Lisa Temkin
Educational Consultant
In order to write a meaningful essay, a student needs to understand what the point of the writing is. Yes, it’s to have something in your Common Application, but what makes a good essay? You don’t have to write the Great American Novel, in fact, a shorter essay is more challenging. No need for fancy language or long sentences. Stick to what you know. Write about yourself.
  • Reveal to the reader something about yourself that can’t be learned anywhere else in the entire application.
  • Think about an experience, event or something life-changing that made you aware of something about yourself or others, something that changed how you perceive your world and that around you.
  • It’s not a “story” though you may need to have a little blurb to set the stage. Don’t give the blow-by-blow. You can set the stage with a sentence or two, keeping the focus on you, not others in the “story”.
  • Make a laundry list of possible ideas.
  • Using each idea as a heading, write a few bullet points below each possible idea. Don’t think about whether or not your idea might sound stupid or the word count. You don’t need full sentences, just jot down some things that help you think through what you’d write that supports the topic.
  • The essay is about YOU—it shouldn’t be torture to write. It should be pretty easy once you get the topic. There isn’t one right or wrong answer so just get some stuff down in any order.
  • Add ideas to the topic list for a couple days and continue to make a few notes on each new topic idea.
  • Ask yourself, “What am I telling a reader that doesn’t know me? Have a communicated this in any other part of the application?”
  • Don’t try to be funny or clever unless this is really who you are. And don’t use language that you wouldn’t say in conversation. Teenagers do not use big words.
  • Be genuine. Don’t say something that really isn’t true and don’t brag.

From the idea topics, think, “Why is this important to me? How did it change me? What did I learn about myself, my peer group and my community? How will /did this impact me throughout high school, college, etc.? Why is this important to know about me? Did this experience lead me to consider something I’d never thought about before?”

I always suggest choosing the Common App prompt “Topic of your Choice” as it tends to be the easiest one. If you really feel you should choose one of the other prompts, just write first and choose the prompt after the writing is done. This CA (Common App) essay usually takes 4-6 drafts to complete.

Global Educational Consultants works with students and families navigating the college admissions process, identifying colleges that match the students’ academic, social and emotional capabilities. Contact Lisa and Global Educational Consultants at, visit their website at, or call 847.644.6673.

Geoff Horwitz
The MacMentor
How can you get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch or Apple TV? Are you frustrated with iCloud?

The MacMentor is a certified Apple Technologist, sharing his knowledge with both consumers and small businesses about Apple hardware and software needs. Here are some useful tips...

In Settings, go to iCloud, then Photos. Enable the iCloud Photo library to share your photos and the edits you make across your iCloud connected devices!

Did you know you can name a group chat and share your current location with those in the cat?  In your group chat, tap the i (it’s at the top right and has a circle around it). There you can enter a group name, and down below, have the choice to either send your current location or share it, by simply tapping on either option.

Did you know you can automatically dial an extension?  When you enter a phone number in Contacts, tap
the shift button (showing plus sign, asterisk, and number symbol), then tap pause one or more times and enter the extension number. iPhone waits two seconds for each pause before dialing the extension.

The MacMentor can help you become an extraordinary Apple technology user...One Device at a Time. Contact Geoff Horwitz, The MacMentor, at 847.902.6681, email him a at Visit his website at

Lisa Temkin
Global Educational Consultants
It’s no secret-- the college process can be overwhelming! Creating a plan can help you be more organized and use your time most effectively. Here’s a good place to begin.
Spring Sophomore Year
Be sure you’re on track to meet all your graduation requirements.  Check to make sure you’ve planned for your Applied Art and Consumer Ed.

Decide when you plan to take the ACT and plan to have some test prep—even a couple one-on-one sessions will help. Check registration dates for the test you plan to take and be sure to upload a photo—read the instructions carefully. 

Be sure you’re taking classes that are challenging. Take Honors or AP in the academic area(s) that are your strength, but don’t overload yourself.  Continue the extracurricular activities you enjoy or find a couple new ones.

Fall Junior Year
Start considering what you might be interested in studying and the kind of environment that will be a fit for you. Consider the types of classes you most enjoy and how you feel you learn.

