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. “


Another job for seniors – DoorDash

By Jane Bokun

‘How hard could it be?’ I stupidly thought.

Go to a restaurant, pick up a food order (with a mask) and deliver said meal to its new owner. No real friendship making or hand holding and it takes about 15 minutes to deliver an order. That’s if the order and the restaurant are in proximity. Some can be miles away from each other and there’s a time limit. There also are lots of people waiting to give you a good or bad review.

“Be kind,” I told one Indian gas station worker when I delivered his chicken dinner. “It’s my first time.”

I’ve decided to always end my deliveries with “it’s my first time” even when I’m a grizzled door dasher.

I’ve seen lots of young people, my own recent Northwestern graduate and more, do the DoorDash and seemingly not have a problem. But I’ve done it three times now and my heart is still pumping out of my chest. I delivered a meal to a man who asked me to leave it outside within a massive apartment complex and I’m still not sure he got it.

“I made $40,” my son told me.

“That’s pretty righteous bucks,” I said.

Even DoorDash, in its brochure, says it might not be easy.

“Our goal is to grow and empower local economies, according to Door Dash literature. To do this, we start by helping the merchants – the local businesses that create 60%+ of the jobs in every city.”

They stand behind their newbies, too. I recently left an establishment because I couldn’t figure out the order. They didn’t even scold me.

It’s clear. For the person in between jobs looking to quickly make some money with very little commitment, it’s a natural progression. For seniors who are bored and like a little chump change, and still drive, it can’t be beat.


Healthcare costs after retirement can be doable

By Art Koff, Banana Peel guest columnist and consulting aging expert

“Aargh,” what do you do when retirement is just around the corner and you have no idea what it will cost. You always figured you’d have this figured out by now. But you don’t…So, here’s a few ideas…

How much will you need to spend on healthcare after you retire?
What are the risks that could jeopardize your retirement plans?
What might you do now to help avoid these risks?

Fidelity Investments estimates that a 65-year old couple who retired in 2019 would spend an average of $285,000 on health care and medical expenses throughout the combined remainder of their lifetimes. The Employee Benefit Research Institute found that a 65-year-old couple could need nearly $400,000 to meet lifetime expenses in a worst-case scenario. These big dollar estimates are misleading because retirees won’t be spending this money all at once – that is, they don’t need to have it all on hand at the start of retirement; however, the totals are far more than most people planning their retirement expenses realize.

These estimates are total expenditures for healthcare that will be spread across 20 or more years of retirement. They cover the cost of Medicare deducted from your Social Security, your supplemental healthcare insurance, co-pays and drugs and other items not covered by insurance plus necessary over-the-counter healthcare needs.

Prescription drugs
Medicare Part D insurance covers most routine prescription drug costs however there are some prescriptions which are not covered and if you need one of these very expensive drugs your out of pocket costs can be huge. 

You also need to understand the next level of coverage the so-called coverage gap, or doughnut hole. After Medicare has paid their yearly maximum you must pay 100% of the cost of your drugs until your reach the next stage where once again you pay only copays for covered medications.

Traditional Medicare does not pay for most dental, hearing care or glasses. Medicare also does not pay for care in a skilled nursing facility after a patient is discharged from a hospital unless the patient was admitted to the hospital as an inpatient for at least 3 days. Observation days do not count as part of these 3 days.

Note: Do not let the emergency room administrator move you out of the ER until you are officially admitted. 

Make sure you sign up for Medicare at the right time to avoid late enrollment penalties and lengthy coverage gaps. Medicare requires enrollees to sign up during a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday. The one exception to this is if you are actively employed at the time of your IEP, or you are on the health policy of a spouse who is actively employed. In other cases, missing the IEP triggers late-enrollment penalties that continue for life – and possibly expensive, long waits for coverage to start. 

After you enroll in Medicare there is often savings for you shop your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage every year, or at least every couple years, during the annual fall enrollment season that runs from October 15th through December 7th. Even if you are satisfied with your current coverage it is a worthwhile investment of your time to look at other plans during open enrollment. Be aware that your prescription drug plan coverage can change annually and the Advantage plans can make changes to their networks of healthcare providers.

Your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can assist you and provide free help with selecting the best health insurance for you. The Medicare Rights Center also offers free counseling by phone
1 800-333-4114.


My dad turned 89

By Jane Bokun

A few weeks ago my father turned 89 years old and my worry went up a notch – if that’s even possible.

