3 Places to Fall in Love With This Fall Season in Chicago

Fallin’ in Love: 3 Places to Fall in Love With This Fall Season in Chicago

If you’ve blinked anytime during the last eight months, then let us officially welcome you to fall.

We might be biased, but Autumn in Chicago might just be one of the most beautiful things you will ever experience.

With its beautiful crisp fall foliage, envious weather, and increasingly growing list of things to do- there’s nowhere else we’d like to spend this season. The best part is- even a global pandemic can’t get in the way of enjoying this beautiful time of year.

If you’re worried that this season is canceled too, worry not- mother nature has got your back. Lucky for us (at least here in Chicago) that some of the best things about Fall are its stunning colors, heart-warming flavors, and seasonal décor- and not even the most controversial of events can cancel them.

 If you’re wondering where exactly these beautiful places, we speak of exist, read along to see some of our favorites. Enjoy!

Taking a walk from the Botanic Garden’s visitor center to the Conservation Science Center– because nothing feeds the soul and helps you feel the enchantment of the season like a mix of colorful perennials and fiery Japanese maples.

 A nice (short) road trip to Morton Arboretum. Nature amiright? This beautiful fairytale-like land is less than an hour’s drive away but feels like you’ve stepped into a new world. Featuring over 4,000 [type] of tress, we can almost guarantee you will leave this place feeling recharged and inspired- it also makes for a beautiful romantic getaway.

 The LaBagh Woods– Listen, if being outdoors is your cup of tea, you’re going to want to grab a couple of friends and head over the banks of the Chicago River’s North Branch to this forest preserve. With over 35 miles of trails, you can hike your way up to stunning oaks, maples, and cottonwoods. Bonus points for packing some apple cider and having the most Instagrammable autumn picnic ever.

These are just some of our favorites, but they are a mere dent on all that Chicago has to offer this Fall. Don’t be afraid to feel and (spread) the season’s spirit around. It’s about time we all start feeling good around here.

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Entering Autumn: 3 Ways to Safely Enjoy Fall Outdoors This Year

While social distancing and safe practices are still in effect, there are still many traditional ways we can celebrate fall safely with others. Read ahead for a few ideas to get into the fall spirit!

Visit an Orchard

Apple orchards are a great way to enjoy the season. These locations will let you pick apples for any of your fall cooking projects, or just eat the fresh fruit as is! We recommend using sweet varieties for eating plain, and more sour varieties for cooking. While this is a fun activity, it also supports local farms who may be struggling currently. Many orchards also have hot cider and other apple treats like donuts or pie for you to enjoy as you traverse the orchard. Nothing is better than wrapping your hands around some warm cider in the cooler months.

Entering Autumn

Pick Pumpkins

Pumpkin patches are a tradition for many, you can pick your fall and Halloween decor by hand whether you are looking for the perfect carving pumpkin or gourds to place around the house. This is also a great time to disconnect from technology for a while, something many of us struggle with during these months stuck at home. Once done picking out your items, you can even plan a carving event with your friends! If your group is more competitive, make a themed competition out of it and vote on your favorites. Some category suggestions are Most Scary, Silliest, and Best Technique!

Punkins

Take a Walk When the Leaves are at their Peak

Nothing beats talking a lovely walk bundled up against the brisk weather under beautiful changing fall leaves. Every year is a bit different for when it is best to go, and this time is different for every state, make sure to do your research! Often for Chicago it is in late October or early November. A few great Chicago locations to view the leaves are the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Morton Arboretum, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Winnemac Park.

Regardless of how you celebrate fall, make sure to do so safely. To stay updated on the latest and most accurate information related to COVID-19, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

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Autumn Adventures

Autumn Adventures: 4 Fun Things To Do In Chicago This Fall

Autumn Adventures

It’s time for pumpkin-themed everything. Though this fall may not look like previous falls, there’s still plenty to do while remaining safe and practicing social distancing. Check out this list of local activities if you’re looking for a way to spend a crisp, golden weekend.

Indulge your inner adventurer

The Forge: Lemont Quarries opened up in July. This enormous new destination includes the world’s largest aerial challenge course, complete with two miles of ziplines, rappelling and rock climbing walls. If that’s not your thing, you can go mountain biking or paddling in a canoe or kayak. The tech-minded might enjoy the laser tag or augmented reality outdoor escape games. There is also a smaller adventure course geared towards kids. The park is cashless for COVID-19 prevention, and has implemented strict social distancing guidelines so that guests can enjoy the facilities while staying safe.

Enjoy autumn’s brilliance

If you can’t imagine fall without a healthy dose of leaf peeping, look no further than the Morton Arboretum. Take in the colors while enjoying 16 miles of hiking trails. Entry is allowed via timed passes only, ensuring the ability to social distance while on the grounds. So plan ahead to enjoy this 1,700-acre “outdoor museum” of plants and trees.

Get your groove on

The Hyde Park Jazz Fest is still on for Sept. 26-27. The festival will feature a main virtual concert streamed from the Logan Center for the Arts on the 26th. To retain the energy of the event, organizers are planning live, mobile performances on the 27th. These performances will last roughly half an hour each and be held at different locations around town to reduce congregating. Whether you choose the tune into the streamed concert or attend one of the live ones, you’ll still be able to enjoy live jazz music this fall.

Grab a cold one

The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer is going virtual this November, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get to sample the brews. The organizers will proceed with the competition and awards ceremony. Though the details haven’t been made public yet, they’re also working on ways for to get the beer to enthusiasts.

Enjoy and make the most of those autumn weekends while staying safe.

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Keeping Connections Strong

Keeping Connections Strong: 5 Ways to Socialize from a Distance

Keeping Connections Strong: 5 Ways to Socialize from a Distance

Social distancing. It’s a phrase we’re all sick of, but it doesn’t seem like it will be going away anytime soon.

You may be ready to resume your normal social life. After all, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about how social distancing impacts mental health, and how to balance the risks with your emotional well-being. But your friends or your family may be taking a more conservative approach. Or maybe you’re not ready to reenter society, and your friends are. Whatever your comfort level, we have a few ideas for socializing and staying connected while maintaining those six feet of distance.

  1. Have a pod picnic with your friends or family. Members of the same household can sit in “pods” spaced six feet from other pods. Being outdoors and bringing your own food will help you and your loved ones feel safe, while still being able to spend time together and catch up.red meal
  2. Go hiking. Again, being outdoors lessens any risks you may be worried about, and hiking six feet apart is not difficult to maintain. Plus, being outside and getting some exercise will lift your mood.
  3. Start a book club. This is a great way to socialize with people whose comfort level differs from your own. People who want to meet in person can do so, and those who prefer to stay virtual can join via video chat. Need an idea for the first read? Check out this list.Keeping Connections Strong
  4. Start a neighborhood activity. A Chicagoland mom came up with the idea of a shamrock hunt for kids back in March. The post went viral and inspired people in other communities, as well. If you don’t know your neighbors, this is a great way to meet them. Try starting a non-holiday version of the popular “You’ve been Boo’d” Halloween game where people leave mystery packages for neighbors, with a note to do the same for the next person.
  5. Run a trivia night. This is also an activity that can be done both in-person and virtually, depending on people’s comfort levels. Don’t know how to start a trivia night? Check out this guide.

We hope that you find an activity to suit your comfort level and allow you to stay connected to friends and loved ones. Stay safe!

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Working Out Staying Fit Together

Working Out: Staying Fit Together

Working Out: Staying Fit Together

Let’s face it -life isn’t going back to normal anytime soon. The days of hanging out with friends and getting our party on are still but a lovely memory. So, what can we do to keep our connection with friends intact while also making the Covid-19 days bearable, productive, and dare we say fun? We get fit of course.

You’ve heard it said before…friends that sweat together, stay together. And there is actually scientific proof of that. In a study published by Santa Clarita University, it was determined that we humans love to gravitate toward the exercise behaviors of those around us. The study showed that we are 95% more likely to finish a workout program if we do it with a buddy.

Of course, this isn’t only amazing news for our waistline but also to our relationship and friendships. If we are most likely to finish a program by doing it with our friends, this also means we get more bonding time with them.

We are very fortunate to live in a day in age where staying connected with friends is easier than ever. With apps like Nike Run Club, Strava, and Fitocracy to name a few, we can keep up with our friend’s achievements and challenge (or just join them) in everything from runs, to bike rides and hikes.

