Dr. Stephanie Skopek

Stephanie's friends know her as an ‘obnoxiously’ Canadian that has lived in the US for over 25 years. Stephanie practices General Dentistry in North Barrington where she share office space with her husband Bob who is an orthodontist.  Stephanie enjoys drinking coffee on her patio, cooking, reading, learning, golfing and gardening but is always up for a fun adventure, especially if traveling is involved. "I am passionate about the community where I live and supporting local businesses as well as mentoring and promoting women in business."

When in the Office


COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee and Tea

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A big salad

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Intraoral digital scanner

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Bring a lunch

FAVORITE SPACE? My operatory with a patient

COMMUTE TIME?   10 - 15 minutes 

NEWS SOURCE?  As many as possible for accuracy but Go-To is  the BBC and CBC

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Depends on the time of day. Always organized at the beginning and end of day.

BRIEFCASE OR HANDBAG? Tote bag….been searching for the ideal Briefcase for years 

Mac or PC? Mac

BREAK TIME?  No set break time…ideally 12:30-1



SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? My friend and colleague Jeff Bonk


BUSINESS ADVICE? Never stop being curious and learning

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Anything Athleta 



MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Is a coffee pot a gadget?



HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?   I’m not usually driving around.  


SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?   Teresa for 22 years. She’s part of the family!

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  Daytime purse, evening out wristlet

TV OR NETFLIX? TV cooking shows. Netflix when someone gives me a good recommendation




SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?  My friend Rebecca Darr, executive director of WINGS

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Jigsaw puzzle that is always in progress on my dining room table

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Set one day (or 2 half days) only, for chores so you can relax and enjoy the moments with your family. 

My Favorite Recipe

Stephanie refers to this favorite recipe as a breakfast crowd pleaser when you have company staying for the weekend.


In celebration of father's day weekend I bring to you Dad-hood recipes, featuring some of One Life Kitchen (OLK) guests and staff who happen to also be really awesome dads. Creating a connection to the kitchen, I thought it be cool to not only share some of their dad moments/advice through a recipe format but also find out from the OLK "dad team" what their favorite food and drink recipe recommendation would be this Father's Day.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? My wife and kids with a simple recipe

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Be willing to work hard for what you want 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your kids see in you, that you would want them to also live out in their own life? Be firm, but fair


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? The people in the family

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? No question the early morning hours 

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your child(ren).  Coaching their sports teams, traveling, nerf battles


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together, share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One LifeWork hard, be nice, laugh a lot

MEET DR. DAVID CROSSON: Dr. David Crosson, or Dr. Dave as patients call him, is one of the expert chiropractors at ChiroFit who provides care to people of all ages in Barrington, Illinois. He strives to improve the well-being of everyone he has a chance to meet. 

Dr. Crosson contributes his time and chiropractic knowledge to humanitarian efforts in places as far away as Vietnam. He’s also involved with local charitable foundations, including the Northern Illinois Food Bank. He volunteers his time by providing risk assessment and functional movement screening for local fire, police, and city workers, and speaks to local high school students about health care and preventive wellness.

An avid golfer, Dr. Dave is married with two children and lives in Barrington, IL.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? Conversation, laughing and sharing. After a long day apart at work or school, this is the time to come back together as a family and be in each other's lives.

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Perseverance; nothing worthwhile is given to you so you have to work hard and when you hit a wall, it is critical that you NEVER give up. 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your daughter sees in you, that you would want her to also live out in her own life? Honor: be honest and always do what is right, even if it is hard.  Results matter more when they are achieved with the right means. 


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? Being there with loved ones, whether it is preparing a meal or sharing in a conversation over milk and cookies. 

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? Before standard business hours begin or after they end, as I can focus on tasks rather than replying to emails/calls and other inquiries from my customers.  

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your daughter.  Playing games whether it is board games or card games.  It provides both a venue for conversation as well as a challenge for the mind.  Our new favorite game is "Sequence", strongly recommend it.  


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together- share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One Life.  Live in the moment; don't worry about what happened in the past nor concern yourself with what may happen in the future.  Be present today for today's sake. 

MEET STEVE:  Steve lives in Barrington and is a single parent to his seven-year-old daughter, Savannah.  Professionally, Steve is a director of finance for the 10th largest not-for-profit health care system in the United States.  In his free time, Steve is on the Barrington 220 Board of Education, Co-Leader for Girl Scout Troop 310, a Room Parent at Countryside Elementary School, on the Notre Dame Club of Lake County Board of Directors and volunteers for a variety of causes.  


