Neighborhood News: Here’s to Opening Day at Lakeview’s Wrigley Field!

Sign on Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is shown here on May 29, 2016 after their7-2 win against the Philadelphia Phillies

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones…. And the only church that truly feeds the soul, day-in day-out, is the Church of Baseball.”

Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), Bull Durham 

As the Chicago Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:20pm today to open the 2023 Major League Baseball season, let’s take a moment to remember what an iconic place the ‘Friendly Confines,’ has been for 107 seasons at what is now known as Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison Street. For starters, it’s  the second-oldest ballpark in the United States. The only ballpark older than Wrigley is Boston’s Fenway Park (1912).

Things you may not know… 

The Cubs, an active franchise since 1870, moved to Weeghman Park (later Wrigley) from West Side Park, which was located at Taylor, Wood, Polk and Lincoln (now Wolcott) Streets. From 1906 through 1910, the Cubs won four National League pennants and two World Series championships at West Side Park. The 1906 World Series between the Cubs and the Chicago White Sox featured the first cross-town matchup in Series history. 

Wrigley Field opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park for Charles Weeghman’s Chicago Whales of the Federal League, which folded after the 1915 baseball season, according to Wikipedia sources. Designed by Weeghman’s friend, architect Zachary Taylor Davis, the cost of building Weeghman Park, with a seating capacity of 14,000, was estimated at $250,000. After the Whales folded, Weeghman purchased the Cubs from the Taft family of Cincinnati and moved the club to the ballpark at the corner of Clark and Addison streets.

Play Ball… base and foot! 

The Cubs played their first home game on April 20, 1916, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings.  According to the Cubs’ website, the ballpark became known as Cubs Park in 1920 after chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. (Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, etc.) of the Wrigley Company acquired the Cubs in 1921 It was named Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley Jr., the club’s owner. Also, between 1921 and 1970, it was the home of football’s Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) from 1931 to 1938.

And they were a pretty good team, winning National League championships in 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, and 1938.

The Walls of Ivy…and the Birth of the ‘Bleacher Bums’

In 1937, the stadium was renovated. According to the Cubs’ website, the Wrigley Field bleachers and scoreboard were constructed in 1937 when the outfield area was renovated to provide improved and expanded seating. P. K. Wrigley discussed beautification with then-Cubs President William Veeck Sr., who suggested planting ivy on the outfield walls. His son, Bill, who later owned the White Sox, planted English ivy, but was later changed to Boston Ivy or Japanese Bittersweet, which can endure the harsh Chicago winters better. Veeck, Sr. was president of the Cubs from 1919 to his death in October, 1933. Under Veeck’s leadership, the Cubs won two pennants, in 1929 and 1932. 

Following a change in MLB rules, which requires all outfield walls to be padded, Wrigley Field was grandfathered in, and is the only stadium in the league without padded walls. In 2004, according to Wikipedia sources, the ivy was specifically included in Wrigley Field’s Landmark Designation by the Chicago City Council in 2020. Under the ground rules of Wrigley Field, if a baseball gets gets stuck in the ivy, the batter is awarded a ground rule double. 

According to the National Park Service website, the Cubs’ 27-foot high scoreboard was also added at this time, and remains manually operated to this day. One of the traditions of the ballpark is the flying of a flag bearing a “W” or an “L” atop the scoreboard after a game. A white flag with a blue “W” indicates a victory; a blue flag with a white “L” denotes a loss.

Finally: Three flags fly on the left field foul pole: Ernie Banks’ uniform No. 14, Ron Santo’s No. 10 and Fergie Jenkins’ No. 3. Four flags fly on the right field foul pole: Billy Williams’ No. 26, Ryne Sandberg’s No. 23, Greg Maddux’s No. 31 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42. And there’s a “Hey, Hey!” for broadcaster Jack Brickhouse’s call after home runs. And don’t forget Harry Caray’s seventh inning stretch rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame!’

And Finally… That Goat… 

The ‘Curse of the Billy Goat,’ according to Wikipedia sources, was placed on the Cubs in 1945, by Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis. The curse lasted 71 years, from 1945 to 2016. During game 4 of the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Tigers, Sianis’s pet goat, named Murphy, was bothering other fans, and so the pair were asked to leave the stadium. Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”

Ironically, the “curse” was broken on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis’s death. The Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series in seven games after trailing 3 games to 1. They won by a score of 8–7 in 10 innings at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, ending a 108-year championship drought.

What will happen in the 2023 campaign? Only time will tell. 


Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Plan Your Passover and Easter Holidays Now!

Happy Easter and Passover. Hand lettering text with flat eggs, flowers and leaves on white background.

Welcome to April, everyone! Yes, it’s a few days early, but now is the optimal time to plan your family celebrations and most importantly, make your reservations! 

Passover (Pesach) 2023 begins the evening of Wednesday, April 5 and runs through Thursday, April 13.  Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday on April 2, ending on Easter Sunday, April 9. Their common denominator? Both are holidays ending in joy and celebration with those we love most. 

Chicago’s restaurant community comes together during these festive days to prepare and plan great feasts with all the trimmings. 

Passover Celebrations: To-go and/or dine-in

For example, at the West Side’s iconic Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen, 1141 S. Jefferson Street,ordersmust be in by April 1 or “if we sell out.“  No wonder!TheirPassover Dinner serves two, and includes your choice of roasted brisket or chicken, and includes matzo ball soup, kishke, matzo kugel, glazed carrots, and flourless chocolate cake. To reserve, click here

At Lakeview’s The Bagel, 3107 N. Broadway, their dine-in Traditional Passover Dinner starts with a chopped egg/onion salad or chopped liver, their ‘Famous Recipe’ Gefilte fish with horseradish, golden chicken broth with matzoh ball, your choice of entrée, including oven-roasted brisket of beef au jus, roasted tender spring chicken, fresh broiled wild Lake Superior whitefish or sweet and sour meatballs in savory sauce, accompanied by carrot, sweet potato and prune tzimmes (a sweet stew), green beans and onions almondine, and oven-baked matzoh dressing. For more information, click here

At the Gold Coast’s Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, Passover 2023 has a French accent! Start with your choice of farm asparagus salad, tartare, or chicken liver mousse with arugula and apple salad, followed by a choice of glazed beef short ribs with ratatouille, or Faroe Island salmon with an English cucumber and quinoa Tabbouleh salad. End a with a perfect French-inspired cheesecake with poached strawberries, or bittersweet chocolate bars with orange Grand Marnier sauce. For reservations and information, click here. 

Easter Celebrations: To-go and/or dine-in

A new entry for Dean’s Team Chicago in 2023 is Fulton Market’s Rose Mary, 932 W. Fulton Street, offering a four-course, dine-in Croatian Easter feast, including Burek, Nueske’s bacon, farm egg, and mozzarella, Benedict Pampanella, with pork belly, Calabrian chili, and hollandaise, Braised Lamb Hash, with ajvar, kajmak, and red onion. As a final touch, Palačinke (Croatian pancakes) are filled with apple, toffee, and vanilla gelato. For reservations, click here

In Andersonville, Uvae Kitchen and Wine Bar, 5553 N. Clark Street, describes itself as “a stylish destination for contemporary American fare with house cocktails & a curated wine list.” According to Timeout Chicago, their Easter Brunch options will include fried oysters, deviled eggs, Nutella croissants, lobster cake Benedict, brioche French toast, prosciutto and gruyere omelet, broccoli-cheddar quiche, and chocolate pot de crème. For reservations, click here. 

For an entirely gluten-free menu, CheSa’s Bistro & Bar, 3235 W. Addison Street, in Avondale,offers a fusion of scratch-made Creole and contemporary American flavors. Their Easter specials, according to Choose Chicago, will include garlic lamb chops, lobster benedict, salmon croquettes, and more. Entertainment will be provided by a live DJ. Mmmm! For reservations, click here.

Here’s to Happy Holidays for all! 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – So, you want to start a garden.

Various vegetable in a raised bed

The first thing you need to do is look at the space that you have. Do you just have a patio? Then maybe you need to do container gardening. You can have a successful garden even on a small deck if you live in a condo. Even if you do have a lot of room in your backyard for a regular garden, it’s a good idea to make a raised bed. A raised bed will keep the soil soft and not packed down from people walking on it. Raised beds are also good for drainage and will stop any pooling of water. 

