If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. [Read more…]
As National Pizza Day approaches (mark your calendars for Saturday, February 9!), we must share our favorite local pizza spots. From deep dish to pizza cooked in a coal-fire oven, we’re dishing on some of the best slices in our favorite town, Chicago.
No matter how you slice Chicago-style (see what we did there?), Bartoli’s is serving it up hot and fresh. They have original deep dish that is layered with cheese, fresh toppings, and crust with the perfect amount of doughiness and crispiness. Plot twist, they have a Chicago-style THIN crust, too. Again, layered with the freshest and most delicious toppings, this pie is light and crisp. Regardless of what you’re in the mood for, Bartoli’s has you covered through thick and thin.
While Chicago is known for deep dish, this thin crust pizza will offer you a whole new outlook on crust. Their cooking method comes straight from the name. Coalfire’s thin crust pizza is cooked inside a 1,500-degree oven powered by coal. The result is a bubbly, slightly charred, bursting with flavor pie. With over 15 specialty pizzas (including vegan options) and the option to build your own creation, there is no shortage of deliciousness for anyone.
Delicious creativity at its finest. It is clear Dimo’s looks at pizza like a blank canvas to create something unique and tasty. ‘The Classics’ section houses the usual suspects, but you can also enter a world where mac and cheese adorns pizza, or a world where pulled pork and spicy ranch happily create the ‘Dad Bod.’ (By the way, we’ve only scratched the surface on toppings). With over eight veganized pizza options, no one is left out of devouring these masterpieces.
Serving up wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, Parlor creates these delectable pies with seasonal and local ingredients. Such unique ‘zas include Eggs Benedict (in pizza form, of course), Burrata Be Kidding Me, and Chorizo & Potato. With a menu that rotates seasonally, you’ll always have a slice to excite your taste buds.
Just when you thought Chicago deep dish couldn’t possibly get any better, Pequod’s added a caramelized cheese crust. They started serving up their irresistible, pan-style version of the Chi-town classic back in 1970. To say locals have taken notice would be an understatement. This heavily awarded spot has claims to fame such as “#1 Best Pizza in Illinois” by NBC Chicago and one of Food Network’s “Top 5 pizzas in America”. Drop in their city or suburb location to try out the cheesy greatness for yourself.
If authentic, Southern Italian style pizza is what you’re craving, look no further than Pompei. A family business located right on Taylor Street (in the Italian Cuisine mecca of Chicago), this spot serves up square Napolitano-style pizza, exactly the way Grandpa Luigi intended. Pompei has 20 signature pizza options out for display daily, along with 12 unique ‘Pizza Strudel’ flavors for those looking to step out of the box (or pizza box, that is). You can’t get much more authentic than that.
Valentine’s Day can conjure tired images of a dinner and movie, or an overpriced prix-fixe menu at a restaurant you weren’t thrilled about visiting in the first place. In the true spirit of celebrating love, create your own Valentine’s week instead of dealing with the pressure of creating one perfect day. This year, skip the standard routine and spend the week getting out of your comfort zone, with the one you love most.
Day 1: Become besotted with the theatre
(Monday, February 11)
The start of Valentine’s Day week is also conveniently the start of Chicago Theatre Week. Returning for its 7th year, this special week provides theatre aficionados the opportunity to choose from more than 100 productions across different Chicago theatres at discounted prices. Take in a performance and discover (or re-discover) your love for the theatre.
Day 2: Experience love in the air
(Tuesday, February 12)
If rooftop views just aren’t high enough, The Chicago Helicopter Experience Valentine’s Day packages are a memorable way to enjoy a champagne toast with your loved one. Take in the city from an impressive, once-in-a-lifetime view from above, while commemorating the experience with a keepsake photo.
Day 3: Become enamoured with the tropics
(Wednesday, February 13)
If you were considering a February tropical getaway, look no further than the Chicago Botanic Garden. Play hookie for the day and spend it at the annual Orchid Show exhibit. Transport yourselves to the tropics by enjoying the essence of the South Pacific islands, beaches and rainforests. The exhibit features more than 10,000 orchids in bloom, “under sunlit palm trees and in forest canopies teeming with color and life — lush, vibrant, intoxicating.” Conclude your visit with a bite to eat at the Garden View Cafe. The exhibit runs from February 9 – March 24, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Day 4: Toast to love in the city
(Thursday, February 14)
The big day calls for a big celebration. Visit the Chicago Champagne Fest at the I|O Godfrey Hotel to enjoy an evening of champagne tastings, passed hors d’oeuvres and a sweet table. Sip some bubbles while taking in the city’s impressive skyline views. Thanks to the River North hotel’s stunning fire and water elements, you’ll feel like you’re in an oasis in the middle of the city.
Day 5: Cruise down the river of love
(Friday, February 15)
Kick of the weekend with an Odyssey Riverfront Valentine’s Day Dinner Cruise. Board the boat and situate yourselves at a private table to take in views of Chicago’s riverfront architecture, enjoy a three-course dinner and music courtesy of the DJ onboard.
Day 6: Share your love of the dance floor
(Saturday, February 16)
After a week of indulgence, get moving on at the Old Town School of Folk Music during its Dance Basics for Couples, a two-hour workshop that covers the basics of the dance floor. Join your partner on the dance floor and get moving to the blues, rockabilly and big band hits. By the end of the class, you and your date will be old pros at the one-step, fox-trot and the six-count swing.
Day 7: Devote yourself (for the day) to your devoted’s hobbies
(Sunday, February 17)
If your special someone loves cars (almost) as much as you, conclude the week of love with a visit to the legendary Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. As the nation’s largest car show, the annual event showcases the latest automotive designs and technologies. The event runs between February 9-18, 2019.
Enter to win a
Ultimate Valentine’s Day Experience
For official rules and how to enter, click HERE.
According to NAR, 77% of buyers’ agents indicated staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Before you list your home, follow this list of staging preparations to highlight a home that sells.
Many buyers are looking to move to gain more space, so help the house appear as spacious as possible. Eliminate excess or oversized furniture so potential buyers have the most accurate idea of the room size, as well as space to walk through. If you question if the piece is too large, remove it. Throughout the home, pull the furniture several inches from the walls to allow the corners to be visible.
Closet contents should also be drastically reduced. The amount of belongings in the closet should be sparse, and the floors should be clear. A jam-packed closet appears significantly smaller than it really is.
Lastly, remove clutter from all surfaces. Create four categories — throw out, donate, move to storage and keep. This will show the home is free of visual clutter, and you will also have an easier move out. If your home is filled with an abundance of furniture and decor pieces you don’t want to part with, rent a storage unit for the duration the home is on the market.
Evaluate the amount of personal items throughout the house, including photographs, art, religious symbols, knick-knacks and books. If you think all of the personal items have been edited down, go through and edit one more time. The goal is to allow potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home. A styling trick is to create neutral vignettes — a grouping of accessories often in threes — throughout the home. These accessories could include wall art, candle sticks, vases, all varying in shape, color and texture.
Maintain an immaculate environment
While living in a listed house can be difficult, especially with children or pets, take careful steps to make sure the house stays sparkling clean and odor-free. A house that smells odd to a potential buyer can prevent them from wanting to look through the rest of the house. Rather than masking smells with candles or potpourri, open windows. Run a humidifier and use an air purifier to neutralize the air.
Invest in a professional cleaning service to deep-clean the house, including the baseboards, windows, floors, walls and carpets, to remove both surface stains, as well as odors.
Set one focal point per area
Creating one central focus point can make a room look more cohesive, and can help potential buyers better visualize themselves and their belongings in the space. Once you identify the focal point, style the furniture and decor around it. As a reference, the living room’s focal point can be the fireplace, window or TV; the bedroom is often the headboard and the bathroom is the vanity area.
Select a continual color theme
A fresh coat of paint throughout the home can go a long way. Select a neutral paint palette that seamlessly transitions throughout the house. This color flow makes the house feel more open and larger, and offers a blank canvas that many buyers crave.
Let in the light
Allow as much light to come in as possible. Open draperies and shades, remove unnecessary blinds and move any items that may obstruct windows or other light sources. A bright, airy home is one of the first features a potential buyer will notice.
Don’t forget the exterior
The front door is the first impression — make it count. Make sure the landscaping is manicured, the front door is in good condition, the exterior lighting is functional and there are seasonal arrangements on the front porch. Pressure washing the siding and deck can also make a big impact.