"PERFECT" Manhattan


It’s truly perfect!

Ken Kuhn enjoys spending some of his free time serving up drinks here at One Life Kitchen. Ken is married to Carol and they have two adult children - Steve and Rachel.

Chef Sean's Favorite Summer Meal

Rosticciana - Tuscan Grilled Ribs



Chef Sean McGuire learned this recipe three years ago while traveling in Italy. It's one of his favorite summer meals to make. Pair it with a ceasar salad and a slightly chilled glass of wine. 

ABOUT CHEF SEAN MCGUIRE: Sean spent many years cooking in San Francisco and California wine country. Sean is a chef and teaching instructor at One Life Kitchen and serves as a private chef in the Barrington area. Sean is married to Shauna and they have two little boys.



Annu Khot is an Attorney turned Entrepreneur, Proud Mom, South Asian and A lifelong Learner.

Over the past 14 years, my career has done a complete 180°. I went from a life of dry legal jargon (yes, I’m a recovering attorney) to the unpredictable—but incredibly fulfilling—world of entrepreneurship. I’m now the Managing Partner of Rely Services, a professional services firm that provides outsourcing solutions to commercial and governmental firms. We have 250+ employees, and our commitment to excellence has enabled rapid growth. In addition, I’m an angel investor—and recently made investments in the healthcare and cannabis industries. I’m perpetually on the hunt for my next investment! I’m an industry-agnostic investor—as long as there’s a strong business case, I’m in.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE? Something always sophisticated, chic, and classy. Structured bags, tailored pieces, solid colors. When in doubt I always go with White. Very minimalistic when it comes to accessories although belts are my weaknesses. Red lips are a must. 

COFFEE OR TEA? Dairy free Indian Chai with fresh Mint & Ginger in the morning sets my day right & a warm cup of Nespresso in the afternoon for that pick me up. 

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A Bibimbap from Bibibop Asian Grill in Schaumburg. A meal in a bowl concept serving a flavorful mix of rice, protein, and fresh veggies. The nutrition is all portioned out on top of the bowl so at the end of the day you know you are having a balanced meal. 

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Apple 12 Pro Max – Apart from emails and instantaneous work updates through various chat systems, it is now my bank, wallet, GPS system, digital camera, flashlight, voice recorder, home automation controller. With the plethora of software and services available on my smartphone, it is by far the most important digital screen in my life.

I am not sure Steve Jobs entirely understood the impact of the iPhone when he introduced it, but he did understand that it would be a platform for innovation and indeed that is what it has become.

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Actually both I would say but mostly eat out! 

FAVORITE SPACE? My office – it is styled to my liking. Bright, white with Gold accents. A place where I go to be creative. 

COMMUTE TIME? 20 minutes from the office to home

NEWS SOURCE?  Espresso & Pocket are my go-to apps

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Organized. Makes for easy business! 


Mac or PC? PC 

BREAK TIME? I don’t have many breaks during the day, but when I do, I get a nice cup of coffee, and strategize the rest of my day.

 My dedicated break time is when I sit down in my home in the morning when it is nice and quiet – with my tea, and I strategize my day.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY? Noon-4 seems to be the most productive. I get done a lot with my teams between this window. By then they have all their reports and updates ready and its more productive mutually. 

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy. Taught me the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small seemingly insignificant actions daily. 

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? All the 22 trailblazing women who have scaled their companies to successful IPOs.

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORKDAY? Hard stop around 6:30-7:00PM. Take a note of what’s need to be done the next day. Have dinner with family. Exchange how our day was. Some Me time later, where I catch up with my family and friends in India. Skin care and 30 minutes of reading. I’m still working on no gadgets before bedtime. 

BUSINESS ADVICE? (1) Most successful founders are not anything special. The difference is they tried, and you did not. (2) Passion, Purpose and Profit can co-exist.  – Whitney Wolfe

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE? Loungewear and Athleisure beats hands down. Cozy and comfort over anything.  

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Why not both? White Wine – Moscato.

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? Make a mean lasagna! My family loves it.

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Classic Dutch Oven. I love how the goat or chicken curry turns out to be. 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? Cook out all the way

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? The family dining room. All decisions are made there, from what’s for breakfast to where to invest. 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND? I don’t do that on a daily basis.    

