How to Host A Great Superbowl Party

For some this year’s Super Bowl may be all about the battle played out on the field between the Patriots and the Seahawks but for the majority of Sunday night’s viewers the game is just a back drop for eating, socializing and critiquing the Super Bowl commercials and half time show.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party there are some definite rules and regulations to ensure your party scores big on game day.

Know that:

  • Only a few of the most die-hard football fans truly care about the outcome of the game if their favorite team is not in the competition. So, since the Bears are not playing, chances are the game will be more of a side note to the food and fun you have planned.

On Saturday:

  1. Set up your T.V. for the best viewing of the game for all your guests.
  2. Set up multiple T.V’s in various rooms if you are able.  This makes sure no one misses any of the commercials, oops we mean action on the field.
  3. Make sure your cable is working – you do not want any surprises come kick-off.
  4. Cook, cater, or pick up snacks.  No one cares what you do but whatever you decide to do, do lots of.  The Super Bowl is a nash-fest.
  5. If you are cooking, make some things ahead of time.  You’ll have more fun at your own party if you do.
  6. Get creative with you decorations.  Turn your kitchen table into a field full of food. Put your beverages into an inflatable football.
  7. Plan games.  Everyone loves betting on the Super Bowl and the best way to do this is through betting squares. You can play for money or silly gifts (bobble-head dolls, for example) but this is a definite part of the party experience.

On Sunday:

  1. Do some minimal picking up/cleaning – Remember it’s Super Bowl not a fancy dinner party so perfection is not required.
  2. Rearrange some furniture for optimal viewing and comfort.
  3. Pick up your catering or do some more cooking.
  4. Chill your drinks.
  5. Welcome your guests and have fun yourself!
Posted in 2015, Apartment Living, Entertaining, Fun | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The History of Oak Park’s Diversity Mission

Starting with Dr. Percy Julian back in 1947 and through the late 1950′s Oak Park struggled with racism right alongside the rest of the country.

Dr. Julian, a prominent African American scientist, and his family moved to an affluent section of Oak Park in 1947.  Almost instantly there were both physical and verbal threats made to he and his family. Many Oak Parkers rallied their support behind the Julian family thus setting the beginning stages for Oak Park’s vision of what a truly integrated community should look like.

Oak Park struggled with the issue of integration throughout the 50′s. Not until February of 1960, when a town hall meeting was held at the First Congregational Church, did Oak Park’s religious and civil rights leaders began to seriously address the issues of racism in the village.

The 60′s became a time that tested and pushed Oak Park and it’s residents to truly examine their beliefs on racial equality.  Public debate in Oak Park during these years was heated.  Oak Parkers took sides but in 1964, with over 1000 Oak Parkers signing a petition that backed peoples right to “live where they choose”, the tide began to change towards embracing the idea of the benefits of diverse community.

Additionally during this time, social action committees were created at several churches which led to the formation of the Oak Park River Forest Citizens Committee for Human Rights.  Next the Open Housing Ordinance, which supported integrated housing, was enacted and then by 1973 the Village Trustees created a policy statement regarding diversity which continues to guide Oak Park and it’s residents today.

“The people of Oak Park choose this community, not just as a place to live, but as a way of life. Oak Park has committed itself to equality not only because it is legal, but because it is right; not only because equality is ethical, but because it is desirable for us and our children. Ours is a dynamic community that encourages the contributions of all citizens, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital and/or familial status, mental and/or physical impairment and/or disability, military status, economic class, political affiliation, or any of the other distinguishing characteristics that all too often divide people in society.”

Posted in 2015, Diversity, History of Oak Park, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Chase The Winter Blues Away & Do It For Free!

The surest way to beat these midwestern winter blahs is by planning some fun activities that get you up and moving. And, with Oak Park being just so darn close to the thriving Chicago metropolis, what better place to go and explore.

Jump on the Metra, Blue or Green “L” lines or even in the comfort of your own car because downtown Chicago is less then 10 miles from Oak Park.  Not only is Chicago close and convenient, much of what can be experienced in the city can be done on a budget or even for free.

Here are a few ideas to get you to head downtown, have some fun, experience Chicago and not pay a fortune while your at it.

  • Skating – The Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon is the newest addition to 7 other outdoor skating rinks available in the city. Located at 337 E. Randolph St., the ribbon is unique in that it gives skaters an “alpine experience” with it’s looping quarter-mile “ribbon” layout. Hours at the ribbon are Monday – Thursday from 12 p.m.- 8 p.m., Friday 12 p.m.- 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Admission is free, however there is a $12 fee for skate rentals and $1 for locker rentals.  Be forewarned – lines to rent skates are long so if you don’t own skates make sure to borrow a pair to enjoy some wintertime fun.
  • Museums – The cold winter months are a perfect time to stroll through some of Chicago’s world renowned museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Chicago History Museum, Notebaert Nature Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Children’s Museum plus more.  In fact these wonderful cultural and educational institutions offer free admissions days so take note and plan your outing accordingly!
  • Garfield Park Conservatory – Designed in 1906 by famous landscape architect, Jens Jensen and conveniently located on the west side of Chicago (so really close to Oak Park), this 6 green house conservatory is a national leader. There is no better place to head to when the temperatures outside dip down below freezing.  The surrounding greenery can fool even the most hardened mid-westerner into thinking spring has sprung.  Not only does the Garfield Park Conservatory fool your weather senses but once again this Chicago gem is free (and the adjoining parking lot is free too – bonus!)  Good will donations are accepted and appreciated!

