2013 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions

The 2012-2013 NHL season got off to a late start.  The collective bargaining agreement had expired, and the players’ union and the owners couldn’t agree on new contract.  The lockout lasted almost three months, effectively cancelling 34 regular season games.  This long delay proved magical for the Chicago Blackhawks. During the first 24 games of […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Elevators

Fancy elevator doors

Without elevators, buildings in the Loop would be no more than five, or possibly a heart attack inducing six stories tall. This began changing in the 1860s, according to History of the Development of Building Construction in Chicago.  Passenger elevators surprised building owners by not only allowing more stories to be added to buildings, but by […]

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The 30 Days of Biking Challenge

Bicyclist with an umbrella

This April marks the fifth year of the 30 Days of Biking Challenge. Pledge to ride every day in the month of April, whether it be down the driveway and back or a full century (100 miles). This is the second year I’ve pledged and, as anyone living in Chicago knows, the weather in April […]

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Tournament of Books: Championship

Toy rooster

We’ve come to the end of yet another tournament. What a whirlwind it’s been! With a roster of titles that ranged from the critically acclaimed to those flying under the radar, it was a real toss up as to who would emerge victorious and take home the Rooster. I certainly do not want to outrage […]

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Bigger, Brighter, Better: Chicago Theater

  The title for Chris Jones’ new book, Bigger, Brighter, Louder, refers to a speech given by a New York director to his cast at the turn of the 20th century in preparation for the show’s move to Chicago. Chicago audiences were not as sophisticated as East Coast ones, he posited, so the performers would have to exaggerate everything. The […]

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Face Your Fears

Fear

Ever since I realized that clowns were made of people, I couldn’t walk within one hundred yards of a circus tent without breaking out into a cold sweat. Happily, after looking through the library, I discovered there are plenty of people out there with fears as irrational as mine. Phobias is an adorable little book, cataloging […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Building Foundations FAIL! 1870s-1900

Diagram of stepped stone foundation

Chicago City Hall (1885-1908) Source: Chicago Dept. of Public Works Annual Report. 1909 Previous post: Foundations, part one. After the Great Fire of 1871, a new generation of architects and engineers came to Chicago to build what were then the world’s tallest skyscrapers.  Most of the buildings were architectural and financial successes. A few, including […]

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Women Writers to Admire: Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster accomplished the nearly impossible task of turning her hilarious blog, Jennsylvania, into a successful book. Since Bitter Is the New Black was published in 2006, she’s penned six more memoirs and three novels. Bitter is her tale of losing her lucrative finance job in Chicago and learning some seriously humbling lessons along the way. While it warmed my heart to see her ditch her snotty […]

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April 2 is National Walking Day

National Walking Day

Exercise doesn’t have to be hard. No, really! This April 2, the American Heart Association encourages us all to get moving toward a healthier lifestyle on National Walking Day. Wear your comfy shoes to work and take a walk! It’s that simple. 30 minutes of your day, which can easily be broken into 15-minute increments, […]

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Choose Your Faction

Divergent book cover

Where do your strengths lie? Do you see service to others as your passion? Perhaps you are really, really smart or extremely honest. Do you value a peaceful environment above all else? Maybe your strength is your lack of fear. Or, quite possibly, you have more than one strength; perhaps you are divergent. Whether you […]

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