Chicago Had A Makers Faire?

makers faireHow did I miss this Chicago?!?!?!   There was a Mini Makers Faire here on May 18th on the North Side (where I happen to live) and I somehow missed it. Why? Maybe I live in a little bubble of my own that includes me, my computer, the cats, and a bunch of tea. If that is true I should be ashamed, but if not, this thing was definitely not well publicized.

The artsy craftsy scene is this town is pretty prevalent, as is every other niche you could possible want to wiggle your way into, but I think it needs to work a little harder. This is festival season people! The only reason I am a bit perturbed is that I looked at the other cities that held similar events, including my old hometowns, and I was for once jealous of the people who still live there. Bay Area, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, they all had one large or multiple events.

Bay Area Faire

Bay Area Faire

This thing even reaches internationally.

Victoria BC... we're letting Canada beat us people.

Victoria BC… we’re letting Canada beat us people.

Chicago, how did we fall behind! Someone gather up some gumption and do it again, I’ll help I promise.

Do it big. Do it right.

And don’t do it in Wicker Park, the hipsters would bum everyone out.

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Pending Hope: Restoring Our Humanity With Coffee

CoffeeHandsYou’ve heard it called by a few different names, but no matter how you phrase it, the concept of suspended or pending coffee is a great one.

If you’ve been out of the loop, a suspended coffee is the act of paying for an additional cup of coffee along with your daily order. This extra dollar or so is produced later as donation in the form of a cup of coffee for a stranger in need of a boost. It is the best kind of charity. Anonymous.

It began in working class Naples, Italy (some say during the first World War) as  caffè sospesoSince then this traditional act of kindness has spread through the EU and into the States. Skeptic that I am, I felt that it would be really easy to get cheated by the cafes, especially when paying cash, but it has been reportedly handled with impressive social responsibility and integrity.

A reliable sense that we will be treated as we treat others is something I am trying to believe in. I must admit however, that there are times when I am less than hopeful for our future. Every time a see another report about how I live in the Murder Capital of the US I hesitate when leaving the house knowing that there is a small chance that I am not safe. These small moments of charity give me hope. I want to run into Starbucks and yell “Sharing caffeine is ingenious!” at the barista. And truly it is.

Sometimes a small act that one doesn’t even remember afterward can be the huge difference between hope and despair or life and death for another person, because some say everything and everyone are connected somehow… A smile, a “good morning,” a free coffee: who knows what kind gesture will touch another soul and kindle a flame of inspiration and transformation?” (Ortuoste, Jenny, “Random Acts of Coffee.” Manila Standard Today.com Apr. 04, 2013.)

So tomorrow, when you grab your next cup to charge your neurons before work, think about how little it would affect you to leave an extra buck for a pending no-frills cup-o-joe, and talk to your community cafes about shedding some light on humanity’s good side by implementing this simple system. Check out this video then download the free sticker below and see what you can do to improve the mood of your neighborhood.

Because it’s not about how it makes you look, it’s about restoring hope in yourself and giving simple joy to others.

STICKER!

STICKER!