Thursday, Aug 13th

Last updateWed, 12 Aug 2020 11pm

You are here: Home The Goods

mettreeThere is not a single parking spot left at Trader Joes, the line at CVS seems to take hours, you can barely walk on 5th Avenue, and there is a different work-related party every other must be the holidays! Add to the hustle and bustle of this season an ice-storm and a two hour school delay, and you have yourself a recipe for a melt-down. Sure there are some who seem to sail through the holidays with a perfectly decorated house, beautifully wrapped gifts, and tasty treats always at the ready, but what about those of us who get a little more bogged down by trying to keep up with all the “magic” of the season? Why not try a little mindfulness to help get you through? While there are a plethora of everyday mindful activities (such as mindful breathing and mindful eating) that are helpful tools any time of year, below are mindful tips to help you navigate holiday stress.

Set expectations: Whether related to crowded stores, long nights, or nosy relatives, before entering a given situation, try to set realistic expectations. For instance, if you have to make your way to the big-box grocery store because it is the only place that carries the ingredients for your grandmother’s famous Apple Pandowdy, try setting the stage before you enter the crowded parking lot. Go into the set of circumstances knowing that you’ll likely have to park far from the store entrance, the aisles will be crowded with carts and shoppers, and the lines are likely to be a mile long. Sometimes just reminding yourself of what to expect, helps to ease the stress of actually traversing through it. In the same breath, it is probably a good idea to have a plan for when you feel yourself starting to get irritated with grumpy shoppers or tiring co-workers. Plan ahead of time to use a mindful tool to recenter your thoughts and mood if you should start to feel overwhelmed or annoyed. My go-to tool is mindful breathing where I concentrate on three deep breaths: in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Let go of expectations: On the flip side, while it might be helpful to set expectations to help navigate the busyness of this time, it is also important to let go of putting too much pressure on yourself to create a perfect holiday for all. Maybe you burnt the specially made cookies, or your sister is late for the family celebration once again. Holding onto judgement and remorse will only work to taint your holiday experience. Instead, try to be present, live in the moment and take notice of all the things there are to be grateful for. If something doesn’t go according to plan, try to roll with the changes. After all, the holidays aren’t about how clean your house looks or how well you prepared a roast, but about sharing these moments with family and loved ones. 

Focus on the positive: Are you up to your neck with gifts to wrap and food to prepare? Instead of seeing it as a monumental chore to be done, try focusing your attention on the people you are wrapping and cooking for. While you wrap each gift, try to think of all the wonderful things the receiver of the gift brings to your life. Think about how they have impacted your life and how much they mean to you. Likewise, while cooking holiday meals, try to remind yourself why you are preparing the demonstrate your love for your family and friends during this festive time.

However you celebrate the holidays, practicing mindfulness not only works to help reduce stress, but to also keep you living in the moment, enjoying the merriment of the season. After all, your presence really is a present...not only to others but to yourself as well. 

Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and a proud mom of two children. While her background is in psychology and education, Wendy was recently trained in mindfulness at She has long been passionate about wellness, and as an active member of the Scarsdale PTA, Wendy helped to bring mindfulness to her children's elementary school. In addition, Wendy helped establish and is an acting member of the school's Wellness Committee. For more information about mindfulness check out this site: or Watch the video of Jon Kabat-Zinn explaining what mindfulness is ... or contact Wendy MacMillan at

cookiesjar148 jars ready for purchase. Photo Credit Jason EisenbergOn Saturday December 7th, Scarsdale Cub Scout Pack 440 met at Hitchcock Church, to make cookies in a jar to be sold to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and St. Pius X Youth Group for Midnight Run.
cookieleeBrett and Kevin Lee showing scouts proper whisking technique.

Midnight Run ( is a volunteer organization dedicated to finding common ground for the housed and the homeless.  Midnight Run coordinates over 1,000 relief missions per year, in which volunteers from churches, synagogues, schools and other civic groups distribute food, clothing, blankets and personal care items to the homeless poor on the streets of New York City. The late-night relief efforts create a forum for trust, sharing, understanding and affection. That human exchange, rather than the exchange of goods, is the essence of the Midnight Run mission.

Information about Pack 440 can be found at

Reporting and photos by Midori Im.


cookiebillBill Weisenbach and grandson Wyatt are all smiles about the service project.

cookiebenTiger Ben Kroloff with his finished product.

cookiewhyteMidnight Run volunteer Rudy Whyte tells scouts about the organization and the needs it works to address.

theshrinkWhether you pound the treadmill, commute or simply want a diversion while folding the laundry, listening to podcasts has made going about our daily business tolerable and even fun. 

Podcasts can make long family car rides more peaceful. I enjoy listening to a podcast while cooking dinner and my son likes to listen to podcasts while playing with Legos. If you’ve not a podcast junkie, we hope this will inspire you listen to a few. And if you already have favorites please share the names the comments section below.

Here’s our list of recommended podcasts:

True Crime
The Shrink Next Door is our “Editor’s Pick” for a podcast. And she’s spot on. This tells the story of psychiatrist Isaac Herschkopf and his odd, long-term doctor-patient relationship that results in living with one of his patients in his house in the Hamptons. Their co-dependency is unique and as soon as one episode ends, you’ll press play for another. The podcast is written and narrated by Joe Nocera of the New York Times and is based on the true story of his shrink-neighbor. There are seven episodes in total.

Uncover: The Village follows journalist Justin Ling who investigated the disappearance of eight gay men, six of whom were immigrants, in the Toronto area. Dismissed and seemingly forgotten by the police department, Ling picks up where they left off and focuses, uniquely, on the lives of each individual victim rather than just on the heinous crimes committed.

Comedy Bang! Bang! is an improv comedy podcast that invites special guests that often appear as other characters and return regularly to the show. The host, Scott Aukerman, was an HBO sketch comedy writer. Discussions may include wiping technique by known celebrities. The more you listen, the more you’ll appreciate the recurring characters. All of your favorite comedians have probably guest starred on this podcast at least once.

My Brother, My Brother and Me showcases Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy (three brothers) as they help advice-seeking people in a truly humorous way. The trio’s interactions are hilarious. The reviews are almost unanimously five-star and people claim they’ve never laughed so hard and relisten to some episodes because they are just that funny.

All Songs Considered is hosted by Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton from NPR. Conversations occur between the hosts and both new and emerging artists in a fun, upbeat way. All genres of music are included, mainstream and not so mainstream. Their tag line is “Hear songs that can completely change your day, with humor, heart and (sometimes) a whole lot of noise.”

Song Exploder takes songs and breaks them down with the original recording artists to learn about the inspiration and stories behind them. Hosted artists include U2, Metallica, Fleetwood Mac, R.E.M., Lin-Manuel Miranda and hundred more. They also host composers from TV shows such as Game of Thrones.

Science/History/Social Issues
Science Vs. is hosted by Wendy Zukerman. She interviews scientists about topics ranging from gun control and fracking to hypnosis and ghosts. The podcast explores serious topics (in fun ways) such as how bad could a pandemic really be? Should football be banned? Why the rise in peanut allergies?

freakonomicsFreakonomics (based on the book by the same name) is a podcast for the those interested in learning about data-based arguments for things like why tipping still exists, how meetings can be made less terrible and issues with America’s math education program. This podcast had me when I saw the title of this one: “Should America be Run by Trader Joe’s?”

Serial is a one of the most popular podcasts and has won numerous broadcasting awards for investigative journalism. It debuted in 2014 and many seasons later, it’s just as popular. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, each season tells one true story in exquisite depth and detail. Season one is famous for the case against Adnan Syed called “The Alibi.”

Slow Burn is also a top-rated podcast that shares stories you already know, like the Clinton affair scandal or highly publicized crimes, and augments these stories with many more details, not previously known. Be forewarned that some happy listeners complain that season 3 has gone downhill.

Playing with Science is a podcast that focuses on the most unbelievable moments in sports history. There are lots of guests on the show including professional athletes, sports scientists, coaches, managers and even Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a great podcast for even the most casual sports fans and there’s a great episode about sneaker design.

Golic and Wingo is an ESPN podcast that provides current sports news. This podcast’s archives won’t be current but you can catch it several times daily to keep up with all the latest in sports when you don’t feel like reading it in the paper or online.

This Week in Tech (TWiT) is a top-rated tech news podcast. As it’s news, it is one of the best ways to hear current updates. This is the podcast people go to in order to hear a discussion around Google buying Fitbit or to learn about FBI face tracking software. Several tech trends or topics are covered in each episode.

Note to Self is another great podcast that covers current issues in technology that you probably are not hearing about elsewhere. Some episode titles that might call out to you are “How Selfies Share More Data than You’d Think,” “How the Opioid Problem is Linked to the Internet,” and “The Advent of Online Emotional Escorts.”

Planet Money is an NPR podcast and is all about the economy. It includes lots of interesting special guests and covers topics like the rise and fall of bitcoin, the building of a machine that bought and sold stocks based on Trump’s tweets and investor funded lawsuits. Lots of great stuff here.

howibuilthisHow I Built This is my nine-year-old son’s favorite podcast. This one is perfect for the entrepreneur, whether failed or successful, or the wannabe entrepreneur. Guy Raz is an amazing host and interviews “innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists,” with each guest getting their own episode. It explores the successes, missteps and failures of people who have ultimately built successful businesses, products or ideas. Some of our favorite include: Soul Cycle, Dyson, Teach for America, Spring-free trampolines and Southwest Airlines. Each story is fascinating; some guests are more dynamic than others.

99% Invisible is arguably one of the best podcasts of all times. It makes for interesting conversation at the dinner table. Even if the kids moan and groan at the start, my kids are usually interested in my retelling of some of these podcast episodes. Roman Mars created this podcast from his bedroom and it now has over 250 million downloads. His discussions bring to light things we never think about but that are ubiquitous, like who designed the “power” symbol for electronics? There’s a great episode about “hostile architecture” that explains why a cement seat might be placed in a subway station (so it’s not comfortable to sit on for a long period of time/to deter sleeping). Did you know that some businesses purposefully play classical music to deter teenagers from hanging out? Cities use lighting strategies to reduce crime and even limit the ability of drug addicts to use needles in bathrooms.mollyofdenali

BBC Radio 3’s program incorporates talks, interviews and debates with artists, scientists, public figures, writers, historians and other academic types. It’s a sophisticated podcast that explores many different subjects with top-notch hosting.

Kid-Friendly Podcasts
Molly of Denali is a top-rated podcast that was released this summer. Dorothea Gillim and Kathy Waugh from PBS Kids introduce Molly, a native Alaskan girl, her dog Suki and her family and friends in this series that makes you feel like you’re solving mysteries and having adventures through the wilds of Alaska. There are important teaching moments that parents will love. All of the characters are voiced by indigenous Alaskans. This podcast is great for toddlers through age 9.

Stuff You Should Know will keep curious teens entertained and gives them interesting topics to discuss with their friends. There are over 1,000 episodes ranging from topics like the possibility of augmented reality to bad breath and the purpose of black boxes.

Eleanor Amplified is a top podcast for all ages, but particularly 8-12 year olds. This podcast follows fictional radio reporter and investigative journalist, Eleanor, on interesting adventures that will keep all on their toes. Eleanor is witty, adventurous, smart and engaging and there are good lessons for kids in here too.

Listen up and share your feedback on the suggested podcasts or provide names of your personal favorites.

wetzsteinKitchenFor some, the holiday season is a joyous time filled with family and festivities. For others though this time of year, filled with planning, shopping, traveling and more, might bring about stress and exhaustion. There are a plethora of ways to help combat the holiday blues including practicing gratitude and mindfulness, but what if we could also eat our way to a less stressful, more cheerful holiday season?

In recent years there has been a lot of research and new information proving that what we eat can affect more than just our waistlines. In fact, many doctors and nutritionists argue that there is a strong link between a healthy gut and a person’s mood and overall mental well-being.
For a deeper look into the mind-gut connection, I turned to one of Scarsdale’s own nutritionists, Melissa Wetzstein. Ms. Wetzstein owns a wealth of knowledge and had much to say about the topic.

WM: There has been a lot of recent research on the gut-brain connection and how eating certain foods can either exacerbate unwanted symptoms (such as depression and hyperactivity) or help to reduce those symptoms. What are your thoughts about how what eat can affect our minds?

Ms. Wetzstein: Everything we take into our bodies, is broken down and either assimilated for use as energy by our cells or detoxified and excreted as waste. Either way, we are intimately affected by the food we eat. We cannot underestimate the importance of the “QUALITY” of the food put into our bodies. which has a profound impact on our overall well-being - and ultimately, our QUALITY of life. Unfortunately, the standard American diet (SAD) filled with low quality, highly processed packaged foods, and focused on refined carbohydrates (found in most store-bought bagels, muffins, pasta, crackers and chips), negatively impacts the body’s ability to regulate itself, and deprives us of the important nutrients needed to make brain-balancing neurotransmitters and hormones.

The relationship between the digestive tract and the brain is referred to as the “GUT-BRAIN AXIS”. Research on this connection has experienced significant growth in recent years. We’ve learned that the gut and brain communicate with each other; “gut health and mental health go hand in hand”. The basic premise is that: A normal, healthy functioning gut, supports healthy brain function. Alternatively, gut Dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microorganisms in our Digestive tract), can lead to leaky gut, and contribute to stress, anxiety, depression and mood issues. One thing we don’t talk about as much, is that this relationship is a two way street; and chronic stress and anxiety can negatively impact digestive function - leading to gut dysbiosis and inflammation in the body.

WM: What can we do to create a healthy gut and improve the Gut-Brain Axis?

Ms. Wetzstein: We can support the optimal function of this gut brain connection with healthy food and mindful eating habits (as well as getting adequate sleep and mediating stress). We need to be in a “parasympathetic” or relaxed state to properly digest our food and absorb the
nutrients. When we are stressed and anxious, or scarf our food down in a rush, digestion is
impaired, and leads to nutritional imbalance. The food we eat can influence mood by providing the amino acids, vitamins and minerals that play a role in the production and/or release of brain boosting neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine.

WM: Are there foods that you believe contribute to gut dysbiosis and should therefore be avoided?

Ms. Wetzstein: Refined foods - such as white flours, sugar, sodas and soft drinks, high-heat chemically processed vegetable oils (ie. canola, cottonseed, safflower and soy oils), hydrogenated fats from margarine or other plants oils that have been chemically altered to become solid at room temperature. Sugar is not only highly addictive but may contribute to or exacerbate poor blood sugar regulation, mood swings and inflammation. In addition, sugar feeds the bad bacteria in the gut, which can lead to dysbiosis.

WM: Are there foods you recommend eating for a healthy mind?

Ms. Wetzstein: Our bodies require a number of essential nutrients to help fuel our cells, synthesize hormones, and function optimally. “Essential nutrients” are those that the body cannot synthesize on its own, and must get from food. Many B vitamins, Vitamin C, Calcium, Zinc, Copper and Iron, Magnesium, Selenium, and Omega 3 fatty acids are a few of the essential nutrients for optimal gut and brain health! Green veggies such as broccoli and Kale, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts, blueberries and raspberries, pomegranates, fatty fish such as salmon, cod and sardines, ground flax seeds, and green tea, to name a few. On the flip side, not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression.

WM: What is the optimal diet for a healthy mind?

Ms. Wetzstein: An optimal diet is based on nutrient-dense, properly prepared whole foods:

• A wide variety of fresh, seasonal, and colorful vegetables and fruits, both cooked and raw.
• small amounts of beans or legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, and/or high quality
animal protein (try to find pasture raised meat, chicken, eggs or wild caught seafood).

• Fresh and dried spices and herbs provide a wealth of benefits, some offer anti-inflammatory

• Small amounts of grains in their whole form (like oats, buckwheat, millet and faro)

• Nuts and seeds

• Healthy fats from avocado, olives, flax, unrefined extra virgin olive oil, small amounts of grass-fed butter or ghee, and coconut oil.

• Add in raw lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled beets and kimchi, which are beneficial for the gut, because they contain “probiotics” (healthy bacteria which aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and help balance the microbiome).

Concluding the interview, Ms. Wetzstein left us with this parting thought: Hippocrates, the founder of modern western medicine, said “all disease begins in the gut”. Perhaps we can extrapolate that to mean, “all health begins in the gut” too.

So whether you are traveling or planning to have family around your own table this holiday, for a happy mind make sure you serve plenty of veggies and maybe even a side of sauerkraut!

For even more helpful information about nutrition, including recipes and great blog posts, or to make an appointment with Ms. Wetzstein for a consultation, please check out her website:
Or follow her on Instagram and
Facebook at

Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and a proud mom of two children. While her background is in psychology and education, Wendy was recently trained in mindfulness at She has long been passionate about wellness, and as an active member of the Scarsdale PTA, Wendy helped to bring mindfulness to her children's elementary school. In addition, Wendy helped establish and is an acting member of the school's Wellness Committee. For more information about mindfulness check out this site: or Watch the video of Jon Kabat-Zinn explaining what mindfulness is ... or contact Wendy MacMillan at

geralynIf you saw giggling adults climbing into a shopping cart or proposing marriage to a waiter at Moscato or dancing around a light post on Saturday October 26, you may have been wondering what was going on. Was it the Junior Class Road Rally? Or Scarsdalians gone berserk? No, it was Fox Meadow Tennis Club’s first Scavenger Hunt that sent teams of four spirited players on a two-hour search of the Village to accumulate a long list of items and to make many embarrassing videos

The brainchild of Nanette Koryn, Debbie Graham and Ricky Sobel, the event proved to be a laugh a minute for almost 50 participants. Teams, with clever names like Bossy Pants and Know it Alls were given three lengthy sheets of instructions of items to be collected and tasks to be accomplished. Can four people sit on a swing at the same time? Could you walk up to a table of strangers eating dinner at restaurant and steal a French fry off their plate? Does anyone have the guts to ring a doorbell and run before the resident opens the door? You bet. The competitors reverted to teen behavior instantaneously and had a wonderful time completing their missions.

The team of winners received gift certificates for dinner at Colony Grill – and lots of kudos for their hilarious performances, captured on video.

And there’s more than hijinks at the club. Founded in 1883, Fox Meadow Tennis Club (FMTC) has long been a distinguished part of the Scarsdale landscape. Besides its reputation of being a racquet club that prides itself on its warm social atmosphere and sense of fair play, the club enjoys a preeminent position in the world of platform tennis.  

start stop bwd fwd

Platform tennis or 'paddle,' as it is affectionately known today, was invented in Scarsdale in 1928. In 1931, Fox Meadow built the first club court in the country. Today, it's estimated that there are more than 55,000 active players in the United States. We're proud that more national championships have been held on our courts than at any other location and Fox Meadow members have won more national titles than any other club.

Speaking of national championships – Assistant Paddle Pro, Ana Zubori and her partner Martina Ondrejkova wonAnnaZuboriAssistant Paddle Pro Anna Zubori the Chicago Charities Grand Prix, one of the biggest events in the sport. Many of the best players across the country participated in this huge tournament on Saturday, November 9th. They won in the finals with a score of 6-4, 2-5 and a 3rd set nail bitter, winning 6-4. If you’re new to the game or a seasoned player, outside players can take private or group lessons with our teaching staff.

Fox Meadow prides itself on their six Har-Tru tennis courts and nine heated paddle tennis courts, including six that are lit for night play. The clubhouse offers members a comfortable place to relax before and after matches, and a terrific place to view the tennis and paddle activities. As well, there are shower and kitchen facilities and our clubhouse can be rented to both members and non-members for private parties. Socially, there's never a dull moment.

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace