Julia|Lists

11 Things Hiring Managers Won’t Tell You

Nov
01

This list pretty much confirms a whole lot of fears I have about hiring managers. But, on the bright side, not all of them do ALL of these things…right?!? 😉

 

Thanks LearnVest!

1. I leave pictures of kids on my desk. They’re not even my kids.


Legally, hiring managers aren’t allowed to ask if you have kids, just as they’re not supposed to discriminate against you on the hunch that your child might occasionally have a soccer game. But we spoke to one hiring manager who leaves pictures of her niece and nephew to find out (legally) who has kids. “I’m not allowed to ask about family situations, but if they bring it up, it’s fair game. Kids are a distraction to this job, which requires long hours and weekends. I won’t hire someone who has other priorities.”
How to handle this: It’s very easy to get nervous and resort to small talk. (“Oh, are those your kids? How old? Mine are 6 and 10 … ”) Commenting on kids’ photos is easy bait, especially if you’re a parent yourself, but avoid it if you can. Talk about the weather or find something to compliment your interviewer on instead.

 
2. I check for wedding bands.

One hiring manager told us: This is an entry-level job, and the people we hire are usually fresh out of college. If I see a wedding band, there’s a good probability that candidate is going to start a family soon. If I hire her and she goes on maternity leave, I can’t legally fire her, but I still have to find someone else to replace her while she’s gone. When she comes back I can’t fire her either, so now I’m stuck with two employees when all I needed was one. No thanks.”
This one is an easy fix: Leave your wedding ring at home. You’re not obligated to share any information about your relationship status, so try to avoid doing so.

 
3. I regularly hire women for 65-75% what I pay men.

Half a century after the Women’s Rights movement, the pay gap still leaves women making 70% of what men make. Yet it was shocking to hear part of the reason why straight from the mouths of hiring managers. The causes are numerous, but if we had to narrow it down to one … women don’t negotiate enough.
One manager offers men and women the same starting salary: “The women simply accept, while the men negotiate. I would have essentially the same candidate, the only difference being gender, and I was paying her $20,000 less.”
Some jobs are truly non-negotiable, like an entry-level role at certain Fortune 100 companies. But far too often, people—especially women—leave money, vacation time or benefits on the table needlessly.
(Looking to make some progress of your own? Consult our tips on how to ask for a pay raise.)

 
4. I don’t hire old people.

Ageism is real. While this may be as simple as discrimination against people who don’t seem as “with-it” as their younger counterparts, we pressed harder for the root cause of why people really care about age. It comes down to learning new technologies.
“Older people have a harder time adapting to newer technologies, and I’d rather not spend the time training them,” one hiring manager confesses.
Casually let it slip that you’ve been working on gaining proficiency in the latest technology in your field. Bringing this up lets the interviewer know that you not only enjoy continuing to learn about the field, but also have no problem adapting to new developments.

 
5. I prefer to hire someone who’s currently employed.

It’s a Catch-22: Hiring managers often would rather hire someone who currently has a job … but of course it’s the unemployed people who need jobs the most. “If you’ve been unemployed for a long stretch of time, it makes me wonder what’s wrong with you,” one hiring manager says.
How can you combat this bias? Continue your education, volunteer your time at your favorite charity or even work or “consult” for free so you have something to write down that may mask a gap on your résumé.

 
6. I’m looking for a reason NOT to hire you.

The issue with so many applicants applying for so few jobs is that hiring managers often look for reasons to exclude you rather than include you as a potentially perfect candidate. A typo, a poorly formatted résumé or a low GPA will often get you placed in the “no thanks” pile.
So, yes, you should perfect your application (then proofread it again), but an even better bet is to circumvent the application process altogether. It’s estimated that 80% of jobs are found through personal connections, so tap your network, including old bosses, college networks and everyone you know (and they know) on LinkedIn. That will be the fastest way to rise above a huge pile of competing résumés.

 
7. Don’t tell me your previous salary. I’ll use it against you.

In the age of pensions, it was uncommon for people to leave jobs. Now sometimes you have to look outside your own company to progress.
But your previous salary needn’t follow you. While many companies will ask what it was, you have every right to deflect the question by saying you don’t feel comfortable revealing it, or that your previous company preferred you keep it confidential.
“We were interviewing one candidate for a senior manager position and asked for her previous salary,” our source says. “She said she signed an NDA [Non-Disclosure Agreement] to not reveal her previous salary. It was clever because I couldn’t press her for more info, and also respected her for maintaining her integrity to her previous employer.”
One caveat: If it’s a job you really want, and the company is insisting, you may be smarter to divulge the number. Just explain that you’re looking for an increase (and name your percentage) given all of the skills that you bring to the job in question.

 
8. Don’t apply online; you won’t get anywhere.

There are too many walls to cross and red flags to trigger when you apply online. “We build our application process to weed out candidates, and extract information like previous salary to use against them,” our source says. “Applying online is a losing game.”
Once you find an open position online, don’t apply. Instead, do some online stalking of the company’s website and LinkedIn to find out who you might know there—or to find another way in. Namely, a human, rather than a blind “submit your application” form. Then, send your résumé to that contact directly and say you heard about this opening—and are interested in any roles that match that particular criteria.
“I was interviewing candidates and narrowed it down to my top three. Then the Creative Director sends me a résumé she received via email,” says one hiring manager we spoke to. “What was I going to do? I had to bring her in for an interview. We ended up hiring that candidate.”

 
9. That hot guy you added on Facebook last week? Yeah, that was me.

We’ve heard for years how important protecting your online image can be and that companies may try to search for you before making a hiring decision. What we haven’t heard are some of the ways they’ll get you to open up your social media profile.
“I’ll add several of her friends, so we have several friends in common, and then I’ll add her,” one hiring manager told us. “I now have access to her profile, wall posts, status updates and even those photos from her trip to Cancun she thought were private.”

 
10. I go through hundreds of résumés a day and spend less than 30 seconds on each one.

Take an honest look at your résumé. If it isn’t easy to scan for highlights, it’s not going to get you callbacks. One hiring manager at a technology company writes: 
“If I have to spend more than 30 seconds finding out what you have accomplished, forget it … Likely, I will ignore the whole thing, write down in my notes ‘poor communicator,’ and move on … If you can’t nail it in one sentence, do I really want to look forward to your rambling emails every day?
“To craft a great résumé, tailor it to my job posting. If I have a skill set in there like ‘Windows Administration,’ make sure you have at least one bullet point talking about … that skill.”
If it’s a job you really care about, you should have multiple people read over your application. It should be clear, concise and tailored specifically to the job you want.

 
11. I have no clue what I’m doing.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that some hiring managers are merely going through the motions. Their job is to get someone who can do the job for the least amount of money. Despite their best efforts, they may not be experienced interviewers, and even they may not know how many ping-pong balls fit in a plane … or if the right answer correlates to doing the best job.
But your best bet is to try to make your interviewer like you, because she’ll be more likely to pass on a glowing recommendation (or include you in the résumé stack at all) even if she won’t be making the ultimate decision about whether you get the job.

 

19 Halloween Costumes That Are Actually Clever

Oct
28

The YouTube Channel is my favorite, it’s like a new school kissing booth 😉

 
Thanks HuffPost!

 

 
1. ’50 Shades Of Grey’

Bits And Pieces
The best part? Paint samples are free!

2. The Brawny Guy
Buzzfeed
Attention men with red flannel shirts: you’re just one paper towel purchase away from a great costume.
3. Che Guevara T-Shirt
Imgur
This is the greatest thing we’ve seen since The Onion’s “Che Guevara wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt” T-shirt.
4. Bag Of  ‘Eminems’
Buzzfeed
When in doubt, go with a pun.
5. Grayscale Couple
Imgur/Whitney Avalon
No Instagram filter required! Get the tutorial here.
6. Nudist On Strike
Imgur
Last minute? Definitely, but it works.
7. Super Tall Guy As Regular-Sized Guy On Stilts
Buzzfeed
He’s ridiculously tall and he’s totally owning it.
8. Every KISS Member At Once
Imgur
The hard part is deciding where to look while you’re talking to this person.
9. French Kiss
Smosh
Speaking of KISS, these two had an even better idea.
10. Tapatío Hot Sauce
11. Freudian Slip
Smosh
Who said pun costumes can’t be sexy, too?
12. A Penny
Imgur
Honest Abe would be pleased.
13. YouTube Channel
Twisted Sifter
Even better? It’s a PSYCHIC YouTube channel.
14. Leg Lamp From ‘A Christmas Story’
Buzzfeed
Hands down, the most clever costume for people with one leg.
15. Roller Coaster Riders
Imgur
These guys look like a lot of fun.
16. Ginger Bread Man
Mental Floss
Gingers may or may not have souls, but they do have clever costumes.
17. Guy In A Hurricane
Buzzfeed
You, sir, are winning at this.
18. ChatRoulette
Buzzfeed
We have a feeling someone will “report inappropriate behavior” by the end of the night.
19. Dunkin’ Donuts
Greatest Escapist
Someone get these girls a sponsorship deal!

10 Alternatives to Halloween Candy that won’t give your kids Diabetes

Oct
22

Thanks DaNelle at Weed ‘em & Reap!

1. Bulk Bag of Organic Lollipops  Organic lollipops in bulk. Need I say more?

2. Glow in the Dark Vampire Fangs Because you haven’t lived until your child wakes you up in the middle of the night with these in his mouth.

3. Glow Stick Bracelets Hint: these make great glow-in-the-dark bath time fun! And you can let your kids use them in the bath too.

4. Glow in the Dark Sticky Eyes What IS it with kids and sticky toys? My kids go nuts over all things sticky.

5. Fake Mustaches ‘Cause it’s funny. Especially when you put one on the family dog. Or the family goat.

6. Creep Martian Fingers Just like those creepy witch fingers, only martian. Which is scarier. Because martians are real. At least that’s what my 10 year old keeps telling me.

7. Animal Noses To wear all the time, of course. Ya’ know, because people don’t think we’re weird enough yet.

8. Fruit Leather Great candy trade-in (see below) if you don’t want to buy for the whole neighborhood.

9. Unreal Candy. I’m tellin’ you, we love this candy. It’s non-GMO, no corn syrup, preservatives or artificial stuff, plus it’s gluten-free and made with grass fed dairy & sustainable palm oil. What?! You can (affiliate link) buy Unreal Candy here in bulk, orvisit their site to see which stores sell Unreal Candy. I get mine at my local CVS Pharmacy. I’m not planning on buying for the whole neighborhood, but I DO plan on having some at home for a candy trade-in.

10. The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee Okay, okay. So, I know you can’t buy these for your whole neighborhood, but you could buy for your kids as a candy trade-in. I mean, imagine the rockstar status your kids would obtain by wearing these to school. P.S. Read the Amazon reviews on this one for a good laugh!

The Parent Candy Trade-In Operation

This is a great idea if you want to lessen the amount of sugar-coma inducing candy this year. My kids LOVE doing trades and bartering, and I’m guessing your kids would love it too. Those sneaky little bargainers. After all the trick-or-treating is over, and our kids dump their spoils in a huge heap on the living room floor, we do trade-ins. They get to trade their junk in for other fun stuff. So, it’s a WIN-WIN for everybody!

This year, avoid turning Halloween into a week long sugar binge, and trade that craptastic candy for better choices instead!

10 Autumn Baking Recipes

Oct
18

Autumn is my favorite time of year to make soups and baked goods 🙂

Thanks LearnVest.com!

 
Praline Pumpkin Pie

Time: 1 ½ hours
Ingredients
½ recipe pie pastry (whichever you like)
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned, frozen or freshly cooked unseasoned pumpkin puree
¾ cup granulated sugar
1¾ cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark rum
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch glass pie pan. Trim the edges and crimp with a fork. Line the pastry with a sheet of foil and pile on pastry weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil liner and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly colored.
Remove from the oven and cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Brush the bottom of the crust with the jam. Place the pumpkin puree in a large bowl and beat in the granulated sugar, ¾ cup of the cream, the milk, eggs, rum, spices and salt. Pour into the prepared crust, place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
Preheat the broiler. Combine the brown sugar, pecans and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the pie. Cover the crimped pastry edge with a strip of foil and broil for a few minutes, just until the topping bubbles, watching carefully (really carefully) so it does not burn. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Whip the remaining 1 cup cream and serve it with the pie.

 
Toasted Pecan Scones

Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients
1 cup pecans
2 cups flour
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
⅓ cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter into thin slices and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until there are no large pieces remaining and the mixture looks like crumbs.
Whisk together the egg, yolk, cream and vanilla until completely combined. Break the pecans into large pieces and add them to this mixture.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together until just combined.
Divide the dough into 8 balls. Put them at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and press them down slightly with your palm.
Bake for 20–25 minutes until the scones are golden on top. Let rest on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.

 
Chocolate Cranberry Cake

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour (you can use all white, or half whole-wheat pastry and half white)
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola, safflower or vegetable oil
1 cup chilled brewed coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cup cranberries tossed with 2 tablespoons sugar, or 1 cup homemade cranberry sauce
Chocolate Icing (recipe here)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil an 8-inch cake pan, then cut a circle of parchment and place it on the bottom. Oil that too.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk together to break up any clumps in the cocoa.
In a second medium bowl, combine the oil, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until smooth. Stir in the cranberries or cranberry sauce.
Add the vinegar and stir—you’ll see light swirls of fizz form as the vinegar and baking soda react. Immediately pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake is still liquid in the middle after 40 minutes, cover loosely with foil and bake for another 10–15 minutes, checking at 5-minute intervals.
Take the cake out of the oven and cool completely on a rack. When cool, frost with the chocolate icing.
Note: You can also bake the cake in individual ramekins, which reduces cooking time to about 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Orange Marmalade Muffins


Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups flour
⅔ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup orange juice
½ cup safflower oil (or other neutral oil)
2 eggs
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place liners in 12 muffin cups, or grease them well.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, eggs and marmalade.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, and fold to combine—it’s fine to leave a few lumps.
Fill the muffin cups about ¾ full, and top each with some walnuts (if you’re using them).
Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the muffins have risen, and they spring back when you put slight pressure on the tops. Test with a toothpick in the center of the muffin; if it comes out dry, it’s done.
Serve warm if possible. These muffins are best the day they are made.

 
Carrot-Raisin Cookies

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
¾ cup finely grated carrots
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix together the oil with the sugar, honey or syrup, and carrots until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the raisins and nuts, and mix until they’re distributed throughout.
Drop tablespoons of the dough onto a cookie sheet. Flatten each ball slightly. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until the cookies have darkened a bit (look closely, because it can be hard to see). Remove to a plate to cool.

 
Puff Pastry Garlic Knots

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Handful all-purpose flour
½ of a 17.3-ounce package puff pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup finely shredded Italian cheese blend (I just used grated parmesan)
Heat the oven to 400°F. (If your oven tends to run even a little bit hot, I’d recommend turning the dial down to 375°F to avoid burning the garlic.) Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
Sprinkle the flour on the work surface, then unfold the pastry sheet onto the floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10-inch square–which is just a little bigger than the sheet already is. Brush the bottom half of the pastry sheet with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle half the garlic, parsley and cheese on the bottom half of the pastry sheet. Fold the pastry in half over the garlic mixture. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining garlic, parsley and cheese on the pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin. Cut the pastry into 20 (about ½-inch-wide) strips. Tie each strip into a “knot”. Place the pastries onto 2 baking sheets.
Bake for 12–18 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then serve.

 
Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 14 oz. bag flaked coconut (Bakers brand)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (Carnation brand)
2 teaspoon vsanilla (not imitation)
1 12 oz. bag Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop from teaspoon one-inch apart on nonstick baking sheet (or use a spray like Pam to unstick your sheets). Bake for 10–12 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool a minute or two, then remove and place on waxed paper to cool more.

 
Nutella Soufflé

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
About 1 teaspoon softened butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for the ramekins
⅓ cup nutella
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
Pinch salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional; it helps make sure you don’t overbeat your egg whites)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Butter the ramekins or big soufflé dish. Sprinkle the bottoms and sides with sugar, then dump out any extra.
In a medium bowl, combine the nutella with the egg yolks. The mixture will be a little bit thick and hard to stir, but you shouldn’t have a problem incorporating them. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar, using a handheld mixer on medium speed. When they hold soft peaks (about 2–3 minutes), add the 3 tablespoons of sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating the whole time. Increase to high speed and beat until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. (That means when you raise your beaters out of the bowl, they leave behind a sturdy-looking mountain.) Pour about ⅓ of the whites into the nutella and stir to combine. Then, working very gently, pour the nutella mixture into the remaining whites and fold until thoroughly combined.
Pour ¼ of the batter into each ramekin, then bake until puffed and crusted on top, about 12 minutes. The soufflé should still jiggle a bit when you touch the pan. Serve immediately, before they deflate! Dollop some unsweetened whipped cream on top if you like.

 
Oatmeal Quickbread With Walnuts

Time: 1 ½ hours

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups warm water (about 105°F–115°F—it should feel warm to your wrist but not hot)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon honey
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup kamut flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons neutral oil (or walnut oil if you have any)
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast bubbles get foamy, about 7–10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.
Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.
Oil a loaf pan generously. Scrape the dough into the pan and spread it more or less to the edges. Cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise. Look for the warmest place in your kitchen—don’t try to get your bread to rise if you’ve got a draft! Find a cozy corner, perhaps near the radiator, instead.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. When ready, bake the bread for 35–40 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges pull away from the pan. Remove from oven, and lift the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack immediately. Let it cool slightly. Serve warm with butter, jam and slices of Swiss or cheddar.

 
Baklava

Time: 24 hours (most of it inactive)

Ingredients
4 cups walnuts
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½–1 cup butter, melted
1 package phyllo dough
For the syrup:
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces. Combine with the 6 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
Put the melted butter in a bowl and bring over a cooking brush.
Unroll the phyllo dough on a board or table. Cover its entire surface with a moistened paper towel. Pick up two sheets. Lay them in front of you and brush with melted butter. Repeat twice (so you have 6 sheets), being especially generous with the butter on top. Now, take 1 cup of the walnuts and spread them evenly over the pile of sheets, leave 1 inch at every edge. Fold in the vertical edges, then loosely roll the whole thing. Set 9″ x 13″ baking pan (must have 2″–3″ sides), seam side down.
Repeat four more times with the remaining dough and walnuts.
Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden and your kitchen smells like delicious toasting nuts.
While the baklava are baking, put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly, then simmer for 2–3 minutes. When the baklava comes out of the oven, immediately remove the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves (if you can get them), and pour the syrup over the baklava.
Let rest for at least 24 hours (they get even better with more soaking).
Taking a roll at a time, slice into portions about 1-inch thick. If the inside is still dry, you may want to arrange them back in the syrup to juice up.

“Always Free” Things To Do In Chicago

Sep
10

Chicago

Thanks MetroWalkz!

ENJOY THESE “ALWAYS FREE” CHICAGO ACTIVITIES AND PLACES!
Navy Pier 600 E. Grand Ave Navy Pier Tour Always Free! Don’t miss Illinois’ most popular tourist and leisure destination.
Year -round fun for all ages!
 
Navy Pier Fireworks 600 E. Grand Ave, Navy Pier Navy Pier Tour Generally Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer, plus July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Always Free! Spend a beautiful fall evening on the lake!  
Millennium Park 201 E. Randolph Millennium Park Tour Always Free! This outstanding 24.5 acre park is a must see!  
Lincoln Park Zoo 2200 N. Canon Drive Always Free! This zoo, located in the heart of Lincoln Park, is one of the best in the country.  
Lincoln Park Conservatory 2391 N. Stockton Dr. Always Free! Located next to Lincoln Park Zoo, this Victorian-style conservatory houses plants from around the world.
Lakefront / Beaches Various locations Always Free! Whether you stroll the paved lakefront path or spend the day at the beach, don’t miss Chicago’s sparkling lakefront.
Grant Park / Buckingham Fountain Grant Park Grant Park Tour Always Free! Don’t miss Grant Park’s wonderful gardens and beautiful Buckingham Fountain and its colorful nightime water display.
Chicago Cultural Center 78 E. Washington St., Loop Loop Architecture Tour Always Free The Chicago Cultural Center is home to numerous free activities, performances, rotating exhibits and notable interior spaces,

