Chicago Life and Style.

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Month: October, 2009

Cook County 2nd Installment Tax info Now Online

Taxes are due December 1st. You should be getting your bills in the mail this week but if not, check online here:

Don’t forget, if you have separately deeded parking, you have more than one PIN Number!

Whose property taxes went up most in Chicago? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Personal Finance

Whose property taxes went up most in Chicago? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Personal Finance.

Unique Holiday Gifts

It’s that time of year again. The mailbox is overflowing every day with new catalogs, tempting us to indulge, and it’s ok if we are buying for other people right?  Well, anyway.  This year is likely to be lean all around as everyone feels the affects of the long downturn.  It’s more important than ever to really put some thought into the gifts we give those we care about.  My family has been a fan of home-made coupons since I was a kid–you know, you give a coupon that says you’ll walk the dog even when its not your turn, or do the dishes, or watch a corny movie with your sibling (or parent or kid) that you wouldn’t normally, or even just a coupon for undivided attention for some period of time.

I happen to enjoy wrapping the presents as much as anything else but that means you’ve got to have something to wrap.  Homemade and handmade are awesome but sometimes you want to buy something.  Lord knows we’ve got options.  One that I came across recently is the Art Institute of Chicago gift shop. They have some really lovely and unique pieces of jewelry, artwork, books, dishes and tchocthkes. And for the quality and wow factor, they are reasonably priced. Order online and spend over $75 and get free shipping with promotion code KP29.   Happy shopping!

Halloween Events in Wicker Park

Wicker Park Halloween Prowl

WPB and Collaboraction Theatre company, a 14 year old award winning arts organization, invite the public to join them as they create a theatrical procession of dancers, actors, musicians vampires, and mummies that travels through the Wicker Park neighborhood, making stops to trick-or-treat, dance and cavort at local parks and businesses along the way. The fun begins at Noon on October 31 at the Polish Triangle at Ashland, Milwaukee and Division, and then proceeds through the streets of Wicker Park. Please bring your noise makers and wear your costumes!

Join WPB, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of other neighborhood organizations for Boo-Palooza on Halloween, Saturday, October 31 from Noon-4pm.  Activities at Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen, include wagon rides, face painting, a spider picture booth, not-so-scary stories, pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating, ghost bingo, and a monster mash music bash. A special Wicker Park Halloween Prowl (see above) will kick off the day.  Stay tuned for more information!

Best way to make dinner reservations, anywhere

Knowing where to go in Chicago can be a tough, there are so many options, places come and go constantly and there is always something new on the scene. I think Metromix does a good job of identifying new and trendy spots and gives a pretty decent description of other spots as well.  It’s certainly the most comprehensive list I’ve run across.  But what do you do once you’ve chosen?  You either have to go to the venue’s website and search to see if you can make reservations online OR you have to pickup the phone. Assuming of course that you are looking at a time when they are open and taking reservations.

I prefer to do everything I can online, at my convenience. Open Table is a simple, very user friendly site that has direct access to most restaurants in Chicago and allows you to make reservations directly from one platform without being re-directed.  You also earn points every time you make a reservation and get a gift certificate back once you accumulate enough points.  I make all my lunch appointments this way in addition to dinner reservations.  It has functionality that allows you to send the invitation with details (address, time etc) to other guests AND export it directly to Outlook so you don’t need to make another entry in that system. With one step your reservation is made, the time blocked out, invitations and details sent and reminders set. Its really a nice time saving service–and the cash back is a great bonus too.

By the way, they also have information about the various restaurants and regularly run promotions with different restaurants, it can be a great way to narrow your choices and just the right push to try something new.