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The 3 Best Chicago Hot Dogs You Can Eat In 3 Hours

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Anyone who tells you that you need to try Chicago deep-dish pizza is wrong and needs to be avoided at all costs. Chicago is a hot dog town. You don’t realize how much you’ve missed out on life until you’ve tasted the glory that is Chicago hot dogs. 

A Chicago hot dog is very particular. And for good reason. First, they use real casing, giving it a signature snap when you bite into it. Second, it’s loaded with onions, tomato slices, neon-green relish, a pickle slice, sport peppers, and mustard on a poppy seed bun. Third, NO KETCHUP.

Seriously, you won’t make any friends in Chicago if you ask for ketchup on your dog. 

There is no shortage of quality dogs in Chicago. Wherever you go, chances are you’ll be happy. I went to these three spots and rated them accordingly. Prior to Chicago hot dogs, my dog experience was pretty limited to whatever looked “freshest” at 7/11. 

Here are the three best Chicago hot dogs I ate in three hours. 

Dog Haus

Our first stop was at Dog Haus on Lincoln Ave. It wasn’t very busy but it was very clean and the staff was super nice. Excited for my very first Chicago hot dog, I wolfed it down in a matter of moments. 

The bun was fluffy and perfectly crispy on the edges with a generous helping of all the toppings that make up the iconic dog. The dog itself was the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my life. All in all, I was pretty satisfied. 10/10.

The Wiener’s Circle

I have dreamed of visiting The Wieners Circle ever since they were featured on Conan. For those who don’t know, The Wieners Circle is known not just for its dogs but for how the staff berates and insults their customers as aggressively and brutally as you can imagine.

Being a vulgar person with a deep affection for greasy food, I knew this was the spot for me. 

The staff is only vulgar and insulting after 9 pm (can’t be cussing at the kids, ya dig?). So, while we didn’t get the full experience that makes this spot famous, you could smell it in their air. All it would take was one snarky comment and you could imagine the wonderful abuse you’d endure. But this is a business trip, so best behave. 

I got the cheddar char dog – a classic Chicago-style with cheese charred on the grill. And good golly miss molly was it the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my entire life –  but better

The dog was not huge, but the poppy seed bun perfectly cradled it and the toppings beautifully and gently. The char – my goodness ya’ll – THE CHAR! You could taste all the grease of years past with that perfectly smoky, blackened taste that makes every hot dog the best hot dog. 

It was everything I dreamed it would be. 12 – no – 15!/10.

Flub A Dub Chub’s

Next was Flub A Dub Chub’s (LOVE the name). It feels like an event when you descend down the grimy stairs into what is, without question, the winner in terms of atmosphere. 

The fairly small space’s walls were covered with customer-made hot-dog-themed drawings that varied from a hot dog beating up a ketchup bottle (I wasn’t kidding about the ketchup thing – don’t do it) to a Thor holding Mjölnir in triumph while yelling something about hot dogs (missed opportunity to hold a dog-themed Mjölnir, imho). 

The staff was cool and non-judgmental (for those of you brave enough to add ketchup), and the dog was the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my entire life – only I’m full now.

Three Chicago hot dogs in three hours add up, alright? 

The Verdict

For me, it was The Wieners Circle. The others never stood a chance. Call it bias, call it favoritism, call it what you want. But you’re not the one writing right now, are you? 

The Wieners Circle is without question the most superior of all Chicago hot dogs. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not except for a great place to get a delicious dog and some humbling verbal abuse. 

Dog Haus was a great first Chicago hot dog experience, but ultimately chains are inherently a little lame. Flub A Dub Chub’s was super fun, but I was getting full by that time, so it’s not totally fair. 

If you’re going to have any hot dog in Chicago, make sure it’s The Wieners Circle – and make sure you leave a tip.

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Business

My 7-Day, $7 GraphicsZoo Review

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The luxury of an on-demand graphic designer is a recent one. Gone are the Mad Men days of walking into a glamorous, sexy office building to hire a firm to do design work for you. Now, if you need a design completed, all you have to do is log on. GraphicsZoo is one such on-demand graphic designer. Here is a GraphicsZoo review you do not want to miss.

Side note – how fun is it to say “GraphicsZoo review” out loud? Say it with me “GraphicsZoo review.” Fun, no?

