June is National Safety Awareness Month

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment.” –Nelson Mandela

 

Observed every year throughout June, National Safety Month is focused on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities. With the proper education, and a general awareness of the space and people around us, we can help protect not only ourselves, but ensure the well-being of those who matter most.

We are constantly reminded of the importance of adequate safety measures at work. But how many of us can honestly say that we have done all that we can to prevent accidents in the home? After all, home is where you go to feel safe, where you can exhale after a long day, and get away from the hustle and bustle that life often brings with it. But it is also where you likely spend the majority of your time, and the familiarity you have with it can cause you to let your guard down, and miss potential hazards that are right in front of your eyes. 

According to The National Safety Council, 169,936 Americans died in preventable, injury-related accidents in 2017 — and more than half of those occurred in the home. Perhaps even more troubling is that the number of nonfatal, preventable injuries in the home — those that required medical attention — grew to 47.2 million in 2017. That is roughly one out of every seven individuals who live in these United States.

At d’aprile properties, we know a thing or two about the sense of security that comes with home ownership. So in the spirit of National Safety Month, we offer some simple tips, in order to create awareness about potential risks that may exist within your household. For more information, head over to the NSC’s Home Safety page. You can also find an abundance of eye-opening information over at rospa.com, maintained by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

  1. Fire Safety: Keep portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains. Position them in a safe spot where they cannot be knocked over.
  2. Electrical Safety: Never overload an electric socket, and have your wiring installation checked at least once every five years by an approved contractor.
  3. Heating Safety: Be sure to keep your fireplace and chimney properly cleaned and inspected, and routinely check the pilot on gas cookers and water heaters to make sure it has not gone out.
  4. Safety with Medicines and Cleaners: Keep medicines in their original containers, clearly labelled, and consider keeping all in a lockable cabinet.
  5. Garden Safety: Wear appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes, and protective eye cover when mowing or gardening, and always stay on the lookout for plants and berries that may be poisonous or can cause an allergic reaction.
  6. DIY Safety: Be realistic and don’t tackle a job unless you really have the ability. A competent, qualified person should always carry out gas and electrical renewal or repair work.

This June, make sure that your home will always remain a source of safety and contentment for you and your family.


Whaddya Got to Do to Get a Drink Around Here?

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Ok, we’re gonna be honest with you right off the bat. Compiling a list of ‘Chicago’s Best Bar Patios’ for the upcoming sunny season isn’t exactly an original concept. In fact, if you open up the Google and type those four little words in, you will be treated to no less than, oh, 67,100,000 results. In 0.82 seconds. Hey, Chicago residents are thirsty folk in warm weather.

Of course, you’d be parched too if you spent your entire winter watching Bears and Bulls games. There’s screaming involved. And lately, a rather copious amount of tears. Which really only makes the dehydration worse, when you think about it.

But Chicago in the spring time is also bursting with color, character, and a sense of community. Pride in their city is not something the residents wear – it’s in their marrow. You can hear it in their tone of voice, and feel it in their actions. City of Broad Shoulders, indeed.  

We figured, what better place to find an wide variety of viewpoints and opinions than at a real estate company? So we conducted a quick poll of d’aprile properties agents (they are your Chicagoland local area experts, after all) and asked them their favorite city venue to kick back on the patio and enjoy a cocktail.

There was one glaring result: there is no such thing as a majority opinion when it comes to the city’s best locale for enjoying a little liquid lubrication, al fresco.  

So here is a random sampling of some of our favorites, based on intense (hic) field research…

Where You Can Feel Fancy Shmancy

We start with the high end. Twenty-seven stories above the city’s streets, Roof lounge at theWit was voted one of the top three rooftop bars in the world by Travel + Leisure. While this one is all about the view, the signature cocktails, award-winning food, and world-renowned DJ’s don’t exactly hinder the experience.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name: 

Then again, some of us like our bars a little more subdued. The Garage in Norwood Park is just the place – a true ‘neighborhood bar’, where people come to watch games (70” flat screen on rooftop bar), play games (darts, shuffleboard, bags), or just…hang out.  With a great beer list and a high quality (yet uncomplicated) menu, their tagline says it all: “Where Neighbors Become Friends.”

When You Want to Make Ill-Advised Decisions

We give you Fountainhead, one of the most popular brewhouses in the city.  They have beer.  Like, a LOT of beer.  And whiskey.  Like a LOT of whiskey.  And an amazing rooftop garden to drink it on. And…

…wait, what were we saying?

When You Want to Say “Forget It” to Swimsuit Season: 

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the doomed Roman general states his mistrust of skinny people. He’d fit right in at Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Maybe the best fried chicken in town (dipped in honey butter for cripe’s sake) is served by a casual yet incredibly friendly waitstaff. All of which is best enjoyed in the soft night lighting of the outdoor patio, which gets even sparklier after a couple of Hill Pops. Which are bourbon lemonades. Served by the pitcher. You’re welcome.


Investing in a Vacation Home


Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

While springtime often means dusting off that luggage for a brief getaway, what if your vacation didn’t have to end? Owning a second home that functions as a vacation rental is becoming increasingly popular, especially among millennials.

The latest National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) survey about investment and vacation home sales detailed several useful statistics about buying trends: 49% of buyers bought property for family vacations, 45% of investment buyers bought properties to generate rental income, and 72% of vacation property owners (and 71% of investment property owners) believed that now is a good time to buy.

Airbnb is one popular option for renting investment properties. According to a Priceonomics survey, the average Airbnb host earned around $924 a month, and 50% of hosts made more than $500 a month. Another option for vacation rental hosting is VRBO, which –– unlike Airbnb –– requires hosts to rent entire properties, versus only renting rooms.

According to the NAR survey about vacation and investment properties, 33% of vacation buyers purchased in a beach area, 21% purchased on a lakefront, and 15% purchased a vacation home in the country. A recent Rented.com survey ranked Chicago as the number two city for vacation rentals, after Panama City, Florida. NAR found that more than 80% of vacation home buyers chose locations within driving distance of their home, with half of all owners buying properties within 50 miles of their primary residence.

Beyond choosing a location and necessary research about maintenance and upkeep costs, other considerations for buying vacation homes include: retirement planning, tax laws, and business permits.

Owning a vacation home means that you can visit your own personal paradise whenever you like. Whether your ideal escape is near the beach, on a lake, or in the country, you decide how long your visits will last, and who gets to come along for the ride.


Proud Partners: Chawla & Ravani, P.C.

We’d like to take the time to thank Chawla & Ravani, P.C., our partner, and 2019 Summit Event Sponsor.

A celebrated boutique law firm with years of experience and expertise, Chawla & Ravani, P.C. offers a unique blend of legal services without ever losing sight of the people that matter most – their clients. Lauded by both the bar and the bench, they handle a multitude of legal matters for their clients, including small business, corporate, commercial, real estate, and litigation. They provide straightforward, realistic, and practical legal advice, both domestically and internationally.

The attorneys at Chawla & Ravani, P.C. practice law with skill and an artful mastery of their respective concentrations, but also with a level of personal and professional integrity that has solidified their reputation as one of the premier boutique law firms in Illinois. As they navigate their clients through complex legal matters, they vow to identify, develop, and implement effective litigation strategies, all while efficiently managing exposure and costs. Chawla & Ravani, P.C. act as true advocates, controlling the outcome for their clients without leaving anything to chance.

 

Chawla & Ravani: Quality legal services with large firm results!


Festival Season in Chicagoland

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The warm weather has returned, and with it come the street festivals. Whether you live in the city proper, or in the surrounding suburbs, there is a festival for nearly every interest and area. Check out this guide for our top picks for upcoming festivals and street events, many of which begin this week!


Chicago

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest
May 25-26

Lakeview (Sheffield Avenue to Roscoe Street)

Beginning near the Belmont CTA Redline station, this Lakeview party that kicks off the festival season includes music on several stages, food vendors, and arts and crafts.

 

Do Division Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale
May 31-June 2

West Town (Division Street)

A wealth of live music, sidewalk sales, and in the day time, activities for children.

 

Taste of Mexico
May 31-June 2
Little Village (26th Street and California Avenue)

Over 20 neighborhood restaurants will offer takes on classic Mexican dishes. There will also be carnival rides and art vendors.

 

Andersonville Midsommarfest
June 7-9

Andersonville (Clark Street)

Beyond traditional Swedish food such as cevapi and glogg, enjoy music and arts vendors.

 

Windy City RibFest
July 4-6, 2019
Uptown (West Lawrence and North Broadway Avenue)

This family-friendly Uptown festival includes barbecue, music, vendors, and activities for children.

 

Dancing in the Streets
August 3-4
West Town (Paulina and Wood Streets)

This Hubbard Street festival includes jam bands, food vendors, local makers and craft beer by Chicago Brewing District Brewers.

 

Naperville

Frontier Kite Fly Festival
June 2

Frontier Sports Complex (Cedar Glade Drive)

In addition to kite flying of all kinds, the festival includes an obstacle course, bounce houses, and activities for the whole family.

 

Naperville Ale Fest
July 13

Naper Settlement (Webster Street)

Held on the grounds of the Naper Settlement, this craft brew extravaganza will include over 200 varieties of beer, live music, and food trucks.

 

Hinsdale

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival
June 9

Burlington Park (Chestnut Street)

Hundreds of artists participate in this two day festival of the arts, now in its 46th year.

 

Summer Brew & Q
June 14
Katherine Legge Memorial Park (County Line Road)

This first annual festival features a specialty barbecue menu, vegetarian options, craft brew pairings, live music, and lawn games.

 

Park Ridge

Cruisin’ Park Ridge
June 7, July 5, August 2
Downtown Park Ridge (Prospect and Touhy Avenues)

Classic cars will be on display, along with activities for kids, food vendors, and more.

 

Taste of Des Plaines
June 14-15

Downtown Des Plaines (Miner Street)

This year’s festival commemorates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, with tribute bands, games, and food vendors, too.

 

Barrington

Barrington Art Festival
May 25-26
Downtown Barrington (Station and Cook Streets)

Artwork, food vendors, live music, and children’s activities are some of what’s offered at this art-centric street fest.


Highland Park

Ravinia Music Festival
May 31-September 15

Highland Park (Ravinia Park)

This year’s season at Ravinia includes headliners like Buddy Guy, Mary J. Blige, Bobby McFerrin, Kesha, John Prine, Josh Groban, Reneé Fleming, and Pentatonix.

Oak Forest

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest
May 24-26
Gaelic Park (147th Street)

Over 40 acts on 5 stages, a petting zoo, and Irish sports contests are just some of the attractions planned at this 33rd annual fest.

 

St. Charles

St. Charles Fine Art Show
May 25-26

Downtown (Riverside Avenue and Main Street)

The 21st annual festival includes a juried exhibition of over 100 artists in a variety of media. Admission and parking is free.


May 18 is Armed Forces Day

 

Memorial Day is fast approaching. A national holiday that results in a three-day weekend, we are easily and readily reminded each year to honor and remember those who have fallen in the line of duty while protecting their country. 

But the third Saturday in May often comes and goes without much fanfare, despite the significant effect on our personal freedom that this day on the calendar represents. Saturday, May 18 is Armed Forces Day, dedicated to the men and women currently serving in all branches of our military. In 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced that Armed Forces Day would take the place of other individual branch celebrations, so that our country might unite in support and recognition of our military members and their families.

Each year, Armed Forces Day centers on a unique theme designed to highlight the hard work and dedication of our service members. The theme for 2019 is “For the Nation. For the People.”

Many choose to show their respect through small acts of kindness, such as a thank you card or a bouquet of flowers sent to someone they know who has dedicated their lives to protecting our independence. Others choose to volunteer by spending time with veterans in retirement communities. Yet some choose simply to adorn their front porch with an American flag, or plant red, white, and blue flowers in planters on their front steps. No matter how you choose to show your respect and admiration, the smallest act could have an enormous impact on the men and women serving our country.

At d’aprile properties, we proudly support our military, and wish to say thank you to all our military personnel for the sacrifices you make every day for our freedom!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Smile – It’s BBQ Season!

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The temperatures are rising, the NBA playoffs are in full swing, and an Avengers movie is breaking box office records — that certainly sounds like May! Though one of the best months of the year, we tend to get antsy in May, thinking about the fast approach of summertime We get lost in daydreams about pool parties and family vacations. While we still have over a month to go before summer is officially official, there is one definitive staple of the season that we can thoroughly enjoy right now — the backyard BBQ.

Hosting a BBQs is one of home ownership’s true pleasures. You get the opportunity to welcome friends and family into your little world for some good food, great conversation, and a hearty helping of laughs. 

But after spending months forgotten on a porch, shrouded in plastic and abused by the elements, your BBQ’s feature attraction likely needs some good, old-fashioned TLC before it’s back in searing shape. So break out your Tiki torches, make a killer playlist, and put your favorite adult beverage on ice. And before you throw those burgers or brats on the grill, make sure that your grill is properly prepped for party time.

CLEAN YOUR SURFACE

No one wants 2018’s “flavor” on your 2019 kabobs. Using a wire brush and a spray grill cleaner, make sure that your food surface is free of last year’s grime and debris. Wipe down with a wet cloth; avoid using soap if possible. For an all-natural approach, try rubbing your hot grill with an onion cut in half (cut side down). It may sound odd, but this tactic will loosen up baked-on grit and take it right off the grill. It’s best to heat the surface extremely hot first to burn down any remaining food, then rub it hard with an onion stuck on the end of a long fork.

EMPTY THE TRAP

We know, we know – it’s so easy to forget that grease trap! Plus, it’s kinda gross. But the buildup from your burgers and dogs can become a fire hazard very easily. The responsible grill man or woman will check it after every few cookouts to make sure it doesn’t overflow. Once the grease has naturally cooled down, dump the contents into a container, wipe it thoroughly with soap and water, then line it with aluminum foil to make next year’s cleaning a breeze. Do not — we repeat, DO NOT — pour the grease down your drain. Put it in a durable container and throw it away with your trash. 

CHECK THE HOSE

Gas/propane grills are wonderful when it comes to cooking for large groups; you can control the temperature more accurately, and the amount of smoke is greatly reduced. The trade-off for gas grills’ swankier appeal is that maintaining them and keeping them safe requires a little extra attention on your part. To make sure your gas grill hasn’t sprung a dangerous leak and that everything’s working properly before you get grilling, brush your gas lines with soapy water and check for bubbles when the gas is on and running. These indicate a crack, which can cause fires and damage your grill permanently. If you spot any bubbles, tighten your connection or replace the line entirely for just a few bucks at your local hardware store.

Don’t jump the gun too early on summer; take the time to appreciate the end of spring before it’s gone! Here’s to you and yours enjoying some together time around the grill.


Her Special Day

“Mother Love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” –Marion C. Garretty

Here’s to Mom—the one who brings joy, security, and stability to our lives. Our mothers wear so many different hats—when we’re children, they are the Readers of Bedtime Stories and the Kissers of Ouchies. As teenagers, they become our Favorite Teachers, our Gourmet Cooks, and our Shoulders to Cry On. And in adulthood, as we raise families of our own, they become the Voices of Reason, and the Spoilers of Grandchildren.

No matter what stage of life, they will always be Our Favorite. We can never repay them for all they do for us. The least we can do is show them how much we care.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. We all know that what Mom really wants is to spend some quality time with us. See below for a list of the best Mother’s Day brunches in all of Chicagoland.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS: Arlington Race Track – Bloody Mary’s and Pony Rides. For adventurous Mamas only! 

CRYSTAL LAKED’Andrea Banquets – Cheese Blintzes? Quiche Lorraine? A complimentary glass of champagne? Consider us there.

LAKEVIEW: Coda di Volpe – Strawberry cheese danishes and lobster Benedict for brunch, you can’t do much better than that!

NAPERVILLECity Gate Grille – Once Mom is done with the made-to-order omelet station, there’s always the chocolate fountain to satisfy her sweet tooth.

OAKBROOKEl Tapeo at Le Meridien – This modern Spanish kitchen will be offering a chef’s market table, and a complimentary glass of delicious sangria to all Moms.

ROSEMONTCarlucci Rosemont – An authentic Italian Mother’s Day brunch, complete with favorites like Italian eggs Benedict and Tuscan toast. Ciao Bella!

WEST TOWN: BLVD – Show her a little fancy with the likes of salmon toast, sourdough Johnny cakes, and croque madame. A meal fit for a queen.

 

To all the mothers out there, we wish you a wonderful weekend spent with those you love the most!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Spring Market? Time For Spring Cleaning

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Spring is traditionally the busiest season for the real estate industry. When the snow has slowed down and the sunshine returns, the buyers will come out in full force. On crisp, sunny days, the For Sale signs will begin to spring up like dandelions in front lawns everywhere.

While spring cleaning indoors is standard for this season, homeowners looking to sell should go the extra mile to make the exterior of their home looks stellar, as well. Here are some tips to get your home sale-ready in the springtime.

• A fresh coat of paint goes a long way

Repainting exterior areas that are chipped and peeling will dramatically improve the look of your home. Whether that’s a fresh coat of paint on columns, gutters or porch railing, or an overall exterior makeover for the entirety of your house’s walls, a coat of paint will make a big difference.

• Clean up the curb appeal

Swap out last season’s dead mum planters for cheerful springtime selections, such as daisies, African violets or peonies. Mowing, weed removal, edging the curb, and cleaning out any snow-related branch debris will ensure your property looks its best.

• Check those chairs

The winter months wreak havoc porches and patios. Whether it’s the unsightly piles of salt and dirt at the corners of your stairs, wire or wicker patio furniture that needs a deep clean from snow accumulation, or allegedly weather-proof cushions that have faded in the sunshine, the spring time is a great time to evaluate your outdoor furniture and fixtures. If you notice your outdoor ensemble looking worse for wear, so will your prospective buyers.

If you’re looking to sell this spring, d’aprile properties agents are here to help. Your d’aprile agent will conduct a thorough, well-researched market analysis in order to determine fair market value. As a result, you avoid appraisal issues, and your home is more likely to be sold at original asking price. Contact d’aprile properties today for all your real estate needs.