Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sourcebooks and Make-A-Wish® Illinois Team Up to Make Eighth-Grade Girl’s Dream Come True

Sourcebooks and Make-A-Wish® Illinois Team Up to Make Eighth-Grade Girl’s Dream Come True
13-Year-Old Plainfield Girl Battling Cystic Fibrosis Will Publish a Children’s Book
Ravina Thakkar, an eighth-grader at Heritage Grove Middle School in Plainfield, IL, loves to dance, listen to music, and write stories. She excels in school and dreams of being a published author someday. But that someday is here, thanks to the help and dedication of her social worker, her wish granters at Make-A-Wish® Illinois, and Naperville-based book publisher Sourcebooks.
Ravina has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening medical condition affecting both her lungs and digestive system. Ravina’s disease has not defined her, and more importantly, has not stopped her from pursuing her dreams. She was 11 when she won first place in the 2011 Plainfield Great Read writing contest for her short story, “A Magical Thing.” Referred to Make-A-Wish® Illinois by her hospital social worker, she was then connected with Sourcebooks, and in the two years since, Ravina and her family have seen her dream become a reality.
Through Sourcebooks, Ravina has experienced everything a published author does, such as working with editors and designers to revise the manuscript and the design of the jacket art. On Dec. 3, Ravina’s completed book, a middle-grade novel titled The Adventure of a Lifetime, a story she wrote when she was only 8-years-old, will be released in trade paperback—right on time for her 14th birthday on Dec 4. Ravina’s experience will be rounded out with a complete marketing and publicity campaign and a book signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville on Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.
The Adventure of a Lifetime tells the story of Betty, a 9-year-old girl who thinks her life is pretty boring until she finds herself fighting battles alongside a fearless character from her favorite fiction series. As they race from one danger to the next, Betty learns that being a sidekick is no piece of cake and that being an action hero comes at a cost. Will Betty ever be able to return to her old life? Written for 9–12 year olds, The Adventure of a Lifetime will be available for purchase wherever books are sold.
And like the characters in her story, Ravina’s life will never be the same.
About Sourcebooks
Sourcebooks is creating the next evolution of a book publishing company. We are committed to innovative publishing, to exploring every platform, and to creating breakthrough models. We truly believe that books have the power to touch people and change lives. Sourcebooks is home to 120 enthusiastic book-loving employees who are dedicated to finding new ways to connect with authors, readers, and ideas. We publish over 300 new titles each year, and are honored to have 42 New York Times bestsellers. Sourcebooks is proud to be one of the largest woman-owned book publishers in the country. Visit
for more information, and check out the Sourcebooks blog.
About Make-A-Wish® Illinois
Since 1985, Make-A-Wish Illinois has granted more than 11,000 wishes to children across the state with the support of 1,400 volunteers and numerous donors and other supporters. Make-A-Wish® Illinois grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives with hope, strength, and joy.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Date Correction - ISTANBUL BREEZE: Opening Reception FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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FRIDAY  *  NOVEMBER 22  *  5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
 716 N. Wells St.  *  Chicago 
CHICAGO --Partnering with Istanbul based, ARMAGGAN Art & Design Gallery, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is pleased to present ISTANBUL BREEZE, featuring thirteen contemporary Turkish Artists, two of whom reside in Chicago.  The show consists of three-dimensional works in glass, metal, bronze, fiber art, mixed media, paintings and photography. A uniting factor with the artists appears to be a thread of the feminine, whether it is a painting of feminist symbolism, to marble and bronze sculptures dedicated to the transcendence of the human spirit, or fabric and glass that show an ephemeral nature, the works speak volumes about the role of the feminine in a male dominated society.  The artists, all Turkish but each with their own distinct intercultural backgrounds, are an amalgam of Greek, Cypriot, Armenian, Jewish, Eastern European and Asian descent.  Like the United States, Turkey is a melting pot of different races, religions and cultures. 
The Turkish art market has been progressively blossoming into a global market.  Nearly a decade earlier, the country was in economic crisis.  Today Turkey has become the second fastest growing economy in the world after China. The local art scene has experienced a boom in new art institutions since 2004, from galleries, artist-run spaces, privately funded museums and art centers, to art fairs and auctions. Compared to art markets in the Middle-East and India - the Turkish art market is more developed, with a solid infrastructure to support the growing art scene. With Istanbul being named the European Capital of Culture in 2010, further art infrastructure support and investment has blossomed.  In 2009, London Sotheby's had it first ever auction of Turkish Modern Art.  The following year, the sales doubled.  Modern Turkish art is in high demand, in Turkey and internationally, but Turks also have a global perspective and are collecting artists from abroad. Turkey's transformation is not only economic, but also cultural, especially since the launch of the Istanbul Biennal Contemporary Art in 1987.  
The country, passing a second crisis this past summer from the Gezi Park protests, has rebounded through the arts.  Many of the artists from this exhibition were at Gezi Park in peaceful support of the protection of the park itself.  It was a profound experience for them and for the world.  Many of the works show a joy and fullness that is commensurate with their ethos.  They do not describe or subscribe to violence or sadness in any way.  Instead, each artist expresses their innate belief in the power of the positive, in the power of love and the power of humanity.  They are Humanists to end.  