Anyway…

For a flat, monthly rate you can have all the designs your mind could dream of. So, I decided to see what was up with them. I signed up for their 7 Day $7 Trial. Not a bad deal, right? Here’s how my experience went. 

Logging On, Part One

When I first signed up for GraphicsZoo, I didn’t actually sign up. Not yet anyway. I had filled in and submitted the necessary log-in information. Next was the payment information. I paused on that for whatever reason, got distracted and closed the window. I would take care of it the next day when I had a moment. 

GraphicsZoo, however, took the initiative. I received this email the following day:

I hadn’t given them any money yet. Seems a little odd for a company to get the ball rolling when a customer has knowingly not handed over any kind of payment information. They sure seemed eager to get started, so, why not? Let’s get to work. 

Except, when I clicked on “Post a New Project,” I was sent to this page: 

You may be asking yourself, “what the hell is Laravel?” Because I sure did. Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework. It’s a website programming tool. That’s the best way I can explain something I don’t fully understand in layman’s terms. 

Why was I sent to this page by an official GraphicsZoo email? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Logging On, Part Two – The Sandwich Shop of My Dreams

Now ready to hand over proper payment information, I signed up a second time. Again, GraphicsZoo sent me an email about starting a project before I had submitted the payment information. But this time, they didn’t even give me time to walk away. 

I get it, you’re Eager McBeavers. Let’s wait until I hand over payment information, yes? 

Once I got settled in, I submitted my design request. Since high school, I’ve had a very silly dream about opening up a sandwich shop. So, to make a younger me excited, I decided to create a logo for this dream sandwich shop. 

My nickname in high school was Blondie, so I decided to stick with the theme and name my dream shop “Blondie’s Sammiches.”

Now, I had plenty of ideas as to how I wanted a logo or a label to look for this dream shop. But I wanted to see what GraphicsZoo designers could do with minimal direction. I gave them the initial freedom to decide for me. Let’s see what kind of raw talent they got. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design, and the rest was up to them. At least to start. 

Once submitted, I happened to notice the expected delivery date. September 6. That date would seem arbitrary, but I signed up on September 1. Kinda funny that the first expected delivery date is just under the 7-day mark, no? 

I see what you’re doing, GraphicsZoo. 

Design First Draft

To GraphicsZoo’s credit, they delivered the first draft ahead of schedule. For minimal direction, they delivered a half-decent design. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design. I think, despite the super-dated early 90’s color scheme, they did pretty okay. 

Now, I wanted to see how they would take direction. I preferred the first design with the text wrapped around the sandwich logo. I only wanted to change the color. I asked for a variety of text options (black, white, and colored) and that the sandwich be filled with “sandwich colors,” for lack of a better description. 

We all know what “sandwich colors” are, right? 

Turns out, GraphicsZoo designers did. 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

We were approaching the 7-day mark, so I was hoping to get a revision on the design before that mark. 

I would periodically check-in, but I would have a difficult time navigating the site. Upon checking in, I would see this page: 

If I were a less patient person, I would have been irritated. If I was paying regular, non-$7 prices, I would be furious. My inner Karen would be roaring. 

After some digging and clicking, I would eventually find my project. But, frankly, I shouldn’t have to do that no matter how little I’m paying. If I’m about to open my dream sandwich shop, I want to be able to find my potential logo with absolutely no issues. 

Seeing empty folders on an initial log-in is, well, not good. 

Design Second Draft

Thankfully, one day before the end of the 7-day trial, I received a second draft. To my delight, they had followed my directions well. 

Sure looks like “sandwich colors” to me. 

If I had more time to work on this, and if I were actually opening up my sandwich shop, I would have more revisions to make. But, considering the quality of design in the brief time allotted, I think this is a solid design. 

What is “solid” in terms of an academic grade? A “B?” A “B-?” Either way, my mother would tell me to do better. 

Cancelling The Trial Before The Real Charges

I was now in a time crunch. Considering I don’t want to pay over $300 for a service I won’t be returning to anytime soon, I wanted out and fast. I mean, look at these prices. 

Not exactly in my budget. So, it was time to cancel. I requested a cancellation and then… well, I waited. 

But, I don’t want to wait to see if my cancellation goes through or not. When you go to cancel your Netflix subscription, they cancel it. There’s no suspense. And when there’s that amount of money at stake, suspense is not the emotion I’d like to be feeling in the moment. 