MUSIC OR PODCAST? (1) Jenny and Liz Kaplan’s Encyclopedia Womannica to fill in the gaps where women are historically underrepresented. Each episode is a five-minute lesson on a brilliant woman you may not know, but most likely should. (2) Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. (3) Big Fan of Michelle Obama’s



TV OR NETFLIX? Neither – don’t watch a whole lot of TV. I watch movies occasionally.  

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK? It usually takes around three months before I need a vacation. Even if I don’t travel far, it’s important to change your scenery. 


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ? Becoming by Michelle Obama  


HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Family time is a big part of it. Getting to know how everyone’s day was, planning out meals for the next day & planning out my son’s day and make sure everything is ready to go. I also read, meditate, and isolate. This helps unplug from the world and helps me shut down at night.  

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Running a house requires a lot of planning and prepping ahead of time. Its both a gift and a curse. Lower your expectations, embrace interruptions and give yourself grace. 

Recipe Favorite 

Chicken Tikka Nachos

When I immigrated to America, I was hooked on Zesty Nachos. I frantically started looking for fusion recipes that would satisfy my South Asian palate. This recipe is taken from “That Spicy Chick’s” Blog. 

Chicken Tikka Nachos – an Indian spin on everyone’s favorite classic Mexican appetizer! They are made with delicious, shredded Chicken Tikka, plenty of cheese, pico de gallo, creamy cooling yogurt sauce, and a spicy red chili sauce! 

author: LAVINA prep time: 1 HOUR cook time: 30 MINUTES total time: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES yield: 6–8

For the Chicken Tikka:

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

For the Pico de Gallo:

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Optional Toppings: Pico de Gallo, Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce (recipes included below), 3-4 TBLS Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (or any of your favorite hot sauces!), sour cream, guacamole, salsa, olives, etc.


For the Chicken Tikka:

Combine all the ingredients except the unsalted butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix and make sure the chicken breasts are fully submerged in the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and allow for the chicken to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.

When ready to cook, heat the unsalted butter and Olive Oil in a medium sized sauté/fry pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated Chicken Tikka breasts and the remaining marinade in the bowl to the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken has cooked through and longer pink on the inside. Transfer the Chicken Tikka breasts and shred with two forks. Set aside.

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl (or measuring cup) and mix to combine. Transfer to an easy squeeze condiment bottle and store in the refrigerator until needed.

For the Pico de Gallo:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss until combined.

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in a large cast iron skillet, round cake pan, 9×13 baking dish, or directly on a baking tray/sheet pan. Top evenly with half of the shredded Chicken Tikka, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the Colby Jack cheese pieces. Repeat with the remainder tortilla chips, Chicken Tikka, shredded cheddar cheese, and Colby Jack cheese pieces.

Bake until the cheese has melted – about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with the Creamy Cooling Cucumber Sauce and Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (if using) or your favorite hot sauce! Spoon the Pico de Gallo evenly on top and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve immediately!


Make Ahead: You can make the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo a day in advance. For the Chicken Tikka, I recommend marinating it 2 days in advance, and then cooking/shredding it a day in advance of serving. This way, all there is left to do on the day of serving is assemble the Chicken Tikka Nachos and bake it!

Storing: You will most likely have leftover Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 1-2 days. If you have leftover shredded Chicken Tikka, store in the refrigerator in an airtight contain



Kat Liggins is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lake Zurich, IL. Mom to Jaxon, and our newest member of the family, a goldendoodle puppy, Charlotte! My time outside the office is spent with my son, practicing pilates, cooking great food, traveling! Success to me means having fun, loving what I do, not being a workaholic. It means having meaningful conversations about what’s most important to you. It’s my true passion to help every woman feel totally capable of managing their financial affairs and show you the value of having someone in your corner. 

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE?  Jeans, suit jacket, heels 

COFFEE OR TEA?  Chemex pour over

FAVORITE LUNCH?  I’ll take sushi any day! 


BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Intermittent fasting has been life changing for my energy levels and on a perfect day I break my fast around 1 or 2 with a shake

FAVORITE SPACE? Outside on my patio or taking a walk, catching up with family or friends on the phone 

COMMUTE TIME?   5 minute drive to the office 

NEWS SOURCE?  Quick daily updates come from NPR and WSJ podcasts. I get theSkimm delivered to my inbox too. 



