Running towards Labor Day: 1st time (or 2nd or 3rd) 5k Tips for Success

We have a confession to make.  It’s been 2 weeks since our last post…and quite awhile since our last good run and yet, we have decided to run a 5K this weekend!  AHHHH the agony.  We have every intention of getting up at 5:30 am and running to prep but then our beds call us back loving and tenderly.  Maybe tomorrow we will start again.

For those of you who want to stretch your runnin’ legs with us and challenge yourself anyways, the Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 5K this Sunday has super fun pre and post race events that may convince you to jump out of your bed!

The Magnificent Mile® Fitness Meets Fashion Market

Schedule of Pre Race Events

Where: Fleet Feet Sports – South Loop

What: Sneak peeks into fall apparel from trendy fitness brands, live music and giveaways!

Friday

10:00-8:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market hours

4:00-7:00 pm: Q+A, chat with running coach and Runner’s World columnist, Jenny Hadfield.

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Saturday

10:00-7:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market Hours

9:15 am: Official Magnificent Shakeout Run led by Professional Oiselle Runner Lauren Fleshman and Jenny Hadfield.

10:30-11:30 am: Complimentary Yoga for Runners class presented by Yoga Six Studio.

4:00-6:00 pm: Meet Professional Oiselle Runner, Lauren Fleshman for a Q+A, photo opportunities, mingling and more!

 

Race Day! Sunday

Register here and get a high quality racerback top to wear while traveling along the fab Mag Mile, a sexy finisher medal and access to a crazy post race party at the historic Buckingham Fountain.  Keep an eye out for delicious LUNA treats at all pre and post race activities.  What a good way to tighten up before Labor day!!  And to really prepare…check out the following pre-race tips for newbies like us from Terra Castro, recently retired professional triathlete and LUNA Chix Pro fitanista!!

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Morning of the Race

  • Warm-up: remember this is short speedy distance.  Warm-ups are essential to get the muscles ready to push at the faster speeds.  No need to hurt a hamstring!  Make sure to get in 10-15 min of light running and pick ups (strides- increased speed and leg turnover).
  • Seed yourself: This means make sure you pick the right corral or group to start with.  If you are ready to rock- go to the front and be aggressive.  If you are middle of the pack,steady approach, place yourself mid group but be ready because it will be a little crowded.  It is OK to be aggressive and seed yourself a little faster than you think as it will give you more room to get moving.
  • Breakfast: Make sure you eat your pre-race breakfast 2 hours or more before because you don’t want the food to cause GI distress.  Coffee, bagel with PB and banana is always a great starting point to try.  If needed you could use a clif shot right before with some water.  Keep it simple.
  • NO NEW THINGS: don’t get excited and try any new product, shoes, socks, or routine on race morning.  Do what you did in training.
  • Race plan: I always have my athletes write out a simple race plan (strategy) of how they will approach the race.  Not only is this good for the race splits (knowing your mile splits to go for) but I also have them write out the mental side of things to process nerves and know how they will handle the WHAT IFS etc.

 

Terra Castro is a recently retired Professional Triathlete who works as an Elite Sports Massage Therapist and Endurance Coach at Detroit Tough.  Terra works with age group athletes of all levels, and has a specialization in Youth/Junior Triathlon Coaching.  Her passion to BE BOLD is something she shares with all her athletes and within her community. (Head Coach/owner of Be Bold Crew LLC).  You can follow Terra and up your run quotient @terracastro (Twitter & Instagram).

Her tips and tricks will be featured in our next few running blog posts to improve your run game (and ours for sure sure!)

 

 

 

Post Run Recap: Running the Night with Energizer

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This year has brought a lot of awesome first for us, including our first 5K run together!  A few weeks ago, we headed to Chicago’s gorgeous lakefront to complete the Energizer 5k Night Race and had a blast in our efforts to help raise funds for solar lighting for people with unsafe lighting conditions.  We prepped a few weeks before by building up our stamina in Humboldt Park.  Later we picked up our race packets the week of and found our snazzy Energizer race shirts.  Our race bag also included our Energizer headlamps and some race prep samples like Dove clinical deodorant and Schick razors (hey gotta look and smell good for those other competitors, right?).

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The race had validated parking set up at the Radisson Blu hotel….which was the terrible thing!!  The lot was small, maze-like and confusing, thus we were late for the race :).  So late that the starting line was being dismantled as we started.  Some helpful bunny ear bedecked spectators pointed us in the right direction, we set our timer and began our jaunt down the shore.  The packs of headlamp runners gave us the energy to push through swarms of fruit flies and humidity to the finish line.

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Our time was 11.30 minutes a mile!!!  A personal best.  Afterwards, we kicked back some Gatorade and water and then enjoyed the post race party.  We jammed to live music, snacked on free KIND bars (wooohoo!!) and grabbed gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Cheesie’s Pub & Grub food truck, all with a huge blow up Energizer bunny swaying in the evening breeze.  We would definitely love to participate in the Night Run next year.

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There are still runs going on internationally until the end of the year in places like South Korea, Belgium and Germany.  Anyone wanna hop on a plane?!

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Run Life: Must Have Gear for Newbie Runners

Chiorganicgirls may have briefly fallen off the face of the earth due to Kate’s wedding festivities but we are back…and better than ever due to the lack of wedding stress!  How did we survive and de-stress during all the bride and maid of honor hub bub this summer?  Exercise, of course!

We took it to the mild weathered streets of Chicago and stretched our running legs along park and lake paths.  One of the big problems we face with outdoor running is where the hell to put your keys, wallet, run jams, snacks, mace and so forth.  Your sports bra is an option for hiding stuff but, dang, it sure gets sweaty in there.

Then comes a product that frees your arms, and bra and shoes (guys you know what I’m saying) from the burden of keeping your stuff secure while you bounce about.

The DBelt!  Okay so the name is funny but what it does is D-liteful!

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Kate snagged the DBelt and never let go (as Monica didn’t want to wear Kate’s sweat anyways).  The DBelt is a wide cotton-spandex blended belt that sits comfortably around your hips or waist (depending on your preference).  Includes 2 zip front pockets, and a velcro closure, there is plenty of room for multiple credit cards, keys and your phone.  Not only did the DBelt travel around Kate’s waist to multiple 5k practices and the big show, the Energizer Night Run, but it also made it’s way to her honeymoon in Costa Rica and on the EL train to yoga class.  Quite the world traveler!  The DBelt is a must have fitness fashion item but also makes a nice purse alternative and a sneaky way to hide your valuables from robbers!

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And care is quite D-simple…ok we stretched on that one.

Handwash
Do not dry in heat
Do not dry clean
Do not iron

See!  You don’t have to use that stupid iron…and we kinda perm press washed it on accident and it came out ok (shhh…).

Is your interested Deepened?  Well Dive in!  (Sorry about all the D jokes…we had to do it).

You can purchase your DBelt online here!

Or if you are a lucky person who lives in Florida, then you can get it at POWER HOUSE gym, 6900 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach FL 33411.

So let’s go lie on the beach in Florida with our Dbelts!!  Who wants to buy our flights?

 

Oh Honey! New Henry’s Humdingers Sweet and Spicy Honeys

We been aching to keep up with all the new cool products that we been sampling and this one has been on daily rotation for the Chi Girls.  Normally, we don’t mix our sweet and spicy with the exception of a Mayan Mocha now and then but when Henry’s Humdingers  reached out to us, we were intrigued.  Not only were the products unique, raw honeys infused with varietals of hot peppers, but they aim to help the source of honey, our bee pals!  Now, if you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that we have a bee crisis on our hands, which isn’t just bad for bee dudes but also for us and our food sources.  Henry Miller, founder of the company, donates part of all his profits to The Foundation for the Preservation for Honey Bees to combat the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder which is hurting our friends.

 

So what does Henry’s Humdingers have to offer?  4 different crazy raw honey flavas for yo tongue!

  • Grumpy Grandpa Cayenne and Garlic Honey
  • Phoebe’s Fireball Chipotle and Cinnamon Honey
  • Naughty Nana Pepper and Ginger Honey
  • Diabolical Dad Habanero Lime Honey

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What to do with all these combos?  Well Henry has some suggestions that range from sweet and sassy wing sauces to english muffin spreads.  So far, we’ve been addicted to the Phoebe’s Fireball in our morning coffee with some sweet coconut milk stirred in.  We’ve also used the Naughty Nana in rice wine vinegar to pickle veggies for Tofu Bahn Mi sandwiches.

Oh and who can forget the old standby of eating spoons of peanut butter as a snack.  Our afternoons have been filled with PB honey spiced dreams.

We highly recommend Henry’s if you have a willing palate!  We let some of our friends try it in tea as well and their mouths were pleasantly piqued.  You can find Henry’s for purchase at J’s Vitamins in Chicago, online or at locations listed here.

Our fave is really Phoebe’s Fireball but we don’t wanna hurt the other honeys’ feelings so keep it quiet.

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Loving Summer in Chicago: Upcoming Fun, Food and Fitness Events

Ok so our weather still isn’t too summery but the events in Chicago are in full swing!  We wanted to share all the summer goodness with ya’ll instead of keeping it for ourselves.  Here’s just a few fun, free events to keep you fit and entertained this summer.

Bikini Blast Time

Looking to get your muscles tight for your new polka dot bikini (or speedo)?  Join the Old Town Purre Barre team for a grand opening party on Thursday, June 19th from 6-8 p.m.  Pure Barre gives clients a chance to sculpt and lengthen their muscles by alternating tiny shake inducing muscle movements with stretching sequences.  Believe us, you will tighten your problem areas and wonder why such little movements can be so sweat provoking.  The grand opening party will feature drinks, light snacks, raffles as well as retail and class specials so this would be a perfect opportunity to snag a deal and step to the barre.  See the Purre Barre website for class information and more details.

Pure Barre Old Town

1350 N. Wells Street, Suite 4

Chicago, IL 60610

oldtown@purebarre.com

312.642.2922

Free Parking in the Self Park lot behind Cobbler Square is available.

 

Getting in Touch with Nature

Are you a city kid with country dreams?  The North Face, the well known outdoor clothing brand, and our beloved Chicago Park District are doing outreach to help us urbanites learn to camp in under our unforgettable Chicago skyline.  Events may feature camping basics, fishing skills and  nature hikes, or even spooky campfire tales lead by Chicago Park District staff.  Visit the website to register and more information.  Registration is mandatory to attend.

There are several spots to learn and set your gear down throughout the summer:

  • July 26-27: Northerly Island
  • August 9-10: Garfield Park Conservatory
  • August 16-17: Calumet Park
  • September 13-14: Gompers Park
  • September 20-21: CCFP Bullfrog Lake
  • September 27-28: Northerly Island
  • October 11: Family Adventure Day

Activity Guides from North Face are also available to give you the low down on other fun park events.

http://exploreyourparks.com/pdf/Chicago_EYP_Download.pdf

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Relax and Recharge in the Burbs

Grab some mini massages, snacks, and behind the scenes tours (OH MY!)  of the brand new Massage Envy Spa Mount Prospect, at their Grand Opening event on Tuesday, June 17 from 5-6:30 p.m.  Email massageenvy@heronpr.com to RSVP to the event.  (Text modified from Heron PR)

Movies and More under the Stars

Chicago Park District continues to bring free Movies in the Parks until early fall and that includes our beloved Millennium Park every Tuesday evenings and one bonus movie on Sunday, June 29th.  Click here to search the nearest park in Chicago.  This year Chicago Park District will also showcase the first Chicago on Screen which will feature locally-produced independent, documentary and short films around Chicago.
Wanna snuggle with a Lion during your show?  Ok that might be dangerous, but you can get up close and personal with the animals of Lincoln Park zoo and then catch a flick afterwards with Zoovies!  General admission is free but you can upgrade to VIP package for snacks, drinks and surprises.
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Photo Credit: MLK Photographs

Summer Bites

Chicago’s most romantic restaurant Geja’s Café will celebrate its 49th Anniversary Sunday, June 29 through Friday, July 4.  Guests will receive 49% off all food bills and can take part in Geja’s 5th annual recipe contest and 4th annual poetry challenge during the 6-day anniversary celebration. Guests are encouraged to compose original poetry about their experiences at Geja’s over the years.  Aspiring fondue foodies are invited to submit an original dipping sauce to accompany Geja’s signature meats and seafood entrée.  The winners from each contest will win a dinner for 6 with selected premium wines.  For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.gejascafe.com.  (Text provided by Heron PR) 

 

 

Chicago Passport to Healthy Skin

Chicagoan, need a healthy glow after the harsh winter?  Well, this is your opportunity to learn simple solution to healthy skin and more at this FREE event!

Date:  Saturday, June 7th  Location:  Millenium Park North Promenade, Chicago, IL  Time:  11:00am-3:00pm

One survey showed 75% of Chicago women are aware that what they eat impacts their skin’s health, but 52% don’t feel they can call themselves healthy eaters.  So tell your girlfriends and come check out this FREE event which includes the following….

  • Yoga workout sessions
  • Stress-relieving massages
  • Healthy treats and detoxifying teas
  • Skin-loving beauty samples
  • . . . Plus, get first-hand tips from our POPSUGAR editors and the Simple® Advisory Board
  • and FREE goodies!!

RSVP here and you will be showing off your luminous skin just in time for the summer!

Cooking in Chaos with Chicagoans

Want to show off your cooking skills while eating twenty different dishes all at once? Sounds like a crazy reality show right? A few weeks ago, Monica and a friend attended the launch party of Chaos Cooking</strong in one kitchen with only ten burners and one sink to share with over 50 fellow Chicagoans.

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So you must be wondering how do over 50 people cook in one kitchen?  Well think BYOU!  Bring yo’ own utensils, peeps.  I had to bring my own ingredients and supplies so I threw knives, bowls, cutting boards and such in a box and headed out.   There were several pots in the kitchen for people to use, however, making the event a potluck style social with the twist of cooking on the spot with strangers.

People arrived at the spacious Test Kitchen located in Noble Square and were greeted by the bubbly hostess and event organizer, Victoria DeMatteo.  As more people arrived, others immediately felt a sense urgency and started to prep their food.   Cravzy provided VIPs (those who bought tickets early like me) one ingredient such as tofu, golden beets, asparagus, fish filets, chicken thighs and more.  I selected Manila mangoes to prepare mango salsa.

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Fellow Chicagoans of all different ages and backgrounds came together and had a great time cooking in chaos.  Some dishes were from online recipes such as simple yet yummy mango sticky rice while others created their own dish and even brought electric grill for toasty bread with goat cheese spread and fresh asparagus. A few even stepped out of the box with unique ideas like beer soaked rice.

  

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 So if you have a creative and non-claustrophobic cooking spirit, check out the Chaos Cooking events, held once a month with friends and fellow Chicagoans.  Sign up at Cooking Chaos website for future events or even host an event at your apartment. The next event is Spanish wines and tapas at our fave bistro, Blue Star Bistro & Wine Bar.  Click here to RSVP for this event on June 12th.

What new dish would you make if you had to cook in chaos?

Detergent for the Green and Eco-Restless

We’re always looking to reduce the amount of chemical exposure we have on a daily basis.  With a multitude of ingredients on products and a limited time span, it’s often hard to figure out what you are putting in and on your body.  Reading the ingredients in our fave products often feels like you’re deciphering an ancient code with no decoder ring.  And laundry detergent is no exception.  Phenalyna-glycol a wha?  You want your clothes to be clean but do you need a ‘laundry’ list of items in your detergent?

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So what’s a more clear option?  Spearheaded by a former fashion designer, Puretergent aims to fill the gap between eco-friendly and fashion forward.  Kate attended a brunch to check out the new line with fellow Chicago bloggers at delicious Beatrix.  The line not only includes a minimalist ingredient list but has easy instructions and identifying packaging for the laundry illiterate.

Check it!  You have a pile of sweaty yoga clothes.  Should you choose the:

  • Colors
  • Whites and Dirty Stuff
  • X-Tra Sensitive

See, not as hard as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.  Whites and Dirty Stuff it is!

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Now what about the other essential elements you look for in a detergent?

Scent: Botanical fresheners like Aloe Vera, Lavender and Eucalyptus are the scent base.  None of the products smell perfume-y or strong and we especially liked the relaxing lavender smell of the Colors detergent.

Texture: No gooey sticky gel here.  Puretergent is almost like water when you pour it in.

Clothes Feel: No clothing softener needed as Purtergent promotes natural softness.

And the best thing about Purtergent?  It excludes chlorine, phosphates, nonylphenol ethoxylates, alcohol, dyes, optical brighteners, animal products and EPA priority pollutants so you can rest easy in your freshly laundered jammies.

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Puretergent is available at Target and runs at a similar price as most major brands.  Anyone feel like doing our laundry ;)?

Kettlebell Fitness for your tush and thighs

Spring and pending summer raise the “risk” of going out for fruity umbrella drinks, thus raising the probability of expanding our shorts sizes.  YIKES!  Sometimes you gotta switch up your fitness routine to get over the summer drink hump.  But what do two fitanistas do when they’ve tried a gamut of fitness styles?

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Go to an expert!  Our bestest personal trainer friend alerted us to a Kettlebell option in Chicago that we just had to try.  Chicago Kettlebell Club is the go-to place for kettlebell sport training in Chicago, and is home of Chicago’s growing kettlebell sport team.  They also offer intro classes for greenies like us.  The only Kettlebell experience we’ve had was in circuit training-like classes where we hacked our way through the traditional wood chopper exercise.

But now, we know better!  One of the best things about Chicago Kettlebell Club is the bubbly, informative and meticulous instructor, Bea Rodriguez (read her personal story about how she got hooked on kettlebell).  When entering, we were late (we need to work on that!) to the North Side space where Bea’s small group training sessions are held, Evolution, but Bea looped us right in.  There were about 4 other people in the class and the circuit was posted on a dry erase board for more experienced classmates.  Bea warmed us up and then helped us through the entire class with basic kettlebell handling, form, and facts.  This was much appreciated as we figured out we had noooo idea how to handle that sucker.

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Basic Kettlebell Tidbits:

What Da…is a Kettlebell anyways?

Kettlebells originated in Russia and are either cast iron or steel balls with an attached handle.  They range in weight as can be quite light or supremely heavy.  Bea uses steel competition Kettlebells in her classes.

So how much do they weigh?

We started off with a 8 kg kilogram kettlebell (good ol’ pinky the Kettlebell) which equates to approximately 17.6 lbs and bumped up to the light blue 10 kg kettlebell (approx. 22 pounds).  The largest kettlebell (an appropriately colored gold bell) at Evolution weighs 48 kg lbs.

For the math curious, 1 kg=2.2 pounds (Oh you tricky metric system!)
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There are different schools of Kettlebell thought/technique: Girevoy Sport Style and Hardstyle

Girevoy style Kettlebell classes focus on endurance over time whereas Hardstyle does more explosive movements where you tire quickly.  Bea practices Girevoy Sport style, aka fluid style, but you may encounter Hardstyle at your local gym.

You can compete with Kettlebells.

No ways! There is an upcoming competition in Chicago in June, and there are many competitions that team members can attend throughout the year, in Chicago and other states and countries.

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So who should join the Chicago Kettlebell Club?

Whether you’re in Chicago or not, you can join Coach Bea‘s kettlebell sport team.  Male, female, beginner and advanced athletes are all welcome. All you need are 2 things:

1) Set aside 3 times a week to follow Coach Bea‘s weekly programming, whether at home or a gym that has competition bells (in Chicago, Evolution Fitness at 6122 N Pulaski Rd and Phenomenal Fitness at 1450 S Michigan Ave has them)

2) Set up in-person coaching (at Evolution Fitness or Phenomenal Fitness) or video technique coaching.  You may also choose to attend optional team practice sessions at Evolution on Saturdays at 12pm.

Pricing will depend on location and the training package you choose.

Email Coach Bea at chikettleclub@gmail.com with your name and phone number if interested.  More info can also be found here http://thechicagokettlebellclub.com/faqs/

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Here’s a sneak peek demo of a kick butt Kettlebell signature move, the Double Turkish Get-Up 24kg .

Umm soo..do Kettlebells make you lose weight?

As with all things, your nutritional lifestyle and exercise both factor in but yep, Kettlebells burn some major calories so they are an effective tool to get your blood pumping!

We wholeheartedly recommend this class for beginners or advanced fitness students.  Aside from being comfortable with basic swing variations and squat techniques, there was one thing we were definitely sure about…..Bea’s Kettlebell class worked us out!  Our booties and thighs were sore enough to make us think we walked up a mountain!

 

Ready to try it out?  Your first class with Bea is free!  Contact her to get started today.

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And for you competitive go-getter types, here’s a taste of what a competition looks like:

Happy swinging!

 

Girl’s Fit Night: Exhale and Women’s Health Core Fusion Party

We don’t know about ya’ll, but we love spending quality time with our best pals and quality time is even better when you can get fit together!   Exhale Spa Chicago, one of our fave luxurious spa and workout joints, is hosting a free event this coming Tuesday.

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The event includes complimentary evening Core Fusion classes, lite bites, goodie bags, giveaways, DJ’s and more!  The illustrious and well known, Women’s Health magazine, will also be kicking off their “Next Fitness Star” competition with guest star contender, Emily Scrhomm, during the party.  

Core Fusion Barre+Cardio, Exhale’s newest class will be one of the featured workouts for attendees to try during FusionFest.  If you haven’t tried an Exhale class, their instructors are impeccably skilled at merging ab wrenching exercises with toning Barre tricks and sweat inducing bursts of heart pumping moves.  

Anyone who attends the complimentary FusionFest classes will also be the recipient of a free month subscription to WH Fit Club (https://fitclub.womenshealthmag.com/), the online fitness center that gives access to the hottest, most coveted workout studios and leading fitness experts across the country—including exclusive workouts from Exhale co-founders Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp and Exhale’s National Yoga Director Stefanie Eris.

We would love you to join us in a fit and fun girl’s night!  Sign up here, grab your sticky grip socks, cute fitness gear and we’ll meet you at the Barre.

Final Details

Date: Exhale FusionFest, Tuesday May 20th

Class times: 5:25pm, 5:45pm, 6:35pm, 7:45pm

Location: 945 N. State, Chicago, IL 60610