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Coffee Beans and Cup

Tips for Brewing the Perfect Cup of Joe at Home

Coffee Beans and CupDon’t you just love a delicious cup of hot coffee to kick start your day? Unfortunately, grabbing your morning coffee from that corner café can quickly become expensive. The good news is that you can brew your own amazing cup of coffee right at home at just a fraction of the price!

Grind Your Own Coffee Beans

Sure, it will take a little more time and effort than buying pre-ground coffee, but you’ll notice the difference. You see, coffee grounds may be convenient, but they’re typically not very fresh (it’s not uncommon for them to sit on the store shelf for months). By grinding your own quality coffee beans, you can enjoy fresh coffee every single time. Plus, you’ll likely find that buying fresh coffee beans is cheaper than buying containers of coffee grounds.

Use Filtered Water

If your coffee tends to taste bitter, there’s a good chance your water is to blame. Generally, you should avoid using water straight from the tap, especially if you live in an area with a hard water supply. Instead, brew your coffee with filtered water, which will have fewer impurities and result in a better brew. You can buy filtered water in bottled form or even invest in a large water pitcher with a filter built in for added convenience.

Don’t Use Cheap Filters

Aren’t all coffee filters made equally? Actually, you might be surprised. Paper coffee filters don’t always do the greatest job and can often let through grounds that are too large, thus resulting in coffee that tastes bitter. If you’re serious about brewing your own coffee at home on a regular basis, consider investing in a quality, reusable filter. You might be surprised at what a difference these filters can make; plus, they’re better for the environment since you don’t throw them away after use. Simply rinse gently with water and your filter is ready for another brew!

Brewing your own coffee at home can save you money and taste even better than that expensive coffee from the shop. Of course, if you ever find that you’re short on time, you can always grab a free cup of hot coffee at River North Park’s Internet Café! Contact us today to inquire about available apartments in Chicago!

Cleaning Products

5 Things People Forget to Clean

Cleaning ProductsThe season of cleaning is upon us! After all, they do not call it spring cleaning for nothing. While you are doing some cleaning around your home, there are likely a few spots that you miss or completely forget about. In fact, there are areas that a lot of people do not clean because they simply do not think about the areas very often. To help make sure you clean everywhere, make sure you do not miss these five things that people forget to clean.

5 Things People Forget to Clean

1. Baseboards

You probably take the time to clean your floors but do you ever look at your baseboards? A lot of dust can accumulate there and you should think about running a vacuum or a damp cloth over them. Think about all of the dirt and dust that gets there from foot traffic and other things. You do not want that in your home.

2. Trash Cans

Even if you use a trash bag every time, your trash can may get gross and smelly too. It can be dirty on the inside and outside so you should run some soapy water through it at least once every six weeks.

3. Under Kitchen Appliances

How often have you cleaned the kitchen counters only to ignore what is under the appliances? A lot of food particles can get stuck there so it is worth moving those around and cleaning every part of the counter.

4. Door Handles

This is something that you touch every day. Think about all the germs that can be on it! It is recommended that you clean these once per week with antibacterial wipes.

5. Under Furniture and Your Bed

You likely sweep or vacuum the areas in your home but you probably never get underneath your bed or your furniture. You don’t have to move these things, just get an extender for your vacuum so you can get to those hard-to-reach places.

If you need a place of your own to clean, you should stop by and view our apartments in Chicago. We have lots of different options available and you should stop by for a tour. Call us today or stop by our office to get started.

Taco Plate

Where to Find the Best Tacos in Chicago

Taco Plate

Tacos are the ultimate handheld meal. Crispy or chewy, hot or mild and filled with beef, chicken or fish; any way you like to eat them, it is difficult not to love this tasty food. If you’re a taco lover looking for some of the top taquerias in Chicago, try out these places.

Velvet Taco

This eatery is more than the typical taco chain. Velvet Taco offers all the standard taco fare, but their menu goes far beyond the ordinary. Customers can choose from a huge selection featuring such unique options like Cuban pig, a taco with all the ingredients you love from a Cuban sandwich to a raw Ahi poke “taco” which replaces the traditional tortilla with a lettuce wrap. This place has a nice selection of vegetarian options.

Tuco and Blondie

This place may be a little more “upscale” for a taco spot, but that does not mean the food is any less authentic. Besides a large selection of Mexican and Southwest favorites, Tuco and Blondie offers platters of classic tacos which are good enough to earn the restaurant a spot on the Eater’s “Ten Hottest Taco Spots in Chicago.”

