Art, Craftsmenship & Love

February is a month for artistic expression — making, collecting, admiring and learning. We love art because it gives us a glimpse of someone’s heart, the part of them we don’t see on the surface. We are all drawn to art in different ways. We like to look at and listen to art that makes … Continued

New Year. New You?

Bring on 2020! January marks the beginning of not only a new calendar year, but also the opportunity for a new you. Perhaps you’ve resolved to exercise more regularly, take up a new hobby or volunteer at a local animal shelter. Maybe you’re looking to take more days off, learning a second language or finally tackling … Continued

Are the Holidays Still Meaningful?

When the calendar year starts winding down to its logical conclusion, the holidays ensue. In some sense it’s too bad that Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas & New Year’s Day are such a mash-up crammed in ungainly fashion into just 33 days this year. Given the year we’ve had, we’ll take it. Knowing what’s coming up, let’s enjoy … Continued

Grateful… For It All.

These are crazy times. As TV sitcoms of dysfunctional families battle reality shows of dysfunctional families for eyeballs (both currently losing out to the dysfunctional Washington, D.C.), the decent folks of SW Lake Co. are all too ready for a breath of cool autumn air. Fortunately, we’re blessed with November, and its focus on the … Continued

Indulge the Obsession

We’re blessed to live in a food destination. People from across the country travel to our area to indulge their foodie obsessions. Some recent examples spring to mind. This summer while picking up a rental car in San Francisco the counter agent, noting that I was from the Chicago area, talked about fulfilling a bucket … Continued

Defining Style is a Personal Journey

Style is a big part of my life. It was an honor to be approached about being the Guest Publisher for the annual Style issue of SW Lake Lifestyle. I can honestly say in my work as an interior designer it’s a thrill every time I start a new project. The process of meeting new … Continued

Now’s the Perfect Time for Kids and Pets

Back-to-School. It’s a phrase that can strike terror in the hearts of children and evoke sweet relief for parents. In this issue of SW Lake Lifestyle we’re focusing on the positive as we present a collection of stories on Kids and Pets. If a child has trouble seeing the black (or more likely white) board … Continued

Summer Smorgasbord

Putting together our July 2019 SW Lake Lifestyle reminded me yet again what a splendid smorgasbord of life experiences is served up hot and steaming, without fail, in beautiful SW Lake County. It was way too much fun being the photographer fly-on-the-wall guest at the equipment fitting session to kick off the newest season for … Continued

It’s Raining Men’s Stuff

Welcome to our one-and-only annual issue dedicated to the guys. This is a veritable Bro Fest (or what passes for one these days in our neck of the woods). In these pages we share stories and photos that we hope EVERYBODY finds appealing because we have such a plethora of local talent in our midst. … Continued

May, May Come and Stay

On the day in mid-April when I penned this note my lawn care provider was prepping the yard for spring during a snow flurry. Spring is fleeting and tenuous around here. It got me wondering about why this month is called May. Turns out we can thank the ancient Greeks. The fifth month of the year … Continued

Adopting a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Many of us are trying to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives. We’re more aware of what we put into our bodies, as well as the general state of the planet. Clients of my interior design business ask frequently, “How can I bring greener design into my home?” Here’s a short list of my … Continued

Growing Home

It’s just about this time each winter that I thank each little sign of the season to come, as it helps me not go absolutely @#%@#%$&^%*#@ crazy. Loud, proud, and in total defiance of the polar vortex, the Amaryllis bulb given to us by a work friend now triumphantly rises almost 2 feet above its pot, … Continued

Is February the Cruelest Month?

What is it about February? Plenty. All the debts of the holidays come due; too many calories and bills to pay. Mother Nature, in addition to still depriving us of much needed sunlight, can still have a few diabolical tricks up her sleeve. Lingering snow piles turn into foreboding, grit-encrusted humps in parking lots and … Continued

Resolutions? Meh…

Let’s see a show of hands: Who agrees New Year’s resolutions are, well, just a little a little goofy? There are book store shelves full of books on losing weight, exercising more, getting healthy, eating better, saving more (spending less) and communicating better. Self-help gurus fill the airwaves (and auditoriums at big-ticket prices) offering all … Continued

