A Future Stronger Than The Empty Nest

My youngest child, Emma, will be a freshman at Harvard this fall.

Emma Noyes in the graduation dress made by her sister, Skatie.

Emma’s good news could have been my bad news because of the Empty Nest Syndrome. Fortunately though, my future as a publisher and social entrepreneur is too exciting to dwell much on this loss.

For this, I particularly thank John Lavine and Tim Bingaman.

About eight years ago, I asked Lavine to mentor me through a newly found calling to become a publisher. He had sold a publishing empire, founded Northwestern University’s Media Management Center and successfully reorganized Medill School of Journalism as it’s Dean.

John Lavine, Director of Northwestern University Media Management Center

Lavine agreed on the condition that I accept simple principles – prioritize online, identify an audience, and honor what it wants. For these reasons, Make It Better was born May 1, 2007 as a little website for North Shore women. It’s mission – to be the most trusted, easiest to use community resource that helps make life better for our audience and the businesses and nonprofits they support.

We called it Make It Better because that’s the innate inclination of this audience; helping is their most common denominator and the overarching connector of their collective lives. They make it better for their children, parents, husbands, friends, schools, churches, synagogues, less privileged others, book groups, sports teams, favorite nonprofits…etc. If – and only if – there is any time left over, they try to make it better for themselves too.

This year, we completed our first official audit by the Circulation Verification Council (CVC), which is run by 15 of the largest advertisers in the country and annually audits publications representing over 70 million readers. A readership audit is not an easy process. Imagine willingly inviting the IRS in to examine all your business.

Fortunately, our audit results were spectacularly good. Our valuable audience loves Make It Better. No hyperbole.

In fact, the audit data was so remarkable that the CEO of CVC, Tim Bingaman, asked to personally guide us through the good news and recommend a simple, rocket-fueled path to growth.

Tim Bingaman, CEO of the Circulation Verification Council (CVC).

When is the last time a CEO of an organization serving 70 million called you out of the blue and volunteered to help? This request caught our attention.

In short, our audience of affluent, educated women far exceeds national and North Shore norms. Because these women control their hhi budgets, they are uber valuable to advertisers.

Bingaman’s words energized me and our talented staff. I hope to thank him for them in person some day. In the meantime though, I’m also using them to focus on building an even better future as an almost empty nester.

Nonetheless, please don’t hold it against me this fall, if you ask me about my kids and detect a hint of tears at the edge of my answer.

Sleep – Glorious Sleep, Luxurious Sleep, Mysterious Sleep

Sleep – Glorious Sleep, Luxurious Sleep, Mysterious Sleep

Good sleep is as fundamental to a happy life as love and good food. But a “good sleep” can be more elusive. A tasty meal or a big hug – that’s easy, if you are close to home. But even in your own bed, a good night’s sleep can evade you.

My teenage kids marvel that I was able to give them hugs at all during my child-bearing years. “Mom, you were with babies and without a good night’s sleep for eleven years straight!” they tease.

Now I marvel at their need to sleep long, long hours.

Humanity is just beginning to understand the science of sleep. And it is mysterious and fascinating.

According to sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley, teens really do need 9 – 9 ½ hours sleep each night. Not getting that during the school week could account for teenage surliness. Stanley also believes that teens would be wise to follow these additional rules too:

1. An hour before bed, relax. Shower, read a book for fun (a school book doesn’t count!) or spend time with family.

2. Limit exciting activities 1-2 hours before bedtime.

3. Limit light an hour before bed, including TV, cell phones and computers.

4. Raise the shades to rise and shine. Sunlight in the morning helps awaken the body and mind.

You can learn more to help you or the ones you love find a better night’s sleep by joining Dr. Stanley, Chicago Luxury Beds and Make It Better for:

Sleep Myths: Debunking cultural perceptions of sleep & the secrets to a great night of sleep at any age!

Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2 pm at A. Perry Homes
564 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka.

Space is limited, RSVP here.

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5 Ways To Shop Smarter For The Holidays and Help Others Too

5 Ways To Cyber Shop Smarter For The Holidays and Help Others Too

Kudos to MIB Foundation Editor Coco Keevan for finding and recommending the best possible online holiday shopping. Find a thoughtful present and help needier others with only one click with her 5 ways to give back while you holiday shop article.

The End Of An Era – On The Big Blue Couch Of Course

Cece Sherman, Kendall Schaffner and Emma Noyes (in Canadian fur hat) perched above and behind their buddies before their last Homecoming dance.

The best of life is family life.

We’ve been sending our kids to their high school dances for 15 years. Tonight was the last New Trier Homecoming Dance for our youngest child – Emma.

Once again, with pleasure, and for the last time, we hosted the preparty photos at our home.

The best of family life in our home often happens on the big blue couch in our kitchen. So how appropriate that the final picture of the final homecoming happened on that beloved spot.