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KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - ASSORTED TIPS FOR THE HOME

Clean microfiber furniture with rubbing alcohol. Spray the alcohol over the stains. Scrub and scrub using a white or very light sponge. Alcohol evaporates quickly and will not stain. After it dries, fluff with a plastic bristle brush.

Remove permanent marker from hardwood floors with tooth paste and a microfiber cloth. Dampen the cloth and rub gently. Tooth paste is an excellent gentle abrasive.

Naturally clean your carpet. Sprinkle carpet with baking soda. Let set for 15 minutes or so, vacuum. Mix 1 tablespoon of clear dish detergent and same amount of vinegar in two cups warm water. Spread the solution on the carpet with a light colored cloth. Scrub, then blot and blot with clean dry towels.

Scratches on white ceramic dishes and cookware can be removed using a product called Bar Keepers Friend®. It comes in powder and liquid like Soft Scrub®. Use the liquid first, if the scratches are particularly tough try the powder. It’s worked for me and much cheaper than buying new.  It’s also great on white plastic furniture.

Scratches on furniture can be rubbed out using ¼ cup vinegar to ¾ cup olive oil. Rub in until all solution is used. This can bring back cool thrift store finds.

Use ammonia to clean your stove grates. Place each one into a gallon size heavy duty Ziplock® bag. Add ¼ cup ammonia. Seal and let sit overnight. It’s smelly so you might want to do this in the basement or outside. It's the vinegar fumes that removes the grease and grime. If they’re really bad you might need to do them twice.

Soak labels off dishes and other items. Place in a sink full of warm water and one scoop of Oxiclean. 

Clean grimy cabinets with a paste made from 1 part vegetable oil and 2 parts baking soda. Spread on with a microfiber cloth and use an old toothbrush in the cracks.

Use a squeegee to clean pet hair off the carpet. Dampened rubber gloves will do the same for pet hair-covered furniture.

Microwave sponges for 2 minutes. This will remove 99% of germs. Wash small toys in a laundry bag or run them through the dishwasher.

Clean your garbage disposal and sharpen the blades at the same time. Make ice cubes using a solution of 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar, add a piece of lemon rind to each cube. Throw the cubes in, start running the water then turn on the disposal. The vinegar cleans, the lemon freshens and the cubes sharpen the blades.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - APPLE MUSIC IS COMING

Apple users who want to use the new Apple Music launching tomorrow, June 30, at 8 a.m. PST will need to upgrade their operating system to iOS 8.4. If you want to be reminded to get your new streaming music, simply go to the Facebook invitation page so you won't forget.

You may have heard about some of the controversy over Apple Music with Taylor Swift.  In an open letter to Apple, Swift stated that she was going to hold back her most recent album because Apple Music would not be paying artists during the free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up. After the huge uproar, Apple came back and is now going to pay the artists. According to the letter, Swift was not concerned for her own finances, but "the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success... the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt... the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field... but will not get paid for a quarter of a year's worth of plays on his or her songs."

In combination with the Apple Music streaming, there will also be the radio channel Beats 1. The radio channel will showcase artists hosting programming in addition to full-time DJs spinning.

Spotify watch out!

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - CHICAGO EMBRACES FIRST FULL WEEKEND OF SUMMER!

It may be the last weekend in June but it’s the first full weekend of summer and what a line-up the City has in store for us as our short-lived summer is finally here!  Now, someone just needs to remind Mother Nature of that!!

The Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party is taking it to a NEW location this year over at the UIC Festival Lot (1145 S. Morgan St., Entrance Gate – between Taylor St. & Roosevelt Rd.) in the University Village neighborhood this Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. This annual festival features more than 20,000 people along with two stages of live music, celebrity bartenders, food and drink vendors, raffles plus more! Shuttles will also be running between 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. from Old St. Patrick’s Church (700 W. Adams St.) in the West Loop neighborhood. After parties are being hosted by Dugan’s (128 S. Halsted St.) and The Lodge Chicago (21 W. Division St.) as well!!

Returning this Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is the Randolph Street Market Festival at Beaux Arts Plumber’s Hall (1340 W. Washington St.) in the West Loop neighborhood with its June event the “Chicago Antique Market” featuring eight acres of indoor & outdoor shopping, live music & entertainment, food from all regions of the world & locally and, of course, libations! 250+ vendors will be on hand offering vintage, antique, indie designer, global goods and fancy foods for your shopping pleasure. This festival is also pet-friendly but only in the outdoor section!

Opa! The Gold Coast Greek Fest takes center stage at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral (1017 N. LaSalle St.) in the Gold Coast neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.). Authentic Greek food and pastries, beer, wine, live music & dancing, tours of the Cathedral and much more will be featured at this year’s fest! Admission is free with valet parking available. Experience Greek life right here in Chicago!!

Please welcome Chicago’s two NEW festivals this year –

The Elston Avenue Sausage & Music Fest celebrates encased meats such as Irish sausage, bacon sausage on a bun or a stick, alligator & venison sausages, Italian, Polish & Greek sausages as well as cheddar, andouille & veal bratwursts from a variety of local sausage vendors this Saturday and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) at 3800 N. Elston Avenue (Elston Ave. & Grace St.) in the Irving Park neighborhood. Besides encased meats this Fest also features music, arts & crafts, kids’ activities and kiddie carnival rides!

The Dog Dayz Of Summer pays homage to the classic Chicago hot dog this Saturday and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.) at the Goose Island Barrel Warehouse (605 N. Sacramento Blvd.) in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. Hot Doug’s and Goose Island Beer Company pair up to bring you the “best hits from Hot Doug’s” paired with ice cold beer from Goose Island’s latest summer & specialty beers and live music from local punk & country bands all in a festival-like setting!

Finally, wrapping-up Pride Month, Sunday brings us the 46th annual Chicago Pride Parade which kicks-off at Noon at Montrose Ave. & Broadway St. in the Uptown neighborhood culminating at Diversey Pkwy & Sheridan Rd. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood featuring colorful floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands and walking contingents from community businesses, organizations, elected governmental officials and individuals. This year’s theme is “Color Our World With Pride” and your Grand Marshal is Ty Herndon (country star)! Word has it that the Stanley Cup may make an appearance as well! So be sure to get there early for a good spot!!

This weekend’s Movies in the Parks are –

Saturday

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”Senn Park (5887 N. Ridge Ave.) – Edgewater

“Instructions Not Included”La Villita Park (2800 S. Sacramento Ave.) – South Lawndale

“Step Up All In”Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.) – Austin

Embrace Your Summer – It’s Gone Before You Know It!!

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - RAVENSWOOD, EVANSTON, NORWOOD PARK, LINCOLN PARK, SOUTH LOOP

RAVENSWOOD

It's not too late to purchase tickets for tonight's Greener Ravenswood event at Beyond Design (4515 N. Ravenswood) from 5:00 - 9:00pm, Thursday 6/25. Tickets are $45 for non-members or $35 for Ravenswood Community Council (RCC) & Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) members. There will be local craft beers, spirits, and snacks to enjoy plus a silent auction and demos of green products and "mini clinics" to make it an educational and interactive evening. Some of the proceeds will be used to start up the GRCC's composting program. Funds will be used to iron out the logistics of collecting food waste from participating Ravenswood restaurants to be made into compost by a facility in Pilsen. Turning waste into something useful is always a welcome idea and beneficial to everyone!

EVANSTON

The Smylie Brothers Brewing Company has been having a great year occupying the site of 1615 Oak Ave. which used to be the social security office and the Oak Street Market before that. To mark their one year anniversary, owner Mike Smylie is holding an anniversary party this Saturday, 6/27. $30 tickets for adults and $15 for children 12 yrs and younger will include a pig roast dinner (starts at 5:00pm), brewery tours, and music by local Grateful Dead cover band, Jackstraw. Adults will also get to try a pint of anything on draft for $5 each and taste limited-production brews.

NORWOOD PARK

The "Boutique Senior Community", The Danish Home of Chicago, is holding its Annual Summer Festival and Fundraiser this Sunday, 6/28, from 12noon to 4:00pm. The foundation began in 1891 with The Society for The Danish Old People's Home raising money  through summer picnic events to eventually open the doors to this landmark senior home in 1902. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. There will be Scandinavian food and souvenirs available for purchase, a raffle drawing for the grand prize of $1,500, and various games and activities for the kids including a petting zoo and bouncy house.

LINCOLN PARK

It's warm again and people are crawling out of the woodworks to soak up every minute of it until we go into citywide hibernation again. The streets get pretty dangerous with all the motorist, bicyclist and foot traffic coming from all directions. The issue of cyclists shirking the rules of obeying traffic lights and biking on prohibited sidewalks that are clearly marked, or motorists that do not give cyclists three feet of clearance or park in bike lanes has become such a problem that the 43rd Ward is cracking down on bicycle safety by scheduling a series of "enforcement events". These events will take place at designated intersections where members of  Chicago's Bicycling Ambassadors will partner up with the neighborhood police to catch cyclists and motorists in the act for the purpose of educating and promoting bicycle safety.

SOUTH LOOP

After nearly a year of anticipation, the huge 5,000 square-foot flagship Aurelio's Pizza restaurant is now open at 1212 S. Michigan Ave. Discussion of its construction began in February 2014 with expected opening dates by August 2014 and then April 2015. Good things happen to those who wait and so the double-decker patio is now ready to become a hot spot to visit this summer. The chain restaurant has smaller locations in Chicagoland suburbs such as La Grange and Palos Heights so this will be a remarkable undertaking for the company to have a location in downtown Chicago.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SIDES FOR YOUR HOLIDAY COOKOUTS

I love a good pasta salad chock full of veggies, meat and cheeses. I use rotini pasta but bowties or shells work well in this dish. It’s good to slightly under cook the pasta as it will soak up the dressing as it develops. You can use any bottled Italian dressing or vinaigrette or certainly make your own. I use Good Seasons dressing mixes by Kraft®. You can go in any direction you want. Use different flavored vinegars and oils. Add more garlic or oregano or spice it up with red pepper flakes. You can really make it your own. Now for the veggies. I use celery, green (or any color you like) bell pepper and sweet onions. Slice the celery on the diagonal and the bell peppers and onions into ½ inch chunks. Olives and tomatoes add flavor and texture. I slice black olives. Don’t get pre sliced olives! They are nasty and sliced too thin anyway. Here too you can use any type of olives you like. For the tomatoes I usually use grape tomatoes sliced the long way. Leaving the pieces bigger offers better crunch and flavor. For the meat I use hard salami cut into ½ inch chunks along with mozzarella cheese. You can use more flavorful provolone or jarslberger. Feta or goat cheese work well also. You can stay vegetarian by leaving out the meat and cheese altogether. After mixing in all the ingredients add a handful of freshly grated parmesano reggiano. Let the salad chill. Taste later for seasonings. Add more dressing if needed. Usually it doesn’t as the tomatoes give off some juice.

Roasted new potatoes are delicious and can be served at room temperature making them a great make ahead picnic dish. Use a mixture of white and red new potatoes. Cut them in half or quarter them if they are large. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and chopped garlic. I know it’s heresy to some but I used chopped garlic packed in oil in a jar. The flavor is fine with me and I’ve found I don’t go through enough garlic to buy fresh. It would inevitably rot in the pantry. With the jar in the refrigerator I just spoon out what I want, it’s easy and always ready. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in a 400° degree oven till tender about 25-30 minutes. You can roast vegetables using the same method. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and zucchini work well but broccoli and cauliflower are great too.

You can make a great healthy bean salad. Mix several types of canned beans in a colander. Rinse well and let drain. Kidneys, black, garbanzo and butter beans go well together but the combinations are endless. Add chopped onion and celery along with the Italian dressing. Mixed beans also make super killer baked beans with an addition of bacon and ground beef. Fry a pound of chopped bacon and drain. Brown a pound of ground beef with ½ cup chopped onion, drain. Mix together two 15 ounce cans of pork and beans along with one can each of three other beans (drained). Kidney, black, garbanzo, Great northern, or butter beans and salt all work well. Add ½ - ¾ cup ketchup, ¼ t pepper, 2t white vinegar, and salt and garlic powder to taste. Bake at 350° till heated through.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - WHERE'S STANLEY??

As you may or may not know, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last week.  It was the first time since 1937 that the Hawks won the coveted prize on their own rink.  It was a pretty spectacular evening for most sports fans, not to mention the courageous who were out in the streets that evening.

Before I get to the good stuff, the Stanley Cup history is pretty old and fascinating according to his personal Facebook page. Lord Stanley's Cup was crafted out of silver and nickel alloy in Sheffield, England and presented for the first time in 1893. It tips the scales at 35 pounds, stands three feet tall, and is named in honor of its first owner, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston. The National Hockey League first presented the Stanley Cup as the ultimate prize in 1927, and as the oldest and greatest trophy in professional sports, the rest as they say, is history.

And now that the Cup is making the rounds locally, you can follow with the app available on both Apple and Google Play.  Even better, you can follow the movements of Stanley through his Twitter account. The cup travels the world 320 days out of the year. And you are encouraged to take images and post them either on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

It's even been rumored that Stanley will make an appearance at this weekend's Pride Parade.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE IN CHICAGO!

What a week we had here in Chicago celebrating with our beloved Chicago Blackhawks as they won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years on HOME ice – WOW! And now, the weekend is here with Father’s Day on Sunday and a great line-up of festivities for everyone. Let the celebrations continue and keep a watch out for the Cup!!

Rated as one of the top 40 juried art festivals in the country, this year’s Gold Coast Art Festival celebrates its 58th year at Butler Field, Grant Park (400 E. Monroe St.) in The Loop on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This year’s festival features over 300 artists from around the world with exceptional artwork of all mediums, incredible demonstrations by the artists, interactive art projects as well as fabulous food, live music and beer at one of their three Food, Music & Beer Oases! It’s truly the “Granddaddy of American Art Festivals!!”

As one of Chicago’s leading annual celebrations, the Taste of Randolph returns to the West Loop neighborhood (900-1200 W. Randolph St.) for its 19th year on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This cross-cultural celebration mixes extraordinary food from top restaurants, diverse musical entertainment on three stages and an array of artisans and merchant goods. Not only will you have the opportunity to “get a taste of Restaurant Row without the reservation,” but you also can continue your celebration at one of the many “Official After-Parties” at nearby venues!!

Returning for its 13th annual celebration on Saturday (11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.) in the Lakeview neighborhood (3700 N. Halsted St.), Chicago Pride Fest celebrates June’s Pride Month with an eclectic lineup of food and drink, live entertainment on two stages, over 60 vendors offering arts & crafts and the ever popular Pet Pride Parade presented by PetCo on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. from the stage area. Dogs, cats and other animal kingdom friends are welcome to join in on this festive procession where a panel of jurors will honor the best participants with gift certificates from local retailers! It’s definitely one of the most “flamboyant” celebrations of the summer!!

One of the largest Latin events in the city and nation will be celebrating all things Puerto Rico at this year’s Fiestas Puertorriquenas & Parade on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Humboldt Park (1440 N. Sacramento Ave.) in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Not only does this festival celebrate a rich culture with authentic Caribbean cuisine, lively music, arts & crafts, carnival rides and more but it also will celebrate the 37th anniversary of its People’s Parade on Saturday (2:00 p.m.) from Division Street and Western Avenue!

Finally, the 6 Corners BBQ Fest returns for its 5th year to Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road (4000 N. Milwaukee Ave.) in the Portage Park neighborhood on Saturday (11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) in celebration of Father’s Day weekend!  Needless to say, not only will this fest showcase both local and national ribbers such as “BBQ King Smokehouse,” “Porkchop,” “D.S. Tequila Company” and others, but it also includes arts & crafts, kids’ activities and the crowd-pleasing pro-wrestling shows!

This weekend’s Movies in the Parks are –

Saturday

“Annie (2014)”Bradley Park (9729 S. Yates Ave.) – Jeffery Manor and DuSable Museum of African American History (740 E. 56th Pl.) – Washington Park

Life changes when a little orphan named Annie is invited to stay with business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks.

“When the Game Stands Tall”Horner Park (2741 W. Montrose Ave.) – Horner Park

Legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur takes the De La Salle High School Spartans to a 151-game winning streak.

Sunday

“Edward Scissorhands”Jonquil Park (1001 W. Wrightwood Ave.) – Lincoln Park

The story of a young man who happens to have scissors for hands (Johnny Depp) who falls in love with a beautiful girl.

Will Your Celebrating Continue This Weekend?

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LOOP, PORTAGE PARK, GOLD COAST, LINCOLN PARK, NAPERVILLE

LOOP

The big news today is the parade and Rally to celebrate the Blackhawks' latest retrieval of the Stanley Cup since their last win in 2013. Their victory over Tampa Bay's Lightning on Monday night was extra special since it was the first time in 77 years that they won the Cup during a home game. According to DNAInfo.com, the parade begins at 10:00am today, Thursday 6/18, at Monroe and Jefferson Streets. Tickets to the Rally at Soldier Field were free on Ticketmaster on Wednesday but "sold out" within 15 minutes! If you weren't one of the lucky ones to get tickets, you can watch the festivities from the comfort of The Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe St) where a special party and menu will be served in honor of the our citywide pride in the Blackhawks.