He’s in relatively good health, but he can’t walk and he can’t figure it out and he won’t use any walking devices. Therefore, he’s always falling, which he thinks looks more manly. He also can’t access the time he lays in the street or on the floor because he falls into his bedroom wall every time he gets up in the morning. If you go into his bedroom, you’ll find many head imprints.

Dad on his 89th birthday

“I was only down for about a half hour before someone helped me,” he says.

“OMG, he was down for about two hours by the time I found him,” the neighbor says.

I always tell him, “you’re lucky you’re only hitting your head (because it’s so hard, get it?)”

Partying with grandpa

If that isn’t enough, he also drives a big Cadillac and he won’t stop. I found some laughable ideas on the internet that may help.

They include: disabling their car, selling their car and telling them you can’t find their car keys after you’ve hidden them.

None of these ideas will actually work and I find I need help. How did you stop your elderly parents from driving? Please let me know at


New BeBrielle CBD oil adds style along with health

By Jane Bokun

A new product tastes like maple syrup and packs a punch.

In fact, the CBD product is being brought to market by two female entrepreneurs who have found a new way to combine elegance and CBD oil in a probiotic combination called Brielle PROPRIETARY probiotic CBD OIL.

Samples are available. Go to

Unlike other CBD oils, Brielle CBD Oil includes proven probiotic properties which aid in digestion and keep a healthy environment for the body. The product was aided in its creation by CEO Maria Smithson and her sister and company President Kate Smithson. Its uniquely designed bottle showcases a whole new look in the packaging of CBD oil.

Maria is based in Chicago after acceptance in the Illinois School of Professional Psychology’s Neuropsychology Doctoral program. She decided to pause pursuing her doctorate to start Brielle. Maria and Kate grew up culturing probiotics. They are from a family of medical doctors and their brother owns two CBD companies. Kate has a degree in behavioral analysis and a background as a wellness coordinator.

How does Brielle work?  Its proven properties ensure a healthier gut. For example, scientists noticed a while back that children with diarrhea had a different bacterial makeup of their digestive tract. Normally functioning, or good bacteria, prevents bad bacteria from taking root in our gut making us feel poorly. In extreme cases, such as E-coli breakouts, bad bacteria can be deadly.

Brielle uses 3rd party lab testing. Products are made from hemp exclusively grown in the United States. Unlike Brielle, the FDA recently found that only two of 24 CBD products contain the labelled ingredients. All Brielle products are lab tested because of the company’s commitment to medical excellence.

Brielle is located in Chicago. Right now the product is available for pre-orders. For more information access


Small treasures

By Jane Bokun

I recently joined a group of about 14 women, 13 of whom, I’ve never met before.

One of the women, Maile Peterson, a beautiful woman who doesn’t know her vast worth (like all of us), came up with the genius idea that each of us who were lonely and afraid during the Pandemic, would form a bond by sending each other a small gift. There were no rules just full anticipation and damn it, happiness.

This idea was great for me because I haven’t felt really happy in years. When I’ve laughed it’s been a shock and it doesn’t make up for my true mind-numbing unhappiness. I talk myself down from ledges almost every day and I no longer feel like the line I use to reassure others: it will all be okay.

Maile carefully compiled the list and put it on Facebook messenger for all of us to access. While I am not a crafty person, I went to Michael’s craft store and thought about making some jewelry as my gift for the other women.

I felt like a diva out of water while looking through the beads.

“How do you get them on a string?” I thought. “I better buy elastic string.”

In the end, I made toe rings! And only one. The others I sent were actually my own jewelry!

I have to get better at crafts, but I’ve received the absolute best gifts at a time when I really needed them. They include, crocheted wall hangings, a 2021 planner, puzzles and much more.

Now, when I run to the mailbox I’m pretty sure there is something special in it. I recommend everyone try this friendly group exercise. Let me know if you want in on my group at


Try take-out Ramen noodles in Chi-town

By Jane Bokun

Super bored like I am during Covid? Try Ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles, once a staple of college campuses before everyone worried about salt content, have found a home and some true believers throughout the city of the big shoulders. Variations run from basic chicken to a gourmet Ramen dinner. It’s so in demand that in the past two to three years, the not-your-grandmother’s Ramen shops have become wildly popular for take-out of course.

Yummy Ramen noodles

Jinya Ramen is a Japanese chain serving noodle soups and other foods in a modern restaurant with a Ramen bar right in the middle. The chef at Jinya told us that his favorite food is Schezuan Chicken, but he serves other favorites such as a variety of tonkotsu-based ramen but also offering variations on paitan (chicken-broth-based ramen), a few sides (or “tapas”), and rice bowls. Jinya Ramen also features pork based varieties of Ramen with honjuku egg and wood ear mushrooms. In fact, Jinya Rameen is fast becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing ramen chains in North America, with some 17 stores in six states and Canada. LBD Hours are Monday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 553 W Diversey Pkwy, (773) 857-5140. $$$

At Momotaro in Chicago Chef Mark Hellyar spent time living in Japan and got immersed in its culture. The upscale restaurant features a farm to table Japanese concept, Hellyar says. In fact, he said he sources the food from fresh Japanese markets throughout Chicago. His colleague, Chef Jeff Ramsey – the only American-born chef to receive a Michelin Star in Japan – heads up the sushi bar. Momotaro also contains a subterranean Izakaya and an elegant second floor private space that overlooks the main dining room. We tried the Unagi Don which is barbecued eel rice, shiitake, kanpyo, and sansho pepper. The healthy restaurant also offers traditional fare such as the Alaskan King Crab with red chili kosho butter. D Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday 4:30 to 11:30 p.m.;  Saturday 4:30 to midnight; and Sunday 4:30 – 10:30 p.m., 820 W Lake Street Chicago, (312) 733.4818. $$$$

Looking for the next big thing? Pokiology may become known as the science of eating this delicious raw fish salad and Hawaiian staple. In fact, the new restaurant recently opened in early August at 4600 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite C in Chicago. Here, the poke bowls, which generally feature cubed raw fish in a marinade will surely be the next big thing in fast food. The new culinary phenomenon, Poke, has landed on food-trend lists for 2016, with people liking its convenience and healthy ingredients. We tried the ahi tuna over brown rice which was both tasty and a feast for the eyes. Bowls come with additions such as avocado, crab meat, wasabi and more. Drinks here include healthy juices such as apricot and guava. The meal itself or Poke, has a protein served over rice or salad. No guilt in this trendy eatery. Meals range from $10 for a regular portion to $16 for bigger sizes. Pokiology, open for L, D from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. (773) 961-7624. $$

If you like your Ramen with a touch of elegance try OIISTAR in Wicker Park.  Here, the ladies that lunch can enjoy a full bar and even cartoons. There is danceable house music that makes patrons want to sip their Ramen a little bit faster. Here, there are homemade noodles with broth made daily. We tried the Goki, bbq beef, lettuce, cilantro, onion, sriracha, and cream fraiche. We also enjoyed the Ramen Tikkamen dish with chicken, masala, bean sprout, nori, and roasted sesame. Oiistar owner Chef Sunny Yim combines traditional Japanese ramen noodles with French and Italian touches. The daily-made pork stock is cooked for almost a full day to create four signature ramen dishes. Those looking for a tasty start to their meal will be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of appetizers and signature steamed buns. L,D Lunch is Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday – noon to 3 p.m.; Tuesday / Wednesday – 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Thursday – 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Friday / Saturday – noon to 11p.m.; Sunday – noon to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays, 1385 N. Milwaukee Avenue 773-360-8791. $$$$


The “What I love” winner

By Jane Bokun

My last blog talked about how I came to terms with my true love, or what I think about most during Covid quarantine. I asked you to tell me what you love and I heard from you. The most interesting note was from Dan Matthews and I’m shipping a lovely purse for his wife for his trouble.

This is the lovely purse gift for telling me what you love.

Matthews said he always wanted to be an artist and a body builder, but took a blue collar job instead to pay the bills and make more money.

“I love body building,” Matthews says.  “But I really like playing guitar and drawing. I should have gone to school for athletic training, but I messed up by taking my dad’s advice to go into some form of management.”

Indeed, Matthews went to Purdue University and received his bachelors in business.

“I loved the classes, but hated being a manager when I got my first job as a health club manager,” he says.

“While there, I really wanted to help people train with their workouts,” Matthews says.
He also really liked the training and development of people, but could never find a job in corporate America. 

Matthews say he probably never fit the “Bizzness” suit guy look. 

“I’m more of a blue collar wearing boots guy. ”

Matthews is worried he missed his calling in life, but has decided to take some art classes and go back to bodybuilding.

Albert Einstein said, “You never fail until you stop trying.”

People like us should never stop trying and one day, we’ll feel we made it, if only for our perseverance.