Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday 5 List #31-Staying Cool In Chicago

It's finally HOT here in Chicago. Well in-between storms it is. So far we haven't had the legendary muggy Chicago summer weather but it's hot enough that kids are in sprinklers, jumping in park pools and visiting the ice cream trucks as they sing through neighborhoods.

Today's Monday 5 List includes my tips for staying cool in Chicago.
  1. Cool house. I'm lucky enough to live in a small all brick bungalow built in the mid 1950's. Unless the humidity is unbearable I rarely turn the air conditioning on and usually only will if I have guests who aren't familiar with Chicago heat. My basement is an ice box and I don't use the oven unless necessary. I keep window fans and ceiling fans running at low speed to circulate the air and I have plantation style blinds on all my windows which are great for filtering the hot sunlight and my curtains do the rest. 
  2. The Lake. Chicagoans will tell you "It's cooler by the Lake" and that is usually accurate. Sometimes the 5-10 degree difference is all you need and it's nice to put your toes in the cold waters of Lake Michigan. I haven't swam in the Lake in a few years but when you have access to a boat it's wonderful to be about 2 miles off the Chicago lakefront where the water is deep and ice cold and you can cannonball off the deck.
  3. Street Festivals. Chicago is THE City of street fests. On any given weekend you can find a fest in neighborhoods all over the City. The better ones have plenty of shade, cold beer and fans misting water. For a list of Chicago's Street Festivals, check out this guide from Metromix. 
  4. Water. Public parks have a variety of water features. Some are splash pools, other spouting fountains. Probably the most famous one in Chicago is the Crown Fountain, known to Chicagoans as the "Water Wall" in Millennium Park. These huge glass towers feature faces of Chicago residents seen through water that rains down and if you wait long enough, spits out the mouth of an image. It's totally cool and very popular with residents and tourists. Here is a link to a YouTube video of the "spitting" wall. Great place to cool off.
  5. Fans. During the weeks I spent in Spain in 2011 I began using small pocket fans. Women all over Spain keep these small fans in their bags and you see them being used everywhere from buses to restaurants. Once it's warm in Chicago, I have at least one of my Spanish fans with me. Pic of my pocket fans below. 
Stay cool readers and enjoy the summer!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday 5 List #30-Social Media Sites

As a business librarian I frequently instruct small business owners, their staff, job seekers and adults in career transition on how to utilize social media in their professional lives. My job is fascinating, humbling and never boring. I often combine instruction on how to utilize the library's resources such as databases and new technology with social media and in order to instruct these tools I need to use them.
So for today's Monday 5 list, here are the social media sites that I get asked about, use and instruct most frequently:

  • Facebook. There are not many people or businesses that I interact with these days who are not on Facebook (personally I have a Facebook profile and 3 Facebook pages). But recently I've noticed a decline in people using Facebook in favor of other sites including...
  • Twitter. Probably the social media site that I instruct the most, especially to job seekers. Twitter is a never ending source of news, networking and ideas. Twitter is the first site I check on my phone in the morning and the last one I check at night. It's also my go to source if I want to share a complaint or compliment for business and news. 
  • Pinterest. The photo sharing website organized like a virtual pinboard is addicting. I use it as a way to source everything from recipes to inspiration. Small business owners are discovering how combining Pinterest boards with ecommerce can be very beneficial.
  • YouTube and Vine. Demo videos, tutorials, laughs, you name it you'll find it on YouTube. I've instructed small business owners on YouTube from real estate agents highlighting houses to travel agents highlighting destinations. Haven't heard of Vine? You will soon. Users create 7 second videos with this mobile app and businesses are getting creative. 
  • Foursquare. Location based social media through your phone, businesses often offer incentives to "check in" at their locations and users utilize Foursquare to find their friends and tips on places and businesses. Plus Foursquare is just plain fun.
Looking for more social media connections, find me on all of the above sites as Lively Librarian and or Shannon Distel Scanlan.