 

Game of American Thrones – Political Doppelgangers

Aug
30

Just in case you’re one of those people that hasn’t gotten into the show Game of Thrones yet (you need to catch up, we’re all desperately waiting for Season 4 to premiere next April), this is a hilarious chart of the super intense characters on the show and the lovable politicians they remind us of. Enjoy!

Thanks Internet

What your cocktail says about you

Aug
21

Thanks Kevin Alexander and Ben Robinson at Thrillist!

What your cocktail says about you

Like it or not, the drink you order when you go to a bar tells a lot about you. So, after years of exhaustive research going to bars and staring at people and judging them, we’ve compiled this shorthand list detailing traits most commonly associated with certain drinks. Be afraid, mojito-drinker. Be very afraid.

Vodka Soda: You’re in it for the booze. Without the calories. Or the taste. Drinking is a means to an end for you, and you once kept track of exactly how many calories you’d eaten in one day and then burned exactly that amount off on a treadmill. Worse still, you might be a guy. You definitely own a Nike FuelBand.

Champagne: What is this, New Year’s? And what are you, a model? There is no raspberry gelée tart amuse-bouche from the tasting menu to pair it with at this bar. And we don’t care if you once did some “brand modeling” for Midori — that doesn’t count.

Cosmo: Remember that time when those fun-loving, independent ladies from Sex and the City started a national trend by ordering this drink on the show, and it was all awesome and sexy and freeing? You know that was 1998, right?

What your cocktail says about you

Mojito: Oh, right — you. A bartender’s worst nightmare. You had this drink once outside at a Cuba-themed cookout, and it was awesome. And you’re right, it was awesome. But IT IS WINTER NOW AND THE MINT LEAVES AREN’T FRESH AND THE BARTENDER HAS TO SIT HERE AND MUDDLE THIS SH*T WHILE EVERYONE AROUND YOU SHOOTS YOU IN THE FACE WITH THEIR EYES. You also own many Jodi Picoult books.

Rum and Coke: You are a college kid. Or maybe you’re just a college kid at heart. Either way, you should stop wearing those cargo shorts outside your house.

Mai Tai: You are a party animal. You own three ironic Hawaiian shirts, and one non-ironic Hawaiian shirt that just says “Hawaii”. Okay, so that’s actually a pretty decent shirt. It’s a nice fabric. You only change the radio station when Jimmy Buffett comes on if other people are in your car.

Gin and Tonic: You own eleventy polo shirts and secretly believe they look better with the collar popped. You first met a Jewish person in college, at Williams. You have several pine-scented candles in your apartment, but only use one, and the wick is getting dangerously long.

Whiskey Ginger Ale: You want people to see you drinking whiskey, but you don’t want to deal with actually drinking whiskey. Your Twitter account divulges too much information about your co-ed softball team.

Scotch on the Rocks: You somehow have two days’ worth of stubble, every day. You own a nice watch, but get nervous wearing it to places that don’t valet. You bought an expensive axe to chop firewood over the Internet, even though you don’t have a fireplace.

Scotch, Neat: Someone once told you that the best way to drink scotch is the way YOU like it, even if that means there’s a ton of ice in it… and you fired that person.

What your cocktail says about you

Bourbon, Neat: You love whiskey, but don’t want to spend $14 on a Macallan, even though you just got talked into spending $15 on a Michter’s. But hey, it’s a single barrel!

Bourbon on the Rocks: You are totally okay with the Bourbon, Neat guy making fun of you, because you just drank a whole glass of whiskey in 45 seconds, and that was the point, and you don’t really even like whiskey.

Long Island Iced Tea: You are either in college, or didn’t start drinking until you were 27. You own a long sleeve t-shirt that advertises a fake surf shop in a place you’ve never visited.

Bloody Mary: Dude, it’s midnight and that is 100% Mr & Mrs T mix. Also, stop telling everyone you drink it because it’s “good for you”.

Margarita on the Rocks: You buy sweet-and-savory snack mixes. You tried to kite-surf once, and you were startlingly bad at it.

Rosé Wine: You listened to Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” long enough to get past the bottles of red and white that he also drank, while getting super-sloshed in said restaurant. You also sometimes call it “rose”, like the flower, just to see how it feels.

French 75: You probably just told the uninterested person next to you that this drink was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris, and was so named because it’s got a kick like the old French 75mm field gun. You’re also wearing non-prescription eyeglasses and brought your newest Lucky Peach to the bar. Sigh.

Double IPA: YOU ARE A MAN! A MAN WHO LOVES HOPS LIKE RICARDO MONTALBÁN LOVES CORINTHIAN LEATHER!! YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO ORDER A TRIPLE IPA NEXT!!! Also, you’re pretty hammered right now.

PBR: You swear it’s only because it’s cheap, even though it’s really not that cheap.

White Russian: You own The Big Lebowski on LaserDisc, and at one point attempted wearing bathrobes in public just to be HILARIOUS. You’ve gained 37lbs since that movie came out.

Jell-O Shots: Hahahahahahaha. Wait, why is that even a possibility? Where ARE you?!

19 Totally Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers

Aug
16

Thanks BuzzFeed!

1. Make “Bottom of the Mustard Bottle” Vinaigrette

Here’s is a great tip from cookbook author Dorie Greenspan: When there’s just a smidgen of mustard left in a jar, build your own vinaigrette in it.

To make hers, Greenspan adds a tablespoon of vinegar (you can use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, anything you like), plus some salt and pepper. At that point, you could also add some chopped fresh herbs, minced garlic, and minced shallots, as Martha Stewart recommends. Close the jar and shake it up. Then add three times the amount of olive oil as the amount of vinegar you used. (So if you added 1 tablespoon of vinegar, add 3 tablespoons of oil.) Screw on the top of the jar and shake again. If necessary, add more oil and vinegar, salt and/or pepper little by little until you’re happy.

2. Use an empty yogurt container as a measuring cup.

This great tip comes from Real Simple: If you fill a standard 8-ounce yogurt container with flour or liquid, that’s about 1 cup. Fill a quart container and you’ve got about 4 cups. You can also use 4-ounce size for a ½-cup and a 6-ounce size for a ¾-cup measure.

3. Make “Bottom of the Honey Jar” Lemonade…

When you have a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, make like New York Times food writer Melissa Clark and use it to make lemonade. Her instructions: Squeeze fresh lemon juice in — it helps break down that hardened leftover honey. Give it a good shake and refrigerate. When you’re ready to drink it, mix in a glass of water or club soda until it tastes right.

4. …or “Bottom of the Honey Jar” Simple Syrup.

...or "Bottom of the Honey Jar" Simple Syrup.

Olga Massov sassyradish.com

Melissa Clark’s idea was inspired by this one from Sassy Radish blogger Olga Massov: Instead of squeezing in lemon juice, just add the same amount of hot water as there is leftover honey. Give the jar a shake and use it as simple syrup in cocktails.

5. Use an empty 20-ounce soda bottle to portion out single servings of spaghetti.

The opening of an empty 20-ounce soda or water bottle fits just enough uncooked spaghetti for a single serving. If you need four servings, just use the bottle to measure it four times.

6. Turn a bottle of whiskey into a soap dispenser.

Turn a bottle of whiskey into a soap dispenser.

A standard dispenser top will screw onto a 200-milliliter glass bottle of Jack.

7. Turn baby food jars into a spice rack with chalkboard paint.

Directions here.

8. Use a glass Mason jar as a blender jar.

19 Totally Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers

Howcast youtube.com

19 Totally Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers

Howcast youtube.com

19 Totally Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers

Howcast youtube.com

9. Turn a peanut butter jar into a cookie cutter, a vase, or storage for toys.

Turn a peanut butter jar into a cookie cutter, a vase, or storage for toys.

10. Clean and save your favorite liquor bottles for drinking water.

Shutterstock

11. Repurpose empty, clean milk cartons as storage containers.

Repurpose empty, clean milk cartons as storage containers.

12. Or turn it into a scoop.

Or turn it into a scoop.

13. Seal an open bag of snacks with this cool bottle-cap trick.

Seal an open bag of snacks with this cool bottle-cap trick.

14. If you buy something in bulk a lot, save the containers to create your own bulk storage set.

15. Turn an old maple syrup container into a thumb-controlled watering pot.

16. Repurpose coke bottles to hold cooking oils and dish soap.

Repurpose coke bottles to hold cooking oils and dish soap.

17. Use an empty tomato paste can as a biscuit cutter.

It’s the perfect size. Be sure to remove both ends of the can.

19. Turn screw-off wine-bottle caps into candles.

Turn screw-off wine-bottle caps into candles.

Here’s how.

35 Facts About Mr. Rogers

Aug
06

Thanks MentalFloss!

I used to love watching Mr. Rogers and, turns out, he was just as nice in real life 🙂

Free Days At Chicago Museums 2013

Aug
05

Thanks to The Local Tourist!

Free Days at Chicago Museums – 2013

Chicago’s museums are some of its top attractions, and for good reason. They’re world class, but seeing them all can put a big divot in your budget. Fortunately, there are several free days at Chicago museums throughout the year. While general admission is free on those days, special exhibitions usually require a paid ticket.

Adler Planetarium:

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • January: 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 28, 29, 30, 31
  • February: 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28
  • March: 5, 6
  • June: 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

Art Institute of Chicago:

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • Thurday nights from 5pm to 8pm
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

The Arts Club of Chicago

  • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
  • Always free

Brookfield Zoo:

  • Neighborhood: West Suburbs
  • Free Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through February 28
  • Always free for Military Personnel

Chicago Children’s Museum:

  • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
  • 1st Sunday of every month free admission for children 15 and under
  • Free Thursdays 5pm to 8pm for everyone

Chicago History Museum:

  • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
  • January 21
  • February 4 – 28
  • March 4
  • July 4
  • August 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

City Gallery:

  • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile/Streeterville
  • Always free

DuSable Museum of African American History:

  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • Free on Sundays

Field Museum of Natural History:

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • January 7, 8, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 28, 30
  • February: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28
  • March: 6, 7
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

International Museum of Surgical Science:

  • Neighborhood: Gold Coast
  • Free on Tuesdays for 1st two floors

Jane Addams Hull House Museum:

  • Neighborhood: University Village
  • Always Free

Lincoln Park Zoo:

  • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
  • Always Free

Loyola University Museum of Art:

  • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
  • Free on Tuesdays

Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art:

  • Neighborhood: North Suburbs (Evanston)
  • Always Free

Museum of Contemporary Art:

  • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
  • Free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents

Museum of Contemporary Photography:

  • Neighborhood: South Loop
  • Always Free

Museum of Science & Industry:

  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • January 7 – 11, 14 – 18, 21 – 25, 28 – 31
  • February 6, 13, 20, 27
  • March 4
  • April 22
  • May 6
  • June 3 – 7, 10
  • September 9 – 13, 16 – 20, 23 – 27, 30
  • October 1 – 2
  • November 4
  • December 9

National Museum of Mexican Art

  • Neighborhood: Pilsen
  • Always free (donations accepted)

The Oriental Institute

  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • Always free (donations accepted)

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum:

  • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
  • Free on Thursdays (donations suggested)

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • Always free

Shedd Aquarium:

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • January 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29
  • February 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26
  • March 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 29, 25, 26
  • June 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25

Smart Museum Of Art:

  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • Always Free

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows

  • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
  • Always free

Swedish American Museum

  • Neighborhood: Andersonville
  • Free on second Tuesday of every month