The soil you use for your garden will definitely make the difference between success and failure. The soil you have may be good, but it’s usually not as great as you think. I live in Chicago and the soil we have here is very clay-like, meaning it’s very thick and hard and it’s not really good for drainage or most plants. You can get tests at Home Depot and places like that, but it’s probably just as easy and more accurate to send out the soil to a lab for an analysis. This is usually relatively inexpensive, around $20 or so. Google soil tests in my area and you should be able to find somewhere to send it. But, if you are container gardening, the best way is to use fresh soil that comes in bags from your garden center. Miracle-gro has an all-purpose garden soil that I’ve been using for years, and it works very well and actually contains fertilizer. This also works well with raised beds, and if you find your soil is decent you can augment with the bagged soil by mixing them together. It works well for me!

Next thing we need to think about is: what are we going to grow? Check out how much sun your area gets each day. Many garden vegetables need a lot of sun, specifically at least six hours a day of direct sun. A good rule of thumb you can use: if you pick fruit off the plant it tends to need more sun. So, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers all need more sun. But don’t think that you can’t plant tomatoes just because your sun cover is less than 4 hours a day. Think about the size here also. Yes, of course beef steak tomatoes are huge and need a lot of sun, but there are other versions, cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes that are much smaller and don’t need quite as much sun. Fun fact, most greens don’t need much sun, they actually do better without direct sunlight. Things like leaf lettuce, kale, and other greens.

Planting from seed is more difficult than getting transplants. A few things that do work well from seed are different lettuces, radishes, and carrots. But everything else I would consider getting transplants, you will definitely have better luck. So in a month or so head out to your local garden center and see what they have. All of the plants in your local garden center will be plants that will be successful in your area. They are all grown now to be resistant to disease and that’s a good thing. So, let’s try to get out and grow a few things!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

How Can You Tell if This is the Right Neighborhood For You?

Illustration of Cartoon Real Estate a Family House for the Summer

Location, location, location. It’s the crux of real estate. But when it comes to buying a home in a new neighborhood, there are other factors to consider in addition to the location itself.

If you’re planning on sticking around your new neighborhood for the long haul, or want to raise a family in a good area, you’d be well-advised to do some homework and research on the community you’re contemplating. A bunch of factors go into figuring out of the desirability of a specific house and the community it’s in.

So how do you know if the neighborhood you’re looking at is right for you?

Ownership Rates Are High

Neighborhoods that have a much higher proportion of owners compared to renters are considered much more stable. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the high percentage of renters in downtown New York City or San Francisco. But for the most part, if the neighborhood you’re looking at features more owners than renters, it’s a good sign of a stable area.

Not only that, but owners tend to take better care of their properties. After all, they own them, and obviously have a much higher vested interest in the properties. Your realtor will be able to provide you with these types of stats for areas you’re looking at. 

Properties That Retain Their Market Value

Certain neighborhoods hold home value better than others, which was evident during the most recent housing crash. Areas where property values remained relatively stable during these trying economic times are more likely the types of areas you want to call home.

Even if you plan on living there forever and have no intention of selling for a profit, it’s still nice to be able to build equity in your home from appreciation alone. You can find information like this from historical sale prices from your county’s tax records office, or else your realtor will be able to provide you with such important info.

It’s a Decent Commute to Work

Houses that are situated nearby major city centers and big employers are in high demand. Especially these days, younger professionals are a lot less likely to want to drive far to work compared to previous generations. The closer the neighborhood is to these business hubs, the better.

Neighborhood Schools Are Rated High

If you have kids, you want to make sure the school within your district is a good one with a healthy reputation. The local school district is typically an important factor to consider when purchasing a house.

Even if you don’t have kids, schools make a big difference for many buyers, who will be more likely to pay more to get into the best school district. This will be a vital factor if you plan on selling some time in the future.

Public Transit is Readily Available

If you can easily and quickly get to a bus stop or subway line, thats good news. Properties with easy access to public transit are generally more valuable compared to those that are not. Among the many factors that are considered when determining a property’s value, proximity of public transit is one of them.

In fact, properties within half a mile of high-frequency public transit routes and stops are worth an average of 42% more. But don’t pick a home that’s too close to these routes – homes that are beside train tracks can actually lose value instead. No one wants to live beside noisy trains or buses.

Home and Neighborhood Improvements Are Noticeable

If you see homes being renovated or even rebuilt, that’s a good sign of a healthy neighborhood. Home owners that are investing a lot of time and money into their properties show that they value their neighborhood, and so should you. And if the city is pouring in money into improvements – such as new sidewalks, trees, etc – that’s also a good sign of a neighborhood that’s nowhere near close to heading south in value.

