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April 18th, 2014

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Ventra Is Coming To A CTA Station Near You

May 6th, 2013

We’ve all had our frustrations with the CTA. (If you haven’t, please tell us your secret.) Delayed trains waiting on “signal clearance,” fare increases, and construction adding 45 minutes to a morning commute… you know the drill. So what’s the next thing in store for CTA riders? Ventra is coming. You may have seen machines and signs placed and posted at L stations and buses, but remained completely clueless as to what this means for you. Here’s the gist.

Scheduled to launch this summer, a new payment system named Ventra will be coming to a CTA station near you. This new form of payment will allow riders to use their usual mode of transportation with only touchless boarding. Riders now have three options for paying their fare: The Ventra Card, a prepaid transit card appropriate for longtime users; Ventra Tickets, which are only good for single-ride and 1-day passes; and personal payments, which are bank-issued credit or debit cards linked to Ventra. CTA users will also have the option to pay cash on buses, as well as mobile payments in the future.

Why fix something that ain’t broke, you ask? Well, actually, the system currently in place is “broke.” CTA Chief Forrest Claypool states that the manufacturers of the chip in Chicago Cards that allows them to operate will no longer be produced starting next year. In the long run, this new system implementation is supposed to save Chicago money.What do you think of the new system? Will you be converting to Ventra come summer, or will you be searching for alternative modes of transportation? For more information, visit CTA and TimeOut Chicago.



Photo via TimeOut Chicago

In It To End It

April 11th, 2013

Welcome to 2013. The age of innovation: a pair of glasses can connect you to the world. An era of change: marriage equality is just within reach. And a persistence of shortcomings: slavery still exists. Yes, sadly the 21st century cannot assume that slavery and human trafficking are no longer an issue. In fact, every day, there are 27 million men, women and children living and working as slaves.

Not in my country, you say? You’re wrong. Slavery exists in 161 countries, including our own. Tuesday we changed the JB Chicago profile picture to a red “x” as part of a viral campaign to raise awareness and spark conversation. And we were not alone. Celebrities including Carrie Underwood and Nick Cannon posted pictures of support, and Google made strides by donating $3 million to launch a human trafficking hotline, seen here.

You can do your part by raising awareness by drawing a red X on your hand, or visiting the link below. Spread the word. Get in it to end it.

End it.


Social Media Preview at the Chicago Auto Show 2013

February 11th, 2013

If you thought you could avoid social media by deactivating your Facebook account or ignoring your Twitter feed, think again. Social media surrounds us everywhere, whether we can help it or not. Last Friday, JB Chicago attended the 2013 Chicago Auto Show for the Social Media Preview Day. While pimped out rides and the latest in automotive technology were showcased left and right, the power of social media was in the spotlight that day.

While listening in on a panel moderated by David Thomas, managing editor at Cars.com, the panelists discussed the strong presence and current necessity in social media when it comes to automotive purchasing.

“Social media has changed the dynamics of purchasing. We need validation from our friends,” said Paul Kultgen, VP of Mmobile at Nielsen. Michael Sprague, EVP of marketing and communications at Kia, backed Kultgen up by saying “When people are purchasing a car, they go to experts first, but they trust their friends more.”

These statements are ones that many people can agree with. When was the last time you consulted Yelp for a good restaurant? The same applies to car buying. People, especially those who are clueless about the automotive industry, often consult their friends who have knowledge about cars to help them make their decision.

Photo sharing of automobiles has also increased tenfold due to the easy access people have via their mobile phones. “People not only want their friends’ opinions on what car to buy, but after buying, they want to show all their friends their shiny new toy,” explained Kultgen.

Here are some of the highlights from the show:

Will you be visiting the Chicago Auto Show this year?




Twitter Introduces Vine App

January 29th, 2013

It was only a matter of time before Twitter provided users with the capability to tweet videos. Last Thursday, Twitter introduced a new app, Vine, which allows users to tweet videos up to 6 seconds long.  Overwhelming excitement from the public as well as companies has spread like wildfire.

It should come as no surprise that this newborn app is already experiencing some hiccups. For example, users are currently only able to share their videos upon uploading — meaning you’re out of luck if you forget to select that Twitter button. Another (more X-rated) issue:Vine users have wasted no time uploading 6 seconds of pornographic content. Needless to say, Twitter is currently experimenting with porn censorship on the app.

And while Twitter is working through the ups and downs of the new app, companies have spared little time seeing what Vine can do for them. Brands such as GE, Wheat Thins and Red Vines, makers of red licorice, have already utilized Vine as an outlet for short video ads.

Have you downloaded Vine? See JB Chicago’s first video here.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

January 22nd, 2013

If you’re living in the Midwest and have no choice but to leave your toasty home to venture outdoors, we feel for you. It seems that no matter how long one has been a native of Chicago, the bitter January cold is always as shocking from one year to the next.  And because global warming seems to threaten us only in the summer months, we have to find ways to escape from the cold. The JB Chicago team offers one solution: throw on your coziest knit sweater and your fuzziest socks and slippers, and try out this delicious hot chocolate recipe:

Ghirardelli “Grown Up” Hot Chocolate

Yield: 4 servings


4 oz. Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1 c half-and-half

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ c whipped cream


In a saucepan over low heat, bring chocolate and half-and-half to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add in vanilla extract. Pour mixture into mugs and top with whipped cream. Dust with cocoa powder if desired. Serve and enjoy.

2013 Resolutions

January 17th, 2013

Happy New Year! This month, we took a moment to reflect on the past year and set our resolutions for the year ahead. Our team is aiming high this year (see below). What are your resolutions for 2013?

Matt: Run 12 races this year, preferably one per month

Steve: Slow down and focus on what’s important: gratitude and priorities.

Laura: Read more books and find an eligible Chicago bachelor.

Kimberly: Make it home to see my baby niece (Hi Naomi!) at least once a month and learn how to cook something other than pasta and chicken breast.

Sarah: Volunteer.

Akemi: Get in shape.

Christina: Keep up with the latest and greatest in graphic design.

Stephanie: Continue taking barre classes at Barre Bee Fit. Six pack, here I come!

Dean: Brew the perfect espresso.

Mariella: Dress Austin (my dog) up for every holiday!

Jonathan: Finish eating all the salmon I caught this fall.

Todd: Cut back on caffeine.

Scarf Style

January 10th, 2013

We at JB Chicago like to keep up on the latest trends, fashion or otherwise. Recently our CEO, Steve Gaither, asked a fashion question that had us stumped: He wanted to know the proper way for a man to wear a scarf.

Back in the day, the only acceptable way was for a man to drape it around his neck so it would be barely visible beneath a coat. Nowadays, however, there are a multitude of stylish ways to wear neckwear. After performing some light research, guided by some not-ugly male models, we can safely share this finding: When it comes to scarves and how you rock ‘em, anything goes.

We’ve collected some stylish inspiration to guide even the most scarf-challenged men in the right direction:

Thanksgiving Traditions: Old & New

November 29th, 2012

Last Thursday, everyone here at JB Chicago was thankful for some time off to celebrate Thanksgiving with some family time and lots of great food. Likewise, millions of Americans sat around the infamous poultry (more commonly known as turkey) while stuffing was passed, potatoes were mashed, gravy was poured, and belts were loosened.  After dinner, many families then retreated  to the nearest comfy chair while letting their food babies settle before spending quality time together watching movies and playing board games.

However, many other families wrapped Thanksgiving leftovers to go, took one last gulp of coffee, and threw on their warmest coat to wait in line for Black “Friday” to begin.

When I say Black “Friday,” it is meant loosely.  After all, Target and Wal-Mart caused quite the stir by announcing they’d be opening their doors at 9 p.m. Thursday evening.  While some couldn’t get on board with shopping on this infamously chaotic day, others were fully ready to get their shop on.  The results: this year’s Black Friday sales topped $1 billion, making it the highest grossing shopping day ever.  Not impressed? The following Monday, also known as Cyber Monday, reached almost $2 billion — setting another record.

This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s benevolent little sibling decided to make an appearance.  Giving Tuesday debuted as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving on which corporations and individuals are encouraged to give back to a nonprofit.  After the success of Giving Tuesday, it seems that it’ll be back to greet us next year.

Which one of the post-Thanksgiving activities is your favorite?

Apple Pie 5 Ways

October 19th, 2012

Apple pie is always a fall favorite, but since we’re constantly looking for the next new thing, we’ve decided to introduce you to these five unique apple pie creations.


Impress your friends and neighbors with this twist on the ol’ classic pumpkin pie.

Caramel Apple Pie on a Stick

This treat is sure to be a hit, especially with kids.

Apple Pie Cookies

These are perfect for when you only need a bite of something sweet.  It’s apple pie goodness, disguised as a cookie!

Baked Apple Pie Doughnut with Maple glaze

Just in case the above photos don’t have you drooling already. Take a gander at this apple pie doughnut

Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

This drink is perfect for that autumn party — or happy hour.  Because we all know it’s five o’ clock somewhere!