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First thing, check out your mattress. Is it more than 10 years old? Might be time for a new one. If that isn’t in the budget right now, there are a few inexpensive to cost free remedies. Purchase a memory foam mattress. Check out Costco or Sam’s Club for a good price on these. At no charge, flip the mattress. Flip head to foot on time and side to side the next. Do this monthly along with a good vacuum to prolong the life of your mattress.

Check out your surroundings. When it comes time to paint consider a calming color. Shades of green, gray and blue are very calming and induce more relaxation. Try to keep your bedroom free of unnecessary clutter. A messy room causes anxiety, definitely not conducive to restful sleep. Keep the room as dark as possible. Use blackout curtains and shades.

Cool down the room. It’s recommended the temperature for best sleep is no higher than 65 degrees. Use down comforters and warm pajamas. Put lotion on your feet and warm socks for double benefits.

Many essential oil scents can be very calming and sleep inducing. Use an electric warmer with essential scents like lavender, vanilla and jasmine. No open flames or candles for safety!! A white noise machine can be very helpful to keep out city noises and lull you into a dreamy sleep. I actually found an app that lets you combine different sounds from hundreds on the app. I use a combination of rain, wind and surf. The app is called Relax Melodies and it’s free on the App Store.

I know many will not want to hear this but it’s essential to power off for a least half an hour before you want to be sleeping. Tablets, phones and laptops emit blue light which interrupts your natural calm down to sleep time. So turn off early for better sleep!

If you want to stop hitting the snooze button so much, put the alarm clock across the room. Get an early start after your restful night.


Last month, Adobe and Dropbox created a partnership to assist with the usage of PDF documents within Dropbox.

During that time, you could make edits to your PDF documents on your desktop while working in the Dropbox file. It would then automatically save the file in Dropbox to the newer version of the file. 

Just announced today is the fact that you can now do your edits from an iOS application, meaning it's gone mobile. If you are on your iPhone or iPad, you would open the PDF file, click on "Edit" and make any changes to the document.

Dropbox has not stopped there. They have also started their own direct competitor to Google Docs called Paper. Paper has a more practical approach in comparison as the software allows you to collaborate on a document without the rich text editing. It does, however, allow you to add images and videos direct from your other Dropbox folders as well as content from the web. It's considered to be more of a white board experience so it will be interesting to see if how people will make a transition to this new platform. If you want to experience this new platform, you need to sign up for the wait list.



On this third weekend of November, not only will Chicago possibly receive its first snowfall of the year, but it will also welcome in another “Holiday Season” despite the snow! Who knows, it might actually be a nice added touch to the weekend!!


There’s no better way to begin the Holiday Season, and get you into the holiday spirit, than with BMO Harris Bank’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival which takes place on Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Oak Street on the Near North Side this Saturday. Between 11:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m. the Interactive Holiday Wonderland features the best in holiday shopping with extended shopping hours, family-friendly activities in “Lights Festival Lane,” and live concerts by top musical artists on the “BMO Harris Bank Stage.” Between 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., the grand “Tree-Lighting Parade” takes place with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as your masters of ceremonies on the head float along with giant, floating balloons, marching bands, twirling dancers, singers and elaborate floats. Then the day wraps-up with a “Fireworks Spectacular” show over the Chicago River! It’s the largest evening holiday celebration of its kind!!


Another Chicago annual holiday favorite is the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light this Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (through January 3, 2016) at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s a one-of-a-kind seasonal celebration with a 45-foot Grand Tree taking center stage in the Rotunda and decked out with over 30,000 twinkling lights and hundreds of ornaments and trimmings. Then surrounding the Grand Tree are more than 50 smaller trees all beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities representing their cultures and holiday traditions. A mix of festive holiday tunes and snow falling every half hour in the Rotunda along with performances of various ethnic dance and choral groups on the Holiday Stage round out this exhibit! Nobody does the Holiday Season like the Museum of Science and Industry!!


Returning for its 20th annual open-air, German-style market is Christkindlmarket 2015 on Saturdays (11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.) and Sundays (11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) through December 24th at the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in The Loop. Once again, a variety of vendors will be selling authentic German products such as hand-blown ornaments, jewelry, beer steins, wooden handicrafts and more that cannot be found anywhere else in town. Schnitzel, chocolates and candies imported from Germany, Gluewhein (a hot spiced wine), potato pancakes, sweet cakes and more complete this German festival! This is truly a timeless Christmas celebration!!


For some top holiday shopping, the Randolph Street Holiday Market opens this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and runs through December 13th at Beaux Arts Plumber’s Hall (1340 W. Washington St.) on the Near West Side. Gifts in all price ranges, from thrifty to extravagant, such as vintage and modern fashion, jewelry, art, decorative objects, housewares, hostess gifts, keepsakes and much more will make this a memorable holiday shopping experience for both gift givers and receivers! Free Gift Wrapping & Free Parking are also available!!


Chicago’s Official Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has a new location this year at Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, November 24th, with live performances and music beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the tree lighting at 6:00 p.m. Afterwards, visit with Santa Claus until 8:00 p.m.!


Finally, Thursday, November 26th, 8:00 a.m. brings the 81st annual 2015 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade to South State Street and East Congress Parkway in The Loop featuring marching bands, talented entertainers, gigantic inflatable helium balloons, decorative floats, majestic horses, celebrities and special appearances by Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus!  Then it’s time to stuff yourself and watch football!!


Are You Ready to Welcome In Another Holiday Season?  BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!!!



Members and non-members of the West Loop Community Organization (WLCO) are invited to attend West Loop Night at The Brass Monkey (401 N. Morgan St.) tomorrow, Friday 11/20 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. The WLCO is a membership organization of West Loop business owners and residents dedicated to promoting economic development and the quality of life within the neighborhood bounded by Ashland Ave. and the Chicago River from west to east, and Grand Ave. and the Eisenhower Expressway from north to south. Come join this open opportunity to network with fellow West Loopers. $10 for WLCO members or $15 for non-members includes wine, beer, and appetizers until 6:30pm. To pay in advance, call 312-666-1991.


Lions Club International is committed to providing services to those disabled by blindness, visual and hearing impairments among other humanitarian services for people of all ages. The Naperville chapter, Naperville Noon Lions Club, is getting into the spirit of giving by matching monetary donations of up to $5,000 made to Donka, Inc. from now through 12/1. Donka, Inc. is a non-profit organization that "provides computer training and job readiness services to people with physical, visual and limited learning disabilities." They use assistive technology that is specifically designed to instruct adults and children with disabilities to operate computers independently. Donka's mission is aligned with the challenge Helen Keller purported in 1925 to the Lion's Club to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Make online donations at or mail your gift to 400 N. County Farm Rd., Wheaton, IL 60187.


The owners of the farm-to-tavern Farmhouse restaurants in River North and Evanston have just opened their long-awaited third restaurant in Lakeview this week. Farm Bar, with a seating capacity of 75 people, will continue to offer a menu made completely from scratch with ingredients regionally sourced from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, including the Farmhouse team's own Brown Dog Farm in Mineral Point, WI. Farm Bar was first announced to take over the former Wellington's Tavern at 1300 W. Wellington Ave. in April so we're happy to report that the long wait is over. The menu features uniquely topped Midwestern Burgers, Seasonal Sandwiches plus a full bar of regional beers and even wine on tap.


Ravenswood resident, Michael Horn, is a Northwestern University computer scientist with a mission - to get kids as young as kindergarteners interested in computer programming. He understands that kids are easily interested in playing with computers and video games but it's another story to get them interested in the programming necessary to make the future of technology even greater. He plans to assemble a team of graduate students to re-imagine children's songs, games and storybooks into engaging introductions to computer coding and programming. In July he received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to work on his project entitled "Blocks, Stickers and Puzzles" and is the first time the career award was given to fund instructional work outside of a classroom setting. Horn is the director of Tangible Interaction Design and Learning (TIDAL) Lab and several of his teams' projects have been successful interactive exhibits at museums across the country.


A review of Aldermen's votes for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget plan has revealed that Norwood Park's Alderman Anthony Napolitano was one of the few that voted against the plan that will usher in property tax hikes and new garbage collection fees in the coming year. Nadig Newspapers reports that Ald. Napolitano had been approached by so many ward residents, including police officers and fire fighters, to vote against the budget that he was unable to let their pleas go unheard. He is quoted as saying that his vote was "...based on what the constituents want instead of what the status quo wants."


First of all, make sure your turkey will have plenty of time to thaw in the refrigerator. Never thaw on the counter!! Put it in a large plastic or glass dish and keep on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. This will ensure the least possibility of cross contamination.

I am a great list maker. Have a master list and schedule. Write down the entire menu, do your shopping list from there. I keep this list and schedule on my computer to use every year. Plot when you are going to prep and make each dish. Also include any changes or hints.

Set the table the night before. It’s also useful to maybe check early in the week to make sure you have enough dishes and serving pieces for your menu and guests. Cover the table with a clean sheet to keep dust off. Include trivets and pans for cooking also. It’s no fun scrambling on the busy day for an extra pot or trivet to put under a hot dish.

Many dishes can be made ahead of time. Bake pies two days before. Wrap well and store in fridge. Make the stuffing early in the morning. I use Brownberry® Sage and Onion Stuffing cubes, add sautéed onion and celery. Complete with butter and low sodium chicken broth and you are set. Always use low sodium broth, add salt as needed. Place in a disposable aluminum pan, cover and refrigerate. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes while Turkey rests.

Prep all your vegetables and appetizers the day before. You can even do the mashed potatoes on Wednesday. Refrigerate in a crock pot insert. Put in the crock pot in the morning, turn on high and check periodically. Once warm, keep on "warm" till serving. Heat a little butter and cream to stir in just before serving. If you are doing a green bean casserole, make ahead and just top with the final onion topping just before baking. This can bake with the stuffing. Doing Brussel sprouts? Roast halved sprouts in olive oil and minced garlic till browned and luscious the day before and reheat in the microwave. Use the microwave to your advantage during the Holidays.

Remember, most everyone is family so relax. Put people to work prepping and washing dishes. I have a small Bungalow kitchen so cleaning as you go along is a must! People do want to help so let them! Don’t try to be super Hostess and do it all yourself. Plus, I’ve found a bottle of wine keeps everything moving along just fine!

Happy Thanksgiving!



I've seen some solar powered chargers which are great for when you'll be out of touch with grounded electricity. These are great for hiking, long road trips, etc. Over this weekend, I saw a new product on the market called the thingCHARGER.

The premise is quite simple actually. The charger is a box that plugs into your existing outlet. The charger for your device clicks into the top of the device, giving you two usable outlets and two USB outlets on the bottom. The beauty of this product is that it stores the appropriate charging mechanism for just about any brand (with or without the case). The brands named on the site include Apple, Samsung, LG, Blackberry, and Motorola to name a few.

You will have to have enough space for the height of your device, and you can also charge up to three devices at one time. You'll need three separate chargers. The site suggests that if you are charging multiple devices that you put the largest thing closest to the wall. The charger itself is very stable with two sets of prongs even though only one is used to provide the power. The extra wattage on the outlet is minimal with a maximum 1/2 amp on a 110v outlet.

Right now, they are offering deals to get the charger out on the market. It's worth the investment to get at least three and you'll get the fourth free. The cost is $39.90 per charger. For anyone who likes a clean aesthetic in their home, these chargers will definitely appeal. Happy charging.



In case you haven't noticed, its weekend time again here in Chicago and your final chance to have some "relaxing" fun before next weekend brings all the Holiday hoopla into your life!

Last weekend's blog gave you the lowdown on two of Chicago's "sweet" tours while this weekend's two tours are all about "meat" -

Learn about the grand history of steaks in Chicago and visit the great steakhouses that serve them at the Chicago Steakhouse Tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. meeting up at Gene & Georgetti (Chicago's oldest steakhouse) (500 N. Franklin St.) in the River North neighborhood.  Not only will guests of the tour sample a prime cut of meat or a signature dish at each of the three establishments, but guests will also tour historic neighborhoods on a luxury bus with stories about those neighborhoods and the characters that once walked the streets there as they travel to their various steakhouse stops!  A wine pairing is also offered for an additional $25.  Afterwards, let us know what your favorite Chicago steakhouse is!

The Beer & Bacon Tour of Chicago takes place on Saturdays (3:00 p.m.) at Gino's Brewing Company (500 N. LaSalle St.) in the Gold Coast neighborhood.  Here guests get the opportunity to taste a pairing of five cuts of bacon with five beers for the ultimate beer and bacon experience!  The beers change seasonally, so if you've already enjoyed one of these tastings, check back for all the new pairings.  Why not try them all?  After all, Beer & Bacon are a natural match!!

Now in its 4th year, the Turkey Bowl 2015 returns to the Lincoln Park South Fields (North Ave. & Lake Shore Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. for some fierce competition in a flag football tournament for a chance at the trophy.  Your Turkey Bowl registration includes 3 games guaranteed, officials, playoffs for qualifying teams, long sleeve tournament t-shirts, all necessary tournament equipment, turkey trophies, hydration and food available for purchase.  Bring family and friends as well to cheer you on.  And, of course, turkey is on the menu for the tournament winners!

Calling all "turkey" bowlers for the Holiday Bowling Food Drive this Saturday and Sunday (through November 22nd) at Pinstripes (435 E. Illinois St.) in the Streeterville neighborhood.  For every "turkey" (three strikes in a row) bowled at one of Pinstripes four Chicago area locations, Pinstripes will give not only the bowler a free frozen turkey but also donate a matching bird to the Greater Chicago Food Depository or the Northern Illinois Food Bank!  Show us what you've got "turkey" bowlers and let's fill-up those food banks!!

The popular Vintage Garage Holiday Market returns for its 4th season this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to the parking garage located at 5051 N. Broadway St. in the Uptown neighborhood.  This year's Market will feature 100 of the best vintage dealers with all categories of vintage including clothing, jewelry, furniture, advertising memorabilia, games, toys, decorations and so much more, saving their best vintage holiday and Christmas merchandise for this occasion!  It's the only all vintage monthly market in the City drawing vintage lovers from all over Chicago and beyond!!

Celebrate everyone's favorite Peanuts pals as Broadway In Chicago and the Emerald City Theatre present A Charlie Brown Christmas this Saturday and Sunday (through January 3, 2016) at the Broadway Playhouse (175 E. Chestnut St.) in the Gold Coast neighborhood.  The holiday spirit is brought back to life for families when Charlie Brown and friends dig past the commercialized gimmicks of presents and decorations to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas!  And, this production is NOT just for kids.  In fact, folks of "all ages" can get into the spirit of this production and its meaning!!

Have a Great "Relaxing" Weekend!



The Oak Park Art League (OPAL) is holding its First Annual Artist Member Juried Exhibition until 12/4 with a Reception tomorrow, Friday 11/13, from 7:00pm - 9:00pm in the Carriage House Gallery at 720 Chicago Ave. Their community of Artist Members is made up of students, art educators, instructors, professional and commercial artists, and exhibitors. Anyone who becomes a member is able to exhibit their work through the League, and can be viewed in the gallery and online. Exhibition Judge, Caroline Older, has selected specific works from members that appear to "convey a message" and will be on display to mark the first year of what will be an annual showcase. 

 LINCOLN PARK reported on the Wednesday 11/11 public forum with a panel of education experts that met in Lincoln Park. The main topic was the need to change the current format of solely mayoral-appointed Board of Education members who have been diverting funds away from Chicago Public Schools to expand charter schools instead. Residents in attendance were able to voice their opinions which also included the Board's lack of transparency, and the purported concern with Chicago Teachers Union "...busting" rather than"...providing [schools] with what they need to educate children." The forum came up with the solution to elect Board of Education members, or at least a hybrid of some elected and some appointed members so that both the public and government can have a more equal stake in Chicago-wide education decisions. Whether this will be possible is still up in the air. Concerned parents and residents can check in with their Alderman offices to see what other public forums may be in the works to start getting involved.


Union Station (500 W. Jackson Blvd.) had been working on the $2.2 million renovation of the picturesquely movie-worthy marble staircase near Canal Street since July of this year. Last month the complete replacement was finished and revealed. This month, Union Station visitors are being treated to a time-lapse video exhibit of the delicate demolition and reconstruction of the project being featured in the Great Hall.  This is just part of Amtrak's ongoing plan to restore and renovate the 90-year old station into an entertainment and tourist destination by eventually reopening closed off parts of the Station that had experience a sort of golden age in the 1940s and '50s.


The owners of Homeslice in Lincoln Park, Clay Hamilton and Josh Iachelli, have a new super cool pizza restaurant and bar called The Happy Camper which opened this week at 1209 N. Wells St. The decor is dedicated to the owners' love of camping in the Pacific Northwest and Hamilton's memories of shooting cans, not game, in the wilderness with his father. Most impressive are the shining aluminum RV-like booths, one with the ceiling lit up like a starry night, and tire swings!


Holiday shopping time is upon us and Revel Bar Chicago at 6169 N. Northwest Hwy. has a unique event coming up where you can come in for a meal and a drink AND take advantage of several small local businesses who will be selling holiday gifts at the 2015 Holiday Shopping Bazaar. The event is next Thursday, 11/19, from 6:30pm to 10:30pm and sponsored by Nicole Domico with Dove Chocolate Discovers so you know there will be chocolaty treats for sale as well as jewelry, make-up and more.



It’s that time of year again. Some of us are starting to get some early gift shopping done so it’s good to keep in mind some safety tips. This is especially good advice for those of us that don’t live with children.

Infant -1 year

Only purchase toys rated for 12 months and under. All toys should be soft and always assume they will be chewed. Never give toys with any removable small parts. Good choices are soft blocks and stuffed animals. Keep balloons away from young children. Under inflated or broken balloons are a choking hazard.

1-3 years

Always check age suggestions on packages here. Many toys with small parts are not good for children 3 and under. Check that small parts are not removable. Use a toilet paper roll to measure. If a toy is small enough to go through the opening in a toilet paper roll it is too small for kids under three. Large building blocks are great as are puzzles with large pieces. Be wary of any toy that has strings or straps. It only takes a few pounds of pressure to constrict blood vessels in a child’s neck. Young children cannot untwist a string or strap and can suffocate quickly.

Small Batteries

The small button batteries found in many children’s toys are an extremely dangerous swallowing hazard for young children. Children can be burned internally in as little as 2 hours. Keep all items containing these batteries out of the reach of small children. These are found in some remotes, light up shoes, jewelry, remotes and musical greeting cards.

Age recommendations

While they are good suggestions for age appropriateness, use your own judgement. Some children mature more quickly than others. Two 7 year olds may be very different in their ability to safely play with some toys, especially electric toys. Make sure all instructions are included.

Mainly use a little common sense when purchasing toys for children. Better yet, ask Mom and Dad for recommendations. You can check out if any toys have been recalled by going to 


I'm a little old school at times so when I found out that cassettes are making a comeback I had to investigate this a little more. As someone who grew up during the time when you created your own mix tape from multiple tapes or direct from the radio, I couldn't resist the nostalgia.

Utilizing equipment from 1970, National Audio Company is starting to see an uptick in requests for classic hits on cassette. Several pieces of equipment have been re-purposed to accommodate the needs of the company. For example, a cigarette machine from 1930 that once packaged a pack of cigarettes is now packaging the completed cassette tape box.

According to the owner, Steve Sepp, "They'll hear the warmth and the presence in an analog recording that you will not hear in a digital recording." The sound is the reason he believes that many people are ordering from his company globally. Sepp also states, "We attribute our success, as I often say, to stubbornness and stupidity."

The term for this resurgence away from streaming music is called cassette culture or cassette underground. It's a direct reaction to digital streaming with new and emerging artists. While you still need the proper equipment to listen to your cassettes, there are new labels that are producing their music via tape, including Burger Records, Gnar Tapes and Memorials of Distinction.

You're going to need that No. 2 pencil though if your tape gets caught in a machine and needs to be rewound.



Take advantage of this November weekend as it’s the “Lull” before all the Holiday madness kicks into high gear around here in Chicago!

Returning for its 22nd year to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood, SOFA CHICAGO is a world-renowned art fair dedicated to Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art and Design. This event attracts over 32,000 collectors, curators, museum groups and art patrons from around the globe to view museum-quality works by emerging and established artists in all art mediums with more than 70 galleries this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.) along with a revamped floorplan this year allowing visitors to explore the fair in a more engaging way! They’ve also added a second café, additional lounges and a redesigned Partner Pavilion. Definitely, a must attend art fair!!

It’s also a perfect weekend to take advantage of some of Chicago’s many tours, two of which are:

The Chocolate Tour of Chicago takes you to chocolate paradise and beyond with a delightful stroll through some of the City’s most decadent dessert boutiques and chocolatiers along the Magnificent Mile with tastings and specials at each stop! Tours are held on Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. meeting up at the Wrigley Building (400 N. Michigan Ave.) on the Near North Side. Calling all chocoholics – you’ll love this tour!!

The Cupcake and Macaroon Tour takes you on a delightful stroll along the Magnificent Mile visiting the finest culinary artisans and dessert boutiques for a heavenly experience of these sinfully good confections that are perfectly formed, lovely to look at and most of all delicious to eat! Tours are held on Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. meeting up at 515 N. State Street on the Near North Side. Bring out your inner child with a cupcake!!

The Barnes & Noble located at 1441 W. Webster Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood hosts a variety of events throughout the week and weekends, with this Saturday’s Children’s Storytime at 11:00 a.m. The Storytime readings will include two picture books, “Rosie Revere, Engineer” & “Iggy Peck, Architect,” which inspire kids to believe in themselves and follow their passion along with fun activities. Mini Maker Faires are also presented throughout the day with hands-on-learning!

This year’s South Side Pie Challenge will be held at 5480 S. Kenwood Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood this Saturday (2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.). Hosted by the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, this non-profit pie bake-off raises money for the Hyde Park and Kenwood Hunger Programs. This event opens to the public at 2:00 p.m. after the judges make their selections with prizes being awarded at 3:30 p.m. Live music, coffee and some activities for the kids will also be featured as well!

Finally, you know the Holiday madness is just around the corner when holiday markets begin popping up such as the Wilder Mansion Holiday Market located at 211 S. Prospect Avenue in the suburb of Elmhurst this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Over 60 artisans and culinary food vendors will be on hand for this 5th annual holiday market featuring one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags, art, ceramics, gourmet food, unique holiday gifts and more!  It’s never too early to start your Holiday shopping!!

Enjoy Your “Lull!”  I’ll Be Eating Chocolate & Cupcakes!!



There's a new pizza concept restaurant opening tomorrow, 11/6, at 10:30am. Zoom Pizza Factory (2156 N. Clybourn Ave.) is the brain child of founder, J.R. Werner, and chef, Paul Guerrero, who has worked with Wolfgang Puck and Wildfire Restaurant. The is not your usual pizza restaurant as there is no set menu. Instead customers can built personal pizzas with tons of exciting sauces and toppings to choose from. The staff, known as "pizzaristas," will be on hand to make suggestions if necessary. Each personal pie gets cooked the stone conveyor oven for only four minutes for that delicious stone-baked flavor. Restaurant hours will be Mondays - Thursdays, 10:30am - 10:00pm, Fridays - Saturdays, 10:30am - 12:00am, and Sundays, 10:30am - 9:00pm.


Although it's been open since September, Trash & Treasures at 611 Dempster St. will be celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, 11/7, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Owned by sculptor and matrimonial law attorney, Amy Gertler, and retail executive, Bill Ramsey, Trash & Treasures is the realization of Gertler's dream of a New York Greenwich Village-style art gallery and vintage store. The store definitely succeeds at being anything but ordinary!


The Chicago Architecture Biennial is reasonably getting a lot of attention and press in its inaugural launch this year. Not to be overlooked, the Gold Coast Neighbors Association (GCNA) is holding its own presentation of its standout architect, Chip von Weise, as he discusses his various contributions to the restoration and adaptation of buildings around the Gold Coast neighborhood on Sunday, 11/8, in the Walton Room of the Drake Hotel (59 W. North Blvd.) at 5:00pm. $10 reservations to the Architecture and Design in the Gold Coast presentation are encouraged and include a glass of wine or water. For further information, call GCNA at 312-332-6122.


Last Wednesday, 10/28, a community meeting was held, with Alderman John Arena and approximately 60 residents in attendance, to discuss the placement of a 90-foot-tall digital billboard so that it faces the Edens Expressway to satisfy the existing contract between the city and the billboard company, and complies with residential zoning laws. The original plan is to erect it in the middle of the Wilson-Lamon intersection but that would force part of Wilson Ave. to become one-way heading eastbound when traffic jams are already difficult in that area during rush hours. Other locations are being considered but Federal Law requiring a minimum of 500 feet distance between existing billboards must also be taken into account. The results of the meeting were not conclusive and discussions with continue.


As if the contemporary cuisine restaurant, Acadia at 1639 S. Wabash Ave. wasn't popular enough, the roadtripping restaurant guide of choice, The Michelin Guide, has just upgraded Chef/Owner Ryan McCaskey's cuisine to two stars! According to Michelin, two stars means it's "a restaurant worth a detour, indicating excellent cuisine and skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality" which is a step up from its previous one-star rating of just "a good place to stop on a journey..." The Michelin Guide is curated from the experiences of its full-time staff of knowledgeable anonymous restaurant reviewers. This week's upgrade makes Acadia one of Michelin's top 5 restaurants in all of Chicago.


So you are a first time home buyer. Get ready for all sorts of little things that will come up. Hiring handymen for these simple jobs will cost you a fortune. You can literally find tutorials on everything from plumbing to carpentry online. So let’s take on some of those easier jobs to save some money. Having these simple tools on hand will make these jobs easier. These would also make a great wedding shower gift.

Painting - 9 inch paint roller frame with disposable covers. 2 ½ inch angled brush - buy quality here. Paint tray with plastic disposable covers. Painters tool - plastic with blade for scraping, spreader, putty removal and point for cleaning out cracks. One inch putty knife for filling nail holes. 6 inch drywall knife for patching wall dings.

Hand tools - screw driver with removable heads. Includes different sized Philips and straight heads. 16 ounce rip hammer. Light enough to control but heavy enough to drive large nails. 6 and 14 inch adjustable crescent wrenches. Adjustable channel lock pliers for shower heads, nuts and hoses.  Linesman pliers for twisting and cutting wire. Needle nosed pliers and vise grips. Utility knife to score and cut dry wall or linoleum.

Measure and level - 25 foot tape measure with a one inch blade. This can be extended without buckling for use when working alone. 4 foot spirit level for hanging shelves. Line or torpedo level for smaller jobs. Now there are even apps for your device that will level for you.

Garden - round point garden and flat edged shovels. Hand held spade. Wide rake. Good quality hedge clippers. With proper cleaning and care quality garden tools can last a lifetime.

A great investment would be a 18 volt battery powered drill. These come with screw driver attachments as well as drill bits. Look for quality here too. They make 14 volt but more power is better. Again don’t go for the bargain.



As you may or may not know, Pandora is a free internet radio you can hear on your computer or mobile device. For a paid subscription, you can listen to commercial free radio.  You can search for a genre of music, specific band, or song. Pandora starts your playlist from there, allowing you to skip through any songs you don't like.

Last year the podcast Serial came out through public radio's This American Life. It was the most heard podcast globally. The podcast tells the story of Hae Min Lee, her disappearance, murder and subsequent arrest of her ex-boyfriend. It's a fascinating dive through trial notes, transcripts, investigator notes, interviews with complete non bias. Personally, after listening to the entire series I was uncertain if the jury got it right or not. And that is what makes this series so addicting.

Today, Pandora's founder, Tim Westergren, made the announcement that Pandora will be the "exclusive streaming partner" of this extremely popular podcast. The move was made to bring the show to a larger audience and give listeners who've heard about Serial a chance to catch up on last year's season which airs November 24. Season 2 does not yet have a start date so catch up on Season 1.


Halloween Arrives on Saturday and in Chicago, it’s NOT Just for Kids! Here’s what a Chicago-Style Halloween has to offer both young and grown!!

Needless to say, Halloween at Navy Pier is one of the family-friendliest Halloween celebrations in the City. Located at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood Trick-or-Treating at various locations around the Pier begins the festivities at 12:00 p.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m. (while supplies last) along with strolling “Addams Family” inspired characters from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Other festivities include performances by “Comedy Sportz Chicago” on the South Dock Stage at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. with the Costume Contest at 6:00 p.m. in the Family Pavilion. Finish your Halloween celebration at a special fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m.!

Bubbles Academy (1504 N. Fremont St.) on the Near North Side will be hosting Bubbleween on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. for some family-friendly Halloween celebrating. Each room will be packed with Halloween fun such as trick-or-treating, games, art & spooky sensory fun, open play, a pumpkin ball pit and much more!

Back again for its 12th year, the Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade & Costume Contest takes place at the corner of Ravenswood Avenue and Winona Street in the Andersonville neighborhood with registration from 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and the parade & judging from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.  Chicago TV personality Ben Hollis (Wild Chicago) will be this year’s emcee and cash prizes will be awarded for most original, funniest, scariest, best pet/owner costume combo and best entry from owner age 12 and under with a $50 Grand Prize being awarded as well!

Returning for its 19th year, the Northalsted Halloween Parade goes bigger and bolder this year attracting thousands to Halsted Street & Belmont Avenue in the Lakeview/Boystown neighborhood for a Saturday packed with Halloween fun prior to the parade. From 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Family Festivities will be held in Space Park (815 W. Roscoe St.) with the Family & Pet Parade from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. at Roscoe & Halsted Streets. The “Ruby Red Relay” takes place 3:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. from Aldine to Cornelia Avenues with the “Halloween Parade” from 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. from Belmont Ave. to Addison St. wrapping up from 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. with the Costume Contest Winner’s announcements!

For the “grown” crowd, there are many, many Halloween Parties going on until the wee hours of the morning in various locations throughout Chicago -- such as these two:

The Haunted Halloween Ball at the Congress Plaza Hotel (520 S. Michigan Ave.) in the South Loop on Saturday from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. is hosted by B96 and Yelp. Experience the chills and terror of a haunted house as the Hotel’s 20,000 square foot ballroom is transformed into an abandoned hotel run by zombies. There’s also $3,000 in cash being awarded to the Best Costume!

The Saints and Sinners Halloween Party at Lucky Strike Lanes (322 E. Illinois St.) in the River North neighborhood on Saturday from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. with open bowling & billiards, Chicago’s hottest DJs and a Halloween Costume Contest where one lucky winner will win a trip to Las Vegas!

For those of you with nerves of steel, here’s a link to Chicagoland’s Halloween Haunted Houses!

Finally, The Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.) in the Logan Square neighborhood wraps up their 4th Annual Horror Movie Madness Festival with the following films being shown this Saturday:

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – (8:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 12:00 a.m.)
This classic is about a group of people trying to stay alive by hiding from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Black Sheep (2006) – (11:00 p.m.)
This classic is about harmless sheep that are turned into bloodthirsty killers terrorizing a sprawling New Zealand farm after an experiment in genetic engineering goes awry.



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