How To Choose The Right Kitchen Countertops

Whether you are remodeling your kitchen or you’re making a few changes, you want nothing but the best. Just like kitchen cabinets, countertops range from the most familiar to some that offer uniqueness but at a price. Below is a detailed review of several countertop materials with a complete listing of their pros and cons as well as their estimated prices.


Costing around $35-$100 per square foot, granite countertops have a lot to offer. They are scratch, water, and stain resistant. They are also durable, and a broad range of colors is available. Not to forget they have a unique glowing look. Unfortunately, they require substantial support due to their bulky nature. They also need constant sealing, making maintenance a bother.


Marble has excellent heat resistant qualities. Over the years, most people preferred a marble surface for pastry and baking work. Most importantly, marble offers sophistication. On the other hand, marble gets stained easily. Even with proper sealing, stains still become a bother. Perhaps, that is why many people prefer to have it as a countertop on a small section only. Mind you, it also cracks and chips easily. With $40-$100, you can install a square foot of marble.


While soapstone might not be a match for marble and granite, it has its unique way of appealing to the eye. Soapstone is soft in nature and has a light gray friendly color. Regrettably, the color darkens with time. To avoid this, you have to oil the surface constantly. Besides, the rough nature of soapstone is not too friendly to glassware. The soapstone countertop cannot stand knife scratches too. A square foot of soapstone ranges from $70-$100.


The good thing about concrete, you can customize it to your taste and preference. Concrete can get cast in any shape and custom tints applied. You can also add embellishments such as glass fragments, shells, and rocks. Disadvantages include the fact that concrete is porous. Therefore, without constant sealing stains set in. With time, small cracks develop. Due to its customizable nature, it is a bit expensive with prices ranging from $75-$125 per square foot.

Paper Composite

Made from paper fibers and resin the paper composite countertop offers more durability than you would ever imagine. One of the main advantages lies in its weight. It is also great for withstanding water and heat. In terms of disadvantages, it is not resistant to scratches and risks chemical damage. While you might get tricked into believing this is a cheaper option, it costs $85-$125 per square foot.

Butcher block

For those after a unique traditional feel, this is the way to go. It has a warm natural appearance. While it hardly stands knife scratches, some people love the end look. Due to its wooden nature, it suffers from many challenges. For instance, it swells and contracts with different moisture levels. It also faces a risk of bacterial infection thus needs frequent disinfection. Oiling is mandatory as the scratches have to be filled, and the surface needs constant protection. Overall, it is quite cheap costing around $35-$70 per square foot.

Stainless steel

Mainly found in commercial kitchens but can serve as a beautiful countertop at home too. The good thing about it, you get a tailor-made solution. Stainless steel stands out in that it resists heat, water, and bacteria. Unfortunately, fingerprint marks need wiping constantly, and it might get dented with time. The coloration also changes with time. To install one, you will need around $65-$125 per square foot.

5 Major Differences Between an MBA and an EMBA

emba and mba differences

MBAs and EMBAs are both Master’s of Business Administration degrees that teach students the hard and soft skills they need to be executive level managers. Although following many of the same principles, these programs are different in a myriad of ways.

Discover how an EMBA is distinct from an MBA here as we unfold the major differences between the two degrees.

What Courses You’ll Take

An MBA program is formatted to familiarize new associates and recent grads with the different elements of business administration. Students are required to choose a specialty, which will allow them to become an expert in a particular field such as marketing or real estate. The curriculum includes electives to broaden a student’s understanding of the industry and better prepare them to enter a management role. In an EMBA program, the curriculum is more focused. Since students have already held management positions, electives are omitted and choosing a specialty is not a requirement. EMBA students will work towards refreshing previous knowledge, fine tuning skills, learning best practices for today’s technology driven world, and becoming better leaders.

The Speed in Which the Program Moves

Since an EMBA is a part time MBA program it moves at a faster pace. Students need to be familiar with many of the concepts that will be taught or they could risk falling behind. As a requirement, it is necessary than EMBA students have the extra knowledge and necessary experience to be successful in the fast paced environment. Most programs require than an applicant already hold at least five years of managerial experience. Alternatively, MBA programs are more introductory. A recent business school grad or entry-level associate would be able to follow the pace of an MBA program since it is fulltime and general in nature.

Who You Will Be Attending Class With

Most EMBA students are 32-38 years old. The reason they are older than the average MBA student is that EMBA programs require students to have more out-of-the-classroom experience before applying. Most applicants possess a minimum of five years in a management role and have already achieved success as a supervisor. If growing your professional network is a motivator for attending grad school, you’ll be pleased to know your EMBA classmates will be executive level managers with extensive experience and connections.

When You Will Be Attending Class

Unlike a typical college schedule EMBA classes are held in the evenings and weekends — so attending school shouldn’t interfere with your day job. Some programs will have a Friday component, but most employers are agreeable to granting a four-day workweek while you pursue your degree. Since classes are held at times that are convenient for working professionals, students are able to balance school and work without sacrificing performance.

How You Will Pay for Your Degree

You can pay for your degree using personal savings, or taking out a federal or private loan. Some students will be eligible for scholarship opportunities offered by their school, community or country. While the way in which you pay for tuition is unlikely to differ from one program to another, the portion that you’re responsible for may. Since EMBA students are able to continue working, their employer might offer reimbursement to cover the cost of attendance. Master’s of Business Administration of companies offered their employees full reimbursement for their EMBA degree in 2009. While your employer may not cover the cost in full, they may extend partial assistance.

Skin Care Guide: How To Prevent Breakouts

prevent breakouts and acne tips

Millions of people around the world suffer from acne and unfortunately, many products that are thrown at them don’t help. In fact, some of them actually make things worse. The good thing about acne breakouts is that they are preventable with simple tips.

•    Washing your face twice a day is very important whether you have acne or not. You should make it a point to cleanse in the morning after you wake up and in the night before you go to bed. Use a gentle cleanser; the harsher ones dry out skin leaving it vulnerable to tears which increase the likelihood of a breakout.

•    You must consistently moisturize; again, this is because when your skin is dry it tears easily allowing germs to get in that lead to breakouts.

•    If you are an acne sufferer makeup is not your friend so use it very sparingly and make sure that you use only very gentle and dermatologically tested brands.

•    If you have long hair that you let hang around your face it is likely that you get breakouts more often – hair gathers  dirt and other microscopic particles and in addition to that, the products that you use on it could also lead to irritation. It is best to hold your hair away from your face.

•    Stop eating junk; one of the best ways to have a healthy skin is to eat right. When you eat junk you are more likely to get breakouts. Especially avoid fatty foods.

•    Your pillow case holds a lot of oils from your skin and in the oils are lodged germs. Make a point of changing it every few days.

•    We touch our faces hundreds of times a day without knowing it. Although it is hard to do, try and make a habit of noticing when you are about to touch your face and stop yourself.

•    Once you have a breakout it is important to let it clear before you use makeup.

•    Stay away from the sun and strong wind as these tend to dry your skin out and leave you prone to breakouts.

•    A lot of acne sufferers make it worse because they are stressed. Either avoid getting to situations that are stressful or find a way to deal with stress such as exercise which also happens to be good for acne.

If you use these tips you will find that you get breakouts less often and they happen they don’t last long.

Can a Lollipop Get Rid of Your Hiccups? Find out…


One of the most interesting parts of my job is the crazy stories I get to read. In fact, I read about so many crazy things, I thought I had seen it all. Well, that was until I heard about “Hiccupops”. I had been trying to figure out how to get rid of my hiccups and stumbled upon this crazy product. If you’re looking to figure out how to get rid of hiccups, Hiccupops are what you need. They are little lollipops that have some strange mixture of ingredients that actually trick your body into resetting your diaphragm. There’s a bunch of technical terms and junk but apparently they work!

The girl who invented them was only 14 when she came up with the recipe. She had been plagued with horrible hiccups and tried everything – drinking water upside down, gulping down pickle juice – yikes.

I’m looking forward to trying them (got myself a 5-pack). We will be reporting back with a full review of the product. The only hard part is going to be determining when that review will be. I tend to get pretty bad hiccups after dinner and drinks though, so it probably won’t be too long.

Before I stumbled on this lollipop, I (like the girl who invented these) had tried everything. Below are just a few of the hiccup remedies I had tried…

  • Drinking a full glass of salted water.
  • Drinking a glass of water upside down (very hard)
  • Eating a teaspoon of sugar
  • Inhaling as much as I could and holding my breath for 30 second, then releasing the air for 30 seconds (seemed to work sometimes)
  • Getting my heart rate up by doing sprints or jumping jacks (same idea behind having someone scare you)
  • Spinning in a circle (apparently the dizziness does something – didn’t work for me)
  • Eating a teaspoon of salt (definitely does not work)

What weird hiccup cures have you tried?

Unique Ways To Market Your Small Business

Occasionally we like to feature guest writers here on Today we have Ryan Loveless from Digitalux, a digital marketing and SEO company located in New Jersey. Ryan was extremely helpful is taking our website from an idea to an actual site and we owe him and Digitalux a lot for that.

With over five years experience in digital marketing (which is pretty long considering that it is a relatively new field of marketing), the team over at Digitalux has worked with companies of all sizes to grow their online presence, bringing in tons of new leads.

I personally know Ryan and some of his coworkers and have constantly been impressed with how much they know when it comes to Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and SEO. Today he is going to walk you through his favorite methods to generate leads for small businesses.

We hope you enjoy! Read More →

Chicago Dad Builds Amazing All Terrain RV To Travel The World


Bran Ferren, a designer from CA, has created the “KiraVan“, named after his daughter Kira

It is an amazing all-terrain truck that is built to take some serious hits. However, the interior is fit for a king. Ferren is the co-chairman at Applied Minds, LLC, where the vehicle was built. He built this truck specially for his daughter so that they could one day travel the world in style and safety.

KiraVan is built on a Mercedes-Benz chasis platform with a trailer attached for housing and storage.

View some of the amazing pictures below…


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Images: Applied Minds

Sources: KiraVan,

Chicago Octoberfest is here!


Fall is here and that means Octoberfest is just around the corner – September 30th.

We’ve compiled a list of all the fun activities you can do this Octoberfest below, check them out!


Patty Turner Center Oktoberfest

Friday, October. 17, 5:30 p.m. 375 Elm Street Patty Turner Center

Price: $30


Oktoberfest Finale

Friday, October. 24, 5:30 p.m. 500 West Jefferson Street

Price: FREE


You Can “Brew” It!

Tuesday, September 30th, 7 p.m. 125 S. Prospect Avenue

Price: FREE


Oktoberfest German Concert: Alpine Thunder

Tue., Oct. 21, 7 p.m. 1930 Glenview Rd. Glenview Public Library

Price: FREE


Raue Center’s Oktoberfest

Friday, September. 26, at 4:oo p.m. to Sep. 27 26 North Williams Street

Price: $6.00


Know of any more fun Chicago activities? Leave a comment below and yours could be featured on our blog!

Plans To Decriminalize Pot Statewide


Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a plan to decriminalize marijuana in a meeting today.

This move is highly controversial, especially at a time right now with such political turmoil in the statehouse.

The city of Chicago passed a law in 2012 that allows police to ticket individuals with less than 15 grams of pot. At the time, this was a huge win for Chicago. Emanuel wants to use the same decriminalization plan for the entire state of IL.

“It doesn’t make sense that one arrest for a very small amount of a controlled substance can lead to a lifetime of struggles, sending people in and out of prison and putting up barriers to getting a job or finding a place to live. We need action from Springfield.”

– Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Estimates are that over seven thousand people are incarcerated each year for possessing less than one gram a drug.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Memorial Day Events

Summer is almost officially here, people! Finally the frigid winter is gone and we can start enjoying the few months that Chicago actually gets sun.

Chicago is chock-full of events in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to bookmark this page for future reference because we’re dishing out the must go to events.

  1. 5/28 – Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians
  2. 5/30 – Dick Hyman & Bill Charlap Trio
  3. 5/30 – Festival del Taco
  4. 5/31 – Chicago Veggie Pride Parade
  5. 6/1 – Maifest

For a full list of the awesome events going in in Chicago this summer, check out!

Interview With Steve Feldman – The Rise of DUI Arrests in Cook County & Chicago

drive-drink-chicagoIf you have been watching the news, you know that the mayor of Chicago has placed a lot of efforts trying to cut back on the DUI related accidents in Chicago. The plan is to increase DUI checkpoints on specific days and the amount of police out patrolling on weekends. We’ve heard rumors and speculation that the police have been told to be more aggressive when on the lookout. Of course, take this with a grain of salt because it’s only speculation coming from the Chicago blogosphere.

Today I sit down with a family friend of mine, S.J. Feldman of Feldman Criminal Lawyer and DUI Attorney to discuss why this is all happening, how it effects you, and what you can do to protect yourself. To maintain this blogs integrity and my professionalism as a blogger/journalist, I must tell you that Steve has bought a sponsorship on this blog (as you will see in the sidebar). This does not affect this article in any way, I am simply asking a friend a few questions about his profession and his expert opinions on these matters. If you are going to troll the comments, they will be deleted. Now let’s get to the interview…

The Chicagoan: Hi. Thanks for sitting down with me today.

Steve: No problem – recording?

TC: Yep. Okay, maybe you can tell us a bit about yourself, your background – give people, readers, a better idea of yourself and your career.

S: Sure, well, I am a lawyer that practices out of Chicago but handle cases from all over Cook County – from Skokie to Schaumburg. I started [a career in law] about twenty years ago after graduating from the John Marshal Law School. I’ll cut the details, but I’ve been in involved in all types of law. Currently, aside from owning Feldman Criminal Defense, I am a hearing officer and professor at my alma mater. As a hearing office I handle license reinstatements – mostly, they involve traffic infractions and cases where the individual was under the influence.

TC: Impressive background!

S: I like to stay busy!

TC: I know you have limited time before you have to head off to a meeting, so maybe we could cut to the chase and you can answer my questions in succession. First, what is up with the rise in DUI arrests? Next, how does this affect the common person? Lastly, how can people protect themselves?

S: Well… The rise in DUI’s has been troublesome for our community but not a surprise. If you look at the data, I mean statistics of drinking and high unemployment rate, you will see a correlation. Does that mean high unemployment leads people to drink more? Certainly seems that way! It’s scary but Cook County leads the state of Illinois for most DUI related arrests. Actually, we just did a blog post on it. We’ve seen a big crack down because there is a much larger need to protect the people. There’s a write-up on our [firms] DUI page too. We’re trying hard to update our site so our clients can learn more about the DUI and criminal matters occurring in Chicago and also Cook County.

TC: Right, okay.

S: This affects the common Chicago person through various ways. Expect more traffic delays and stricter police inspection and questioning when you are pulled over late at night. How can you protect yourself? Well, think twice before drinking and driving. And not only drinking, but any substance that inhibits your reaction times. I’ve dealt with cases where people were prescribed drugs to treat common colds and been interrogated by police for suspicion of a DUI. Even if you are tired or fatigued, take a cab or call a friend. It’s honestly not worth your life or someone else’s because you fell asleep behind the wheel – which happens much more often than you think. You don’t hear about it as much in the media though. *Phone rings* Sorry, I have to take this – it was good talking with you!

Well, there you have it folks. Maybe when the unemployment rate drops we will see a drop in check points, etc. Until then, keep reading the Chicagoan for up to date info on what’s really going on in Chicago.

Until next time…

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