Issue IX

Fall 2015

Inside this Issue

Presidents Corner:
The Ladder of Evolution

Fast, Easy, and Fresh. You Don't Have to Settle for Just Two!

EPWNG 2015 Holiday Survival Guide.

Feeling Stuck?

Attention All Pear Shapes!

The Ladder of Evolution

I wrote my first EPWNG Newsletter piece exactly two years ago.  The topic was about “New Beginnings” addressing EPWNG’s committee expansion and welcoming the Western Suburban branch.  The article highlighted all that EPWNG offers as one of Chicago’s premier women’s networking groups.  Two years later, it seems natural to discuss our evolution, and highlight the exciting new journey for which we are about to embark.  Participating in my son’s college recruiting process, I learned a terrific concept from the Emory Basketball Coach.  The metaphor is positioned as the “Ladder of Evolution.”  Like the ladder used by the winning team to cut off the basketball nets after a championship win, the image of climbing to the top was something I wanted to share with you in the context of EPWNG’s future goals. We started with five women back in 2009.  The energy and passion of this core group attracted many other incredible women.  Our Board leadership has been the mainstay for driving our exponential growth.  Now, we move to another level, hiring an Executive Director.  Her job is to grow this organization and take it to a different level on the ladder.  Part of her challenge will be to understand how EPWNG has impacted so many of its members and determine how we can create new programming to mirror our members’ growth in line with their larger networks and increased business demands.  The opportunities are vast, and the picture is not yet formed.  I look forward to watching our organization benefit from this next growth phase as we continue to climb the ladder together….


By Catherine Schager

What’s for dinner?  It’s the age-old question that plagues many of us on a daily basis.  You want to feed yourself and your family good, nourishing food, but struggle with the time factor of preparing a well-balanced dinner.  With a busy schedule how do you pull it all together and not cave in to fast (junk) food?  It’s a question that I struggle with as well.  While I don’t have children at home to feed, my husband and I both work and sometimes at the end of the day, the thought of prepping and cooking is a deterrent to eating well.  
I recently asked Anita Brown, EPWNG member and Culinary Coach, how busy moms can serve healthy meals, but not spend hours in the kitchen.  She offered these tips:

•    Cook “big”- When making rice, pasta or other grains, make 4 times the amount you need.  When cooled, fill Ziploc bags with multiple portions and freeze flat.  When you’re in need, just break off a piece that’s the size you want and re-heat.  Cooking “big” can also apply to things like pasta sauces (homemade is best!), soups, stews and even meats.  Store those in individual or family-size servings and all you need to do is heat and eat!
•    Fresh is best- serve your family fresh, whole foods.  Things like fruit, cut up carrots, jicama, bell pepper sticks, snap peas and hummus, and roasted nuts make great snacks to tide your family over until dinner is served- easy, and nutritious!

As so many of us rely on outside services to help us control our lives, I’ve put together some additional “food for thought” for easy ways to get healthy food and snacks to your home.

•    Blue Apron is a service that delivers the fresh ingredients and the recipes to go with them to your door weekly!  Everything is pre-cut and ready to assemble.

•    Hello Fresh is a similar service that also offers vegetarian options with recipes like “One Pot Mexican Quinoa with Sweet Corn, Avocado and Feta”- sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
•    For healthy snacks, check out Healthy Surprise for an array of pre-selected snacks that are gluten and soy free, vegan and even Paleo friendly.  Order a box to be delivered to your door!  No more worrying about being tempted by Cheese Doodles at the grocery store!
•    Graze will send a box of healthy snacks (and they look fabulous!) to you at home or work, so you can keep the family away from your stash!

Last but not least, check out Pepper Plate, an app which is free and allows you to manage recipes, create menus (it even has multiple timers on it!), plan meals for the week and create shopping lists.  Here’s to eating well!

Catherine is the owner of Catherine Schager Designs, which offers residential interior design services, specializing in Kitchen and Bath renovations. Let us help you discover the comforts of home.


 Attention All Pear Shapes!

By Tina Tranfaglia

Many of us struggle with larger hips than we would like or those “saddle bags” that persist no matter how much exercise we do. While having a slight pear shape may be nothing more than a mild inconvenience in selecting clothing, did you know there is actually a painful, progressive fat syndrome called Lipedema (alternate spelling: Lipoedema) that causes some women to accumulate fat in the hips, thighs, buttocks, lower legs, and arms? As the disease progresses, they become increasingly disproportionate, often needing clothing two or more sizes larger on the bottom than the top. In its extreme form, it can be completely debilitating, leading to the inability to walk or stand.

It is estimated that 11% of adult women have this disorder, which occurs almost exclusively in women and is thought to be inherited. Despite being identified at the Mayo Clinic in 1940, most doctors still don’t know about it, and many women are simply told to go home and lose weight, and that fat does not hurt. Most women blame themselves. However, this diseased fat cannot be lost through diet or exercise, and even gastric bypass will not eliminate the lipedema fat. Traditional liposuction may actually worsen the disorder by damaging the lymphatic system.

While there is no real cure, there are treatments that can slow the progression of Lipedema; so it is important to get diagnosed as early as possible because treatment becomes less effective as the disease progresses. The disease tends to come on rapidly following hormonal events, such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. Typical treatments tend to focus on managing the fluid/swelling, the inflammation, and the pain. There is also a rapidly developing water-assisted liposuction (WAL) technique that can spare the lymph system that is just now being perfected, with a few surgeons in Germany and in the U.S. performing it (usually without reimbursement from insurance and up to 5 surgeries needed). This month, Marie Claire magazine is featuring a cover story on Lipedema, a huge victory for patients to get such press!

So how do you know if you are one of the 11% of women who have Lipedema?  Some of the symptoms include: symmetrical excess fat in the lower body, including a “shelf” of fat around the hips/butt; column-like (or tree trunk) appearance to the legs; thick ankles (“kankles”); easy bruising; leg swelling throughout the day; pain deep in the legs; skin is sensitive to pressure; cellulite appearance of fat and possibly a rocky, nodule feeling under the skin; hyper joint mobility; joint pain, especially in knees; unexplained fatigue; rapid weight gain with no change in habits, and the inability to lose weight in certain areas. It is important to note that not all women who have this disease are heavy all over. Many have a thin face and/or upper body, and when seated at a table, you might not even know they have a disproportionate lower half. After diagnosis, many women can recognize abnormalities in their legs or arms dating back to childhood.

Lipedema is different from Lymphedema, often experienced after lymph nodes are removed as part of cancer treatment and potentially only affecting one limb. The fourth stage of Lipedema, however, is known as Lipo-lymphedema, where the adipose, lymphatic, and vascular systems are all compromised. If you think you, a family member, or friend might have this disorder, or you would simply like more information, visit And if you are wondering why I know about Lipedema…yes, I do have it as a secondary condition to a much rarer auto-immune disorder called Dercum’s Disease. I would be happy to speak confidentially with anyone who thinks they may have Lipedema.

Tina is the owner of College Knowledge Admissions Consulting. She helps parents and students navigate all aspects of the complex, competitive, and ever-changing world of college admissions through customized one-on-one coaching. [email protected], 847.331.6874


By Vicki Gerson

With the holiday season approaching, here are some timely tips to help get you through the next few months:

When traveling to a popular resort destination like the Atlantis Bahamas make sure to book your dinner reservations at least 60 days in advance to secure peak dining time.
    Source: Dana Rubin, Casino Services, DRCS Inc.

Use cinnamon scented pine cones (sparingly) or holiday scented potpourri during the holiday season to make your home smell as festive as it looks.
    Source: Catherine Schager, Catherine Schager Designs

Holiday makeup is all about a sultry smokey eye, well defined with black liner. Shine and shimmer on the cheeks to give your skin the perfect glow, along with a neutral lip.
    Source: Elise Brill, Leesi B Cosmetics

Holiday style:
Give a festive feel to any outfit by adding a little sparkle – pin a jeweled broach to multiple strains of pearls and beads, or add sparkly clip-on earrings just above the toe of your favorite pumps...or both!
    Source Susan Mowder, The Style Principle

