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Etta Heisler



2000 Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor


Specializing in Brick Restoration and Design

Landscapes | Hardscapes | Ornamental Stone Landscape Lighting | Mulch | Brick Pavers Patios and Walks | Tree and Plant installation

Reanimation Landscapes

Reanimation Landscapes, LLc. Serving Ann Arbor and Surrounding area Insured | 734.546.3327



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Bridget Baker Kristen Domingue Jillian Fraioli

Angela Harrison Lisa Profera Randi Rubenstein Stephanie Saline


Maria Sylvester Anna Wilking Virginia Yurich

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Social Change and Creating the Future Today Etta Heisler’s Mission to Walk Her Talk Ele’s Place A Home for Healing Hearts Love, Actually The Absence of Love... In Your 40s Be Thankful for Your Microbiome Thanksgiving Glam Your Wardrobe Essentials for the Holiday Weekend


Second Thanksgiving


The Power of Appreciation

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however, we cannot make any claims as to the accuracy of information responsibility or liability for inaccurate information or placement. No content

Harvesting a Simple Life


How to Raise Kind, Grateful, & Not-Entitled Kids Woman on the Street Walking is Magic 5 Tips for Nature Time When You Despise Being Cold


h e a t h e r n a s h p h o t o g r a p h y. c o m h m n November p h o t o @2018 g m a i|l . 7c o m

HARVESTING A SIMPLE LIFE The Benefits of Being Grateful By Bridget Baker

Photo by Nicole Honeywill

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ovember is a time of harvest, of abundance, and a time to gather with friends and family to talk about what we’re grateful for. It’s a time to enjoy the fruits of our labors and celebrate what we have. In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time to embrace what is, and be fully present in the moment. However, the very next morning — or even the same night — we suddenly become a culture of greed and spending as Black Friday advertising asks us to wait in line for “doorbuster deals.” How did we stray so far from being thankful for what we have? Why do we think having more is the key to happiness? Yes, saving money on items you need is fantastic. But the day after Thanksgiving, for some, is a day to spend more than they have; and think they need the newest, shiniest gadgets when the luster is still bright on last year’s new electronic devices and 72-inch televisions. Black Friday is not so much about acquiring items that will add value to your life, or that you need, but to purchase things that you think you are incomplete without.

Photo by Diana Simumpande

We have been marketed to in a way that has us feeling that if only we had enough of something, we’d think that we are enough ourselves. We’re targeted to think that we are inadequate without these physical items, and it creates a cycle of reaching for a place where we’ll someday be happy. What if we could know that we have done enough, that we have enough — that we ARE enough already? What if there was nothing to improve? What if we could simplify our approach to life, and pause, and see that everything is perfect, exactly as it is? It’s easier said than done to simplify, especially when we might have clutter, a busy schedule, or we aren’t sure where to begin. Take a breath. Start by saying to yourself, “I am grateful for what I have. I have enough. I am enough.” Those three sentences. You can use this as a meditation, and keep repeating this or put this on a post-it note in a place where you’ll see it daily.

Photo by Mayur Gala

Your stuff is not what makes you enough. You are enough. Creating a practice of gratitude helps the idea that there is nothing more you need sink in.

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Photo by Jared Rice

As author Jen Sincero says: “You cut yourself off from the supply of awesomeness when you are not in a state of gratitude.” Gratitude is the key to a life of abundance, prosperity, and “enough-ness.” Do you have a gratitude practice? It can be as simple as saying the mantra I mentioned above, or starting a daily gratitude journal and writing down ten things you are grateful for every night before you go to bed. This ends the day with an appreciation for what you have, even if you feel like you didn’t do enough 10 | The Brick Magazine

or don’t have enough. It moves you from scarcity and focusing on lacking to an awareness of how amazing your life already is, if you just take the time to celebrate the good things in life. Some days, the boasts and brags may even be something small, like “I got out of bed today.” Other days, it may be gratitude for a relationship, a business lead, or a financial windfall from an unexpected source. If you’ve been working hard, and you are not seeing

Photo by Brigitte Tohm

the growth you want in your business, stop focusing on what hasn’t happened yet. Keep your head up, and acknowledge yourself for the work you’ve been put in, for staying the course, and celebrate the accomplishments you’ve made. The way to create and experience abundance is not by beating yourself up, but by being grateful for what you’ve learned along the way, and for your tenacity and commitment. Plant the seeds, water them, nurture them, and let them grow. A grateful simple life is one where you know that

you are enough, no matter the stuff, and that you can reap the harvest of your appreciation. All you have to do is say ‘thank you.’

Bridget Baker web presence sherpa productivity hacker • digital nomad freelance blogger • minimalist adventurer • speaker • full-time RVer November 2018 | 11

Photo by Heather Nash

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SOCIAL CHANGE AND CREATING THE FUTURE TODAY Etta Heisler’s mission to walk her talk by Kristen Domingue Photos by Heather Nash

There’s something inspiring about meeting someone who walks their talk when it comes to making the world a better place for more than just themselves. The insightful way Etta Heisler has chosen to apply her social justice training in both her work at The Leslie Science and Nature Center and in her personal life is admirable. She takes the phrase “be the change you wish to see in the world” to heart. And her work shows it. Her ongoing negotiation with work and life for authentic balance includes managing the thin line between her best work and burnout. This is how she does it.

THE PAST AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR THE FUTURE I grew up going to a socialist summer camp that informed who I am and what I am called to do in a deep way. By the time I was ten, I knew how to lead consensus decisionmaking, plan events, and coordinate a general strike (we wanted later bedtime and we won!). I was even reading Karl Marx and Paulo Freire. It’s funny to joke about it, but the reality is that I had the opportunity to experience

real agency as a young person. We were given power by the adults around us and were expected to use it for the common good. In school, I always loved science; I enjoyed doing labs, collecting data. But then, in eighth grade, I struggled a bit. When I didn’t get good grades, my teacher encouraged me not to take advanced science in high school because my GPA would suffer, despite the fact that I was one of the most engaged and enthusiastic learners in our class.

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Photo by Heather Nash

I ignored him and signed up for advanced biology anyway. I loved it even though it was hard. But, as the year went on and I moved up in school, I kept receiving encouragement to stick with what I was good at — French, English, the humanities — and not to “waste my time” on a subject where I couldn’t get a good grade. Eventually, I stopped taking science classes altogether and by college, I didn’t take any. This is a huge problem for many young women expected to “do well” and “be good.” We work with a lot of young women in our teen volunteer program and see this over and over. Many girls get conflicting messages about how to be successful. Some are told not to try so hard, that if it is so hard, they might be better off doing something else. Unfortunately for me, this included sexist comments from teachers or classmates, and sometimes the intimidation of being the only female in the room. Others are told to push themselves to the point of breaking to achieve some sort of perfection that is completely unreasonable and unattainable.