Doing these challenges as a couple adds an extra spark of motivation because, by nature, we tend to compete with other couples to gain their approval and validate our own relationship. As long as the competitiveness is being done in good fun and not hiding ulterior motives to put down our friends or our partner, this can be an excellent and healthy way to make the best out of our time.

The list of benefits to working out with friends this way is amazing. You make up your own rules, most places you choose to go to are free, you get to bond with your friends and special other, you get to do all sorts of sight-seeing…and the list goes on. Go ahead and put the word out… The challenge is on!

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Pandemic Safety: Socializing & Interacting Responsibly

While many of us have our physical health in mind right now, we often forget that our mental health can also suffer during this pandemic. Feelings of isolation and lack of socialization can harm our emotional wellbeing, but how do we reconcile that with the risk of meeting with friends?

If meeting in person isn’t necessary for you, virtual hangouts and dates have become immensely popular. With tools like Zoom and NetflixParty, couples and friends have started up different online activities to stay engaged while staying entirely safe. Some suggestions include book clubs, movie watching parties, and shared meals.

Some people prefer to meet and interact in person. If this is the case with you and your friends, it is important to weigh some risk factors. First, consider if anyone in the group or those they live with have a higher risk, such as an autoimmune disease. Also, take into account the activities you want to plan for. Outdoors events are safer, as are gatherings with fewer people that last shorter amounts of time. Of course, everyone must wear there mask as much as possible when together.

Socially distanced walking outside with masks is a low-risk way of interacting while still getting that in-person interactivity. You can catch up while also getting active, which is a challenge for many of us right now. Another great option is getting together in a park. In these public spaces, you can either have a relaxing chat or a bring-your-own-lunch picnic.

Regardless of how you choose to socialize during the pandemic, it is essential to adopt a harm-reduction philosophy. Balancing emotional wellbeing and your physical health is very difficult right now. You and those close to you can come up with a plan to best keep up with each other in a way that allows everyone to feel both safe and comfortable.

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Long-Distance Relationships

Long-Distance Relationships: 5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Them

Are you in a long-distance relationship? If so, you know that they can be extremely difficult, especially during a global pandemic. However, we know from experience that they can also be very rewarding.

Everyone knows the downsides of an LDR – you don’t get to spend as much time with your significant other as you would like. Rather than blossoming through shared experiences, the relationship’s focus on one-on-one conversation can become very intense very quickly.

But what about the benefits of an intercity, interstate, or intercountry relationship? Well, one of its potential downsides – intensity – is also one of its greatest benefits. The frequent phone calls, video chats, and e-mail conversations that are the hallmark of a long-distance relationship can allow couples to get to know one another deeply very quickly. This is great, but can get a little heavy at times.

Long-Distance Relationships

We’ve got some ideas to lighten up your LDR with shared experiences.

  1. Play games together online. Maybe you like chess, or you’re both trivia junkies. There are options for these, and many other games on the Internet.
  2. Read the same book and talk about it.
  3. Watch a movie or TV show at the same time.
  4. Surprise your significant other with a care package that references inside jokes, memories and your shared likes.
  5. Learn together. Why not try a language or a cooking class together? You can find a number of live group classes on the Internet.

And when you do get to see one another, get out and experience things together.

One thing that long-distance couples can find challenging is the lack of a shared social life. This is where Couplr can help you once meeting strangers is popular and safe again! Create social connections during your visits by meeting your perfect couple match on our app. The time spent with other couples can push you out of your comfort zones and into uncharted, and thrilling, territory where you will grow together.

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Helping Others

Helping Others: 5 Tips for Staying Sane through the Process

It’s summer, the weather is beautiful, and you want to be hanging out with your loved ones. Only, the coronavirus is still out there.

It can be easy to get down in the dumps about social distancing. If we’re not careful, the strain can really take its toll. We’ve brought you ideas for socializing from a distance, taking care of yourself, and using creativity to bolster your relationships.

As the pandemic continues, here are a few more ideas to help you get through this time by helping others. Read on for our top 5 ideas for staying sane while giving back.

1 Write a letter

An actual handwritten letter put in an envelope with a stamp on it. Letters are rare these days. How excited would you be to find one in your mailbox? That’s what we thought. Write to a friend or family member and make their day.

Helping Others

2 Donate

You can donate your time or your resources. UChicagoMedicine has a list of places that can use donations including food, supplies, and even blood, which is needed now more than ever

3 Pick up trash.

There might not be as much of it lying around as during a normal summer, but beautifying your neighborhood’s parks and green spaces is a great way to give back while staying socially distant.

