Friday, February 23, 2018

Red Cross Opening Stephenson County Shelter for People Displaced by Flooding (Illinois, Indiana)

Red Cross Opening Stephenson County Shelter for People Displaced by Flooding

  The American Red Cross is responding to damage caused by recent heavy rainfall across multiple counties in Illinois and northwest Indiana. A shelter will be opened at 8PM tonight at Highland Community College, 2998 W Pearl City Road in Freeport for people affected by flood waters.
The Red Cross is aware of areas and homes affected by ongoing flooding and volunteers are on the ground providing support and assessing needs. The Red Cross is also in close contact with local emergency management authorities and have been pre-positioning supplies in the event additional shelters are necessary. Currently, there are eight shelters open throughout northwest Indiana and central southern Illinois including Iroquois County. Those looking to find more information on current shelter locations are encouraged to check here.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App: The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.
FLOOD SAFETY AND CLEANUP: The Red Cross has steps for someone to follow if their community is affected by flooding:
• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice, have an emergency response kit
• If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for someone’s area, they should head for higher ground and stay there.
• People should stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes across an area where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. If they encounter a flooded road while driving, they should also turn around and go another way. If the car is caught in rising water, they should get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
• It is important to be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.
• Children are curious and should be kept out of the water.
• Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
• Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damages.
• If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
• If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
• During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater. When in doubt, throw it out!
About the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois serves 700,000 people in 10 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago. The Amican Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossNWIL.

19th Annual Chicago’s Best WingFest! (Chicago, IL)


The 19th Annual “Chicago’s Best WingFest” Announces Tickets On Sale with Early Bird Tickets Throughout February
Chicagoans Continue to Flock to City Favorite Chicken Wing Food Event
 Is there anything better than spicy, saucy and deliciousness of an order of wings? The answer is yes, and it’s Chicago’s Best WingFest! The 19th Annual WingFest announces its first block of 2018 tickets are now on sale through Ticketmaster with a $15 early bird discount through February 28, 2018. The popular food event will take place on May 6 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at UIC Pavilion (525 S. Racine Ave.) for the second year in a row to accommodate the continued growth of one of the nation’s longest running festivals.
More than 3,000 chicken wing enthusiasts “flock” to the event, serving 9,000-plus pounds of wings each year from over 30 restaurants for the annual spring event. Each year, the festival has returning champions and new competitors ready to win “Best of Fest.” Last year’s newcomer, Half Day Brewing won Best of Fest, while Gators Wing Shack holds four championships and the record for the most “Best of Fest” titles. In addition, the famous event hosts an annual Wing Eating Competition to see who can eat a dozen of wings the fastest, earning the “Lady” or “Lord of the Wings” and receiving WingFest swag and bragging rights.

“We’re beyond excited that Chicago continues to embrace WingFest, making it one of the nation’s longest-running and largest food events of the year," said Lyn McKeaney, owner of the festival’s production and management company, Lodge Management Group, Entertainment Enterprises. “The event continues to provide more unique restaurants offering attendees a plethora of mouthwatering wings.”

General Admission tickets cost $50 and include admission, all-you-can-eat wings and access to the day’s entertainment, including games, live music, photo opportunities and eating contests. VIP tickets cost $100 and include all of the above, plus access to VIP balconies, seven drink tickets and a fabulous SWAG bag. Grab tickets early, as this annual event sells out every year! Participating restaurants currently include Half Day Brewing Co., Butch’McGuire’s, Howells & Hood, Kitty O’Sheas, Son of A Butcher, Buffalo Wings & Rings, MQ’s Golf Dome, Paisans, The Hotwing Joint, Tap House Grill, Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, Q’s Tips & Wings, Overtime Sports Bar & Grill, Distilled Chicago. The benefiting charities will be the Illinois Restaurant Association, Division Street Merchants Association, and Picking Me Foundation NFP. Sponsors include Lodge Management Group, Sysco, Anheuser-Busch , Goose Island. Additional vendors will be announced at a later date.

To purchase tickets, visit

About Chicago’s Best WingFest
Established in 1999, WingFest is one of Chicago’s most popular food festivals. The event features a collection of chefs from some of Chicago’s best eateries competing for various prizes including the Best of Fest, and the Best Mild, Hot, BBQ and Exotic Wing awards. The festival is produced by Lodge Management Group, Entertainment Enterprises, which operates 12 bars and eateries across the city, including six of the city’s most iconic bars in the Gold Coast’s Division Street Entertainment District. For more information, visit, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter or Instagram.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

R&B Yoga Class and Shopping Party at Macy's on State in Chicago, Illinois!

Macy’s is partnering with R&B Yoga for an exciting and revitalizing yoga class set to the hottest R&B songs on Saturday, March 3. Following the class, there will be a shopping party featuring the hottest looks in women’s active apparel.

WHAT: R&B Yoga Class and Shopping Party at Macy's
WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 2018 – R&B Yoga Class at 11:00 a.m.; Shopping Party at 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: Macy’s State Street – 111 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60602 – 7th Floor, Narcissus Room
PRICE: $40 (includes yoga class, mimosas and snacks)
DETAILS: Join Macy's and R&B Yoga for a class flowing to the hottest R&B beats! A fun approach for students of all levels, you won't want to miss this exciting one hour yoga class. Be sure to bring your own mat! Plus, enjoy refreshing beverages*, such as mimosas and sangria, as well as tasty snacks and hors d'oeuvres. Following the class, head to the Women's Active Dept. for a shopping party where you will be able to enjoy giveaways, mindful treats, drinks from NOOMA and the newest active looks by Nike, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Ideology and more!

Whether you're running marathons or running errands, Macy's is THE destination to find everything you need to inspire and maintain your healthy lifestyle. 

For more information and to RSVP, visit

Event subject to change or cancellation. Registration closes on Friday, March 2nd at 5pm CST. Doors open for yoga class at 10:30am CST. *Attendees must be 21 year of age and provide a valid ID in order to participate.

Chicago Detours >> “Badass Women in Chicago History” (Chicago, IL.)


Chicago Detours Announces “Badass Women in Chicago History”


Chicago Detours Announces “Badass Women in Chicago History” Storytelling Event
Unsung figures highlighted for Women’s History Month
 On Mon, Mar 26, Chicago Detours will host “Badass Women in Chicago History” a storytelling event for Women’s History Month. For this special presentation at the Den Theatre in Wicker Park, lively presenters will share stories of Chicago heroines on the peripheries of history. Storytellers, comedians and historians will present surprising and moving tales of conflict, success and triumph. To bring the stories to life, visual and audio elements like images and songs will be included. Chicago Detours will donate a portion of the ticket sales to the Chicago Women’s Health Center.

Chicago Detours’ mission is “To bring curious people to explore stories and places locals don’t even know through guided tours of Chicago’s architecture, history and culture.” Executive Director Amanda Scotese sees this storytelling event as a natural continuation of this mission. "We are excited to expand the diversity of the experiences we create, and connect with our history-loving community in a new way with this celebration of the unsung heroines of Chicago history," she said.

For “Badass Women in Chicago History,” the audience won’t hear names they already know, like Jane Addams and Gwendolyn Brooks. The figures celebrated are political leaders, business women, community organizers, and also the everyday laborers, mothers, heroines, creators, scientists and other forgotten figures of Chicago history.

City of Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson, who has a special talent at making history fun and personal, will tell the story of the woman he calls his “historical girlfriend,” a Lake Geneva waitress who decided to leave her job and come to Chicago to be a bodyguard in gangland Chicago.

Ashley Ray Harris is a storyteller, comic, and creator of the “Badass Black Women's History Month Project." She will present the story of Charlene Mitchell, who made history as the first black woman to run for president in 1968.

Stephanie Weber, a comedian and writer who specializes in writing about obscure history for venues like Atlas Obscura, will tell the audience about Kittie Smith, aka “the Armless Dynamo.” She was an activist in many ways. When she was the first woman to vote in Chicago, she did so with her feet!

Hilary Brown will play a song and share the story of symphonic composer Florence Price. She has extensive background in exploring the social and cultural impact of music, as a journalist, academic and musician.

Actor, performer and storyteller Krista Damico will share the story of Jeannette Piccard, a record-breaking balloonist and all-around renaissance woman. And Kyle Ann Sebastian, who works at the Chicago Foundation for Women, will share the life of Willie Barrow, an organizer known as the “Little Warrior” because, at 4’11”, she was a fierce fighter for social justice.

This special event will take place on Mon., Mar. 26 in the Cabaret Room of the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets will be $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door. Space is limited, so guests are encouraged to buy their tickets early at Doors will open at 6:30pm, with the show from 7:00pm-8:15pm. 

Chicago Detours offers guided tours of architecture, history and culture that bring people to explore stories and places locals don't even know. The tour company is a passionate team of educators, historians, artists and storytellers, and is proud to be one of very few tour companies in Chicago that is rated five stars on both Yelp and TripAdvisor.

For additional information:
Amanda Scotese

Chicago Ideas >> Tackle #MeToo with New Events (Chicago, IL.)


Bette Midler says she’s “one of the funniest people I know.” Garry Shandling told her, “You write like a guy.” At one point or another you probably laughed at one of Nell Scovell’s jokes—you just didn’t know it until now. Scovell is a veteran comedy writer, producer and director whose credits include Late Night with David Letterman, The Simpsons, Murphy Brown, NCIS, Mystery Science Theater 300 and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which she created. More than a Hollywood legend, she also has written for the White House Correspondents Dinner for President Obama and co-wrote Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg.
Join us for a hilarious and insightful night as she sits down with Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson for a candid interview about her new book, Just the Funny Parts, how she broke into the Hollywood Boys’ Club and what she sees as the future of Hollywood during the #MeToo movement.
March 21, 5:30pm
Screening: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch with Creator Nell Scovell
Created by Nell Scovell and written by mostly women, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is a ground-breaking cult favorite that also re-ignited the image of modern, empowered witches in popular culture. Join the A.V. Club and Chicago Ideas for a screening of an episode of the show followed by a Q&A with Scovell. Member tickets now on sale.
March 27, 7pm
Fighting Fire with Funny: How to Write Good Jokes (and Stop Bad Ones) in the #MeToo Era
How can we use humor to stop oppression rather than perpetuate it? In this Members-only Lab, take a thought-provoking and surprisingly funny look at the world of comedy during the #metoo movement and gain a framework for action for challenging problematic humor and making your own jokes better.
March 8, 12pm
Building Bridges 101 with Interfaith Youth Core
The largest interfaith organization in the country, Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) trains young leaders at more than 400 colleges to successfully bring together people of diverse backgrounds. At this inspiring Lab, go behind the scenes to learn about the organization’s focus on impact and experience some of their flagship leadership training that is joyously uniting people of different faiths, traditions and worldviews from across the US to build a shared life together.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Play Ball at Cal Ripken's Major League Mansion – Going To Auction

“Live Like Baseball's Iron Man”
With Major League Baseball's spring training underway in Florida and Arizona, some lucky fan with deep pockets has the chance to get an all-star deal on the home of Major League Baseball's all-time record holder for most consecutive games played. Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr.’s palatial 24-acre estate in Reisterstown, Maryland will go to absolute auction with no reserve on May 12th.
A 19-time All-Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player, Cal is best known for breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak with 2,632. He and former wife Kelly lived on the estate for almost the entirety of their 29-year marriage. Since their recent divorce, Ripken has moved to Annapolis. He retired in 2001 after 21 seasons with the Orioles and now at age 57 is involved in several sports-related businesses and charities.
Nestled in Maryland’s Worthington Valley, the Ripken home is located on the northern outskirts of Baltimore with direct access into the city. Well balanced with almost equal amounts of open and wooded land, the mansion sits midway into the property via a long private tree-lined drive that curves past a baseball diamond and around a one-acre pond with fishing pier. The 21,890-square-foot residence has six bedrooms and 15 bathrooms to accommodate its huge entertaining capacity along with an indoor basketball court. Also a home theater with box office, stage and candy counter and a large kitchen that can hold up to 100 guests. The estate also has a 10-person spa plus bike and hiking trails throughout the property. The outdoor swimming pool includes a pool house expanding further room for entertaining. In the mid 1990s, Cal’s home was further expanded to include a large gym, batting cage, training room and locker room.
Originally priced at $12.5 million, the Ripken estate will go to absolute auction with no reserve on May 12th.
Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's best celebrity, entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week.

The Celebrity Dinner Party >> Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke and the movie, The Game Changers


Elysabeth Alfano
Elysabeth Alfano
Elysabeth AlfanoElysabeth Alfano
Ahhh, Sundance! It was my first time and it proved to be a frenetic, exciting, celeb-packed experience! The first up of many interviews is Nicolas Cage, Linus Roache and director, Panos Cosmatos of the apocalpytic film Mandy...and Nicolas Cage is exactly as you would expect in his mannerism and way of speech! Click on the larger image above or click here to listen and watch this classic Nick Cage interview with a surprise insight into Nick's art collecting!
Please share this interview on Facebook facebook, Twitter twitter and Linkedin linkedin by clicking on the icons. Plus, subscribe (and review!) on iTunes here. And don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel here!
Next up is one of the most fun interviews I have had in a long time for the sheer fact that everyone was just so happy! It was a pure love fest for Ethan Hawke on the red carpet for his film, Blaze. I have never seen a cast so elated to work together, and Ethan was so incredibly and genuinely excited about Sundace. It was truly uplifting! Despite it being his 13th festival, Ethan was as awestruck as if it were his first! To check out our chat, click here! Plus, don't forget to subscribe to (and review!) my podcast on iTunes here and subscribe to my Youtube channel here. Enjoy!
Elysabeth Alfano
Finally, one of my favorite films of the festival was The Game Changers! I spoke with cast members James "Lightning" Wilks, strongman Patrik Baboumian, former NFL player, Lou Smith and former special ops, now anti-poacher, Damien Mander, about the benefits of a plant-based diet, as brilliantly laid out in the film. A must-see, the film, backed by scientific studies, breaks apart the myth that meat is protein you need.
Elysabeth Alfano

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