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ON MAKING AN IMPACT After I graduated high school, I took a gap year and lived in a commune in Israel with other young adults from my Youth Movement, Habonim Dror. I worked in a school with teens who were kicked out of school or put on academic probation. It opened my eyes to the deep entrenchment of structural racism not just abroad, but here in the US, and how state-sponsored racism shaped our educational system (and every system in our country). That is when I decided to learn as much as possible about education inequity, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other social issues looming over our young people. My eyes were opened to these challenges. With my personal experience in high school in mind, I decided to commit my life to creating opportunities for people to take back agency and power in their lives. When I got to college, I quickly began to understand that

while many people had gained a knowledge of inequality in school, I had been given a gift of understanding how to effect change in the broader world. So when a lot of my friends pursued master’s degrees, I applied for a fellowship in community organizing through the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network. I wanted to continue the education I started at summer camp all those years ago. I felt like the knowledge and skills I lacked weren’t in books, but instead in the hearts and minds of the people fighting big campaigns and winning. This experience gave me the chance to look at nonprofits from a different perspective. The sector is populated predominantly by women and committed to “helping,” but it’s led by men and doesn’t always distinguish between “help” and “change.” Further, there are many organizations trying to serve “at-risk” or “underserved populations” but failing to change the systems of power and oppression that create the need for these services in the first place. A deep understanding of power and oppression added a whole new layer to how I thought about education, my work in the nonprofit sector, and my purpose.

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PAYING IT FORWARD All of these experiences shaped my philosophy about what our camps should be for both kids and staff at The Leslie Science and Nature Center (LSNC) and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. On the staff side, I’ve

Photo by Heather Nash

1898 West Stadium Blvd | Ann Arbor, MI

noticed we can open our doors to staff with more diverse experiences. We don’t only need to hire people who have master’s degrees in biology or chemistry to teach our programs (although if you want to work for us, please apply!). We need to hire people who care deeply about young people, who are curious, eager learners themselves, and who are committed to taking responsibility for themselves and working cooperatively on a team.

Photo by Heather Nash

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As for the kids, we noticed that we were underserving youth of color, especially black and Latinx kids, in our camp programs. We also noticed that while we have a large number of girls who participate in our early elementary-age camps, we often see a decline in girls’ enrollment around fifth grade. This decline in participation from girls became even starker when we merged with Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and began offering camps in robotics, aviation, and other applied sciences with our partner, the Yankee Air Museum. Enrollment of older girls in those camps went down to one or two per session. I also realized that we were failing to serve a huge portion of our community who either cannot afford camp or don’t see themselves as “science people” or “nature people.”

educational summer experience. I want our programs to be an immersive community with a big impact on the lives of the youth and family we serve.

We got clear: we were missing the mark on our mission.

This summer, we were awarded a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation as part of the STEM2035 Out of School Time initiative. Over the next three years, we’ll build middle school camps that provide immersive social learning experiences that will become the hallmark of our camp programs to a wider range of young people. We’ll recruit young women and youth of color through partnerships with agencies like Community Action Network along with kids who have grown up in our camp programs. We’ll be able to connect them face to face with university students and faculty, trade school programs, and local employers in STEM fields.

This is when I started to focus my work on envisioning what could be instead of checking things off of a task list. I started to dream about the bigger impact our programs could have, and how we could use summer camp and family programming to do more than provide a fun,

We want young people to see that STEM is alive. It’s more than their grades, more than worksheets and labs and problems in school. STEM is the study of the world and our interactions with it. It’s dynamic, complicated, and incredible.

Photo by Heather Nash

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Photo by Heather Nash

WORK-LIFE BALANCE (AND PREVENTING WORK-LIFE BURNOUT) In 2015, my spouse and I uprooted our lives to move from Boston back to Ann Arbor. In many ways, it was a dream: dream camp director job, a dream house in a cottage in the woods, my dream partner, and I was finally back with my family. But it was hard. I underestimated how difficult it would be to rebuild my life here and start over with new friends, to negotiate my family relationships as an adult, and to work for an organization I love without giving it absolutely everything I had, all the time, every day of every month. I felt so isolated and alone. It was especially hard for my spouse who was job-searching at the time. I leaned on him a lot and I knew it wasn’t fair. We needed to find balance in our partnership, and just as important, I needed to find balance in my own life. As I just started my new position, it was hard to step away from work and still feel “successful.” Further, I had to learn how to spend more time alone, and go to meetups and other events where I didn’t know anyone. It was the first time I didn’t have a built-in social group. Eventually, I realized I needed to make commitments that required me to leave the office. About two years ago, I started to feel like the scale was tipping too far into the work side of life; I worked all the time, I felt very isolated and depressed and needed a fresh perspective. I started volunteering once a week for Ele’s Place as an activity room volunteer and it changed my life. I love that I have a place I can go and be exactly who I am, do something I love (playing with kids), and add real value for families and for staff. I also cannot understate the importance of showing up each week, no matter how crappy I’m feeling or how stressed I am, because when I get there, people hug me and thank me for being there.

We, humans, demand a lot from one another. I was recently asked where I want to be or what I want to be doing in ten years, and I honestly can’t think of a checklist of accomplishments. I want to be working hard, treating people with respect, and providing opportunities for people — especially young people — to have agency and power in their lives, regardless of their age, race, class, gender, or any other characteristic they cannot change. I try not to have regrets — but it’s nearly impossible. I regret the ways I have hurt people in my words and actions and strive to do better. I did the fellowship in community organizing and then a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership so I could be more intentional about how I can be more just in my work. We cannot confront sexism and racial bias in our workplaces if we don’t have an acute understanding of power, knowledge about how to leverage it, and a commitment to building strong, caring relationships. While the world isn’t there yet (and neither am I), I’m committed to going forward and toward a better world. STEM teaches us that what we really need are people committed to learning from mistakes to get things right rather than people who never try because they’re afraid to get it wrong.

There’s an element of grit we enjoyed witnessing in Heisler. Her willingness to look at hard truths about the world without feeling diminished toward inaction demonstrates the kind of courage we know lives in the heart of every reader. The Brick Magazine is about this same kind of grit. It’s an honor to showcase women who have the courage to look sexism and racism in the eye and say, “Nevertheless, I will build a business that reflects the kind of world I want to live in.” We’re so grateful for you.

