The art of the thank you

Leontina Richardson, president of Stepping Into Etiquette


Let’s face it: There’s going to be at least one gift under your Christmas tree this year that you’d

rather sell on eBay. We’ve all been there. But the reality is, you still need to write that person a thank-you card. Although you wouldn’t be caught dead in that itchy scarf your coworker made everyone in the office, she still put a lot of time and thought into it. The relationship is what really matters.

Here are some tips for writing good letters this holiday season.

1: Don’t go digital

Handwrite your cards. Not only will your recipient appreciate getting a letter that isn’t a bill, but they’ll also recognize you put time and thought into it. Texting “Thanks, Grandma,” is far less endearing.

2: Don’t begin your card with “Thank You”

If you say thank you first, then your recipient won’t pay much attention to the rest of the letter

because they know what to expect. Instead, write your letter with the following guidelines:

The Beginning: “Dear [insert name here].”

The Middle: Write something that elicits an emotional response equal to the thoughtfulness of

the gift. Try, “I am blown away by how perfect your Christmas gift was.” Then include what you

enjoyed about the gift. Try, “These dishes look so good with my new dining room set.” Now you

can express your gratitude: “Thank you so much.” Then add any closing thoughts you have, as in, “Now all I’m missing is your company for lunch. Let’s get together soon.”

The End: You’ll likely want to sign off with either “Best Wishes,” “Best Regards,” or “Warmest

Regards.” Only use “Love” for your closest relationships.

3: Don’t wait too long

For the holidays, get your thank-you cards out within two weeks of receiving gifts. For dinner parties and other small events, you can wait up to a week. For weddings, three months is best. Remember, you want your recipients to feel appreciated, so don’t put it off until the last minute.

When it comes to expressing thanks, a well-written card goes a long way. Be an example to those around you this holiday season by always keeping a stack of thank-you cards on your desk. Not only will you be prepared for the unexpected gift, but your friends will feel safe knowing that you’ll love their gifts no matter how itchy they are. It’s the thought that counts.

Leontina Richardson is the president of Stepping Into Etiquette, a consulting firm specializing on manners and style. For more information, visit the company website at www.steppingintoetiquette.com

Football fandom for complete dummies

By Tom Conroy, Staff Writer

The weather is cooling off and the leaves are starting to change, which means it’s time to stay inside all day Sunday and watch football. This can be daunting for someone who may only be a casual fan or has never watched the game. If the latter sounds like you, and you find yourself at a bar or a Sunday watch party, here is how to get by like a pro:

  1. Following multiple games is necessary

Your friends might all be Bears fans, but don’t be alarmed if someone insists on switching over to the Steelers-Bengals game. It probably means that someone at your gathering has Ben Roethlisberger or A.J. Green in their fantasy game. If you find yourself lost, just pick a team. Latch onto the Bears’ bandwagon and cheer whenever you see the navy blue and orange pop up on the screen.

  1. Everyone hates Roger Goodell, and you do, too

Your friends will probably bring up the NFL commissioner at least once, and it will be negative. Whether it has to do with the national anthem, concussion protocols, new penalty rules or his $200 million contract, Goodell will always draw the ire of fans, regardless of their viewpoints. Do not waste time forming your own opinions about the man; just hiss whenever you hear his name.

 

  1. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are necessary evils

Bears fans are sick of losing to Rodgers and the Packers. The entire NFL is sick of watching Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. However, refrain from wishing season-ending injuries on either quarterback.

 

I was at the Bears-Packers season opener at Lambeau Field, where I witnessed Bears fans cheering at the sight of Rodgers leaving the field with a potential knee injury, only to exclaim in agony when he returned later in the game to pull off the victory. Guess what? It was one of the most exciting and compelling games I’ve ever watched. Rodgers and Brady may win all the time, but football is more compelling when they are on the screen.

  1. Sundays are now your new cheat day

Diets are hard when pizza, wings, beer and every other game day indulgence surround you. If you know you’ll be gorging yourself on Sunday, plan ahead. Get in your exercise and healthy eating during the week. Pack some fruit if it is a potluck gathering. And make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid a Monday hangover.

 

Unbearable: The best jerseys to troll Bears fans

By Tom Conroy | Staff Writer

When I first got to Milwaukee, I received strange looks whenever I wore my favorite football jersey because of the name “FAVRE” stitched on the back.

Little did I know that students on campus, most of whom were Packers fans, were still bitter about Brett Favre going back on his retirement following the 2007 season to play for the Jets. This experience made me wonder about how other teams’ fans felt when they saw certain players’ jerseys, so I asked some Chicago Bears fans what would incite their rage.

Brett Favre: Packers fans may have been upset with Favre for a few years, but Bears fans will probably hate Favre forever. Fans always feel the strongest about divisional rivals, and the Hall of Fame quarterback posted a 22-10 career record against the Chicago Bears.

“I would rip their Favre jersey off,” joked Adam Ruff of Crown Point, Indiana.

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady: Nationwide, these two share the distinction of being hated because of their dominance as the two best quarterbacks in the league.

Like Favre, Rodgers is an easy target of animosity because he’s the Packers quarterback (and he boasts a 16-4 record against the Bears). I was surprised to hear from so many Bears fans about the Patriots QB. “The problem with Brady is that he’s a great player on a great team with a great system and still he cheats,” said Jesse Patton, Jr., referring to the “Deflategate” scandal of 2015 when Brady was suspended for four games for allegedly tampering with the air in the footballs.

Rex Grossman: Grossman has the distinction of being the only Bears alumnus that came up. After all, he is blamed for Chicago’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI. Considered to be the weakest link on the team during the 2006 season, Grossman threw for only 165 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the 29-17 Super Bowl loss.

Players linked to controversies:

There were several players who came up based on incidents off the field. Bears fans mentioned Ray Rice because of his assault of his then-fiancée that was caught on video, while Colin Kaepernick came up because of his kneeling during the national anthem.

The takeaway: Avoid the jerseys of players whose actions off the field are discussed more than their performance on field.

Published September 4, 2018

What’s in a name? Cool and funky boat names of DuSable Harbor

By Jon Cohn

Published August 2, 2018

 

What’s in a name?:  Meet the boats of DuSable and Monroe harbors

For most of us who aren’t lucky enough to own a boat, having them around us at the DuSable and Monroe harbors is a true pleasure.

 

Call it boat envy, but there is something about being around the docks and taking in all the sights, sounds and even the smells of the waterfront that help make our New Eastside so special.

 

I started to wonder, though, about all the interesting boat names. There are stories behind them all, I am sure. On a recent visit, I brought along the old reporter’s notebook and jotted down some of my favorites.

 

Proud vessels included the Weekend Retreat, the Aquation, the Sea Weed, the Out of The Blue, the Endless Nights and one boat way too caught-up with itself, the Handsome Pete.

We spotted, the Veni Vidi Veatchi (I would have gone with the Livin’ La Vida Loco), the Off Balance (count me out for a ride on that one), the My Anesthetic (I hear ya there), the Sail-Vation, the Prestige II (what, one wasn’t enough to rub it in?), the Painkiller, and the Fearless.

Not to leave out, the Eclipse, the Mini Me, the Glad It’s Over, the Sea Beaux, and—be careful here editor—the BullShip.

My personal favorite? In big bold letters staring straight at the DuSable Harbor, the We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat. Yep, pretty much says it all doesn’t it?

These are great names and I am sure there are stories behind them all.

Don’t get too envious of the boat owners though; owning a boat is a lot of responsibility. There is an old saying that goes, “The two best days of a boaters life are one, when he buys a boat, and two, when he sells it.”

 

Chicago Tribune moves to New Eastside

By Jon Cohn | Community Contributor

This June, the Chicago Tribune staff will be making the trek up Randolph Street to their new digs at the Prudential Plaza.

New Eastside residents, keep your eyes out for some familiar faces wandering around—you might see the person whose column you read in the morning. The team behind the newspaper will now be in New Eastside—reporters, columnists, editors, copy editors, marketing reps, office personnel, advertising folks and of course, my favorite person, the one in charge of
the obituary page.

Keep in mind, this is not just your standard, location-based move. This one is dramatic for the Tribune’s employees, some of whom might feel sad that executives from the paper’s parent company Tronc, Inc., sold the paper’s namesake office building, the Tribune Tower at 435 N. Michigan Ave., which had been the newspaper’s home since 1935.

The tower was recently sold for a cool $205 million. With renovations and major changes planned, Tronc Inc. had to make a move. After an extensive search of a variety of locations, the company settled on the New Eastside building, One Prudential Plaza.

The Tribune will occupy the second through fourth floors, but if you want to mingle with the head honchos of Tronc, you will have to go a little bit higher. The corporate offices will be on the top two floors of the 41-story building.

As we welcome employees of Chicago Tribune to New Eastside this month, it doesn’t matter that it’s a 171-year-old newspaper—they are still the new kids moving into the neighborhood. Remember what we were told in our childhood days? “Make sure you are nice to the new kids.”

They may feel a little bit shy or a touch unsure while still getting used to
their new surroundings.

New kids, we understand it’s tough to move after being in one location for so long—83 years—but we think you will find our neck of the woods quite welcoming.

Cohn-Fuscious thought for the month: “Whoever said nothing is impossible never tried slamming a revolving door.”

Published June 5, 2018

Perspective: No bronze medal for Wanda, up for sale

By Jon Cohn | Community Contributor

Published March 4, 2018

In case you haven’t heard, there have been a few twists and turns in the saga of our omnipresent Wanda Vista building, 363 E. Wacker Dr., which has now been knocked to fourth place in the “tallest building” category. To add insult to injury, the building is now up for sale which leads us to speculate…will the building be getting a new name?

Touted as being Chicago’s third tallest building—which would stand 1,191 feet at completion in 2019—we took pride in bragging that Wanda Visita would land us the bronze medal for Chicago’s tall buildings right in our own backyard. But we found out Los Angeles-based CIM group has announced plans for a 1,338- foot structure—a.k.a. monstrosity—at 201 E. Illinois St. in the parking lot behind the Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave.

To add salt to our already wounded New Eastside ego, Wanda Vista is up for sale.

Before it is even completely built? What’s that all about?

Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s, Dallian Wanda Group, the proud creators of the Wanda Vista have apparently gone “Hasta La Vista.” According to Bloomberg News, increased scrutiny by Chinese regulators into Wanda’s overseas investments have forced the company to sell the property.

New owners are being sought as you read this (I did put a bid in, but haven’t heard
back yet). As we all hold our breath to see if the Hancock Tower will follow the Sears Tow-
er in yet another mind jarring renaming, we find ourselves wondering if Chicago’s
fourth-tallest tower will find a new name as whimsical as “Wanda Vista.”

Yet construction goes onward and up-ward. The building’s almighty and inescapable footprint is growing bigger. The early morning builder’s noise wake-up call will still be with us, and the great parade of trucks will continue on a daily basis.

Coach’s Corner

New Eastside entering tween years

By John Cohn | Community Contributor

In an interesting and uplifting gathering, the staff of New Eastside News got together for an annual staff-wide meeting. It was a refreshing mix of both young and old. Actually, truth be told, mostly young—I think I was a party of one representing “the old.” Nevertheless, it is great to see so many new and enthusiastic young reporters jumping on board for our newspaper. During the meeting, we discussed anything and everything in regards to our neighborhood and the many potential stories and creative ideas.

I found it interesting that the overriding factor is one I hear and even “feel” all the time here in New Eastside—how lucky we are to be living in such a unique neighborhood of the city.

Many Chicagoans are only just discovering our area and some are not even aware it exists, but that is okay. We don’t mind growing up at a normal pace without all the mad rush. That, I am sure, will come soon enough.

Speaking of growing up, this got me thinking about where our neighborhood is in its current stage of development. Construction on the Lakeshore East part of the neighborhood started in 2004, so, could you say our neighborhood is at the preteen stage, waiting for the onset of the dreaded teenage years? With new buildings going up, and infrastructure changes, we might be in for a full course of upheaval, angst and uncomfortable disturbances.

But have faith. We will survive that teenage period, as all people do, and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor, as the neighborhood enters young adulthood, and later, blissful middle age.

Oh, and one final note to all those young whippersnapper reporters joining our staff—back off. This old guy here plans on sticking around for a while and is not planning on giving up this “Coach’s Corner” anytime soon.

Cohn-Fucius thought for the month: Someday is not a day of the week.

Cars and makeshift structures currently fill the site where the new IJKL towers will be built in New Eastside. Photo by B. David Zarley.

Coach’s Corner – What to do with the last parcel of land

 

The wait is over. Speculation of what will be built on the remaining empty plots of New Eastside land can now end. Four new buildings are ready to join the O, IJKL parcel party, all of varying shapes and sizes. In maps presented at a recent alderman’s meet- ing, the future sites of these buildings are labeled as lettered “parcels.”

Only one plot of open grass remains free from a fate of concrete and mortar, at least for now. It is one of the two sites
left unlabeled. On the northeast corner of Lake Shore East Park, a strangely angular-shaped plot is closed off completely. One remaining question is what to do with this untouched spot, mysteriously labeled “FUTURE.”

The Alderman has indicated that in the distant future, a school will rise in that space, but no one has any definite plans, as far as I can tell. I have a few suggestions about what should rise in the right-angled “FUTURE” spot. How about a 24-hour yoga and meditation center? A basketball court? A build-your-own pizza joint? A drive-thru, all-night White Castle? There are all kinds of possibilities.

Maybe the best idea, with all the construction scheduled for the next few years, is to turn the space into what I will call a Quiet-torium—a building with soundproof walls. It will be place of perfect silence, where those who need it could come for a brief moment to just sit and listen to, well, silence. The only problem is… there might be a long line.

Cohn-Fucius thought for the day: “There is only one place where you start at the
top, and that is when you are digging a hole.”

— Jon Cohn, Community Contributor

“Odysseo” an equestrian delight

If you’re lucky enough to have a south view from the Lakeshore East neighborhood, you may have noticed the massive tent that went up southeast of Soldier Field last month. “The White Big Top,” as it is called, houses Cavalia’s new show Odysseo, premiering this month only, in the South Lot of the stadium.

The show is unlike any other, yet familiar. Priding itself as “the best show ever,” Cavalia is the equestrian Cirque du Soleil. Although they are separate entertainment companies established decades apart, they both originated in Montreal and share a co-founder. The show is made up of “65 horses and 48 riders, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and musicians,” according to it’s website.

Odysseo is a mesmerizing production beginning to end, with horses, humans, technology, set design and music coming together to create a breathtaking experience. The performance pivots and surprises as you wonder what could they possibly do to surprise you again.

South loop resident Melissa Bakst called the combination of dressage, acrobatics, theatrics and circus tricks “unique and beautiful.”

I had as much fun watching the horses perform with precision, as I did watching them run wild and horse around, challenging each other at times. It provided an opportunity to watch trainers bring unruly performers back into formation using friendship and encouragement.

Cavalia should be at the top of your list if you’re going to see one show this season. Ticket prices range from $79.50 to $144.50 with the show running April 4th through the 23rd.

To purchase tickets, visit http://cavalia.com/chicago/.

— Ben Cirrus
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