Your home is purchase is a big one, so you want to make sure you do your due diligence and scope out the area you plan on buying in before you fork over the big bucks. There are tons of signs that the neighborhood is perfect for you to plant some roots. To take things a step further, tap into the experience and knowledge of your real estate agent to find out if the community you’re considering moving into is the right one.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Springing Forward!

Happy cute pet dog puppy running in the grass in flowering garden

It’s time to “Spring” forward as we wrap-up nearly a month’s worth of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and more this last weekend in March! Don’t get left behind!!

Thousands of runners are gearing up to hit the city streets for the annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle as they kick off the spring running season here in Chicago. The Mile portion will take place on Saturday (8:00 a.m.) at Grant Park in The Loop welcoming participants of all abilities, from walkers to families to competitive athletes. Runners will receive a 2023 race T-shirt and a bib with an awards ceremony at the end of The Mile. The 8K Run and 2-Mile Walk will take place on Sunday (7:00 a.m.) at Grant Park as well. Runners for this event will receive a festive shirt and knit hat, a bib, and a drink ticket to use at the post-race party which will be held at Buckingham Fountain featuring live music! It’s your last chance to be Irish until next year!!

The 3rd annual Uncorked: Chicago Wine Festival will be held on Saturday (7 p.m.-11 p.m.) at the Museum of Science & Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Hyde Park neighborhood. As a guest you will be able to enjoy over 100 wines and champagnes from across the globe. Full after-hours access to the museum, a DJ, interactive exhibits, and more are all included in either your VIP ticket ($100) or General Admission ticket ($70). Plus, the VIP ticket includes access to a private lounge with higher end wineries as well as an extra hour of tastings!

It’s the last weekend for Karen’s Diner at Rizzo’s Bar & Inn (3658 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. This touring pop-up diner offers great food but horrible service! Your $45 ticket gets you a burger, fries, soft drink, and being roasted by your servers with over-the-top banter!! Vegetarian options are also available.

Get the kids out of the house to release some of their pent-up winter energy at this Sunday’s (2 p.m.-4 p.m.) Family Fun Fair at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness (1320 W. Fullerton Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  This indoor event offers a range of fun attractions and activities which include bounce houses, relay races, Lego contest and prizes, carnival games, craft and coloring stations, airbrush tattoos, and more!  Some attractions/activities as well as all food and drinks will require tickets that can be purchased on the day of the event.

In preparation for our next upcoming holiday, join the Kambs Jennings Group at Guaranteed Rate for complimentary Photos With the Easter Bunny this Saturday (10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) at Park & Field (3509 W. Fullerton Ave.) in the Logan Square neighborhood.  Even your four-legged family members are welcomed to get their photo taken with the bunny as this is a dog-friendly event as well. Plus, be sure to stick around for the awesome brunch!

As far as tribute shows go, there can be none better than One Night of Queen this Saturday (8 p.m.-11 p.m.) at the Rosemont Theatre (5400 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont. This spectacular live concert recreates the look, sound, and pomp showmanship of one of the greatest rock bands of all time as performed by Gary Mullen (Freddie Mercury) and The Works. They have played to sellout crowds in the USA, United Kingdom, Europe, and New Zealand!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Wrap up Women’s History Month at the Near West Side’s Jane Addams Hull House Museum

University of Illinois at Chicago logo on its campus.

Tucked into a corner of the University of Illinois-Chicago campus at 800 S. Halsted Street, the The Jane Addams Hull House Museumis “Chicago’s dynamic monument to democracy,” according to their website. 

The Museum Is located in two of the original settlement house buildings- the Hull Home, a National Historic Landmark, and the Residents’ Dining Hall, an Arts and Crafts building.

Who Was Jane Addams?

