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Nathan Maurer's

Nathan Maurer Office: 573-718-1895

Dear Friends,

Shout it out to the world: Winter is over! Spring is finally here and the song of the birds can be heard on the breeze while the sunbeams wake the world from it's slumber. Throw open the garden shed doors and gather your tools, It's planting season! This month in Welcome Home magazine discover how to get the most house for your money. Been dying to try going greener at home, but don’t have a clue where to start? Have you been thinking wistfully about that gorgeous garden that your Grandmother used to have, only to remember that you don’t have the time to spend keeping one like it tended? Fret no more! Dig into our pages and enjoy the eco friendly content! Everyone can do their part for the planet, WELCOME HOME is published only online, so no trees were harmed in the making of this Ezine! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have an ecologically fantastic March, and as always, Welcome Home! If you have comments or suggestions please email us at, we love to hear from you!We look forward to hearing from you!

Nathan Maurer


Welcome Home! Table of Contents Recipe And Design


A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.

Spending Time With Your Family


With out spending a fortune!

Four Leaf Clovers


Lucky symbols for everyone.

The Best Time To Buy & Sell A Home


Saint Patrick’s Day The legends and the celebration.

12 - 15

Jumpstart The Spring Garden Gardening tips for March and April to get your garden blooming!

16 - 17

Why Choose A Green Home? 5 Reasons to make the eco-friendly choice.

18 - 19

Products To Love!

Hot trends, technological wonders of tomorrow and so much more!

City Spotlight Chicago, IL. Have a look at the wonderful, windy city.


All pictures courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Wikipedia for Random Fact information and aid.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor

Discover the best time to get the most for your home.

10 - 11


Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokersʼ listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information.

Businesses That Make A Difference The GAP, fashionably making the world a better place.

The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.

Recipe and Design Goat Cheese & Strawberry Grilled Cheese

Ingredients • 1 (4-oz.) goat cheese log, softened • 6 whole grain bread slices

Clip It

Display a rotating exhibit of your favorite postcards, prints, and pictures. What You Need:

• 4 1/2 teaspoons red pepper jelly • 3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF)

Oversize White Crafts Clothespin

• 6 large fresh basil leaves • 1 1/2 cups fresh watercress or arugula

Paint (Your choice of color)

Wood Glue

• Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: 1.Spread

goat cheese on 1 side of 3 bread slices. 2. Spread pepper jelly on 1 side of remaining bread slices; layer with strawberries, basil leaves, and watercress. 3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with remaining bread, goat cheese sides down. 4. Cook sandwiches in a large, lightly greased nonstick skillet over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Instructions: 1. Paint the MDF and clothespin white. 2. When the paint is dry, attach a picture hanger to the back of the MDF and use wood glue to secure the clothespin to the front. 3. Then simply clip that postcard from Jamaica or your favorite girls' night out photo in the clothespin. Ta Da!

Southern Living, March 2011 Courtesy of Better Homes and

Spending Time With Your Family Without Spending A Fortune We spend so much of our valuable time on work that we don't really take time off to be with our family. In many cases this leads to unhappy marriages and children. The children feel like mommy or daddy don't love them and the partner of the workaholic feel alone and unappreciated. It is very important to spend as much quality time that you can with your family. This goes for those who work outside their homes or our stay at home moms and dads. I know that at times it can be rough with all the work that has to be done to be able to have enough money to live and get our kids the things that we could not have when we where their age. I have said it once and I will keep saying it, Money is not everything! It is not worth losing your family. Honestly, I would rather be poor and happy then rich and miserable. Kids grow up pretty fast. When we know it, they will be already going to college and all those years that you could have spent with them are gone. Also, people that are involved in any relationship need the time to talk and enjoy each others company. Believe me, if the relationship is based on love and if you are the one that is the workaholic and are not spending time with your partner, he or she must not be happy with you. Spending quality time does not always mean spending a lot of money, if this is the case. Here are just a few suggestions that can help you spend quality time without leaving your pockets empty in return: Time With The Children (Whether you are involved in a relationship or a single parent. These are some fun activities that can be done with your children) Plan a meal together. Kids love to imitate their parents and many kids will actually love to help you cook up a meal. I guess the simple thought of helping mom or dad and making a mess at the same time is fun for them. Play some video games: This is great especially if it is a the Nintendo Wii. My daughter and I love playing Wii together. We share a lot of laughs and it is a great workout! Go outside in the yard and play some sports: Just like Wii, fun and a great workout! Watch some of their favorite movies or T.V. shows: Believe it or not, a lot of kids shows and movies are worth the watch. Redecorate their bedrooms: Create a cool bedroom theme together. Buy a brand new duvet set, change the color of the room together, etc. Time With Your Partner In Crime Watch a Movie Together: Pick up a couple of movies, lets be fair and each one pick a movie that both will enjoy. Candle Light Dinner: Nothing is more romantic then a nice candle light dinner with his or her favorite dish prepared with love. Buy a nice bottle of wine and some strawberries and whip cream for dessert. Massage: Nothing says loving like a nice body massage from the person you love. Many department stores sell pretty cheap body oils. Dance: Have fun and put some songs on and dance. Start with something fun then finish it off with a couple of love songs. This is just a few ways to spend time with your family without having to spend a lot of cash. Always remember to spend time talking and letting them know how much you love them. Talking is free and you will be getting a lot in return. Written by Linda Aviles. Courtesy of

Four Leaf Clover

Four leaf clovers is a unique combination of the very common three leaved clover that is the usual norm. Some people say that such leaves bring good luck and fortune. If we talk in scientific terms Trifolium Repens is the genus which contains around three hundred and twenty species of clover. Since it is very rare and uncommon that is why, it is considered as the lucky clover that brings good fortune to you. There are similar plants called Oxalis Deppei or Marsilea Quadrifolia which are often confused with the original Trifolium Rapens, but they are certainly not the same. They are neither considered to bring good luck nor are treated as a lucky charm. Oxalis Deppei or Marsilea Quadrifolia is also called as Pepperwort and the Water Clover. By the name you can make out that four leaf clovers have four leaves and each leaf symbolizes its own meaning and significance. One leaf is for Faith, the second is for Hope, the third is for Love and the fourth is for Luck. All these are essential for leading a successful life and who does not want it. It has been said that our leaf clover is found in Ireland and also in some other countries in Europe and farther away in The Middle East and Asia. Many speculations have been made about the origin of the clover plant and that four leaf clovers occur because of environmental reasons. But according to biologists, these four leaf clovers are just a result of a genetic defect.

Just like the speculations, there are many stories and myths associated with the four leaf clover plant. One of them is that if a single woman or unwed girl, who is looking for a husband, eats the clover leaf, subsequently the next man she sees will be her future husband. Another story by a legend is that Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden to remind her about the paradise that she had lost. The Clover plant is often called as Shamrock in Irish as Shamrock is the inborn plant of Ireland. That is why, clover's pictures can be seen everywhere in Ireland and the clover plant is a well recognized symbol for Ireland. Seeing such craze and enthusiasm for the four leaf clover among the people, some business men have started setting up farms where they grow four leaf clovers and then make studded jewelry out of them. They put the four leaf clover inside the jewelry to form exquisite designs of pendants, rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. The four leaf clover jewelry is getting very popular day by day and some people often buy clover jewelry to gift it to their loved ones as it is considered to be a lucky charm and a symbol of good omen bringing luck to your way. Besides jewelry, these four leaf clovers are being made into key rings, bottle openers and other types of gift items. People are seen wearing clover jewelry on special occasions especially on St Patrick's Day in Ireland. Written by Peter Jones. Courtesy of

The Best Time To Buy And Sell A Home

In the long-term property prices tend to move in an upward trend with occasional stagnation and downturns along the way. There are times when asking prices are sky high and other times when they are slightly lower. However, what a lot of people don't realize is this is equally true in a shorter time frame, and there are times of the year that are better than others for buying and selling a home. Let's start by looking at the best time of the year to buy a property. Obviously if you're looking for a potential property, then you obviously want to get the lowest price possible. Therefore the best time of the year to buy is when the market is at it's most quietest, i.e. when there are less potential buyers out there looking and competing for properties.

If there are fewer viewers looking at properties then there will obviously be fewer people bidding for them which means you are more likely to be able to get an offer accepted well below the asking price. So when are the best times to buy? Well the market is significantly quieter during the winter months, particularly during December and January so this is an excellent time to buy.