Mac or PC? MAC

BREAK TIME? My 2 colleagues and I are always finding a few minutes throughout the day to laugh and catch up. We have way too much fun! Its my daily reminder to not take work TOO seriously



SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY?  Penny Pennington, she is Edward Jones first female managing partner. She’s also the first ever woman to take the helm of a major U.S. brokerage firm. This represents a huge leap forward for workplace gender equality, everywhere

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? I pick my son up from school everyday at 3:30 and officially switch into “mom” mode 

BUSINESS ADVICE? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Success rarely happens overnight. Just keep doing the things you can control and good things will come to you. And always be human, authentic. 

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Jeans, tank and sneakers 

WINE OR COCKTAIL? My go to is tequila, soda, lime and jalapeño

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? Salmon burgers with mexican street corn 

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Vitamix. I use it for everything.. salsas, puréed soups, even pulsing pie crust dough 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? A little bit of both. I’m all for easy and little clean up during the week. 

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? Family room. I’ve always got music playing in the evening and there’s usually a spontaneous dance party with my little guy 🙂 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?  Nah. On average less than 30 minutes a day 

MUSIC OR PODCAST?  It changes every week but lately I’ve been loving the Mamma Mia soundtracks - thanks to my 15 year old niece introducing me! 

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?  I love cleaning. Its therapeutic and an instant sense of accomplishment


TV OR NETFLIX?  I’m a BRAVO junkie 

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK?  We look forward to our annual getaway to Sanibel FL every winter.  My son and I are both homebodies tho and find ways to sneak in staycations throughout the year


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ?  Love Autobiographies! Especially from people in Hollywood. I can read Audrey Hepburn’s over and over

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?   A dear friend I’ve known for about 15 years. They’ve made such a positive impact in my life, personally and professionally. It’s nearly impossible to put it in words

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY?  Dim lighting, peppermint tea, diffuse calming EO, a good book or show. 

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Energy is everything. Home should be our sanctuary and our emotional safe haven. Everyone is expected to contribute to that thru actions and words

And a practical tip- start a habit of doing one small load of laundry every single day when you wake up. You’ll never have the dreaded pile! 

Salmon Burgers and Mexican Street Corn

Makes 4

Divide the salmon into two portions. Roughly chop one portion and put aside. Cut the rest into chunks and transfer to a food processor along with the mustard, mayo, lemon juice and cayenne. Pulse to a puree. Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with remaining chopped salmon. Add shallots, 2 T panko, 1/2 salt and pepper. Gently mix until combined.

Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

Preheat oven to a broil. Trim the corn off the husk and transfer to a baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and chili powder. Broil the corn for 3-4 minutes, until kernels begin to brown and look charred. Watch it closely! Stir it as necessary to help it evenly broil. Remove and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Office Vs Home


A real estate professional since 2002, Sam Powell is a transplant to Chicago by way of Rochester, NY where she went to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Delaware where she grew up. Sam lives in the West Loop and simply LOVES it. Sam is passionate about technology both personally and professionally, her family - Jen her partner/wife together since 1992 and their 2 doggies - chocolate lab, AFIS (named after the fingerprint database) and black lab CODIS (named after the DNA database). Her family has an addiction in volunteering and giving back. Commonly in real estate, clients leave items behind in their property so she actively works to put useful items in the hands of people who can use them, from furniture to guitars to blenders and clothes, together her and her partner fill a 24 foot truck of donations each year with their very successful building drive. She continues to try and HACK the live/work balance by being a TRULY MOBILE and PAPERLESS Agent.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE?  Shorts / Flops & a Baseball Cap, cause you are not hiring me for the BRAND I am wearing. I like to say "You don't have to WEAR PRADA to sell Million Dollar Homes"... you are hiring me for my talents and experience that I bring to the table & my tattoo's are always on display. Follow Me:


FAVORITE LUNCH?  Soft Boiled Eggs and Fresh Crunchy Bread with Butter & Salt for dipping

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Ipad Pro with Keyboard and Pen - state of the art awesomeness! And all things/apps about efficiency - for example -  is one of the coolest ways to get options to anyone to connect with you - totally customizable... 

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  I love to mix it up, create experiences with food... 

FAVORITE SPACE?  Seriously - I like to be MOBILE - out and about, exploring decks, and balcony's, and sexy indoor/outdoor spaces. Mobile Office addict over here... explore the city, and enjoy working cause it feels less like work. 

COMMUTE TIME?  Home Office is steps away...  

NEWS SOURCE?  I like an app called SMART NEWS

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? I can't work till I've RESET my office... must be clean and neat... 

BRIEFCASE OR HANDBAG? I have a backpack & bag addiction... Most fav is a 1 of a kind custom bag made in Russia for me... Steampunk in style, all leather...  

MAC or PC? APPLE TO THE CORE.. I personally own 15+ apple devices "find my phone" feature tells me where all my little babies are at all times. 

BREAK TIME? I'm all for down time, self care, and chill... we work too hard and too long - it's over rated! 1 life is all we've got.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY?  Late morning, early afternoon.


SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? Truly there are SO many... I'd have to say Tommy Choi and Eddie Garcia are two that I really admire what they do on and off the court [as it were] 

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? I set alarms for important apts for the next day... I don't like being late, so alarms for every phone call and zoom call and presentation... I have to delete alarms weekly cause they grow so quickly in the alarm settings... 

BUSINESS ADVICE? As soon as there is something about your career that you no longer like/love - time to find a solution to take it off your plate, whether it's an app solution, or an assistant or someone you can pay to do that piece - it's a game changer, and you can re-love your career again! 

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Barefoot, tank top, baseball cap on backwards 

WINE OR COCKTAIL? I like a ton of stuff, used to love strong craft beers, but have moved on to Whiskey's and Bourbon's... also enjoy a good Crown and Soda or Vodka Soda.... I'll try anything a bunch of times... ha ha ha

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? My wife's family Pierogi's... [Plum is the fam fav, followed by Cheese and then Sauerkraut]

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Instapot brand Instapot & Multi Air Fryer! 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? We enjoy cooking as well as being spoiled by the talents of others. I'm 50/50.

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? Our condo has a combo Kitchen / Living / Dining / Office open plan.. huge square.. it's where I am unless I am sleeping.

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?  I'm pretty spoiled with my Team, I focus on the Listings, so my drive time is minimal, more driving to travel to Speaking Engagements and visiting with family.

MUSIC OR PODCAST?  Music - honestly more like binge listening to TV shows while I am working/playing.

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?  We would give up CABLE and EATING OUT before we would give up our Cleaning Service.

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  HA HA HA - now that's funny... I'm going with POCKET SHORTS/PANTS

TV OR NETFLIX?  ALL ABOUT THE APPS Amazon Prime Video / Apple Tv / Hulu / Netflix / Discovery+

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK?  I used to be able to go and go - and then my body and spirt said - more breaks please, life is short. Enjoy more of the moments by creating them, and get away from WORK more.

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?  NIGHT - Super night owl family.

FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ?  Truly Not much of a Reader - love listening to Podcasts like "My Favorite Murder" and "Family Secrets"

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?   Joanna Simms, my high school Photography Teacher

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY?  Adult beverage on the ROCK, Micro-dosing for anxiety, pain management and CHILL

HOME FRONT ADVICE?  Reset / Clean your Kitchen and Office daily so it does not get overwhelming, clean as you go while you cook, and take LONG HOT baths, drain and refill the tub if you need to, watch a movie, relax, bring your cocktail with you.

Recipe Favorite


Dough: On the stove, bring 1TB Crisco, 1Tsp Salt, 2 Egg Yolks & 1 Cup of Milk to boil.
On the counter in a large bowl: Add 2 egg Yolks, mix in the mixture above, and add flour until the dough is just sticky enough to not stick to your fingers anymore.. it can be a little sticky... 

Filling: you can use canned plums - they are sweet, strain and pit them, split them in 1/2's for easier filling the dough pockets.
OR - you can buy fresh plum's, and pit them and replace the pit with a sugar cube, and freeze till needed

Once the dough rests for an hour in the fridge in cling wrap. Roll out small sections of dough. We hand roll, hand fill, and hand twist the dough. I like to put the dough on the table, and with my fingers press into it across the top first and then all the way down the dough, looks a bit like a waffle with my finger indentations in it. Then I will place it in my hand and gently stretch, the finger press points have added a little stability to the dough that you can be a little rough with it. Add enough pieces of plum to fill the dough, fold it over, and begin to twist the edge into itself over and over again until you get to the other side. Our family LOVES the little ball of extra dough that sits at the final twisted end... 