So, Oak Parkers, there is no reason not to venture out into the cold and snow this winter.  Visit our closest neighbor, Chicago, and start chasing those blues away!

Posted in 2015, Chicago, Cold weather, Fun, Money | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Apartment

With Chicagoland’s temperatures continuing to plummet it is good to take precautions not only when you are outside but inside your apartment as well.

OakParkApartments would like to share these tips to help prevent the pipes in your apartment from freezing during the extreme cold weather the Chicagoland area is experiencing.

Tip #1: Open the doors to your kitchen and bathroom base cabinets.  By opening the doors you allow warmer air to circulate into the cabinet area and around the pipes.

Tip #2: Let your faucets drip cold water in extreme cold weather, especially overnight, when temps are at their lowest.  If you are concerned about water usage tests have shown that dripping cold water uses only 5 cents worth of water in eight hours.  While a small flow of water will not prevent the pipe from freezing it will prevent it from bursting.  A burst pipe can pour out gallons of water and cost thousands of dollars in damage to both the property and your belongings. (Another good reason to invest in renter’s insurance.)

Tip #3: Wrap kitchen and bathroom pipes with old newspaper and/or towels for insulation. Duck tape in place.  The extra layer of protection could prevent a pipe from bursting.

Tip #4: If you will be gone overnight during an extreme cold spell leave some heat on in your apartment and follow the above three tips.

If you turn on a faucet during freezing weather and only a trickle of water comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  Follow the below tips to help thaw a frozen pipe:

Tip #1: Keep the faucet open and water running. The running water will help melt ice in the pipe. After flow is achieved, allow faucet to drip to prevent refreezing.

Tip #2: Apply heat to the pipe.  Use a hair dryer, heating pad or wrap the pipe in towels soaked in hot water to help unfreeze.

Tip #3: Call OakParkApartments.com to report the issue.

Posted in 2015, 24/7 emergency service, Apartment Living, Cold weather, Safety | Tagged | Leave a comment

Renter’s Resolve For 2015

The end of 2014 is fast approaching.  As you get ready to ring out 2014 and welcome in the new year you may want to focus your resolutions close to home!

Here are some promises you can make to your apartment!

De-Clutter

Stuff in, stuff out!  Chances are your apartment isn’t getting any bigger with the new year so the best way to give yourself and your place a fresh start is to de-clutter.  The holidays bring new gifts and gadgets that can easily accumulate into a hoard. Start 2015 out right by assessing what you use and don’t. Go through your closet and cabinets and decide what you wear/use, then decide what you can either sell or should donate.

DIY

Do you have an old dining room table or pictures that you’ve been meaning to frame? Resolve to start and complete one DIY project in 2015.  Just check out OPA’s Pinterest DYI board for inspiration.

Decorate

Pick a room, a corner, a wall and add your own flair.  Once again, Pinterest can be a place to start the decorating ideas flowing. As a renter, adding a splash of color to your beige environment can put the personal touch on your pad.  Removable wallpaper can dress up a wall while 3m’s adhesive hooks can provide renters with a damage free way to create a gallery wall.  Start creating!

Posted in 2014, 2015, Apartment Living, Holiday, OakParkApartments.com, Organization | Leave a comment

Prevent Your Holiday From Going Up In Flames

The holidays are days filled with fun, food, friends, family and the happy memories that go with the season.  Yet, the holidays also bring an increased risk of fire that can be prevented.

The following holiday fire safety tips will help ensure many more joyful holiday memories for years to come.

  • Place Christmas trees and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from any heat sources:  portable heaters, radiators, heat vents.
  • If you are purchasing an artificial tree check to see if it is also flame retardant. Most are these days but double check the box before you buy.
  • If you are purchasing a real tree make sure it’s fresh (needles will be green, flexible and not brittle).   Have the trunk re-cut, place the tree away from heat sources and make sure to keep it watered.
  • Check strings of lights and extension chords – don’t use anything that is frayed.   Never run chords under a rug or string too many chords together. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Today’s LED lights give off very little heat, greatly reducing the risk of fire.  Consider upgrading the lights you own to LED’s.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Unplug holiday lights before leaving home, going to bed or use a timer so you never have to worry about forgetting to turn off the lights.
  • Rethink using real candles. Why risk a fire when there are so many beautiful battery operated options that look real.  If you feel you must use real candles then make sure to always extinguish those candles before leaving the room. But remember, candle fires are 4x’s more likely to occur during the holidays.
  • Make sure your tree stand is sturdy. A tipped tree is a big fire hazard as well as a general safety concern.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts handy.
  • Invest in and know how to use a fire extinguisher.

And remember smoke alarms save lives. OakParkApartments has installed smoke alarms in all of our apartment units.  It is your responsibility as a tenant to test the alarms each month and replace the batteries once each year.


Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Cold weather, Holiday, OakParkApartments.com, Safety | Tagged | Leave a comment

Grinch-Proof Your Holiday

Don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas. Christmas gift giving and the advent of Cyber Monday has increased the number of deliveries which has in turn caused the rise of “doorstop theft”.  Some thieves are so bold as to actually follow delivery trucks and steal packages just minutes after the packages have been dropped off.

Since prevention is the best defense against theft take note of the following tips for a Grinch free season:

  • Sign up for carrier email or text message alerts notifying you of your package delivery time and status.
  • Download an app, like Parcel, to help you track your deliveries.  Many apps are free.
  • Request a signature before the carrier can release any packages, ensuring they are in your hot little hands.
  • Deliver those online orders to your office where someone will be available to accept those orders & let that person know when you are expecting a delivery.
  • Arrange to pick up your package at the your local shipping center – especially if you have many packages being delivered.
  • Ask a neighbor who you know will be home to accept delivery.
  • Retrieve packages from the front vestibule as soon as a delivery is made.
  • If your apartment has an common behind the second locked entry door, bring in any and all packages for your neighbors and hopefully they will do the same for you.
  • Report any suspicious people or activity to the police.
  • If you suspect a package has been stolen start by contacting the carrier. The carrier will perform a search to try to locate your package. If the package cannot be found, you should be able to file a claim up to the declared value of the package contents.
  • Finally, if the carrier has determined the package has in fact been stolen contact the local police to file a report.
Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Holiday, Oak Park Police, OakParkApartments.com, Safety | Tagged , | Leave a comment

OakParkApartments.com Donantes $3000 To Local Charities On #GivingTuesday

This is the second year that OakParkApartments.com has decided to take part in the #GivingTuesday initiative.

#GivingTuesday is a movement started in 2012 which created a national day of giving during the holiday season. #GivingTuesday’s purpose was to “encourage and celebrate acts of charitable support” to non-profit organizations.  The movement has caught on and participation increased 338% from 2012 to 2013.  Amazing!

The #GivingTuesday initiative has once again inspired OPA to donate $500 to 6 worthy local charitable organizations on this #GivingTuesday – 2014!

Oak Park and its’ neighbors have so many notable groups that it was difficult to select which charities to support this year.  The following 6 charities caught our attention and will receive $500 from us to help aid their missions:

  • Bethel New Life‘s mission is “to realize God’s vision of a restored society by empowering individuals, strengthening families, and building neighborhoods through community driven, solution-oriented, and value-centered approaches.
    Bethel New Life achieves its’ missions’ goals through entrepreneurial and job training programs, investment in education and provision of affordable senior housing for those living in Chicago’s West side neighborhood.
  • Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry‘s mission is to “is to work together as a community to reduce hunger locally through direct hunger relief services, hunger awareness education and advocacy to influence anti-hunger policy.”  The Pantry procures and distributes food to needy families as well as providing benefits counseling services for families applying for SNAP -Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “Food Stamps”- as well as other forms of public aid.
  • L’Arche provides for the “dignity of every human being by building inclusive communities of faith and friendship where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.”
  • Hephzibah Children’s Association mission is a multifaceted one. Hephzibah offers short- and long-term group homes for children traumatized by neglect and abuse, child welfare and family services, foster care and adoption programs and award-winning day care on a sliding scale for families of all income levels.
  • Prevail provides emergency assistance and referrals to individuals and families in times of financial crisis and struggle, addressing immediate basic needs and laying the groundwork for future stability.

OPA’s thanks all of these amazing organizations for giving with your whole heart to the missions you are passionate about 365 days a year!

Posted in 2014, Oak Park Charities, Oak Park Happenings, Village of Oak Park, Volunteerism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving, Oak Parkers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Friends @ OakParkApartments.com

Posted in 2014, Holiday | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Parking Just Got Easier

Attention all tenants – the Village of Oak Park is giving the gift of ticket free overnight parking over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Yes, you heard correctly.  You and/or your Thanksgiving guests need not worry about calling in your car to the non-emergency police number to avoid receiving the cursed Oak Park overnight parking ticket.  The restrictions have been eased for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, starting at 2:30 a.m., Thursday, November 28nd, and ending at 2:30 a.m., Monday, December 2nd.

Be forewarned that other restrictions will apply  in some overnight permit areas, such as Village-owned lots, on-street enclaves and on-street overnight parking zones. Plus, be aware that all other parking regulations will remain in effect – meaning tickets can and will still happen.

If you have any further parking question do not hesitate to contact the village at: parking@oak-park.us.

Posted in 2014, Holiday, Oak Park Parking, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment