The email request came out of the blue. “I’m writing to see if you’d be interested in working with us on a story in our August issue on packing healthy school lunches?” queried Michelle Dellinger, Editor of Naperville Magazine.
Would I? Is the Pope Catholic?
A beautiful lifestyle publication, Naperville Magazine features many of the western suburbs’ movers and shakers and is the sister publication of Chicago Magazine and Splash. Each issue has a page titled Expert Advice. A competitive swim team coach, dermatologist, cardiologist, aesthetic surgeon, and rheumatologist were featured in recent issues. Why not a registered dietitian nutritionist – and why not me?
Michelle explained what would be needed: an interview and photo shoot. Yes! I liked what I heard so far.
Soon after, I was sent a series of questions by Contributing Writer Cara Sullivan. The questions were well crafted and focused on the baseline goals of packing a lunch, ideas for fun lunchbox options, what age should children be entrusted with packing their own lunch, ensuring lunches get eaten and the ever-present picky eater. Knowing how important this interview was, I spent much time crafting my recommendations and gave her plenty of material from which to choose.
The photo shoot was really fun. Art Director Haleigh Castino reached out to me to schedule the shoot and to discuss the food props we would use. We agreed my home would serve the purpose well and we settled upon first thing in the morning the week leading up to Independence Day. I later discovered Haleigh is also the Graphic Designer for Chicago magazine and SPLASH, both owned by the Chicago Tribune.
The day prior, I made a special trip to the grocery store to stock up on foods that might be shown in the new Bento Box I’d ordered. Foods were considered based on their price points, wide availability, variety of color, being kid-friendly, and yes, nutritional value.
As soon as the date was scheduled, I thought about two important parts of the photo shoot: What to wear – plus my hair and makeup. I had some outfits in mind which I planned to run by Haleigh. And it took me about 10 minutes to decide that this occasion called for professional hair and makeup application. I booked early morning appointments with nearby Neo Bella salon to ensure I looked camera-ready for this special event.
The day of the photo shoot, I headed out to the salon and arrived back just in time to meet the crew who had just arrived. In addition to Haleigh, photographer John Jennings was there along with his assistant, Madeline. As we were getting everything set up, Michelle also showed up.
John took hundreds of photos in order to capture just the right one for the page. Having been photographed in a variety of settings over the years, this was what I had expected. I laughed when they told me some featured experts are surprised at the number of photos taken, with some people expecting just a few!
As the equipment was getting set up for my photographs, I quickly pulled out all the food items from the refrigerator and laid them out on the kitchen island. The ladies deftly placed them in the Bento Box and scattered what didn’t fit around it. I like how my new quartz counter top looks as a backdrop, don’t you?
Here are the two pages of my Expert Advice “It’s Just Lunch.”
If you prefer to read the entire issue, the digital edition link is here.
I am absolutely delighted with the entire experience and am grateful to Michelle for this fantastic opportunity.
Thank you to Neo Bella Salon owner Laura, and her talented staff Kristen for hair styling and Corinne for makeup application.
Now does anyone need a lightly used Bento Box?