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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

Your New Favorite Holiday

by Nicole Spagnola


February, 18th National Drink Wine Day!


Oh, what a wonderful day, and who do we have the thank for this devilish delicacy?  Well, it depends who you ask.  The first country lucky enough to have wine grace it’s presence was none other than…drum roll please….Armenia!  Evidence of this masterpiece dates back to 4100 B.C.  Over the years, wine has traveled from Egypt to Greece where it became a staple for the newly adopted Catholic Church and Christianity.  As Christianity spread, so did wine.  Eventually it made its way to us in the New World in 1562 (thank God).  Since then, we have been fortunate enough that along with the exploration and founding of the New World, came the cultivating of wine!


Now, how can we celebrate this glorious adoption to our culture?  By celebrating National Drink Wine Day, of course!  Click here to find out some helpful Wine tips and tricks, from Wine Food Pairing to How to Remove a Red Wine Stain.



Safe a Life this Valentine's Day!

by Rouso Group


Valentine’s Day is Coming Up!

It’s nice to give chocolate, but even nicer to give blood!


This subject makes some people very queasy. I have a close friend who cringes at the thought of a needle. She hasn’t even gotten a routine blood test or filled a cavity because she is so scared of needles. But luckily this is not the norm. Most of us don’t necessarily enjoy needles for shots or giving blood but we have learned techniques to get us through it. Donating blood helps so many people in need. Donated blood is essential for patients with cancer, transfusions, and critical injuries just to name a few. These “patients” are our friends, neighbors, sisters, grandparents, etc. Bad weather and seasonal illnesses like the flu typically lead to lower blood donations. And just because there is less donated blood doesn’t mean there is less need. For example, each day the Red Cross needs 14,000 blood donations to meet the needs of 2,600 hospitals that it services in our country. Once you’ve given blood you can pat yourself on the back that you’ve done something good for someone in need.


Here are a few places in the Western Suburbs that are quick and easy blood donation spots. At all the places listed below you can conveniently schedule an appointment so you don’t have to wait. Click on each location and it will take you to a scheduling page.


LifeSource in Westmont - Open every day except Wednesday and Sunday


LifeSource in Naperville - Open every day except Sunday and Monday


LifeSource in Brookfield - Mobile Drive - Now until February 10th


American Red Cross- Roofers Local 11 in Indian Head Park – Blood Drive February 17th 8am-2pm


LifeSource in Villa Park - Open every day 


LifeSource in Oak Park - Open Mondays 4-8pm



If you would like more information about blood drives in your area, please visit or



Why Galentine’s Day is Essential

by Nicole Spagnola



Think about it- aren’t we expressing our love and appreciation for our significant others on a regular basis as it is?  Granted, Valentine’s Day is an exciting and sentimental holiday filled with extra love and adoration, but what holiday is dedicated to the girls who keep us sane?  There’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Sibling’s Day, but no Galentine’s Day!  Unacceptable- let’s change that!  Gather up your best girlfriends, grab a card and some yummy treats and pick a venue of your choice.  If going out to eat and letting someone else do all the cooking and cleaning is what you and your ladies prefer, then go for it.  If you or one of your bffs are considered the hostess with the mostess, then an intimate gathering with a personal touch could be the right setting for you.  The opportunities are endless, and at the end of the day it’s about spending time with and expressing your appreciation for some of the irreplaceable people in your life.  Let’s face it, ladies, without our girlfriends we’d probably be locked away somewhere, so show some love! 




Lots of Laughs at your Local Library!

by Natalie Larrick

Why is it still so cold! I know I should be used to this weather since I’ve lived in the suburbs of Chicago for most of my life, but I still get so annoyed by cold air blasting in my dry, chapped face 100 times a day. And if you have kids you know how crazy they can get when they’re stuck in the house during these long winter stretches. The western suburbs has some amazing libraries with free, educational fun. Below are some great, interactive activities for kids from age 2-15. Libraries are a great way to learn, have fun and most importantly get you out of your house.



River Forest Public Library
Thursday, January 25 3:30pm-5pm

Overcooked Xbox One Tournament - Working as a team, you and your fellow chefs must prepare, cook, and serve up a variety of tasty orders before the baying customers storm out in a huff. For grades 5-8. For more info and to sign up 


Hinsdale Public Library
Sunday, January 28 2pm-3pm

Family Lego Afternoon: Stop in and create your lego masterpiece. No registration requested. For more info 


Wheaton Public Library
Tuesday, January 30 10am-10:30am

Art For Little Hands: Your child will bring home their very own “mess-terpiece”. Ages 2-4 with caregiver. For more info

Glen Ellyn Public Library
Saturday, February 3 3pm-4:30pm

Learn how to create a robot. Work in a small group to build and program a LEGO WeDo robot. For kids 8 and younger with caregiver. For more information and to sign 


Elmhurst Public Library
Saturday, February 3 11am-12:30pm

Valentine’s Card Marking Party: Come as a family and cerate artful Valentine cards to give or keep. For all ages. For more info 


Oak Park Public Library Dole Branch
Monday, February 5 3:30pm-4:30pm

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this fun craft for the whole family. For kids 4 and older. For more info


Westmont Public Library – Future event that fills up fast
Monday February 26 7pm-8pm

R.E.A.D. with the Hinsdale Humane Society: Meet with a trained therapy pet and handler for a reading session. Sign up over the phone or in person. Space fills up fast. Grade K-2. For more info



3 Post-Holiday Chicago Events You Have to See!

by Nicole Spagnola

Now that the hustle & bustle of the Holiday Season is behind us, get back to some self-indulgences with these 3 unique and captivating Chicago Events!





2018 Chicago Ale Fest – Winter Edition

Saturday, January 20th

Aon Grand Ballroom

840 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611


Revel in Chicago’s Winter Celebration of over 150 American Craft Beers!  Taking place in the heart of Chicago, this years Chicago Ale Fest will be held at the breathtaking Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.  With hundreds of beer selections, food trucks and a live DJ you’re sure to leave the winter blues at the door and party like it’s Summer Time Chi!



2018 Chicago Auto Show

February 10-19

McCormick Place

2301 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60616


You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to enjoy the excitement and wonder of the Chicago Auto Show.  There’s something for everyone to enjoy; from imported cars to experimental ones, people of all ages are sure to be amazed.  The Chicago Auto show is the nations largest auto show and celebrates its 110th anniversary this year.  Don’t miss this Chicago tradition!



Pancakes & Booze Art Show

February 23-25


2105 S State St, Chicago, Illinois 60616


Yes, we said pancakes and booze!  What could be better?  Just add art and music to the mix and you’ve got yourself a whimsical good time.  Since 2009, this event has been striving to bring together art and pancake enthusiasts alike at some of the leading local venues around the world.  Featuring over 100 local artisans, live music and/or DJs, live painting and body painting, this event is one you don’t want to miss!





Love at first sight? More like love at first BITE when you visit any of these decadent and romantic restaurants. But you’d better act fast! Valentine’s Day is only 26 days away and you don’t want you and your honey to be left dateless!


Davanti Enoteca

800 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs

Davanti Enoteca has been a neighborhood favorite since they first opened their doors in 2013. The rustic italian-style restaurant features my personal favorite, bruschette, and made-to-order entrees that will tickle your tastebuds!


Steak & Vine

37 S. La Grange Road, La Grange

Located in the heart of downtown La Grange, Steak & Vine has been the steakhouse of choice since they opened in the summer of 2016. The menu is full of mouth-watering steaks and unique cocktails that will leave you wanting more! The restaurant’s dishes are prepared by Chef Michael Wilson of Morton’s Steakhouse in Chicago.


D.O.C. Wine Bar

326 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard

D.O.C Wine Bar is one of my personal favorite restaurants, as they believe that wine is the “nectar of the Gods”. Their menu features more wine than you ever thought imaginable, available by the bottle, by the glass, or in flights, small plates and beautifully hand-crafted entrees.


RM Champagne Salon

116 N. Green Street, Chicago

Tucked away in a cobblestone alley, walking into RM Champagne Salon feels like you’re stepping into a quaint bistro in the heart of France. While champagne is their main focus, the restaurant also specializes in bistro classics, like steak frites, a selection of fresh cheese, and a raw bar, all served in their candle-lit dining room.


Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

218 W. Kinzie Street, Chicago

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf is a beautiful spin off of French cuisine that is blended with fine dining and unabashed fun. Steaks, always-fresh seafood, strong cocktails, and a well-curated international wine list are packed onto the well-rounded menu. The gilded space is the epitome of romance, featuring red leather banquettes, glowing chandeliers, and lively jazz with every meal.



111 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago

Housed in a Louis Sullivan building constructed in 1888 is a refined interpretation of the classic American drinking establishment, offering three floors of hospitality with serious cocktails, fantastic food, and tasty late night dining. CELESTE is known for one of the most innovative cocktail programs in River North and was voted “River North’s Sexiest 5am Bar” by Chicago Magazine.



How to Keep From Getting Sick this Flu Season

by Kailey Rousonelos


If you're like me and my family, you're cooped up inside of the house wondering when your throbbing headache and running nose will finally cease. Being sick is the absolute worst... we fall behind on work, school, home to-do lists and spending time with friends and family becomes near impossible! For those of you who are hanging on by a thread to your health, here's a few tips on how to keep the germs away long enough to get trough flu season!

1. Practice frequent hand hygiene
  The #1 cardinal rule is to always wash your hands, but you should be washing your hands at least 2 times more frequently during flu/cold season! There's no such thing as washing or sanitizing too often. I even keep a mini bottle of hand sanitizer on me at all times, you'll never know when you need it on the go!
  *Tip: If you're worried about you hands chapping in this dry weather, carry a small bottle of lotion or cream*      

2. Cover your face when you cough or sneeze
  Again, this was one of the cardinal rules we learned when we were growing up! I get it, sometimes we forget to cover our mouths when we cough, or you can't cover your face in time before you sneeze.. but all we can do is our best!
  *Gross Fact: If you don't cover your face when you cough or sneeze, germs can fly up to 6 feet away!* 


3. Don't share any cups, water bottles, or chapstick
​  This is not limited to just these items! Sharing anything that has touched someone else's mouth is a big no-no! And yes, I know it's mistletoe season, but this does include those Christmastime smooches!

4. Get plenty of rest
  Sleep is the on the most important things our bodies need. After working long hours or hitting the malls with the other 3,000 people who saved their shopping until last minute, we all know you could use a long winter's nap. Insufficient sleep will weaken your immune system and even affect how long you stay sick!
Centers for Disease Control recommends that we get at least 7-9 hours every night!*                  

5. Practice preventative medicine
  Whenever I can feel a cold coming, I hit up the nearest drug store for a source of Vitamin C, a source of Zinc, and some cough drops! Scheduling a doctor's appointment as soon as you start to feel any symptoms can help prevent the sickness from getting worse and can also cut down how long you stay sick!




3 Iconic Chicago Venues to celebrate New Years Eve

by Nicole Spagnola

With expectations for 2018 nothing less than fabulous, why start your New Year out any differently?  With these 3 Iconic New Years Eve venues, you're guaranteed to start Jan 1 on Level 10.  



6th Annual Chicago Resolution Gala at the AON Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier - $139

Celebrate New Years, Chicago style, at one of the largest venues in Chicago.   Inside a beautiful 80 ft domed ceiling venue, explore 18,000 square feet of fun and enjoy 3 different party rooms.  Let lose to the sounds of Chicago Bull’s own DJ who will be playing a variety of music including top 40 hits, dance and party hits.  Indulge in complimentary buffet stations and 30 premium bars throughout.  Ring in 2018 with a complimentary glass of champagne, party favors and panoramic views of Lake Michigan and famous New Years Eve Navy Pier Fireworks display.


Big Night Chicago New Years Eve Gala at the Congress Plaza Hotel - $199

Party in a piece of Chicago’s history at the iconic Congress Hotel.  Beautiful architecture and exquisite ballrooms set the tone for a grand celebration.  With over 16,000 square feet of ballroom space to enjoy, multiple, themed party rooms and 9 different DJs, bands and acts, you’re sure to have a night full of endless fun.  You’ll have everything you need to ring in the New Year with complimentary food buffets, open bar and party favors.   


New Years Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise at the Spirit of Chicago - $199

Ring in 2018 at one of Chicago’s most popular attractions-Lake Michigan!   On the Spirit of Chicago cruise, views of famous New Years Eve Navy Pier Fireworks can’t be beat!   While enjoying a night at sea under stars and lights, enjoy a complimentary dinner buffet, platinum open bar, champagne toast and DJ.





5 Must Have Christmas Morning Recipes

by Nicole Spagnola

Make Christmas morning just a little bit sweeter with these 5 Easy & Delicious recipes.




Blueberry French Toast

12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups fresh blueberries

12 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter



Cheesy Ham & Hash Brown Casserole

1 (32 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes

8 ounces cooked, diced ham

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of potato soup

1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese



Monkey Bread

3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins



Slow Cooker Hash Brown Casserole

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

8 ounces sour cream

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground mustard

1 pound uncooked pork sausage, casings removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, diced

½ medium red bell pepper, diced

1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash browns (do not thaw)

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces), divided



Apple Pecan Streusel Muffins

1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon table salt

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple (about 1 [8 ounce] apple)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Vegetable cooking spray




4 Ways to Treat Yourself this Christmas!

by Nicole Spagnola

A Happy You makes for Happy Holidays.  Therefore, Treat Yourself!



Indulge in a Massage

Carving out time to yourself is important during the holiday season.  Although this time of year is about giving, consider a massage a gift to yourself.  In reality, 60-90 minutes of “You” time is a very practical idea and you deserve it.  Consider local massage studio, Elements Massage, where new clients receive a 1-Hour massage for $55!   


Unwind with Yoga

In need of some rejuvenation?  Exercise your mind and body for an overall feeling of satisfaction.  Not to mention that local Yoga studio, Corepower Yoga, offers FREE Community Classes EVERY Saturday from 4:30-5:30pm.  Everyone could use some free “therapy”. 


Change your Mindset with Meditation

Can’t physically be somewhere else?  Well, you can mentally.  Meditation is a great way to separate yourself from everything that may be weighing down on you.  With convenient apps like Insight Timer, it doesn’t take long for you to obtain a more positive and relaxed mindset. 


Spend time with Friends

And no, we don’t mean a Christmas party that requires any sort of effort.  We mean you, your friend(s) and the natural stress relief that comes with.  Whether your idea of a good time is catching up with some cocoa or indulging in some retail therapy, spending time with your friends during the Holidays is a fantastic way to remove yourself from all the hustle and bustle.  



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28