Stay Healthy This Summer

A few simple tips for improving your personal health

Summer is the time for family vacations and road trips, backyard barbecues, and days at the beach. But as the pace of life slows down after the hustle and bustle of winter and spring, it’s also a great time to make some small health-conscious changes that can make a big difference at the end of the day. Here are a few simple-but-effective tips for improving your personal health this summer.

Eat more berries
Eating a cup of mixed berries each day can have tremendous health benefits. Berries are rich with antioxidants, which help prevent tissue damage and lower the risk of age-related illnesses. It’s just a small change to your diet, but a little goes a long way!

Have some fun while exercising
This doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. Make the most of the summer weather by doing activities that are both fun and keep you moving. Cycling, hiking, swimming, playing games with the kids—these are all great ways to get some exercise without making it feel like a chore that you have to squeeze into your schedule.

Wear your sunglasses
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot more to wearing sunglasses than just fashion. A good pair of sunglasses should block out at least 99 percent of harmful UV rays.

Play in the dirt
Planting and maintaining a garden can be a great stress reliever. Even something as simple as a few flower boxes or potted plants is a good start.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Fest Season Back in Full Swing!

This weekend may be the end of July, but Chicago’s fest season is back in full swing!  Be sure to take in as many of the fests as you can since summer will be over before you know it!!

Head on down to Hutchinson Field in Grant Park this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-5 p.m.) as Lollapalooza returns at full capacity this summer.  This music fest is packed with some of the biggest names in pop, rock and hip-hop.  In fact, the headliner on Saturday is Post Malone along with Journey, Megan Thee Stallion, Limp Bizkit, Slander and Young The Giant, while the Foo Fighters will headline on Sunday with Dababy, Brockhampton, Modest Mouse, Alison Wonderland and Young Thug!  If you plan on attending, you’ll need proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test completed within 24 hours of entry.

The iconic and popular annual celebration of Far East culture, Chinatown Summer Fair, returns for its 42nd festive year on Wentworth Avenue from Cermak Road to 24th Place this Saturday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.-7 p.m.).  This neighborhood street fest opens with a lion dance procession at 12:30 p.m., and a welcome at 1 p.m. on the main stage.  Some of the highlights include: samplings from Chinatown’s restaurants and unique gift shops, arts & crafts exhibits, Asian performances, kung fu demonstrations and a children’s area with pony rides and a petting zoo.

If you love classic rock, then skip Lollapalooza and head to the Jefferson Park neighborhood for its 20th annual community party Jeff Fest.  This fest takes place Saturday (2 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.-9 p.m.) at Jefferson Memorial Park (4822 N. Long Ave.).  Get down to great tunes from a live music lineup filled with tribute acts, enjoy an array of tasty foods, and browse the arts & crafts vendors.  There’s also the Kids’ Zone area located on the north side of the park featuring tons of cool activities for families along with the Community Stage!  It’s a proud tradition in one of Chicago’s most friendly communities!!

One of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest returns as a full in-person event to the heart of the Pilsen neighborhood with Fiesta del Sol this Saturday (11 a.m.-11 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) at Cermak Road and Loomis Street.  This free family-friendly Mexican festival features over 100 booths with some of the best tacos, tamales and tostadas in town along with a lineup of traditional live music on two stages, activities for the kids, art exhibits, a carnival and much more!

The Hyatt Regency O’Hare (9300 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) in Rosemont will be hosting the Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention this weekend.  Since 2002, this event is Chicago’s largest and longest running horror convention featuring major celebrity guests, innovative programming, lavish parties & receptions plus evenings filled with events that include star-studded screenings and theatrical premieres.  When the vendor room closes, that’s when the after-parties begin and run all night into the wee hours of the morning!

Join Fibs Brewing Company (260 Howard Ave.) in Des Plaines as they celebrate turning two with a huge two-day bash. It’s called: Fibfestand will be rapping up on Saturday.  Celebrants will enjoy live music, tasty street tacos by Big Rig Tacos, BBQ by Johns Rib House, and Fibs Brewing’s watermelon Jolly Rancher Ale – the only place on the planet that serves this!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago


Logan Square: Has it been a while since you had your funny bone tickled? Well, head on over to Lincoln Lodge this Friday July 30th, and Saturday July 31st for a fun-filled evening, full of humor and endless laughter! The lodge is popular for its line-up of aspiring, up-and-coming comedians. Not only does it showcase independent newbie comedians, but it has a rich history in featuring some well-known names in the comeday, including: Amy Schumer, Fred Armisen and Janeane Garofalo among others. Tickets are $13 dollars each. The show starts at 8 p.m and ends at 9:30 p.m. The Lincoln Lodge Theater is located at 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave. Find out more here:

West Loop: The Art of Banksy exhibit is coming to Chicago! The intriguing artwork of the anonymous, English-based graffiti artist is being showcased on Saturday, August 7th at the Epiphany Center for the Arts. Come and enjoy the eighty-piece art collection of the mysterious artist, who has garnered momentum over the years, for his unique, eye-catching artistry. Tickets range from $29.99 to $99.00. The Epiphany Center for the Arts is located at  201 S. Ashland Ave. Find out more here:

Lincoln Park: Summertime is just the perfect atmosphere for wine tasting, isn’t it? 

Enjoy this summer season by attending the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual Summer Wine Fest on Saturday July 31st, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. How exciting it must be, sipping on some wine while gallivanting through the various exotic animal domains! The fest will feature over 50 different kinds of wines from over 20 wineries. Tickets are  $20 to $49 dollars each. Lincoln Park Zoo is located at Cannon Drive at Fullerton Parkway. Find out more here:

Streeterville: Strolling to a free event this summer is probably something everyone can enjoy! That’s right- The Wave Wall Moves is completely free! The event showcases performances from various Chicago dances/dancers with a vast array of choreographers. This ongoing event has been around since May, and it does not end until September 4th. Therefore, you can experience it this weekend on Saturday July 31st.  The featured dance will be the LBP dance. It starts at 3 p.m and ends at 3:15 p.m. The event is located at 600 E. Grand Ave. Find out more here:  

Anne Thoithi and Dean’s Team Chicago


If your mornings are filled with a desire for buttery pancakes, look no further. We have just the place to delight your saccharine taste buds. The Original Pancake House is such a place; a restaurant that offers the ultimate dining experience for pancake enthusiasts.

The Original Pancake House, as the name suggests, is not your typical breakfast restaurant. Quite the contrary. When you first arrive, you can’t help but notice the  cottage-structured building and you feel right at home once you step inside. The walls are lit with Tiffany lampshades that illuminate the room, giving it an alluring ambiance. Additionally, there’s an outside patio; great for enjoying the fresh summer breeze.

The extensive menu is equally appealing. It’s not exclusive to delicious pancakes but also includes omelettes, waffles, crepes, a variety of egg specialties, meats, cereals, and side dishes. There are of course beverages and fruit juices, such as: orange juice or coffee to go along with your dish. The Original Pancake House also has a special diet section for vegetarians, vegans, or gluten-free customers. The dishes are also reasonably priced.

The most popular signature item is the Apple Pancake. It’s a very large pancake covered in cinnamon sugar and sauteed apples. It’s simply baked to perfection! This combination results in a rich, delicious taste from the cinnamon sugar glaze.

Another to-die-for menu specialty is the Dutch Baby. This is a German pancake served with lemon, powdered sugar, and whipped butter. How about the Dutch baby entree that consists of loaded bananas and strawberries, sprinkled powdered sugar and homemade strawberry syrup? You’ll also appreciate their Belgian Waffle topped with whipped cream, strawberries, powdered sugar, and homemade strawberry syrup. Mouthwatering goodness!

The Original Pancake house takes pride in what they prepare for their loyal customers. All their sauces and syrups are natural and are freshly made from scratch. This family-friendly restaurant is located at 22 E. Bellevue PI, Chicago, IL 60611. The hours are: Monday- Friday 7 a.m to  3 p.m, and Saturday and Sunday 7 to  5 p.m

Anne Thoithi and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Dealing with stress

We all have stress whether it is in our business or personal life. We should always realize that we can decide how to deal with stress instead of letting it ruin our day. Here are some ways to keep the stress in your life from taking over. 

Stress is an emotional or mental strain coming from demanding or adverse conditions. Humans are the only creators that can surmise what may happen in the future and we can therefore become stressed in anticipation of an adverse outcome. Humans can imagine entire realities in their heads. All that thinking about what might happen next is stressful. Perception can be a catalyst for stress. Therefore, two people faced with the same stressors can react quite differently.

Stress is based on our perception of what is going to happen next. If the stressors are threatening, our body will release hormones to help face it. But if we feel in control of the situation we don’t need to be on full alert. Focusing on what we can control can lessen stress for an uncertain future. Considering the situation we have faced over the past year; many have found that goal setting can help with alleviating worry and stress. Worried about your job? Perhaps learning a new skill can give you a sense of control over the situation. Concentrate on things you can control. 

Another way to combat stress is to embrace it. Speaking in public can cause enormous stress for many people. Use that to your advantage. Imagine that your racing heartbeat is bringing more oxygen to your brain to help you perform better. When people see stress as a negative it has a far worse impact on their health. If you perceive stress as a normal part of pursuing your goals, there isn’t the negative impact on health. It is all in how you think of the stress. It can be something that empowers us to be our best. 

When we start to pursue stress deliberately and on our own terms, we can harness it for peak performance. When you intentionally push yourself through stress and you then schedule rest and recuperation, your capacity to endure more stress increases. Knowing you have a good break coming will help you push harder during periods of exertion. Decide how much work do you accomplish before vacation; or even just before the weekend. This controls the stress instead of letting the stress control you. Seek the stress that will further your goals but make sure to schedule recuperation time. This way you stay in control. 


Before You Take The Plunge With A Fixer-upper, Think About Resale Value

We’ve all watched the HGTV programs that show a run-down old house transforming into a dream home. Tackling a big renovation project on an outdated property can indeed pay off big—both with the home of your dreams, and with a return on investment. If resale value is a primary concern, consider these factors as you’re making your fixer-upper plans.

Is the price right?
How much can you invest in a home beyond the sale price while staying in line with the value of homes in the neighborhood? You don’t want to improve a home to the point that it’s worth far more than the norm for the area. You’ll enjoy the property while you’re living there, but if you ever decide to sell, your ROI could be limited by the market value of nearby houses.

Low cost, instant equity
There are a lot of low cost and DIY improvements that will add equity almost immediately, such as rehabbing the landscaping and adding fresh coats of paint. These improvements add value to the property almost instantly.

What’s worth spending on?
A little elbow grease goes a long way, but there will inevitably be projects that require some serious spending. If you’re concerned with getting a return on your investment, focus your dollars toward the roof, floors, and the home’s exterior. They’re not flashy upgrades, but they’re important for future buyers. On the other hand, luxuries like a swimming pool are unlikely to see any return on investment.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Dog Days of Summer Continue!

The dog days of summer continue this weekend in Chicago with a line-up of events sure to please everyone!

Returning for its 17th season to the Wicker Park neighborhood at Milwaukee and North Avenues, the Wicker Park Fest is one of Chicago’s most anticipated summer festivals and usually one of the season’s largest and most crowded events.  This fest celebrates the neighborhood with eclectic music (over 20 bands on two stages), great local food, arts & crafts, a kids’ area, and retail vendors.  It definitely reflects Wicker Park’s rich musical heritage, acclaimed restaurants, and vibrant nightlife!

The 38th annual Taste of Lincoln Avenue returns to the Lincoln Park/DePaul neighborhood at Lincoln and Fullerton Avenues this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.).  Sprawling over several city blocks, this fest is one of the summer’s oldest but has expanded over the years as well.  The taste has a variety of food, arts, crafts and other vendors. It also offers a main music stage with amazing regional and local entertainment.  There’s lots of fun things being offered at this iconic fest and should be at the top of your list as a must attend!

If you’d like to avoid the crowds at the neighborhood street fests but still wish to treat your taste buds to an adventure, then perhaps the Watson Adventures’ Munch Around Lincoln Park Scavenger Hunt is for you.  This unique food-centered scavenger hunt takes place this Saturday (12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.) at Lincoln Park (2500 N. Cannon Dr.).  Highlights include Oz Park with Dorothy and friends, Founding Fathers loitering outside a pub, micro mansions, hidden oases, one the city’s oldest houses, Dillinger’s death spot and much more!  Plus, you’ll be stopping along the way to sample a variety of fun foods.  And don’t forget your smartphone since this game is played on it using Watson Adventures’ browser-based app!!  You must purchase your ticket in advance.

Presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival returns for its 14th season at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse. The fest will take place at 1440 N. Humboldt Blvd. in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The event is this Saturday between 6 p.m.-8 p.m..  Attendees will enjoy a line-up of the hottest Latin Jazz ensembles the city has to offer!  Since seating is limited, please bring your own lawn chair.

This Saturday’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series at the Copernicus Center (5216 W. Lawrence Ave.) in the Jefferson Park neighborhood welcomes entertainers Rico at 6 p.m. and 7th Heaven at 8 p.m.  Enjoy your summer nights under the stars with your favorite live bands and the Center’s full bar and kitchen!

Come join the Andersonville neighborhood as they celebrate their first-ever outdoor Andersonville Vintage Market this Sunday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) at 1500 W. Catalpa Avenue.  Enjoy browsing the Market’s antiques, home décor, accessories, clothing, jewelry, music and other bric-a-brac from over a dozen local retailers, along with several food vendors!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago


The loop:  The Brew Cruises in conjunction with Revolution Brewing, is back this summer to bring you the experience of a lifetime!  As an annual tradition of Chicago during its most sultry days. This is an event that offers a 90-minute cruise on the Chicago River, while enjoying the breathtaking view of Chicago’s astounding skylines along the way!  Moreover, it is coupled with uniquely crafted seasonal beer tastings, ingenious appetizers, and live music. How amazing is that? The cruise date is on July 23 from 7:30 p.m to 9 p.m. Tickets are $60 and you must be 21 years of age. Can’t make it? Worry not! Visit their website for information about more available future dates.

Lakeview:  Put on your running shoes and join the Fleet Feet Running Club! Founded in the 70s, the club focuses on a program created to offer social interactions, while showcasing the skills of runners at any pace level. In other words, the program offers a chance for people to socialize and run at the same time. A run typically ranges from 3-5 miles.  People from all walks of life are welcome to indulge in the sprinting fun!  Join the event every Monday at 6 p.m at the Lakeview store, located at 3359 North Southport Avenue.  Alternatively, there are other locations in the Chicago area that you can go to as well. For more information, visit the website here:

Bucktown/Wicker Park:  Are you a pizza lover? Curious about how it’s made or why it tastes so great?  Well, this 3-hour pizza crawl at the Pi Pizza restaurant may be ideal for you in answering those questions. Take a tour in the back kitchen of Pi pizza located at 2010 N. Damen Avenue Unit E, Chicago IL 60647. Have an in-depth interaction with the owners, sample the 10 different pizzas they make, and get some insight into the origins of Chicago pizza. You will also have the opportunity to learn some interesting facts about the surrounding neighborhood. Tickets are $59 and the tour is conducted every Sunday. Check it out! To purchase tickets, go to:

Lincoln Park: Head out for an outdoor fun-filled family activity to the Picnics on the Plaza! Take with you that checkered, snuggly blanket and lay it out for your whole family, while listening to live music. You can also order Verve Wine, Tacos, and Italian cuisine as you enjoy the warmness of summer. The event is on July 25 from 3-6 p.m, free of charge, and is located at Lincoln Common Plaza, 2345 N. Lincoln Avenue. For more information, you can click the following link:

Anne Thoithi and Dean’s Team Chicago


Looking for a perfect spot for Weekend Brunch; or tasteful delicacies like sushi and prawn rolls? How about patio/outdoor dining? Well, look no further! Earl’s Kitchen & Bar is outstandingly grand in providing an environment that is conducive for the perfect dining experience. 

Adorned with Ricky Alvarez art pieces on the wall, the decorum of the restaurant is invitingly serene. The beautiful fire pit completes the elegance of the outside patio.

Located in Lincoln Park, Earl’s offers casual dining with a casual dress code. With a vast variety of entrees to choose from, Chef Jonathan Yee delivers a unique selection of dishes that represent an array of cultures. On Sundays, they have the Sushi + Seafood Funday whereby they take 5 dollars off any Seafood entree and serve Sushi rolls for only $10. On Wednesdays, they serve 6 oz sirloin steaks for $20. You surely can’t beat that.

Scrumptious burgers are also on the menu, not forgetting the delicious Prawn Ravioli and Bibimbap Lobster! Along with these inviting selections, gluten-free dishes are also available.

While in the comfort of your seated table, you can watch TV. In addition, the lounge and bar area is perfect for sipping on drinks while you watch the occasional sports games with your friends. That would synchronize perfectly with happy hour, which is from 2 p.m – 5 p.m, Monday through Friday. They offer half price for bottles of wine on Tuesdays. You can book a private event with Earl’s for any special occasion. They also provide takeout services. You will definitely enjoy dining in this upbeat, upscale setting!

Their hours of operation are Lunch & Dinner Mon-Fri from 12:00 p.m – 9 p.m and Saturday and Sundays from 12:00 p.m – 3 p.m. Earl’s is located at 1538 North Clybourn Avenue, Unit A108 in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Get rid of those nasty flies!

We are now well into summer and much of the country is in the midst of a dry heat wave. These factors can lead to seeing more flies around than usual. There are ways to take care of these pests without toxic chemicals. 

While rare, flies can technically breed in your house. Keeping your home clean and patching any obvious entry ways for flies can server as a natural deterrent to this. However, files are most likely coming in from the outside. The best idea is to limit the areas where flies may breed. Flies essentially breed outside on decaying organic waste. Adult females can lay hundreds of eggs that develop into adults in just 7 days. Flies will breed in mulch piles; so keep them as far away from doors and windows as possible. Keep garbage cans well sealed and away from the house. Plants with strong scent will repel flies. Lavender, basil and mint can keep flies away. Most importantly, clean up regularly after your pets! Besides providing perfect breeding ground for flies, pet feces attract rats.

Keep screens in good repair and keep doors closed. Once of the best ways to avoid flies in the house, is preventing them from entering in the first place. There are a couple good ways to take care of those pesky flies that do get in. Combine equal parts cider vinegar and a fruity smelling dish soap in a small bowl. Add a pinch of sugar. The fermented smell from the vinegar attracts the flies but the soap kills them. It destroys their digestive tract. The old-fashioned fly paper strip is an oldie but a goodie. Flies are attracted to the strip and get stuck. When full simply throw away. A soda bottle trap is also effective. Cut off the top third of a two-liter plastic bottle. Put sugar water in the bottom third and replace the top of the bottle, turning it upside down so the narrow top is pointed down. Flies will enter looking for the sugar water and won’t able to get out.

While flies can be pesky, they are easily controlled. Just to recap: Keep trash cleaned up and sealed. Clean up pest waste. Keep decaying vegetation away from the house. Do you have any other ways to take care of flies?