Showing posts from June, 2015

Solemn Oath Brewing Company Spotted at the New Elmhurst Whole Foods

I wrote about how we attended Solemn Oath's "Oath Day Three" earlier this month here on the blog, but I had another 'encounter' with the brand this weekend when Nat and I went to the new Whole Foods out on Route 83.  Nat has been there a few times, but it was my first time.  (More on that later)

While she was poking around the bakery section, I was drawn to the "Ales and Lagers" section of the beer cooler - as one is naturally - and spotted this sign for Solemn Oath Brewing Company above the cooler.  Have to give Whole Foods credit:  they're really into promoting hyperlocal offerings and they go above and beyond to call some vendors out.  One of those is the guys at Solemn Oath - where they note the brewery is a mere 20 miles away.  Pretty neat to see them get some promotion.

If you haven't checked it out already, go back and read the post about Oath Day Three.

Elmhurst Parking Garage - From Another Angle

Over the weekend, I found myself in the little parking lot behind the businesses on York and Addison Streets in the Elmhurst City Centre.  What is (obviously) most striking about the space now is the towering garage that is being built right in the center of town.

I posted about the beginnings of the deck going up in early May here.  There's been some discussion about the impact the garage is having on the 'skyline' but I for one, am just fine with it.  The long-term gain we'll get out of adding the much-needed parking in this huge deck will be a win for the Elmhurst City Centre and hopefully fuel some new additional commercial growth in our downtown.

Bombas Socks - Bee Better?

For Father's Day this year, the girls gave me a few pairs of Bombas socks.  They have adopted the Tom's 'model' where for every pair purchased, they donate a pair of socks.  Turns out that socks are the #1 most requested item in homeless shelters.

You can find out more or buy your own pair of Bombas here on their site.

I asked for the calf-height version, but Nat veto'd that and gave me these ankle-height ones.  She, did, however, go with the right color:  orange.

I've been wearing them for a few days and I do, indeed, think they're 'better' socks.  Just like getting a nice pair of Thorlos, these Bombas have some nice little advancements that make your life a little bit better.  From the blister tab on the back where your heel meets your leg to the honeycomb support on the arches, these socks feel pretty nice.

We haven't put them through the wash yet, so I don't know how they'll do hold up, but so far, I'm impressed.

Annabelle Hydrangea Blooming - 2015

The Annabelle Hydrangea plant that I put in a few years back is really popping this summer.  It has a partially sunny spot on the north side of our backyard landscape beds.  It is sitting right up against the fence and has filled in the spot really nicely.  We have a few 'Incrediball" varieties close to this Annabelle that are doing well this year, too.  I lost one of them two summers ago, but the other two quickly filled in the space.  *Those* blooms, while not as many as this one, are much more spectacular.  They're currently running a little big behind but will catch up by mid-July, I'd think.

ICS/CIS Commercial Refrigeration Logo

I was at one of the Middle Schools for a ballet recital for the Babe this month and when I was wondering around outside (walking the Bambino in his stroller), I came across this exterior walk-in refrigerator with this ICS or CIS seal on the door.  A quick search for both of those + refrigeration + Chicago turns up nothing, so either they've changed their name or I have something wrong.  (Which...totally is the likely case!)

I was struck by the seal/logo.  So much so, that I had to document it here on the blog.  Felt like an artifact from a time not too long ago, but something that wouldn't be put on a new product today.  And that's too bad.  I'm no designer, but this evokes a timeless feel.   Something that has been around a long time and something that will stand the test-of-time.

Anyone familiar with the logo?  What's the company behind it?

Disney Reddit Gift Exchange Part 1 (Gift Sent)

Back in May, I posted with glee about Reddit having a Disney gift exchange and charged right into the process by getting matched with a fellow Disney Redditor.  We dutifully filled out our preferences/answered the 3 Disney-related questions and awaited both being matched and who our 'match' was going to be.

We ended up with a woman from the East Coast who loved all things Wendy Darling from Peter Pan.  Working with Nat and the girls, we packaged up and shipped a "Think of the happiest things" shirt from Etsy (Nat picked it out), a letter explaining things (from me!) and some pins and a MagicBandit from the girls collections that featured her favorite characters.  She posted the photos and description I screenshot above.  You can view it here in the gallery on the site.

We haven't received our box yet, but based on the intel from the RedditGifts site, ours is on the way and has been verified as shipping.  I'll try to capture some video of the girls opening t…

The Pilates Room Elmhurst: Coming Soon

Back in April of this year, The Runner's Soul closed on York Street in the Elmhurst City Centre and consolidated their operations to their LaGrange store.  Now, just two and a half months later, it looks like we're getting a new tenant in the spot called The Pilates Room.

They bill the store as "The Best in Classical Pilates and Movement Apparel" on the sign, but a little snooping around on the web shows that this is a current Elmhurst pilates place that is relocating and rebranding.

From the Lifestyle Pilates site:
A new space & a new name with same great pilates instruction...The Pilates Room - Elmhurst!A full-service pilates studio located in Elmhurst, IL. The studio offers private, semi-private and always small group instruction for mat & apparatus-based pilates. Looks like they were on the 3rd floor in the bank building on Schiller/York before and now they're moving down to street level.  Great to see a local small business moving-on-up.  I wis…

Art @ York Presents "Exit Through The Gift Shop"

On my walk to the train this morning, I spotted this poster plastered up on one of windows of a downtown business in Elmhurst advertising a screening of a Banksy film called "Exit through the Gift Shop" at the York Theatre in the Elmhurst City Centre.  On the Classic Cimemas' site, they have a page set up talking about the event.  They're planning a series of these art shows with this first one screening on Wednesday, July 8th at 1 pm and 7 pm.
In response to many requests over the years for more art at the York Theatre, we are beginning special screenings on the second Wednesday of every month. Join us at the York Theatre for the Art @ York presentation of Exit Through the Gift Shop shown on Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00 & 7:00 PM. General Admission. Come early for preshow entertainment at 12:30 PM on our baby Barton Theatre organ with Dave Rhodes, Tivoli Theatre house organist.We need your help to make this successful by emailing, blogging and telling your frie…

Turns Out, Egg Harbor Is Going Retro

Last week, I posted about the 'new' logo Egg Harbor was using on their to-go cups and tweeted about it.  This morning, they responded and shed some light on the situation: they're going back to their original logo from 1985.  Sweet retro 80's egg instead of the rooster.  
Egg Harbor isn't the only thing turning 30 this year.  Check out this full list from Mental Floss.  

Elmhurst Nitti Development (On Old Hospital Site) Floorplan With Cool Upstairs

A few weeks back, we went to check out the models at the Nitti Development in Elmhurst on the property of the old Elmhurst Hospital site.  It is just a few blocks away from us and we were more than curious.

There's been some criticism of folks about the development, but I think most of that is a case of the sour grapes.  When you go into the models, there's A TON to like.  The folks at Nitti have done a nice job of building quality homes and finished them really well with decorator-level touches all over.  The only downside it seems is that your house - while it will be REALLY nice - will look and feel just like all of your neighbors.  That's not common in Elmhurst, but it certainly is common in further out suburbs where entire new subdivisions spring up.

We went into two of the models we both really liked the layout and floorplan of them.  One thing that stuck out was the upstairs layout.  Here's a photo of it.  Check out the circled part in red:

This part - with a …

Oath Day 2015 @ Solemn Oath Brewery

Back in May, Nat and I joined some of our closest friends (and family!) at Solemn Oath Brewery's "2015 Oath Day" - which was a celebration for their third anniversary.    We had a great time with some good beer (and one bad one!  One of the 'tea' ones was terrible!), lots of laughs and a new appreciation for what it takes to grow a brewery from scratch to a major regional player.

The folks at Solemn Oath bill Oath Day as "Arcades, Beer, Vans, Babes, Motocycles, DJ, Miniramp".  From their site:
There’s no need to dress up, but Oath Day 2015 will rock a not-so-subtle ’80s vibe. Again we’ll be skipping out on long lines and obnoxious crowds in favor of closing down for the day and opening up as much of our entire facility as we can, including a massive chunk of the parking lot and brewery. Oath Day is Saturday, May 16th, and here are the details. Again this year we’ll have two sessions and there will be even more room to spread your wings. We’ll have more…

Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Lady and the Tramp with #D23Fanniversary

Last week, we received the latest quarterly issue of the D23 fan magazine. In addition to the regular magazine, we received this #Fanniversary kit featuring items to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Disney's Lady and the Tramp.  There was a background from "Tony's Restaurant" (which you can see in the photos on this post) as well as some 'punch-out' cardboard props.

We set up the background in our living room and the girls took over.  After putting all the props on sticks, they hamm'ed it up for the camera.  The Bird loved the mustache (or...'moo-stache' as she calls it) and The Babe wanted to try ALL of them.

Here's a shot of all the props.  You can see the mustache, but there were also some fun Lady/Tramp-related prop like the accordion and dog bone.

The D23 folks also included this instruction card:

We're (obviously) Disney nuts, but the girls really loved this D23 Fanniversary stuff and said they can't wait for more to get shi…

Well...Look At The Archives Now...

I just peeked down at the total number of posts right here on the blog and noticed that although we're just in the sixth month of the year, 2015 has become the #4 in terms of ranking of total number of posts.  I took this screenshot you see above from the right rail of the blog.  If you're reading this on your mobile phone, you're likely seeing this either in your email or the mobile version of the site, so you can't see the sidebar.  You can click "view on the web" at the bottom of the mobile version if you'd care to see the archives.  Or...just trust me that the screenshot above is all you need to see?!?

There's certainly no talk about ranking in terms of quality over the years, but we're just talking quantity here.  Total number of blog posts.

Back in 2012 and 2013, I had back-to-back years of writing a post  Then things dropped off in 2013 and 2014.  With the advent of Medium and Facebook and the various other w…

Menards "O Gage" Advertisement in Classic Toy Trains Magazine

Looks like a little typo slipped past the editor of the Menards O Gauge Train 'stuff' advertisement that they're running in Classic Toy Trains.  And...yes...let's get this out of the way:  I am a subscriber to said magazine.  Painful and nerdy; yes it is.

But, if you look on the Menards' site, you see that they call out/spell O Gauge the right way with the 'u' in there.  Was it a space issue?  Could they not fit in the 'u' in the green box?  Or just sloppy editing?  I'm guessing the later.

As an aside...I used to keep a blog that highlighted things like this (typos) in the political world.  Boy...those were the days.

Egg Harbor Dumps The Rooster - Goes With The Egg?

As seen on the 'to-go' cup I was given at Egg Harbor recently is this new slimmed-down/modernish logo and font setup featuring an egg and a reflection of the egg.  Are the Rooster's days numbered in terms of serving as the icon/symbol of Egg Harbor Cafe?  Perish the thought.

We *love* Egg Harbor.  Our family of five goes there just about every week for breakfast and the kids love everything about the dining experience - even though they got rid of the little rubber ducks!

Landscape Beds Mulched - 2015

The mulch is all spread out and set up in the front, back and sideyards.  Nothing looks (or smells!) better than day one of new mulch in your landscape beds.  Seven yards of the stuff this year.  There's a bunch of grades of mulch and for the first time we went a click up the chart from mid-grade to one higher.  Not quite the most premium stuff, but better than the grade of mulch we normally get which contains some larger chips and not as fine.

Here's the post from 2013 featuring the mulch.
And here's the post - and video - of the mulch arriving back in 2011.

Vintage Skiing Santa

I picked this guy up at a garage sale recently.  The Babe and I went to a few of them one morning and didn't find much at all.  At this last stop, I spent some time talking to the guy who was selling his stuff and stumbled across the box of his old Christmas stuff.  Buried, deep in the bottom of the box was this little guy.  With two skis and just one pole.  For some reason, he's wearing a "25" bib - which I suspect might be his price tag?  I didn't try to peel it off.
I pulled it out of the box and asked the guy how much?  He gave it to us for free!  Well...gave it to us is a nice way of saying that if we didn't rescue this guy from the bottom of the box, he was destined for the garbage can.  What a shame that would have been, right?  He'll go great next to the rest of our collection of little vintage Santas, I think.  He'll add a bit of 'sporty-ness' to the group.

Behold! The Ultimate Uni-Tasker

We Americans load our homes and kitchens with uni-taskers.  At Menards last week, I spotted this "Melon Splitter" for just $4.99.  What is a melon splitter?  It is a device that slices your water melon into 12 equal slices.  That is - as long as it fits inside this contraption.

This thing is HUGE.  You'd have to live in a really big McMansion with a really big kitchen to be willing and able to store this thing for the 3 or 4 times you'd use it every year.

As you can guess, after mocking this thing in store, I had a moment of weakness where I actually thought about taking it off the hook and sticking it in my cart.  Fortunately, sanity overcame me and we left without this gadget.

Earning My "Great Wall" Badge from Fitbit

It was earlier this year that I posted about my "Africa" badge that marked the 5K mile mark from FitBit, but this week, this note landed in my inbox.

Meaning, I've gone 500 miles in the past five months.  100 miles/month = average about 3 miles/day.
All in?  5,500 miles through two devices over three-plus years.  Quantified Self FTW.

What Are You Doing Up Here?

Found this guy 64 floors up when I arrived at the office this week.  Not sure what he is, but he's not afraid of heights it seems.

New O Gauge From Menards: Military Car With Deuce and a Half

Menards is really stepping up their game when it comes to O Gauge rail cars and buildings this year.  In addition to producing a bunch of 'weathered' boxcars, they've come out with a few pretty interesting additions to their rolling stock collection.

The first of which is this Military Long Flatcar with a "Deuce and a Half".  From the Menards' product listing comes this detail:
Honor our armed services from the past and present with this brand new O gauge military flatcar featuring a longer, simulated wood platform that measures 10.5" long. It is decorated in military green and easily couples with most O scale train cars. The Deuce and a Half transport truck and fuel transporter are intricately detailed and constructed of resin. This is a limited edition military train car that is recommended for O-36 and larger curves. They've priced it at $39.99 which is a fair price for a car with this amount of detail.  I've bought a few cars from Menards in…

Dianthus Kahori - A Disney Plant?

Found this label for this plant "Dianthus Kahori" on a perennial at Costco recently.  That font!

Had to snap a photo and then try to do some research to figure out if the plant had *any* connection to Disney and/or the parks. doesn't appear to be anything other than a lazy designer passing off the Disney font to the guys at the nursery who raised these plants.  

I could actually see this becoming an extension for Disney products/consumer products some day, right?  Imagine having some sort of uniquely-bred set of perennials that they plant in the park and they highlight in some way.  Could be at the Flower and Garden show.  Could be throughout the year.  
They could license their name to some nurseries to grow them that particular plant and get it to the market at scale through places like Home Depot.  I'd buy a 'piece of Disney World's' flowers for a small price.  I'd probably buy a few of them!  Wouldn't you?

Costco Lifetime 4x4 Bouncer Teeter Totter

I've spent a bit of time covering the Costco Cedar Summit playground sets and the Costco Suncast playground set in the past here on the blog.  They're chronically at the top of the 'most read posts' almost every week.  They rank well in search and because there's such limited information on the Costco site about the sets, it seems that parents and potential buyers go online and seek out some answers.  They end up here.

But, this year, Costco has a new product. to me.  It is there pictured above right in front of this year's edition of the Cedar Summit playground set.  It is a "Lifetime 4X4 Bouncer Teeter Totter".  It is priced at $189.99 with a $40.00 instant rebate at our Costco in Oak Brook, Illinois.  On the Costco site, they list a different Lifetime bouncer - an airplane one.  That one has really strong reviews, so it seems these things are built well.

This one is a two seater, so at least two kids could get a lot of fun ou…

"I Am The I-Fund" Fighting Illini Athletics Mailer

Last month, I received a really nice tri-fold mailer from the University of Illinois Athletic Department featuring these great Fighting Illini athletes.  It looks like it was mailed to all members of the I-Fund - which is the development/fundraising arm of the athletics department.

One thing I've noticed over the past few years is that the quality of the correspondence has really improved.  From the brochure to buy seats/psl's/suites in the new State Farm Center to the regular 'keep-in-touch' notes they send from time-to-time, they've stepped up their design and delivery in a big way.  And...with this being the development/fundraising arm, you'd expect this to need to be impressive stuff to get donors attention.

When you open up the latest mailer, you get a bunch of stats about graduation rates, B1G Championships, community service hours and National Championships (we have 25 of 'em!).  But they also loaded it with a few little giveaways.  Check it out be…

A Visit To The New Melrose Park Menards

Over the weekend, I packed the kids into the van and headed out to visit the brand new Menards in Melrose Park.  Exciting stuff in our house.  Seriously.  A new Menards?  That's like 10 minutes closer to our house?  Sweet.

I've been driving by this location for the past 6 months waiting for it to open and thought that it looked 'small'. Turns out...the footprint of the store *is* small.  That's because it is a two story store.

From the Chicago Tribune:
With the opening of this new 2-story store, the Melrose Park area will now enjoyall of the great services, low prices and shopping convenience that Menards offers.Jeff Abbott, Menards Spokesperson says, "We appreciate all the loyalshoppers who shopped at our former Melrose Park store for many, many years.We can't wait to open the doors to this impressive, new 2-story store so everyonecan see for themselves all the latest, greatest home improvement products wehave to offer." I've been in a few two …

Giving Serranos A Try (Giardiniera, Anyone?)

In lieu of the typical under-performing bell peppers that I plant in the garden, this year, I picked up a Serrano hot pepper plant from Bonnie Plants at the ole' Home Depot.  As you can see from the photo, serranos are described as: 'Hot, pungent, candle-shaped fruits.  Top choice for making pico de gallo.  Very productive."

While that's well and good, I'm only interested in them for one reason: The possibility of making my own giardiniera. I've tried making it in the past and most recipes call for fresh vegetables/peppers including serranos, but the output wasn't quite right.  Comparing those results (which included bright colors) with the typical store-bought jar of giardiniera (which has far more muted colors) was a disappointment.  It seems that the professional-made stuff pickles their peppers before putting them in the jar with oil?

Just compare how the 'homemade' version looks in this photo compared to what the stuff in the jar looks like …

My 8 Year "Twitterversary" Was Last Week

Last week I received this notification on my phone from the fine folks over at Twitter.  They were wishing me a happy "Twitterversary".  Turns out, I joined Twitter on May 29th 2007.  Looking back at the blog from then, I didn't post on the 29th, so I must have been looking for something to do?

May of 2007, I was back at FeedBurner - about to join Google on June 1, 2007 - so perhaps I was bored looking for something to do?  Seem like a logical story, doesn't it?

Looking at my Twitter profile, I'm now over 3,400 tweets, I follow just under 1,000 people/places/things, and have close to 700 followers.  Back in 2010, I covered when I crossed the 1,000 tweet milestone here on the blog. took me 3 years to get to 1K tweets, or about 333/year.  2.4K tweets in five years since March of 2010.

Sharing This Post With My "Sis"...

I plucked this can of Coke Zero out of the box over the weekend and - as a good, reliable, somewhat-persuadable corporate sugar-water-drinking-bot should do - immediately took a photo of it and texted it to my 'Sis'.  This post goes out to all three of those of mine.

You know who you are.  Consider this your #siblingsday post.  (Remember when *that* was a thing??)

*Some* Of Our Peonies Are Blooming - 2015

Back in April of this year, I chronicled the annual return of Nat's peonies as they emerged from the mulch in our backyard.

Just one small section of the blooms opened up this week with the rest still tightly balled up awaiting their time to shine.  These are a really dark pink and they're set off to the side of the rest of our peony plants.  I believe these were harvested out of the yard of a house at the end of our block that was getting torn down.  I went with the Babe and a wagon and filled it up with peonies, irises and hostas.

Before they tipped over and started dragging on the ground, I went out and cut some of the flowers off to bring inside where the girls helped me put them in a vase.

Wall Calendars Turned Over To June 2015

Aha!  I got this one right.  Today is the 1st of June and the first day I was in the office and I looked over and noticed that my wall calendars needed to get turned over.  Not too shabby, eh?

The D23 calendar features the Walt Disney Archives, which were founded on June 22, 1970 and the Illini calendar features a photo of Bevier Hall.

One other note on the Disney calendar is that it notes that on June 16th, 'Lady and the Tramp' premiered in Chicago.  Yeah...Chicago!

Here's the post from May with the calendars.  Took me until the 12th.
March's post - where I turned them on the 11th.
February post introducing the concept.  On the 17th.