There are generally slightly fewer properties on the market at this time, but if you do see a house you like, then you are more likely to be able to pick up a bargain. Another good time to buy, but to a slightly lesser extent, is during the holiday season, i.e. late July through to the end of August, when most potential buyers take a rest from looking at properties to concentrate on their holidays. In general though the winter months are the best time to buy. Now let's look at the best times of the year to sell a home. Here we are obviously looking to receive the best price possible so we ideally want to put the house on the market when the market is most buoyant, so there are lots of people viewing and competing for properties, which drives the prices higher.

up for sale. In general, the spring and summer months up until the holiday season starts are the best times to sell because this is when the buyers are out in force and competing hard with each other. This is good news for you as you can often set your asking price a little bit higher than the true market value knowing that there's a good chance that people will pay a slight premium and pay at or close to a higher asking price in order to fight off any other potential buyers. The next best time to sell your house is during the autumn months when the kids are back at school and the holiday season is over, but the only problem is that if you don't sell during this time, you have to try and find a buyer and get a good price in the long winter months when the market is quieter. So to conclude, if you're looking to buy then the best time to do so is during the winter months and late summer, and if you're looking to sell then you should have your home on the market during the spring and summer months if you want to achieve a higher asking price.

After the lull of the winter months, the market tends to pick up again from March onwards, so this is the time when you should be thinking about putting your house Written by James Woolley. Courtesy of

St Patrick’s Day Legend and Celebrations

Saint Patrick's day is a religious feast festival of Catholic christians having its roots in Ireland with the celebrations gaining significance in other countries, particularly America and Britain. Just like St. Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day (i.e, 17th March) commemorates the demise of the revered patronized Irish saint St. Patrick. So, what is the legend behind St. Patrick which led to the association of a festival in his name and how is the day celebrated ?

The story goes like this... Originally born (in later half of fourth century) to Roman parents in Scotland or Roman England (there are conflicting opinions regarding the place of birth), he was previously known by the name Maewyn Succat. He was given a Romanticized name Patricius leading to him being known as Patrick. Patrick was originally a pagan ( a nonbeliever of Christianity ). During his childhood, he was kidnapped and sold as a slave to the Celtic Druids who then ruled Ireland. It was during that stage of life that his attitude and beliefs towards God started changing. After six years, he escaped from slavery when he dreamt of God giving him instructions for the same. He was taught priesthood in France. When he became a bishop, he again dreamt of Irish people calling him and requiring his services. So, he returned to Ireland with firm belief of converting pagans to Christians. Despite being arrested by the Celtic Druids several times, he always managed to escape and was not deterred. He actively baptized and preached Christianity. He even used diplomacy like gifting people in kinglets and gifting lawgivers. For 20 years he had traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion. How is the Patrick's day celebrated? As a part of the celebration, Many Irish people wear a bunch of shamrock on their lapels or caps on St. Patrick's Day, while children wear tricolored (green, white and orange) badges. Girls traditionally wore green ribbons in their hair (many still do). A three-leafed Shamrock clover was used by St. Patrick to represent the trinity, like father, son and holy spirit; also shamrock was considered lucky by Irish people. The shamrock was used by the Irish as a mark of nationalism when the English invaded the Celtics. Thus a shamrock is given lot of reverence in Ireland. Leprechauns or Irish

fairy people are also associated with St. Patrick's festival. In Irish mythology, a leprechaun is a type of elf said to inhabit the island of Ireland. In recent times, the St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin have been extended to a week-long event called St. Patrick's Festival, encompassing a spectacular fireworks display Skyfest), open-air music, street theater and the traditional parade. Over one million people attended the celebrations in 2004. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by the Irish and those of Irish descent. A major parade takes place in Dublin and in most other Irish towns and villages. The three largest parades of recent years have been held in Dublin, New York and Birmingham England. Parades also take place in other centers, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout the Americas. In the United States, St. Patrick's Day would not be St. Patrick's Day unless the Chicago River is dyed green. Also, St. Paddy's Day has little religious or historical significance. Established in Boston in 1737, it is essentially a time to put on a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button, and parade drunken through the streets singing a mangled version of "Danny Boy" in celebration of one's real or imagined Irish ancestry. Thus in a nutshell, it can be seen that the legends revolving around St Patrick have been inseparably combined with the facts. The day invariably evokes the "I am Irish" sentiments along with patronizing St. Patrick for his services towards Ireland. And together they have helped us know much about the Saint and the spirit behind celebration of the day.

Written by Ajitesh Biswas. Courtesy of

Jumpstart The Spring Garden: Gardening Tips for March and April

Snowdrops stand guard over tiny daffodil buds. Daylight is lingering a bit longer. The snow is receding and the robins are returning. The big thaw has begun. There's no denying the signs. Spring is right around the corner. If you're like me, you can't wait to get your hands into the soil. While you're holding out for

higher temperatures, there's plenty you can do today to jumpstart the spring gardening season. Sow Seeds Indoors Take a trip to your local nursery or home store and buy seeds to start indoors. In March I like to start annual flowers for my pots and containers. Currently, I have Coleus, Zinnias, Impatiens, Petunias and Marigolds germinating. Follow the seed packet instructions and you'll get excellent results. Some plants will take longer than others to bloom or bear fruit, so plan accordingly. This is also a great time for starting culinary herbs and vegetables. If you're looking for something new this year, try moonflower vine or cathedral bells to climb your fence or trellis. Both can be started from seed. If you have children, get them involved. Many children have a natural affinity for gardening. It's a great quality to encourage and nurture in them. Dust Off The Birdhouses I put my birdhouses out in early March. Small birds like chickadees will be actively searching for appropriate homes to raise their families. Mine were up for less than 24 hours before the home tours began. Give Your Garden Tools A Checkup Take your pruning shears and other cutting tools to your local hardware store for cleaning, oiling and a good sharpening. On a warm day you may want to assess your lawnmower. Take it in for servicing or a tune up now-while you can. Many lawnmower repair centers

are swamped shortly after the season starts. It's one tool you don't want to be without.

Get Inspired Order your garden catalogs. Purchase your favorite garden magazines. Here in the northeast, there's nothing like winter time to remind me how valuable my summer garden space is. Create a wish list of new plants, design features and outdoor furniture. With a little planning, you won't be overwhelmed when May rolls around. Seek Out Indoor Gardening Events In March there are countless indoor garden, flower and landscaping expos. If you can't find anything in your local area, a day or weekend trip to a flower show might be just what you need. Look for a botanical garden or arboretum with indoor facilities. In my area we have Longwood Gardens. It has year round indoor gardens and the displays are fantastic. Clean Out Your Beds As soon as the snow has melted and the weather permits, you can clean out your beds. It's a good time to rake and clear your planting areas of dead branches, leaves and debris. I like to mulch as soon as possible in the spring, while there's still plenty of space between the emerging bedding plants.

Learn A Landscape Design Software Program There are so many inexpensive landscaping software programs available today, many of them under $50.00US. During the winter months you'll have plenty of time to learn how to operate the system. Create and sample new designs before digging. Take advantage of the overhead and 360 degree views. Many of the programs now offer a 3D walk through feature. It simulates the experience of walking through an actual garden. You can also advance the garden timeline into the future to see what it will look like when the plants and trees mature. It's a wonderful creative tool to beat the winter blues! Call Your Landscaper Now If you're planning to use a professional landscaper this year, make sure to schedule your work as far in advance as possible. When the ground is soft enough for digging, landscapers will be working overtime to keep up with the volume. Book Your Garden Tours Now Scour the internet for local and regional garden tours. Find out when tickets go on sale and plan ahead. I've often read announcement lists in the newspaper after I've already made other plans. There's nothing like visiting other people's gardens for encouragement and inspiration. I hope these suggestions get you motivated to take action. The sooner you get started on your garden plans-the more time you'll have to enjoy the rest of the season. Happy Gardening!

Written by John Conti. Courtesy of

Why Choose A Green Home? 5 Reasons Why To Make The Eco-Friendly Choice

As the world continues to realize the horrendous effects of global warming and pollution, many people are changing the way they live today so that it can have a positive impact tomorrow. Green homes are slowly gaining much needed attention and popularity over the years. More and more people are getting concerned about proper living conditions and the potential health and financial benefits of green homes. Here we will go over just a few of those benefits in order to better inform people who are not completely familiar with this concept with the intention of encouraging them to move into one in the future.

1. Lowered Utility Bills in a Green Home One of the most noticeable differences of living in Green home is the significant reduction in utility bills such as water and electricity. These homes are also known as sustainable structures. This means that they have been constructed through a specific process comprising of resource efficient material that enhances a home's entire foundation. 2. Better Temperature Control Every room is properly insulated in order to keep the temperatures at normal levels. These insulations prevent the air conditioning from working harder and longer in order to keep the house cool. In the same respect the insulations trap the heat during winters and help the gas or electric heaters to run optimally. This directly impacts utility bills and saves the occupants thousands of dollars over the year. 3. Cost Effective Use of Solar Power Another thing to note is that these homes also rely on readily available free solar energy to power up. They also store excess energy to be used at night. This makes them extremely cost efficient.

plants, these homes use waste water from dishwaters or washing machines for irrigation purposes for the garden or washing cars and toilets. Many homes come equipped with rainwater collectors which are used for similar purpose. 5. Improved Quality of Air Green homes are built to counter and block air impurities that can easily get inside homes. Modern HVAC designs come fully equipped with adequate ventilation and air filtration for all rooms of a home especially the isolated ones such as the kitchen. The materials and products used for constructing such homes have extremely low emission ratings. This translates to improve indoor air quality. Many traditional building materials emit toxic gases. Environment friendly homes avoid them completely because these gases are hazardous to health and can severely harm infants and little children. No one can argue with a healthy home that saves its occupants money every month. A green home is essentially developing into a trend as more and more people make them their choice of residence. The sooner you move into one, the quicker you and your family can start utilizing its health and financial benefits.

4. Aids in Waste Reduction A Green home actively seeks to reduce waste of water, and other materials used during construction. Water is a basic need for every human being for consumption and other purposes around the household such as cleaning and gardening. In order to reduce the dependency on water treatment Written by Jason Maxwell. Courtesy of

Products To Love In March I don’t know about you, but I’m getting to the age where I like my denim to be a certain way. I want it to fit without cutting off my circulation, and I want to look like a real grown up woman, not like I stole my 13 year old niece's jeans. Is that too much to ask? The GAP does not think so! I love their Long and Lean Jeans. They have the perfect fit and the come at a very reasonable price too! So do your self a favor ladies, put down the hip huggers with the one inch zipper (can we say muffin top?) and pick yourself up a pair that are fashion forward, comfortable and affordable to boot! Please click here for more information.






Reviewed by Rural Jungle Testing

Get ready for some smooching! With St. Patricks Day right around the corner it’s time to show some green. This Kiss Me I'm Irish t-shirt is 100% Fine Jersey Cotton. It come sin a vibrant Kelly Green and is a Juniors/Girly sized t-shirt. It has an adorable distressed image of lips and the text, "Kiss Me I'm Irish" printed on front. Please click here for more information.

Show your support of The American Red Cross this month with this Red Cross Vintage Medic Shoulder Bag. Made of stonewashed canvas material, this new & extremely stylish vintage style messenger bag will make an awesome fashion statement while showing your support of a valuable institution. Large main compartment with flaps and brown colored leather closing straps with metal buckle closure. Adjustable shoulder strap make this a very convenient handbag that can be worn messenger style over one shoulder. Please

click here for more information.

Products To Love In March As in The Irish Heritage Cookbook, Margret Johnson continues on her mission to inform Americans that contemporary Irish cooking means not just a rustic, stick-to-your-ribs Irish Stew with Brown Soda Bread, but also Green Tomato Tarte Tatin, as original and sophisticated as one found anywhere in Europe. The book reads like a tourist itinerary for hungry pub crawlers and shares history on favorite pubs and their famous and infamous patrons and proprietors. Leigh Beish's full-page photos deliver elegant interpretations of humble pub grub like Bacon and Cabbage, and Ploughman's Lunch. So grab this book, your apron and get to whipping up an awesome culinary irish feast to impress everyone this St. Paddy’s Day! Please click here for more information.

Guys have we got something for you this St. Patricks day: The Kiss Me, I'm Irish Belt Buckle. Emblazoned with the lucky shamrock clover this awesome twist on traditional green clothing is perfect for St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. Made of detailed fine pewter and enamel color this is sure to catch the eye of that one lucky lady you want to steal a St. Pat’s kiss from. Made in the USA. Please click here for more information.

Go green with the new Brita Grand Green Filter Pitcher! The Brita Grand Green boasts the same features as the regular Brita Grand pitcher, but with a stylish green lid. Green in more ways than one, this Brita pitcher eliminates the need to buy costly bottled water that is often nothing more than filtered tap water. The Brita Grand Green filter pitcher allows you to have cold, filtered water on hand at all times. This Brita pitcher features a flip-top lid, soft grip handle, electronic filter change indicator, and will hold 10 8 oz. glasses of filtered water. Please click here for more information.

City Spotlight

Chicago, IL Chicago is the largest city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and with more than 2.8 million people, the 3rd largest city in the United States. Located on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the third-most densely populated major city in the U.S. City of Chicago has many names. It is referred to as the Windy City, Chi Town,Chi City. Chicago is well known for its wealth of public art, including works by such artistic heavyweights as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Magdalena Abakanowicz that are all to be found outdoors. Downtown is the center of Chicago's cultural, commercial and financial institutions, and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight block by five block square of city streets that are encircled by elevated rail tracks. Chicago attracted an approximate combined 35 million people in 2007 from around the nation and abroad. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties, all of which reflect the city's ethnic and working class roots. Included among these are its nationally renowned deepdish pizza, although locally the Chicago-style thin crust is also popular; featuring a thinner than normal crust.

The Chicago metropolitan area is the third-largest media market in North America, after New York City and Los Angeles.Each of the big four U.S. television networks, CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, directly owns and operates a high-definition television station in Chicago (WBBM, WLS, WMAQ and WFLD, respectively). WGN-TV, which is owned by the Tribune Company, is carried with some programming differences, as "WGN America" on cable TV nationwide and in parts of the Caribbean. The city is also the home of several talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show on WLS-TV. Chicago audio visual prospects make it one of the most important city in US. Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second largest central business district in the U.S. Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. With so much to offer, and so economically sound, chicago provides a huge selection of Chicago conference centers. Visitors and locals to Chicago will agree about this fact: The city and surrounding communities are flat as the proverbial pancake. The prairie landscape shouldnʼt hold back those who have lofty ideas for holding a party or other special event.  In this sea-level, altitude-challenged metropolis, there are places that offer a view from the top. With so much to offer this city stands out as the ideal choice for chicago event space and chicago event planning. Written by Jim Damon, courtesy of

Businesses That Make A Difference

At Gap Inc., social responsibility is fundamental to how we do business.

There, you'll find up-do-date information about our programs and activities in four key areas (supply

It means everything from ensuring that workers are treated fairly to addressing our environmental impact.

And it's now covered in depth on our new social responsibility website at What are we doing to be a responsible company? We're working around the world to improve factory conditions and help women advance. We're designing more sustainable stores and products, and getting creative about protecting natural resources. We're continuing to

make Gap Inc. a company where people are proud to work and able to reach their career goals. We're investing in communities by applying business innovation to social challenges. We've created a new social responsibility site. We've shifted from a printed report to a website – it's more informative, timely, interactive and environmentally friendly. 

chain, environment, employees and community investment), including videos, stories, detailed data, and a world map highlighting our work; there's even a section on the social and environmental initiatives of our individual brands: Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta. Check out to find out more.

Random Facts

This month's random fact delves into one of the many mysterious things that comes with Spring: Spring Fever!

Spring fever is a term applied to several sets of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly appetites, often particularly strong in those suffering from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and thus experiencing lows during the winter months. It is this sense that inspires the use of the term as a title for several works of literature and entertainment. In some uses however it refers to the opposite, an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring. As a translation of a German term Spring Fever is the name for a temporary mood typically characterized by a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime. It is not in the category of a diagnosed illness, but rather a phenomenon thought to be initiated by a change in the season. In the northern hemisphere the symptoms usually arise from mid-March to mid-April, and depending on the person may be more or less pronounced. Weariness (despite an adequate amount of sleep), sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and sometimes aching joints and a lack of drive are the most common. Although the causes of spring fever have not yet been fully resolved, hormone balance may play a role. According to this theory the body's reserves of the "happiness hormone" serotonin, whose production depends on daylight, become exhausted over the winter, making it especially easy for the "sleep hormone" melatonin to have its effect. When the days become longer in springtime, the body readjusts its hormone levels, and more endorphin, testosterone and estrogen are released. This changeover puts a heavy strain on the body, which responds with a feeling of tiredness. In addition, temperatures usually fluctuate greatly in springtime. When temperatures rise, blood pressure drops, since the blood vessels expand.

So if you are feeling "Spring Fever" this year just remember it's your body's way of saying "Yea! It's Spring!"

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