Toyota Celebrates Earth Day Year-Round

Every day might as well be ‘Earth Day’ as Toyota takes on climate change year-round by focusing on the goals of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. 

Toyota’s status as a leading “green” company came about twenty years ago when they introduced the world to the Prius. Since that fateful day, Toyota has been a trailblazing corporation–doing their significant part to combat climate change while creating efficient technologies for consumers to use inside and outside the automotive industry. Newsweek recently named Toyota one of the world’s greenest companies–ranking No. 1 in the automobile category.

Toyota is pioneering the path towards zero emissions transportation. The 2017 North American Environmental Report showcases how Toyota’s environmental strategy and performance across four key areas — carbon, water, materials, and biodiversity — is engrained in everything we do.

These core focus areas align with Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050 goals that seek to go beyond minimizing negative impacts to creating a net positive impact on the environment.

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Chicago Celebrates National Cookie Day

Chicago Celebrates National Cookie Day.

Chicago Celebrates National Cookie Day.

December 4, 2017

We find Chicago’s best deals & steals in celebration of National Cookie Day. Plus, we shout out our favorite local bakeries and give you the 411 on the area’s best cookies.

All around Chicago, grocery stores and bakeries are rolling out their red carpets in celebration of National Cookie Day. These are the spots offering deals today:

  • Whole Foods is offering 50% off their delicious in-house cookies at their Cookie Bar.
  • In honor of today’s holiday, save up to 40% at Mrs. Fields
  • Insomnia Cookies is offering a free cookie with any purchase from their menu today.
  • The folks at Cinnabon are debuting a special treat today called the BonBite. The new creation puts their famous cinnamon roll inside of chocolate chip cookie, surely pleasing the sugar addict inside each of us.

After you visit the national chains, don’t forget to hit up local bakeries. Trust me when I say this–our local spots offer the yummiest cookies in the Chicago area. 

  • Iversen’s Bakery: pick up a dozen of their delicious (and adorable) smiley-faced cookies.
  • Wolf’s Bakery: their chocolate chip cookies are the closest thing to heaven on earth.
  • Tuzik’s Bakery: this famous southside bakery isn’t open on Mondays but treat yourself to an order of their assorted mini cookies on Tuesday and don’t forget the kolaches!
  • Talerico-Martin Bakery: their holiday-themed cookies are not only delicious but they are truly gorgeous. Bring a few dozen to your next Christmas party and grab a chocolate chunk cookie for yourself–you won’t be disappointed. 
  • D’Amato’s Bakery: if you’re in the city, don’t forget to hit up this Italian bakery staple for cannolis, cookies & SO MUCH more. 

Next up on the blog today? I’m including my favorite cookie recipes for you to whip up for the family today.

Illinois Braces for Thanksgiving Traffic

Illinois braces for busy traffic Thanksgiving weekend.

Illinois braces for busy traffic Thanksgiving weekend.

Illinois Tollway warns drivers to remain calm and allow for extra time when driving on roadways over Thanksgiving weekend.

Beginning today, Wednesday, November 22, the Illinois Tollway projects 9 million vehicles to hit the roads through Monday, November 27. The busiest day will be Wednesday, November 22, when 1.8 million vehicles are expected to travel the roadways. The Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P. Trucks (Highway Emergency Lane Patrol) will be on standby to assist drivers in unexpected situations such as changing tires, battery boosts, adding coolant, dispensing fuel, transporting customers, moving vehicles away from traffic and calling for backup tow truck assistance. Hours have been extended for H.E.L.P. Trucks through Friday, November 24, to provide aid until midnight.

The Illinois Tollway warns drivers to practice safe driving as the Illinois State Police is expected to heavily patrol the highways Thanksgiving weekend. Police are looking for distracted drivers on their cell phones (it’s illegal to use a hand-held device when driving in Illinois) as well as speeders, drivers and passengers in violation of seatbelt laws, and drivers under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance.

Motorists are encouraged to dial *999 for help on the highway if their incident doesn’t call for the assistance of police or medics.

Why Do People Put Out Teal Pumpkins on Halloween?

Why are there teal pumpkins?

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Why Do People Put Out Teal Pumpkins on Halloween?

While walking my dog through our neighborhood the other day, I noticed a beautiful glowing teal pumpkin sitting on my neighbor’s stoop. I didn’t think much of it until I saw another teal pumpkin sitting atop a ledge on the expansive porch of another home. I wondered if “teal” was the new “unicorn”.  When I got back to my apartment, I did a quick search and learned the teal pumpkin isn’t just a fun decoration, it represents an alliance, a safe space, an inclusive home for children with food allergies. THIS is a home where trick or treaters with food allergies can find a safe alternative to Halloween candy.

I know what you’re thinking, “Christina, food allergies are not a big deal–why do we have to change our candy routine for a few kids with silly allergies? Tell them to suck it up!” I get it. You’re annoyed because kids these days are coddled and you’re probably not wrong. But food allergies don’t have anything to do with placating picky children; putting a teal pumpkin on your stoop doesn’t mean we’re setting up children to expect that society will bend at their will. The Teal Pumpkin Project signals that our culture is getting smarter in learning how to incorporate the needs of ALL kids on Halloween.

Do you remember trick-or-treating as a kid?! Can you recall the thrill of running from one house to the next–that small sliver of freedom you experienced in exploring your neighborhood while accumulating hoards of candy to pack in your pillowcase? Now imagine you’re a kid with a severe peanut, egg, milk, soy, or tree nut allergy? Your candy options are markedly limited and it’s another reminder that you are not able to participate in things the way your friends do. Sure, you can dress up, but you can’t accept the candy and if you do, you can’t eat it. Because if you do eat it, you’re likely to go into anaphylactic shock and end up in the hospital. 

My niece, Pearl, has severe food allergies. If she simply comes into secondhand contact with one of the foods on her “do not eat” list, she breaks out into hives–red rashes peppering her tiny body and causing excruciating discomfort. It’s heart-breaking to see her suffer and while she’s too young and blissfully ignorant of her food allergies, I know her parents worry about providing her a normal childhood, creating a life for her that’s similar to her peers.

Kids like Pearl deserve to enjoy Halloween just like the rest of us did. The Teal Pumpkin Project was born out of the idea that homes with a teal pumpkin are safe spots for kids with food allergies–neighbors often choosing to hand out non-food options to trick or treaters. I know it’s Halloween morning and you’re scrambling to get out the door. But if you have time today, I encourage you to run and grab a few things for those kids with food allergies. 

The Teal Pumpkin Project gives a variety of suggestions on fun things to hand out but here are a few favorites: glow sticks, bubbles, beads, notepads, stickers, stamps, temporary tattoos, pencils, or anything else you find in the Dollar Section at Target. Just be sure to put the non-food items in a separate bowl from the food items if you’re handing out candy. Ask the trick or treaters to “choose a prize OR candy” and I promise both kids and parents will feel grateful for your empathy and for thinking about their child’s needs. 

Today should be a fun and carefree day for kids. Let’s help reduce risk and anxiety for our neighbors and friends today. To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and to see an interactive map with participating homes in your area, click here

Cinco de Mayo

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo on Friday with a feast courtesy of Carmelo and Cesar. Check it all out! 


National Strawberry Day Recipes


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Today is one of my favorite days: National Strawberry Day! It’s an excuse to bake something extravagant and delicious. If you do whip up one of these beautiful recipes, be sure to tag @OakLawnToyota across social platforms. Happy baking! Happy eating! … Continue reading