I reached out to GraphicsZoo’s support team. I had asked for a confirmation of cancellation. But they had something else in mind, at first. 

And so, our dance began. 

There was a decent amount of back and forth. “How about this subscription plan?” No, just cancel, please. “Well, how about this one?” No. Just cancel, please. “Consider this plan!” I said NO. No means no! 

Eventually, my persistence and complete and total unwillingness to pay a single cent more won out. Grace, my support … person, finally conceded. 

She was doing her job. Can’t sneeze at that. I can sneeze at the practice of hounding someone not interested in paying a single cent more. If I were running a business, however, I’d insist on that policy. 

I may have been mildly annoyed about that process, but ultimately no harm was done. The cancellation went through. 

Conclusion

All in all, I would call my 7-day $7 trial experience with GraphicsZoo mediocre. I found the initial signing-up experience to be bizarre and unintentional. There’s no way GraphicsZoo meant to send me to a web programming tool when asking me to start a project. 

That’s the kind of whoopsie-daisy that really needs to be rectified, and immediately. 

I was slightly irritated by the persistence of a support coordinator to get me to keep paying them, but that’s the nature of business. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

I was mildly impressed with the designer’s ability to deliver a decent design in a short amount of time with minimal direction. What they delivered was fine, but given the circumstances, I think it was solid. 

Despite the decent work by the designers, I probably wouldn’t recommend GraphicsZoo. The experience with the initial signing up, the difficulty navigating their site, and the over persistence by the support department left me with a bad taste. There are plenty of other services out there better organized with the same quality of design. 

If I could put my experience with GraphicsZoo in a single word, it would be “Meh.”

Be sure to read our other GraphicsZoo review to help make up your mind!

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Lifestyle

Bearaby Tree Napper Review: Is It Worth $299?

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Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years for their therapeutic benefits. What used to be therapy for those with anxiety and autism has now become widely available. Weighted blankets come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. However, most are the same. They’re simply blankets – weighted with a heavy material, typically beads.

Bearaby introduces an entirely new concept, the Bearaby Tree Napper, a weighted knitted from eucalyptus trees. Like Bearaby’s other weighted blankets, the Tree Napper gets its weight completely from the construction materials instead of relying on beads. It’s a unique concept that’s both innovative and socially responsible. However, is it worth the asking price?

What’s a weighted blanket?

First, let’s start by explaining what exactly a weighted blanket is. It’s a blanket that uses either beads or dense materials to give it a weight between 15 – 30 lbs. The weight is often evenly distributed across the blanket, so the pressure is applied equally. Research has shown that deep pressure stimulation has shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Ever wonder why a massage feels so good afterward?

Weighted blankets offer similar therapeutic effects by wrapping you underneath a 15 – 30lbs blanket. Several studies have shown that frequent use of weighted blankets can also help with chronic pain, osteoarthritis, insomnia, and even ADHD.

What makes Bearaby unique?

Most weighted blankets get their weight from tiny beads evenly quilted into the lining. This method certainly does work to give the blanket its weight, but you’ll often feel like you’re under a sandbag. The Bearaby Nappa is unlike any other weighted blanket. It gets its weight naturally from the dense cotton strands knitted together. This design choice gives the blanket a cohesive structure that’s both flexible and durable. It can stretch and take a bit of abuse. However, it’ll never lose its shape.

One significant advantage of Bearaby’s unique design is that it doesn’t sacrifice comfort for weight. Traditional weighted blankets rely on noisy beaded pockets, and that can often be uncomfortable. The Bearaby’s soft tencel knits are comfortable, soft, and have a natural silk-like texture that makes them cool to the touch.

Are Bearaby Weighted Blankets Washable?

Yes, thanks to 100% of the weight coming from the fibers, all Bearaby blankets, including the Tree Napper, are machine washable. Traditional weighted blankets are much more complicated to wash due to the beads being interlocked in pockets. Machine washing and drying could cause damage to the covering or, worse, to the washing machine should the pockets rupture. 

What is Bearaby made of?

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and more relaxed than linen. I can confirm its effectiveness by sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than held down.

The look & feel

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and cooler than linen. Sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather, I can confirm its effectiveness. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than being held down.

A socially responsible company

Bearaby promises all of its products are sourced responsibly in a closed-loop process that uses 90% less water than traditional fabrics. Their products, including the Tree Napper, are biodegradable and have received sustainability certifications to back up their claim.

It’s easy for brands to claim their sustainability badge by promising to donate money for every purchase. Bearaby does something that few are willing to do – changing their manufacturing practice. It’s not a flashy promise, but it’s an expensive choice with the most significant impact on our environment. This practice alone more than justifies Bearaby’s price tag.

Bearaby’s price

We recommend any Bearaby weighted blankets because it’s a fantastic health product that can add years to your life. Any benefits traditional weighted blankets offer, the Bearaby simply offers more.

The Bearaby Tree Napper starts at $269 for the 15lbs version and goes up to $299 for the 25lbs version. It’s easily one of the most expensive weighted blankets on the market. However, considering the materials, sustainable practice, and fair wages they offer their staff, it’s well worth the price. You’re buying more than just a blanket. You’re supporting a company that takes care of their people and environment.

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Reviews

The $5-Worth Nintendo Switch Deal: PowerA Joy Con Grip

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nintendo switch

We all know $5 is a tough price to find for anything decent these days. But Amazon offered a Nintendo Switch accessory more than 50% off its original price! With a crisp Abe Lincoln, you can either have a PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip or Celeste game. It doesn’t sound like a losing deal, right? 

Nintendo Switch PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip

nintendo switch power joy a con comfort grip

As a boost to your gaming experience, this Nintendo Switch accessory reached its lowest price last week. Alright, we know PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip isn’t the sleekest Nintendo Switch accessory. But we can admit it does the job. The best part? It’s even a Nintendo-authorized clone for the original Joy Con grip for Switch. 

Although, it’s too bad for those who did not get a chance to buy this accessory for only $5. As they say, “you snooze, you lose.” Compared to last week’s 67% discount, Power-A currently costs $9.88

Product Features:

  • Lightweight and ergonomic for a satisfying gaming experience. 
  • Enjoy the feel of double-injected rubber grips for your optimum comfort. 
  • Keep your Joy Con snug and secure. 
  • It keeps indicator lights visible. 
  • Shock resistant

Review: 

PowerA ranks in the Amazon’s Choice section for the “joycon grip” search. It received a whopping 4.5 stars review with more than 20,000 ratings. This gaming accessory is officially licensed even though a third party makes it. So we can’t expect it to have the same feel, design, and benefits that a JoyCon grip gives you. 

It’s important to remember that PowerA is cheaper, so it’s safe to expect slightly lower quality. 

At the same time, this Nintendo Switch accessory does not have a “charge and play” function. But still, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative that can provide you comfort while gaming, it can surely deliver. 

Nintendo Switch Game: Celeste

Celeste is the all-time favorite game for Nintendo Switch’s platform. This indie game from 2018 was also available for 75% off its original price. However, like PowerA’s $5 deal, Celeste’s 75% off is a thing of the past. So if you’re like me, who’s living under a rock, you probably missed the sweet double-deal. 

Currently, Celeste costs $19.99. It’s a game that players and critics love because of its heartfelt plot and simplicity. Although it looks simple, it’s a challenging game to play. Its difficulty level is through the roof, which makes some not fond of the game. 

Review:

Overall, Celeste has an overwhelmingly positive review and feedback for players. It can be frustrating, to the point where you want to pull your hair, especially if you keep dying. But it can surely keep you on your toes as you try to clear each chapter. 

This indie game is created with great platforming, aesthetics, atmosphere and even the OST pulls you into game mode. It may look off if you’re not a fan of pixelated visuals. But if you can move past that, the gaming experience will not disappoint. Each chapter has a story behind it. So it can completely immerse and motivate the gamer to move on to the next level.

It’s the go-to game if you like challenging games and pixelated aesthetics. 

Final Thoughts

For those early birds who managed to grab a $5-worth of PowerA grip or Celeste game, great job for landing a low-priced Nintendo deal. However, not all are lucky enough to grab more than their money’s worth. 

On the other hand, both are still great products worth the price, especially if you love gaming. In the end, it’s the gaming experience that’s important. So if you’re still planning to get your PowerA grip, go on while it’s still at 34% off the original price. However, if you’re more curious about Celeste, it’s still worth the splurge!

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