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.

The LA Times Reviews the Toyota C-HR

Charles Fleming of the LA Times reviews  C-HR.

Charles Fleming of the LA Times reviews the 2018 Toyota C-HR.

Charles Fleming of the LA Times calls the 2018 Toyota C-HR “A lot of car for the money…a smart choice.”

The 2018 Toyota C-HR isn’t just any crossover in the Toyota family–it is one that drums up excitement by both consumers and automotive enthusiasts. In his review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR, Charles Fleming of the LA Times introduces Toyota’s crossover vehicle as a “welcome addition” to fan favorites like the Corolla, Camry, and RAV4–high praise from the esteemed automotive journalist who recently had the opportunity to test the $3 Million Bugatti Chiron.

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Jimmy Butler Drives a Swagger Wagon

 

What kind of car does Jimmy Butler Drive?

Jimmy Butler is the subject of Lee Jenkins’ latest profile for Sports Illustrated, entitled Don’t Try to Change Jimmy Butler

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated profiles former Chicago Bulls forward (and Marquette alum) Jimmy Butler to discuss, among other things, the NBA All Star’s move to Minnesota, his passionate off-season training and his notorious fondness for country music. The profile provides insight into Jimmy’s mind–shedding light on his struggle to reconcile the past and the present; one a life of luxurious wealth, the other a life fraught with uncertainty and strife. This is best illustrated at the beginning of the piece: 

Most hoop elites are identified by no more than two syllables: LeBron. KD. Steph. Russ. Kawhi. CP. Beard. “I’m always Jimmybutler,” he muses. The formality suits him, a superstar who used to be a sideman and still grapples with the transition. “How is a star treated?” he wonders. “I don’t know. I’m learning like everyone else, and it’s a helluva curve.” Butler flies in a Gulfstream but drives a Toyota minivan with a baby on board sticker across the back, even though he is single with no children.

At the end of the profile, the subject of Butler’s minivan pops up again. Jenkins notes that while Butler trains in Malibu, California over the summer, he drives a Rolls Royce and not a Toyota: 

The Rolls gleams in the parking lot. The minivan is back in Minnesota. “I miss it,” Butler says. “Unfortunately, we have to use this thing just a little longer.” He shrugs with the slightest hint of irony.

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Toyota’s Guardian and Chauffeur Autonomous Vehicle Platform

October 3, 2017

Toyota’s Guardian and Chauffeur Autonomous Vehicle Platform has reached a new stage in development. For the first time, automotive enthusiasts and curious minds alike witness the advancements made the Toyota Research Institute. 

In March 2017, Toyota Research Institute unveiled their Platform 2.0 research vehicle. This vehicle would be the hub for Toyota’s inquest into the world of automated driving. Six months later and Toyota is releasing Platform 2.1 along with a demonstration to show how their technology has progressed over the past few months.

The Platform 2.1 utilizes two driving modes: Chauffeur and Guardian. Under Guardian mode, the human driver maintains vehicle control and the automated driving system operates in parallel, monitoring for potential crash situations and intervening to protect vehicle occupants when needed. Chauffeur mode assumes all vehicle occupants are passengers. This is the mode that’s closest to fully autonomous driving.

To read more about Platform 2.1, click here

Happy National Coffee Day!

The Chicagoland area is celebrating National Coffee Day with freebies. Find out where you can score a cup of joe!

Oh Happy Day! It’s National Coffee Day and some of your favorite coffee spots are handing out freebies. But first, le’s talk about Chicago’s coffee scene. According to WalletHub, Chicago ranks as the 7th best city for coffee in the United States. We’re lucky to live on the southwest side of Chicago because we have some of the city’s BEST coffee shops. These are a few of our favorites. Have we left anything out?! We love supporting our local small businesses so please let us know your favorite local spot to grab a cup of joe. Keep reading for coffee freebies after our local coffee guide…

Chicago’s Best Coffee Spots on the Southwest Side

  1. Beverly Bakery & Cafe: Roasting over 21 coffees from all over the world, this coffee-lover’s heaven specializes in daily small-batch roasting for optimal bean freshness, resulting in a delicious cup of joe!
  2. Bridgeport Coffee Company: A retail and wholesale purveyor of fine coffee beans and roasts on the South Side of Chicago, Bridgeport Coffee Company builds a bridge to the land where your coffee is grown.
  3. Xando Cafe: Come for  a frothy cappuccino or specialty Greek Coffee, stay for Grecian panini. 
  4. Doughs Guys Bakery: Most people head to Doughs Guys for the delicately sweet macaroons and delicious donuts, but we go for the classic cup of black coffee and grab a glazed cinnamon roll for the ride to work. 
  5. Los Pekes Ice Cream & Coffee: Sometimes you need a little sugar to start your day so head to Los Pekes for a sweet caramel latte and give yourself permission to indulge in decadence. 

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Car Seat Safety

Car seats are vital to a child’s health & safety but many of us are installing the seats incorrectly. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your child’s car seat or booster can be found here. 

I do not have any children (unless you count my dog, Riggs, and I do but I don’t want to cause confusion here) so for the sake of this article, I will define my “parenthood” status solely by the raising a human being. So no, I am not a mother. I do, however, have seven nieces and nephews. They are the loves of my life and I feel pretty darn lucky to be their aunt. 

On the occasions that I take one or two or three of them out to do something special, I keep my fingers crossed that I can borrow one of my sibling’s minivans. *And no, I have never taken all seven out at once because that would be a suicide mission. I hope for the Sienna in part because I LOVE it (I can discuss this at a later occasion on the blog, but real talk—the Sienna is one of the best vehicles in Toyota’s lineup) and also in part because I’m lazy and transferring car seats and/or boosters seats from one vehicle to another is a PAIN in the butt. The seats are large, awkward and so terribly difficult to install. I can remember one particularly frustrating experience in which I attempted to install my nephew’s car seat in my Corolla—the fiasco ended with me in tears after failing to find the metal anchor in the back seat cushion. Once it was pointed out to me, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t see it all along!

While the frustration of the installation might drive us all crazy, studies show over and over again that it is worth the fuss when it comes to the safety of a child. Unfortunately, many of us are installing or using our baby/booster car seats incorrectly, rendering their safety benefits practically useless. According to the CDC, ”Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death to children in the United States.” These are preventable deaths. From the CDC

Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants (aged <1 year) by 71%; and to toddlers (aged 1–4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles. Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone. For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half.

These statistics are staggering.

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Helping Houston after Harvey

We’re reaching out to our friends in Houston, TX to see how we can help them during these incredibly tough times. The Houston Food Bank will be an indispensable resource for those affected by hurricane Harvey. 

To donate to the Houston Food Bank here or visit their website at http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/

The American Red Cross is currently on the ground in Houston:

Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from all over the country are on the ground now, working to provide safe shelter and comfort to people impacted by this devastating storm. The Red Cross has enough shelter supplies in Texas to support 28,000 people and supplies for an additional 22,000 people are being sent in now.

In addition, tractor trailer loads of ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are on the ground in Texas. Nearly half of our emergency response fleet — more than 150 vehicles – have been mobilized. The Red Cross also prepositioned blood products in Houston ahead of the storm to help ensure we can maintain an adequate blood supply over the weekend. We have staged additional blood inventory in Dallas.

You can donate to the American Red Cross here.

The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster or simply, “‘National VOAD’, an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.” They recommend supporting a local Texas VOAD member as that local team knows best how to handle your donation. To learn more and to donate, click here

Toyota Patent Catches Stuff

Toyota patents a device that catches the stuff you drop in between seats.

We’ve all been there: you’re driving along, the sun is shining, and you’re jamming to that one song you love (but you pretend not to know it when in the company of friends), you take a left turn–and just like that, you hear your phone sliding and listen for the barely audible clunk as it drops into the abyss. The abyss, or crack between the center console and your driver’s seat, is that familiar territory your change, lipstick, crumbs, and phone go to life wants to play a petty trick on you.

Fishing for the lost items is the most frustrating part–using the chair as a pendulum, pushing forward and then back–contorting your hand like an awkward skinny claw shape in an attempt to simply touch a piece of the object so you can push it or yank it or maneuver it in a way that will bring it back in your possession. It’s an ordeal. But a genius at Toyota just filed a patent to make that entire scenario a thing of the past.

According to The Drive:

Toyota’s aptly-named “under seat capture device” consists of a chute positioned on either side of the center console that can sense when something has fallen onto it, a platform that the chute funnels to, and an actuator coupled to the platform that delivers your fallen quarters/iPhones/taco crumbs to an easily accessible position.
The patent goes on to cover manually-operated under seat capture devices and also devices installed in between the seats and door sills.

So call off the search teams, Toyota will take care of the “into the abyss” items. PS. There is no date or timeline for when they will implement this nifty device, but we can all hope it’s sooner rather than later.

United State Patent and Trademark Office

Chicago’s Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21

What Time Will the Solar Eclipse Appear in Chicago?

Partial Eclipse begins at 11:54 am when the Moon touches the Sun’s edge.

Maximum Eclipse at 1:19 pm when the Moon is closest to the center of the Sun.

Partial Eclipse ends at 2:42 pm when the Moon leaves the Sun’s edge.

Will Chicago see the total eclipse?

Chicago is not in the path of totality. You will still need to use eye protection for the entire partial eclipse. The far southern portion of Illinois is the only part that sees totality.

Continue reading for DIY safe viewing options & more…

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Toyota 86 860 Edition

Motor Trend recently took the Toyota 86 860 Edition out on the road and writer Stefan Ogbac’s analysis can be distilled into two words: PURIST PERFECTION! 

On the road, the Toyota 86 reveals itself as a thoroughbred driver’s car—razor sharp and seriously fun to drive. The car’s chassis shines on the winding roads where you can explore its handling capabilities without the risk of losing your driver’s license. Through the twisting mountain roads of Southern California, the 86 stays planted and flat, and when combined with its precise steering, it feels like a scalpel slicing through the road with pinpoint precision. Along with its twin, the Subaru BRZ, the Toyota 86 gives the driver so much confidence that on twisty roads, you’ll find yourself taking corners at higher-than-normal speeds. Unlike the Mazda MX-5 Miata, there’s minimal body roll, but you still know exactly what the car is doing as it communicates with you.

Keep reading….

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