As you consider colleges that seem like a perfect fit, you’ll want to thoroughly research them—academic areas, faculty, size, location, internships, extracurricular activities, etc. Use a variety of resources.

Spring Junior Year
When you register for classes for senior year be sure you continue to challenge yourself. No fluffy schedules as a senior—it’s frowned upon by college admissions offices. Work hard! An upward trend of grades is always a nice thing to send to colleges

There are many good sources for information—the college websites aren’t the best and are not easy to navigate. Have logical reasons for choosing schools that interest you and be realistic about where you might apply. be fun It’s about finding colleges that are a match!

Global Educational Consultants works with students and families navigating the college admissions process, identifying colleges that match the students’ academic, social and emotional capabilities. Contact Lisa and Global Educational Consultants at  Lisa@GloEduCon.comvisit their website at, or call 847.644.6673.


by Bonnie Hillman Shay
Do you have 1,000’s of digital photos (and videos) on your phone, tablet, and computer? Are they as accessible and easy to share as you would like them to be? Chances are you are overwhelmed and unsure of how to manage your family’s photo collection. You are not alone.

Here are six steps to help you regain control of your digital photo collection; which will make enjoying and sharing your photographic memories easy.
Immediately delete the “less than stellar” photos
Fight the instinct to save every photo.  Bad photos are merely clutter, making it more difficult to locate and enjoy the good pictures.
Put all of your photos in one place
Transfer all your photos to one universal folder on your computer.  This makes it easier to find, back up and move photos, to a new computer, when needed.
Make it easier to find specific photos
Use a meaningful sub-folder system within the main photos folder.  One helpful method is to create sub-folders by year and then by month within that year.
Main folder:       Pictures
Sub-folder:        2015
Sub-sub folder:  2015_07 (for all photos you took in July)
Sub-sub folder:  2015_12 Christmas (Meaningful subject matter added to facilitate searching on a specific topic)

NOTE:  For Apple Photos App users, use these naming conventions as you’d like for your Album structure.
Focus on quality, not quantity
Periodically, edit your photos.  This way you save only the top quality photos that tell your family’s story, and you will be happier with a more manageable photo collection.
Back up your photos
Make sure your photos are safe and sound if technology breaks down or gets stolen.  Back up your photo collection on a regular basis (monthly at a minimum).  Ideally, you will have multiple back-ups, with at least one being off site (e.g., in the cloud or at your office or neighbor’s house.)
Create a lasting memory
Digital photos offer wonderful opportunities to share our memories with others. However, nothing replaces having a photo to hold, touch and pass around at a family gathering. Annually, print photos or create a photo book to document your family’s story.  And surprise, printed photos are another form of back-up.  Bonus!

Bonnie Hillman Shay is a Certified Professional Photo Organizer based on the North Shore.  She helps her clients curate their family photo (and movie) collections so that they are manageable, shareable, safe (backed up) and can be enjoyed now, as well as by future generations. For more information visit Bonnie’s website at www.MariposaCreativeSolutions. com

By Renee Morris

How do you know if your child is ready for sleep-away camp? Was he/she definitely not ready back in the fall, but showing signs of readiness now? Young children can experience a ton of growth in 6 short months and your child might now be perfectly ready to begin his/her summer adventures!
Check out this list of tips to check for camp readiness:
  • Does your child enjoy his/her day camp experience but might be looking for something more?
  • Does your child sleep out regularly or with hesitation? At friend’s homes or just family?
  • Is your child beginning to take care of his/her daily grooming such as brushing their teeth or showering alone?
  • Is your child talking about or asking to attend overnight camp?
Of course parents are the best judge of their child’s maturity but if you are on the fence, please call the Camp Expert for guidance on all things CAMP! Many camps still have availability – and I can help you find the PERFECT camp for your child! it’s not too late for SUMMER 2017!!

Renee Morris is the Chicagoland rep for Camp Experts and Teen Summers with over 10 years of experience guiding families in finding the perfect summer program for their children. Her services are always FREE of charge and personalized towards the needs of your family. She works with families to find: Summer Camps, Special Needs Programs, Specialty Sports Camps, Teen Tours, Teen Travel, Community Service, Language Programs, Pre-College Programs and so much more. Contact her at 847-833-1327, email her at, or visit her website at


By Marla Heichman

As we all know planning a mitzvah can be overwhelming, but making sure that your child is doing their part can also be equally if not more frustrating—but it doesn’t have to be.

Check out these tips to see which ones may work for your child as they study for their big day:
photo courtesy of North Shore Photography
  • Make sure their mitzvah study material is organized and in one easy place to find (a brightly colored folder or binder).
  • Have their prayers and Torah portion recorded on a portable device, such as their phone, so it is always with them (remind them to put their phone on Do Not Disturb when practicing).
  • Attend their weekly tutoring sessions and/or touch base with their tutor following each session.
  • Use positive reinforcement and encouragement—I can’t say this enough—this is a daunting task for many students and they need to know that you believe they can accomplish it!
  • Set small achievable goals each week to help them stay on target for completion—the tutor can help with this.
  • Many parents ask what the right amount of study time is for their child—each child is different. Check in with the tutor to know if they are meeting their goals each week. If not, they need to study more and your tutor can guide you.
  • Many children worry about doing it perfectly—remind them that no one is perfect and allow them time to practice in front of family and friends to alleviate some worry and fear.
  • Many students have a fear of being on the bimah or at the microphone. Whenever possible, try to practice in the actual sanctuary where the service will be taking place. If that’s not possible, it also helps to practice standing at the dining room table or podium to get some extra practice.
Mara Heichman is a B’nei Mitzvah Tutor, a Certified Professional Life Coach, specializing in Teens, Young Adults and Families and also an Occupational Therapist. Mara loves helping families celebrate their children coming of age on the bimah. She is extremely passionate about helping people achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Contact her at 847-624-9023 or visit her website at

by Cynthia Funai
We've just finished the holiday season where there’s so much to do with so little time. Just thinking of it still raises your blood pressure! Here are some tips for your whole family to help unwind following this festive time of year!
Acupuncture – most people think of acupuncture for pain relief, but the best kept secret is that acupuncture helps with stress and anxiety.  Studies have shown that acupuncture slows the body’s production of stress hormones.  Circumstances beyond our control sets off the stress and anxiety and acupuncture helps bring it under control.

Breath – You do it anyway, why not take advantage of it?  Controlled breathing has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, or the relaxation response.  It’s as simple as breathing in, via your nose, to the count of four and breathing out to the count of seven.  Try it for a couple of minutes each day as a form of meditation, or when you feel your stress levels increase throughout the day.

Move – during these busy times, it’s difficult to carve out time for ourselves, but all you need is 20 minutes.  A brisk walk will release endorphins, the feel good hormones that stimulate relaxation.  Can’t walk briskly?  Stroll while being mindful of each footstep, think about your legs lifting and lowering with each step and feel your foot as it touches the pavement. 

Diet – Our diet gets pushed to the back burner when we are busy and attending the festive occasions.

Sleep – People who get inadequate sleep feel more anxious and stressed.   Set your internal clock by maintaining a regular sleep routine by going to bed at the same and waking up at the same time every day.  Have a pre-sleep routine that is soothing and relaxing.  Avoid bright screens a couple of hours before bedtime.  The blue light emitted from computer/phone has shown to reduce your level of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.

Cynthia Funai is owner of CKF Acupuncture in Glenview IL. 

By Andrea Friedlander

The college application essays are critical, but often neglected parts of the application process. With very few colleges offering interviews, the essays are the best and sometimes only opportunity for a student to bring to life the person and personality behind the resume, and to distinguish his or her application from all the others.

When writing a college application essay, the student should:

  • Start the Essay with a Meaningful and Purposeful Short Story. Everyone likes (and remembers!) a good story. Essays filled with platitudes and declarative self-serving sentences are boring and fail to make an impact. 
  • Tell a Story that is Unique to the Student. A great story does not have to be about awards or amazing accomplishments. Admissions officers want a glimpse into the student’s personality and thinking, so everyday real world experiences work just fine. And sometime these experiences work even better because the admissions officers (who are people, too!) can relate to everyday struggles, failures, etc.
  • Limit the Essay to a Single, Narrowly Focused Experience. The more narrow the focus, the more memorable the essay! The goal is for the admissions officers to be able to label the student in a few positive words, e.g. “the boy who spent 24 hours alone in the woods.” This way, when choosing among many similarly qualified applicants, they will remember the essay and say, "Remember the one who . . ."

Andrea Friedlander is a Deerfield resident who coaches students on how to write unique, memorable and authentic college essays. For the full list of Top Tips for writing standout college application essays, check out “The Write Angle College Essay Consulting” on Facebook, and for more information, visit


Any mom will tell you how difficult it is to get pre-teen or teenage boys to go shopping for clothes. But Bonnie Brickman has a way of making the experience easy, and even fun.

Brickman is the owner of Guys & Co., her Deerfield clothing store for boys and teens. And she says the key to getting boys on board when it comes to clothes shopping is making them feel comfortable and at home in the store.

“We really engage with the boy, not so much the mom,” said Brickman, who opened Guys & Co. in 2008. “We ask all kinds of questions, and we say, ‘Don’t be shy. Tell us if you don’t like something and we’ll find you something you do like.’”

Prior to opening her store, Brickman spent 20 years working at Marshall Field’s stores in several locations as a manager and personal shopper in both the women’s clothing and children’s departments. She left Field’s for a short time to become an office manager for an investment company, but said she missed the retail business immediately, then came back to her old job in less than three years. “Being a personal shopper and giving clients personalized service is in my nature,” said Brickman, who holds a degree in merchandising and marketing from Bradley University. “I built a huge business developing a clientele who were busy working professionals, who didn’t have time to shop. Most never even came into the store.”

When Marshall Field’s became Macy’s in 2005, Brickman left and went to work as the boy’s clothing buyer for The Fell Company, a well-known family clothing store in Winnetka. It was a job she said gave her the experience she needed to open her own store.
“It was a neighborhood place with a homey, small town atmosphere, and moms would send their boys in and say, ‘Go in and buy yourself a shirt,’” said Brickman. “Coincidentally, my son was in sixth grade at the time, and he was going to social dances and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I always said we needed a store like this in Deerfield.”

When The Fell Co. closed in 2007, Brickman said she had the connections and the relationships, and that it felt like the perfect time to open her own store.
With in-store alteration service available, Guys & Co. specializes in dress clothes for weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, homecomings, Jewish holidays, communions, and other special occasions.

“When they come in for Bar or Bat Mitzvah parties, we ask, ‘What school do you go to?’” said Brickman, who lives in Deerfield with her husband, Randy and their son, Justin. “Different schools have different social activities and different tastes and trends, and that gives us a better idea of how to make the customer happy.”

The store carries brands such as John Varvatos, Joseph Abboud, DKNY, Michael Kors, Elements, Billabong, Quiksilver, Puma, and Under Armour, and sells a variety of boys clothing that includes suits, sport coats, pants, ties, shirts, belts, socks, sweatshirts, jeans, T-shirts and sweatpants.

Cindy Korrub is a Deerfield mom of three boys, who has been shopping at Guys & Co. for three years.
“I’m not that great with picking out suits for boys, but they are,” said Korrub. “They’re good at asking the boys what they want to wear, and ‘Does this look good to you?’ They don’t just pick the clothes off the rack, they ask my kids’ opinions.”

“So many things need tailoring, so we really need the kid to be in the store,” Brickman said. “Once we get them here, I keep track of sizes and measurements, and we begin to know their taste, so it makes things really easy.”

View the article on the Deerfield Review website.


Shirts this season have great patterns so our boys can project their own personality. We have plaids, ginghams and striped shirts in rich muted tones.
Whose boys don’t have some attitude? So...
  • Unbutton those shirt cuffs. Guys & Co can show you a number of ways to cuff their shirts.
  • Put a blue or lavender pin-dot or mini check shirt under a suit for a smart look for his special day or homecoming.
  • Add a plaid or pattern colored tie for an instant WOW factor.
  • Know The One-Finger Rule for necklines when wearing a tie. Make sure you can comfortably fit one finger between the collar and your neck. If two fingers fit, the collar’s too big.