Kristen M. Domingue is a copywriter and content marketing consultant in the New York City area. When she’s not delivering on client projects, you can find her cooking up something gluten-free or in an internet rabbit hole on entrepreneurship or astrology.

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A HOME FOR HEALING HEARTS by Monica Brancheau Director of Ele’s Place Ann Arbor

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ne in twelve. One in twelve Michigan children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the age of eighteen.1 Many of these grieving children feel alone and keep their feelings inside, not wanting to burden their parents or other family members. Often, friends don’t understand

if they haven’t had a similar experience. Unresolved grief negatively affects our children and teens, and contributes to alarming rates of depression, addiction, and violence. Ele’s Place is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to creating awareness of and support for grieving children, teens, and their families. Each week, peer support group programs help hundreds of children and teens learn how to cope and begin to heal after the death of a parent, sibling, or other significant person. These children and teens can meet new friends who really understand how they feel.

The Reality of Childhood Grief People are often surprised to learn that families who come to Ele’s Place have been affected by many types of deaths, including traumatic or stigmatized deaths. We recently reviewed our family enrollment data and found statistics that were surprising even to us: •

23% of our current families have been affected by a suicide loss

We have the same number of families who have experienced a loss from suicide as from cancer

12.5% have experienced a death from a drug overdose

4% are grieving a homicide

This adds up to nearly 40% of our families who have experienced a traumatic/stigmatized loss that many people in the community may not feel comfortable discussing. All deaths are devastating to families; however, these types of loss bring added challenges. Our families share that they experience blame or shame around the way their person died, and say they appreciate having a place to talk about these issues with others who truly “get it.” We are saddened when families face the lifealtering experience of having someone die, and are grateful for the opportunity to be here for all families in their time of need. 1 Judi’s House/JAG Institute Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model 2018

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Services Ele’s Place provides: •

Bereavement and grief support for children, teens, and their families

On-site peer support groups for children ages 3-18 and their parent or caregiver

Ele’s Group: 8-week, curriculum-based grief groups in local schools, partnered with the school mental health professionals

Clinical consultation for families, professionals, community members, agencies, etc.

Presentations and grief education for professionals, schools, and the community

Support for schools in crisis following the death of a student, teacher, or administrator, or in response to a highly publicized tragedy in the community or elsewhere

“The loss of a parent, sibling, or loved one is devastating to children, and they need to be surrounded by compassionate support programs. In our new home, children and teens will find encouragement and support in an environment where they can truly express themselves.” — Sue Snyder, Michigan’s First Lady and Campaign Co-Chair

“In Washtenaw County alone, 4,500 children could potentially benefit from the services of Ele’s Place Ann Arbor. However, due to the current space limitations and availability at our rented facility, we have stopped promoting our critical programs as we simply cannot accommodate all the families who need our services. The new building will allow us to better serve the community’s needs and continue to grow.” — Howdy Holmes, CEO of Jiffy Mixes and Campaign Co-Chair

Resources and referrals for professional services

Guidance, support, and written materials for parents, teachers, or others working with a grieving child

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A Home for Healing Hearts In any given week, Ele’s Place Ann Arbor may have 30 children on its waiting list to begin the grief support programs. Currently, families attend the programs in a rented church facility in Ann Arbor. However, this past June, Ele’s Place broke ground on a new home in Ann Arbor. The new children’s grieving center will serve thousands of grieving children and their families in eight

southeast Michigan counties, including Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne, as well as 31 surrounding cities. Some families will drive over an hour to receive this unique support. With the new facility, programming will expand from three to four nights immediately in hopes of reducing the number of children waiting to attend. To build the facility, Ele’s Place formed a capital campaign cabinet and launched “A Home for Healing Hearts” Campaign to raise $7.9 million and currently have raised over 80% of the goal. The new 15,000 square-foot facility will offer a space uniquely designed to meet the specific needs of grieving children and families and allow for future growth. The new facility, which will be located at 5665 Hines Drive in Ann Arbor, will include a spacious “potluck room” overlooking the acres of woods the property sits on. Sometimes when we are grieving, dinner around the table at home might be difficult with an empty chair; dinner in the potluck room is a way for families to spend quality time together while meeting other families in similar situations. The new home will have ten group rooms, three activity rooms, and a beautiful library offering a quiet, private space where children can sit with a loved one reading books about grief, feelings, and healing. Ele’s Place - A Home for Healing Hearts is the community’s investment in a beautiful, adaptable facility. The

permanence, freedom, and flexibility of our new home will be an insurance policy for our community today and for years to come. Ele’s Place Ann Arbor expects to open the new facility by the Summer of 2019. A growth rate of 25% is expected within the first few years of opening the new facility. Ele’s Place programs are free to all families and individuals. If you would like to help fund the campaign for the new building or learn more, visit or call 734-929-6640. November is National Grief Awareness Month and November 15th is Childhood Grief Awareness Day.

Photo by Lindsay Wilkinson Monica, a University of Michigan alumna, has been with Ele’s Place Ann Arbor for more than two years. In fact, her entire career has been focused on children and teens. She previously worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County. Before working in the nonprofit sector, Monica was a teacher in the Detroit Public School System for over 15 years. She is also a Sustainer member of the Junior league of Ann Arbor. 3526 W. Liberty Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-929-6640 twitter: @elesplacea2 Instagram: elesplaceannarbor

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Photo by Ibrahim Rifath

LOVE, ACTUALLY The Absence of Love… In Your 40s


by Anna Wilking

or anyone who has been single at an age when you’re “supposed” to be partnered, it can be a gut-wrenching time. After a sudden and terrible breakup with a (terrible) partner, who I was willing to hunker down with and squeeze out some babies, I suddenly found myself alone and heartbroken at the age of 38. I had been with my partner for several years and could have never foreseen the circumstances that led to my walking out (more on that later). Little did I know that I would be single for the next four years. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I needed time to heal and lick my wounds. I wanted to celebrate my newly-found freedom and feel like an empowered woman, but it was a struggle when most of my peer group was married with children. At times, it was a dark and lonely existence. Don’t get me wrong — at times, it was a carefree existence with

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lots of ridiculous Tinder dates with “inappropriately aged” younger men (much more on that later). But despite enjoying my newly found status on Tinder as a fetish object for men on the prowl to fulfill their professor-pupil fantasies, Sunday afternoon would roll around, and as I tapped into my social network, I found that no one was available. Sundays are family days. Everyone would be with their partners or their spouses and children, enjoying the frenetic activity of “Sunday Fun-Day” and getting their households ready for the week ahead. I felt desperately lonely on Sundays. I had my running club and domestic obligations like everyone else, but often I would sit and feel dejected, wondering why I wasn’t also part of a family. Why wasn’t I scooting children from one birthday party to the next or planning a picnic in

the park with my boo? I was often filled with despair as everyone else seemed to have a life filled with love and chaos while I sat on my bed, alone, aching for anything to throw a wrench into my afternoon plans of journaling. I will tell a story from my travels: during my years in Ecuador, while conducting my PhD research on street prostitution in Quito, I found myself asked the same question over and over again. After my nationality and marital status, I was always asked if I was a mother. When I answered “No,” with a mixture of annoyance and desperation, I was often told that I was not a “real woman” yet. I became accustomed to fielding these prying questions with my perfected deadpan responses, to the amusement and surprise of my interlocutors. I would answer, “Then what am I, an alien?” knowing I would get a laugh. Or I would say, “And live a life of misery with a drunk and cheating husband?” which would make people laugh even harder (with many nods of understanding as well). See, here’s the thing. Even though I live in Brooklyn, New York — far, far, away from the more conventional gender roles of Latin America — if I’m going to be completely honest, I still feel social pressure to be a mother. Even here, in my bubble of progressive thought, in which women well into their 70s walk the streets with purple hair, I still feel an absence in my life. Although many women in relationships might also feel that absence, for me, as a single woman, my childless future seemed imminent. And I loathe admitting this. I hate expressing these sentiments in writing, but a part of me feels like I am missing out on some fundamental experience of being human. As such, in my weepy conversations to my mother (all in the “What’s wrong with me?” genre), my deep sadness at being single was connected to the intense pressure, social scrutiny, dreams, and ambivalence of being a mother.

But for now, I just wanted a lover and a friend. I wanted to share my life with someone and look forward to getaway weekends with my boo. I wanted to have that person to text during the day and check in with at night. I wanted companionship and love. I mean, who doesn’t? But in my early forties it hit harder as I looked around and saw everyone my age paired off and usually with offspring. And yes, even though I knew not everyone was happy, I thought to myself (as crazy as it sounds), at least they had fulfilled their social obligations. At least they were busy! My married friends with children have often told me that they envy my life and the sense of stillness and quiet that accompanies it; but yet, that silence has been incredibly painful at times — in fact, that silence has turned into a scream of sobs and why me’s as I tried to figure out what I had done to deserve “this.” “This” being my life without a partner. As it turns out, 42 has been an outstanding year so far. All the tired clichés (i.e., it happens when you least expect it) have proven true, as I find myself madly in love (!!!). I have now found my boo — the one I now spend my Sundays with — and I am forever thankful. But yet, I know that my four years of Sundays, alone, were not in vain. Even though I craved a relationship, I learned to feel complete by myself. I became fiercely independent and was accustomed to doing everything alone. Even though I am deeply appreciative of the love that has recently entered my life, I know that I can do this thing by myself if I need to. I cultivated a lot of self-love during my four years of Sundays, despite my moments of uncertainty. But more importantly, I have empathy for anyone who finds themselves single at an age when they feel they “should not be.” I feel your struggles and promise you that this time alone is serving a critical purpose. Being partnered is not the end goal for all of us, and that is something to celebrate as well. We’re each on our paths in life alone, ultimately, and although we crave connectedness and belonging as social animals, our moments of being alone are gifts along the way. So here’s to all the single ladies! Anna Wilking holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and is currently getting her MSW at NYU to become a clinical therapist. She teaches courses on gender and sexuality at NYU and Brooklyn College and hopes to open a private practice for couples and family therapy one day. She is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in Brooklyn, NY, and she has recently fallen in love.

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Photo by Melody Jacob

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BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR MICROBIOME What is your microbiome and why should you be thankful for it? by Lisa Profera MD


he good bacteria that reside in our gastrointestinal tract outnumber our own cells ten to one. They not only help us process and digest our food — they play a key role in our overall health. Hippocrates was correct in saying that “all disease begins in the gut.” It is vital to keep our microbiome functioning optimally; take care of it and be grateful for it. I have eluded to the importance of gut health in previous BRICK articles (December 2017, January 2018). Think of your microbiome as your hungry significant other. It needs to be nurtured and fed the right food or else it becomes cranky and can cause you much grief. The familiar phrase “you are what you eat” should really be changed to “you are what you are able to digest.” You may be eating right, but is it being put to good use? Over the last 20+ years, our knowledge of the crucial

role that gut flora play in our everyday lives has multiplied almost as fast as bacteria. Nowadays, we are being bombarded with so much information about probiotics and the microbiome of the gut — it’s almost overwhelming. But fear not, I will help you digest (pun intended) the current data so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for you. All probiotics are NOT created equal. Just as we all have different fingerprints, we all have different gut flora. A one-size-fits-all approach to probiotics just doesn’t work. Your doctor may say, “just eat some yogurt and that’s all you need.” This may or may not serve you well. The strains of bacteria in most commercial yogurts have not been proven to be beneficial. Just one capsule of a good probiotic can contain the same of number of bacteria in 37 cups of yogurt. November 2018 | 25

Photo by Sara Dubler

Let’s backtrack here for a bit. Our lower gastrointestinal tract, or “gut” for short, is a highly sophisticated apparatus that is about 25 feet long (small intestines plus large intestines) and it’s responsible for converting the food we eat into absorbable essential nutrients while eliminating waste products. While we may have learned about the structure and function of the digestive system in high school biology class, little was known or taught about the 100 trillion organisms than reside within it. Yes, you read that correctly: there are ten times more bacteria living inside our gut than there are cells in our body! Each individual has a different concoction of the thousands of known species and over 70,000 strains identified thus far. So really, we are just beings that harbor five to six pounds of bacteria in a nice, warm, cushy environment. They are just doing us a favor by helping

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us digest our food and producing key vitamins to sustain life. They support 70% of our immune system. They have a vested interest in us staying alive. According to the brilliant scientists that conducted the Human Microbiome Project, we are the human “supraorganism,” and the “microbiome” (referring to our bacterial inhabitants) is a virtual organ within an organ. We cannot live without them, and vice versa.

her overall health, early exposure to antibiotics, etc. Throughout life, your previous illnesses, travel history, and local environment all influence your microbiome. There is a myriad of factors that can lead to an unhealthy gut and consequently many diseases, including indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, autoimmune disorders, cancer, other chronic inflammation, type II diabetes, and obesity.