Primo Chuki’s

This restaurant has all the style of a school cafeteria, but once you try the food, you will come back time after time. The food is cheap, plentiful and so good you won’t believe it costs less than two bucks. This authentic Mexican restaurant offers common varieties of tacos including pork, beef and chicken, but more adventurous taco lovers will opt for an order of tongue or tripe tacos. Besides tacos, the menu offers other Mexican classics.

There are many apartments in Chicago, but none like our River North Park Apartments. Our community offers residents hotel-like amenities including a fitness center with a heated indoor lap pool, an internet cafe with complimentary coffee, an enclosed parking garage, a sundeck with gas grills and a private 1/2-acre, richly landscaped courtyard for relaxing. Residents can choose from our studio, one- or two-bedroom floor plans to fit their needs. Call 866-489-7207 to speak with our office to learn more about our available floor plans and community.

Small Dog and Cat

How to Prepare Your Apartment for a New Pet

Small Dog and CatWhen searching for apartments in Chicago that are pet-friendly, our community may offer just what you’re looking for. Our spacious studio, convertible, two-bedroom townhome, or one or two-bedroom apartments may be the perfect match for you and your pet companion.

Getting Your Apartment Pet Ready

No matter how cool, calm, and collected your canine or feline friend may be, moving to a new home can cause a level of stress and anxiety. With these two things in mind, it’s to your pet’s benefit, and yours, to prepare a place for your furry friend before they arrive.

  • “Quiet, please!” This is what your pet would say if they could speak. New noises along with new smells can be disruptive and scary. Select a quiet zone for your pet. This can be in the spare bedroom, bathroom, or a closet. Anyplace where there is no traffic, it’s relatively quiet, and you can close the door. This pet zone gives them a chance to walk around, undisturbed and safe while checking out the nooks and crannies.
  • For kitties, place their litter pan, food and water, and something they like to sleep on in the zone. If they’re comfortable in their carrier, place it in the room with them as a hiding spot. For dogs, along with food and water, place their favorite toys in the area with them to provide added comfort. Shut the blinds or close the curtains to create a cozy inner sanctum.
  • Safety is at the top of the list for your pet. This means securing all electrical cords so they can’t be chewed. Nervousness can cause different behaviors, and electrical cord chewing is definitely one you don’t want your pet to engage in.
  • Front doors and open windows are intriguing to pets who will not realize the dangers outside should they have access to these areas. All windows and doors need to be secure to prevent your pet from being harmed due to their desire to investigate outside the home.

When you’re ready to make the move to our community, contact our office for information on available floor plans. Whether you’re moving with one or two pet pals, we’ll help you find the apartment that fits your needs.

View of the Ocean

5 Amazing Destinations That Won’t Break Your Vacation Budget

View of the OceanDo you have the urge to travel but no desire to spend time at overcrowded, expensive tourist trap destinations? If so, you should consider exploring some off-the-beaten-path options. Not only will you save money, but you’ll probably have a more relaxing travel experience with less crowding and more actual contact with locals. Following are just five of the many underrated vacation spots that residents of apartments in Chicago can explore and enjoy:

Albania

Now that Albania’s political situation has remained stable for a number of years, it’s developing a stellar reputation as a tourist destination. History buffs will love the abundance of old ruins and castles, while those who enjoy laying on sunny beaches will have ample opportunities to indulge in this pastime. Budget travelers will be thrilled at the current exchange rate—you’ll get way more for your money here than almost any destination on Earth.

Bolivia

The South American country of Bolivia offers incredible diversity of geography and climate, making it an ideal vacation destination for those who are explorers at heart. You’ll enjoy a lively culture with lots of community festivals, street food and friendly locals.

Iceland

Don’t let the name fool you—Iceland is primarily a green jewel set in the Atlantic between the eastern shores of the United States and Europe. You’ll enjoy a mixture of pristine wilderness and a vibrant urban scene. You can also see the Northern Lights if you visit during the right time of year, or relax in a geothermal spa. Almost everyone in Iceland speaks English, making it easier to interact with locals.

The Philippines

If you’re a beach lover, you’ll be enthralled at every moment during a visit to the Philippines. Balmy tropical beaches with warm sand and palm trees are everywhere there. You’ll also see sights such as the planet’s smallest volcano and an abundance of diverse animal and plant life.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of West Africa’s safest destinations since peace was established in 2002. You can see amazing wildlife at its Outamba-Kilmi National Park.

After traveling to these amazing destinations, you’re going to want an apartment home to relax and unwind in! Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our available floor plans.

Various Wine Bottles

The Best Wine Bars in Chicago

Various Wine BottlesWhen you live in the heart of Chicago at River North Park, you want to experience everything the city has to offer. That includes the aquarium, the Navy Pier and, of course, the nightlife. If you are looking for an after-work or late evening tipple, consider these hot wine bars—and don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy.

Webster’s Wine Bar

Ask many people which wine bar to go to in Chicago, and they will come up with the recently relocated Webster’s. With a global list that includes more wines by the glass than some offer by the bottle, Webster’s is the perfect place to explore the different. An Austrian red? Why not. How about a “Skin Contact White” – orange-colored, and from Slovenia, not a country most know for its wine. Your beer drinking friends will enjoy homebrews from all over the country and Spanish cider.

Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

The space Webster’s vacated is now opened by the often overlooked Rootstock. It was the only wine bar in Chicago to make the top 50 bars in Chicago Magazine last year. A full dinner menu changes daily, whilst the beautifully-curated wine list includes German whites and well-chosen South American reds. Ever had Greek wine? It’s surprisingly good, especially the full-bodied reds. The beer list is almost as extensive with brews from Austria and Germany, as well as all over the States, including multiple ciders and a good selection of the hard stuff.

Eno

Don’t let the fact that it’s in a hotel put you off this romantic wine tasting room located in the InterContinental on Michigan Avenue. Great for after work with a 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour, and if you would care to work on those sommelier chops, they offer tasting classes and wine flights. Be aware that their wine bucket list can cost more than a bottle—but is worth it for gorgeous Bordeaux varietals and fine Italian pours. They also have a good list of sherry, port and Madeira for liquid dessert.

Enjoy the best wine bars in Chicago, and the best apartments in Chicago. Contact us to find out more about our great amenities, including a private courtyard!

St. Patrick's Day Cookie

3 Fun St. Patrick’s Day Treat Ideas

St. Patrick's Day CookieCelebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some Irish-themed treats. Each year on March 17th, people from all over the globe commemorate the patron saint of Ireland with feasts, festivals, and all things green. You too can observe this special holiday in your Chicago, Illinois home by whipping up some tasty St. Paddy’s Day treats.

Rainbow Fruit Platter

Irish legends discuss the presence of leprechauns and their pots of gold hidden at the end of rainbows. Create your own edible rainbow with a variety of fresh fruit. Use halved strawberries for the red layer, orange pieces for the orange layer, sliced bananas for the yellow layer, peeled and sliced kiwis for the green layer, blueberries for the blue layer, blackberries for the indigo layer and grapes for the violet layer.

Green Rice Crispy Treats with Lucky Charms

Rice crispy treats are delicious in their own right but when you add lucky charms and a green tint, they’re made even more special. Make rice crispy treats as you normally would by melting together ½ cup butter with 8 cups mini marshmallows. Use several drops of green food coloring to turn the treats green. Next, add 10 cups (11.5-ounce box) of Lucky Charms cereal and mix well. Turn into a greased 9 x 13 pan and allow to cool. Once cooled, you can cut the crispy treats into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut them into an Irish-themed shape, such as a rainbow, clover or pot of gold.

St. Patrick’s Day Chex Mix

If you prefer a sweet and savory snack, throw together a St. Patrick’s Day-themed Chex mix. There’s no right or wrong way to make a Chex mix. Simply add your favorite ingredients such as raisins, cheese crackers, rice Chex, pretzel sticks and dry roasted peanuts. To add a St. Patrick’s Day twist, incorporate mini marshmallows, Lucky Charms cereal and green M&Ms.

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The luck of the Irish will be with you as you sample some of these mouthwatering St. Paddy’s Day-themed treats. The best place to prepare these snacks is in one of our chef-caliber kitchens in our Chicago apartments. To see what floor plans are currently available, contact us today.

Green Chicago River

Celebrate Ireland – Watch the Dyeing of the Chicago River!

Green Chicago RiverSt. Patrick’s Day brings out one of the most famous of Chicago’s yearly traditions — the dyeing of the Chicago River. Every year, residents head to the Chicago Loop to watch as the Chicago River turns a brilliant shade of green. Immediately after dyeing the river, the city hosts the St. Patrick’s Day Parade through Grant Park. After the parade, festivals throughout the city and live music and many of the restaurants and bars round out the festivities. If you’ve never seen the dyeing of the river, make plans now to participate this year.

About the St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

Each year on St. Patrick’s Day, 45 pounds of vegetable dye are dumped into the Chicago River. Though the dye itself is orange, it has the effect of turning the river a brilliant green hue. This marks the beginning of the festivities for the day. The dyeing of the river launches a day filled with Irish-inspired celebrations throughout the city.