A reformer, an advocate for immigrants, and recognized as the founder of the social work profession, according to Wikipedia sources, Jane Addams(1860-1935) made history in 1931 as she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

From Cedarville to Chicago 

She was born into a prosperous family in downstate Cedarville, the youngest of eight children. When she was four she contracted tuberculosis of the spine, which caused a curvature in her spine and lifelong health problems, but the pain was later alleviated by surgery. Her father, John H. Addams, was a founding member of the Illinois Republican Party, serving as an Illinois State Senator, and supporting his friend Abraham Lincoln in his candidacies for senator and the presidency. In 1881, she graduated from the Rockford Female Seminary as  valedictorian, but was granted the bachelor’s degree only after the school became accredited the next year as Rockford College for Women. There, she met Ellen Starr, her partner for the next 30+ years and the co-founder of Hull House. 

Hull House Takes Shape 

During a tour of Europe, Addams and Starr visited Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in London’s East End, according to This visit solidified their dream of opening a similar house in an underprivileged area of Chicago. In 1889, she and Starr leased a large home built by Charles Hull at the corner of Halsted and Polk Streets, in a neighborhood densely populated by Italian, Irish, German, Greek, Bohemian, and Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. Later, African Americans and Mexicans put down roots. The two friends moved in to provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago. As the Museum’s website says, they provided kindergarten and day care facilities for the children of working mothers; an employment bureau; an art gallery; libraries; English and citizenship classes; and theater, music and art classes, eventually expanding to a thirteen-building campus. The settlement advocated for legislative reforms at the municipal, state and federal levels, addressing issues such as child labor, women’s suffrage, healthcare reform and immigration policy. 

In 2012, when it closed, Hull House was one of the largest social services agency in Chicago. 

The Museum Today 

Today, the Museum is part of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Exhibitions and public programs highlight the histories of activism, progressive education, and democratic principles of participation and exchange. 

The collection is made up of more than 5,500 artifacts relating to the work of the Hull House Settlement and the surrounding neighborhood. 

Guests are welcome to visit the Museum by reservation only. They are open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and Sunday from 12pm-4pm. They are closed on Saturdays and Mondays. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: All celebrations lead to Tandoor Char House

Eid al Fitr Mubarak banner. Islamic holiday or festival, traditions and religion, oriental and arabic culture

This year, Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, begins on Wednesday, March 22, after the sighting of the crescent moon over Mecca, according to, and ends on Friday, April 21. The end of the Ramadan fast is celebrated as Eid al-Fitr, the “Feast of Fast-Breaking,” on Saturday, April 22.

One delicious way to break any fast (or eat healthy, Indian-Pakistani meals) is at Lincoln Park’s Tandoor Char House, or their takeout locations in River West and River North. Brothers Fahim and Faraz Sardharia serve authentic Indian and Pakistani offerings representing their unique approach to fine dining. In fact, they were voted “One of the top 10 spots in Chicago for Halal Street Food” by Their Zabiha Halal meat entrees combine with vegetarian options for satisfying, shareable, diverse meals. 

Appetizers, accompanied with homemade cilantro and tamarind chutneys, include a Masala Ceviche with jalapeños, shrimp, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, topped with house spice blend laying on roasted papadum (lentil wafers). Or, try their fusion Chaat Fries, which are curly fries liberally dusted with a special blend of Indian spices. Or a Vegetarian Samosa, a light, flaky pastry stuffed with potatoes, peas, and savory seasonings. Tandoori Chicken Empanadas combines shredded tandoori chicken with a savory tikka masala sauce.

Moving on to entrees, the highly rated Tandoori Chicken is available in three options: chicken legs, half-chicken, and whole chicken; slow roasted in their traditional clay oven.

Murg Malai is aboneless chicken breast, marinated in special spices and cream, then slow roasted in the tandoor. 

Karhai Signature dishes accompanied with a side of rice, raita, and achar, include a Lamb Karhai-tender cuts of boneless lamb stewed in an onion-based sauce. Tikka Masala comes with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or fish, baked in the tandoor and marinated in their homemade buttery cream sauce. Kafta Kabobs combinespiced beef, cooked with onions, green peppers and tangy, fresh squeezed lemons, and served with naan. Aloo Gobi is made with potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes and onions, simmered with Indian spices.

As we always say, leave room for dessert! Gulab Jamun are homemade mini doughnuts soaked in an aromatic rose scented syrup. Mango Cheesecake is made with a ginger cookie crust, topped with whipped cream and garnished with pistachios. Falooda Kulfi is a rose-flavored ice cream served with pistachios. 

“For the best Indian halal food, head over here. They do grill platters and fusion food so well. I loved the ceviche on papad and the fish platter. Tandoori heaven! And lots of veggie options too. Mango cheesecake is to die for. Remember it’s BYOB! Go here now!”

“Amazing food. Every thing we got was amazing. I ate in many indian placed across the country, this is a gem. Food, service are 10/10.”

Tandoor Char House locations are in Lincoln Park at 2652 N. Halsted Street, and for takeout and delivery only at 110 W. Hubbard Street, and 1022 N. Western Avenue. Their hours across all locations are Monday-Friday, 4pm–10:30pm, Saturday from 11am–10:30pm, and Sunday from 11am – 10pm. For more information, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Talking about good sleep.

Closeup shot of peaceful young curly indian man sleeping in comfortable bed alone at home

Let’s talk about sleep again! Sleep is the most important factor in our health. We spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping as it helps our brain and body regenerate. Here are a few tricks for getting your best night’s sleep.

Number one, the biggest one: don’t bring your phone to bed! The blue light from the phone really messes up the melatonin in your brain that helps you get a good night’s sleep. Besides, checking on social media or any other places online can keep you awake by raising anxiety. I’ve noticed myself grabbing the phone “just to check on it” sometimes if I get up in the middle of the night. It makes it really hard to get back to sleep!

Number two: It’s good to have a consistent bedtime and sleep routine—even on weekends. Of course, we know we can’t always stick to this. Things happen; parties, gatherings, or late nights at work, but having a set time to start your routine can help. On average it takes us probably an hour to get ready and actually get to sleep. So if you want to go to sleep by 10:00 o’clock every evening, say “I’m done with work!” by 8:00. Be determined to relax and get ready for bed. Take time to perhaps write in your journal, take a warm bath, or listen to some soothing music, anything that helps you wind down.

Number three: No caffeine after noon! For the majority of people, this is the best way to deal with caffeine. I’ve noticed that if I do have a lot of caffeine in the afternoon I always have a terrible time getting to sleep. If you find that you need an afternoon pickup of a cup of coffee it might be good to check with your doctor, you might not be getting the best sleep and maybe have an apnea problem. 

Number four: be mindful of when you eat. I always try to have at least 3 hours between eating and going to sleep so that my digestion is done before sleep. It’s also a good idea to keep your drinking down to one or two days a week as too much alcohol can throw off your sleep. You might think it helps you to sleep, but the sleep you are getting is not good sleep.

Number five: don’t worry so much about getting perfect sleep. Many people now are using sleep trackers of some sort, whether it’s your Apple Watch or some other device that shows you your sleep patterns throughout the night. It’s not good to obsess about this. Trying to have “optimal” sleep every night is pretty much impossible, and worrying about it so much can actually give you insomnia. Doctors have a word for it now; it’s called orthosomia, anxiety over getting a perfect sleep score, and it does no one any good! So be careful. 

Try some of these tricks and let’s all have a better night’s sleep!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

The Minimalist Approach: Less is More in Home Decor

Black living room interior with leather sofa, minimalist industrial style

It’s much better to have a few quality items than a bunch of clutter. This is what the minimalist approach in home decor is all about. Forget about cramping your space with a ton of little items – instead, adding a handful of stylish pieces can say a lot more than lots of little knick-knacks.

Paring down on things in your home can make the space feel more open and breathable. While you don’t exactly have to eliminate everything down to the bare bones, consider the following tips to creating a space that’s comfortable, sophisticated, and easy to take care of.


Getting rid of overcrowded items sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s usually the first step in achieving the trendy minimalist approach in interior design. Certain spaces in the home tend to be easy targets for clutter, such as the dining room, kitchen and living room.

Unopened mail spread all over the dining table, and magazines on the coffee table can make a space look smaller. Clearing the clutter and replacing it with one attention-grabbing piece, such as a seasonal arrangement or tall glass vase, can do wonders for creating a simple yet chic look.

White is More Expressive Than You Think

While white walls might be immediately associated with hospitals and doctor’s offices, this neutral shade is making a comeback in the world of home interior design. Accent walls and punches of bright hues may have been the trend a few years ago, but these days, simple white has found its place in decor.

A white backdrop has the power to highlight certain aspects of your home – such as antique pieces or hand-scraped hardwood flooring. It acts as the perfect canvas upon which you can display all of your finishes, furnishings, and other decor that you want to focus on in your home.

