Chicago Lost and Found provides visual-arts opportunities for children who no longer have creative outlets in their schools. Partnering with YMCA of Metro Chicago and Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, Chicago Lost and Found’s Creative Academy holds community art workshops and courses led by experienced instructors. The program’s Creative Studio repurposes unused or otherwise discarded materials to create sellable art that helps supplement community donations to fund the group’s programs.
Sandhill Christmas Trees cultivates a festive forest of pines free of pesticides and paint to bestow customers with lush house adornments for the holiday season. Revelers peruse rows of vibrant conifers—plucked from the Earth in mid-November to preserve their freshness—and select the ideal 5- to 6-foot tree destined to uphold cherished North Star or titanium snow-yeti tree toppers. Servings of hot chocolate, cookies, candy canes, and peanut butter–filled pretzels warm up and refuel patrons as they explore the grounds. Though not included in today’s Groupon, Sandhill Christmas Trees stocks a number of wreaths, garland, tree stands, and box-and-rope elf traps as well as delivers sprawling saplings to local residents for a fee.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Thick velvet curtains complement vivid crimson walls and leather furnishings at The Play Room, an upscale cocktail bar where area musicians echo over a menu laden with homemade Italian-American bites. An in-house chalkboard scrawled with daily specials and the correct spelling of the chef’s name, while twisty ribbons of gemelli pasta snake through the Famous Pasta Josephine’s panoply of spicy sausage, pecorino cheese, and house marinara cream. Libations flow from a full-service bar, where expert mixologists concoct specialty cocktails or pour one of a dozen wines in the flickering glow of an on-site fireplace, which casts its gauzy glow over the eatery’s dulcet lineup of local musicians.
When you see a person walk into a restaurant wearing a horned helmet and long golden braids, it might mean you switched your pills with the dog's again, or it might just be an opera singer. OperaGram.com brings joy to people's special occasions through singing telegrams performed by a talented opera singer. The performer can belt out tunes in many languages such as English, Spanish, Italian, French, and German.
Founder of OperGram.com, Rose Guccione, is an award-winning professional opera singer and stage actress with a long list of accolades. She is the Grand Prize winner of the Barnett Foundation voice competition and recipient of the Gina Monastero award. Her singing telegrams have been featured on NBC5, WLS Radio, and the Chicago Tribune, and she has performed the roles of Béatrice in the opera Béatrice et Bénédict, Cinderella's Stepmother in Into the Woods, and Aida in Aida—for which she was called "the genuine article of Verdi singers" in the Chicago Tribune's Critic's Choice awards. Though she helms the tuneage behind OperaGram.com, she remains an active opera performer at Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.
Green grass and blue skies bookend the boot-camp classes at Bulldog Bootcamp. Leading the outdoor workouts, owner Greg Major and his team of seasoned fitness instructors spur their students on by shouting words of encouragement and tearing Chicken Soup for the Soul books in half. Major—a decorated bodybuilder and inline skater—has been a certified personal trainer since 1989, and has since picked up the credentials to teach CrossFit’s Level 1, Football, and Kids programs. He and his staff stage CrossFit classes at Bulldog Bootcamp’s training facility in Forest Park.