Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CTA - Chicago's Own... Or Is It?

As a returning Chicagoan from pre-Rahm days, I am struck the most by the changes to the CTA and the school system.  But for this rant, the CTA and the overall look & feel that is Chicago.  

Now, while it is entirely possible that these changes were in the process before he took office, he gets the blame. Ventra? Really? "Faster?" Isn't that their tag line? Not! I tap, wait & then go. More often than not, I walk into the turnstile that is not ready, stop, look back, the person behind me almost walks into me, then it says Enter.  What was wrong with the Chicago card?  What?!  Why are we selling off our city?  First, Daley & the parking, and now Rahm & the CTA.  Macy's?  US Cellular field?  Willis Towers?  $4 to park on the street and now Ventra.  Our breathtaking skyline cards were uniquely Chicago and a keepsake all their own. Ventra?  It could be anything and is.  

Now, the new seating on the train.  This is Chicago not that other city these were copied from.  It seems like less seating, although technically there may be more.  People don't sit in this style so it is actually less.  I am 5'6" (shush in my head I am), and I walked into the stupid hanging straps.  Who is that for?  Sure we had them before, but not nearly as many.  If you are shorter than 6', they turn you into a rag doll when the train makes it's inevitable numerous jerky stops. Really? Who are they for?  Not the average height woman, that's for certain.  And since chivalry is mostly dead in our society, much to my chagrin, even in my beloved city, men don't get up to let women sit, so move the stupid straps or figure out how to make them helpful, please.

Windy City Diva

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Costumes & History

Happy Halloween Month!
And the first in a series of Halloween related articles.

As Halloween nears, the candy sales in our local stores are on, the sewing or shopping for the best costume continues and the house decorating begins.  Halloween is a time for kids and adults alike to play dress-up and pretend to be a character for a night.

I was watching my cult favorite, "Charmed" and learned about All Hallows Eve.  I was surprised to learn that the history they presented was a true accounting of beliefs long held about October 31, 2012, among certain cultures.  You dressed up to disguise yourself from the souls that walked the streets only on that night.  Intriguing…

In present day, we dress our little ones as pumpkins, carrots, princesses, adorable baby animals like lions and tigers or popular superheroes.

       Then we walk them door to door to gather their treats, lest they play a trick on the homeowner. That history comes from a time centuries ago when the poor people would dress and go door to door begging for food in exchange for a blessing.  The practice has obviously evolved quite a bit from there. Now we dress up, go door to door collecting candy AND committing the tricks, well not all the kids.

Either way, it is a fun, family event that brings neighborhoods together and allows kids to play dress-up.

Halloween has historical roots but is ever evolving.

Enjoy your All Hallows’ Eve!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunscreen Options

Sunscreen FDA Updates & An Option
Do you know what the number after SPF on your sunscreen stands for?  I will tell you!  
As some of you may know, recently the FDA created new rules for how companies must label their sunscreen products. 
Know the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen.

The number that follows "SPF".  Sun Protection Factor indicates the level of overall protection and the number of minutes the sunscreen is effective.  So if yours if SPF 50 and you are in the sun for 2 hours, you need to apply it 20-30 minutes prior to going out into the sun, and then every 50 minutes afterwards.  

Do you have the proper SPF level on your shelf or in your bag?  Do you apply it properly based on the number?   The final proposed regulation would limit the maximum SPF level at 50+.  (Source: FDA.gov)

Mary Kay has a sunscreen with SPF 50 on the market right now.  You can begin to protect yourself and your family immediately.  http://www.marykay.com/dkirby/spabody/suncarecollection/default.aspx

Order yours now at Daphne's Mary Kay Site

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Davenport's Review - A Piano Bar in Chicago

The room was empty at 8:50 PM and full by 9:20 PM.  The music began promptly at 9 PM with the piano/vocalist crooning the standards.  He was not offensive and fairly pleasant sounding.  My friend commented he sounds like every other piano lounge singer, every song sounds the same, which when you think about it, that could be worse.  But then a female vocalist grabbed the mic and belted out a couple of show tunes that were far better than average.  Get this!  She worked there as a hostess.  It was great.  Then another female vocalist took the mic and she was our waitress!  Again, belting out hit songs & show tunes we all know and love with perfect pitch.

The service was reasonably good, the drink (Vodka/Tonic) was good and the crowd was a pleasant group of friends who all seemed to know each other.  The environment was conducive for our private conversation, their party and I'm sure other small groups.  It is not a large venue, but certainly fits several small groups wanting to do their own thing.  The piano is situated in the middle which easily allows the music to be heard and interacted with from everywhere in the lounge.

Davenport's also has a cabaret show, but we did not venture into there.  I will in the future and give  a review then.  

Please let me know if this review helped you select to visit Davenport's, or if different or additional information would be more helpful in the review.  

The website is http://www.davenportspianobar.com/  Go by there and sing along with a good drink.

~ Windy City Diva

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicago's Farmer Market

All things Chicago! And one of the best is the Farmer's Market in Daley Plaza on Thursdays in the summer. I happened across it today and was pleasantly reminded of good old, farm-grown Midwestern American Fare!

The fragrance of the fresh flowers drew me in that direction. I saw the stands as I approached and got super excited. I was instantly lifted by the day. It helped that the fountain in front of the Daley Center had red water in support of the Blackhawks. GO HAWKS!!!

My first stand was possibly the best. I bought Apple Butter and Peach Butter at an Amish stand. They are from Middleburg, IN. I have shopped with them over the years in their community and the food is always fresh & wonderful. I was happy to see them there. They have everything from fresh, baked breads to pastries and jellies. Their banana bread is a treat.

I found a new, fabulous bakery that is actually local. It was a difficult decision between the kolackis, macaroons, pierogies, breads and pastries galore! But I selected Apple Cinnamon Bread. Now! I have to tell you one thing – the Apple Butter on the fresh-baked Cinnamon Apple Bread may very well be a little trip to heaven. The bakery is called Delightful Pastries & is located at 5927 W. Lawrence Ave. www.delightfulpastries.com I have added their card to my file! The baker was there to answer any questions. The guy gave me a great idea that I think I will try tomorrow – make French toast with it! Now that’s a plan!

There were fresh farm stands with vegetables like asparagus, apples and strawberries. A bunch of asparagus at one stand was only $2. For the opportunity to cook, eat & serve farm fresh vegetables, it was well worth the detour.

I found the scents that had drawn me in! There were a couple of stands of fresh cut flowers, fresh blooming plants in full bloom and even fresh plants of cilantro and other spices. If you are looking for bamboo or bonsai trees, they have those too. If I had been driving, my balcony would be floral scented right now!

It is heart-warming to be reminded of family-owned businesses, farms that are working to bring us fresh foods and the opportunity to support them. I probably spent $30 but what I felt in solidarity with farms & local people working together to keep us all working and well-fed is immeasurable. Chicago gives you the opportunity to do and be whoever you are. That’s why it’s my town, Chicago!

Windy City Diva