Where to View

You’ll be able to see the green river for about five hours after the dyeing from all around the city. However, if you want to view the change in person, you’ll want to head to a prime viewing spot. These include:

  • The east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
  • The west side of the Columbus Drive Bridge.
  • The Riverwalk between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

The dyeing of the river happens a just before the parade, which is scheduled for noon. However, you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you can see the festivities.  This event draws over 400,000 Irish-loving, green-clad people to Chicago! If you wait, you won’t get a spot along the river. This year, the river will run green on March 11, the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.

As a resident of downtown Chicago, you’ll want to be part of this annual tradition. If you are looking to join the vibrant Chicago community so you can enjoy these types of traditions, River North Park is waiting for you. Check out our available apartments in Chicago and beautiful outdoor setting right in the middle of the Windy City.

Purple Flowers

See Amazing Blooms at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show!

Purple FlowersMarch is a special time in the Windy City.  Residents of Chicago apartments join their fellow Chicagoans in saying goodbye to winter and welcoming warmer spring weather.  One great way to celebrate the season is taking in the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

“Chicago’s Blooming” Runs March 18-26

For 170 years, garden enthusiasts have looked forward to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.  The first event, presented courtesy of the Chicago Horticultural Society, was an exhibition of both flowers and fruits.

Organizers expect more than 40,000 people to attend this year’s show at Navy Pier.  They will celebrate the 2017 theme, “Chicago’s Blooming,” with opportunities to take a look at every aspect of horticulture.

Visitors can stroll through gorgeous gardens, participate in do-it-yourself workshops, attend educational seminars, watch cooking presentations using garden fare and experience lots more.  The show is an opportunity to learn hands-on skills, such as container gardening, and take creations home.

The Theme

The 2017 show will spotlight all that’s Chicago:  culture, art, neighborhoods, businesses, design, and cuisine.  It’s a chance to celebrate everything unique about the city as well as urban green spaces and to motivate upcoming generations of gardeners.

Blooming trees, annuals and perennials will add splashes of color to featured gardens.  Visitors will also hear the sound of water rustling through the Festival Halls of Navy Pier.

This year’s Chicago Flower & Garden Show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.  Garden and flower lovers won’t want to miss appearances by Ahmed Hassan, host of the former HGTV “Yard Crasher” program, on March 24 and 25.

Full-price tickets are $17 for weekdays and $19 for weekends.  Special discounts apply to groups.  Public transportation to the show includes bus routes 2, 29, 65, 66 and 124.

Residents of River Park North apartments in Chicago enjoy shedding winter and getting out to enjoy spring events such as the 2017 Chicago Flower & Garden Show.  Their location is ideal for taking a quick bus ride to explore everything “Chicago’s Blooming” has to offer.  Call us today to learn about units available to fit your lifestyle.

Valentine's Day Decor

How to Decorate for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day DecorAre you looking to get in the mood for Valentine’s Day by sprucing up your apartment? Show off your gorgeous Chicago apartment by putting together these fun and easy DIY decorations that will create smiles and an aura of love in your home, even if you haven’t snagged a Valentine just yet.

Make a Printable Heart of Your Favorite Song Lyrics

No Biggie went with “Love Me Do” but any love song of your choice will work just fine for this fun and offbeat decoration.

DIY String Heart

If you love exploring Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a lot of string art and hearts are no exception. Put some love into your decorating with a string heart!

Conversation Hearts

Check out your local thrift shops, Etsy, or even your own knick-knack shelf and transform some old glassware into a fun conversation piece by filling it up with conversation hearts. Even if you don’t like to eat them, they make a fun and colorful decoration. Mason jars also work well and you can give them more flair with some ribbons.

Painted Mason Jars

Conversation hearts not your thing? Go for a cute and rustic look with some painted Mason jars. You can paint them just one color like pink, or go for as many different Valentine’s Day themed colors as you’d like. Add a couple foam hearts and some twine, glitter, or other accents to make it uniquely yours! These would also make nice gifts for the sweet people in your life.

Black and White Photo Wall

Liven up your wall with a collage of black and white photos accented with red, white and pink hearts and other symbols of love. It’s simple, expressive and you can choose the images that celebrate love however you please. Those photos can even just be of classic Valentine’s desserts!

Whether you’re going to make some V-day inspired art or just put up a couple pretty Mason jars, the possibilities are endless for putting some red, pink and white liveliness into your home. River North Park’s convenient apartments can be all yours to decorate to your heart’s content: call us today to set up a tour!

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