You can decide if you want to be friends or enemies with your gut guests. Their composition and function (or dysfunction) is up to you. What you choose to eat, your lifestyle, your stress, and your previous medical history all have a direct effect on the gut. It all started at birth. The species and strains of your gut bacteria depend upon so many factors: vaginal delivery vs. C-section, breastfed vs. formula-fed, your mother’s flora and

Say you’d like to be better friends with your gut bacteria; what should you do? The definition of a probiotic, according to the World Health Organization, is something that contains “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” As I stated earlier, not all probiotics are created equal, and each individual may benefit from different species and strains. First of

all, a capsule of dead bacteria is of no use; you’re just wasting your money. The probiotic you choose to purchase must survive the manufacturing and shipping process. Heat kills bacteria, so any product that is not properly refrigerated or encapsulated is questionable. Once ingested, they must be able to survive the acidity of the stomach and be resistant to the effects of digestive enzymes so they can reach their final destination, your intestines. There is enough research out there now to prove that the benefits of probiotics are strain-specific, with strains derived from humans being the most desirable. Right now, the FDA does not require that the specific strain be printed out on the label. There is also no guarantee that the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) specified on the product label are 100% viable by the date of expiration. This is why it is crucial for you to do your homework and purchase a properly-stored and shipped product from a reliable company. This is where a knowledgeable healthcare professional can help guide you.

The science of probiotics is becoming so sophisticated that the concept of “precision probiotics” is now emerging. New research supports the idea that once an individual’s “core gut microbiome” becomes disrupted, disease is born. Some labs are even conducting DNA profiles of stool. You may be thinking that this is starting to sound complicated and expensive; well, it doesn’t have to be. For most healthy people, just getting on the right track is easy. Two of the most beneficial species to the human gut are Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis B107. These strains, along with a few others, should comprise the “core” of any good probiotic product you purchase. Diversity in strains that are scientifically proven to promote gut health is becoming more clinically important. Additional strains may be beneficial to target an individual’s specific conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gluten sensitivity, “leaky gut,” frequent urinary tract infections, traveler’s diarrhea, etc. The types and amounts of beneficial bacteria present

in healthy babies, children, and adults differ greatly; logically, there are different products available for each. There are also probiotics tailored to help you fight off the common cold, experience less diarrhea when on antibiotics, and recolonize and restore the good GI tract flora after an insult such as a course of antibiotics or the stomach flu. After reading this article, I hope that you are starting to develop a better understanding of what I mean when I say “be thankful for your microbiome.” This is a complicated topic, and I am here to help guide you to the best product for your individual needs. If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at or call toll-free 1-844-776-5888. Help your gut help you. Lisa Profera MD Owner and Founder of PROJUVU MD Aesthetics and Lifestyle Medicine Please note that the information in this article has been designed to help educate the reader regarding the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the author and any other entity referenced here are not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. The provider of this information shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity concerning any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling or care. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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Your Wardrobe Essentials for the Holiday Weekend by Angela Harrison

28 | The Brick Magazine


he best part about November? FOUR-DAY WEEKEND! And, of course, family. With this glorious break from the daily grind, a lot of us take the opportunity to travel to said family and friends for a little R & R. The dress code for Thanksgiving weekend usually calls for casual comfort, but we can still be comfortable while looking completely chic and styled. And honestly, who decided Thanksgiving was going to be the one holiday we dress down for? What a missed opportunity! Whether you’re packing up and heading out or staying local for the weekend, this Thanksgiving capsule will take all of the guesswork out of what to wear. No more alma mater sweatshirts and leggings, no more Uggs (for real, quit it); let’s bring home the polished version of ourselves! You’ll be thankful you look like the sibling who has their life together (and that’s always a major win!).

COZY BASICS Like all great wardrobes, we start with the basics, a blank canvas for layering our fab statement pieces. This time of year, basics look like ribbed, scoopneck long-sleeved shirts, turtleneck lightweight sweaters, v-neck tees, and button-down shirts. All, of course, in neutrals like white, black, gray, and brown variations. For bottoms, basics can include your dark denim, something that dresses up and down, with minimal distressing. If you absolutely cannot live without your leggings, try a soft stretch black jegging instead. You’ll have the same comfort of a yoga legging, but back pockets and a fauxinseam will give the pants more structure and elevate the look. Basic shoes, ones to travel in and wear during the day, would be any sort of short ankle boot, favorite flat, loafer, or fashion sneaker — something comfy that goes with everything. November 2018 | 29

DAYTIME LAYERING Thanksgiving weekend is always packed with daytime excursions. Whether it’s a parade, football game, or trip to the cider mill, fashion doesn’t have to stay back home. With our denim basics and tops, layers can be anything from longline duster cardigans in fall trend colors, to unique plaids tucked in, to cozy faux shearling vests. This time of year can sometimes be unseasonably cold, so if faced with grueling temps, opt for a fun coat and colorful scarf. If we’re talking major puffy-coat weather, bring your cold-weather accessories, like earmuffs, knit beanies with pompoms, and funky fingerless gloves!

BRUNCH A post-Thanksgiving brunch is always an important part of any respectable holiday weekend. Since you’ll be running on empty from preparing the festivities of the day before, there’s no need to get fully done-up; now is time for our comfy options. Starting with our basics again, opt for your soft denim or black jeans (leggings if it’s an emergency), and throw on a fuzzy oversized sweater. Other great layering options for a daytime gathering like this are open cardigans, dusters, and open-knit sweaters. Shoes can be anything casual; look doesn’t have to be overly accessorized, it’s all about utilizing your basics and layering comfortable statement pieces.

30 | The Brick Magazine

this with

THANKSGIVING DINNER GLAM The main event! Thanksgiving Day celebrations look different from household to household. Some celebrate early in the day, some celebrate in the evening. But no matter what time your festivities are going down, it’s always time to turn up the style. We’re not going overboard with the glam (unless you roll like that, to which I say, glam on!), but we can elevate our holiday look from whatever sweater and jeans you used to wear. Wrap dresses are one of those pieces that flatter almost any body type, can be worn for almost any occasion, and come in every color under the sun. They’re usually made from a jersey material, which doesn’t wrinkle and is perfection for packing. Try a wrap dress in this season’s colors or a unique print; pair with dark tights for chilly weather if needed! Other great casual alternatives are blouses with some interest, like a twisted hem or silky fabric; try for some style detail that separates it from a casual button-down. Bottoms that would work great for this look are wide legged pants, pencil skirts, print trousers, or black slim pants. For shoes, jazz up your Thanksgiving dinner look with leopard block heels or a bold color moment if you’re keeping the outfit muted. Never miss an opportunity to bring in color through your accessories! Planning out what to pack and creating looks with interchangeable pieces is

always a major help while on holiday. Even if you’re sticking around your neighborhood, thinking about your events and what to wear ahead of time can save time and take the stress out of juggling family and trying to look fab, all at once. Every moment should be spent relaxing, enjoying your loved ones, and definitely not having a sweaty meltdown in your closet. This Thanksgiving weekend capsule should give you the tools you need to plan a smashing wardrobe. Adjust this outline to your own personal style and preferences — have fun with it!! *All photos belong to