Gratitude Matters

I’ve always been a huge fan of the year-end Holiday mania.  Even when it drives me right to and past the brink of exhaustion, to the point of yelling at the Thanksgiving turkey “Baste THIS, buddy!”,  or wondering how similar driving a snowplow down village streets is to those fun times in my youth at … Continued

Gratitude Matters

That little nip in the air triggers the certainty that fall is winding down and winter is coming. This is the time to tap the pause button before the frenzy of the holidays takes over.  We thought it appropriate in this issue to pay our due to the first responders here in SW Lake Co. … Continued

Getting Fresh

After some modest attempts at amateur gardening the past few years, managing not to kill a random pepper plant here and there (thankfully, while leaving my wife to design our lovely flower garden), I suddenly decided during the seemingly endless chill of last winter that if other determined folk could grow their own food, well … Continued

Falling into Fall, SWL Style

Like beauty, style is in the eye of the beholder. The team at SW Lake Lifestyle consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have such generous companies in the area who know a thing or two about what’s going to be in style as the weather cools around here. Marcy Sparr and Annie Lang run a marvelous … Continued

Enjoy the Dog Days

With the delivery of this issue of SW Lake Lifestyle we’re officially in the Dog Days of Summer. Around here that means hot, swampy weather that slows everybody a step or two and drives the family pet to the shade of a backyard tree (or air conditioned house). Summer’s heat coincides with the year’s daybreak … Continued

The Curious Case of the Mistaken Fiddle

The dress was, obviously, white and gold.  Except to those equally certain it was, obviously, blue and black. I was reminded of that recent online meme as we fielded a few questions about our June issue, which featured on our cover one of the finest professional musicians in the area, Steve Gritman, fiddling up a … Continued

It Started Way Back Last Year

The process for publishing this monthly magazine actually began last year. That’s when our team put together the themes for every issue. That’s followed up with meetings – quarterly and monthly – to plot the actual progress for what your SW Lake Lifestyle Editor, Stephen Neilson, calls “making a magazine.” There’s setting assignments, checking with … Continued

When We Were Young

My mom gave us May baskets when we were little. Following a just-previous Easter orgy of chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs a May basket was less about another riot of sugar and calories; instead it was something stylish, delicate and subtle. As I write this it’s early April and a glance outside my window shows … Continued

Spring Hopes Eternal

Sun, warmth, light, green, regeneration, rebirth… Spring is perennially my favorite season. For me it’s about becoming immersed in fresh growth and new beginnings… getting back in touch with nature in its regenerative fullness.

We Know Who the Boss Is

Mother Nature reminded us who’s in charge as we raced deadlines to prepare this issue of SW Lake Lifestyle. Between rounds of editing copy, selecting photos and assisting clients we had sessions of shoveling snow. By the time all you kind folks of SW Lake County are enjoying this issue, we’ll be that much closer to spring with its promise…

A Tradition Two Years Strong

Even though by publishing standards SW Lake Lifestyle is a relative youngster, it’s fulfilling to know we are establishing new traditions in sharing good news about the communities we call home.

A New You In the New Year

Why is it that health clubs are packed in January and by March are back to normal?

A Season of Light, 
A Season of Gifts

As the season of gifts enters in all its bright, tinsel-tangled glory, and landscape painter’s palettes (and my camera’s lens) disproportionately fill with the color white (with a few extra dollops of bright red and hunter green for accent), it can be a jolt to find yourself on the needing-to-be-receiving side of the holidays… even when it’s just the small and common things…

November 2017 Lifestyle Letter

Welcome to November and our second annual "Gratitude" issue. Here are a few reasons why those of us around SW Lake Co. might take pause to express our thanks this month.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

October is our first anniversary issue. It’s been a year since we undertook the takeover/makeover of SW Lake Lifestyle. What a year it’s been. We chucked the old way of doing things to focus on two straight-forward goals:

Good-bye is Never Easy

The end of the summer is always a little bittersweet. The days get shorter as shadows grow longer. As the temperature drops sweaters are dug out from closets again. After the last hurrah of the summer – Labor Day weekend – means a return to work and school and making sure the goals for the year are met.

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Summer has a seductive way of warping both space and time. In its best moments, when leisure beckons, it’s easy to ease into that sunny porch swing and watch the flowers grow and bathe in summer’s warm glow. Time melts, like Salvador Dali’s watch.

