Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team


Yesterday, Tomorrow was Today . . .

Every year we make resolutions that we can’t or don’t keep.  We set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals or by not establishing a plan of action to reach those goals.  When we fall off the wagon we say – I’ll start again on Monday or on the first or, the infamous, “tomorrow.”  Well, keep in mind that the “tomorrow” that we talked about yesterday is now TODAY – so let’s get 2010 off to a good start with a few tips for maintaining your resolutions and solutions for common resolutions!

  • Put your resolutions in writing.  Nothing beats the accountability you’ll feel when you re-read the promises you’ve made to yourself.  Post them on your computer as a screen saver or on sticky notes on your computer, desk phone, bulletin board, dashboard or all of the above!  Let them serve as ever-present reminders of your goals.
  • Develop an action plan.  What are the steps to reach your goals?  Plot those steps on your calendar, setting reminders and breaking your resolution into manageable chunks so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by your ultimate objective.
  • Chart your progress.  For those long term goals, be sure to monitor your progress.  Give yourself a pat on the back (or massage, purse, Wii game or a lite beer!) for those first five pounds, five new customers or five stacks of unopened bills that you’ve finally gone through!
  • Be realistic.  Be sure that your goals are set high enough that you really have something strive for, but not so high that they are unattainable.  Stretch yourself – your mind, body and spirit!
  • Yesterday, Tomorrow was Today!  If you fall off the wagon or get a little off your path, “now” is always a good time to self-correct!  You don’t have to wait until tomorrow, or think Monday morning is a magical start date.  Acknowledge the slip, determine the reason (if you can), adjust your game plan (if necessary), dust yourself off, forgive yourself and make it happen, baby!

Now that we’ve got a game plan in order, here are a few common resolutions and some things To-Do in connection with them!

  • Get Physically Active!  Getting fit isn’t just about going to the health club.  Here are some other ways that you can meet your fitness goals.
    • The Mature H.O.T. Women’s Program liberates the spirit of the dancer to reign free in every cosmopolitan woman. This workshop is designed to strengthen the body, challenge the mind and nurture the soul through the synergy of modern, ballet and jazz techniques.  Classes begin on January 18th and are offered on Monday evenings in the Loop and Wednesday evenings at the South Shore Cultural Center.  Check out photos from the first workshop series!
    • Sno Gophers – While skiing may not be practical for an everyday fitness routine, it is great exercise!  Sno Gophers is an African-American ski club and each year it plans a number of regional and national ski trips.  The regional trips include day trips and overnight trips and each trip includes generous amounts of camaraderie amongst ski enthusiasts and rookies!  You don’t have to break a leg or go for broke to take part in this exhilarating winter sport!
    • The Chicago Park District is offering you an opportunity to “Break a Sweat, Not the Bank!”  Continuing through Sunday, January 10, 2010, work out for free at all Chicago Park District Fitness Centers.  Even after the 10th, you’ll find that the CPD has ϋber reasonable rates and there’s probably a fitness center really close to where you live and/or work!
  • Start My Own Business!  Whether there’s an idea that you’ve dreamed of pursuing for years, or you’ve dabbled at something without giving it your full commitment, there are low cost options available to assist you in making your dream a reality!
    • The Chicago Urban League offers a Business Boot Camp that will guide you through a number of critical areas, including writing your business plan, financing your business, marketing and much more.  The 16-week series begins on January 12th and you can either register for the entire series for $200 or drop-in on the classes that interest you for $20-25.
    • Since 1986, the Women’s Business and Development Center has helped prospective and established women business owners achieve economic independence through entrepreneurship. From workshops and seminars to business coaching and financial assistance, they will help guide you to business and economic success.  Here, too, you will find reasonable prices and programming that addresses some specific issues faced by female entrepreneurs.
    • SCORE Chicago is another excellent resource for new businesses.  SCORE Chicago provides free business counseling, management consulting, and low cost workshops.  They advise on how to get a business loan and offer other resources like templates for a business plan.  SCORE counselors can help the entrepreneur start a business or a small business owner grow and prosper.  The organization has more than 25 locations in the Chicago area.
  • Travel!  If the travel bug’s gotcha, there are some real cool opportunities to take part in a variety of travel adventures!
    • The University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies offers, among other fantastic opportunities, a variety of “travel study” programs.  Through the Graham School, you can visit any number of exotic locations in small groups designed to ensure that you get the most out of the experience.  Lectures, discussions and exploration will provide you with a thoroughly enriching cultural experience!
    • Black Girl Travel creates extraordinary travel opportunities for extraordinary women!  The tours are designed from scratch by Black Women for Black Women.  Coming up in 2010:  Italy, the French Riviera, Spain, Egypt and more!
    • Sankofa Odyssey is another cool way to make your way around the world – by sea!  Their trips include travel from luxurious yachts to “bareboat chartering” (where everyone participates in sailing, cooking, cleaning and partying!).  In July, Sankofa journeys to St. Martin, St. Barts, Anguilla and the Leeward Islands!
  • Find Love!  If the club, bar and party scene didn’t do it for ya in 2009, try something new in 2010!  Explore some of Chicago’s art exhibit openings this year or attend art lectures.  If music is your thing, take advantage of some of the world music series or the lunchbreaks at the Chicago Cultural Center.  Winter is a great time to take in some Chicago theater!  Plan your attendance around opening night or on nights with a post-performance discussion or reception.  The point is that by regularly participating in specific cultural events that interest you, you are bound to start regularly coming across people with similar interests.  Soleil’s To-Dos can help, because we have the most comprehensive listing of culturally diverse Chicago events!  Take advantage of our search options by viewing only those categories of events that interest you.
    Whatever you decide To-Do, make it a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

On location at TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center-676 N. LaSalle Street-with Founder, President and Wellness Coach-Amy Leffel.

Speak a little bit about your background-life before TEAMiFIT and how all this happened?

I received my undergraduate degree at Indiana University in Exercise Physiology and Public Health.  I worked as a personal trainer and exercise specialist-teaching fitness classes at gyms across the city.  Then I went back to school to get my masters degree in Education, where I worked with kids from 1st grade all the way up to 8th.  While as a school teacher, I was also teaching fitness classes and working as a personal trainer on the side.  So I have about seven years working in fitness.  This has been my passion, so doing this doesn’t feel like work.

TEAMiFIT at Chicago Soul Music Festival

Amy Got Soul

The initial concept was exercise on location at different outdoor venues across the city.  What gave you the idea to get started that way?

I’ve had this vision a long time.  April through September every year we hold outside classes.  So you’ll have classes happening all around the city…Lincoln Park, West Loop, West Town, River North, Gold Coast, Lake View and South Loop.  We also take these classes to the beach.  And as the weather cools we bring this more of this action to our space here.

So what makes TEAMiFIT different?

TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center


TEAMiFit is a one-stop shop promoting health and wellness!  You can come here and get fitness classes for adults and kids.  We have Strictly CORE, TurboKick, Zumba, Strength Boxing classes and more…we’ve got all kinds of flava flava-including Power Yoga and Power Pilates.  We’ve got specialized workshops like plyometric training focusing on high-intensity movements for high impact.  We also have small group personal training called ‘Armed and Dangerous’ for only six people, to work with a personal trainer at a discounted price.  And beginning in November we are going to have educational classes ‘Doing Life Together’, where our lifestyle coaches will educate based on personal experience using their expertise to focus on what our members want.  Topics will include like how to eat right when working out, how to balance life, how to spend smart over the holidays, educational self-massage, couples massage, etc.  The lifestyle coaches will be here to educate and build relationships with our clientele.  We’re basically doing life together.



Amy is definitely on the move in Chicago and wants to get your body moving.  For additional information and register for classes visit TEAMiFIT online and Facebook.  To hear the entire interview, download the audio casts below.

Part 1  Interview w/Amy ‘Body’

Part 2 Interview w/Amy ‘What You Waiting For?’

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DWD signNBC5meby April Lawson

They say green is the new black, but what the devil is a Nutrition Stylist? Debra Ward is a River North designer with a unique holistic approach to style. Her company DWD doesn’t just design clothing, but also bodies from the inside out. While some designers ensconce their clients in layers of diaphanous fabrics, DWD believes as within so without -viewing the person as a complete being. After 25 years in the business, Ward has evolved from her role as Wardrobe Consultant to Nutritional Stylist and now offers Nutritional Coaching in addition to chic urban style.

“We provide a nutritional plan based on fashion desires so you get an ideal body to go with the style. You get Little Black Dress meals, and DWD InsideWrapped Sweater Jabari Glynnissoups to maintain that body. It’s smart, sexy and healthy.” Says Debra.

You get the complete package:  whole mind, whole food and whole body. DWD is Located at 501 N. Wells near Illinois.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team


If you want a sneak peak of Old Town Social before its grand opening (Street Team Leader Marcus Riley reported on Old Town’s soft opening here), then you’ll get a shot this Thursday. The best part? You’ll be at a “Party for a Reason.” The evening of fun and philanthropy is hosted by GiveForward, a Chicago-based social venture committed to helping individuals and non-profits raise money for good causes. The “Party for a Reason” is a kick-off to supporters and runners of the Chicago Half Marathon taking place this weekend, where they’ll be “running for a reason” and raising money for various charities. Guests will enjoy appetizers and two hours of open bar including specialty cocktails, vodka drinks and beer. Looks like you may have to get a jumpstart on your weekend – but don’t feel guilty. Ticket poceeds will go to various charity partners of GiveForward.

Old Town Social

455 W. North Avenue

September 10th- 7pm-10pm

Tickets: $25. Available at www.party4aReason.com

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tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTom Kolovos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chris Rock once joked that as a father you have  only two responsibilities: to keep your son from winding up on the (crack) pipe and your daughter from winding up on the (stripper) pole.

After last night , I would add a third:  keep your daughter  from winding up on Donald Trump‘s “Miss Universe Pageant.”

Slideshow: Miss Universe Competition

Billy Bush was the host of the festivities and his main function was to repeatedly remind us that contestants would be sporting some of the hottest bathing suits. Ever. OMG!

All buttoned up in an ill fitting tux, he kept promising us that “lots of skin” would be on display.

He wasn’t kidding. As the top 15 contestants changed into their suits, we were treated to a photo shoot of contestants in (perhaps the tackiest of) string bikinis. When Flo Rida came out to perform, bikini clad contestants who were not lucky enough to make it into the top 15 were lucky enough to be able  to sashay behind him, in the manner of what used to be disparagingly called “a video ho” on MTV.

After the contestants were winnowed down to the top 10, we were  finally treated to a synopsis of their inner life, whilst they stood there in….. string bikinis.

Billy’s pithy revelations were limited to their ages and  their hobbies, which were almost exclusively limited to  exercising, shopping and watching reality television. Really? At least in the  pre-feminist ‘ 70s, pageant organizers wanted us to know so much more about the contestants, including their measurements and favorite color (peach used to be the most common, as I recall).

It is difficult to walk away from the telecast last night without thinking that the “pageant” should be properly retitled Donald Trump Presents:  I’d Like to Hit That (When Melania Isn’t Watching).” The top 15 we were told were chosen by an (unnamed) panel of judges and by representatives from the “Donald Trump organization.”

When we were introduced to the judges who were actually going to pick the winner, I couldn’t help but wonder what qualification any of them had to pick the winner of, well, anything.

Some of the judges (both male and female) were downright creepy in that sex trafficking sort of way. And because, unlike the Miss America pageant, the Miss USA/Universe pageant has never  bothered with the pretense that it is a scholarship competition in which some (dubious) talent is involved, sex–sorry, skin– is all it can traffic in.

Oh, it turns out Miss Venezuela won the title, even though Miss Dominican Republic was by far the most stunning and beautifully dressed of all the contestants this year. She had to settle for runner up.

I, simply, better settle down.

tomkolovos.com, TheBestDressedLIst.com

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

 Finding the time to play golf is a challenge on many different levels, especially while living in the city.  The first challenge is making the tee time early enough to avoid being on the course the entire day.  Secondly, the location must not be too far from the city and should have easy access away from major traffic.  Thirdly, the golf course itself must be void of a lot of water, trees and brush that will limit the number of balls that I lose.  Lastly, but most importantly is the club house food, which should be good enough to make up for bad shots and a high score.  The Glencoe Golf Club seems to have at least the latter locked down with their newly renovated restaurant Max’s on the Green.

Glencoe Golf Club

Glencoe Golf Club

Larry Estes, President and founder of Catering by Max’s, opened Max’s on the Green with the intentions of making it more than a food venue for golfers.  His hopes are to attract locals to dine at Max’s on the Green throughout the week, regardless of golfing.  The menu consists of breakfast and lunch, but the dinner menu deserves the most attention.  Atypical of most club house options dinner entrees include dishes such as the Salmon Filet, Lobster Ravioli, Pork Chop and Skirt Steak.  The Greg Norman Kobe Burger was delicious and consists of an 8 oz beef burger grilled to your liking and served on a pretzel bun.  Be sure to complement the burger with cheese fries or onion strings.  Although Max’s is known for their Italian Beef the Grilled Chicken sandwich topped with your choice of BBQ sauce or honey mustard is the way to go.   They still have the traditional golf course grub, including sandwiches, salads and wraps and a few dessert menu items.  All meals can be enjoyed inside the restaurant or on the outside deck overlooking the ninth hole.  Max’s transforms into a traditional restaurant setting with waiters and servers only during dinner hours.

The Glencoe Golf Club is located on the North Shore at 621 Westly Rd and is not too far from the city.  The public golf course is gorgeous and scenic.  For more information about Max’s on the Green and the Glencoe Golf Club log onto www.cateringbymaxs.com or www.glencoegolfclub.com.  Check out www.efete.net or Fete Select TV for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chhicago Street Team

Most great ideas are inspired by personal experiences or passions.  In the restaurant/food  industry,  many concepts emerge from the love of a particular ethnic food, a visit to another part of the world,  or a need that has yet to be addressed.  Bottom line is that we create based on our own motivations, successes or challenges.  Being known as the “fat kid” growing up was challenge for Matt Matros, but helped to motivate him to shed 60 pounds eight years ago.  His vision after dropping the poundage was to help people everywhere live the healthy lifestyle that they want to live.  His brainchild?  “Protein Bar”, a new food venue downtown Chicago where folks can quickly get a meal with essential proteins needed to live a healthy active lifestyle.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

“Protein Bar” has signature protein drinks, signature whole grain bowls and a plethora of boosts too choose from along with fresh made wraps, soups and salads.  There is also an option to build your own drink or bowl if you’re not feeling any of the signature options, but a must try signature protein drink is the “Wrigley Peeled”, consisting of chocolate protein, a choice of milk, all natural peanut butter and banana.  “Protein Bar” uses either whey, soy, or egg as a protein and has four different types of milk.  Some of their boosts include an “Anti-Oxidant Blend”, “Fat Burner Blend”, “Hangover Blend”, and “Libido Blend”.  Gotta try the “Libido Blend”!  Their whole grain bowl options are steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, power granola, or Kashi Go-Lean Crunch.  Try the “Crackberry” bowl if you like Acai berries mixed with vanilla protein, yogurt, power granola and a fresh banana.  All items are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar.  The “Chipotle Roast Beef with Guacamole” highlights their wrap selections.

“Protein Bar” provides nutritional facts about all of their menu items, which is very helpful for the health conscious individual.  The menu explains the differences between proteins and compares the nutritional differences between their signature items and similar selections found at Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Duncan Donuts and Chipotle.  Overall, “Protein Bar” is a new favorite of yours truly, another former “fat kid”, and will be a frequent stop on my protein tour.

“Protein Bar” is located at 235 South Franklin Street.  For more information log onto www.proteinbarchicago.com.  Check out www.efete.net for more restaurant reviews and an inside look at Chicago’s newest restaurants via Fete Select TV.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

Call it good or bad, but the opportunities to bust out your swimsuit (and other flesh baring ensembles) have been few and far between due to the mediocre summer weather. However, it appears that Chicagoans haven’t been hibernating despite the temps, as clearly displayed in recent coverage by Street Team leader Marcus Riley. NBC-greybeachpic

Copious cocktails and late night noshing can leave you with an endless summer of pounds if not handled in moderation. On the other hand, it sure is hard to turn down a good street fest or BBQ, so why not balance the gluttony with a new workout that will  leave you inspired, fit and with enough money left in your wallet to pick up that, um, six pack.

From now until the end of August, exhale Spa is offering an incredible limited time offer for first time guests, or for those of you who haven’t been to exhale in 3 months or more (you know who you are.) For only $40, you can jumpstart your beachcomber bod by taking an unlimited amount of exhale’s Yoga and Core Fusion classes within a one week period!  

In addition, you’ll receive 20% off Select Spa Therapies, 10% off retail purchases, complimentary use of changing rooms and amenities, organic tea to keep you in a Zen state and an annual subscription to Body and Soul with purchase.

For additional information, call 312.753.6500 or visit www.exhalespa.com

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team


According to the American Greeting Card Association, June is the most popular month to get married. Even though it has passed and the fourth of July is a sign that summer is about half over, it is still hard not to pass a church without a wedding party spilling out of it. It’s the height of vacation season, yet the bean at Millennium Park isn’t just a hot spot for tourists to snap a cheeky pic or two. Author Leah Ingrim of Plan Your Wedding…..In No Time, says a bride spends an average of 250 hours planning her big day – practically a second job! While you’re on your own for finding the perfect cake topper and Vera Wang imposter gown, The James Hotel provides the bride with stress free solutions to help you look and feel your best. And just in case you want to put a little birdie on the shoulder of the person responsible for planning your shower, David Burke’s Primehouse has a fun option that is sure to beat a rousing game of pin the veil on the bride at the suburban banquet hall.

Buffed, Brushed and Beautiful

There are still a lot of people that don’t know The James has a spa by Asha…why is this? After all, its cozy, friendly and the services offered rival any high-end hotel, sans the occasional exclusivity that keeps a local from enjoying their own city.  Of course, the convenience of having  J-bar and David Burke’s Primehouse downstairs provides an opportunity to extend that day with the girls. 

But if you’ve got family coming into town for the big day or need a place to call base-camp, The James Spa by Asha can help de-stress any pre-wedding jitters with a soothing massage, erase the signs of sleep deprivation with a Tourmalinene Charged Radiance Facial, or get that body ready for the honeymoon with the Asha Body Scrub (you know you’re thinking about that bikini.) The Spa can also take care of hair and makeup for the bride and her bridal party, which takes place within a guest room for lighting purposes. The entire list of services is available here: http://jameshotels.com/downloads/gym-spa/thejames-thespa-menu.pdf , so the bride can begin to customize her own experience.

Gather the Troops

Similar to the phrase “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” a body bashing bride is liable to bring down the rest of the group. The James offers a Bridal Bootcamp which is specifically designed to target all those spots that the bride would think of when floating down the aisle at the ceremony, or the beach on her honeymoon.  Enter Jim Karas Personal Training to the rescue. Here’s the skinny: NBC-bridal bootcamp

Bridal Package 1: Includes 1 consultation and 24 personal training sessions with a Jim Karas Fitness Professional. On this program, you will train 3 times a week for 8 weeks. This package is $1,999 when training at their Lincoln Park Studio, $2,239 when training in-home, and $2,239 when training at The James.

Bridal Package 2: Includes 1 consultation and 16 personal training sessions with a Jim Karas Fitness Professional. On this program, you will train 2 times a week for 8 weeks. This package is $1,499 when training at our Lincoln Park Studio, $1,659 when training in-home, and $1,659 when training at The James.

And because safety comes in numbers, the bride can also book individual sessions for $90 plus $30 for each additional person, so start rounding up mama and the rest of the girls. Brides that are having their wedding at The James receive the Bridal Boot Camp session half off the weekend of their wedding!

The Urban Shower

If you can’t stomach the thought of  balloons, Jordan almond party favors and twenty sets of eyes staring at you in silence while you open your gifts, then this one is for you. Having  David Burke’s American Dim Sum Brunch for your bridal shower promises that there will be something for everyone (even your picky friend from Cali), not to mention entertainment as the carts roll by serving up dishes that provide whimsy in presentation and wicked delight as far as taste is concerned. Copious small bites will come your way (think baby pancakes with citrus butter and mini Prime burgers) and what group of women wouldn’t appreciate a sundae/dessert cart?  Of course,  the opportunity to inject mini “fortune” donuts with gooey caramel sauce provides far more entertainment than any shower game every could. NBC-James-DessertCart[1]

While the shower can take place in David Burke’s Prime House, The James Club or the library/den (two smaller event spaces) offer more privacy.  The entire list of private event spaces can be viewed here: http://www.jameshotels.com/Chicago-Hotel.aspx?name=The-James-Chicago&page=Modern-Event-Space. Director of Special Events extraordinaire, Sinisa Srdic, can help to customize and coordinate all party needs. Pricing structure ranges, but is approximately $44 per person. While almost everyone loves a bottomless Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or just plain ol’ bubbly,  the sommelier can prepare wine tastings as opposed to traditional beverage service.

While flipping through piles of bridal magazines may seem fun at first, consider The James a place where you can mark off multiple items on your to-do list simultaneously – and without compromising quality and experience. If anything, your wedding (and all the events leading up to it) may be the one they’ll be talking about for years to come.

For more information, visit http://www.jameshotels.com





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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

People who hear me on the radio, listen to my podcasts or read my blogs are certainly aware of my passion for music.  But first and foremost I am a mother, and without a doubt the main focus of my life is my kids.   Not a day goes by where I don’t feel extremely thankful for their health and happiness. 

My heart breaks when I hear of families that have to deal with terminal health issues, especially those involving sick children.  I can’t imagine the pain of knowing your child is suffering and/or might not make it to their next birthday.  So, when I heard about a young toddler  “Lucy” (her name is an alias to protect her privacy) stricken with such a horrible disease I felt compelled to share her story. 

photo courtesy of Christie LaMountain

photo courtesy of Maura Gaskill

Lucy has a genetic disease called SCA7 (Spinocerebellar Ataxia 7) which will eventually shut down all her abilities to walk, see, talk, breathe, think, and pump blood to her heart thus killing her.   As if that isn’t heartwrenching enough – she is part of a large but very close foster family in Oak Park, and one of her brothers wrote a very touching story about her situation.

You can help Lucy and the 150,000 Americans and their families who suffer from the devastating effects of Ataxia. Your participation in the 2009 Laps For Lucy this Saturday morning will bring the world one step closer to a cure for Ataxia.  The race is at Oak Park River Forest High School Track (Lake Street and East Avenue, Oak Park, IL).  All Proceeds go to the National Ataxia Foundation.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team


Similar to the restaurant industry, the spa biz (considered even more of a luxury than dining out) has not escaped the effects of the current financial crisis. In fact,  independent research company Intelligent Spas confirms the global 2009 decrease in average annual revenue, but also predicts some more encouraging news for 2010 – an expected growth between 8%-32%. So what must a spa do to continue to attract the consumer without compromising on quality or service? It’s safe to say that not all facilities adopt such practices, but one spa that has consistently placed service on the front burner is the Spa at the Ritz Carlton Club at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. Among other awards over the years, the spa just received the Conde’ Nast Traveler award for the “best hotel in the U.S. for service in 2009” and the “#2 urban hotel spa in North America,” as voted on by the magazine’s readers. nbc-ritz

I was able to go experience the spa for myself and discovered that the feedback provided by Spa Director Kathryn Wittman did not disappoint. From arrival to departure, the staff was accommodating while being respectful to my “me” time. While the facial was decadent beyond imagination, it was also one of my favorite kinds of treatments – results oriented. Kathryn shares with us what goes into a five star facility that keeps guests coming back for more….

Describe the spa’s aesthetic.

The Spa at the Carlton Club takes great pride in establishing comfort. The
facilities, while contemporary, are anything but pretentious and feel
certainly more like a welcoming home away from home. It may be that the Spa
is housed within the private club grounds, where members mingle and tend to
know each other by name; Or perhaps, due to the staff’s anticipatory
service skills and sincerity in their actions and speech. Either way, the
aesthetic is inviting and interactive.

What is the most popular service?

The Punta Mita Massage remains the most popular for it’s effective
qualities. Coined the ‘travelers relief’ massage, the combination of heated
towels, lengthening stretches, detoxifying aromatherapy and lomi lomi
techniques guarantee a release of stress and tension. Hotel guests often
return asking for this treatment by name, as it becomes a ritual experience
to revive their stress from traveling.

Most high-end service? What would you call your “super star” treatment?

The Four Seasons In One Body treatment is a combination of techniques that
transitions the body from season to season. With heat and cool therapy,
moisturizing shea butter formulas and a medley of massage techniques, this
entices the client who ‘wants it all’. The service has elements of each spa
category; exfoliation, moisture renewal, envelopment, massage and hand &
foot care.

Spa perks (i.e. steam rooms, extras that come with treatments, etc).

Each of our locker rooms are equipped with steam and sauna rooms and the
shared facility includes a heated lap pool, jacuzzi, relaxation room and
fitness facility; each of which are complimentary for hotel guests during
their stay and encouraged to utilize before or after spa treatments.

Anything else we should know?

Beginning in 2007, the Spa at The Carlton Club has been a home to a medley
of inspired treatments using organic product lines. In an effort to ‘Go
Green’ we redeveloped our menu to accommodate the well being of our guests,
through the security of luxurious, organic and natural ingredients. Our
mission is to provide the best in care with an extensive knowledge on
treatment ingredients and benefits from all staff. Within this goal, are
also changes to our locker room amenities, cleaning supplies and ways of
recycling. The commitment to well being for our guests is held in the
highest regard, and no measure is overlooked.

If you’re ready to run over for a treatment, there is one little detail you should know:  the spa is only available to hotels guests and members of the Carlton Club. For those of you who are already used to paying a monthly gym fee, this could be a refreshing change of pace from the meat market scene equipped with lackluster spa space. Perhaps the exclusivity is one of the additional perks in this private pamper palace. For information on membership, contact The Spa at (312)573-4900 or  e-mail  carlton.club@fourseasons.com.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team
Hit the weights, do a little cardio, take a shower, and then go home right? Wrong, you need to refuel after your workout. Sure you could grab a smoothie or a protein bar, but doesn’t some real food sound good? While most health clubs offer a smoothie bar, the East Bank Club offers a real restaurant with a full menu! Named after the club’s first Executive Director, Max Davidson, Maxwell’s at the club offer’s real food to both members and guests.

Worried about sabotaging your workout with excess carbs, fat, and calories? Select items have nutritional information printed directly on the menu to help keep you on track. Those with high metabolisms or without regard to calories will take comfort with the rest of the menu.

Regardless of calories, the seared crab cake offers big lumps of crab and a healthy dose of protein. Salads can be a healthy option after working up a sweat. Choose the classic wedge and you get cool crisp iceberg, tomato, cucumber, and some blue cheese dressing that adds flavor and not much else.maxwellfilet

Experts recommend people consume protein within 1 hour of their workout. The king of protein is steak, Maxwell’s serves up an above average filet topped with tasty crusts such as parmesan garlic. The specialty of the house is the baby back ribs, and in truth are a bit of a mixed bag. Meaty ribs are covered in a sweet and thick barbeque sauce, but are definitely oven baked and slightly tough.

A good workout deserves some sweet indulgence. Choose the creamy vanilla ice cream, rolled in toasted coconut, and served with a side of warm chocolate sauce for a sweet ending. Choose the slightly dry pumpkin cheesecake and you may wish you saved the calories.maxwellicecream

Excellent service can make even the most average of meals enjoyable. Service at Maxwell’s is friendly, honest, and very personable. Dinner for two will run about $80, which puts it below the high end spectrum. Overall Maxwell’s offers above average food and quality service for an above average price.

Location: 500 N. Kingsbury (P) 312-527-5800

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

With bridal season right around the corner, Lincoln Park’s Equinox Fitness Club is offering a day of beauty for brides-to-be, along with a little butt kicking mixed in to help whip them into shape before their big day.

Equinox Bridal Boot Camp is scheduled for Saturday from 2 – 5 p.m., and you don’t have to be a member of the club to participate.

Equinox certified trainers will start the day by taking the brides through a 60 minute high-energy, muscle-fatiguing boot camp class.

The class is geared to help increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance, burn fat and calories, improve balance, coordination and posture, and gain overall strength and lean muscle tissue.

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team


We finally got a taste of warm temps yesterday, a reminder of beach volleyball, alfresco dining and (gulp) swimsuit season. Before you start having visions of clocking in hours on the treadmill and crunching away that muffin top, consider an alternative approach to getting in shape – year round.

Photo Credit Eric Hoffhines

Photo Credit Eric Hoffhines

Equniox Fitness recently debuted CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT, a new genre of lifestyle and fitness teachings that pave the way for members to go beyond physically-oriented classes in order to facilitate an understanding that every action and thought comes from and has an effect on those around us. But because actions speak (and in this case work) louder than words, you’ll be doing a lot more than just thinking your way to a trimmer bod. “Our larger goal is to change the conversation regarding fitness, health and well-being among our members and across the world,” says Kathy Freston, the program’s adviser and author of Quantum Wellness.

Any of the CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT classes are an opportunity for you to strengthen your body – as well as your mind.  

Circular Strength Training:A unique combination of moves derived from Prasara yoga for enhanced flexibility and gentle rehabilitation-inspired techniques to increase joint rotation and overall strengthening.

Yoga Tune Up: A class that integrates the practices of the classic yogi as well as core-focused Pilates and basic calisthenic exercises so that every square inch of the body is challenged while the mind gets recharged.

PowerNAP: A 45-minute  head-to-toe tune up set to meditative music involving light yoga poses and stretches, each intertwined among the thoughtful teachings of the Eight Pillars of Wellness. The grand finale A brief 15-minute slumber.

The Feldenkrais Method: Focuses on the power of the mind over the body and incorporates a culmination of movement, breath, and vision practices meant to expand flexibility, boost coordination and reduce physical pain while boosting a positive thinking process.

Nia: A blend of a wide range of well-known genres including dance, martial arts and meditation to jump start the heart rate and the spirit.

For more information on any of the CONSCIOUS WELLNESS classes or Equinox membership, visit www.Equinoxfitness.com

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Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist, NBC Chicago Street Team

That’s how tall Mt. Kilimanjaro is. Located near the eastern coast of Africa, it’s the highest free-standing mountain in the world. And this summer I’m going to climb it.

I’ve never climbed a mountain before. Never even thought about it, really. I did some pretty aggressive hiking a couple of years ago out west where the elevation’s a bit higher than here in the flatlands, but that’s the extent of my experience. Now I’m doing one-legged squats, breathing through a straw, and my living room looks like a personal trainer moved in.

Why am I doing this? Cancer.

A few months ago I asked to interview Jason Sissel about his foundation, Endure To Cure. He’s raising money for pediatric cancer research by performing a series of physical endurance activities. In addition to competing in several Ironman competitions and biking coast to coast, he’s also climbing the Seven Summits, the tallest peaks on each continent. About an hour into the interview he invited me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with him.

“Yes,” I said. I didn’t hesitate; I didn’t doubt; I don’t think I even blinked.

Two weeks from tomorrow I’ll be 39 years old. I share my birthday with my grandmother, who passed from cancer less than two years ago. My grandfather on the other side suffered from various illnesses for over a decade, but the disease that finally claimed him was cancer. My other grandmother, his wife, is a breast cancer survivor. The first funeral I ever went to was my step-Aunt’s, who died from ovarian cancer.

Now I have an opportunity to help fight this nasty beast, and so do you. I’ll be doing the hard work (seriously, have you ever tried breathing through a straw? And I don’t mean one of those big fat McDonald’s straws. I mean the skinny ones you get in a bag of 100 at Walgreens.).

All I ask of you is that you spread the word and donate what you can. I know money’s tight, but every little bit helps. $15, $1, $5 – it adds up. My goal is to raise a minimum of $5,000 before we leave on July 3, so please tell everyone you know!

I also need corporate sponsors, so if you or someone you know is interested in helping out and earning lots of karma points and media exposure, please let me know.

I’ll be blogging about everything from training to getting a gazilion immunization shots to the actual climb itself, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please donate here.

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

It was a HUGE success! Arthur Murray’s Fourth Annual “Dancing with Chicago Celebrities” raised $67,000 for the Chicagoland Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®,and what a fun way to do it! All of the toe-tapping fun went down on Friday, March 13, 2009, when Chicago celebrities paired with Arthur Murray professional dance instructors at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The winning team included Dana Kozlov, Assignment Reporter from CBS 2, and her Arthur Murray partner Edgar Chavarria. The MVP went to Robbie Ventura, who along with his team raised the most – $4,680. Other celebrities competing included Pat Cassidy, Radio Personality on WLS 890 AM, Lourdes Duarte, Assignment Reporter for WGN 9, Daryl Hawks, Sports Anchor and Reporter for NBC 5, Evelyn Holmes, Assignment Reporter for ABC 7, and Katie Lorenz, Miss Illinois 2008. The night’s emcee was NBC 5 Sports Anchor, Mike Adamle. WGN Anchor Dina Bair, NBC 5’s Meteorologist, Ginger Zee and ABC7’s Traffic Reporter Roz Varon also returned as alumni.

For more tail-feather shakin’ videos, check out JenChicago.com!
Find me on Facebook! (Search: JenChicago)

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

It was a thrill to bring Fall Out Boy onstage at Soldier Field last Sunday after the Nike+ Human Race. Prior to the race I had the priviledge of moderating their press conference. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look courtesy of fellow street team member Jim Grillo (you’ll also see fellow street team member Jen Knoedl ask the first question):

Fall Out Boy was quoted from this press conference in The RedEye earlier this week. In the video above you were clearly hear that I was the “reporter” who asked the question covered in the article that appeared in The RedEye on 9-2-08:

Fall Out from Nike+ race
Fall Out Boy performed an exclusive concert on Sunday night at Soldier Field for runners who participated in the Nike+ Human Race 10K.

Before the concert, the band members talked to the press. A reporter asked Pete Wentz if there was a lot of political talk in his household, especially since his parents met while working for Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“My dad was a Philadelphia lawyer, so there was never an argument won by me my entire life,” Wentz said. Wentz went on to talk about how his dad was excited that Wentz performed at the Democratic National Convention.

“My dad was like, ‘Watch out for Joe Biden—tell him I say hi,’ ” Wentz said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to run into him, Dad.’ “

NBC5 Street Team member Theresa Carter posted great pictures of the Nike+ Human Race HERE!

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Theresa Carter, NBC5 Street Team

Recipe for a feel-good night: run a 10k with 13,999 of your closest friends, for your favorite charity, finish at an exclusive concert, in Soldier Field.

That was Chicago’s version of Nike’s Human Race on Sunday. 25 cities internationally hosted races followed by concerts. When the runners streamed into Soldier Field and Fall Out Boy took the stage, there were so many endorphins I felt like I had a runners’ high myself.

You’ve already seen fellow Street Teamers Jim & Jen‘s posts about the night. We were lucky enough to tag along with Cara Carriveau (Cara’s Basement) to cover the event. Besides being a fellow member of the NBC5 Street Team, Cara’s a DJ on 101.9 the Mix and was invited to moderate the press conference with Fall Out Boy and introduce the hometown band on stage.

It was a packed night, with interviews with Olympic Marathon runner Dathan Ritzenhein, a press conference with Fall Out Boy, the race itself, a performance by DJ Dan Suh, and then the concert. During the race we waited in the RunChiLounge and ate hot dogs and Italian beef and wings and pretzels with cheese and cookies – just the kind of food you’d expect at an event for runners…Ironically, it was catered by United Airlines!

You can see more pictures from the race here and from the concert here.

Fall Out Boys Pete Wentz

Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz

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Megan Bowers, NBC5 Street Team

I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical when learning about Flirty Girl Fitness. I’ve never felt the need to ‘feel sexy’ at the gym. Do sweatpants and an old baseball t-shirt count as sexy? Probably not. However, I had the chance to check the place out for an interview. Soon, skepticism switched to horror when I was asked to learn some stripper pole basics from one of the pole dancing instructors. Knowing that this opportunity doesn’t happen to everyone – I climbed on. After several bruises and a couple falls later, I have huge respect for those who take on the pole. I was amazed at how difficult it actually is. Strippers just make it looks so easy!

Well enough about me, I went to Flirty Girl Fitness to chat with D. Woods from Danity Kane. She was in town for Flirty Girl’s celebrity instructor series. I was expecting her to walk in acting like a diva, but she was really sweet and down to earth, plus, all of the proceeds from the class went to breast cancer research. During the class, Miss Woods taught a selection of dance and ab routines from her new video, ‘Crunk Abs.’

While I still have no idea what ‘crunk’ means, it certainly looked challenging and the participants seemed to be having a good time. I must admit that I’ve seen the light and maybe I will give this whole sexy cardio, pole dancing flirty fitness thing a try. For now, while I ice my knees from all that falling, check out some of the class and my interview with D. Woods.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

“Could anything be more indicative of a slight but general insanity than the aspect of the crowd on the streets of Chicago?” Charles Horton Cooley “Human Nature and the Social Order,” 1902

Of all the weekends during the year, all 52 of them, this one is my favorite. At least it’s really high up there. One reason is that this weekend is the Chicago Blues Festival. Seven stages of kick-ass music that can get even the most un-rhythmic to tap a foot and move a little. The other reason? Printers Row Book Fair. Whole city blocks are filled with kiosks and tents and tables, and they’re all filled with BOOKS. Some are cheap; some are rare; some are used; some are new. Actually some aren’t even books. They’re maps or records or magazines or comic books. Sigh. Is it Saturday yet?

Of course, there are a few other things going on. For instance, the Black Thai International Arts Fest is a free open air arts and crafts fair in the West Loop. Friday is Donut Day in Thompson Center Plaza, and Daley Plaza is hosting Chicago Sister Cities International, a multicultural week of performances from Chicago’s sister cities.

Speaking of International cities, Chicago was selected yesterday as one of the final four for the Olympic bid. Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment on the blog.

You may not be an Olympic athlete, but you can still get in shape AND do it with an amazing view. Starting this Saturday there’s a free Workout In The Park. Learn Tai Chi, yoga, pilates, and dance. There are even family workouts so you can bring the kids.

Have a great weekend!


Type The Local Tourist into the Search bar in the upper right hand corner of the page to see my reviews, bands of the week, trivia questions, upcoming events, and more or just click here. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

Summer is right around the corner and many of us are working overtime on our fitness to get our beach bods back. In the midst of all the resistance training, classes and limitless other cardio activities, the one action that is commonly overlooked is one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of the workout, stretching. Don’t despair, there is hope for us all, a newly banded troupe of unrelenting rogue stretchers out there dedicated to keep Chicago limber and active “Stretching you out anytime, anywhere”.  Introducing Stretch Out Chicago, the crew is made up of five members (Pictured L to R) Michael Cullinlane aka Gumbo, Lindsay Stryffeler aka Spaghetti-Oh,”The Queen of Stretch” Betsy Stover aka B.L.T, Jamie Nagle aka Meatbox and Jeff Bruce aka Dr. Stretch.  

I caught up with the crew at the new River West vintage lifestyle store,Dovetail while filming their mockumentary set to hit YouTube later this month.  Their obsession began over a year and a half ago, while a few of the members were at a concert bopping around enjoying the “Non danceable music” they began to stretch it out to ease lower back pain and keep the blood circulating, somewhere during that process the seeds for Stretch Out Chicago were planted. Fast forward to present day, outfitted mostly in American Apparel attire, this fun loving troupe combines their passion for fitness, comedy and social interaction to “Stretch the love across Chicago”.


With personalities as extreme and diverse as their wardrobe, Stretch Out Chicago provides a fun, therepuetic and memorable experience everwhere they go.  While  you might assume their expertise lies solely in the realms of health and fitness, the crew’s careers cover a wide range from pharmecuetical sales to teaching high school english.   With the mindset of acting locally and thinking globally, the crew plans on expanding their mission to “Stretch out Chicago, the United States and the world” striving for a total worldwide stretch domination.  

You can catch up with Stretch Out Chicago for their Stretch and Release Party June 20 from 6-8 PM at Dovetail, 1432 W Chicago Ave for the launch of their video and look forward to an entertaining evening of cocktails, autographed pictures and of course, stretching.  Keep an eye out this summer for the team while they continue to sir things up  “Spreading the stretch love across Chicago”. Click here to check out the health benefits associated with stretching. 

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Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau

Okay, there are a gazillion gyms in Chicago. I’ve had memberships over the years to 5 different area health clubs. I have to admit I only hired a personal trainer once and when I did it was the owner of the Powerhouse Gym in Crystal Lake (it’s no longer there). He did it as a favor to me, charging me half price, but his attention to me was also only half there. When we worked out he often stepped away to greet members and answer the phone. When I asked for help with my diet he went to his computer and printed off a list of foods to eat. I thought to myself, “Where’s the PERSONAL part of this training?”.

Now that I’m married to a health & fitness expert with over two decades of experience including personal training, I understand that all personal trainers are not equal. Just yesterday my husband was blindly contacted by a company looking for a personal trainer. He’s not even interested in doing that anymore but looked at the job qualifications out of curiosity and it indicated that applicants could be “working towards their certification” – in other words, an uncertified personal trainer could be hired by this gym to train people. Huh?


My husband Bill Busch does something that most personal trainers cannot do. It’s called Muscle Activation Techniques. It’s a very effective way ofdealing with weaknesses and in my case eliminated my back pain which is totally awesome! He’ll tell you he’s treating the weakness and the fact that the pain goes away is simply a side effect – but I’ll take the pain-free result any way I can get it. He still trains people, but don’t call him a personal trainer. He’s more like a personal fitness mechanic. His actual title is MAT Specialist.

Check out his Fitness From The Inside Out podcast. It will make you think twice before hiring a personal trainer, that’s for sure:

You can meet Bill Busch and many other health industry experts at the 2008 Avenue Health Fair at the Oak Park Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park, this Saturday 10am-2pm. It’s free with complimentary health screenings and hands-on mini workshops. Kids are welcome. Bill Busch will be part of a panel of experts adressing obesity and stress. Be sure to look for us at the Fitness From The Inside Out table.

Type my name in the search bar or click HERE to see/hear more of my posts including interviews with The Bravery, Lovehammers, Triumph’s Rik Emmett, Shooting Star, Mike Tafoya comedian Lee Camp & more.

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Katrell Mendenhall, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Men were fortunate enough to have a theme song for assistance in getting their “Sexy Back”, thanks to Justin Timberlake.

Beautiful ladies of Chicago, I’m here to decree this be our time to shine.  Somewhere between the kids, work, husband and managing multiple other duties we lost our sexy.  Allow me to paint a picture.  You know you have “it” but need some help exuding what’s already there and wouldn’t mind squeezing in a little exercise as well!?  I have the perfect answer…  It’s been seen on Oprah, graced the pages of US Weekly, Allure, In Touch and most fitness magazines.  Owner and Creator Sheila Kelley has managed to kill to birds with one stone by creating a dynamic pole dancing exercise called S Factor, where you can get fit and feel fabulous.

Actress Kate Hudson, Vivica Fox and Teri Hatcher (just to name a few) swear by this rigorous sensual routine.  I’m happy to announce the usual LA or NY based workouts are now in the CHI.  Mark your calendars, this Friday April 11th S Factor is opening doors at 1400 W. Hubbard for their Grand Opening Event.  We are the first in the Midwest to receive an S Factor studio. 

Event Poster      Shelia Kelly

Kelley designed S Factor for fitness and to increase sensuality.  She started off acting and discovered her passion while preparing for a role as a stripper.  With the knowledge of yoga, ballet and now pole dancing the trio combination was destined for greatness.

You don’t want to miss this event.  Be a part of history for the new modern ’08 woman.  Students have been quoted as saying “When I leave the class I feel relaxed and comfortable in my body, and, most of all, in touch with the beautiful and sensual creature that I am.”  Now ladies, what’s a better feeling than that?  For more information visit www.sfactor.com or call 312.492.7596.

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