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Music and memories for boomers at 210 Live in Highwood, IL

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We don’t often cover events and places in the suburbs, but this combination of music and memories was too good not to share.

210 Live, 210 Green Bay Rd, Highwood, IL. Some say this is the best Chicagoland venue for tribute bands – and that means they’re going to be playing our songs, people. 210 Live offers food, live music, and lively people plus a full bar. See below for some of the soundtrack-of-our-lives events coming up, and then check out everything on their live music calendar.

As far as location, 210 Live is right by the Highwood Metra stop – way up north – but it looks like the last train back to the city is a little after midnight. So if you drive and plan to stay late and/or imbibe, find yourself a hotel nearby. BTW, the club is very close to Fort Sheridan, the dramatically repurposed former military base – and oh, my, do I have memories of us girls (late teens) driving out there to visit sailor friends! Anyway, here are some of the tribute shows:

  • The 210 Live May lineup is your chance to re-live your life’s soundtrack with authentic re-creations of the music of Led Zeppelin, Santana, The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones and Billy Joel. The tribute shows get underway on Thursday, May 2 as GMiV (Great Moments in Vinyl) presents Led Zeppelin and Physical Graffiti at 9 p.m. Opening the evening at 7 p.m. are the Real Pretenders, veterans of Chicago music scene with a passion for heard driving rhythms, catchy melodic hooks, soul tortured lyrics and loads of passion.
  • Hot Rocks Rolling Stones tribute

    Although the Rolling Stones have postponed their 2019 tour (get well, soon, Mick), you can still get Yer Ya Ya’s out with Hot Rocks’ Rolling Stones Tribute on Thursday, May 9 at 9 p.m. This is an exciting theater-like show with the look, the music and the energy! Performing a variety of ‘Stones’ music spanning more than 50 years of hits, 60’s thru today, rock, country, disco and blues. Clap, sing along and dance to these hard-drivin’ songs. Hot Rocks is the only band ‘officially’ selected to represent the Midwest by The Rolling Stones, Paramount Pictures and Martin Scorsese. Come on out, see why people say, “It’s always a party with Hot Rocks.”

  • On Friday, May 10, 210 Live presents the 70s FM Rockumentary. This is a guided tour of the greatest 70s rock music led by Lester “The Nightfly” who tells his tale of being an FM deejay in the 70s. The DJ is on video, but the music is live! This is a unique show, unlike any you’ve seen. Experience the wild lifestyle in this jukebox musical documentary that celebrates rock’s arguably greatest radio era.

A little road trip that can bring back memories in more ways than one… Carpool, anyone?

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Memphis goes way beyond BBQ and the blues

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Memphis is no aging sleeping beauty down South. US News & World Report ranked Memphis number 9, just after Portland and San Antonio, among its best affordable destinations in the US.

The city of Memphis lies serenely along the Mississippi River. Though the state of Arkansas is right across, when you look across from Memphis, all you see is empty-looking flat land. That’s because the river comes to flood stage fairly often, and Arkansas, being on a lower plane, gets the brunt of the flooding. So the Arkansans wisely choose not to build anything along their side of the river. Thus, Memphis appears to be a giant settlement teeming with human activity sitting alone atop its elevated perch next to the great Mississippi.

Love me some barbeque!

In addition to being the blues and BBQ capital of the US, Memphis is in the middle of a Renaissance – to the tune of $3.5 billion. That’s what they’re investing in the downtown area where tourists love to visit. Memphis tourism is the number two economic driver for the state after agriculture. The culinary scene is rapidly rising above its BBQ roots. James beard-nominated chefs are coming to town to begin catering to the increasing numbers of millennials. Food & Wine magazine ranked the John T Burger at Hog & Hominy – tagline: Italian Cooking. Southern Roots – as number one best in the entire United States. Vogue magazine voted The Gray Canary by chefs Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer as one of the most anticipated American restaurant openings. Fodor’s Go List 2018 ranked Memphis number 6 out of 52 locations. And, of course, don’t forget the barbecue…

Millennials are increasingly attracted to aspects of life in Memphis. They’re finding the weather amenable, the job market cooperative, and the laid-back atmosphere in line with their ideals and conducive to their comfort. Fully one-third of the 600,000 population in the main city are millennials (aged about 25 to 40-ish), many of whom arrived in the last five to ten years.

Memphis blues and soul

So, for them and the rest of us non-millennials, why visit Memphis now? Milton Howery, the young and vibrant public relations manager of Memphis Travel, says visitors can immerse themselves in its history, the ongoing culinary revolution, and of course, the Memphis music scene. Along with the legendary Beale Street, the city is rich with music venues that present not just the classics of soul and blues, but also the newer tunes that many millennials crave. Memphis museums honor the city’s deep history, from the Civil War and on to more recent events. Mark your itinerary to include visits to the National Civil Rights Museum, the Blues Hall of Fame, the Memphis Heritage Trail, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, among others.

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

Unique lodgings abound in Memphis. You can stay at the guest house at Graceland, a new facility built across from the famous mansion. Or the Big Cypress Lodge at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in downtown Memphis. Or choose one of many other four star hotels under construction or in the planning. Getting around while you’re there can be fun. Consider using the bike-share program to make the Big River Crossing, new in 2018. It’s the longest pedestrian and bike crossing bridge over the Mississippi. And also the city now has Birds – personal motorized scooters. These things look much easier to use for us baby boomers then the Segways like we have in Chicago. A really fun way to get around.

Ride your scooter down to where the trolley is blowing its whistle through downtown Memphis. Instead of having to find an official bike storage rack, you can leave your Bird anywhere in the city and the service will find it and pick it up. The city is celebrating its Bicentennial in 2019 that’ll have the city hopping with music and activities. You can stay at the Peabody Hotel as it celebrates its 150-year Legacy as the South’s finest hotel. And don’t miss the Crosstown Concourse. It’s a building that used to be a giant warehouse but is now home to art galleries, retail and even some overnight accommodations. Beautiful lights and lots of activity.

It’s a rising area, it’s a welcoming city, and the sky’s the limit for where it’s $3.5 billion investment is going to take it. It’s a good time to visit Memphis and observe firsthand its continuing dramatic revitalization. And direct flights from Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and others mean it’s easy to get there.

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Book review: Prediabetes: A complete Guide

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Book review. Prediabetes: A complete Guide, by Joy Bauer, MS, RDN. If you’re well over 55, even if you’ve mostly eaten relatively healthy during your life, your body may try to double-cross you in the area of insulin resistance – which is the cause of Type II diabetes. Even people who have long eaten lots of veggies and tried to avoid empty carbs and added sugars may become susceptible to this physiological change. The thing is, diabetes is a brutal disease that affects every part of your life and can ravage your body. And worse yet, it’s very hard to keep in check. But there’s hope if you’re not there yet.

if you and your doctor watch your sugar, you may catch this bodily rebellion early – in what’s known as the “prediabetes” stage. This is a time when your body is warning you of impending problems that can easily lead to the full-blown disease condition. But it’s also a time when you can change the course of your “golden” years. This book, written by a nurse who’s also a registered dietitian, is like a map you can follow that’ll lead to the better health that can reverse the rising-blood-sugar situation and keep you from having to live forever with the much-feared-and-for-good-reason Type II Diabetes demon.

There are recipes in the book, but more than that, it’s a guide for changing the way you buy, prepare and consume food. She gives you small steps to take first – because you do have a little time before prediabetes goes over the edge to a permanent state – that will start getting you used to eating food with less sodium and fat yet more nutrition. And then she gives additional ways to ramp up the nutrition and dial back the bad stuff without feeling like you’re suffering. So when you start changing things like cheese dip to quacamole, onion dip to hummus, and bagels to English muffins or bagel thins, you won’t be in so much confusion about what’s good for you. This is a good guide as to what changes you need to make. Diabetes is nasty. Read this book carefully and learn to protect yourself.

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3 unique holiday gift ideas 2018

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Just thought we’d mention a few items we’ve sampled recently that you might find interesting as a gift idea this year. From a little toy that takes a ton of skill to work, to some luxury products loaded with CBD (cannabinoid oil) and a collection of beautiful fragrance packets, these are possibilities for almost anyone (except people like us hopelessly unskilled manual dexterity folks) this holiday. Check ’em out.

Spinnobi is a fascinating new little toy that will excite the manual-dexterity-masters, both kid and adult, on your list. For $10 you get this neat little spinny-wheel, bouncy gadget that you can do a lot of tricks with – but it takes some serious practice to master. I could see some kids competing to see who can keep it spinning the longest during each maneuver. It’s really satisfying to see the toy pop neatly up, still spinning, when you drop it on the table or floor. There’s a big collection of video snippets showing different ways to challenge yourself with the Spinnobi. Check out the kid who can make it pop off one knee onto the other and back. Each snippet is labeled according to how difficult it is to master. For us non-manual-dexterous types, anything but getting the wheel spinning could be challenge enough. I was completely unable to do any tricks but did enjoy just getting it to spin smoothly for a long time.

Gron CBD products include chocolates, sauces, balms and masks, and more, all laced with polite American society’s latest discovery: cannabinoid oil. The substance is said to offer health benefits that include easing the pain of arthritis without drugs. And the products come in a raft of different forms – chewable, drinkable, and even rubbable on your skin. Imagine: chocolate that actually makes you feel even better than the just the pure emotional joy of eating chocolate! Caramel sauce that sweetens your dessert and helps dull the pain in your knees or hands. A cream that lessens the discomfort of peripheral neuropathy. Hard to say how much of the relief might be mental because you believe in it. Happily, the edible stuff tastes pretty good, so you get the joy of eating and the benefit of the CBD. Keep in mind, it is a mild effect. You’re not going to be getting high or anything. Just feeling perhaps a little calmer – I’m guessing you shouldn’t try these after consuming a bunch of caffeine as the two could be canceling each other out. Gron does a truly gorgeous job of packaging, so these items can make excellent gifts for the adults in your life who are perhaps at times sleep-deprived or stressed out. I mean, who couldn’t use a little help with that once in a while? The products are not cheap at starting prices around $30 for caramel sauce. Read tips on using CBD and how to figure out how much CBD to take here.

Love beautiful fragrances? Floral Simplicity Scents sachet packets can set your heart and mind aswirl in dozens of different ways. Everything from baked goods like Vanilla Cake and Almond Biscotti or treats like Caramel Pumpkin Truffle and Apple Cinnamon, to flowers like Peony and Lily, or outdoorsy scents like Open Road or Seaside, you’ll find yourself transported with these true-to-life aromas at your fingertips. What a way to help you imagine your way to a relaxing vacation or trip through a greenhouse or a forest grove. These envelopes come wrapped in plastic so they retain maximum scent until you open them and place them where you like – in a dish on your hall table or beside your bed, or in your underwear drawer or wherever you’d like to evoke memories or conjure up an environment that soothes the spirit. The company, which also sells scented candles, donated 20% of its profits in 2017 to help feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, support mothers and children in need. Floral Simplicity 3-packs start at $8.50.

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myCharge keeps phone tech interesting

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Isn’t it fun to see what creative minds can do to help us use technology more efficiently? We already love our computers and our smart phones and tablets and so on. But products like external batteries, cases for e-readers, fun and useful attachments for phones – like the I-now-can’t-live-without-it CardNinja that holds your credit card, bus card, cash or whatever securely on the back of your phone – and so on are what keep the joy of the Internet and of smart phones constantly re-energizing itself.

A tech gadget company called myCharge has recently introduced a couple of fun and fabulous devices: the myCharge Unplugged Wireless Charging Bank and their handy little myFlipShade-cum-Phone Stand. Here’s what we think about them.

myCharge Unplugged 5K charging bank does it wirelessly, too

The myCharge Unplugged 5K Wireless Phone Bank has a beautiful, soft finish on the casing. It’s an elegant design that’s pleasingly smooth to the touch and has a classy-looking range of tiny lights to tell you how much charge is left. We’ve found it can hold its charge for quite a long period while it’s stored unused (a couple of weeks even). When you use it, the bank can charge up to 3 devices at a time – one wirelessly by setting it on top of the bank (as long as that device is equipped for wireless charging) and the other two devices via the two included USB ports. Plus there’s an Android connection, too, so you can charge Android devices (phones, Kindles, etc.) and also use it with a micro/USB cord to recharge the wireless bank. Very cool.

The myCharge is much nicer to look at and considerably lighter than many other external battery options – always a happy thing when you’re already weighed down carrying around so much tech paraphernalia that your shoulder’s threatening to go out of whack. It’s 2.75 inches wide and 5 inches high. We are very pleased with the usefulness of this product and happy with how handsome it is. Well worth the $50 price tag.

myCharge FlipShade in Black Dot

The myCharge myFlipShade is a cute, very lightweight device you attach to the back of your later-model smart phone – it’s too wide for older, smaller phone sizes. The attachment leaf has a spacious opening to accommodate camera lenses on most Android or iPhone models (not the 5 series and earlier). It’s about 2.5 inches wide, so check your phone width before you decide to buy.

The device is made of very thin plastic – a good thing for keeping the weight down, but it does make the device feel a little delicate. It has a set of “wings” that open up to protect your phone screen from sun, light rain, and/or prying eyes. On one of the samples we worked with, one of the wings snapped off before we’d even tried to attach it to a phone. We were able to re-attach it, but it never snapped quite all the way shut after that. So you need to handle those wings with care. The device comes in a couple of finishes, including white marble, the snazzy Black Dot and one in white that’s dotted with pineapples! Besides protecting your phone screen, the device can serve as a phone stand – works either horizontally or vertically, so if you’re into reading, making videos or watching long-a*s movies on your phone, this could come in handy. $9.99 on their website.

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Luxuriate in Historic Hotels of America – here and there

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Historic Hotels of America came to Chicago recently to bring attention to a few of Chicago’s own homegrown historic gems as well as several others. Seated in the majestic King Arthur Court room at the Intercontinental Hotel, 505 N. Michigan Ave., industry observers met representatives from several of these giants and heard them talk about the features and amenities of their gracious historic hotels.

The Intercontinental itself is a gorgeous historical hotel that was once an exclusive men’s club. The furnishings are rich and comfortable, the decor impeccably stylish, all of it kept in excellent condition with regular upkeep and periodic refurbishing and modernization over the years.  A treasure to indulge your guests in for catered meetings and conferences, or yourself and family for holidays and vacations.

Palmer House, a Hilton HotelOne of Chicago’s great historic gem hotels is the beautiful and iconic Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St. With a lobby to die for in terms of stateliness and decor, this is one of the prime Chicago spots to come to experience a historic hotel at its finest.

Palmer House History is Hott tour
Palmer House History is Hott tour

One of the many interesting ways to experience this location is the “History is Hott!!” luncheon and tour, held Tuesday through Saturday depending on ballroom availability. The hotel’s resident historian, Ken Price, a tall, dynamic speaker, continually surprises and delights guests with nuggets from his seemingly inexhaustible wealth of information about Chicago, the hotel and the history of both. Reserve a place on the tour by calling 312.917.3404.

The Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, is part of Chicago’s history and part of its current cultural milieu. The public is regularly invited to participate in multiple different events each year. Everything from a Youth Breadmaking Workshop featuring star baking chefs from around the world, to a summer camp this year for kids 7-17 with cancer in which some of the hotel’s rooms were transformed into bunk cabins and meeting spaces became the site of campfires, cookouts and talent shows, while kids were taken on adventures like rock climbing, Lake Michigan cruises, swimming at the beach, and more.

In 1893 the Palmer House pastry chef invented, at the behest of Mrs. Palmer, the first brownie for the Columbian Exposition World’s fair in Chicago. Their version of this iconic dessert, which is now legendary and ubiquitous, is still melting sweetly on peoples taste buds today. Made with real chocolate, fudgy yet light-as-air compared to some, it’s rich, apricot-glazed and deeply chocolate – definitely a close-your-eyes food. And when you buy one, you even get the recipe. Start with “14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, a pound of butter…” Then, enjoy working it off at the hotel’s modern fitness center.

Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection Hotels, 200 E. Third St. in Davenport, Iowa, owned by Marriott, is another treasure listed with Historic Hotels of America. First opened in 1914, this beautiful hotel has a fascinating history, detailed in a beautiful hard-bound book full of memories and historical photos. Since 2010, after a $46 million renovation, it has become the landmark destination in the Quad Cities. Their favorite adjective is “Hipstoric.” Their mantra is “Stay. Host. Play.” And they have some gorgeous spaces in which you can do all those things. Intimate private dining rooms, comfortable boardrooms and elegant, gilded ballrooms, in combination with their sleek contemporary decor throughout the public spaces and in all the rooms and suites – complete with luxury bedding, make great spaces for conferences, meetings, special occasions or just laying back. And at affordable rates.

Amenities include a fitness center, complimentary WiFi and a heated indoor pool and hot tub. And as for playing, enjoy The Spa at Hotel Blackhawk or unwind with cocktails while you bowl a few frames at their own indoor Blackhawk Bowl. Consider the world-class cuisine at Bix Bistro or take a quick break for coffee or latte at Beignet Done That Cafe. TripAdvisor awarded Hotel Blackhawk their Certificate of Excellence and AAA awards Four Diamonds. Stay here, host here, and play right in the hotel – or use it as your home base while you drink in the pleasures of the entire Quad Cities region.

The Wigwam Welcome Arch

The Wigwam, a 440-acre resort oasis in Phoenix’s West Valley, is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its Organization House, the first building on the site. Once housing Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s executives, today it’s the foundation of The Wigwam’s authenticity and historic charm. Travelers are invited to enjoy a special “Centennial Thank You Package,” along with a line-up of epicurean events, wellness journeys, and special promotions. Valid for stays through December 23, 2018, package prices start at $209 and include a two-night stay in an Adobe Traditional Room plus a $100 resort credit towards enriching activities, dining, and wellness experiences at the historic resort. A huge 26,000-square-foot LeMonds – Aveda Salon and Spa, An amazing 54 holes of championship golf (two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trend Jones, Sr.). Delectable cuisine at five dining outlets. Plus entertainment and active lifestyle amenities for guests of all ages.

The Wigwam aerial view

Meander through the resort’s meticulously manicured landscape of palm trees, rose gardens, citrus trees, and lush greenery – highly unexpected in a desert setting. Guestrooms and suites, most housed in adobe style casitas, feature updated comfortable, contemporary interiors accented by authentic Southwestern décor. Set up meetings in updated spaces. Enjoy shopping onsite. Relax and play in the three expansive swimming pools, bocce ball and tennis courts, along with the spa and the golf club. For more information on The Wigwam, the “Centennial Thank You Package,” or the 100th Anniversary of the Organization House, call (623) 935-3811 or visit www.wigwamarizona.com.

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Passionate truth-telling by women of color

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Unless you are friends with someone who’s told you in detail about the indignities of discrimination – and you really let it sink in – or you know someone and are deeply offended when this person regularly utters racial slurs, or you yourself are a person of color, you may not know the extent of the damage the world’s racist societies can do to the human spirit.

It’s worse than you think. Listen to this powerful and emotional TED Talk from Anjelica Dass,  a now-famous artist of color whose work is a passionate appeal for people the world over to stop dividing ourselves into black, white, red, yellow and brown, but rather acknowledge we come in all colors. Think strawberry yogurt, coffee-with-cream, walnut, dark wood that’s gotten wet…

Passionate truth-telling stories

And now comes a powerful book, compiled and edited by Deborah Santana, that gives voice to twenty women-of-color essayists: All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World – Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom. Each writer in this book describes with deep feeling some small measure of what she has experienced because of racism and of how she is coming or has come to terms with the inequality, the injustice and the lack of freedom that being of-color can mean.

The offspring of my Jewish-Christian, Russian-Irish mixed marriage were raised in Shaker Heights. I chose to live there because it was considered by many at that time to be the most successfully integrated community in the world. Living there helped attune us to many of the nuances of discrimination. And because someone very close to us is the offspring of a mixed-race relationship, all of us are always seeking to better understand how to combat prejudice and racism in this society. No matter whether you know, or want to know more, about the experiences of persons of color, Santana’s book is a powerful aid to understanding.

I read all these stories through, my heart squeezing and my chest heaving as I felt the suffering and confusion so many of the writers experienced growing up race-stigmatized. And of course, their suffering doesn’t stop in the adult world.

Although good readers of any age can easily understand the language, the content in some – detailing memories of profoundly abusive experiences – might be too discouraging for younger readers. All the stories are worth reading. Below is a selected list to consider:

  • Home Going. Novelist Natalie Baszille writes of her experiences of “home” as the daughter of a black man born and raised in Southern Louisiana who moved far away to escape the pain and indignities of the persecution commonly handed out to black people in that part of the country.
  • Indian Territory. Growing up Indian in a white world, author Eliana Ramage tells of rude questioning, experiencing the feel of history rewritten when her school visits the home of Andrew Jackson, who so ruthlessly persecuted her ancestors and is honored as a great hero.
  • From Negro to Black. A woman who lived through the Civil Rights movement, La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson writes of finding herself and family shifting identities first as Colored, then briefly Negro, then Black, then African American, and of her struggle to learn how to shed such labels and become herself.
  • A Letter to My Granddaughter. A highly successful journalist, the first Black woman to be recognized for her achievements in the field, writes a letter to her granddaughter explaining that the only way to overcome prejudice and racism is to speak your truth fearlessly.
  • Asian American Punk. Want Chyi, then a tiny girl of Taiwanese-Chinese heritage, often stared-at in her mostly white high school in the U.S., writes of how falling in love with punk music freed her to feel like she belonged somewhere at last.
  • The Girl from the Ghetto. Deborah L. Plummer writes in vivid detail about her life as a kid in a Black neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. At age 11 she was done with the kids’ book section of the library and moved on to subjects that matched the seriousness of her life experiences.
  • African in America. High schooler Ugochi Egonu writes in poetic stanzas of her frustration and anger at the ignorance and presumption about Africa that many white people display. While she is growing up in California, her grandmother lives in Nigeria and speaks only Igbo. Egonu mourns that she herself cannot speak more than a few words. But she vows that she will grow to womanhood and be the one to tell her story.

In case you have a granddaughter or grandson that you want to help understand the damage that racism does, this book is a treasure full of important truths.

*To see the names of all women who contributed, click on the “19 more” link under the title on the Amazon page for the book.

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St. Louis grand opening of Gateway Arch Park July 3, 2018

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Ever been to St. Louis? If you’re like me, you’ve longed to visit. Once I met a couple of beautiful ladies who were from St. Louis and who come to bask in the glories of Chicago every once in a while.  Now, with the grand opening of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch Park, St. Louis is making itself even more attractive as a destination.

The opening this year will be followed by the massive July 4 celebration of Fair Saint Louis. Hosted by the Gateway Arch Park Foundation and its partners, this party will include the grand opening of the Museum at the Gateway Arch, a newly expanded and renovated cultural hotspot that’s changing the narrative about westward expansion. Throughout history, the realities of the Lewis & Clark expeditions have been largely glorified – virtually ignorning the negative impact they had on people who already lived there, like Native Americans and Mexicans. The new museum will now tell the full story from several different perspectives. Some of the designers of the museum expansion include NYC-based Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates, along with Seele, who manufactured the glass for the Visitor Center entrance (and also manufactures the glass for Apple stores).

The museum’s opening will mark the completion of a nearly 10-year $380 million public-private redevelopment project, used to reinvigorate St. Louis’ downtown and connect the St. Louis community back to the river that helped establish the city. A total of $250 million was raised from private donations for this project, which came almost entirely from the St. Louis community – the largest private investment ever made in a US National Park. To date, the park revitalization has had a nearly $2 billion economic impact, with major hotels, largescale real estate and trendy restaurants and bars moving into the surrounding area as a direct result of the project.

So if you’ve ever thought about visiting St. Louis, right now is a super time to do it. You can also try TripAdvisor’s 15 Best Things to Do in St. Louis. Though it doesn’t include this new stuff, it’ll give you some other ideas.

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Reading reviews – 1 medical memoir, 1 kid book and some cool kids’ magazines

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We have been out for medical stuff for several months and are just beginning to catch up with a few things – like book reviews. We select books to review on how they have relevance to the lives of our families and friends, so they’re often in completely different arenas. Below are 3 completely unrelated ones to get started with.

Triumph over Tragedy book by cardiologist

Triumph Over Tragedy: The Odyssey of an Academic Physician, by William H. Frishman, MD, MACP. This is a memoir about a young boy who grew up so poor that the glass of water by his bedside would freeze over on many a cold morning. Growing up in the South Bronx, Frishman had to run to school to avoid being attacked by gangs. And then when he was a junior in high school, his father died of an early heart attack. It made Frishman even more determined to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. And he spent his career as a cardiologist during what some call “The Golden Age of Cardiology,” during which scientists developed almost every drug that’s currently used to treat heart conditions. Frishman writes with a storyteller’s touch about his time in the military where he learned leadership and integrity, and about his journey through the field of medicine, ending up as a medical educator and Director of Medicine at Westchester Medical Center and several other relevant prestigious appointments. He acknowledges the inestimable value of having good mentors all through life. And he also suggests where to find them and why it’s important to “repay the favor.” Http://williamfrishman.com/

Jason’s Imagination: The Rain King by Jason Edwards. A book for your grandchild – the hero is a boy but there’s no reason your little granddaughter couldn’t relate – about a kid who uses his imagination to save himself and his mom from a monster. Complete with magic sword and armor, Jason first fears the ferocity of a thunderstorm and then decides – at mom’s urging – to use his imagination to overcome his fear. It appears in the book that his mom is a single mom – no mention of dad appears anywhere in the book. Certainly appropriate for today’s demographics of increasing numbers of single-mom-headed families. My very grown-up 10-year-old granddaughter said she thought her 8-year-old boy pal would enjoy the book – the best recommendation you can ask for. And I’d say it would be appropriate for even much younger kids.

Cricket Media publications consistently win awards – and kids love ’em

Cricket Magazine is a marvelous literary-quality publication aimed at 9 to 14-year-olds, but Cricket Media publishes several different varieties, each aimed at a particular age group. I passed age-appropriate copies out to a group of kids – ages 4, 7 and 9 – and each one of them settled down with their copy and remained engrossed throughout the magazine. Talk about high recommendations. Babybug, Ladybug and Click are for the youngest group (0-6 years), Ask and Spider are next (6-9 years), and then for older kids Cricket and several others for kids 9 to 14. Each one has a Letterbox full of readers’ letters and several other regular features that the reading audiences love. The Realm of Imagination is a collection of favorite stories from multiple previous issues.

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Interfaith group giving holiday kits to homeless

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It’s hard to realize that all year around there are hungry and homeless Chicagoans in the city.  In the colder months, people build temporary structures across the city in an attempt to stay warm and safe in the harsh wintery conditions. These, our not-so-fortunate neighbors, are more at-risk and in danger in these cold months and need additional warm clothes and blankets to survive.   

Sunday, December 24 at 10am, Forward Humanity will pack and distribute 100 sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, scarfs, a hygiene kit, and a thermal blanket to gift to their neighbors across the city.  It’s never too late to donate to this commendable effort.

Volunteers will gather at the Downtown Islamic Center (231 S State St.) to make 100 healthy lunches and pack holiday gift bags full of warm winter items and hygiene kits which have been donated through a social media and an online campaign.

Distribution will take place throughout the city at known underpasses, viaducts, and other noticeable temporary housing areas.

Forward Humanity is an Illinois not-for-profit organization that began as an outlet to show Muslims as present, active, and positive members of their community.  Forward Humanity is now a collective comprised of over 200 volunteers of all faiths who initiate and organize activities, events and projects in support of organizations and social causes. They aim to provide a platform where people can come together, whether for short-term or long-term initiatives, to serve their community.

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