ISTANBUL BREEZE:  FRIDAY, November 22 - January 24

 About the art & artists: 

Standing nearly five feet tall, a central figure of the exhibition is a "Guardian Angel" by Yasemin Aslan Bakiri, a native of Istanbul.  The Angel is created from metal, glass, steel wool and silver mesh to show the spiritual side of Istanbul's past civilizations.  Known for her glass and mesh "Kaftans," Aslan Bakiri 
creates a visual game made from layers of hot glass formed manually and spontaneously before giving the glass the chance to cool. Her mother knits the field where the glass is attached to the background.   

Another cornerstone of the exhibit is Meral Deger's CORNUCOPIA.  Apropos for the holiday season, Deger's glass techniques suggest a powerful study of an ephemeral medium.  Deger recently won an award at the Venice Architecture Biennale in the Murano section.  For this exhibition, she has created a series of hand blown glass Cornucopias (Horns of Plenty) that seem to rise, as if reaching towards the sky.  They are ecstatic symbols of the human spirit that transcends worlds and are grounded all at once.   

Chicago artists, Ani Afshar and Meltem Aktas were both born in Istanbul. Aktas, is known for her majestic iconography in many of the churches throughout the United States.  Aside from Turkish miniatures and Sufi mysticism, Aktas draws inspiration from Flemish painting, New Mexican retablos and the poetry of St. John of the Cross and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Two smallSufi Mystic images on wood, painted much like her signature Byzantine icon style in which she mixes her own paints from egg tempura and applies gold leaf will be on display.   

Fiber artist, Ani Afshar, coming off of an exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center in September 2012 and at Hilton Asmus Contemporary last April, has created a tulle composition, "Layers of Shine & Shadow," for the exhibition.  She is currently preparing for an exhibition of her weavings"Interlacing Threads: Traditional Techniques | Contemporary Perspectives," to be held at Columbia College in January 2014.  

Of the thirteen artists, only one is male.  Dincer Gungorur, hailing from the Central Mediterranean region, the artist embraces a figurative style reminiscent of the female fertility figures of ancient history using locally mined marbles for his figures.  Perhaps he has been to the ancient Hittite archaeological site in the southeastern part of Turkey where the references to a matriarchal society is blatant.  Where Gungorur forms grounded weighty figures of female goddesses, Derya Ozparlak chases metal into light airy forms of female figures floating through the sky lifted by colorful balloons.  Her main objective is joy.  And as such, her girls are happy, light and weightless, as if to say, this is what life should be,  and for Ozparlak, it is.  
Nadia Arditti was born in Istanbul in 1948, where she lived until her family immigrated to Geneva.  She completed her education in Lausanne.  It has been written that her bronze sculptures (lost wax process) bring warm femininity to metallic cold.  Arditti is carried away by the nature of women, their loves and desires, inner strengths and outer reaches.   

specializes in contemporary paintings, works on paper, fiber art, sculpture and photography. Featuring Chicago based artists, as well as internationally known artists from Asia, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Region such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, and the Middle East.   
Located in the River North Art District, the gallery is at the corner of Wells and Superior (between PROSECCO, a fine dining Italian restaurant and THE BOARDING HOUSE)




Yasemin Aslan Bakiri
"Guardian Angel"

"In Another Silence"


Nadia Arditti
"Mother & Child"


Dincer Gungorur
HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY | 716 N. Wells Street | Chicago | IL | 60654


21 E. Hubbard Street
                        Chicago, IL 60611 

RING IN 2014 
The holidays are here, and Shaw's Crab House in Chicago is kicking things in gear with a festive New Year's celebration. For the big night, the downtown location will be bedazzled with balloons, twinkling white lights, poinsettias, wreaths, garland, and yard after yard of holiday ribbon.

On New Year's Eve, reservations will be accepted in the Oyster Bar from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. The Fabulous Fish Heads will be rocking the Oyster Bar from 9:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight. In addition, there will be a party favor-laden Champagne toast and complimentary oysters when the clock strikes 12:00 midnight!

In the Main Dining Room, reservations will be accepted from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The restaurant will be serving their a la carte menu and decadent specials, including Dover Sole, succulent Nantucket Cape Scallops, and Alaskan Red King Crab. At 12:00 midnight, guests will also usher in 2014 with a complimentary Champagne and oyster toast! For more information or to make reservations, please call 312.527.2722.

On New Year's Day, the fun continues! Shaw's starts 2014 off right with a New Year's Day brunch in their Main Dining Room from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Guests can sip bloodies and chow down on the best brunch in town for just $55 per person, and kids 12 and under eat for free (limit 2 kids per adult). The New Year's Day buffet features a hot buffet line brimming with classic breakfast fare, plus Shaw's specialties. There's also a make-your-own-omelet and waffle station with more than a dozen ingredients; a surf-n-turf station offering lobster bisque, beef tenderloin, and crab legs; a cold seafood bar featuring sushi, oysters and crab bites; and salads galore, like Shaw's classic Caesar salad and harvest spinach salad. Meanwhile, a sweets table tempts with bite-sized portions of Shaw's favorites, from crème brûlée and raspberry tartlets to key lime pie, pecan torts, fresh fruit, and candy canes. Shaw's Chicago regular a la carte menu will also be available in the Main Dining Room from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Shaw's Chicago Oyster Bar will be open on New Year's Day from 11:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The regular menu will be available and guests can slurp selected ½ priced oysters from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information on Shaw's New Year's festivities, please call 312.527.2722.

Shaw's Crab House, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, features a 1940s-style take on the seafood dining experience, with retro leather banquettes, polished wood floors and Art Deco touches. The Oyster Bar provides a more casual setting for diners and serves up live music five nights a week at the Chicago location and Friday and Saturday nights at the Schaumburg location. Shaw's-The King of Crab! For more info, call 312.527.2722 (Chicago) or 847.517.2722 (Schaumburg), visit the website at
, tweet with The Shaw's Mermaid at or keep up on Facebook at and


Oceanique To Host Annual Champagne Extravaganza, December 19th (Evanston,IL)

505 Main Street | Evanston, IL 60201
847-864-3425 |

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Oceanique To Host Annual Champagne
Extravaganza, December 19 2013

Main Dining Room Good lo res with border Oceanique Restaurant in Evanston, Illinois (505 Main Street; 847-864-3435) will host its annual Champagne Extravaganza at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 19. This annual event is an opportunity for Oceanique's lovers of Champagne to enjoy an exceptional six-course meal, paired with some of the restaurant's favorite Champagnes. The price of the event is $225 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.  

Oceanique is an acknowledged favorite of wine aficionados, being the winner of the Wine Spectator "Best of" Award of Excellence, which designates it as having one of the top 750 wine lists in the world.  

"The holiday season at Oceanique is especially convivial, and this year's Champagne Extravaganza promises to be one of our finest ever," said Chef de Cuisine and owner Mark Grosz. "It will be the first time we've hosted our annual Champagne Extravaganza in our newly redesigned restaurant. Not only will the food and Champagne be outstanding, but our guests also will find our dining room to be more lavish and contemporary, a perfect place to enjoy great food and friends."

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame ChampagneThe menu features a six-course menu prepared by Chef Grosz. The meal begins with Tarte Flambé, paired with N.V. Mandois. The second course features Wild Maine Day Boat Sea Scallops with pea tips, sake and ginger, paired with N.V. Henriot "Souverain" Brut. The third course presents Organic Icelandic Arctic Char with fennel, leeks and Porto, paired with N.V. Laurent-Perrier Brut "Cuvée Rose." Following an intermezzo of Michigan Mutsu Apple Sorbet, the dinner continues with Hudson Valley Duck Confit, red cabbage, spaetzle and foie gras, paired with 1996 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin "La Grande Dame" (photo above left). The sixth course finale is Chef Grosz' luscious Marjolaine, paired with N.V. Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec.

About Oceanique 
Oceanique, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014 (February 5, 2014), is one of the Chicago area's finest and most acclaimed restaurants, serving contemporary French-American cuisine in a beautiful, new dining room. The restaurant is owned by Chef Mark Grosz and his wife, Renée André. The Pastry Chef is Abel Garcia and the Wine Director is Philippe André. The bar area has been expanded and features a new small plates menu to accompany the fine selection of wines, craft beers and artisan cocktails. Guests are encouraged to enjoy a casual meal in the bar area or enjoy the full à la carte and dégustation menus in the dining room. The bar even includes a communal table to encourage single dining or groups.  

Oceanique serves dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Valet parking is available and all major cards are accepted. A private room is available for group events. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Oceanique at 847-864-3435 or visit the website at  

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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece Idea – Decorative Gourmet Caramel Apples

It’s not too late to ditch the predictable flowers, candles and cornucopias this Thanksgiving and decorate your table with a Mrs. Prindable’s Gourmet Jumbo Apple. Mrs. Prindable’s offers a wide selection of festive fall apples - the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table.

Whether it’s Mr. and Mrs. Turkey, or a Triple Chocolate Apple with a whimsical orange bow, Mrs. Prindable’s scrumptious apples make beautiful table decorations and provide a healthier option for after dinner sweets. Instead of dense pies and puddings that normally weigh down your Thanksgiving meal, start a new, healthier tradition with your family by serving a centerpiece as you wrap up your feast. In addition, they make the perfect Thanksgiving hostess gift.

There is still time to order centerpieces to arrive in time for Thanksgiving. All orders are made fresh perorder, and orders placed through Noon CST on Monday, Nov. 25 will arrive in time for Thanksgiving!

Mrs. Prindable’s hand selects extra fancy apples based on crispiness, juiciness and size. Each orchard-fresh premium apple is dipped by hand in cream, smooth caramel cooked that same day. Then, depending on the caramel apple chosen, the apple is hand-rolled in the finest nuts and toppings.

For more information about Mrs. Prindable’s and its products, please visit

Could You Be Serving Up A Lawsuit with That Turkey Dinner?

Could You Be Serving Up A Lawsuit with That Turkey Dinner?
Who is liable if a guest gets food poisoning or drives home drunk?
As millions of Americans host and attend Thanksgiving dinners across the street or across the country, many may be unaware of the risks. According to Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting others into their homes and serving food and drinks.
“All hosts should be aware that if someone drives drunk or becomes sick after consuming food at a holiday party, the host could actually be liable,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “In fact, a casserole could bring just as many risks as a cocktail. Before hosting a party this holiday season, you may want to consult with a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent and ask questions.”
A 2012 survey by Trusted Choice® and IIABA found that almost three-fourths of homeowners had served food in their home that was prepared by someone other than themselves. That means more than 111 million homeowners in the United States have put themselves at risk for a lawsuit by just feeding their guests.
The Big “I” and Trusted Choice® provide the following tips for holiday hosts and guests.
Watch What You Eat and Feed Others: Even if food was prepared outside your home by a caterer, another guest, a local deli or the neighborhood pizza joint, YOU could be held liable if someone becomes ill from consuming it on your property. Make sure that you check food and don’t put anything out that you suspect may be undercooked, spoiled or contaminated. Use only reputable food purveyors. Follow proper food-handling, heating/cooling and storage recommendations. When in doubt, throw it out.
Mix up the Activities, not just the Cocktails: If the party centers on drinking, guests will likely drink more. Schedule entertainment or activities that do not involve alcohol. Provide safe filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages. Know who the designated drivers are ahead of time.
Party Elsewhere: Host your party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather in a home or office to decrease your liability.
Call a Cab, Get a Room or Have a Slumber Party: Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who cannot or should not drive home.
Just Say No: Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end. Stay alert and always remember your responsibilities as a host. You might also consider hiring an off-duty police officer or professional bouncer to discreetly monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
Do Your Homework: When hosting a holiday party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to protect them if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank or got sick after consuming food at their home. Consumers should regularly review their liability coverage limits to ensure they are adequately covered should an accident or illness occur.
Know Your State Laws and Statutes: In many states, party hosts can be held liable if a guest is involved in an alcohol-related accident. Many courts have found hosts liable for damages their party guests cause as a result of consuming alcohol and then driving motor vehicles. Many states have also enacted statutes that can be interpreted as mandating non-commercial social host liability. So, if a guest or third party is injured in an accident that is related to alcohol consumption and the drinking can be linked to you, you could be held responsible for the payment of medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work and — in the worst case — claims for wrongful death resulting in huge monetary settlements.
Consider an Umbrella Policy: While holiday partygoers and hosts alike should act responsibly and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be entirely eliminated. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense. Purchasing a personal “umbrella” liability policy — providing $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit of a standard homeowners or renters policy — may be a prudent move for the frequent party host. 
“Thanksgiving dinner or even a neighborhood holiday potluck could have disastrous results for the host if someone is stricken with food-poisoning,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president for education and research. “Whether the food served came from your kitchen, a five-star caterer or a pizza delivery truck, if you serve it, you could be liable if anyone gets sick.”
The survey was conducted for Trusted Choice® via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR), an independent research company in Media, Pa. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 760 homeowners were conducted in November and December 2012. More information about ICR can be obtained at
Trusted Choice® agencies are insurance and financial services firms. They represent multiple insurance companies, offering individuals and business owners a variety of coverage choices, customized insurance plans to meet specialized needs as well as advocacy support. These firms adhere to a pledge of performance, committing them to providing excellent customer service. For more information, go to
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address:


CASTING CALL: Upcoming Chicago-Based talk show seeks extras!

    CASTING CALL:  Upcoming Chicago-Based talk show seeks extras!

    A Chicago-based production company is seeking extras for an upcoming talk show project to be launched mid-January 2014.

    "Chicago At Night" is an informative and entertaining talk show about what is happening on the Chicago scene, with a comedic circus atmosphere, featuring a wide variety of entertainers, and promoting regional talent.

    Casting call registration will be held Sunday, November 24th, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at:

    The Chicago Actors Studio
    2040 N. Elston Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois, 60614

    Bring a headshot or recent snapshot.

    Attending this casting call will give you a chance to meet with the producers of the show.

    If you are unable to attend, you may also drop off your photo and information at the address listed above on 
    Monday-Thursday 1:30pm-9:00pm  Fridays 1:30pm-6:00pm  Saturdays 1:30pm-5:00pm

    If you cannot come in person, you may also register electronically. To do so, send an Email to with the subject line "Extras Casting." Please include a headshot or recent snapshot, under 1MB in size, in Jpeg format, and the following information:

    Email Address:
    Phone Number:

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lights the Way for Water Tower Place Shoppers to Win More Than $25,000 in Holiday Sweepstakes Prizes (Chicago)

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lights the Way for Water Tower Place Shoppers to Win More Than $25,000 in Holiday Sweepstakes Prizes
    (CHICAGO), November 15`, 2013 – Santa’s most iconic and beloved reindeer, Rudolph, is starring in Water Tower Place’s interactive sweepstakes, Reindeer Games, to give away more than $25,000 in prizes this holiday season. From November 28 to December 24, shoppers can visit the Water Tower Place website, Facebook page or mobile site for a chance to win a dazzling prize each day.
    Shoppers are encouraged to play along as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his trusted eight reindeer friends unveil a new prize every three days throughout the sweepstakes. This fun and engaging game brings to life some of the most endearing holiday characters, while celebrating the excitement of the season. Must-have prizes from our reindeer friends include:
    Nov. 28-30      Dasher            Bose VideoWave III Entertainment System
    Dec. 1-3          Dancer            Family Package of Mongoose Bike and Helmets
    Dec. 4-6          Prancer           Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR Camera with Deluxe Accessory Kit
    Dec. 7-9          Vixen               Two Microsoft Xbox One Systems
    Dec. 10-12      Comet             Four Spa Finder Cards Valued at $500 Each
    Dec. 13-15      Cupid               Two Vacations to Hotel Riu Cancun Courtesy of Apple Vacations
    Dec. 16-18      Donner            $2,500 Shop Etc. Gift Card
    Dec. 19-21      Blitzen             Tanque Verde Ranch Experience
    Dec. 22-24      Rudolph           Apple iPad      
    Winners will be drawn from all entries received nationally and will be notified at the end of each prize period. To find out more about the sweepstakes, including the official rules, visit the Water Tower Place Facebook page at
    , or join the Water Tower Place loyalty program, The Club, which is free and easy to join.
    # # #
    About Water Tower Place
    Water Tower Place is owned and managed by General Growth Properties, a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and developing high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP’s portfolio is comprised of 122 high-quality retail properties in the United States comprising approximately 126 million square feet. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.