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How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party

Mardi Gras PartyEveryone can do with a little cheering up during the final stretch of winter – that’s what makes Mardi Gras such a perfect occasion for a party. As the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras is celebrated as a final indulgence before Lent begins. If you can’t make it down to New Orleans to partake in its krewe parades and out-of-this-world festivities, you can always throw your own event.

 

As with any party, you’ll want to get your guests in the spirit from the moment they walk through the door. Decorate with the Mardi Gras colors—green, purple, and gold—using everything you can find. There’s no such thing as too many decorations! Just remember to include plenty of traditional beads and masquerade masks.

 

Once your guests are there, keep the Mardi Gras party going by playing traditional New Orleans jazz and zydeco. Encourage guests to dress up ahead of time and then have a costume contest. Be sure to set out plenty of Cajun food as well. Beans and rice, Creole crab cakes, or muffuletta sandwiches are all good choices. And no Mardi Gras party is complete without the traditional King’s Cake, a tasty pastry with a hidden surprise baked inside.

 

Keep the music loud, the drinks full, and the spirits high, and you can count on guests of all ages enjoying your Mardi Gras party this year.

SUV vs Sedan: Which to Buy

SUV vs sedan

Which is Right For You?

There are quite a few reasons why buyers should choose an SUV or crossover over a sedan and just as many reasons why a sedan would be a better choice. Both options have clear purposes and it just depends on what your needs really are.

In the crossover/SUV segment, buyers will find an abundance of cargo space. This is beneficial if you have a large family or frequently carry large amounts of stuff. Crossovers and SUVs also give drivers a great view of the road ahead with their high seating position.

Another benefit in the SUV category is the availability of all-wheel or four-wheel drive. While you can get most models without it, the option is more popular here than with sedans. This leads into the next advantage with off-road abilities. While most drivers will never leave the road, if you want to, you’ll need an SUV to do it.

Sedans come with their fair share of advantages. One of these is fuel efficiency because of their smaller size, sleeker design, and numerous hybrid models that are available.

If you live your life above the 6-foot-tall range, you might find the headroom in a crossover to be a bit cramped; most sedans offer more space for tall drivers. Sedans also offer some of the best visibility on the road, especially when looking backwards. Finally, there’s no denying that some of the most attractive cars on the road are sedans. If you want sophisticated styling, choose a sedan.

Classic Car Costs: What’s the Actual Price of Ownership?

Collecting classic cars is a great hobby. Not only can you admire some of mechanical and aesthetic designs of older models, but you can even drive them. Few collectibles are used as extensively as classic cars. However, there are some hidden costs to owning one. Read on the see more about classic car costs.

classic car costs

According to Fox News, one of the biggest mistakes classic car shoppers often make is buying for investment. That’s because it’s extremely difficult to know which cars will appreciate in value unless you study market trends extensively. Plus, many car buyers are biased, whether they admit it or not. What you see as a rare icon may not interest others.

Pay attention to market value. Generally, the price of a vehicle (as well as any product in general) is determined by its age, condition, original features, and scarcity. The National Automobile Dealers Association is a great resource for checking the value of a car before you buy. Make sure to have the car inspected before you buy as well.

Car insurance is one expense many buyers forget about. Classic car insurance is usually distinct from regular car insurance. In fact, it often costs less. That’s because most classic cars are not driven as often and they are better maintained. Nonetheless, the costs can add up depending on the value of the car. If possible, get a policy with a high guaranteed value as opposed to agreed value—guaranteed is usually more extensive.

Finally, be aware of storage and maintenance costs. Many special edition vehicles may require special storage facilities, especially if they don’t meet emissions or safety standards. Plus, restoration and repair costs can add up if you don’t have extensive tools or abilities. Shop around for local repair and storage facilities to get a better idea about costs before you buy.

Starved Rock State Park Cabins

Starved Rock State Park Cabins

Getaway Spot: Starved Rock State Park Cabins in Northern Illinois

If you’re visiting northern Illinois and are looking for a memorable place to stay after a long day hiking through Starved Rock State Park, check out the Starved Rock Cabins. These highly-rated accommodations are located at the Starved Rock Lodge, right on the grounds of the state park.

The Lodge offers two different cabin options. The Sunset Cabins are picturesque log cabins located next to the grounds’ indoor pool. This is the perfect option for couples, as each room sleeps two and has full amenities—some rooms even have a fireplace! The rustic Pioneer Cabins sleep more visitors and are best for families. These cabins are also located further from the busy Lodge and are secluded in the scenic forest.

These cabins in Oglesby, Illinois are the perfect destination due to their location south of the Illinois River. They’re also not far from Matthiessen State Park and the Margery C. Carlson Nature Preserve. Check out a side of Illinois you haven’t seen by retreating to the exciting Starved Rock State Park Cabins!

The 1980s in Illinois

Back in Time: the 1980s in Illinois

Reliving the Nostalgia of the 1980s in Illinois

Each generation has its own fond memories of trends, products, and celebrities that found fame for a short period of time. For some of us, the 1980s hold a special place in our hearts. As does all of the pop culture we embraced during our childhood.

Remember wearing those checkered VANS shoes? It seems like everyone had a pair of those! No doubt you’d see your friends wearing them when you met them at the arcade to play classic games like Pac-Man and Galaga. Hopefully you didn’t have a mullet hair cut, though!

For Christmas, you probably got one of the many following popular items: an Atari console, a Koosh Ball, a Cabbage Patch Doll, a Care Bear, or a He-Man action figure. And you probably didn’t miss an episode of G.I. Joe or Jem and the Holograms! And who could forget those Chicago Bears?

What other fond memories do you have of growing up the 1980s in Illinois? Share your nostalgia with us!

Strategies for Avoiding Road Anxiety

strategies for avoiding road anxiety

Even for the most experienced and poised driver, road anxiety can seem unavoidable sometimes. It’s as if all of the elements that stress you out arrive at once and next thing you know, you feel weak or faint and out of control. To prevent such an episode, we’ve compiled some strategies for avoiding road anxiety.

Learn To Recognize Triggers

Do too many big rig trucks make you nervous? Does rain do it? Or do you have a certain someone in your life who likes to backseat drive? Whatever your triggers are, learn to acknowledge them. This way you can start to implement relaxation and coping techniques early.

Coping Techniques

Techniques will be different for everyone. Some people will benefit from breathing exercises. Others may benefit from listening to chill music like Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis. And yet others may find that they can prevent road anxiety by simply coaching themselves. As long as they are effective, it doesn’t matter what techniques you use.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

If it’s rain or snow that bothers you, try to avoid it altogether. Ask someone else to drive or arrange your day so that you do not have to go out in it. If it’s heavy traffic, take a different route home, even if it costs you more time.

 

Best Time of Year to Buy a New Car

when should i buy a car

All those pennies are adding up!

Saving money on a car is easy, especially with all the discounts and specials dealerships run throughout the year. Despite what you see on TV, there are even better times to buy. Doing your research can result in thousands in savings. We here at Bill Walsh GM Superstore know the best time of year to buy a new car and we’re happy to share!

In order to get the best deal, its best to shop when others aren’t. That means during cold weather, specifically winter, when few people are out on the lot. As there are fewer potential customers, dealerships have to work harder in order to sell cars. They do so by offering specials and discounts.

Shopping toward the end of the calendar year doesn’t hurt but whether or not you get a good deal depends on the dealership. Instead, focus on the end of the model year.

When dealerships have the newest model coming in, they need to make space on the lot. As a result, they may be willing to make a deal on the “old” model.

Holiday shopping can be a good time to buy but many others are as well and that can limit inventory. Spring is the worst time to buy. As the weather gets warmer, more people flock to car lots with a tax refund burning a hole in their pocket!

Signature Chicago Dishes To Enjoy This Spring

Chicago Dishes

Chicago is a city with a taste all its own. There are several dishes that you can find in other cities, but you won’t find them made the Chicago way! If you happen to be in the Windy City, then be sure to take a bite out of these signature Chicago dishes.

  1. Chicago-Style Pizza

If you want a thin and flimsy pizza you can fold, then head to New York City. However, if you want a deep dish pizza that you can really dig into, then you have come to the right city.

  1. Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

There is no better way to celebrate a great game or a nice day out on the town than with a Chicago-style dog. Just don’t forget to house it all in that steamed poppy seed bun!

  1. Italian Beef Sandwich

With Chicago-style sandwiches, the wetter it is the better it is! When you order your next roast beef sandwich, have it dunked in savory juices in order to make it even more delicious.

Reasons to Choose Either a Hatchback or a Sedan

Hatchback or a Sedan

When it comes to choosing a subcompact vehicle, drivers usually have two body styles to choose from: hatchback or sedan. However, how do they determine which body style is right for them? Here are a few reasons to choose either a hatchback or a sedan.

Reasons to Choose a Sedan

If you want to save a little more money with your purchase, you might want to look into a sedan, as they often have less expensive asking prices. You may also want to select a sedan if you’re not a big fan of the larger rear ends featured on hatchbacks.

Reasons to Choose a Hatchback

If you have a lot of cargo to carry around with you, the hatchback is the ideal choice. There is a lot more trunk space inside of a hatchback. Also, if you want to fill up your bank account with more money when it comes time to sell your car, hatchbacks generally have a lot higher resale values.

Whether you decide to choose a sedan or a hatchback, you will find a wide variety of both at Bill Walsh GM Superstore!