Family issues:
Take a break. If you have had enough family for a while don’t feel pressured to stay past your “polite” time, and be sure to know your kids’ limits as well.
     Source Dori J. Mages, MSW, LCSW -North Shore Family Services, LLC

Holiday gifts:
Personalized gifts show that thought went into your selection. Try monogrammed jewelry or household gifts (trays, coasters, or cutting boards). To convey the warmth of the season, wrap up a throw blanket, candle, wrap/shawl, or cozy PJs.
    Source Leslie Berkowitz - Kidoodles, Inc. and Initial It Gifts

Vicki Gerson, president of Vicki Gerson & Associates, Inc. is a web/print writer and public relations consultant. She writes ghost blogs, websites, press releases and much more to get her clients the visibility they need for their business. [email protected]

By T-Ann Pierce

Have you hit a plateau in life? Do you crave enthusiasm and spontaneity? Do you find yourself needing more in your relationships but you don’t know where to start to get back in the ‘zone’?
Who isn’t familiar with that sinking feeling that we’re in a rut? Whether we feel stuck at work, in relationships or with personal goals, lack of motivation and loss of fulfillment can affect our relationships, our careers, our fitness levels and our health.
So how do you get the traction back in your life?
Face your fears. It is human nature to stick with what is easy, comfortable and within our control. Sometimes the necessary thing to do is one thing we fear most. Take a good long look at what is holding you back from progress and commit to making a couple of well-placed decisions. Are you paralyzed when it comes to admitting there is a problem in a relationship? Are you too timid or too tired to assert yourself at work? Are you avoiding establishing boundaries with loved ones or coworkers? Do you worry about looking silly or, worse, failing? Maybe you feel guilty admitting you want more when your life looks perfect to everyone else.
Accepting the short-term discomfort of stepping out of our comfort zones is key to establishing long-term happiness. You can’t get unstuck if you continue on the same path. Face the fear and do it anyway.
Edit. When we are stuck in a routine, bored and in a rut, our first instinct is to add things to our life: yoga, book club, date night, more wine. Before we can effectively add things to our life, we first need to delete things from our lives.  De-clutter your life like you would de-clutter a messy desk. Give thought to what you want to stop doing. As you go throughout your day, begin to notice how many times you feel you ‘should’ be doing something. From unnecessary holiday decorating to time spent with needy friends, examine where you can get rid of the soul sucking ‘shoulds’ in your life. Edit your life so that most of what you do contributes to the overall richness of life.

When determining what is sucking the life out of you, it can be easy to imagine ridding yourself of an annoying partner or quitting a job. Believe it or not, giving up smaller soul-sucking commitments such as a draining book club or helicoptering your children may give you the time and energy to devote to relationships or work. Amazing things can develop throughout your life with one small positive shift. Don’t underestimate what one small edit can do.
Add back in, slowly and carefully. So you’ve had the difficult talk with your partner or you’ve told the kids they must scale back on after school activities. You’ve deleted some habits or commitments that made you feel trapped. What now?

Ask yourself some questions to re-discover what makes you feel significant and whole:
What are some things I do that make me feel alive and without boundaries?
What would it take to make even the most mundane task fun or meaningful?
What do other people tell me I’m good at?
What does success look and feel like to me?
What unusual ways could I reward myself for sticking with change?
What would I do if money were no object?
Discovering what sets your heart on fire will help determine how to put meaning back into your life. Perhaps, instead of food or a movie on the weekend, you reward yourself with a long phone conversation with an old friend. Maybe you’ve always been good at writing and you determine you want to write a memoir in your free time. Maybe you trade in spin class for something out of character, like pole dancing. Maybe your car becomes radio/cell phone free to encourage talking and sharing in those precious few moments driving back and forth to work or other activities.
Change can be uncomfortable, but keep in mind, no one ever died from being uncomfortable.  Small tweaks can bring great changes in a life. No one should stay in a rut simply because they fear change. As the writer Paul Coelho was said, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.”

T-Ann Pierce is a life and empowerment coach and the owner of TAP Into
Purpose, where she inspires women and young people to create meaningful lives filled with confidence and joy. Life is too short not to be comfortable in your own skin.