July 2017 Lifestyle Letter

We are blessed in SW Lake County to have a plethora of summer time attractions (distractions?) to keep us busy after a long winter. While other parts of the country enjoy outside living many more months of the year, few folks elsewhere take to the outdoors like we do when the weather cooperates. That’s why this issue of SW Lake…

Best. Day. Ever.

[MASTER OF CEREMONIES] “Ladies and Gentlemen: Please take your seats. The Show begins... NOW.” [STAGE LIGHTS go BLACK. CUE TIMPANI: Drum Roll] [MC] “Ladies and Gentlemen: please turn your attention to the center of the arena…”

May 2017 Lifestyle Letter

It makes sense to me that the origins of Mother’s Day are traced to a peace activist. In 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis held a memorial service at her church for her mother. That church, St Andrew's Methodist Church, is now the home of the International Mother's Day Shrine. Anna started a campaign three years earlier to make…

April 2017 Lifestyle Letter

A fox greeted me when I came home one evening. She trotted across the driveway and once safely in the side yard she turned, sat and eyed me warily. In my headlights I saw her luxurious coat and a full tail that flicked slightly.

Taming the 
Lion of March

March: it just isn't what it used to be. We remember the saying that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." Maybe climate change has had a calming effect on what seemed to be the problem child of the calendar; these days, it seems more like "It might snow in March but more likely we…

February 2017 Lifestyle Letter

It’s February, and to the delight of many and dismay of others, that Cupid character is about to tuck an arrow’s tip ‘round the corner of our calendars and empty his quiver to celebrate his vision of Valentine’s Day. Like many modern holidays, February 14 is a multi-cultural mixtape—featuring influences by ancient Rome’s fertility feast of Lupercalia, a 5th century…

January 2017 Lifestyle Letter

Happy New Year I like cold weather. There’s nothing like a crisp January morning with the hint of snow in the air and a slippery run to the top of the driveway to get the morning paper. A worn pair of jeans, a favorite button-down shirt and a warm sweater suits me. A pair of sturdy Doc Martens gets me…

An Early Christmas

For more than a few of us, Christmas came early this year. To be precise, it happened on November 2 at 11:48 pm when the unthinkable happened: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. It was an event 108 years in the making and certainly worth the wait. Celebrations in SW Lake County occurred spontaneously with tears, hugs, glasses raised,…

Pure America

Thanksgiving. It’s been called the most American of holidays. It’s a wonderful tradition with an origin story that dates back to 1621. During the Civil War, President Lincoln sought to use Thanksgiving as a means to unify the nation by fixing the date as the final Thursday in November. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 signed a joint resolution of…

Home Grown

This month I find myself wondering how, all of a sudden, it’s August. 

What happened to June? I know July was hotter than I can ever remember but August?
Why haven’t I gone hiking or spent any lazy days in a hammock by the lake?

Celebrating America

The Fourth of July is not only the peak of summer, it is also when we remember who we are as a country, as well as who we need to be moving forward. As you celebrate with friends and family, I invite you to remember what being an American means to you. For so many different reasons, whenever I see…

A Community 
in Bloom!

Your May issue of SW Lake Lifestyle is filled with pages of fun, local happenings, and I’m thrilled with the amount of wonderful local content: thank you so much for remembering that this magazine is YOURS! We are always looking for engaging stories for these monthly or bi-monthly columns, departments and features

Spring in 
SW Lake

When I was in high school, I didn’t care for March. The wind became warmer; the snow started to melt and my favorite season was almost over. You see, I was a competitive downhill ski racer. March signaled the winter sports season was ending, and it was time for me to turn in my skis for a slower paced life.


Fun Facts For February

In leap years, it is the only month that begins and ends on the same weekday. February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon. Before 2002, Super Bowl Sunday was held the last Sunday in January, but since 2002 it is more commonly held the first Sunday of February. February starts on the…

Thank you!

This month we pass the one-year mark for SW Lake Lifestyle magazine. It’s the time of year to celebrate, and we are reveling in all that our publication has to be thankful for: Our community – Each month, you inspire us to tell the stories of our great cities. Our amazing friends, neighbors, businesses, community leaders, and innumerable organizations that…

What is your true meaning 
of Christmas?

An online search found that the most accepted explanation for the “true meaning of Christmas” is that it is a phrase with a long history in American pop culture. It first appeared in the mid-19th century, and is often given vaguely religious overtones that suggest that the “true meaning of Christmas” is the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. In…