Archive for December, 2008

JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Dennis McKinnon of the “85 Chicago Bears helps raise money for those in need this Holiday Season!

Check out more helpful videos at JenChicago.com!

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank Chicago Blackhawks top scorer Patrick Kane headed to the locker room with a knee injury during the first period of Tuesday night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, but returned to action in the second. January 1, the Blackhawks’ franchise (and perfectly healthy) player will, along with his teammates, host the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field, in NHL Winter Classic 2009. (noon on NBC)

 Earlier this week, “Kaner” answered questions about the outdoor battle with the Wings on conference call. winterclassiclogo

“This year it seems to be really high-scoring and real close games. Both games have gone to a shootout, one was 6-5, another 5-4. That’s what the fans want to see. They want to see a lot of goals and a lot of up-tempo, a lot of skill in the game and two fast teams…Every game against the Red Wings is important, especially when we are trying to chase them right now,” he said regarding the team’s bitter rival.

Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who played in the ’08 Winter Classic gave Kaner some advice about playing in the game. “I think it’s probably going to be a little frustrating out there. The ice is going to be a little different. They are going to have to fix it up a little bit more than you do in a regular game. The game is going to be longer. Sometimes you get cold out there and you’ve got to deal with that too,” Kane said.

Kane will unveil and use personally-designed skates and stick during the Winter Classic. Only 88 skates and 88 sticks were created for this special event and Kane, the only player wearing them, will personally sign and auction off a portion of the limited edition product to raise money for breast Cancer research.

“The skates and stick are the colors of the Blackhawks and should go well with the uniform, but at the same time, it’s a little bit of showtime,” Kane said. “Hopefully when I step out onto the ice, people will say ‘Oh wow, look at the skates Kane’s wearing.’ You know the old saying, ‘Look good, feel good, play good’” Kane said before adding, “It’s really exciting to look at a skate and design it to exactly how you want it to be made. To be able to give back to the community makes the whole experience even more special.”

For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Why bring in 2009 at a club when you can party with a purpose? This New Year’s Eve, the River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois) and Diageo Brands (Don Julio, Ciroc, Nuvo) are hosting a black tie gala in support of three athlete sponsored foundations. These foundations include: The Luol Deng Foundation, For the Good of the Neighborhood Foundation, and The 8 Foundation.

From 9pm to 2am, guests can indulge in a premium hosted bar, hors d’oeuvres provided by one of Chicago’s top catering companies, a surprise celebrity performance, and a silent auction featuring memorabilia from Chicago Bulls and Bears legends.

The countdown and balloon drop will begin promptly at 11:59:50pm and will be lead by a surprise celebrity host. Guests will not only have the opportunity to mix and mingle with Bears and Bulls players, but also with the leaders of some of Chicago’s most prominent organizations.

The lavish décor for the evening will be provided by Kehoe Designs.

There are limited advance tickets available for $75 or $120 for couples. Tickets at the door are $150 or $200 for couples.

To purchase tickets for the event and to gain additional information, visit TheArtofCelebration2009.com.

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

If you’re like me, you procrastinate about New Year’s and still haven’t made your party plans (maybe I was waiting to be “overwhelmed” with last minute invitations) There are still some great options left. Even with tight budgets there are great deals for a fun night. So don’t just watch the big ball drop on TV go grab some tickets, a date/friend or, just kick start 2009 on your own. Here are a few options ranging from your preference and your area.

    Full Dinner and Bar Package

The Multicultural Meetup Group Is hosting an gala at Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace that includes a seated four course dinner, four hour open bar and a champagne toast all for only $60! This is by far the best value. And when you throw in a DJ to keep the party going and you can’t go wrong (you also can’t go broke with the price). You can reserve a nearby hotel room to relax and unwind safely after the party. There are two hotels within walking (stumbling) distance and a third offers shuttle service.
Only a few tickets remain for this party for details see the link below

    Dance, Dance Dance

For $60 you can dance all night to the music of one of Chicago’s great DJ’s Vince Adams spin at Galleria Marchetti

    Dance Dance Dance (Suburbs)

Stardust in Downers Grove is definitely the place to be if you want to avoid the downtown scene. Ticket packages start at a low $35.

Those are three quick choices, I’m sure there are hundreds but I wanted to give you the highlights on what’s still available. I will see you at one of these parties. Unless you have a better one, I’ll procrastinate another day and wait for those invitations to roll in…..

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank Despite having a higher record and better national ranking than their opponent, #20 Northwestern (9-3) finds themselves the biggest underdog of the bowl season to #23 Missouri (9-4) in Monday night’s Alamo Bowl. Odds-makers have the Tigers a two touchdown favorite over the Wildcats in this San Antonio battle of los gatos peligrosos. On paper, it’s strength versus strength: Northwestern’s 23rd ranking scoring defense versus Mizzou’s 6th ranked offense. If NU wins this side of the ball, they should have their first bowl victory since 1949.

Throw your Hands in the Air…as if you’re Unconcernednorthwestern

Missouri has huge playmakers everywhere on offense- senior QB Chase Daniel (358 of 484-4,135-37 TDs-15 INT) who often finds electrifying WR Jeremy Maclin (95-1,221-12 TDs) and TE Chase Coffman (83-920-10 TDs). Oh, and the backup QB is named Chase Patton, just in case you thought this team didn’t have enough people with that obscure first name already. (Does Missouri have Chase Bank as one of their sponsors?) And don’t forget tailback Derrick Washington (162-992-17 TDs).

Daniel’s NFL Draft stock is about as high valued as Washington Mutual due to his lack of size. He’s listed at 6’0”, but in reality he’s as close to being 6 as I am to being 9 feet tall. NU’s primary strength this year has been their defensive line, so when they get near Daniel, they must “throw their hands way up in the air and wave ‘em around like you just don’t care,” to disrupt Chase’s passing-lanes vision or (better yet) deflect his passes and hopefully pick off a couple. This is highly doable considering team MVP and DE Corey Wootton is 6’7”, NFL bound DT John Gill is 6’3,” and the rest of the line is that height or taller.
I asked Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalist and NU head man Pat Fitzgerald about employing this strategy at the bowl selection announcement presser. “Chase from a quarterback standpoint, maybe he’s not the tallest guy, but he’s very athletic; makes a lot of plays and does a good job extending the plays,” Fitz responded, also adding prior “Like 118 other schools across the country we made a mistake in not recruiting him.”

Prediction- Northwestern 28, Missouri 24. Is 2008 the year of the underdog? Ask the Celtics, Giants, and Phillies! Or maybe I’m just drinking purple colored Kool-Aid.


For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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Joy DiNaro, NBC Chicago Street Team

Who doesn’t look forward to that midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve? The anticipation builds all night long, and it’s over in an instant. So why not smooch with your sweetie at the stroke of midnight twice? 

 This New Year’s Eve, the Globe Pub (1934 West Irving Park Road) will ring in the British New Year at 6 p.m., then the celebration will continue until the stroke of midnight out time.   

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.


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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank 

Usually when prominent government and business leaders descend upon Wrigley Field to discuss a game being played there, the temperature’s more likely to be near 90 than zero. However, the second annual NHL Winter Classic is no ordinary game; neither are the bread and circuses surrounding it. Mayor Richard Daley, joined by Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks President John McDonough, and Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney came to Wrigley Monday for a special press event in advance of the much-anticipated outdoor regular-season game between the Hawks and their bitter rival, the Detroit Red Wings, on New Year’s Day. daleyhawksjeryse

On a day with the temperature and wind-chill more suited for the Yukon Territories than Chicago, Daley and the execs toured the current field’s infrastructure, led by the NHL’s Don Renzulli (Senior Vice President of Events), and Dan Craig (Facilities Operations Manager). This is the team transforming Wrigley Field, one of baseball’s cathedrals, into a hockey experience.

Following the tour, a fedora-clad Daley and the executives talked about the event in a nice WARM Wrigley Field press room. After the speeches, Rocky presented Hizzoner with a special Winter Classic jersey with “Daley 09” stitched on the back.

“As the first hockey game to be played at Wrigley Field, this game is already part of Chicago sports history,” Daley said.

The Hawks are both the NHL’s hottest team with seven straight wins and the current leader in home attendance. They will play the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings for a record 701st time. No other NHL series can boast of as many meetings as this one. In the NFL, the record is held by the hometown Bears and Green Bay Packers. Wirtz appropriately drew an analogy between the two rivalries when describing the upcoming Winter Classic’s atmosphere.

“I also want to thank all those Chicago Bears fans who are going to be out watching the Bears beat Green Bay today, because that’s going to be much like the Chicago Blackhawks fans who are going to be following the Blackhawks on a day like today,” Wirtz said.

For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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New Year’s Eve on the Cheap

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you’re old enough to have a few New Year’s Eve celebrations under your belt, chances are, you’ve learned a few lessons the hard way — it’s impossible to get a cab, most events are overpriced, the open bar means waiting hours for your drink and the hype rarely lives up to the reality.

So why drop a small fortune on an evening that may not live up to your expectations? Here’s a few picks for some select spots with NYE specials, and links to even more deals around the city:

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

It doesn’t take long for a major news event to inspire mixologists to create a new crop of specialty drinks. This year’s election was the most recent example, with Obama and McCain concoctions popping up all over the city.

Now it appears that politics is the gift that keeps on giving. The Blagojevich scandal is no doubt a popular topic of conversation at area bars, but now you can literally drink it all in.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist, NBC Chicago Street Team

When you hear D.O.C. Wine Bar you obviously and accurately would think that it serves wine. You might not also think that it serves great food beyond the requisite cheese and antipasti selection, but oh boy does it ever.

This month’s Chef’s Table was at this intimate spot in Lincoln Square. General Manager Adam Moore greeted guests by taking their coats and then offering them a glass of Graham Beck Brut Rose, a delightfully smooth sparkling wine. Then they were invited to have a seat in the cozy private room, complete with a warming fire.

Chef’s Table events are designed to allow conversation and Q&A with Chicago chefs and restaurateurs, and D.O.C. shone. Owner Doug Dunlay introduced each of the 5 courses (yes, 5 courses), and Chef Andrew Jenrich also spoke to the group. As a surprise bonus, when everyone left they received a split of Piper Heidsick champagne with a gift card good at any of Dunlay’s restaurants (Dunlays on Clark, Dunlays on the Square, Smoke Daddy, Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar, D.O.C. Lombard). Since I co-hosted the event I can’t be too objective, but we surveyed the guests and 100% said they’d recommend D.O.C. That’s quite a statement!

January’s Chef’s Table is at Nacional 27. Be sure to register ASAP since the last one sold out in one day! To get a feel for the experience, check out fellow street team-er JenChicago‘s video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Chef’s Table: DOC Wine Bar on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

Chef Andrew JenrichD.O.C. Wine Bar owner Doug Dunlay
For more pictures visit www.chefstablechicago.com.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

On December 11, Yelp hosted their 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Cocktail Soiree at Architectural Artifacts… and it ROCKED! If you missed this one, get on the website and start yelping, so that you do’t miss the next one!

From the website:

Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great (and not so great) in your world. You already know that asking friends is the best way to find restaurants, dentists, hairstylists, and anything local. Yelp makes it fast and easy by collecting and organizing your friends’ recommendations in one convenient place.

Cocktails provide by:
Barefoot Champagne / Poinsettia
Between Lounge / Hot ‘n’ Dirty
Blackbird / Anejo Smash
Blue 13 / X’s and O’s
Bull & Bear / The Broker’s Breakfast
Chaise Lounge / X-Miss-tini
Encore Liquid Lounge / White Winter Pear
Jbar / S’more-tini
May Street Market / Nectar Martini
MK / Adlib
Uncommon Ground / Winter Tree Tini
Zed 451 / Cranberry Spiced Old Fashioned

Check out more groovy videos at JenChicago.com!

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The weather outside is frightful.  Everyone, including me, are day dreaming about an island vacation far away from the Windy City.  Hawaii, Mexico, or somewhere in the Caribbean are all acceptable destinations.  However, after a reality check, the best that we may be able to do is to indulge in cuisine that takes us to the place where we want to be.  Former Chicago Bears and All-Pro defensive back Jerry Azumah knows exactly where to find such a spot.  He introduces us to Ja Grill, the newest and hottest restaurant that brings Jamaican flavors to Lincoln Park.  Check out Jerry and Ja Grill on Fete Select TV below.  Also, watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.


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candace-small2Candace Jordan, NBC Chicago Street Team

Nicole Jacob is the go-to makeup artist for many of the area’s high-profile women. She was pictured in W Magazine Nicole Jacobrecently and named as “the one to watch” and “be prepared for waitlist status.” You can find her at the Paul Rehder Salon—939 N. Rush St. (312) 943-7404. Added bonus– her own cosmetic line is FABULOUS!

Here’s her tips:

  1. Please don’t wear red lipstick just because of the holiday. It looks awful on most people.
  2. If you want to be festive with color, change your eyeliner. Blue, purple and grey are all great colors for now.
  3. The most important tip is MASCARA! There is no better way to say this. If you wear no makeup, light makeup or glam makeup—LOAD, LOAD, LOAD on the mascara. Everyone I’ve ever come across is always too light handed with this. We’ll never beat Tammy Faye so don’t be scared. Even better for special evenings are fake lashes!
  4. Bronzer — I think this is the most important product for winter. This is when we are the palest and need it the most.
  5. Lip gloss, lip gloss, LIP GLOSS! Every day all day. Makes us look younger at every age. Make sure it’s a light color—not too dark. I even wear it to bed. It makes me feel better.
  6. Always keep a clean brow—a well groomed brow gives a polished look.

Bonus Tip: During the winter we are extra dry. Use a drop of eyecream and mix it with your concealer and makeup under your eyes and on your face. Apply it with clean fingers because they add natural oil. It provides instant glow and moisture for the skin.

Charles Ifergan, as you know, is my go-to guy for hairstyling. (Charles Ifergan, 106 E. Oak, Chicago, Naperville, Deerfield and Oak Brook TerraceCharles Ifergan (312)642-4484). He has a world of knowledge that he has taught his wonderful staff and now he is sharing his top holiday hair styling tips with you:

  1. Look like yourself. Do not have a hairstyle that makes you feel it is not you.
  2. Tease your regular hair style. It gives it more of a “party look.”
  3. Even if you don’t usually use hairspray, do it for that special night.
  4. Curls are big. On your next hair cut appointment, ask your stylist to show you how to make soft curls with your curling iron, or better yet, a flat iron.
  5. A hair ornament gives any hair style a festive look.

Stay tuned for more Holiday Tips from the Pros coming soon! God bless us everyone.

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Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist, NBC Chicago Street Team

In Chicago’s up-down restaurant world, Morton’s is a stand-out. Why? Because this Sunday it celebrates its 30th Anniversary. Thirty years in a city that sees restaurants come and go faster than a Chicago summer is quite an accomplishment. To say thanks, they’re offering free steak sandwiches on Friday from 4:30 to 5:30pm at their Loop (65 E Wacker Pl) and Gold Coast (1050 N State St) locations.

An even bigger thank you is their partnership with Make-A-Wish Foundation. For every party that comes into their State Street location on Sunday, they’re donating $30 to the charity. Also, guests can stop into any of the 7 area Morton’s and get free mini cheeseburgers in the bar from 5 to 6pm.

Is your birthday the 21st? Be one of the first five people to make reservations (with valid ID of course) and you’ll get a surf and turf dinner for two.

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

As we are trudging through the most challenging economic climate of our lifetimes, our Nation’s leaders are trying to do whatever is possible to stop the economic slide and press to stimulate purchasing, investing, and spending.  The most plausible idea that has been put into effect is to inject $700 Billion of cash (coming from We the People taxpayers) into the institutions of lending and credit to save them from closing their doors and send relief to business customers, homeowners, and to extend new credit.  While this idea is a good idea, the only thing that matters is how this plan is executed.  What I read about a recent audit performed by the ‘Government Accountability Office’ (GAO) on the first comprehensive review of the ‘rescue’ package was quite disturbing to me that has led me to post this blog.  The GAO has come to the conclusion that The US Treasury Department, who is the custodian of the funds for the ‘rescue’ plan, has NO oversight on what is done with the money after it has been issued to recipients applying for this additional money.  What this means is that even though money from the ‘rescue’ plan is SUPPOSED to be used for saving business loans, mortgages, and extending new credit is actually going to the salaries of top pay executives, dividends to investors, and the funding of other projects such as acquisitions of other credit institutions.  What’s worse is that after the results have been made public to Congress, The President, The President elect, etc., the audit concluded that the Treasury Department DOES NOT have any intentions of adding oversight for these sorts of funds for the future!  And as of right now, NOONE is doing anything about it!

Listen, I have no problem footing the bill for the lack of critical judgement that led to this economic recession if it’s to fix what’s been broken.  But as a taxpayer, I am furious and frustrated as hell sitting on the sidelines and watching my money going to the SAME ilk of greedy credit management that crippled us for the SAME detrimental business decisions that has put us in the place we are in today.  Haven’t we learned from our mistakes??  Why aren’t any of our lawmakers or anyone in media talking about this as a priority for our economy??  This is no rescue plan, this is a bailout.

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candace-small2Candace Jordan, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chef Art Smith is a local treasure. Not only is his restaurant, Table Fifty-Two, rated one of the best in the country, but his organization, Common Threads, is a godsend for many children across the country. Here are his expert tips for the holidays:
Chef Art Smith
1) Buy a live tree and plant it in your yard or buy a smaller one for your terrace. No one ever remembers to water a Christmas tree!

2) Collect tree ornaments. They are more charming than having the hot design of the year.

3) Don’t forget the pets! They remember …

4) Make the freezer your best friend. Most great holiday foods can be kept fresh and preserved. I love an ice box fruit cake!

5) A delicious juicy Allen Brothers rib roast is a wonderful Chicago tradition.

6) Discover the cheese ball again! Homemade is better!


Nate BerkusEveryone knows and loves designer to the stars, Nate Berkus — one of Oprah’s favorites. Besides being adorable, he has a whole new line of his fabulous home furnishings available at www.hsn.com. Now you can see his top tips for decorating for the season and beyond:

1) Your sofa will have an “instant makeover” with new pillows and a throw.

2) I love silver bowls filled with all one color solid ornaments mixed with votives on the table or fireplace.

3) A little ethnicity goes a long way in setting the table — an African bowl lined with a linen napkin for bread, woven placemats mixed with your good china. Go for contrast when setting the table.

4) Never underestimate the allure of candles. They truly transform a space. Keep the lights low and remember, NO scented candles in the dining room. That should smell like food!!

5) When guests or family come to stay, the nightstand in my guestroom always has three things: fresh flowers, a tray for jewelry and things you take out of your pockets, and a bottle of water.

 More Holiday Tips from the Pros coming soon! God bless us everyone.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

This morning I woke up to an irritatingly loud spanking sound that could only mean one thing: millions of my brethren had their panties up in a bunch! I quickly glided out of my Cher-printed duvet, put on my Marilyn wig, slipped into my bunny slippers and rushed to check the news. From coast to coast, my fellow homosexypants were crying “Foul!”, “Mary, stop!” and “Bitch please!” at President-elect Obama‘s choice for his inaugural pastor. Rick Warren, as many of you know, is no friend of the homosucculents (but if his Republican leanings–and I’m just guessing here–are anything to go by, he is a friend of the public-bathroom foot tappers, but that’s a whole other story.) Anyhoobie, Joe Solmonese, the president of the HRC and American Way president Kathryn Kolbert have expressed their concern, disrespect, shock, awe, disbelief, outrage, and other euphemisms for pissed-offness at Obama’s choice.

And I say: relax, ladies and ladies-impersonators. Are we to take Obama’s every choice as reflective of his own belief system? Absolutely not. Time and time again, Obama has stated that he aims to use as many diverse building blocks as circumstances (and logic) would allow in constructing his cabinet so that every American would feel represented. It is only through the revering of difference and the inclusion of Otherness (especially regarding minority status, something that Obama is all too familiar with, needless to say) that the oh-so-tiresome Us vs. Them national bifurcation can be mitigated and overcome. Obama did not elect Warren to hold a prominent position in his cabinet; he did not appoint him to the Supreme Court; he did not announce him to replace Biden as his veep; and he did not change his own stance on LGBT rights. It is only fair that we inspire those who are against us to love us by loving them, to accept us by accepting them, and to grant them the very same equality and access that we so fervently fight for. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to rehearse for my Holidays party tonight, I think I’ll be performing Cher’s “A Different Kind of Love Song.”


To learn more about Shlomi’s world click here.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

In today’s increasingly global economy, Major League Baseball franchises put more effort into investing in foreign countries than ever before.

But doing business internationally requires investing time and currency into developing connections to scouts, agents, coaches and front office professionals. You don’t just dabble in the foreign market by picking up a lone player. You build a whole pipeline to the available talent commodities abroad.

Click here to view the rest of this story on nbcchicago.com.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

“Beer School” sounds like the name of a new Will Ferrell comedy, right? Well, Sheffield’s monthly Beer School doesn’t feature the curly-haired comedian, but it will have you smiling from ear to ear.

Most of us are aware of food and wine pairings, but the folks at Sheffield’s want you to know that beer pairs just as well — if not better than wine with your favorite foods.

The featured brewery at a recent Beer School was Lagunitas. The California brewery began when the founder was experimenting with small batches in his kitchen. Those small batches led to big dreams, and Lagunitas is now the 24th largest micro brewery in the U.S.

Click here to read the rest of this article on nbcchicago.com.

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tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTom Kolovos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Every holiday season we start with the good intention of buying stylish, practical and unique holiday gifts. But somewhere along the way, many of us fall into the time-honored trap of spending too much on disposable items while risking being trampled by frenzied bargain shoppers before coming to the realization — yet again — that the gift-buying experience is not only rote commercialism, but that it hardly lives up to the nobler sentiments of the season.


Instead of running to the mall (or over your fellow shoppers) this year, you might want to consider spending at least some of your precious cash at retailers that display both the perfect gift and the perfect awareness of the holiday spirit.


Read the rest of this article and view the video on nbcchicago.com.

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candace-small2Candace Jordan, NBC Chicago Street Team

Well, the holidays are upon us and I love seeing all of the fabulous decorations and decor! I’m going to do a series of blogs on the Top Holiday Tips from the Pros. They cover every aspect of the season: hair, makeup, entertaining, cooking, décor and more. I hope you will find them as helpful as I have!
My favorite choice for holiday décor is Jeff Jonen, Fresh or Faux—1128 W. Armitage (773) 388-2395. For the past 8 years, he and his elves, Scott Sauer and Andrew Bundy, have helped me install my Christmas decorations. His magical shop, Fresh or Faux, is filled with all manner of fresh and silk flowers and plants.

Jeff JonenThe following are Jeff Jonen’s top five tips for holiday decorating:

1) Mix fresh with faux. Who’s gonna know? Fresh pine arranged with faux flowers like tulips and amaryllis will make a stunning centerpiece that will last all season.

2) Reinvent your holiday décor by displaying familiar decorations in new locations.

3) Use a foot switch to turn on hard to reach holiday lights.

4) Your holiday décor should tell a story. Ask relatives for old Christmas decorations. They usually throw them out. Display them in a grouping to portray a family history of Christmas past.

5) Shop for next year this year! Have a concept in mind for a holiday display and purchase items after Christmas for a fraction of the cost. When you bring them out next year all will be new and with extravagant savings!

The following are tips from party planner extraordinaire, Greg Hyder (catering director for the Peninsula). His holiday Greg Hyderparties are on everyone’s hope-to-be-invited list.

1) Get Organized. Proper preparation makes a great soiree. Have a timetable, be realistic and set attainable deadlines.

2) Conceptualize. How do you envision the party? Casual, formal, theme inspired, over-the-top or understated?

3) Plan the mood and settings. Aromas, music, ambiance. Think about your favorite holiday memories and use these to make your event memorable for others. Use creative ideas to make little “wows” for each guest.

4) Don’t wait until the last minute. Do as much as possible ahead of time. Polishing silver, etc. A rested host is a good host!

5) Have FUN!! If you are at ease, your guests will be too! No stress, just smiles!

More Holiday Tips from the Pros coming up soon!  God bless us everyone …

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

I joined other Chicagoland zombie enthusiasts on Sunday for the first annual “Zombies On Ice” event at the Millennium Park ice rink.

The host of this event, Kitty Zombie, partnered with ChicagoZombie.com and was hoping to break a world record for the most zombies ice skating at one time.

dscn6751The record was not broken, but there were over 150 zombies from near and far who participated in the event.

There were zombies who live in Chicago and some who traveled from Winnetka, Lockport and even Kenosha, Wisconsin.

You’re never too old or too young to be a zombie either. We had zombies in their 40’s, 30’s, 20’s, teens, an 8-year-old and even two little 6-year-old zombie girls.

As a Halloween and horror fanatic, I jumped at the chance to join other like-minded Chicago-area people to become a zombie on ice and to possibly take part in a new world record.

This event was a great experience. “Zombies On Ice” was much more than just ice skating in makeup and gnarly clothes. It turned out to be a day full of fun, excitement and camaraderie.

To check out photos of the event, click HERE.

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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Maureen Vana, NBC5 Street Team

Last Monday at the House of Blues was a night for those with a sense of humor and a thirst for speedometer crushing riffs.  DragonForce, who has been making regular Chicago stops since 2006, paid a visit in promotion of their latest album Ultra Beatdown. The current  tour is pumped up on stage presence and battle themed friends.

Click here to read the entire article on nbcchicago.com.

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