IV melanoma survivor, Susan leads SOS’ efforts to establish a national Melanoma Tissue Bank with a Chicago branch at Northwestern Lurie Cancer Center. The organization firmly believes that Chicago can make a dramatic shift in research and treatment by providing tissue for fundamental public and private melanoma research. If you are interested in volunteering, email Kathy Kessenich at kkessenich@skinofsteel.org. Monetary donations can be made online.

GIVE NEW WINTER OUTERWEAR TO HOMELESS AND UNDERSERVED FAMILIES Warming Hands and Hearts (847) 256-4642 | makeitbetter.net The Make It Better Foundation and its partner nonprofits work to supply hundreds of new coats to those in need. Donate online or drop off new winter coats, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and blankets to homeless and underserved families. Please drop off items by December 13, 2014 to 588 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka. See page 81 for additional drop-off locations.

DECEMBER 2014

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE | better makers

BETTER MAKERS AND THEIR IMPACT 1

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KOHL’S CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

An Evening to Imagine October 18, 2014 Kohl’s Children’s Museum $520,000 raised

PHOTOS BY ROBIN SUBAR

SHOWN IN PHOTOS: (1) Martha & Scott Smith of Winnetka; Museum President & CEO, Sheridan Turner of Glenview; Chair of Board of Trustees, Paul & Linda Sutenbach of Highland Park; (2) Emily and Thomas Reynolds of Winnetka; (3) Life trustees Diana Mendley Rauner of Winnetka and Dolores Kohl of Highland Park; (4) Carrie Scharbo of Glencoe and Women’s Board member Carrie Hughes of Northbrook; (5) The Kohl’s Children’s Museum “Early Childhood Connections“ program, which trains teachers and childcare professionals from underserved neighborhoods in the city in the Project Approach to Learning, a proven teaching method that makes them more effective teachers.

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Make It Better was the media sponsor of this event.

ACT IMP

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE | better makers

EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

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Celebrate! Evanston October 19, 2014 Michigan Shores Club $246,000 raised

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Make It Better was the media sponsor of this event. CHICAGO HUMANITIES FESTIVAL

25th Anniversary Gala Benefit October 21, 2014 Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago $800,000 raised SHOWN IN PHOTOS: (1) CHF Humanists of the Year and Gala honorees John and Jeanne Rowe of Chicago, and Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner and wife Diana, president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, both of Winnetka; (2) CHF Board Member Deborah G. Engle of Chicago, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and CHF Board Member and Gala CoChair Allegra Biery of Winnetka; (3) Owner of Rosenthal Manufacturing, Lorelei Rosenthal of Winnetka, and Dr. Gilbert Hefter, M.D. of Chicago; (4) Students from Lindblom Math and Science Academy pose with author Eula Biss and their signed copies of her book after a Chicago Humanities Festival student matinee program in October.

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ACT IMP

PHOTOS BY JILL BRAZEL

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ACT IMP

PHOTOS BY SHANE WELCH PHOTOGRAPHY

SHOWN IN PHOTOS: (1) Ann Sickon of Kenilworth, Evanston Community Foundation Board Member Kevin Mott, Martha Watterson of Chicago and Maxine Mott of Skokie; (2) Celebrate! Evanston co-chairs Mary Finnegan and Lisa Altenbernd, both of Evanston; (3) Julie Chernoff of Evanston, editor-in-chief of benefit sponsor Make It Better, created a signature cocktail called “Vibrant Community” for the event. The delicious mango martini was a nod to the Foundation’s mission to help Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive and just community; (4) Literacy Works partners with the Evanston Community Foundation to enhance literacy services for local families in need.

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE | better makers

CO-PRESENTED BY THE ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM AND YWCA EVANSTON/NORTH SHORE

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PHOTOS BY RON GOULD STUDIOS

RACE: Are We So Different? October 12, 2014 Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center SHOWN IN PHOTOS: (1 ) YWCA Evanston/North Shore CEO Karen Singer of Evanston, Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen of Skokie, and Holocaust Museum CEO Susan Abrams of Highland Park; (2) Allstate associates Paula Stang of Ingleside, David Woolwine of Chicago and Diane Krieman of Wilmette; (3) Stacks of money illustrate the economic disparities between different races.

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ACT IMP

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO

PHOTOS BY CAROL FOX AND ASSOCIATES PUBLIC RELATIONS; IMPACT PHOTO BY NICK RASTENIS

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Dancing With The Giordano Stars October 2, 2014 Arlington International Park West, Chicago $140,000 raised SHOWN IN PHOTOS: (1) David Mendelson and Victoria Warms Garner, both of Chicago, with their dance partners; (2) Miller Vance of Chicago, Jack Andrews of Chicago, Patty Weiss of Berwin, Jim Karas of Chicago and Paula Smith of Kenilworth; (3) GDC Executive Director Michael McStraw of Lidnenhurst, GDC Artistic Director Nan Giordano, and GDC Artistic Assistant Cesar Salinas, both of Chicago; (4) GDC’s Devin Buchanan conducting one of GDC’s outreach classes in their Jazz Dance/Science & Health program.

