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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 34

Get Fit in Spring!

by Rouso Group

Get Fit in Spring in the Western Suburbs!

Want to stay in shape or get into better shape but are sick of the same routine? Spring is finally here, even though the weather isn’t agreeing with us so far. I miss getting outside and getting a good workout or just going for a walk to clear my head. Whether you like walking, running, biking or something more challenging, the list below has several great places to get outside, enjoy the beauty of nature and get an awesome workout. It’s good for the body and the mind.


Morton Arboretum in Lisle

This amazing place features 1,700 acres of beautiful trees, flowers and rolling hills and is known as “the great outdoor museum” of trees. Whether you’re walking, biking or running you will have plenty to look at and keep your mind occupied.

Bike or run on the 9 miles of paved roads that wind through the awesome collection of trees.Hike 15 miles of pedestrian only trails that weave into the woods, prairies and wetlands on the property.

Fullersberg Woods and Graue Mill trail in Oak Brook

This 3.3 mile loop follows along Salt Creek and is pleasant and pretty with all the wild flowers and trees. Take your dog, but it must be kept on a leash.


Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien

This forest preserve offers 11 miles of crushed-limestone trails, featuring gentle rolling hills and a beautiful waterfall. This is a great trail for hiking, running or mountain biking.

Salt Creek Trail

This awesome running or biking path stretches 27 miles from Brookfield Zoo to Busse Woods Forest Preserve and goes through many forest preserves. It is never too crowded and is a great way to get in a nice long ride or run.

Swallow Cliff in Palos Hills

Ready for a challenge? Try walking or even running the stairs at Swallow Cliff. This 100-foot natural bluff — used as a ski hill and toboggan run before being decommissioned in 2004 — will not disappoint. There are two sets of stairs to climb. The original set is 125 stone steps; the new stairs include 168 steps and are more uniformed. Try them both to see the difference in your workout. If you only want to go up the stairs once, Swallow Cliff also offers great walking/running trails through its 800-acre forested terrain.

Lilacia Park in Lombard

For a short stroll or maybe an ending to your run, finish up in Lilacia Park. This 8.5 acre botanical gem is in the heart of Lombard and will impress you with its amazing collection of tulips and lilacs amongst many other flowers.

You don’t have to spend weekends to get in the holiday spirit. We’ve gathered a list of wonderful, easy-to-do easter ideas to make your home more festive in no time!

1. Ribbon Eggs

No time to dye eggs this year? There are many different ways to use a ribbon to decorate the eggs in a unique and fun way. Just bring up your pile of ribbons. Wrap the ribbon around the egg, make a ribbon bow and you’re done. Improvise and use your creativity to make easy, simple, wonderful eggs with no dye and in no time.

Check the images bellow for more ideas:




2. DIY 1 Minute Mason Jar Easter Treat


Have some old mason jars? Use them to make quick, easy and super fun Easter treats the kids will love. All you need is a mason jar, candies and an edible grass (ribbon, tag and/or stickers is optional). Start by placing the edible grass at the bottom of the jar. Add candies, chocolate bunny or any other cookie or candy of your choice. Seal the jar – that’s it!


3. Washi tape plastic cup Easter baskets​​ Source:

Surprise your kids with these super cute, easy-to-do Easter baskets. Use a plastic cup of your choice, white, red, green, small, big... – whatever you prefer.

Start by making the handle. Cut two same size pieces of the washi tape and stick them together. Leave some room at each end of the tape to stick the handle to your plastic cup. Then you can start decorating your plastic cup by wrapping the tape around the cup. If you use red, green or any other color of plastic cups you can place the tape only at the bottom of the cup – or don’t use any tape at all. Once you are done fill the cups with Easter grass, chocolates or candies.


4. Easter bunny napkins

Source (left):

Source (right):

Having friends and family over for Easter lunch? All you need to do to impress your guests with your creativity are: napkin, egg and ribbon. This Easter bunny napkin is VERY easy to make. Follow the simple instructions bellow:



5. 4-ingredient Easter egg Oreo truffles

An Easter celebration wouldn’t be complete without a dessert, right? Well, if you are on the rush try out this simple recipe requiring only 4 ingredients: Oreos, cream cheese, chocolate chips and white almond bark.

See the full recipe with directions here:


Local St. Patrick's Day Parades 2018

by Nicole Spagnola


3rd Annual Countryside St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 10th at 1pm

Kicking off at Kensington Avenue and 61st Street, and ending at 55th Place and Edgewood Avenue


22nd Annual Elmhurst St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 10th at 12pm

Kicking off at Wilson Street and Spring Road, and continuing along Spring Road for one mile


25th Annual Naperville St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 10th at 10am

Kicking off at Naperville North High School on Mill Street, then proceeding south on Mill Street to Jefferson, then east on Jefferson to Main Street, then south on Main Street, ending at Water Street.


Annual Lemont St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 10th at 1pm

Kicking off at Front & Stephen Streets, and heading south on Stephen Street and west onto Main Street




Going Back to the Future Can Effect Your Health!

by Rouso Group




Daylight Savings and the Effect on Your Health


We all know the inevitable change of moving our clocks forward one hour is coming up on Sunday, March 11th. Many of us do not like what this means ... less sleep! As we all know, sleep is very important to our health. Studies show that people who continually get less than seven hours of sleep per night have increased health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and depression, just to name a few. Studies also show that if you go into daylight saving time already sleep deprived your performance and emotional well-being can suffer. In a 2014 study at the University of California at Berkeley, researchers found that even a slight loss of sleep (40 minutes) can wreak havoc on our work productivity and relationships. One estimate says Daylight Savings Time costs the economy $433,982,548.00 due to decreased productivity. Traffic accidents and work related accidents also increase for up to a week after the clocks change.


Daylight Savings Time effects many of us. Here are five ways to help combat this change. 


1.     Eat dinner early and get your body ready for bed earlier.

2.     Avoid screen time on phones, iPads, TVs, etc. before bed.

3.     If you’re unlikely to go to bed early Saturday night, take a nap during the day to make sure your body is getting adequate rest.

4.     If your schedule allows, sleep in a little later on Sunday and then ease into the change.

5.     Keep hydrated and eat healthy to help decrease the effects that less sleep have on your body.







Employee Appreciation Day - More than a Pat on the Back

by Nicole Spagnola



National Employee Appreciation Day 

observed annually on the first Friday in March


Employees are the backbone of any business; the grease in gears; the transmission in your car- without them, progression is impossible.  Now, I know we don’t go around rewarding our transmission, but plain and simple, it’s not a human, but your employees are!  Recognition and appreciation are one of the top motivational factors in the workplace.  We’re not kids anymore, so a 100% stamp on an assignment isn’t going to happen.  So how can employers regularly express their gratitude for employees’ job well done?


Gratitude in the workplace can be expressed in a variety of ways.  Here are some to consider or even spark some ideas of your own:


Occasional Rewards:

Celebration – if the team pulled together to accomplish something significant, reward them with an office pizza party.

Early Dismissal – if extra hours and effort were spent to move the team forward, reward them with an early dismissal.

It’s On You – superior effort is worth acknowledging and rewarding.  A good way to reward an exceptional performance is with the universal gift – a gift card!


Frequent Rewards:

Flexibility – the philosophy “give a little to get a little” is an easy way to recognize employees’ value.

Good Gossip – make a point of publicly discussing an employee’s great work.

Treat Them – a little goes a long way and believe it or not, a yummy treat for your employees as a thank you will be well appreciated.


Good employees are hard to find!  Hiring and training new employees is a timely and costly process.  Retaining your valued employees should be one of your top priorities and is just as important as any other fundamental responsibility of your business.  Today’s a day to reflect and create a workplace of gratitude and encouragement. 




Double Trouble: The Biathlon

by Rouso Group

Double Trouble: The Biathlon 

Combines the endurance of cross country skiing with the expertise of rifle shooting




Have you ever wondered how some of the winter Olympics sports came to be? I was watching the biathlon the other day wondering this exact thing. The Biathlon is a winter Olympic sport that combines cross country skiing with rifle shooting. Participants race around a cross country trail and there will be two to four shooting rounds, half in the prone position and half in the standing position. For each shooting round, the participant must hit five targets and they receive a penalty for each missed shot. The penalty varies depending on the specific competition and is either added distance or time penalties. The person with the shortest time wins.   

How did this interesting sport begin? Its roots began in Scandinavia where early inhabitants hunted on skis through the snow-covered forests with rifles slung over their shoulders. Nowadays a similar activity to the sport is used as an alternative training method for the Norwegian military. It’s not uncommon for professional biathletes to list their second profession as soldier or border guard. Cross Country skiing requires endurance, strength, speed and skill. One comparison to what it feels like to compete in a biathlon is like running up 10 flights of stairs and then trying to thread a needle.

One interesting fact about the biathlon is that it is a sport that has one of the greatest varieties of Olympic winners from different countries. It is not dominated by one or two countries like some sports. That makes it interesting and fun to watch because so many countries have the possibility to win on any given day. Biathletes can also be competitive into their 40s unlike many sports where athletes fizzle out long before then.

Typically, Americans have not been good on a world level at this event. It’s the only Olympic sport where an American has yet to medal. Biathlete Lowell Bailey has competed at three Olympics games and was America’s best possibility but unfortunately it didn’t work out for the 2018 games. In many parts of the world, biathletes are a big deal and extremely popular. In America this is not the case, due to a lack of funding for the sport and the fact that half our country doesn’t get snow in the winter.

One official training center for many winter sports, including the biathlon, is the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., which opened in 1982 and previously hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. There are also many other training centers in the United States dedicated to educating, promoting and expanding the participation of the biathlon. Hopefully by the next winter games in 2022, we can start seeing some American medals for the biathlon!

If you’d like to experience what it feels like to be a biathlete, you can get a complete Olympic experience at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah. You can sign up as a group or as an individual. Click here for packages and instructions.

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



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 34