Make Your Resolution Stick!

With the New Year soon approaching, people are thinking of resolutions to make 2018 the best year yet. However, we have all fallen into the trap where we have good intentions to eat better, drink more water, do more self care, or any other resolution only to have it fall apart two weeks into the new year. Check out these tips to make sure your resolution sticks for good in 2018.

  •  If you’ve resolved to drink more water, get a new water bottle so you stop forgetting to drink more than one glass a day. 

    • Nothing will help you stay better hydrated than a new water bottle. Check out the bottles that even have times on them so you know when you should be hitting your water intake goals!
  • If you’ve resolved to get your life organized once and for all, a journal or planner is the way to go.

    • Whether you use a daily planner with to do lists or a more relaxed bullet journal to keep track of everything you have going on, being consistent in your efforts to stay organized is key.
  •  If you’ve resolved to be more active, a fitness tracker or an exercise class pass is perfect for tracking your activity and keeping yourself accountable. 

    • Make goals with your friends on who can get more steps each day. Winner doesn’t have to pay for your weekly brunch! For classes, don’t let those new friends you made in the class feel let down you didn’t show up. Friends motivating each other can ensure your 2018 fitness resolution goals!
  • If you’ve resolved to start making every penny count, use an app to track spending!

    • Want to keep better track of your finances? Apps like Mint show you where and how you are spending your money. It is a great way to start reassessing your finances and putting your money to better use.


With these tips, your New Years Resolution will be sure to be a successful one! Let us know what your resolution is this year in the comments!

Decorating for the Holidays!

How that the holidays are in full swing, you are most likely in the process of decorating for it. However, you may be wondering what the best ways to decorate for the holidays are in your apartment. Check out the list below for some helpful tips to maximize on your holiday cheer decor!


  • Plan Smart Kitchen Decor. It may seem like a great idea to use your ample counter space to decorate, but remember, you’ll need that space for prepping exciting holiday treats! Keep the decor here to a minimum with a holiday themed jar and plates.
  • Take advantage of the high ceilings! To avoid excess clutter, hang things from the ceiling for that extra wow factor.
  • You can never go wrong with wreaths. A timeless classic, wreaths always amp up holiday decor. Try something new this year like a gold wreath! Just remember to keep it on the inside of your apartment.
  • Go tiny. Tiny trees are popping up everywhere lately. Target has some great trees that are under 4 feet! This allows you to get the classic tree while sparing some space in your home.
  • Use color and light whenever possible. Colors, like red and green, really add to the holiday atmosphere. Lighting can set the mood for your holiday celebrations! Be sure to utilize both of these to maximize your holiday spirit.
  • Amp up your bar cart. If there’s somewhere people congregate around during a holiday party, it’s the wine and spirits. Decorate your bar cart with faux fur, cranberries, and some beautiful candlesticks.
  • Swap out your every day decor. Throw pillows, blankets, candles, and more can be swapped out for special holiday versions of the same items. It leaves you with the same amount of space, but more decor!

Fun stuff to do in the winter!

We’ve all been there—sitting on the couch with our friends or family and unanimously canceling the fun we had planned. There’s nothing wrong with staying in, but when low temperatures turn you into a homebody, it can be refreshing to break out of the routine and bundle up to head out of the house. Resist the urge to let the Chicago winter snow on your fun with these winning winter outing ideas.

Try out the ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. Show off your skating skills with the Chicago’s skyline as your behind you. Bring your own skates to save to some money or rent skates for $12 during the week and $14 during the weekend. Once you’ve shown off all your skating (and falling) skills, grab a cup of hot chocolate and relax with the beautiful surroundings.

Grab some delicious hot chocolate. Located in the West Loop, this season’s hottest place for hot chocolate is Bombobar. They have over the top hot chocolate and plenty of delicious sides to go with, like donuts! Definitely hit up this spot for their Instagram worthy food and hot chocolate.

Find a bar or restaurant with a cozy fireplace. Chicago is known for brutal winters and delicious food. Having so many options to grab food where you know the restaurant will be toasty should be enough motivation to leave your cozy home to venture out and try something new!

Hit up a museum. Chicago is home to countless museums that offer a respite from the cold and wind during the winter. Adler Planetarium does plenty of fun activities during the winter like Adler After Dark. On a budget? On Thursdays after 5 pm, Illinois residents can gain free entry into the Art Institute. The Field Museum also hosts a few free days during the winter, as well.

With all the fun going on in the colder months of Chicago, it’s definitely worth it to venture out and see it for yourself. Let us know your favorite cold weather places in Chicago!

Throw the Best Dinner Party in Your Apartment!

1. First of all, actually throw a dinner party.

The number one thing stopping people from throwing a successful dinner party in an apartment is not actually throwing a dinner party! Seriously. If you’ve been holding off throwing a party because you think you live in apartment versus a house, don’t be worried. It may be a small dinner party for 3-5 or you can fit 15 or more people into your apartment. All you need is a desire to bring people into your home and everything should work out!

2. Don’t be afraid to rearrange your apartment furniture for the dinner party.

Sometimes the functionality of every day living doesn’t translate well over to having a dinner party. Yes, you may use your table as a desk, as well, and eat most of your meals at your coffee table. However, for a dinner party, don’t be afraid to mix up your living space! Clear out your yoga corner and make room for people to sit, relax, and enjoy the evening. This can even include moving this temporarily for the night. Throw extra furniture into your bedroom so guests can have the maximum space to enjoy the evening!

3. Go for mood lighting.

Almost anything is improved with good mood lighting. Rely on lamps with warm white lights, tea lights, candles, and even string lights! The lighting will set the tone for a wonderful evening, and will be great for Instagramming your delicious meal and spectacular night, as well.

4. Make it a collaborative experience.

Every dinner party is enhanced when everyone feels involved. One new idea that’s hitting the best dinner parties is using a chalkboard to put up the menu and ingredients. This way, your guests feel involved in the meal to come. Also, you can never go wrong with having guests bring their favorite side dishes, wines, or desserts! Any way to get your guests engaged in the evening is a good thing.

5. Realize it won’t all be perfect, which is totally okay.

The final tip for having a successful dinner party with friends in your apartment is really more a reminder that friends are friends for a reason. As long as everyone enjoys the company of others and has a fun time, no one will remember that the dessert was served a little later than expected or you had white wine with steak.  The entire reason to have a dinner party is to bring together people for good company and good food.


We hope you use these ideas and make the holiday season the best one yet with all your dinner parties! For even more tips, stop by our #friendsgiving on Thursday!

ZRS CEO Does Leadership Best

The apartment and rental industry is ever changing. There is always new technology, a new building, and a new demographic on the horizon. With all of this change, many people opt to rent due to the ease of renting and the lifestyle of renting. On top of this, the way people search for apartments has changed, as well. How do you stay on top of the game? By having a great CEO like ZRS Management (the company that manages Chestnut Tower) has.

ZRS Management President Steve Buck not only runs one of the largest apartment management firms in the country, he is known as a person of example for corporate culture in the industry. ZRS’ employees stay longer than the average in the industry and enjoy a workplace supported by Steve’s great leadership skills. Check out some of his key tidbits to better our leadership qualities!

“Everyone loves hearing their name.”

— Steve Buck, President, ZRS Management

Use client’s names often, when talking over the phone or meeting in person. It makes the client feel special, important, and more likely to remember you and your building.

“People should have really high expectations of us.”

 Steve Buck, President, ZRS Management

Your reputation in this industry is paramount to your success. Without people expecting the best from you, you are letting yourself and your building down. Make sure people expect a lot, and still exceed those expectations.

“I’m really conscious of not getting in the way.”

— Steve Buck, President, ZRS Management

Sometimes, the best management is done from afar. Through thorough training and setting an example, the ultimate leader should be able to lead from behind and let the people in the front handle everything successfully.




City Living in the Fall

Living in Chicago, you may be worried you won’t get to see the traditional sights of fall-leaves changing, corn, pumpkins farms, and more! Thankfully, our great city is home to some wonderful destinations to fulfill your need for everything fall. Keep reading to learn more.


Chicago Botanic Garden

In the next few weeks, be sure to take some time to visit Chicago’s Botanic Garden! You’ll be able to see countless perennials, maples turning red, and more! The fun doesn’t stop, though, once the leaves change, since this garden boasts impressive walks that will truly enhance your Fall experience.

Lincoln Park

Not far from Chestnut Tower is Lincoln Park! Watching leaves change here is truly beautiful. There’s countless playgrounds for the kiddos, parks for your dogs, and even the Zoo! Be sure to check out this local gem to see Fall happening in our city.

Promontory Point

Located in Burnham Park and accessible via the Lakefront Trail, Promontory Point Park is also very close by and a great spot to check out the beauty of Fall! Catch the amazing Fall views of the Chicago skyline while going for a walk, run, or bike before the weather gets too cold!

Morton Arboretum

Located in Lisle about 30 minutes West of Chicago, this is a great gem to explore! Accessible by car or train, this park is expansive. Stop by to view the countless trees changing leaves, take a hike on one of their many trails, and check out their special fall events!

Remember, in Northern Illinois, Fall foliage is at its peak in mid-October. Happy Fall!

5 Places to Hang Out with your Friends and Your Dog!


In case you didn’t notice, Chestnut Tower is a little dog crazy. We love spending time with our dogs and want to share some of the best spots on where you and your pup can hang out together! Here’s some great pet friendly patios in the city you can bring your adorable dogs with you when you go out exploring the city!

  1. Freestyle Food + Drink

This hip bar located in the Dana Hotel in River North is very dog friendly! Your four legged family member can join you for drinks and food with the pet Patio Package! This gets your dog a plush pet, a fancy treat, and their signature water bowl. What better way to spend time out in the city than relaxing with your dog and good food and drinks?

  1. Howells & Hood

Howells and Hood, nestled in the beautiful Tribune Tower, is a Chicago landmark with great food! What makes this spot even better is that the patio is dog friendly! When employees see your dog, they’ll ensure your dog is as satisfied as you are by bringing a water bowl just for them!

  1. Begyle Brewing Co.

Located in North Center, this community supported brewing company caters to all you craft beer enthusiasts and your dogs! While your dogs can’t indulge in an IPA, Begyle Brewing Company does have water bowls and treats ready and waiting for you and your dog to visit.

  1. 312 Chicago

Just a short ride away on the 156 bus into the Loop, 312 Chicago is the spot to get Italian food for yourself and delicious food for your pup! The patio, which is dog friendly, has a special menu for your dog, including things like salmon with rice and peanut butter biscuits! And, of course, there are water bowls available for your dog.

  1. The Dock at Montrose Beach

No list about dog friendly restaurants in Chicago would be complete without mentioning The Dock at Montrose Beach. After spending an afternoon playing with your dog on the beach, you can both go relax and get something to eat or drink at The Dock! If that isn’t a perfect way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon, we don’t know what is.

Winter Weather Tips!




It’s that time of year again-the time of year when your fingers freeze and your soul turns to ice because it’s negative 50 degrees and you can’t even go outside without your eyelashes freezing to your face and you can’t blink anymore.



What do we do to stay warm when wind chill dips dangerously low?

Here are some tried and true tips for staying toasty.

Layers, layers, layers:

Take it from a commuter– when the wind hits you at 30 miles an hour and it’s -2 degrees outside, you want to be wearing a good pair of thermals  or long underwear. Start with a tank top or thermal shirt. This will keep insulation right next to your skin so no wind creeps up into your clothing. My Mom has suggested Cuddl Duds for years. What about the lower half? Skinny jeans got you all like, “long underwear won’t fit under there!” ? Well, try out some fleece lined tights or leggings. Those will fit under the skinniest of pants and add an extra layer of warmth. If it’s extra cold outside reminiscent of the Polar Vortex, add a pair of track pants or wind resistant ski pants over your gear for even more heat.



Again, layers are important here. Make sure you’re wearing a warm sweater or sweatshirt over your tank or thermal top. A coat with high down count is very key to staying warm, so when purchasing a coat, be sure to look at down count over brand names. You want the fill of the coat to be at least 60% down to be a warm coat. For reference, one of the most expensive and warmest coats you can get is a Canada Goose ,– if you can afford this baby and plan to be walking everywhere, this is probably the winter to invest in a coat like this. Otherwise, look for similar down counts in the fill.

It goes without saying that a good hat will be needed–but as an extra tip–pull your hood up over your head and THEN wrap a scarf around your neck via the back of the hood until the hood stays in place securely. This will most definitely  keep the wind from whipping it off of you and freezing your face off.

Hand warmers are the perfect invention to slip inside your mittens or gloves– grab a pair at Walgreens, Amazon, CVS, Target- they are everywhere, but not very widely used.

A poor man’s version of hand warmers is a good ‘ole cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Don’t forget to visit your local coffee shop or Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks/Intelligentsia to warm y04-cold-weather-hacks-eat-something-fatty.jpgour frosty hands with a cup of liquid. And while we’re at it, that hot drink will help warm YOU up too.

Drinking a hot beverage will help raise your body temperature in arctic conditions.



Inside your home:

thermometer-cold.jpgOnce you’ve braved the storm, you want to make sure the inside of your home is extra toasty! Electric blankets, throws, slippers, and all things fuzzy are excellent choices, but sometimes creating a warm ambiance will help you believe you’re warm, as well. For actual heat, check out a wall mounted fireplace , or if you just want some fake fire, check out this YouTube video that has 1 hour of crackling fire PLUS Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background.

As a final tip, if the heat in your home is not cutting it, take an extra look at your thermostat if it is digital. Make sure the system is set to “Heat” and put the fan on “Auto.” If your abode is still not heating up fast enough, adjust the speed accordingly from low to high until you are warm enough and then adjust as needed.

Hoping these tips help keep you warm this holiday season!

With love,

Chestnut Tower


Thanksgiving 2016


Thanksgiving is upon us. And whether you are celebrating America right now or crying your eyes out, there is still turkey to be eaten and relatives to fight with. If you’re staying in the city this year, Chicago’s got you covered!

Don’t want to deal with Thanksgiving prep this year?



That’s right! Eating Thanksgiving Dinner outside of the home is an adventure. If you’ve never done it before, you might be in awe of the chocolate fondue fountains, the rows of side dishes, the dessert room with heavenly pieces of pumpkin and apple deliciousness.  You have entered the buffet of Thanksgiving dinners. You do not need to worry about overcooking the stuffing, you only need to worry about stuffing yourself. Someone else will do those dishes. And for the daintier eaters, there is usually a single plate serving of Thanksgiving dinner available if you aren’t into buffet style. Chicago has loads of amazing places to go! If you can’t get home for the holidays or simply just don’t want to this year, head to one of these options!

Top Ten Thanksgiving Restaurants 2016

Or perhaps you’d like to be on the lake, cutting a rug with Grandma while a DJ plays in the background. Take an Odyssey Cruise on Lake Michigan for Thanksgiving! 




Have you been to the parade before? Floats of joy will bring the warmth back to your heart. McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: November 24, 2016 from 8am-11am CST–the parade will head down State Street from Congress to Randolph. The route is approximately 1 mile long. Head there with the kids or your friends and family and embrace each other as you watch joyful folks and balloons marching and floating down State.



Let’s face it. Those calories aren’t going to burn themselves off. Well, technically, some of them will. But be proactive and run for The Greater Chicago Food Depository in the Chicago Turkey Trot! This is November 24th at 8am in Lincoln Park. And the swag this year is pretty cool too. Get some fresh air, give back, and get some exercise in the process.


A LITTLE WANDERING IN THE CITY:2004_opening_right_side_of_tree_towards_Dearborn_small.jpg

Get thee to Christkindlmarket! This year is the 21st Annual Christkindlmarket! Admission is FREE! The market opens on November 18 until December 24th. Come by and relish in this German tradition turned local city gem. If you’ve never been, explore booth after booth of roasted nuts, spiced wine in legit Chicago ceramic boots, the ornament house (you can actually find pickle ornaments), and above all else, sheer holiday happiness. This is an event for all and definitely not one to miss.

Here’s images.pnghoping one of these options brings you some joy this Thanksgiving. Love hard. Love fierce. Hold each other close. Let’s come together this Thanksgiving and celebrate the love that still unites us all.


WINTER? Take that.


Spring is coming. Slowly but surely.

March 20th, to be exact.

A few years back, the Polar Vortex of 2014 froze our eyelashes to our faces and made us cry. February 2015 left us with -30 degree wind chills. But this year, 2016 gifted Chicagoans with a much deserved break from the soul-crushing temperatures and blizzard-like conditions we’ve grown accustomed to.

And for that we are grateful.

There are certain things to do in Chicago when we are grateful winter isn’t making us want to curl up into a ball next to our space heaters. In no particular order, here are some rad activities to get us through the thaw and well into springtime, because, hey, not wearing 16 layers of thermal underwear makes us want to live a little!

Lincoln Park Conservatory


This might be one of the most delightful retreats you can take in Chicago without ever leaving the city. Wander over to to the Lincoln Park Conservatory and immerse yourself in the warmth of Chicago’s loveliest greenhouse. Take your coat off and let the scent of ancient ferns and tropical palms whisk you away to thoughts of vacation and calm. Sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the lush green ambiance and exotic orchids. Be transported out of winter and into spring with one short trip to Lincoln Park. You won’t regret it.

Visit the Theatre

New space at Den Theatre cr:  Ryan Martin
New space at Den Theatre cr: Ryan Martin

Beckoning beaches and sun-filled days are on their way, but they’re not here yet, so why not spend some of the still-gray time getting your fill of culture at one of our city’s finest theatres? Did you know that some of the best and grittiest theatre in Chicago happens off the beaten trail? Theatre in the Loop is convenient and flashy, but you won’t find the local talent there. If you want to see Chicago representing, head to places like Lookingglass Theatre Company, Steep Theatre, and Irish Theatre of Chicago. Lookingglass is staging Blood Wedding and is having a fantastic run, Steep Theatre’s Posh is killing it in the press, and Irish Theatre of Chicago is giving audiences a thrill with A Little World of Our Own. There are countless more theatres to attend: Try out Lifeline, The Artistic Home, Strawdog, or Mary Arrchie’s last show ever, American Buffalo.

Get to a Museum!

Have you lived in Chicago for years and years and never been to our museums? Now is the time to change your wicked ways and get some much needed culture in your life. Try it out this spring. Have you not seen Sue, the T-Rex, at the Field Museum in awField-Museum_780hile?  Want to check out the painting with all the dots at the Art Institute? The Art Institute is free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5-9pm. Like the idea of FREE? These museums are free year-round: Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago Cultural Center, and the Hyde Park Art Center

And there you have it. There’s a lot of life to live once we’re free from our mittens and snow goggles.

Get your Spring on, folks.