Angie Harrison received a BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University, and after merchandising for a large retailer, went on to start Angela Harrison Style: a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to build a loyal client list of people from all backgrounds and professions. Angie has also worked in wardrobe on local and national tv commercials and has started a visual merchandising branch of AHStyle, providing styling and merchandising expertise to Michigan retailers. • Instagram: @_ahstyle • Facebook:

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SECOND THANKSGIVING Out of all the holiday memories, Thanksgiving memories always jump out at me first. by Jillian Fraioli

32 | The Brick Magazine


very time I mention it, it surprises me that people have not heard of the (in my heart at least) more popular holiday I like to call “Second Thanksgiving.” In our house, this holiday falls on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Family obligations are complete, people have come and gone, football is still underway (although we’re more a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter marathon household), and people are still in a celebratory mood, what with two more days to be gluttons. We still want to celebrate with our chosen family, our orphaned friends, and neighbors. So, we declared a new event: Second Thanksgiving Open House. But while we might still be ready to eat our way through this weekend of food, what most of us don’t want to consider is the leftovers. I know you do it too: we give those Tupperware or Pyrex items languishing in the fridge the side-eye. We see you there, but we all wish you’d disappear. Our thinking was, Why do Second Thanksgiving from scratch? We all have an abundance. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’m just not a leftover type of gal. I’d rather make a new frittata, casserole, or soup with leftovers than eat it in its original form. I don’t know where this quirk came from, but it runs deep.

Years ago, I tried my hand at turning all the First Thanksgiving dishes into something new: turkey tetrazzini, bone broth which then gets a soup reboot, potato pancakes, fried mashed potato balls stuffed with green beans and cheese, turkey pot-pie — the list is practically endless. So, taking into consideration my quirk and the desire to not be wasteful, we got together and decided that Second Thanksgiving would be built solely on leftovers, and everyone was to contribute. That way, the hostess is not overwhelmed. Here are the top dishes that make an appearance almost every year. Last year, I didn’t do the cranberry baked brie, and I thought I’d have a revolt on my hands! But again, this is about getting everyone into the game, and to be creative and inventive. We use what we have (with some additions) to come together to celebrate one another over a meal we all made, and continue to show our gratitude that we have such abundance and love in our lives. When it comes down to it, those are pretty much my core values: love of food, love of family and friends, and love of community. 

November 2018 | 33

Cranberry Baked Brie Serves a crowd easily! •

1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted

1 (7 oz) wheel of brie

1⁄4 cup leftover cranberry sauce

Egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbsp of water, whisked together)

Crusty baguette for serving

Directions: • Heat oven to 425 degrees. •

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the thawed puff pastry sheet in the middle.

Place the brie wheel in the center of the pastry, and then cut an 8-inch square, saving the puff pastry scraps in the refrigerator.

Place leftover cranberry sauce on top of the brie wheel, being sure to leave ¼-inch space around the edges.

Fold corners of dough up and around the cheese, overlapping the corners, and sealing it as needed with a little egg wash. I like to make little leaves or other designs with the leftover scraps, and adhere them to the top or sides with egg wash.

Brush the entire outside of the pastry with egg wash and place in the oven; bake for 20–25 minutes, or until pastry is very deep golden.

Serve surrounded by any leftover fruit (we always have grapes on hand) and crusty baguette slices.

34 | The Brick Magazine

Stuffing Soufflé Serves 8 as a main, 12-14 on a buffet spread •

butter for greasing the 8.5x11 or 9x13 baking dish

4-5 cups leftover Thanksgiving stuffing

10 large eggs

1/2 cup of leftover whipped cream (or milk, try not to use less than 2%)

Optional: 1/2 cup of grated cheese, whatever you have on hand: pecorino, parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, gruyere — almost any cheese will work!

Optional: 3 scallions (green onion) sliced thin on the bias (this is a favorite in our house)

Directions: •

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and coat your baking dish with the butter (you can use olive oil as a replacement).

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and cream or milk. Add the stuffing, cheese, and scallions (if you’re using those) and fold rather gently with a spatula to combine.

Pour the egg and stuffing mixture into the baking dish. Bake uncovered until set and lightly golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. It will puff up like a soufflé in the oven, but does fall after it cools.

Serve on the buffet with a big spoon!

Note: if you have no other use for your turkey, you can chop it into bite-sized pieces and fold it in here. I would rather use the turkey somewhere else, as my stuffing always has sausage, but this recipe is more of a guideline that you can play around with!

November 2018 | 35

Mashed Potato Muffins Makes 12 muffins (this is never enough with our crowd, so we double this recipe) •

4 cups, packed, of leftover cold mashed potatoes

2 large eggs

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or gruyere cheese, divided

3 tbsp chopped fresh chives, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: •

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray (I like Bakers Joy)

In a large bowl, fold together the mashed potatoes, eggs, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and chives. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the potato mixture evenly into the prepared muffin pan, packing the potatoes down into each cup.

Bake the muffins for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp around the edges.

At the 35-minute mark, pull the muffins out and top them with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and return them to the oven for 5 more minutes. Watch them closely, you want a little browning, but no burning!

Allow muffins to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing, and serve warm.

36 | The Brick Magazine


Build Your Own Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar This is more of a suggestion than a recipe, but we like to put out both a mimosa station and a Bloody Mary bar. We stock up on our favorite prosecco, orange juice, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice, and have the bubbles chilling in a big galvanized tub, along with a slew of different-sized mason jars. For the Bloody Mary bar, we choose our favorite vodka and Bloody Mary mix (we like Zing Zang) and let our guests dress it up with salt and pepper, hot sauce (we put out several, from superbly spicy habanero to the usual tabasco), and Worcestershire sauce. We put out the mason jars of all sizes for these too, as well a large tub of ice.

if you’re doin g this all on yo ur own instead of having peo ple bring dishes, it’s pre tty easy to su pplement your spread w ith plenty of fr es h veggies and dipping sauces — esp ecially if you had roasted ve getables leftov er, they make excelle nt fall “crudit és,” and are a gorgeo us addition to a buffet table.

Don’t forget to provide a jigger for measuring! You want to try to limit people free-hand pouring if possible. We used to make our own Bloody Mary mix, but eventually we decided to spend our time cooking instead!

But what is a Bloody Mary without accoutrements? We like to put out a spread of olives, celery, pickled asparagus, bacon (yes, bacon!), lots of limes, cucumber rounds, and pearl onions. One year, we had a friend who brought shrimp for garnish! The sky is the limit. We provide a glass full of skewers so people can mix and match to their hearts’ content. Jillian moonlights in her own kitchen as Executive Chef. She comes from a long line of at-home chefs, making Sunday sauce and homemade pasta as soon as she was knee-high with Grandma Fraioli. Jillian used to work at such illustrious restaurants such as Emeril’s Fish House in Las Vegas (where she was a Pastry Chef), and both in the front and back of the house of Serafina and Tango in Seattle. She ended her career in restaurants many lives ago, and now supports women-owned businesses, including The Brick Magazine as assistant to the publisher. You can follow along with her cats and knitting (and sometimes food), if that’s your jam, on Instagram @yarnologie.

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Feel it. Offer it. Watch your life transform! Give yourself the pleasure of a moment of appreciating something, and watch how, just like a magnet, riches on many levels come back to you! Appreciation is defined as “the recognition and enjoyment of good qualities of someone or something.” Opening ourselves to savoring the good qualities of people, circumstances, or things around us is so simple to do. The option is always there. You can experience appreciation and gratitude in any instant you choose. Begin now, today, in this month of November especially, a month that has a built-in day dedicated to reminding us to give thanks and experience gratitude. 38 | The Brick Magazine

Everything in the universe has an energy or an energetic vibration. Even our thoughts are energy. Thoughts register a given “frequency” depending on their type, specifically positive or negative. Similar frequencies of energy group together to create patterns. If you think the same kinds of thoughts, then over time, those patterns actually become something you can feel. These feelings are what we call emotions! Low-frequency emotions, such as anger, jealousy, frustration, or envy are fueled by negative thoughts. High-frequency emotions such as joy, happiness, love, or gratitude are fueled by good, positive thoughts. The short n’ sweet of it is that being able to appreciate something gifts you a state of positive emotion. If you believe in the law of attraction — that like attracts like — you can

“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

–D. Bonhoeffer

Photo by Giulia Bertelli.

“A thankful heart hath a continual feast.”

–W.J. Cameron

easily understand why the high-energy act of appreciating also creates a good, high-energy vibe inside your soul. And then, if you want to really rock this out, continue appreciating as many things as possible. You’ll feel better and better, and begin to attract more amazing opportunities and experiences. Your life satisfaction will skyrocket. The more you appreciate, the more you will receive. You will feel more alive, and more able to recognize the multitude of treasures in your life. So, notice where your golden threads of appreciation take you. What tapestry of gratitude, blessings, abundance, and pleasure will you weave?

Photo by Jessica Castro. Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence! Complimentary First Session 734.717.7532 November 2018 | 39

Photo by Gabby Orcutt 40 | The Brick Magazine

HOW TO RAISE KIND, GRATEFUL, & NOTENTITLED KIDS by Randi Rubenstein Adapted from


e want our kids to appreciate all we do for them. We want them to grow up feeling grateful for all the opportunities they have been given. Like getting a great education and living in a nice house. We not only meet their basic needs, we exceed their expectations on the daily. You are a parent that over-delivers in pretty much every way when it comes to your kiddos. You prioritize your role as mom or dad above all else in your life. Your end game involves raising good people. You want your kids to be kind, confident, self-motivated and wellâ&#x20AC;Śnot jerky. So when our kiddos talk back, have messy rooms, and expect us to buy them stuff just becauseâ&#x20AC;Ś We feel frustrated and maybe even angry. We lecture about not being spoiled and having a hard work ethic. We worry that their current behavior is evidence that they are not going to turn out the way we hope. The problem is that lectures are ineffective teaching lessons in the game of life.

November 2018 | 41

Kids learn by what they SEE rather than from the words they hear. So, what’s the solution? How do we instill the characterdefining lessons we deeply want our kids to live by? The answer is simple: Stop talking about it. JUST. DO. IT. Live by the values you aim to teach. Show your kids how grateful you are for them and this beautiful life. Tell them each and every day how THEY are your gift. Work hard and model a strong work ethic each and every day. Want your kiddos to honor and respect you? Treat your kids with honor and respect by respecting the way kids effectively learn. Kids learn by how WE behave rather than by telling them how they SHOULD behave. Anytime you witness your kids working hard on a project or showing up as a kind friend, child, or sibling, tell them that they are a person of good character. Be a mirror for all of your child’s accomplishments and remind her to feel proud and celebrate herself.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk 42 | The Brick Magazine

The way to teach our kids gratitude and to ward off entitlement is not through words and lectures. It’s by modeling the behavior you want from them. Be an example rather than sharing your opinions. That’s the simple solution. Tell your kids that you hit the jackpot because THEY were born. I am incredibly grateful for each and every parent in this trailblazing tribe learning how to improve the conversations in your home and parenting with empathy rather than lecturing. Together we are changing the world. One. Family. At. A. Time. Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strongwilled kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self-motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family. As the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is: “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home low.” To learn more, go to

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by Stephanie Saline

ometimes, cars are too fast and even bicycles feel like rushing. Don’t get me wrong: the wheel is a remarkable invention. I’m glad I have it to thank for all sorts of transits and adventures. But there are times when walking is the only way to go. There’s something deeply satisfying about using your own two feet to traverse the planet. It’s travel at a human pace, 44 | The Brick Magazine

for starters. Your eyes can take in the surroundings at a digestible speed. Philosophically, your body is no longer cargo — it once again becomes the vehicle. I once had a teacher who talked about what he called ‘the mythology of comfort.’ We flip a light switch, and there’s electricity. We turn on the faucet, and there’s water. We hop in the car, and there’s our destination. All with very little effort, consideration, or exertion from us. The

On a recent walk, three kiddos were waiting up on the corner for the school bus. There was an older girl and her two younger brothers, all of maybe five. She was leading them in the waiting-for-the-bus dance. It was this beautiful, joyful scene, these kids dancing. I bust out smiling, seeing them. And then they saw me smiling, and they starting running to me! I turned around, thinking that maybe someone they knew was behind me, or maybe the bus. But nope. Just me. The girl stuck out her hand and said, “I’m Bernadette. I’ve seen you before. I was walking to the grocery store with my mother, and we saw you walking.” I felt like royalty! Photo by Paul Van Bloem mythology is that this phenomenon is an unequivocal good thing. But what’s the cost of that comfort? When I go walking, I need to think about what I’m wearing — are these shoes going to give me blisters? Will this shirt get stinky? Do I need to bring my raincoat? And I need to pack my bag for serendipity. Water. Snacks. Sunglasses. Another layer. Suddenly, my day is no longer ordinary — I’m prepping for an encounter with the world. Walking is slow enough that I can catch up with myself. How am I feeling? What am I thinking about? What do I need? It’s active enough that I find my body again, too. I feel my breath. My muscles loosen up. My heart gets pumping. I notice what the trees and birds are up to. I locate myself in the year and the season. I’m reminded of geography and the shape of the land. I remember that it’s a part of me, and I’m a part of it.

