Professional headshots are always a yes

By Jane Bokun

The other day I was sitting in my new adult blowup pool (it has built-in, blow-up seats) that I got from Amazon and having a few cocktails. “I might need some headshots for something,” I thought.

So, I started clicking away on my iPhone and thought one looked particularly good so I posted it to social media. The next day when I got up, I actually saw what I posted — and was completely appalled. I looked like a drunk deer in a big, red hat.

That’s why I think we should always go professional with our headshots.

full body shot, sigh

I was dreading the process when I got in my car and drove to Thomas Photography in Chicago Heights last week. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly feel of the studio with calming colors and most of all, calming people.

The owners, a married couple, met me with a casual greeting and took me right away. I was nervous and not feeling overconfident about my looks as an older woman who ran out of money for Botox and fillers. It was not going to be pretty. Of that, I was sure.

I heard the bad news: there also was to be a full-body shot as well. OMG, could anything be worse than a full-body shot? Next, you’ll tell me it has to be in a string bikini. As a woman of a certain age, it’s not easy for me to understand today’s constant need to capture every moment in pictures. If only a professional could capture them for you.

For me, that professional was Thomas Photography.  They made me forget what I was there to do by asking me questions about my life. The owner even wrangled a smile out of me. The first few photos were taken with a chair (which I held in front of me with a death grip). Afterward, it was just me, but I didn’t mind because the chair prop actually helped me to relax and be myself.

The best thing about a photography session with Thomas is that by the end of it, you’re no longer nervous about the outcome. I was downright looking forward to the headshot. I will need a few hours for the body shot, but I’ll get to it.


Hair falling out is no joke

My hair fell out and it’s embarrassing.

By Jane Bokun

Something fell out of my head recently and when I looked down, it was a huge lump of hair.

This has happened before when I’ve been super stressed. My hair starts falling out in clumps and before I can say ‘Rogaine,’ I have big bald spots in an already razor-thin head of hair. While this is a good look for a pandemic when people are alone and in quarantine, it’s not great for Zoom meetings online or taking photos on social media.

Woman with long flowing hair not me at all

Eventually, what I found was, while a wonderful temporary solution, hair extensions are not perfect. They are small tufts of natural-looking hair that are taped and glued to your scalp. You can swim in them, brush or comb, and blow dry them. They may look okay (they match your hair color perfectly), but they never feel as great as a real head of hair. Also, if anyone touches your hair, they can feel the tape.

It’s a little embarrassing and not sexy. Even though the extensions work and no one has ever asked me if I’m wearing them, I wanted to explore more options.

Holly Novacich is a hair stylist who is also an expert in women who experience hair loss due to illness, stress, or male pattern baldness. She recommends the topper (formerly the toupee in the ‘50s) made of human hair for those flirting with baldness. It also can work for those who are temporarily experiencing hair loss.

I do have the topper, but it’s not human hair and looks like a shiny, plastic wig. I showed it to my niece, and she gave a vigorous, left to right, head-turning “no.” With such a great recommendation, I never wore it and it cost me $400. Luckily, now there are a lot less expensive toppers with much better-looking hair. I have a friend who has one glued on because she is as bald as Mr. Clean and it looks great. I would never have known if she didn’t tell me.

My local spa has platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections where your own blood is injected into your scalp. It seems scary and costly. A dermatologist shoots the PRP into your bald spots and it is said to promote cell growth and prolong the growing phase of your hair.[BB3] 

Angelo David of the Angelo David Salon in New York City, says he’s seen the PRP injections work, but he says he’s seen a lot of things work for hair loss.

“I fit the solution to the customer and I’ve got clients coming in from all over the world,” David says. “The other day a woman left crying because she felt like herself again.”

He recommends couture wigs, but I recently found a product called Toppix, which uses fibers to cover and blend in bald spots. I use it along with my glued-in hair extensions and no one has ever commented that my hair is thinning or doesn’t look right.

There’s other treatments like laser light therapy which is said to help scalp inflammation. It’s a lot and I long for the days when I had real hair I could toss around. That may never happen again, but in fairness,  I really don’t have the body I used to either. So, there’s that.

Hair extensions last about three months and cost upwards of $100. When I take my extensions out, I’ll know if any hair has filled in on my scalp as it has in the past. For myself, I’m hoping my hair loss this time is also from stress and it will grow back. If not, I’m going couture topper.


Hemp for Easter?

By Jane Bokun

This holiday season, the Easter Bunny may stop at your house with gifts filled with CBD, but do you really trust him?

First off, according to a Schererville Your CBD Store, owner. CBD products are good for everyone. Parents also buy the products for their young children.

The store is part of a new chain of Your CBD Stores that have sprung up across the country. It is located at 2171 US 41 in Schererville. Inside the store, there are CBD-based gummies, topical pain cremes, bath balms and even honey sticks.

The store’s customers are not alone in their use of CBD infused products. A study of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HempFusion, a CBD company with more than 3,900 retailers across 47 US States,saw 82 percent agree their opinions on cannabis and related products have changed in recent years. Of respondents who completed some form of U-turn, 46 percent strongly agreed that it was due to the rise of CBD products.

The CBD products are made of Cannabidiol, which is a compound found in industrial hemp plants. Companies that manufacture CBD remove its THC, (or tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. Businesses then add plant-based terpenes to increase the potency of the CBD.  

“Okay, now what are terpenes?” you ask. Terpenes are compounds in cannabis that give it distinctive aromas and flavors. They give marijuana that, “who’s smoking pot?” distinctive smell.

If all of this sounds like a new foreign language, you’re absolutely right and therein lies the problem. Not all the products are considered safe and those putting together gift baskets should be aware of drug interactions.

“Some of the products like gummi bears shouldn’t be taken with things like warfarin or coumadin,” McIntire said. “It’s important to let your doctor know what you’re adding to your regimen.”

Amanda Lukasiewicz, who works at Vyto’s Pharmacy in Highland, also sells a plethora of CBD products for the holidays and she recommends asking your pharmacist about drug interactions.

“You should be careful of products like CBD shampoos and lip balms,” Lukasiewicz said. “If you have a CBD question go to your pharmacy instead of places like smoke shops and gas stations.”

Indeed, Vyto’s Pharmacy even made up a packet of information about CBD which tells the difference between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum and Isolates. Full spectrum products contain a hint of THC at 0.3 percent; Broad-Spectrum products are THC free; and Isolate CBD does not have any of the compounds present. A higher dose of Isolate will be lower than a lower dose of Full-Spectrum. The CBD packet that Vyto’s offers is so comprehensive; it even tells whether you can take CBD in the case of renal failure. Hint, you can.

According to Ash Rahmany, a sports nutrition consultant with Vyto’s, even though CBD is natural, it’s still considered a drug, like caffeine.

“People were using CBD early on until 1937,” Rahmany said. “After that it was outlawed.”

For the holidays he recommends products like beauty balms, and beauty serums. All of these products are made with hemp derived CBD and include less than .3% THC.

What’s on the Easter Bunny’s list of presents for Rahmany this year?

“I would love the soft gels,” he said. “They have 15 milligrams of CBD.”


Shot, shot, shot

By Jane Bokun

I’ll admit it. I’m scared to take the Covid-19 vaccine and so I thought I’d discuss it with you.

Here’s my problem, although I never thought I’d get to the age I am, I want to see how this all plays out. Maybe, like my father, I’ll never be ready to die. I try. I read books on death and what happens in the end (smile on the face). Even though I have an upcoming appointment to take the vaccine (April 1), I don’t want to be one of the several thousand people who have died of one of the Covid vaccines by the end of the week they took it.

The brave Eugene Pospychala

I’m pretty sure they didn’t want that either.

As a Christian, I should be ready to die, but I can’t wrap my head around what heaven is like. Is it like your first kiss, all warm and fuzzy, heady with the anticipation of more? Is it like when your mop-headed son forgets his lunch and when you drop it off at his grade school, you see he’s heading up his own little newscast and he’ll be following in your footsteps? Is it like when you know for sure someone loves and needs you and you don’t have to be all alone anymore?

I’ll bet it’s all that and more – and a bag of chips. But my incrementally small mind can’t conceive of it. One thing is for sure, my dad walked bravely to get his Moderna Covid 19 vaccine shot. Characteristically, he even joked about it. Afterwards, I sent my brother a note that said, Dad successfully got his shot, he’s a zombie now though.

Ha! There are many conspiracy theories out there about the shot. The vaccine is taking over your RNA/DNA, the disease isn’t real (no matter how many people die), and it will form millions of bots that will give away your information. I hope I don’t die from the shot AND it gives away my information. I’m kind of embarrassed about some of my information.

Anyway, I’m taking the shot on April 1 and that’s no joke. Let me know when you’re taking the Covid shot and how you faired. Maybe we can get together and take a shot of something less dangerous, but more liquidy and fun.


MaskTite Keeps it tight

By Jane Bokun

With the recent double mask mandate to deal with the Covid-19 virus outbreak, it’s getting more and more confusing. Maybe if we just swabbed a huge Band-Aid around our faces and bodies it could ensure that no virus reaches us. Or, we could try new products that can help us truly deal with the virus and its complications.

Enter, MaskTite a new tightening product for masks that actually leaves no entryways for germs with an airtight seal to your face. Designer/owner and mechanical engineer Dave Franchino launched MaskTite, LLC in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of dealing with fogging glasses and slipping masks, he says he knew there had to be a better way.

I seriously like these new MaskTite strips for better mask use.

His solution was MaskTite strips. I’ve put these strips on each of my designer masks and found them to be highly comfortable and the best thing is I can wear my glasses and a mask without any fog. In fact, when I recently took a Covid test, I gave some to my CVS pharmacist and she loves them.

MaskTite strips are made of skin-safe, medical-grade, double-sided adhesive tape. They’re hypoallergenic and latex-free, made of US materials and manufactured in Wisconsin. MaskTite strips can be used with paper and cloth masks and improve mask fit in a variety of environments including schools, healthcare facilities, retail and restaurant settings, manufacturing, offices and more. The strips are sized to help adults and kids and work with paper and cloth masks. When you need to wear a mask, MaskTite makes every mask better. It also gives you the feeling that you’re doing everything you can to avert the virus.

I have some of the MaskTite strips that I can send to you if you’d like to see the difference they make. Contact me at with your address and I’ll send you a few in the mail. They are also available through Amazon and more.


Free Pie for National Pie Day

By Jane Bokun

I may love pie more than anything. Especially now, when there are no parties, movies, big gatherings or anything, really.

My true love is cherry pie and I’m sharing that truly bit of personal info because it’s National Pie Day, yay!

Who started this sublime holiday, you ask? A guy named Charlie Papazian, an engineer, teacher and home-brewing expert who loved pie so much he declared his own birthday to be National Pie Day. Since 1986, National Pie Day has taken place every year and is sponsored by the American Pie Council.

That said, these are the restaurants that are celebrating this auspicious day. They include Baker’s Square, Red Robin, where you can get a free slice and more. Shari’s Pies and Village Inn also offer pie for the holiday.

Aunt Jane’s sucky cherry pie

In honor of National Pie Day, I am making a cherry pie. I seem to have trouble making crust though. In fact, I would love to be able to make a nice, flaky, yummy crust. But, even though I follow each recipe, my crusts taste like old, left out in the rain, cardboard.

Help me dear readers, do you make your own pie crust? I would love to know the secret. Please share it with me on this blog page at Hit blog on the menu and thanks for sharing your secret!


Farting Through Yoga

By Jane Bokun

This week I tried Hatha yoga, which is the yoga I should have tried first instead of taking the advanced class.

It was slightly less painful than the advanced, but with a few more farts. I am mortified when they slip out during some of the more compromising yoga moves like the one where you sit on your back legs, or Vajrasana, to us who google . Who would have thought that pose would hurt so much? And, make you fart so much? I am going to continue yoga, but rate the classes with fart count. Advanced? 10 farts. Regular Hatha? Maybe two.

“I’ll try the one where I sit on my legs at home later on my bed,” I assured Rey Candelaria, owner of Shanti Wellness Center in Munster, Indiana, who led the class.

He, who I have known for a long time, wouldn’t hear of it. Rey posed my body in the required move.

“I hope he didn’t hear that fart,” I thought. The yoga farts don’t seem to smell, so that’s good.

I love the beginning of the Hatha Yoga class at Shanti Wellness Center. It’s lie down flat on your back, raise your arms and sssstretch. It’s very relaxing and helps to center your thoughts. The deep breathing is also good for stress. I broke my back recently and initially broke it three times in the mountains of Arizona. I find I can still do many of the poses such as Downward-Facing Dog. Extended Triangle. Sphinx Pose. Cobra Pose. Locust Pose. and Bridge Pose. I’m lying, of course, but I seem to be pretty good at downward facing dog.

What you’ll find out if you’re contemplating yoga for the first time is that many in your class will have the same ailments you do and collectively will applaud your progress. It also doesn’t matter if you have a proper matt, many yoga studios supply them, or the latest workout wear. I NEVER purchase good workout wear it’s a credo I live by. I get a lot of hand-me-downs from my niece.

“It’s like a community,” says avid yoga participant Mara Candelaria. Give it a try. Shanti Wellness employs excellent anti-Covid 19 practices and your temperature will be taken when you arrive. The website is at

Try to come to a class that I’m not attending.


No Brainer gifts

By Jane Bokun

I’d long forgotten the times when I relied on my wristwatch to tell the time.

Nowadays time is displayed everywhere, in smartphones, smartwatches, laptops and tablets, on the metro station, even on the dashboard of your car. In a world filled with high definition screens, time telling is pretty much easy at any time. That being said, who doesn’t like a beautiful timepiece that they can access just by picking up their hand?  I found an inexpensive award-winning watch out of London, England called Divestum. It looks a lot like a Movado watch and is really elegant, just in time for Christmas or Me Day, another new holiday (lol).

When I got the watch, I thought, why not? I’m going to try wearing a sleek, cool watch again. I found out I like it. In fact, I have a hard time taking it off and that’s not just because I never remember to take it off. I like the satisfying feeling of knowing I’ll never be late for things. It’s a tactile experience and in the Divestum watch it’s even tactilier.

There’s a band that feels like butter with a blackface and gold lettering. Even the little holes on the band are made square and not in circles to fit the square watch band holes better.

It’s more than time telling. It’s a statement.

I’m proud to wear them because they are really pretty minimal design watches. The watches can be found at I negotiated an even better price for you. Just put in this code for 20% off that can be shared online: JANEBO20

Thanks so much. I’m sure you’re going to love it.


DRMTLGY: good skin products for less

By Jane Bokun

When I think of anti-aging, I usually think of impossible. Not this time.

I found a new, inexpensive product called DRMTLGY. It has ingredients like hyaluronic acid and much more. DRMTLGY reactivates collagen I, III, and elastin production. Collagen III, a naturally occurring protein, adds structure and strength to the skin, while collagen I and elastin help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Best of all, it’s not costly like other face creams I won’t mention.

I tried the tinted moisturizer with a sunscreen factor of 46 and I was thrilled. Not only do I want a moisturizer that works like a base, making it easier to use just one product, I want it to have sunscreen already in it. I was a lifeguard for many years and being from the Chicago area, never took the time to wear sunscreen. I NEVER wore it. In fact, during the prehistoric time, we used baby oil on our skin to actually invite burning and early aging.

Used DRMTLY on face

It must have worked because a man came up to me at a party and said I looked like I had been out in the sun too long. I hated that man and figured he was going blind, but that’s another story. His comment actually led to my discovery of DRMTLGY and its bevy of products for those of a certain age that may look like they need a refresh.

According to DRMTLGY experts, upon aging, cells are no longer able to produce collagen and elastin effectively. The products’  formula provides a new source of bio-energy, helping to reactivate its production. I know I see a marked difference in my weather-beaten skin.

Clinical studies showed:

194% Increase in Collagen III production after 11 days

179% Increase in Collagen I production after 11 days

190% Increase in elastin production after 11 days

It’s like a needle-less facelift, although I’ve started to like the needles, but that’s another subject for a column. Products include moisturizers, masks and scrubs, skin lightning products and more. Products can start at about $10.


Looking for a job? Here’s how one woman turned her job loss into a way to find jobs for many…

By Jane Bokun

A free job group called STM Career Group, which started years ago in Munster, In. has proven to be a saving grace for many in the area who are looking for jobs.

Try job groups or networking with people you already know…

Christine Spencer, who heads the job networking group in the Weis Center at St. Thomas More church, 8435 Calumet Avenue in Munster, started it when she lost her own job and saw it as a vehicle to help on the 3rd Thurs of each month at the Weis Center and the rest is history. “

Spencer, a petite woman who always wears suits to her meetings, has a background in meeting planning and has trained various groups in time management.

“Lots of people come here for jobs,” agreed Susan Strain, who works at St. Thomas More church in Munster. “They can get free help with resumes and hear from human resource professionals.”

Spencer said that may be the ticket to her group’s success.

“We have different presenters at most of the meeting that help with how to land that next opportunity,” she said. “We also have Donna Weidenfeller who is retired from Purdue Calumet Career Services helping people with resumes and cover letters each month and Robert Teets who helps with IT, social media and spends times encouraging participants.  His wife, Helen Marie Harmon, has also been a presenter many times and is certified to give the Myers-Briggs Assessment which we do each spring.”

STM Career Group now has a steady 30 participants each month and as many as 100.  All meetings are free and open to the public.

 In fact, Spencer said she started the networking group, because, “not only once, but four times, I’ve gone through downsizing and merger. “

Now, about 50 participants meet at 7 p.m. monthly on Thursdays  at Weis to network, hear seminars from local companies such as Arcenal Mittal Steel, and basically do what it takes to get a new job. The crowd varies each week from very young right out of college applicants to seniors. Volunteer, Donna Weidenfeller, gives presentations and is a resume reviewer.

 “When I lost a very good job I was traveling as much as 50 miles away to network,” Spencer said.  “I had been thinking of starting a networking group in the area and just prayed about what all this means.  Everything just eventually fell into place. “