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DECEMBER 2014

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TWO SISTERS’

“THINK VIRTUES”

MAY BE THE ANSWER TO BULLYING BY LISA ZIMBLER

Being kind, sharing and respecting others are behaviors all parents hope their children practice on the playground. BUT AT A TIME WHEN SpongeBob has more street cred than Mom and Dad, instilling good manners and morals in kids can be tough. “Kids are bombarded by bad behavior on TV, radio and in violent video games, and they model those characters they admire most,” says Kathy Motlagh, a Long Grove mother of two boys. “We need to raise the volume on morality.” A concern for increases in bullying and violence in schools nationwide was just one of the catalysts for Kathy, a writer and art teacher, and her sister, Sara Motlagh, a teacher at the Montessori School of North

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Hoffman in Hoffman Estates, to join their creative forces in developing the easy-to-use secular program “Think Virtues.” “Bullying is a global problem, and the base of it is a moral issue,” Kathy says. “If kids have compassion and practice kindness on a regular basis, they would never bully another child.” The program entertains and empowers children while teaching them to think about the core concepts of humanity, such as compassion, empathy, kindness and respect in an engaging way that gets kids to ask themselves, “What would I do?” in various situations. Within a box of 52 cards representing each week of the year, one good virtue or moral is presented through a series of questions, activities and role-plays that parents and teachers can use at home or in the classroom. The Motlagh sisters believe the system will not only impart traits like kindness to kids, but also instill lifelong coping skills and tools for effective conflict resolution. “If a child practices virtues like confidence, assertiveness and respect, they will not allow that dialogue to persist, and be able to resist the behaviors of bullies,” Kathy says. Sara first put Think Virtues to work in her own firstgrade classroom five years ago when Kathy’s son, Kameron, was one of her students. Kameron, like many 6-year-olds, hoarded his toys and wasn’t keen on sharing them with his younger brother, Kyle, 4. Within six months of starting the program, Kathy says she noticed dramatic changes to Kameron’s attitude and behavior. “Before, it was like he couldn’t get enough, always wanting more and more, and wouldn’t share,” Kathy says. “Now he is a lot more respectful, and even asks me how my day was!” Kathy and Sara realized the huge impact their Think Virtues could have on other children, and in 2011, they launched the program on their website, where it is sold to the public for $30. A beautifully illustrated 120-page book series Kathy penned called “Eutopia” is also offered as part of the program. Already making an impact, the Think Virtues program was recently incorporated into the curriculum of a suburban private school system with positive results. Free webinars are available on their website (thinkvirtues.com), and the Motlagh sisters regularly conduct seminars on the concept for area parent groups, schools and health clubs. “The concept is so simple, but so incredibly powerful,” Kathy says, “We need to share this with the world.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF “THINK VIRTUES”

MAKE A DIFFERENCE | local treasure

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Items being distributed to those in need

Make It Better staff collecting donations

PLEASE GIVE THE GIFT OF

WINTER WARMTH TO HOMELESS AND UNDERSERVED FAMILIES Please join us to give the gift of new blankets or winter outerwear— coats, hats, mittens, scarfs— to homeless and underserved families. We make it easy for you by operating a 100% efficient donation and distribution program known as “Warming Hearts and Hands.”* Donate at makeitbetter.net/warminghearts and we spend 100% of it on deeply discounted items. We gladly receive unused or handmade: • Coats • Hats • Gloves • Scarves • Blankets

In the past we’ve distributed them at no cost to: • Family Empowerment Centers • Lydia Home • Lake County Haven • Chance Ministries • San Jose Obrero Mission

For more information, please contact us at: Sharon Krone Make It Better Foundation 847-256-4642 Sharon@makeitbetter.net

DONATE HANDMADE OR UNUSED ITEMS AT ANY OF THESE COLLECTION POINTS: Make It Better 588 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL 60093 (847) 256-4642 Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Volunteer Center 520 Glendale Ave. Winnetka, IL 60093 (847) 441-7665 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Step Up Productions November 21 – December 21, 2014 During run of show, HOLIDAZE Chicago Dramatists 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60642

*Warming Hearts & Hands started as a volunteer effort in 2006 in partnership with The Volunteer Center. It's grown to become a 501c3 program through the Make It Better Foundation. Learn more at makeitbetter.net /make-a-difference. DECEMBER 2014

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

ILLUSTRATION BY KEN KRIMSTEIN

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December 2014  

2014 Better Gifts, Semester Schools, Party Dresses, Holiday Tables, Cure-all Cocktails, Shop Chicago, Pinterest Hacks

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