So I crouched down and stuck out my hand to the next dignitary in this impromptu receiving line. To greet one of the little boys. “Hello, nice to meet you. What’s your name?” “I’m Justin.” “Nice to meet you, Justin!” “Hello,” I said to the second boy. “I’m Steph.” “Martin.” “It’s great to meet you, Martin.” And then the school bus showed up, they got on it, and I continued on my walk. “Have a great day at school!” I called after them. As the bus pulled away, I stopped and watched. I caught Martin’s eye and waved to him. He waved back. None of this would have happened had I driven.

I’m no longer racing ahead to get some place — I’m back in the process of getting there. It’s the getting there that’s the pleasure. There’s a reason why walkers don’t get road rage. Cars begin to look like metal bubbles of isolation. Each driver sets the temperature. Chooses the station. Looks straight ahead. Separates herself from the others. Walking, I consent to show up for the day’s magic.

A teacher and advertising writer based in Buffalo, Stephanie Saline spent one decade on adventures in Japan, Seattle, and Montana, and another decade building a popular copywriting business. She now leads writing workshops where women become the hero in the story of their own lives. “We live in a world where we are all heroes now – and that’s a great thing.” Find out more about her work at

November 2018 | 45


Photo by Nastasia from Pexels 46 | The Brick Magazine


ur family despises the cold. Or, to be more specific, I despise the cold. On any given typical winter day (but actually beginning in fall), you’ll see my kids sledding or snowboarding on a small hill in our backyard while I watch from the window. What are you to do when you are a big proponent of outside time, yet you loathe the bitter temps that permeate Michigan for months on end? Well, you front load your nature time during the beautiful Michigan summers and then you find some workarounds that make time in the open air bearable, and even enjoyable. I have found my personal limit is 28 degrees — but that’s only as long as it’s sunny out. Anything lower or including clouds, wind, and moisture, and I am one miserable mama. So, what’s a family to do during the dreary days of winter? I don’t think staying inside for four to five months is a viable option. As families, we have to get outside. We all need it for our mental health. We all need the fresh air. We all need to break up the routine. Mostly, we all need the movement. My kids move so much less when they are cooped up inside day in and day out. Here are my five tips for increasing nature time when you’d really rather be snuggled up in front of a fireplace:


Utilize outdoor places with an inside option.

You must find the right places to go. This is absolutely key. During the spring, summer, and fall, we have a list of outdoor options so long we don’t ever even come close to completely finishing it. During the winter, there are only about five places we go. My criteria is that there MUST be a warm building on the premises where we can go inside to warm up, use a restroom, and possibly eat a meal or at least a snack. For us, there are three nature centers and three zoos within driving distance. If we are going to attempt being outside for more than an hour or so, we stick with places like those. November 2018 | 47


Schedule your life using your weather app.

There are all sorts of weather apps these days. When I look ahead at the week, I start with the weather. I’m looking for any day that has a chunk of time where it’s going to be warmer than 28 degrees and I lock those in as outside days. I commit to two or three days of extended fresh air per week for my children and so I have to put that first, otherwise we won’t ever get any fresh air. If a bowling field trip happens on a day when it is 31 and sunny, we skip bowling that week.


Wear woolens during any month that has the letter “R” in it.

Photo by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho

48 | The Brick Magazine

I am a die-hard fan of the woolen underlayer. Some say a wool underlayer should be worn at all times during any month with the letter “R” in it. Think about that for a minute. Temps really do start to plummet around here, especially in the morning and evening. It starts in September and then we have cold days through April. I could go into all the amazing stats about wool — how it is antimicrobial, environmentally sustainable, does not itch, is hypoallergenic, etc., but you could look all of that up yourself. So, what I will say is that when I touch my kid’s bellies after a frigid day outside, and they wore a wool underlayer, I feel like I’ve put my hands in a warm little oven. The wool fibers are actually hairs that are basically tiny little coils. Because of their unique shape, they trap in the body heat and make a significant difference. They are certainly more expensive than a cotton t-shirt or a pair of sweatpants, but you only

have to buy one set a season and they allow us to extend our time outside significantly without being miserable. We have gotten more than our money’s worth out of their underlayers because they wear it most days in the “R” months. Because of its properties, they don’t

need to be washed often, and when we do have to wash it it’s so much simpler than I ever thought it would be. Wool shampoo, not detergent (remember, it’s hair). Throw the woolens in one of those mesh bags. Hand wash cycle on the washing machine. Lay flat to dry. Easy peasy!


Embrace snow activities.

Kids love the snow. They love to build igloos. Go sledding. Throw snowballs. Make forts. Spray them with colored water. Shovel. Ice fish. Eat it. Make snow angels. Ski. Snowshoe. Put a smile on your face and pretend you love it, too!


Add to your outside hours ten minutes at a time.

What if you sent your kids into the backyard the first 10 minutes of every hour? From after school until bedtime, you’d get a solid 30 minutes in, which is significant in chilly temps. Do it a few days a week and the hours will start to add up! This option becomes easier if your kiddos are somewhat selfsufficient in getting on winter gear. If they aren’t, this can be a lot of work for the parent or caregiver — but in my opinion, it’s worth the benefits. Ginny Yurich is a local Michigan mother of five. Through her blog 1000 Hours Outside, she is challenging parents around the world to consider matching outside time with the amount of time kids spend in front of screens. In America, that is currently around 1,200 hours a year.

Photo by Cristina Munteanu

Visit her blog at facebookcom/1000hoursoutside/ #1000hoursoutside 

November 2018 | 49



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Dr. Lisa Profera 1-844-PROJUVU None of the statements in this ad have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the statements should be construed as dispensing medical advice, making claims regarding the cure of diseases, nor can this product prevent or cure any disease state as an FDA registered General Wellness device.You should consult a licensed health care professional before starting any health protocol or any health device such as BEMER, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. Results may not be typical, nor are they a representation of what you could experience. Representations may be based on the experiences of several people and you may not have similar results. I am an Independent BEMER Distributor and I am paid by BEMER when I sell BEMER products. Individual results could be biased as a result of financial incentives.

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The Brick Magazine November 2018