Group Like-Objects Together

Rather than splitting up similar objects, group them together instead. For instance, assemble a few mirrors together on a vacant space on your wall, or cluster glass vases together on your window sill.

Arranging objects in this manner can do wonders for pulling a room together. Just make sure that you don’t overcrowd the area – the key is finding that sweet spot between too little and too many.

Tone Down the Lighting

Task lighting is important in certain space to help focus on what you’re doing, such as in the kitchen when preparing meals. But such lighting has a tendency to create harsh shadows.

To counter this effect, mixing up your lighting can help add a softer ambience to the space that’s conducive to minimalist decor. Ambient lighting that’s non-directional, such as pot lights with dimmers or lamps with soft halogen bulbs, can help to bring warmth to a space.

Be Careful With Your Accessories

It’s easy to overcrowd a room with an over-abundance of accessories. But when it comes to a minimalist decorative approach, less is more. When accessorizing a space, it’s better just to have a handful of striking pieces than a lot of small objects, which will do nothing more than clutter the space. How you use accessories in your home can mean the difference between cozy and cramped.

The Bottom Line

As the saying goes, quality is more important than quantity. This rings especially true when it comes to achieving a minimalist style in your home. It’s practical, simple, and even more affordable. Keep the above suggestions in mind while paring down each room in your home to get back to basics.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Continuing With Our Shenanigans!

St. Patrick's Day, people with green hats and Irish flags in Dublin city

Guess what?  We’re still green this weekend as St. Patrick’s Day fun never stops here in Chicago!  So, let’s continue with our shenanigans!!

The Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl is taking place this Saturday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) at Wrigleyville’s Best Bars since day drinking is always more fun.  A ticket gets you admission, a breakfast buffet, gift cards to use on the crawl, giveaways, and more!  So grab your friends and don all of your favorite green gear as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend at Old Crow, Moe’s, Deuce’s (Charm’d Bar – today is its last day), HVAC Pub, and others.  Plus, all these bars are within walking distance of each other!!

The Kiss Me, I’m Irish: Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl takes place this Saturday (2 p.m.-2 a.m.) serving up the Best Drink Specials at the Best Bars in Town.  Check-in is at the Hubbard Inn (110 W. Hubbard St.) in the River North neighborhood while the official after party will be held at Clark Street Ale House (742 N. Clark St.).  Other participating bars include El Hefe, Hopsmith, Joy District, Mother Hubbard’s, Roots Old Town, Spin, Utopian Tailgate, and Woodie’s Flat.  It’s been said that this bar crawl is like no other!

Come Shake Your Shamrock this Saturday (6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.) at the Norwood Park Train Station (6088 N. Northwest Hwy.) in the Norwood Park neighborhood.  This family-friendly event is recommended for kids ages 5-12 years old who will receive for a $5 charge a glow stick, water, and a lite snack.  As for the adults, a $20 ticket includes two free adult beverages which include beer, wine, and seltzers.  Also, the HeadSpin Guy, an awesome break dancer with a light show, is the entertainment for the evening!

All greened out?  Check out the following events for your weekend entertainment!

It’s the final Stout Fest ’23 this Sunday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) at the Goose Island Clybourn Brewhouse (1800 N. Clybourn Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  Drink Chicago stouts as you sample pourings from 25+ breweries and vote for your favorite one!  A ticket includes samples from all the participating breweries, a 2023 souvenir glass, and passed small bites.  Who will take home the coveted Stout Fest trophy?  There’s only one way to find out!

It’s time for a whole lot of fun!  Come join Read & Run Chicago and Pizza City, USA Tours for a one-of-a-kind Pizza Running Tour this Saturday (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.).  On this 3-mile run, you’ll visit three different pizzerias in the West Loop, River North, and Streeterville areas for a sampling of pizza slices.  Plus, your ticket also includes a meet-and-greet with the pizzeria owner, and an exclusive meeting with the James Beard Award-winning food journalist Steve Dolinsky as well as receiving a signed copy of his book The Ultimate Chicago Pizza Guide!

And finally, the annual Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont this Saturday (11 a.m.-11 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-8 p.m.).  This show features a variety of vendors, live entertainment, and tattoo contests each day of the show.  Also, you’ll be able to make an appointment with a tattoo artist which includes talent featured on Ink Masters to add to your collection or get your very first tattoo!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago