Archive for the ‘gold coast’ Category

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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Spa EM side 2by April LawsonSpa EM Front

If you are accustomed to the factory assembly line get ‘em in and crank ‘em out philosophy of the average manicure joint then you are in for a treat at Spa Emilia on 21 West Elm. After 21 years they have developed a reputation for the best manicures and pedicures in Chicago bar-none. On any given day you may find yourself seated next to some of the city’s most successful and savvy businesswomen. Anyone from Christy Hefner to our nations current Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers to the founder of the original White party. Even HARPO Studio’s books a weekly spa day with them.

Partners Grace Sniezynski and Elizabeth Gilewicz are endearing and committed to providing unparalled customer service. You will be greeted at the door with a cup of organic herbal tea whose bright fresh green color is surreal.  (Even the premium tea leaves are a customized mix by wellness gurus DWD and cannot be store bought.)  “We want customers to have a lovely, pampering experience … an escape from their stressful lives. So every manicure and pedicure includes a fabulous massage to relax them and improve blood circulation,” says Grace. “Our staff is mostly European. The difference is more extensive training than the usual one year in the U.S. To protect our business, we are very selective about who we hire. They must take pride in what they do.” Spa Emilia is a Gold coast neighborhood jewel that no woman should miss.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

I’m not here to provide a history lesson, but I have to address the fact that today is Bastille Day. While you may see it as an excuse to dine at a resto in town that’s offering a special menu, the day actually commemorates the storming of the Bastille (a prison),

Monet - Bastille Day

Monet - Bastille Day

which took place on July 14, 1789 (the theory behind those crazy priced menus you might see this week.) While it sounds like a horrible reason to celebrate, the act actually symbolized the fall of the king’s power.

While my favorite Bastille Day memory was sitting with my mom on our hotel balcony (in our pajamas, I might add) watching the French soldiers march off to the annual parade on the Champs, I managed to make my way to the kitchen this morning to make up a batch of crepes for old time-sake. The truth of the matter is, I own Charles Aznavour CD”s and most would consider my apartment a mini Parisian flat in the heart of Chicago. While I try to get away for a short visit once a year, I fill the time in-between with events and experiences to hold me over until the next visit. Whether you love France or just good wine, Bistro 110 has a Tour de France Wine Tasting Series that will be venturing into the Loire Valley on Thursday, July 23 from 6-8 p.m.

Chateau de Chaumont - Loire Valley

Chateau de Chaumont - Loire Valley

Summer is a time to be casual and mingle, so the event will take place on Bistro 110’s newly opened “terrasse,” the outdoor patio where guests can sip  and nosh at their leisure. Along with the French staples of bread and cheese, Executive Chef Dominique Tougne will provide a selection of bites ranging from Valencay-Style Chicken with Grapes and Muscadet Wine Sauce, to a Whole Poached Salmon “Bellevue” with Tarragon Mayonnaise.

Reservations are available, but not required. Attendance is $25 per person, including tax and gratuity (a bargain in any language.) Bistro 110 is located at 11o East Pearson. 312.266.3110.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team


Yesterday was Father’s Day, so chances are you spent some time with good ol’ dad feasting on brunch, or firing up the grill. You may not have realized that yesterday also marked the Summer Solstice, a celestial event that prompts longer, light-filled days. NBC-panepatio

Pane Caldo is celebrating this astronomical occurrence with a special “White Nights”  lunch and dinner experience, available through June 27. Executive chef Maurice Bonhomme got creative in the kitchen and came up with special dishes featuring light and white-colored foods, such as steamed white asparagus with morel mushrooms and truffle dressing, and grilled halibut fillet with with golden beets and a grain mustard sauce. Pastry chef David Same’ didn’t forget about your sweet tooth, so save room for the ice cream bar of white chocolate, muscatel and white cherries.  Wash it all down with (what else) a crisp white wine.

If you’ve never been to Pane Caldo (or need to revisit how fabulous it is), Bonhomme only uses the freshest ingredients, seasonal herbs, organic meats and wild seafood in his preparations. Of course, as the restaurant name suggests, fresh-baked bread is an accompaniment to every table. Another way you can celebrate the warm temps is by dining alfresco on Pane Caldo’s newly expanded outdoor seating area, which has doubled in size this season. If you’re watching you wallet but still want to experience a little of  “la dolce vita,” then dine early from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and take advantage of the 3 course prix fixe dinner menu for only $34. It’s cheaper than a trip to Italy, but tastes just as good.

For more information and reservations, diners can visit www.pane-caldo.com or call 312.649.0055.

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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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LaShonda Matlock, NBC Chicago Street Team

Just because the economy stinks, that doesn’t mean your fashion has to as well.

On Friday, fashion-forward Gold Coast boutique Jake (939 N. Rush St.) will launch a new budget-friendly store-in-store promotion called “It’s Great To Be Jake.”

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

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

Of course you love dad, but we all know it’s really mom who digs a nice brunch and a little bit more than a Hallmark card on her day of honor. So here’s some ideas for some fun alternatives to basic flowers and breakfast in bed.

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

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