President Barack Obama came to the world's attention with his spirited bid for President of the United States in 2008. He was inaugurated as the nation's 44th President on January 20, 2009 and won a second term in 2012.
You can also learn about Chicago's very own Michelle Obama, who was raised on the south side of the city. (Before Michelle Obama met President Obama her name was Michelle Robinson. She was born on January 17, 1964 and was raised by a city worker and a stay-at-home mom. She graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and enjoyed a career in corporate law, the public sector, and community relations.)
Looking for something healthy to eat but in a trendy restaurant? Chicago's TheWit is the first hotel in the Midwest to partner up with SPE Certified, a restaurant certification program that pairs chefs with nutritionists to create meals that are low in salt, saturated fats, and processed ingredients.
Over 10 healthy items are now offered at theWit's first-floor restaurant State and Lake where Chef Evan Percoco is serving butter-and-cream free soup made with squash from a Michigan farm, seared salmon with chive yogurt, and Amish chicken with a mustard-maple glaze. For dessert, the hotel's pastry chef Toni Roberts has created avocado brownies made sans diary, eggs, or sugar.
SPE menu items are also offered in-room, at the hotel's on-site spa, and in spring 2014 will be available upstairs at theWit's trendy ROOF bar.
Even with the cold weather, if you are wanting to get outside and exercise, you can. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are two great ways to stay fit during the winter.
We researched some of the best spots in and near Chicago to enjoy Nordic sports. And while the City of Chicago doesn't have decided ski trails, you can create your own in Lincoln Park, among other places in the city.
If downhill skiing is more your thing, snow enthusiasts will be impressed with the heartland's ski resorts that include something for everyone, from easy cruiser trails to challenging runs with steep vertical drops. Read our Guide to the Best Ski Resorts and Winter Activities Near Chicago.
February 26 is the birthday of the late (and great) Johnny Cash and in his honor Chicago's Untitled is hosting a tribute evening to the life and music of the "Man in Black."
Country band Iron Horse will be performing and playing the best of Cash's hits. Iron Horse specializes in Cash covers around Chicago and has been spotted on America's Got Talent and headlining for "Cash For Kids," Chicago's only Johnny Cash Festival.
Tip: If you are ever in Nashville, check out the Johnny Cash museum. The museum features the earliest known Johnny Cash letters and documents as well as the handwritten manuscript to the last song ever written by the prolific songwriter, just days before his passing. Visitors also are given an extensive look into Cash's non-entertainment related life including his childhood and early adulthood and his service in the United States Air Force.
The night will also feature a special appearance by Adam Lee, who plays Johnny Cash in the award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. (I have seen Million Dollar Quartet -- worth going to. Million Dollar Quartet tells a story based on a "serendipitous" night in 1956 that brought four young musicians, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash, together to create a legendary album. The musical is on stage at the Apollo Theater in Chicago.)
With the Illinois governor's race in the news so much recently, we thought we'd do a blog on the upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary elections, which will take place in March. The actual governor's election will be November 4, 2014. (On the Democratic ticket will be Illinois's current governor, Pat Quinn. His running mate (for lieutenant governor) is Paul Vallas.)
Campaigning for the upcoming GOP gubernatorial primary election in March are:
- Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who lost the 2010 GOP primary to Sen. Bill Brady by 193 votes. Dillard has chosen state Rep. Jil Tracy of Quincy, a seven-year member of the legislature, as his running mate.
- Businessman and first-time candidate Bruce Rauner picked Evelyn Sanguinetti, a two-year Wheaton City Council member.
- Republican Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, the 2010 GOP nominee who lost to Quinn, selected Maria Rodriguez, a former eight-year mayor of Long Grove. (Brady made headlines with his Pet-Kill bill during the 2010 Illinois's governor's race. The bill would have allowed the use of gas chambers for mass euthanasia of dogs and cats. Oh Brady, you just don't get how much people love their dogs. Thankfully, proposing that legislation knocked Brady out of the race.)
- Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford opted for attorney Steve Kim, who lost in 2010 to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. (Learn about Rutherford's current legal woes.)
Chicago's Twisted Spoke (which serves the city's best Bloody Mary in my opinion) is teaming up with Goose Island to host The Wicker Dog Park Fundraiser to help its neighborhood dog park. The event will be held, Saturday, February 15, from 7 - 10:30 p.m.
Toast man's best friend with pints from a donated Goose Island keg and participate in a silent auction bidding war where attendees can test their luck with a 50/50 pot raffle split. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Wicker Dog Park Fund and park maintenance. Unfortunately Twisted Spoke is unable to allow pets indoors so this is a pet-free event but for a good cause, no doubt.
Twisted Spoke is located at 501 N. Ogden Avenue. For more information dog park fundraiser event, call 312-666-1500.
Looking for something to do this Valentine's Day in Chicago, which falls on Friday, February 14.
Check out our Guide to Valentine's Day Events, including things to do for couples and for singles.
For a formal event, isn't your things, check out these ideas for Valentine's Day-friendly activities:
- Plan a dog-friendly staycation at the Allegro Hotel Chicago.
- Go ice skating under the stars at Chicago's Millennium Park ice rink, which is open daily until 10 p.m.
- Visit a museum -- check out our list of Chicago's Top 10 Museums.
Don't forget: Chicago Restaurant Week goes through Thursday, February 6, 2014.
During the annual Chicago Restaurant Week, over 200 restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area offer special prix fix menus starting at about $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity). This is a great bargain considering that some of Chicago's top restaurants will be showcasing their best dishes and cocktails with three-course meals. Participating restaurants will offer lunch, dinner, or both at their discretion.
Check out our Guide to Chicago Restaurant Week 2014, which includes information on making reservations during Chicago Restaurant Week, participating restaurants, and more.
No one likes the dentist, at least I haven't met anyone who does. I really don't like the dentist. I panic just thinking out going in for a cleaning. But today I experienced dentistry in a whole new way. A way that actually made me feel so calm and relaxed I didn't want to leave the dentist's office.
I went to the Mitchell Dental Spa, located in Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue. Just the name of the dentistry brings peace (spa). But what really sold me on this place was the complimentary facial I got. With every dental service, you get either a 10-15 minute gratis facial, massage or hydrating lip treatment, done pre- or post-visit with the dentist. Other longer treatments (30 or 60 minutes) like an Eminence Mimosa Back Facial or a Phytomer Brightening Face Facial are available for an extra charge.
Learn more about the Mitchell Dental Spa, including location, services offered and more.
Not that people need any more excuses to eat, but tomorrow, Saturday, February 1, 10 hungry pancake lovers will compete in the first ever IHOP Pancake Bowl.
The event challenges eaters' abilities to chow down on as many pancakes as they can for a chance to win a $500 IHOP gift card. (Pancakes for life?)
Good to know: Through February 9, 2014, IHOP is offering its annual "All You Can Eat Pancakes" nationwide. "All You Can Eat Pancakes" are available as part of IHOP restaurant's combos or as an order of five buttermilk pancakes as a main course.