Dylan’s Candy Bar on Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

Chicagoo is always full of things to explore and you can be rewarded with sweet treats and lots of fun things to expxlore and look at at Dylan’s Candy Bar along Chicago’s Mag Mile (Michigan Avenue). With over 7,000 confecctions available it’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and the kid in you.

I found some really fun things to look at and some unique candy offerings in this video.

Explore Chicago Museum Week – October 1-7, 2015

As the weather starts cooling off and transition from Summer to Fall, there is no shortage of things to do in Chicago. 12 Museums across the city and Lincoln Park Zoo have pulled their resources together to host the 1st Museum Week across the city October 1-7 with different activities, discounts and special programs throughout the week. Click the link below to see some of the fun things in store.

Museum Week Activities
Adler Planetarium – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 5-7, as well as $10 off new memberships. Go to the “Space Oddities” discussion or catch “The Pluto Encounter” sky show.

Art Institute of Chicago – Free entry for Illinois residents Oct. 1 after 5 p.m. and $10 off new memberships. Take advantage of daily tours and art-making events for families.

Chicago History Museum – $4 off admission, 20% off purchases at the museum store and cafe, and 20% off memberships. Also check out their after-hours event on Oct. 6.

DuSable Museum of African American History – 2-for-1 admission, 10% off store, and half off memberships. There will be special guided tours and gift basket giveaways.

Field Museum – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 4. Also offering daily highlight tours and SUE talks. Or go behind the scenes and meet the museum’s Discovery Squad on Oct. 2.

Lincoln Park Zoo – The zoo’s Fall Fest will feature a corn maze, pumpkin patch, 60-foot slide and live entertainment. Admission is free but rides and activities cost ($3 for 1, $27 for 10, $51 for 20). Pumpkins are on sale throughout October. 10% off memberships during Museum Week.

Museum of Contemporary Art – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 6. MCA is also hosting two evening events and a special pop-up store.

Museum of Science & Industry – Free entry for Illinois residents Oct. 5-6, plus $20 off memberships. Check out the new robot exhibit or learn about the science behind nature’s most powerful storms.

National Museum of Mexican Art – 15% discount at museum shop and enter raffle to win a family membership. See the largest Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit in the country. Guided tours in Spanish and English.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture – Offering free admission all week. Check out the exhibit featuring paintings by Puerto Rican Chicago-based artist Oscar Luis Martinez.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 1, 10% off gift shop, and membership discounts (plus a chance to win a lifetime membership). There are two new exhibits opening during Museum Week – “City Creatures” and “Peanuts…Naturally.” For families, the Harvest Festival and Harvest Hop 5K on Oct. 4 makes for a great fall outing. Adults should try the after-hours event Oct. 6.

Shedd Aquarium – Discounts for Illinois residents Oct. 5-6, plus deals and programming for those who become a member. Check out the “Amphibians” special exhibit or attend an Animal Chat.

CTA Transit Information – Find information about how t get to the various museums around the City via the CTA Systems.

Metra Rail Information – Find information about commuting to the downtown area via Metra

Nando’s Peri- Peri Now Open in West Loop, Chicago

US-Nandos logo

With much anticipation, the first Nando’s Peri-Peri in Chicago area is officially open yesterday in the West Loop at 954 W. Randolph Street, along what is affectionately known in the West Loop as “Restaurant Row”

Their world famous Portuguese, Juicy, flamed-grilled, chicken that has been marinated for 24 hours is their specialty with some special selection of sauces full of flavors and spices at varying heat levels for your choosing. The quick service menu offers a wide selection from on-the bone chicken breast and leg/thigh meat to boneless chicken breasts each with your choosing of equally tasting side dishes to accompany the main. There is also a wide selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches based on their famous juicy, flamed-grilled, marinated chicken. If you are not in the mood for chicken or don’t eat meat, there are other options like the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich, Portobello Mushroom with Halloumi Wrap, Veggie Burger or the Roasted Veggie Wrap and salads without protein.

Some of the side dishes include: Flamed Grilled Corn on the Cob (available seasonally), Peri-Peri Chips (fries), Macho Peas, Portugese Rice, side cesar salad, side garden salad to name a few.

Dessert offering include: Cupcakes, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Rasberry Brulee Cheesecake, Chocolate Spoon Cake and Bottomless self-serve frozen yogurt. Which I will have to try on future visits. One can only eat so much in one sitting.

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On the visit yesterday, I sampled the 1/4 Leg/Thigh Chicken with sides of their famous Peri-Peri fries and Corn on the Cob. An extra side of garden salad was also ordered with the mean. The chicken could have a bit more marinate and flavor for me as it was brushed with a light coat of the medium heat level sauce. One of the nice things about Nando’s Peri-Peri is that all their sauces are conveniently available at the drink/station condiment counter to bring to your table so that you can try the various sauces and put as much of it on your food as you like or mix and match. I enjoyed using the sauces instead of ketchup or mayo with my peri-peri chips (fries) which also had good flavor on it’s own. The flamed grilled corn on the cob is available seasonally and was fresh and sweet with just enough char and flavoring and it was a full ear of corn — delish!

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How it works: You enter this upscale quick food service restaurant and get a number on a chicken stick (or was it a rooster?) for the table number you will be sitting at, then you go to the counter to place your order. Once your food is prepared in the open kitchen, a friendly staff member will bring it out to your table for you. If you’re order is take out, just go to the counter to place your order. Warning: There maybe a line for the order taking counter.

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The atmosphere: The restaurant is modernly decorated with bright floor to ceiling windows that would have a good view of Randolph Street. Tables are made of nice looking woods with modern styled seating. They play upbeat Portuguese music at a comfortable level. There is a cool self-serve new age Freestyle Coca-Cola Fountain Machine for your to have over 100+ drinks and flavoring combinations. The back wall of this drink/condiment station features a wall of sauces while the counter holds bottles of their various famous sauces and salad dressing choices. There is also a self-serve yogurt machine if you ordered that as part of your meal. Silverware, napkins are also available here. Whenever the weather actually warms up here in Chicago (feels like it might not this year Ugh…), they have a nice outdoor patio seating area as well to enjoy your meal.


There might be a wait since they are they brand spanking new to Chicago and have done a great job announcing their opening, but it’s definitely worth a try, especially if you work or live in the area. It’s also easily accessible with public transit via the #8 Halsted Bus and then a short walk from Halsted and Randolph stop or via the Green Line EL Morgan Station which is only one block North of it’s location. If there is a long wait, Grab a cup of coffee or cappuccino from Le Colmbe just next door or do it after your meal if you still have room from the good eats.

I can’t wait for their other Chicago area locations to open soon in Lakeview and Lincoln Park later this summer. I plan to visit often as it’s an easy walk from our West Loop office and a nice healthy lunch option in the area with an upbeat atmosphere.

Address: 953 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Website/Menu: Website

Chicago Downtown Aerial Views Via Drone

There is certainly no shortage of great sights around downtown Chicago. Some of the best pictures can be taken during the Winter months where the air is often clear offering crisp visibility. Check out this video posted by Scott Rodgers of some of the most iconic views around downtown Chicago.

Chicago Aerials shot with DJI S1000 and Panasonic LUMIX GH4 (4k) from Scott Rodgers on Vimeo.

The Wait to Climb Is Over – Brooklyn Boulders Chicago Opens

It’s been under construction in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago for several months and it’s been a hidden secret, but not for much longer! Brooklyn Boulders has just opened their newest location for enthusiasts in the sport of climbing. The space is uniquely designed for the sport and it will also have work spaces and conferences rooms that are available for rent by entrepreneurs and the community. In addition to allowing members to practice their rock climbing skills, other fitness classes and yoga are offered at the new space. Their target market includes user of Zip Cars and Uber who enjoy the simplicity and cool factor.

Several membership plans are available starting at $25 for a day pass, $225 for a 10 Pack and other monthly and yearly plans are available.

You can find more information on this cool, new addition to the West Loop Neighborhood at http://www.BrooklynBoulders.com

If you don’t already reside in the neighborhood and would like to, contact us for available inventory and pricing or visit our website to learn more about us visit www.LoftsNHomes.com

Tis The Season – “Let It Go” from Frozen By Idina Menzel

Holiday Light Show Synced to "Let It Go" from Frozen.

Holiday Light Show Synced to “Let It Go” from Frozen.

Tis The Season and the weather could not be better to go out and take in the holiday decorations and lights around town. Homeowners are putting up their lights this time of the year and of course some of the best holiday light shows from homeowners can be found right on the internet.

“Let It Go” from the Disney Movie Frozen is one of the hit songs this past year (released December, 2013) sang by Idina Menzel who has a fantastic voice and has dawned many Broadway productions that I love. Check out this homeowner’s holiday light show synchronized to this song.

Idina Menzel is a fantastic actress, performer and always comes across to be so humble and sincere when she appears in public like at the recent CMA Country Christmas Show where she appeared with Jennifer Nettles.

And there there are other special performances by Idina Menzel that is near and dear to me from the first Broadway Show I saw “Rent where the audience Mooooo’d with her.

And this performance of “Defying Gravity” in “Wicked” with Kristin Chenoweth who also has a strong and powerful voice.

But let’s get back to the holidays with this special song that Indina Menzel sings with Michael Bubble for the holidays. “It’s Cold Outside”

Chicago Offers Tree Recycling

The official City Christmas Tree at Daley Plaza with Chriskindle Market

The official City Christmas Tree at Daley Plaza with Chriskindle Market

So now that the Christmas Holiday has passed, what do you do with that fresh tree that you bought just to celebrate the Season? How about recycling it at one of the City Park District locations for FREE?? Okay, you may have already paid for it in the property taxes or city sales tax throughout the year.

Trees can be dropped off for recycling at the following locations between January 4-18th

Bessemer Park, 8930 S. Muskegon Ave.
Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell St.
Forestry Site, 900 E. 103rd St.
Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave.
Grant Park, 900 S. Columbus Dr.
Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1369 N. Sacramento Ave.
Jackson Park, 6300 S. Cornell Ave.
Kennedy Park, 2427 W. 113th St.
Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.
Lake Meadows Park, 3117 S. Rhodes Ave.
Lincoln Park, Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Ave. (Parking lot east of Cannon Dr.)
Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
Marquette Park, 6700 S. Kedzie Ave.
McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
Mt. Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St.
North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave.
Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave.
Riis Park, 6201 W. Wrightwood Ave.
Rowan Park, 11546 S. Avenue L
Sheridan Park, 910 S. Aberdeen St.
Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave.
Wentworth Park, 5701 S. Narragansett Ave.

You just need to remove the decorations in order for them to accept your recycled tree.

The holiday tree on the plaza shared by The Tribune Company and NBC Tower

The holiday tree on the plaza shared by The Tribune Company and NBC Tower

Public Transit For Visitors

El Trains (Elevated Trains) which are running overhead and underground as a Subway in certain parts of the City.

El Trains (Elevated Trains) which are running overhead and underground as a Subway in certain parts of the City.

Chicago is a major city with a great transportation infrastructure. Most of the folks who relocate to Chicago in living in some of the more popular downtown neighborhoods like the West Loop, South Loop, River East, River North, LakeView or Lincoln Park usually abandon their cars after the first year because there is ample and affordable public transportation across the City. Even folks who live in other neighborhood will opt for the public transit system and let their car (if they own one) sit on the street or garage.

Unlike many other urban cities, the public transit system in Chicago is only $2.25 per ride regardless of distance. There are a lot of FREE transfer stations across the city to move between EL Train lines (Elevated Trains / Subway) or sometimes between a bus and a rail line. If a transfer fee is charged, it’s typically 25 cents for the transfer (up to two transfers within a two hour period).


Visitors to Chicago can also opt for the 1 day, 3 day or 7 day unlimited rides visitor’s passes that you can purchase at kiosks located at Chicago O’Hare and Midway International Airports, or at the visitor’s centers at the Chicago Cultural Center or Water Tower locations. Reduced fares are offered to students and qualified persons. Local Chicago’s who rely solely on the public transit system also receive discounts for unlimited rides at only $100 per month.

The Public Transit System is called the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) and PACE for the suburban public systems which all operate on the same fare system and utilize the same fare cards. Commuter Trains are part of the METRA system and they operate on different fees and fare card system, but we’ll talk more about METRA and other affordable transportation options in another blog post.

The public transit system is a great way to move around town whether you are a local, transplant or a visitor to Chicago. Their schedules are available via phone, text message, Google Maps or one of the applications on your smartphone that support transit directions.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA Buses and EL Trains) www.TransitChicago.com
PACE (Suburban Buses) www.PaceBus.com
METRA (Commuter Trains) www.MetraRail.com


It’s a Season of Giving!

This is often the time of the year where folks think more about giving then receiving. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping, it’s good to keep in mind those who have less than you do.

It’s also fun to buy toys and other gifts for local area school kids who may not be fortunate enough to get some of the fun stuff they want for the holidays.

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

C&C Realty Group, Inc www.LoftsNHomes.com Holiday Toy Drive

Helping Santa out this holiday season

Helping Santa out this holiday season

What is your way to give a little of yourself this holiday season? I would love to know!