PORTAGE PARK

This Saturday, 6/20, is Portage Park's 46th Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale. There's no better time to meet the neighbors and relieve them of any unwanted items and they can do the same for you. The neighborhood-wide garage and yard sale takes place from 9:00am until 4:00pm. Maps to over 60 participating homes can be obtained at Faith Church (5051 W. Belle Plaine) beginning at 8:00am.

GOLD COAST

This weekend marks the 58th Annual Gold Coast Art Fair at Grant Park. In addition to over 300 juried artists works to admire and purchase, there will be beer and food vendors, live music, and interactive art projects to enjoy. The Fair is open Saturday and Sunday, 6/20 - 6/21, from 10:00am to 6:00pm on both days.

LINCOLN PARK

The Lincoln Park Zoo's Wine & Wildlife series continues on Tuesday, 6/23, with Making the Rounds with Zoo Vets. Adults, 18 and over, have the opportunity to learn from the zoo's team of animal healthcare professionals while enjoying the cash bar. The series is designed to be more informative for an older crowd so leave the kids at home. Admission is $17 for non-members and $14 for members at the Regenstein Center for African Apes from 6:00 - 8:00pm.

NAPERVILLE

The rains may not be through with us just yet. Here's a shout out to the Naperville Fire Department and neighboring water rescue teams for successfully responding to 2 incidents in 12 hours of recreational white water rafting gone wrong yesterday. Apparently the surging waters of the Dupage River had lured a few residents to try to navigate the currents with inflatable watercrafts. Remember to respect the elements and keep safe this summer!

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SAFELY CLEAN THE PATIO AND DECK

We all want a nice clean outdoor area to enjoy now that the weather has finally turned. First, a word about pressure washers. Everyone thinks a pressure washer is the be all and end all for deck and patio cleaning. Pressure washers in inexperienced hands can do great damage to wood, concrete and stone. It can actually turn the wood to pulp and damage concrete and scratch stone. There are other equally successful methods to use.

The best green cleaner for most outdoor surfaces is oxygen bleach. Common household bleach is different as it contains chlorinated bleach. Harmful to many surfaces and deadly to plants and grass. Bleach's effective ingredient is sodium hypo chlorate. Look for this ingredient if you are choosing a commercial deck or patio cleaner. This is why I think oxygenated bleach is the safest. Its ingredients are mainly hydrogen peroxide and soda ash. It comes in a powder form that you mix in a bucket with water. It needs more elbow grease but it’s worth it. Use a stiff brush and work the solution into the wood of the deck. Let sit for a while, a half hour or so. Rinse thoroughly. This cleaner is great for mold, mildew and algae that often forms on the underside of the deck that often stays moist. It’s a good idea to pay a little more instead of the bargain brand. You will use less with better results as it will have more of the effective ingredient.

The patio will also clean well with this oxygenated cleaner whether your patio is concrete, stone or tile. If you have an uncommon stone or tile material for your patio make sure to google it and find out cleaner restrictions. But the oxygenated cleaner should usually be safe. Remove any weeds in-between. Spray with white vinegar to discourage re-growth. If you have any grease spots, treat with degreaser. Let it sit for several hours then rinse. Apply the oxygenated cleaner to concrete with a stiff brush, let set and rinse. For stone and tile only use a soft nylon broom to apply the cleaner, stiff brushes can scratch. Of course rinse thoroughly.

If you are tempted to use any cleaners labeled "deck and patio cleaners", read the list of ingredients carefully. Look out for muriatic or hydrochloric acid. These are very harsh and can scratch and pit stone and tile.

With a little effort you can have a clean and safe outdoor area to entertain friends and family.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - FIND THOSE SCHOLARSHIPS FAST

I have several nieces and nephews who are currently attending college or planning to attend. We were trying to find a list of scholarships and ways to fill them out efficiently.  Then, you probably saw this app when they were on Shark Tank recently.One of the co-founders was on the TV show and created quite a stir, causing a couple Sharks to walk off the set.

The app is called Scholly and is for high school, undergraduate and graduate students seeking to find scholarships that they qualify for. When you first sign up for the app, which is available on both Android and iOS devices, you fill out some personal information. This information includes your name, school details, ethnicity and other pertinent information that you would when applying for a scholarship.  Scholly does the rest of the work for you.  You'll receive a list of available scholarships where you are qualified with links to the application.

The cost for the app is a one-time fee of  $2.99. In fact, an initiative called My Brother's Keeper announced it would purchase 275,000 downloads to give participants who qualify. In addition to this government backing, Memphis and the state of Montana have announced they will also be purchasing the app for every high school senior in their area. The goal is for any large institutions to track usage of the app and acceptance rates on scholarships.

Ultimately, since its introduction, Scholly has increased scholarship application rates by 3000% and helped students locate and raise over $15 million dollars in scholarships.  Schools out but not Scholly.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - FESTIVAL SEASON SWINGS INTO HIGH GEAR!

Summer-like weather has finally arrived here in Chicago and just in time as the City’s festival season swings into high gear!

There’s no better way to swing into high gear than at the 32nd annual Chicago Blues Fest on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Grant Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop. Billed as the largest FREE blues festival in the world, this year’s fest features five stages of live music highlighting both local and national musicians such as Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland & Toronzo Cannon on Saturday, and the Willie Dixon & Muddy Waters Centennial Tributes on Sunday. Also, the Blues Lounge (11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) offers festival goers a chance to get up close and personal with artists by providing an area to relax and listen to music and stories from the heart!

Not a Blues fan? How about swinging into high gear at the 17th annual pig-out fest known as Ribfest Chicago 2015 on Friday from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the North Center Town Square (4100 N. Damen Ave.) in the North Center neighborhood. From humble beginnings in a local parking lot, this fest stretches across Irving Park Road and Lincoln and Damen Avenues featuring 30 Chicagoland rib and non-rib vendors, live entertainment from premier touring bands, a celebrity-judged “Best Ribs” award, an amateur rib-eating contest and “RibMania,” the Midwest’s only professional rib-eating contest featuring top-ranked eaters and sanctioned by IFOCE/Major League Eating! Chicago, Music, BBQ – summer sure doesn’t get any better than this!!

One of the City’s most legendary street festivals and born out of this neighborhood’s Swedish heritage, Andersonville Midsommarfest returns for its 50th year on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Foster Avenue and Clark Street (5200 N. Clark St.) in the Andersonville neighborhood. As you are transported back to old-world Swedish traditions, this fest is filled with flavorful international food, an array of interactive family-friendly activities that include face painting and a pet parade for children of all ages, energetic entertainment, an opportunity to dance around the Maypole and much more!

Returning for its 41st year, the Wells Street Art Festival is one of Chicago’s most popular art fairs taking place on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Wells Street between North Avenue and Division Street (1300 N. Wells St.) in the Old Town neighborhood. This art festival features the works of more than 200 juried fine artists from the Midwest and beyond showcasing their work in nearly a dozen mediums along with tasty cuisine from neighborhood restaurants, activities for kids, a music stage lineup with “16 Candles” closing out Saturday and “Trippin Billies” closing out Sunday and more!

Celebrating its 66th year, the Old Town Art Fair sets-up at the Old Town Triangle Historic District (Main Gate located at Lincoln Ave. and Wisconsin St.) in the Old Town neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This juried art fair features 250 artists with nearly half of the artists being newly juried in each year and showcasing a wide range of art mediums that include 2D- and 3D-mixed media! It also features a food court populated with local eateries, a music stage featuring local talent, a children’s corner offering arts & crafts, souvenir booths and a Garden Walk through more than 60 urban home gardens!!

Finally, the 15th annual Movies in the Parks returns with more than 240 outdoor screenings of current and classic movies in parks across the city. Bring your family and friends along with blankets and a picnic basket and kick-back for an enjoyable movie. Movies begin at dusk (8:30 p.m.) and of course, weather permitting! Here’s this weekend’s line-up:

Saturday

“The Sandlot 2” – Oz Park (2021 N. Burling St.) – Lincoln Park
A group of young baseball players test the myth of Mr. Mertle and his dangerous dog.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)” – Winnemac Park (5100 N. Damen Ave.) – Lincoln Square
Turtle power is back when a group of mutant turtles try to keep the peace.

Sunday

“Jurassic Park” – Holstein Park (2200 N. Oakley Ave.) – Bucktown
Visitors at a theme park, where dinosaurs are brought back to life, discover beauty and danger.

Will You Be Swinging Into High Gear Too! GO HAWKS!!

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LAKEVIEW, WEST LOOP, OLD TOWN, NORWOOD PARK, OAK PARK

LAKEVIEW

Marla Michele Must, photographer and founder of the Detroit-based, Random Acts of Enchantment, brought her movement to Chicago with the participation of some students of Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School this week. The idea is "to encourage self-esteem, inclusiveness and kindness among tween-agers" through use of social media. Participants around the ages of 10 - 14 are encouraged to sign up through Instagram @EnchantedPhotographyMichigan, #RandomActOfEnchantment. These participants will then perform good deeds towards random people in their schools or communities with whom they may otherwise never come into contact. Then their stories can be found on the Random Acts of Enchantment website and Ms. Must will treat the group to an empowering photo session that will give these youngsters a positive presence on the popular social media site, Instagram.

WEST LOOP

Anyone interested in learning more about local childcare providers and schools may attend the 2nd annual West Loop Childcare and School Fair this Saturday, 6/13, at Crowne Plaza Metro Hotel (733 W. Madison St) from 9:00am to 12:00noon. Knowledgeable individuals will be on hand to answer any questions about childcare providers, preschools, public, private, charter, home schooling and alternative schooling options. Organizations that offer summer camps and enrichment in the arts and sports will also be in attendance. Admission is $5 at the door or you can pre-register for free here.

OLD TOWN - 6/13 - 6/14 event

It's time for the 66th annual Old Town Art Fair this weekend, 6/13 - 6/14, from 10:0am to 6:00pm both days, rain or shine. Entrance gates will be located at Lincoln Park West & Wisconsin, Sedgwick & Menomonee, Sedgwick & Wisconsin, Menomonee & Wells, and North Park & Willow. 250 juried artists will be featured plus live music, food for purchase, arts and crafts activities for kids, and a Garden Walk to showcase 60+ home gardens in the neighborhood. Suggested entry donation is $7 for adults to benefit the local community.

NORWOOD PARK

Norwood Park Historical Society's annual Giant Yard Sale and Silent Auction is approaching and now is your chance to donate your unwanted items to benefit this non-profit organization. The Giant Yard Sale will take place at Chicago's oldest house, the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House (5624 N. Newark Ave) which is also headquarters to the Historical Society, on Saturday, 6/20, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Items that are not accepted are mattresses, clothes, shoes, large appliances, or electronic equipment. All other items may be left at the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House under the canopy by the garage in the back at any time. Also large donations such as furniture can be picked up at your home if you schedule with staff by calling 773-631-4633 or emailing info@norwoodparkhistoricalsociety.org.

OAK PARK

WonderWorks Children's Museum has been occupying the 6,400 sqft building at 6445 W. North Ave. since 2003 but is looking to expand. Last month, Rachel Rettberg was named CEO which is quite the promotion from her former position as board member and secretary. She has noted that the number of visitors and children's parties have grown over the past 5 years and she is heading fundraising plans with the goal of relocating to a larger location. Wonder Works encourages young children from toddler-age to 8 years old to explore and play creatively with the exhibits and other children in the five "experience zones" that include interactive lessons in farming and gardening, art, construction, and performance. The coming year is bound to be an exciting one for this family-oriented Oak Park establishment.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - REDO YOUR LAWN QUICKLY WITH SOD

If you are going to spend the money for sod it’s a good idea to give it the best chance to take and grow into a beautiful lawn. I’ve seen too many homeowners put in sod and not care for it properly. Sod is costly and a complete waste of money if you don’t take care of it.

Start out by preparing the base for the sod. Make sure you remove all the old grass. There is a tool called a sod cutter that will remove all the grass and weeds. Improve the soil by adding topsoil, sand and compost. Sand will help break down the clay-like soil often found around Chicago. Rake this all together making sure to go down at least three inches so the roots from the sod will have an easy time reaching and anchoring.

Lay down the strips of sod as closely together as possible. You don’t want any air getting in between the strips and drying out the sod. Dried out sod is soon to be dead sod. Add topsoil around the perimeter.

The most important job next is water. Water the sod thoroughly for the next two days. Two inches of water at least. Check under a strip to make sure the soil underneath is completely saturated. If not, keep watering. Moist base soil will encourage the sod roots to grow and anchor into the base soil.

After the second day of watering it’s time to roll. Sod rollers have come a long way from the huge concrete rollers of the past. Newer models have wheels that are filled with water to make moving them easier as well as storage. Pay special attention to the seams. Try to borrow a sod roller from a neighbor or friend. I’m sure they are also available for rent.

Keep watering the sod every other day for at least two weeks. After two weeks it’s time to mow. It might not look like it needs it but it will tend to grow unevenly at first. Even it out remembering never to cut shorter than three inches. Leave it even longer if it’s very hot. Keep watering as you would do any lawn, one inch per week.

Sod is an investment in money AND time. Realize it is a job whether you are just replacing a part of the lawn or the whole thing. Give sod a good start and it will be beautiful for many years to come. 

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - APPLE WWDC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Each year, Apple hosts its Worldwide Developer Conference where new features are announced specifically for the development community. For the average user some of the announcements were more technical in nature and not really of great interest, like Metal API. Metal basically will allow developers to create better imagery in apps, games. etc.

One of the first features announced Mac OS X El Capitan. The main improvements over Yosemite include snapping windows to the side of your screen, better gesture support and natural language processing. For those of you familiar with Windows, the snap feature has been around for some time. The item I found most interesting is the language processing. For example, if you are looking for the Los Angeles Dodgers, you could type in LA Dodgers and get better Spotlight search results.

Another feature announced was Proactive assistant which runs on iOS 9. This particular feature takes into consideration a person's privacy when sending helpful reminders throughout the day. Since it is similar to Google Now, a lot of users will be accustomed to its capabilities. And like stated earlier, the information is brought to you based upon what you already have on your phone rather than processing in the cloud.

Currently the Apple Watch is tethered to your phone and that is how your run apps on it. With the introduction of SDK native app the apps will run on the watch itself. This new development opens the door for developers to create more complex apps, as well as access the microphone, video playback, the heart rate sensor, Taptic Engine and Digital Crown.

And finally, Apple Music was announced as a direct competitor to Spotify. The cost for this service will be $9.99 per month which includes the new Beats1 radio station, access to an extensive streaming catalog, and a fun social tool, Apple Connect, that allows you to directly interact with musicians. Apple Music is set to launch on June 30. The Android version will be available later this year.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

 

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - TIME TO PLAY -- CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS TAKE IT TO THE STREETS!

It’s about time -- the weekend is finally here! Time to play and enjoy what the City and its various neighborhoods have to offer as they take it to the streets of Chicago!!

The Midwest’s oldest juried art fair takes it to the streets of the Hyde Park neighborhood with the 68th annual 57th Street Art Fair at 57th Street between Woodlawn and Kenwood Avenues this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). This art fair offers art lovers an opportunity to view and shop from more than 200 artists from around the country, speak with the artists about their creations, attend artist demonstrations, enjoy some live music and more at this special one-of-a-kind event!

Back for its 5th year, Remix Chicago is an eclectic art fest located in the Logan Square neighborhood and taking it to the streets at 2200-2300 N. Milwaukee Avenue between Fullerton and California Avenues this Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Local artists participating in this art fest take used or recycled goods and create original, handmade art, clothing, household items and other crafts while changing the way communities think about the value of recyclables! In addition to the great art, exciting live music featuring local, independent artists, tasty food and 12 eco-friendly workshops round out this event!

The Midwest’s largest free outdoor literary event takes it to the streets of the South Loop neighborhood with the 31st annual Printers Row Lit Fest at Dearborn Street between Congress Parkway and Polk Street this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.). Attracting over 150,000 book lovers, this two-day literary fest features over 200 booksellers from across the country offering new, used and rare books as well as poetry performances, cooking demonstrations, writing workshops and a Lil’ Lit Park where families can enjoy storytelling, special activities, performances, sing-a-longs and costumed characters with their children!

The Lincoln Park neighborhood will be taking it to the streets with the 38th annual Lincoln Park Greek Fest this Saturday (12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) on Sheffield Avenue between Diversey Parkway and Schubert Avenue. This popular cultural celebration on the grounds of St. George Greek Orthodox Church serves up plenty of “filoxenia” (Greek hospitality and generosity of spirit) with flavorful Greek food (prepared by the church members), music, folk dancing and kids’ activities for an “Opa” of a time!

The Little Village neighborhood will be taking it to the streets with its 1st annual Taste of Mexico this Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at California Avenue and 26th Street. Besides authentic Mexican dishes being the main focus at this event, top chefs (locally and from Mexico) will demonstrate their cooking skills on the Culinary Stage while non-stop bands and acts perform on the Music Stage with arts & crafts and carnival rides rounding out this first-ever event!

Finally, it’s time for the 3rd annual Beach Slap Volleyball Tournament and Beach Party taking place at North Avenue Beach (1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. for those who find the streets to be hard on their feet. Your entry includes tournament play (volleyball, cornhole and dodgeball), drink tickets for your team and prizes for the top teams. Afterwards, The Official Big Dig Post Party takes place at The Pony (1638 W. Belmont Ave.) from 8:00 p.m. to Midnight with FREE Bud Light from 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. by showing your event wristband!

Will You Be Taking It To The Streets OR The Sand?

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
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