I don’t know about you, but I’ve been listening to Christmas music nonstop on my morning commute, in the office, and well everywhere in between. One song in particular has struck my fancy; aren’t you curious as to what it is? Alright, no need to whine, Santa is watching after all – It’s Andy William’s “Happy Holiday” of course, an anthem to all things merry! My version differs, for it goes a little something like this:
We have a big, fun FLIRTcasting up on the blog
With lots of activities for you and for me
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Pretty catchy, right? Keep on reading to see how many winter activities you’ve accomplished this holiday season!
Grab your scarf, mittens, puffer jacket, and hand-warmers for caroling at the Cloud Gate – This Friday (12/16) from 6-7PM! You don’t have to be gracious singer; you just simply have to enjoy spreading some holiday cheer alongside Chicago’s local choral groups. Perhaps even Mr. Santa Claus will make a guest appearance, delighting the inner child in all of us. Afterwards, feel free to take a twirl on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park equipped with frosty views of the bean and Chicago’s staggering 69-foot Norway Spruce Christmas Tree.
Deck the zoo with more than 1 million twinkling LED lights in Brookfield’s 35th annual Holiday Magic. See the enchantment zoo-wide all month long and enjoy multiple activities including a 41-foot talking tree, model train display, Christmas carolers, ice carvers, and photos with Santa and the Mrs. If all of that holiday cheer has yet to woo you, you also get to sing to the reindeer, big cats, and bears, oh my! “See the lights, Feel the Magic, Continue the Tradition” at Brookfield Zoo.
Finish Christmas Shopping
Bake Christmas Cookies
Enjoy Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest!
Add Chicago’s biggest indoor winter playground to your weekend to-do list! Why not bring the whole family and enjoy 170,000 square feet of rides, giant slides, 15-foot snow tubing hills, and the Chicago Blackhawk’s ice skating rink. It’s a great way to stay warm and toasty hidden away from the Chicago cold; yet, still enjoy Father Winter’s glorious activities!
Let’s be real, who hasn’t had visions of sugar plums dance in their heads? Whether you have or haven’t, go buy your tickets to Joffrey’s new Nutcracker, performing all month long at the Auditorium Theatre. This reimagined ballet with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon celebrates Chicago’s mysterious 1893 World’s Fair through the playful eyes of a child, an electrifying spin on the classic fairy tale about a little girl who goes to the Land of Sweets.
Mm…do you smell the inviting aromas of sausages, Strudel, and Glühwein, a traditional German holiday market hot spiced wine? Why, that’s enough to please the pallet and warm the soul, especially in the North Chicago Pole. Check out Chicago’s largest open-air market inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany market that was founded way back in 1545. This special holiday exposition brings cherished German and European traditions whilst welcoming an international flair and new cultures each and every year. After indulging in the large assortment of savory food, drinks, and treats, complete your shopping experience by meeting and greeting the other vendors. Perhaps you might even come home with a few cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and hand-painted ornaments!
New Year’s Eve Festivities
2017 is just two weeks away! With that being said, have you made plans to ring in the New Year? Chi-Town Rising embarks on its second annual celebration along the Chicago Riverfront between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. This year’s party will feature activities on the Chicago Cultural Mile, live entertainment, and of course a dazzling fireworks display alongside the beautiful Chicago River courtesy of Navy Pier! The countdown will commence with the Rising Star ascending 36 stories up above the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s West Tower, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to the party, NBC 5 will be broadcasting the event live.
Why not finish this off with a song and dance? Check back next year for another edition of FLIRTcasting!
May the calendar keep bringing
Happy Holidays to you and luck in Q1 2017!
We are stepping into December, which means we are not far from 2017! Have you had a chance to think of your new year resolutions? Well, learning something new is always a beneficial goal to set for a new year and for event professionals (or aspiring event professionals), web and design are always good topics to learn about. These areas are essential parts of events. I mean, can you imagine an event without a website or branding? You may not have direct interest in becoming a developer or designer, but having more knowledge on these subjects will make working with designers much more smooth. Plus, it’s always fun to learn!
Here are some online resources that provide fun and efficient ways to learn about web or graphic design:
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization created by Salman Khan. It has a wide variety of subjects to learn such as math, science, economics, history, music and of course, web design! For learning about web design, Intro to HTML/CSS is the go to course. It has more than just videos, it also offers activities, and even games! The best part, it rewards you with badges upon completion.
In comparison to Khan Academy, Code Academy differs in that it is specifically for learning how to code. It offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages including HTML, CSS, Java, Python and more. For learning HTML & CSS, it provides step-by-step instructions and an online editor, so you can learn and practice at the same time.
Lynda.com offers video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business. Compared to the two sites above, Lynda.com is more project-based, meaning you can watch videos on certain topics that you are interested in, while the above two sites offer more of a step-by-step process.
If you can’t find what you are looking for from the sites above, of course there are many other websites that provide lessons. For instance, YouTube can be a go to when looking for a quick/free video tutorial. The growing use of technology and the internet has made learning easier and much more accessible. So really, there are no excuses big enough to stand in the way of your new year’s learning goal!
My good friend Mr. Frank Sinatra once sang, “Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside. Painted candy canes on the tree. Santa’s on his way. He’s filled his sleigh with things, things for you and for me…” but even Santa has a budget, am I right? To get the most out of your holiday shopping this year, you should consider taking a look at our compilation of apps and websites equipped with the best deals and holiday steals. So, you savvy shopper you, I invite you to read on and take some notes…without further ado, please enjoy FLIRT’s Holiday Shopping Edition!
Don’t you just love discounted gift cards? It’s like finding that Christmas cash you stashed away 2 years ago in an envelope under your iHome Dock (*cough, cough* I found $200, winning). Raise is a mobile app and accompanying website that allows you to buy and sell retail gift cards. It’s free to list, and you set your own prices controlling how fast or slow your cards sell. So why not try it out and buy your male teen cousins gift cards to Subway and/or Chili’s, considering you most likely have no idea what to get them.
The Black Friday catalogue days are quickly coming to an end, so how else can you keep up with retailer’s savings? Well of course, my dear shopper, you use DealNews! DealNews is a website that emails you the best deals available from all across the Internet. The experts only list products that are at the lowest price and offered from reputable companies. It’s the thrill of the shopping chase, but you actually get good deals – shop smarter, not harder.
Coupons in the 21st Century
Who remembers sitting at the kitchen table cutting out coupons from the Sunday paper insert? Or in my case, watching Nani snip away at the vitamins, popcorn, and frozen TV dinners, buy one, get one free deals. Save time and hand cramps with SnipSnap, the app that saves any printed coupon to your mobile phone. Simply snap a photo of a printed coupon and be amazed as SnipSnap recognizes the text and images while converting it to a digital, mobile-ready offer. In addition to uploading your own deals, you can browse the database to discover featured offers from select retailers. Discover it, snip it, redeem it!
The holidays give an extra reason to be romantic (hint, hint: Peter, I want a puppy). So why not Spoil that special someone with beautiful gifts and same-day delivery from anywhere in the United States with just one click? Spoil is the simplest way to give; the app is available at the App store and with just a few taps, you can send anything from macarons and champagne to mystery boxes. Try it out and (*wink*) you’re welcome!
Shopular is an app that finds daily and weekly deals based on your favorite stores. This app is special in that it uses location-based notifications to send relevant deals to your smart phone the second you walk into the store. Users choose which deals they want to see and can simply redeem their coupons right from a mobile device. Shopular also offers consumers a community to interact and share saving tips and tricks with to enrich the entire experience. I, for one, would like to see a Black Friday deal on Burberry coats…Nordstrom, I’m talking to you.
There you have it, savvy shopper – you made it to the end. I hope you gained a lot of relevant information that will help you maneuver the holidays. Check back next time for another edition of FLIRTcasting! Take it away Frank.
Even though it has been almost four months since Pokemon Go was released, you can still find people of all ages playing. Everyone knows the concept but what people don’t know is that its main component utilizes a technology that the world is still trying to adapt to—Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical environment in which the elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Pokemon Go wasn’t the first to showcase AR, but they brought it to a mass audience. One of the first functioning AR systems came out in 1992 when Louis Rosenberg developed Virtual Fixtures. These Fixtures allowed the military to work in remote areas. In 2004, see-through AR was brought to cell phones. Other than in mapping and gaming, there are many other uses of AR. Here are some applications of AR that you may not have realized before:
Imagine visiting all historical sites and seeing what they looked like hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Augmented Reality has made this a possibility. With your smart phone or tablet, you can now relive what these areas were like in the past.
We thought greeting cards that played music were exciting but now greeting cards can be implemented with digital content that users can view by scanning the card with their smart phones. The content can be pictures, videos, or 3D objects which the viewers can interact with. Mage and iGreet are some places where you can get AR greeting cards.
Donating blood is not always the most pleasant experience. Now, with AR, giving blood has become a quicker and less painful process. Devices like VeinViewer can locate veins inside a person’s arm using harmless near-infrared light allowing for quick and painless entry.
Traveling in foreign countries and figuring out directions can be very challenging and even nerve racking. With Augmented Reality, foreign text on signs and menus can be translated and re-displayed in the user’s language. In 2014, Google incorporated Word Lens into its Google Translate, so now it has the function of instant translation from your phone’s camera.
AR is still developing and the potential uses are endless. Pokemon GO opened the door for other AR apps to flourish, but it’s only the beginning. We are eager to see how Augmented Reality grows and evolves in different aspects of our daily life over the next few years.
“Augmented Reality.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.
Nelson, Fritz. “The Past, Present, And Future Of VR And AR: The Pioneers Speak.” Tom’s Hardware. 30 Apr. 2014 Web. 04 Oct. 2016
I’m sure you’ve noticed the emergence of students with backpacks on street corners, traffic-inducing school buses, and Halloween decorations at Walgreens, you know what that means? Yes, it’s back to school season! It’s the highly anticipated time of year where we all become swamped with work and wonder, how will we manage everything? Lucky for you, we’ve designed a compilation of smart phone apps developed and in development that will help you balance life’s daily turmoil. So sit back, relax, and let’s get a little Zen talking about this “soothing” technology.
For Your Mind: It’s important to read up on the news each and every morning, but who really has time to flip through every article? Zolt is an app that supplies you with 60-word summaries of major news stories. Best part? The more you use it the more personalized it becomes. It’s a tailored news feed created just for you. Keep it simple, and be in the know.
For Your Stability: Are you a planner? If you’re a part of the event industry then of course you are! We can all agree that sometimes it’s a little hard to balance everything we have going on, let alone know what everyone else is up to. Check out Tweek, it’s an app that allows you to share and assign tasks with your colleagues, family, or significant other. Since everyone is on their smartphones all the time anyways, try taking a digital approach to getting work done.
For Your Body: Setting aside time to go to the gym can be difficult and anxiety-provoking. That’s why there’s Kenzai, an online health platform that pairs professional workouts with a weekly nutritional plan. You can take the app-equipped program anywhere and have 90-day access to professional trainers, nutritionists, and a supportive community. The work week may be busy, but no one can judge you from your living room, it’s a plan you can actually stick with!
For Your Heart: Humans are explorative creatures (the end.) But really, we travel to find ourselves, to lose ourselves, and to see a different way of life. Basetrip is a website and developing app that puts your journey angst to rest by gathering travel details on countries from all over the globe. Simply select where you’d like to go and be amazed by all the weather reports, electricity sockets, currency, tipping recommendations, dial tones, and many more helpful materials. What’s the official language of Mozambique, you may ask? Portuguese, of course!
And Just Because You Deserve A Giggle: Whether you’re a professional photographer or not, we all enjoy taking pictures with our friends, families and yes, pets. PictoGif is an app that enhances your pictures like no other. Snap that picture of Muffin, your cat, and watch her transform into a hilarious gif. You can share it with friends, and who knows, perhaps she will be the next viral sensation.
We hope you feel a little more at ease, and remember balance is essential to a healthy and happy life. Check back next time for another edition of FLIRTcasting!