4 Check in on your friends and neighbors

Especially the elderly and those who live alone. You never know what someone might be going through. Your phone call or email could lift someone’s spirits on a difficult day.

5 Volunteer

Food banks and other community organizations always need volunteers. Social services around the country have been working overtime to provide food to families whose children depend on school meals for nutrition, and they are in need of volunteers. Spending a few hours helping others will help lift your spirits amid uncertainty.

Sometimes looking out for others is a form of self-care. We hope these tips have given you ideas for taking care of your community and yourself at the same time. Stay well and healthy.

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5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family

Summer Adventures: 5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family

Life is different now, but it won’t be this way forever. At some point, we will be going back to our normal routines. And for some of you, that might include meeting your significant other’s family for the first time.

If you’ve been sitting at home for the last couple of months, you might be overly excited to get out of the house and meet new people.

via GIPHY

Or you might have gotten used to your solitude and are wondering whether brushing your hair is really necessary before meeting the woman who birthed your boo (spoiler alert: it is).

via GIPHY

So, go make yourself presentable, and then come back to read our 5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family:

1. Bring a Gift

No, we’re not suggesting bribery … per se. A hallmark of older times, hostess gifts are still appreciated, all the more because they’re not as common as they used to be. No need to splash out on something expensive. A pot of fresh herbs or a special treat from your favorite bakery are thoughtful ideas.

2. Avoid Pitfalls

If you’re lucky, your SO’s family is easy-going. But chances are, there are still some topics you should avoid. While we don’t necessarily agree with the age-old philosophy that restricts polite conversation to the weather, it’s a good idea to avoid hot-button issues and capitalize on common ground. Maybe you and your boo’s dad both love to garden, or run. Arm yourself with information that will help you make a connection, and steer clear of anything off-color.

3. Be Helpful

If you’re meeting in their home, don’t forget to offer to help. Be the first to start clearing the table or offer to dry the dishes if someone else is already washing them. Not only will you mark yourself as someone willing to pitch in, but you will create another opportunity for conversation.

4. Don’t Look Like a Slob

This one should go without saying … but we’ll say it anyway. Make sure you look neat and well-groomed. Save the ratty tank top for your workouts and the provocative dress for date night.

5. Breathe

Last, but not least, relax. When you’re stressed out, you’re less likely to maintain control of yourself. Be yourself. You got this.

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Get Creative

Get Creative: Stay Motivated, Positive, & Sympathetic with Your Inner Circle

You know friends and special others can help you land jobs; you know they can influence your mood and behaviors and you know that you can do the same for them. But what do you know about helping your favorite people develop their creativity and what that means for you?

Did you know that love, specifically long-term relationships, boosts your creative thinking? A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam concluded that people in long-term relationships have enhanced holistic thinking and therefore, creative cognition. It was also determined that these results had nothing to do with sexual encounters and therefore, the results can also be applied to long-term friendships and family members.

But why is creativity in a relationship so important? What does that mean for your love life, relationships, and friendships? Let us explain.

  • Creative minds tend to be more motivated–having a creative circle can help with motivation in any aspect of your life, whether it be your inner competitor, cheerleader, or empathetic self. Staying motivated and having motivated relationships can help you stay consistent with your goals.
  • Creativity correlates with positivity–You would think you would have to be in a pit of despair to get your creative juices flowing, but the opposite is actually true. Staying positive can enhance your creativity, and being a part of a creative/positive circle can help you live a more fulfilling life.
  • Sympathy is beneficial to creativity–If you have a good support system around you at all times that shows you sympathy or to which you can show sympathy, you become more sensitive and attuned to others’ needs, which is a trait that fuels creative minds.
  • A diverse social network enhances creativity–As long as you remain open and share your thoughts honestly, having strong relationships with creative people can help open your eyes and mind to new ways of doing things, solving problems, and even encourage you to push past your current limits.

There are so many ways to enhance your creativity with friends, families, and significant others. From long, open conversations to trying new restaurants to the more traditional forms of art like taking art classes or playing board games, there are so many ways to remain active with your friends and family members. Whichever way works best for you, encouraging your circle to stay creative is a whole new level of cool friendship unlocked! 

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