Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

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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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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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports BankWith over an estimated one-third of American adults defined as obese, something corrective must clearly be done. Educating the next generation is one way to help fight off this epidemic. On Thursday, the Blackhawks announced a major initiative towards fighting childhood obesity: a partnership with Nettelhorst, a Chicago Public School. The campaign began this Thursday, Oct. 30, when Chicago Blackhawks team president John McDonough served as ‘Principal for a Day’ at the school. McDonough toured the facilities and classrooms and interacted with the students. “It’s a privilege for me to be able to visit with the students of The Nettelhorst School and help launch such a special partnership,” he said.

 Chicago Blackhawks Charities donated $200,000 and various team sports equipment to Nettelhorst, and will additionally create a fitness center, floor hockey court, and inter-school floor hockey league for area schools in the future. McDonough elaborated on the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle: “It really makes for a good student, and for somebody who’s going to be achieving a lot of things in life.”

The program’s goal is to instill a sense of leadership, self-esteem and self-confidence driven by active individual fitness and team sports experiences. “We admire the Blackhawks’ thought-leadership and proactive mindset in creating a partnership with Nettelhorst to offset the hardships created by decreasing government funding,” School Principal Cindy Wulbert said.

McDonough has participated in 12 ‘Principal for a Day,’ programs, which were created for community leaders to involve themselves and their organizations or associations in continued support throughout the year at their school. For adults, numerous local recreational sport and social leagues offer commercial winter floor hockey leagues, a very productive means for burning calories during the colder months.
I also participated in “Principal for a Day” yesterday too. Representing the Chicago 2016 Channel, I reported on Olympic Boxer and former WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz returning to his alma mater, Carl Von Linne School.

For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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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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