8 Fabulous Thanksgiving Table Settings

We’ve provided you with the recipes to make sure your Thanksgiving dinner is amazing, but without immaculate presentation what’s the point? Below you’ll find 8 examples of absolutely spectacular table setting ideas to inspire you this holiday season. Check out the photos and be sure to let us know what style is your favorite!











Beautiful Chicago properties

We just sold this property. One of the things I love most about selling property in Chicago is the history I learn along the way! This beautiful property was once the sister to the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The EBH, sadly, was destroyed to build new condos in the ’80’s. Here is a bit of the history:

Built in 1916 and owned by John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery, it was located between Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan. The complex had a private beach and offered seaplane service to downtown Chicago. During its lifetime, the hotel served many famous guests including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, and Nat King Cole, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The hotel was known for hosting big bands such as the bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, and Wayne King, which were also broadcast on the hotel’s own radio station, a precursor to WGN with the calls WEBH.

On June 14, 1949, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive fan at the hotel; this later would be a large part of the inspiration behind Bernard Malamud’s novel The Natural.

The 1951–54 extension of Lake Shore Drive from Foster Avenue to Hollywood Avenue cut the hotel off from the beach leading to a reduction in business. The hotel closed in 1967 and the main buildings were demolished shortly after. The Edgewater Beach Co-op or Apartments, built in 1928, is the only part of the hotel complex to survive and is part of the Bryn Mawr Historic District.

Next Year is HERE!


Anyone living or visiting Lakeview on the north side of Chicago during the spring and summer, MUST keep an eye out for the baseball schedule.  The CUBS opening day is April 1, 2013.  It is an away game and they are playing Pittsburg at 12:35.  It will be broadcast on WGN. The HOME game opener is April 8, 2013 at 12:35. They will be facing Milwaukee.

Some north-siders eschew the Wrigley Field area during Cubs games.  Not me.  I get such a rush from the excitement of the crowd, the teeming energy on the street, the vendors hawking their goods.  There is no other place like it!  Raised as a Braves fan and still able to recit the line up when I went to my first MLB game, I now find myself addicted to the Cubs and joyfully join the chorus singing the oft heard refrain “Next year is here!”

The Cubs 2013 schedule is available here.

Happy Passover to everyone – especially Charlotte and her wonderful family!

Tax Breaks vs Tax Incentives



There are four factors to growing rich with investment property – positive cash flow; tax breaks; capital repayment; and — appreciation. Each of these can vary significantly year to year and each has a unique effect on the ultimate return on investment property.

Let’s say you buy a lovely goldcoast brownstone apartment on tree-lined Astor St. You come up with a down-payment (these days upward of 30%+ if you’ll be using it exclusively as a rental). You then get a mortgage (with a little luck), find a renter and start to collect your rent.

So your mortgage payment of PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) is $3000/month. And let’s say you rent the place for $5000/month. With your $2000/month “profit” you earn $22,000/year on your rental property. Kind of. That’s assuming you do all the management, advertising, toilet plunging, etc. by yourself and have no outside costs – but that’s another post altogether. But if you have a lucky year (and your tenant always pays you) you make a tidy profit. In the course of ten years you’ve earned $220,000 and are well on your way to success. But what about taxes?

Fortunately you have depreciation and other tax benefits that also help you grow ‘wealth” when investing in luxury real estate. Our generous government let’s you take a sliding rate of depreciation on the value of the property. The IRS publishes guidelines each year – You can take a look at publication 946 – “How to Depreciate” . In the early years of owning a property you can deduct up to 3.64% of its value – which can be used against revenue you earned on property.

For example, if the fair market value is $500,000 for your rental property, you can depreciate it in certain years for 3.64%, or $18,200 (personal property depreciates a bit differently). That means $18,200 out of the $22,000 you earned in rent is exempt from taxes – leaving you liable for taxes only on the $3800 difference. You still earned $22,000 but can offset a significant portion of it! That’s how some properties “cash flow negative” while still putting money in the owner’s pocket year after year. I simplify, of course. That’s why the accountants are the ones who make the REAL money!

My favorite “Chicago” thing of the day is  American Girl Place at Watertower.  

Image  I don’t have a little girl, so the lines forming around the store this weekend perplexed me.  Upon entering, it was a wonderland!  Little boys are given Nintendo DS to occupy their minds while girls frolic like it is a birthday EVERY day!  Consumerism at its best and worst and in this depressing economy, I loved being transported even if for half an hour! 

How is the Market?


We hear this question all the time! The real estate market improved noticeably in 2012, and activity in the first two months of 2013 has been the strongest we have seen since the downturn began seven years ago. Closed and pending sales are increasing dramatically in most segments of the market. According to BrokerMetrics®, which pulls data from MRED (Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC),  Prudential Rubloff’s pending sales, which is a more accurate reflection of current market conditions than closed sales, are up an amazing 77% over pending sales for the same period in 2012. Days on Market have fallen from 183 days to 159 days.  We consistently hear agents complain of too little inventory of homes on the market: a 180-degree change from a year ago.


Average price was flat in 2012 compared to 2013, although we saw significant gains in the second half of the year after prices declined in the first half. In the first two months of 2013, average closed price has increased over 8%. Existing home inventory fell at the end of February to a 3.7-month supply, and we expect further declines. Currently, MRED reports 40% fewer properties on the market than one year ago. We project an increase in average sale price of about 5 to 10% in 2013, largely due to an increase in higher-end sales, fewer distressed-property sales, and lack of inventory.


Interest rates for both 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are still at near historically low and extremely attractive levels. Qualification standards have eased somewhat, and the vast majority of those who apply qualify for some type of financing as a result. The combination of low prices and low interest rates makes it a great time for qualified buyers. 


This is the strongest sellers’ market we have seen since the downturn, with multiple offers becoming commonplace. Sellers would still be well advised to price conservatively, however, if for no other reason than the fact that appraisals tend to lag the market. It does no good to agree to a contract at a price that appraisers cannot support, and then have the transaction fall apart, costing valuable marketing time. Short sales and foreclosures, while declining, will continue to be factors that appraisers have to take into account. While the economy is improving, conditions both here and abroad continue to raise concerns.


We expect to see continued strong sales activity in the market. Buyers are well advised to make their highest and best offers immediately, as inventories are tight and homes are selling quickly. The days of a large selection and significant discounts from list prices are over.


Improving market with strong sales activity in most segments General feeling of optimism among real estate professionals Improving consumer confidence, though there is still concern over economic conditions here and abroad with employment being a significant contributor, extremely favorable interest rates continuing at near historically low levels  should remain through 2013. Inventory shortages, resulting in multiple offers and rising prices; a great sign for sellers. For a quick sale, sellers should continue to price conservatively and do everything they can to make their homes outshine the competition. Moving from a buyers market, it is still a great time for qualified buyers, but they will have to act quickly or lose out.

Seasons change – but some things are timeless….

As Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the chill in the air starts to creep in ever so faster, I am forced to recognize that the dreaded Chicago winter is rearing its ugly head once more. Months of blustery winds and sloshing through snow piles are ahead of us, as most of Chicago becomes a grey landscape for the foreseeable future. Most, one can say, except for that gorgeous stretch of area that seems to still retain a sense of beauty all winter: The Lake Shore.

With views that encapsulate the lake, city skyline and vast expanse, lake shore condominiums and co-ops become a theater of the most beautiful aspect of winter. The calmed icy lake, the picturesque snow covered fields of Lincoln Park, the city quiet at night as snow falls over all its inhabitants. Winter is still beautiful in this little spot of the city, and of course, practical as well.

And when the spring finally arrives? In Chicago, you have a front row seat for the most gorgeous display of greenery and new life that nature has to offer.

So, while others are lamenting the onset of grey sure to envelope most of Chicago, take heart that the future of happy winters is already making its way to us Lincoln Park. Seasons may change, but the experience of living in our city on the lake shore and park is truly timeless.


Lincoln Park is a virtual heaven for pet-owners, with neighborhood businesses surrounding the park catering to all sorts of amenities for your furry friends, from groomers to toy stores to high-end boutiques! The park itself wouldn’t be the same without a flurry of dog walkers making their way through the morning joggers and pleasant strollers alike.

But who would have thought that the most luxurious building to come to Lincoln Park in a generation would be pet friendly as well? Lincoln Park 2520 is the perfect home for fans of the pawfooted. Beyond the substantial beauty that the private park provides residents of this luxury condominium, the plans for the building grounds even include a sizable dog run and a special paw wash for Fido to clean up before he/she goes home. Where else can you find such a bounty of amenities for man and beast alike?

Love pets but don’t have one to move into your beautiful unit at 2520 North Lakeview? Do yourself a favor a check out Realtors® to the Rescue. Realtors® to the Rescue is an Illinois 501c3 Not For Profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals in the Chicagoland area. Through their website, they strive to use the vast network of Realtors® to promote both the adoption of homeless animals and area animal shelter fundraising and education events.

This grass-roots initiative was established to:
• Promote the adoption of homeless animals
• Provide general guidance on the lost and found pet procedures
• Provide a resource for Chicago Realtors® to aid in the home search for their clients with pets, including:
• Comprehensive city-wide list of pet friendly rental and condominium buildings
• City-wide neighborhood pet-friendly areas and dog parks
• Open community on-line forum for recommendations

For further details, please visit their website: www.RealtorsToTheRescue.com

Little dog - big personality!


Lincoln Park  is so perfectly situated to take advantage of all that the city has to offer. The best views you can imagine. The best in shopping and restaurants at your fingertips. The best schools one could ask for. And an ongoing stream of cultural events and activities that could make your head spin.

With the annual Chicago Humanities Festival in full swing, now is the time to step outside your home (or make a visit, if you are not a Lincoln Park resident yet) and come see why the neighborhood  is the place to be!

One prestigious local school, Francis W Parker School, is hosting a number of events for the Chicago Humanities Festival continuing this week. What better reason could there be to jump on out and experience just one bit of the culture our own Lincoln Park has to offer this year?

The Helen B. and Ira E. Graham Family ASCAP Cabaret
Pianist Dave Frishberg, a perennial jazz standout, headlines the festival’s annual ASCAP Cabaret. Dubbed the “Woody Allen of song” by the London Daily Telegraph, Frishberg has penned pieces wry and witty, occasionally tender and bittersweet, that defy neat categorization. The man responsible for classics “Peel Me a Grape,” “I’m Hip,” “You Are There,” “My Attorney Bernie,” and “Heart’s Desire” shares the stage with fellow cabaret cats, including soloists Karen Morrow and KT Sullivan.
Wed, Nov. 11 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Four Women Talk About Being Funny
What do funny and feminine and feminist have to do with each other? Anything? A lot? Four influential women in Chicago’s theater scene talk about what they’ve learned about being funny. With experiences—some funny, some not—in writing, directing, improvising, and acting, their conversation may range far and wide in search of what role gender plays in delivering and receiving humor, or if gender plays a role at all. Martha Lavey, ensemble member and artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre, will moderate the roundtable discussion, which will include Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, actor and director of 500 Clown; Tanya Saracho, writer, actor, and founding artistic director of Teatro Luna; and Lauren Katz, founding member of ED, a long-form improv group born in Chicago.
Sat, Nov. 14 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Paul Provenza & Katie Watson: Crossing the Line
Making searing and honest observations about people and the world around them is a comedian’s stock in trade. But are there times when comics go too far? Does it matter who, or how many, are offended by a joke? Does it matter who’s telling it? Paul Provenza joins Katie Watson for an incisive conversation exploring the volatile side of comedy. Provenza is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He directed the 2005 film The Aristocrats and is a regular on Chicago Public Radio’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Watson is an attorney, medical ethicist, and faculty member of The Second City. This program is not recommended for those who are easily offended. Really.
Sat, Nov. 14 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Ilan Stavans: The Riddle of Cantinflas
To American audiences, he was simply the devoted valet Passepartout in the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days, but Mario Moreno “Cantinflas” was one of Mexico’s most prolific actors, appearing in more than 50 films. Ilan Stavans, Amherst College professor of Latin American and Latino culture, asserts Cantinflas was not just a popular entertainer but also a verifiable genius whose work redefined Latino humor. Designed as a journey through Cantinflas’s 60-year career with Stavans as guide, this program examines the indelible legacy of Cantinflas through film and archival materials.
Sat, Nov. 14 3:00 – 4:00 PM

Yuri Lane: From Tel Aviv to Ramallah, A Beatbox Journey
With a synergy of beatboxing and storytelling, Chicago-based performance artist Yuri Lane breathes new life and humanity into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this hip-hop travelogue of peace, the lives of two young men, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, collide at a West Bank checkpoint against a soundscape of dance club beats, muezzin calls, and Tel Aviv traffic. Video disc jockey Sharif Ezzat provides amazing live visual backdrops for this tour-de-force play, written and directed by Professor Rachel Havrelock. The New York Times heralded the show as “vivid, heartening,” and the Chicago Tribune dubbed it “a coolly extraordinary 55 minutes.”
Sat, Nov. 14 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Commedia dell’arte: Managing Chaos
Why is commedia dell’arte, a 500-year-old Italian theatrical tradition, still relevant today? And, why does it still make us laugh?
Il Dottore (the Doctor), one of commedia’s classic characters and an unapologetic busybody and know-it-all, guides us through the rich history and delightfully silly machinations of commedia dell’arte—literally, the art of comedy.
With a lighthearted style, a band of merry pranksters define and contrast comedy and tragedy, shed light on the language of commedia, provide a history of the art form and its masks, and perform improvisations from the tradition. Thomas Simpson, senior lecturer in Italian at Northwestern University, Italian director and teacher Paola Coletto, and performers David Gaines and Sean Michael Kaplan, who trained at the legendary Jacques Lecoq School in Paris, collaborate on this original lecture-demonstration.
Sun, Nov. 15 1:30 – 2:30 PM

A Beckett Brouhaha Greg Allen, Danny Thompson, and Lucky Plush Productions
Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” wrote Samuel Beckett in his great play Endgame. The Festival salutes this funniest of unhappy playwrights with a unique, collaborative program. Lucky Plush Productions performs Endplay, a vibrant dance piece inspired by one of Beckett’s short dramas, and Greg Allen of the Neo-Futurists and Danny Thompson of Theater Oobleck present a sequel to their award-winning original show “A Few More Last Lost Complete Works of Samuel Beckett As Found Even Deeper In The Envelope (partially burned) In A Dustbin In Paris Labeled “Never to be performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I’ll Sue! I’LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!””
Sun, Nov. 15 3:30 – 5:00 PM

For more information and tickets for each event, either click on the headings for each topic or visit: http://www.chicagohumanities.org.

November 9, 2009 by lincolnpark2520

The Ritz Carlton Residences


, , , ,

Sales agents and brokers gathered at The Ritz Carlton Residences, Magnificent Mile to celebrate the groundbreaking of this soon to be iconic addition to Chicago’s skyline. Guests enjoyed champagne and hors dourves as they toured the sales center. Many had been there before and were reacquainting themselves with the 40-story building designed by Lucien Lagrange Architects. Only 88 units will be built in this unique residential building. The service level will be simply incomparable. The most notable amenity will be the Landmark Club, an exclusive private club for residents and their guests. As the Ritz Carlton Residences, Magnificent Mile tagline says, “Expect the Extraordinary”.

It is nice to see a developer moving forward. If you stand at the corner of Michigan and Erie you’ll notice that the construction activity is attracting the attention of all the passers by. This will be one of very few residential buildings in the city that can boast such a distinctive location right on Michigan Avenue. Residents will have the entire city at their fingertips!

The site is currently being cleared and soon drill rigs will be in place to start work on the footings. By October the steel frame will start to take shape. Deliveries in are set for 2011.

“This is a watershed event not only for The Ritz-Carlton Residences but also for Chicago as a whole,” according to Bruce Schultz, Principal of Prism Development Company, “In a time when there is so much concern about the business climate, it is a very positive sign for the economy of this city that a major residential development has sold 45% of the units, secured financing and is now under construction,” Schultz continued.

Rubloff is proud to be the exclusive marketer of this prestigious property.

Facebook and Reality


, , , , ,

Okay.  What’s up?

My company, Rubloff, is encouraging all of the agents to sign up for Facebook. What is going on?   Why are we all signing up for Facebook?  If we really wanted to keep in touch with our High School chums, wouldn’t we pick up the phone?  If we want to sell a $5,000,000 property, won’t we have to eventually turn off a computer and meet a client?

I have been ruminating on this since talking with a dear friend yesterday.  I have come to 2 conclusions:

1.  The chances of a client coming to my website via a Facebook page or group is slim to nil.  Who are these people and why do I care what they are eating for breakfast?  Facebook seems a wonderful way to keep in touch, albeit voyeuristic, with acquaintances.  Friends, I will just text and meet for dinner.  Clients – well I don’t really think a multi-million dollar sale is going to be impressed with the fact that I took a sick cat to the vet (or some other insane “Wall Post”) .  I am still going to have to earn the right to represent my clients and that will only happen by my ethics and professionalism.  Facebook is a nymph that will lure you into complacency.  Realtors must continue to work, not just post.

2. Facebook is great to get spiders to recognize us however we must be careful with posting things we don’t want commented on or broadcast, or identifying “friends” that may in reality be clients and not entirely comfortable with Susie Realtor broadcasting her client base. With all the media flooding cyberspace however, how do we stay in focus?  How do we keep our profile, and business, in front of the spiders that are crawling the web looking for updated pages, posts and links?  Facebook is a tool.  Period.  I will  jump on the bandwagon if it will draw 1 more prospect to view a property I am listing.   If my posts can help my company rank higher on Google, then great.  Let’s all be above board and see it for what it is.  Placement.  Most people really don’t want to know “what you are doing right now” and I know my clients do not want their identiy broadcast to the world.

Just my thoughts….

Speaking of $5,000,000 properties – I represent a fabulous building that has a few:  Lincoln Park 2520.  Visit our site!

Artist Rendering of the Grand Lobby - Lincoln Park 2520Artist rendering of the Grand Lobby

Lincoln Park 2520

Chicago, IL