Once the pierogi's are made, bring a large pot of water to boil and boil each pierogi until it floats, or for a few minutes. Lay the boiled pierogi onto parchment paper, and after it air drys on that side, flip it to air dry on the other side. About an hour a side. Then lay them in a single layer in gallon zip log freezer bags and stack in your freezer. Once frozen you can re-package into a single zip lock per flavor depending on how many different pierogi's you have made.

To Serve, defrost the pierogis to room temp. In a large saucepan melt some salted butter and cook the pierogi's on each side until golden brown. Melt salted butter for the table. We encourage cutting the pierogi into pieces and then drizzling butter on top... and ENJOY. I've been hand making these with my wife's family now for 29 years [come this Nov 2021]



Andrea Wright-Vice President of Sales for Playa Resorts- Mother of three amazing kids, and a cute yellow lab!   My oldest (daughter) just graduated with a degree in hospitality, my two boys attend BHS.  My biggest love is spending time with them, watching their sports, traveling with them, and catching up with our favorite Netflix shows.  I love travel and spend my days running a sales team to promote the most desirable all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico.  I feel a life with travel in it is a life well lived and my passion for it and being able to share it with my children makes each day a gift.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE?  Dress and heels all day long


FAVORITE LUNCH?  Salad with grilled shrimp

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Microsoft surface Pro

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Eat out - Sushi any day of the week

FAVORITE SPACE?  My office is in my home, and represents a lot of my travels, the rug, under my desk I carried back from Morocco.  

COMMUTE TIME?  One minute or on a plane heading to Mexico or the Caribbean 

NEWS SOURCE?  NBC morning show, Travel Weekly, CNN



Mac or PC? PC

BREAK TIME? Rarely take a break

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY?  Early morning hours (6am, to 8am)

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie (mostly because my mom told me to read it years ago)

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? My boss Howard Tanenbaum, he is always teaching me, and does it in kind. 

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? Usually running to the next event-

BUSINESS ADVICE? Everything in moderation- it will serve your personal and professional life well 

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Always dressy, heels, lip gloss 

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Wine (favorite is Sea Smoke, but typically you can find Louis Martini in the house)

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK?  Angel hair with Bolognese (grandma’s recipe)


COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? Take out, Love Sushi from Shakou

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? Family room, Why? Because my family is always around me in it. 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?  Depends on the day - (2) hours


SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?  I clean everything myself

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  Neither CLUTCH is my go-to


HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK?  Well I can go and go, but I firmly believe in taking breaks, vacations and stepping away, makes me ready to tackle anything. 

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?  Morning all the way

FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ?  Any romantic novel or self-help book

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?   My mom, she is the smartest woman I know

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY?  Candles, good food, and my kiddos watching our favorite Netflix series.

HOME FRONT ADVICE?  Always say I love you before bed, and do it now, because later becomes never and life is too short to miss out..  always go for it! 

Recipe Favorite

Spaghetti Bolognaise Sauce



  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot. Stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery, carrot, rosemary and sage. Stir vegetables for about 2 minutes until caramelized.
  2. Add crushed garlic, deglaze with a dry white wine.
  3. Crumble the ground beef. Add in a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper to the meat Stir well. Cook until no sign of pink can be found.
  4. Add milk and let it simmer gently. Stir frequently, until it has completely bubbled away. Grate about ¼ tsp of nutmeg and stir-in.
  5. Add the red wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir until it bubbles. Once bubbled, reduce the heat until the sauce is thick. For the best flavor, leave over the low heat uncovered for 3 plus hours stirring occasionally.
  6. Toss with cooked drained pasta of your choice, adding the tablespoon of butter, and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.



Amber Nelson-Wolfe is a State Farm Agent in Barrington, Illinois. She is married to Luke, and mom to four young children. She’s passionate about living a life of service, whether it be financial counseling, community philanthropy, or animal rescue. Amber is fluent in American Sign Language, and holds the designation of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter. In her free time, you will find her at Cheer competitions, football games, or with her violin in hand.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE? My in-office fashion style is the same as at home – jeans, t shirt, and heels! 🙂

COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee. Always.

FAVORITE LUNCH? My local go-to is the Neoteca Classic Salad with grilled chicken.


BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT? I find great joy in meal prepping, 🙂 so most often, I will bring my lunch. There’s just something about cooking all day Sunday, and seeing the finished product of neatly packaged, perfectly portioned lunches ready to go. (I’m also a wee bit OCD)

FAVORITE SPACE? My front porch. I’m in a beautiful early 1900s bungalow, with a great covered porch, and a stunning maple tree feet away. It’s a great place to brainstorm, or to people watch.

COMMUTE TIME? 20 minutes

NEWS SOURCE? Newsmax, Forbes, WSJ




BREAK TIME? No planned break time, but my team and I are intentional about taking time to celebrate successes. You will always find a cold bottle of Veuve Rose in my work fridge, for whenever that celebratory moment presents itself.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOUR OF THE WORKDAY? 6:30 – 7:30am. For the first hour of my day, I work from home, before I go into the office. I find the quiet early hours give me focus and clarity for the day ahead.

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? True North by Bill George

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? I am lucky enough to mentor with the Chief Life Insurance Officer for State Farm. She is also a mom of younger children, and her husband is also a stay at home Dad. She recently completed her MBA at Notre Dame, and has achieved work/life integration throughout her journey. I’m in awe of her, and she’s just a really cool chick on top of everything else. 🙂

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? There are a series of reports I run at the end of each day. How many calls my sales team made, how many new customers we acquired, how quickly my service team handled current customer requests, etc. It helps guides my actions and decisions the following day.

BUSINESS ADVICE? “Be brief, and be brilliant” – One of my old mentors (female), told me this when I took my first leadership position. In other words – go to the happy hours, go to the business dinners – but be controlled, be measured, make an impact, but don’t linger. Too many drinks, or being the last one at the table, won’t serve your purpose.

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE? Jeans, t-shirt, but ALWAYS heels.

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Lately, I’ve been trying to get on the vodka/soda game – but there will always be a special Napa Cab Franc that holds my heart dear.


MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET? The lemon and lime squeezer! Game changer!

COOK OR TAKEOUT? Depends on the day. I love to cook a leisurely Sunday meal, but on a rushed Friday at the end of a long week, there’s nothing better than pizza and a beer.

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? My deck. Our property is very steep, and when you sit on the deck, it feels like you’re sitting in a treehouse. On a quiet spring day, you hear all of the song birds. The deer come through every night at dusk. We even have a family of raccoons that I tend to (but that’s another story for another day:))

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND? Thankfully my husband does most of the driving. I’m just on the bench as needed.

MUSIC OR PLAYLIST? Music - Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Drake, Jay Z, Miranda Lambert, Vivaldi. All of it –depending on the mood.

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE? – Both. I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful woman that cleans every other week. I do the “in between”.



HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK? Oh gosh. Might this be my superpower? I haven’t taken a proper vacation in years. Between nursing babies, the business, multiple moves – we’ve snuck in a weekend here or there… does that count? Hah!


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ? Many Lives, Many Masters – by Dr. Brian Weiss

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE? There is a gentleman I mentor with in the Barrington-area, who I look up to greatly. He was one of many children, and grew up in a less fortunate part of Detroit. He had many perceived obstacles, and many setbacks –but he persevered, and led a Fortune 500 company to greatness. I love his grit, his approachability, and his faith.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? A drink, and my violin. I’ve been playing since I was 3, and I’m so grateful for that gift my parents gave me. For as long as I live, that will always be my most important outlet.

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Progress over perfection. You’ll never find me with perfectly coiffed kids, with perfectly organized lunches, and perfectly coordinated accessories. I encourage independency above all else, even at the youngest age. If you can do it for yourself – do it. Everyone contributes, and everyone has a role in the household.

Recipe Favorite

Carne Asada with a Spicy Margarita


  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle pepper1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds flank steak


  1. Combine the orange, lemon, and lime juice in a large glass or ceramic bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, chipotle pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, dried oregano, black pepper, and cilantro. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until marinade is well combined. Remove one cup of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for use after the meat is cooked.
  2. Place the flank steak between two sheets of heavy plastic (re-sealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the steak with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. After pounding, poke steak all over with a fork. Add the meat to the marinade in the large bowl, cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Discard used marinade. Remove meat from heat and slice across the grain.
  5. Pour the one cup of reserved, unused marinade over the hot meat and serve immediately.


  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 bottle Blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • Garnish: salt rim
  • Garnish: jalapeño coin


  1. Pour tequila in pitcher, and drop cut poblano pepper within.
  2.  Rub the rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge, dip the rim in salt to coat, and set aside.
  3. Add 2 oz of spicy blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup, plus ice, and shake until well-chilled.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with a jalapeño coin.