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Know thy neighbor: Smith & Edwards

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We’re pleased to introduce this month’s neighbors in our Know Thy Neighbor Series: Mike Smith and Jeff Edwards, a.k.a. Smith & Edwards.

Mike plays guitar in an original Blues/Rock band called Blue Line that will be launching this Summer ( Jeff is the lead singer in a Southern Rock cover band called Whiskey Hill ( Jeff and Mike met online due to a mutual admiration for Irish guitarist/singer Rory Gallagher.

In December 2011, Jeff was offered an acoustic gig at a Wicker Park bar called The Southern, and asked Mike if he’d be interested in doing the show with him. He agreed, and Smith & Edwards was formed (

In addition to The Southern, they’ve also played at Salt Creek Wine Bar, The Elbo Room Cocktail Lounge, and now, Pillars Social Cafe in May (tomorrow in fact!). As they continue performing together, they’ve been adding Blues and Rockabilly tunes to their set.

If you’re wondering just what that sounds like, come check them out tomorrow at 6pm. Get a chance to support your local musicians and take in some acoustic Blues and Rockabilly while you’re at it.

Know thy neighbor: Linda Mastandrea

One of the things we love doing at Pillars is to get to know our neighbors. Whether you live or work here in Rogers Park, we’d like to put names to faces because frankly, the more familiar faces we see around us, the tighter the community feels, don’t you think?

Also, as a small business ourselves, we can understand and appreciate the struggles of independent/small business owners and/or entrepreneurs who are trying to make a living by pursuing a passion.

Know Thy Neighbor

Linda and her husband, Jesse Rodriguez, also an entrepreneur himself

And that’s why we came up with the Know-Thy-Neighbor series to feature a fellow independent so they can make their business known to the community. That way, those of us who love supporting local businesses are aware of what is available to us right in our own neighborhood so we can help them succeed!

That being said, we are kicking off our Know-Thy-Neighbor series with Linda Mastandrea who lives right here in Rogers Park.

Linda is an athlete, attorney and author whose diverse experience makes her an ideal speaker in any events, large or small.

Linda is the embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt’s, “With self-discipline most anything is possible.”

Diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy at the age of three, Linda didn’t compete in sports growing up, but she learned about wheelchair sports and disability advocacy in college, and went on to set national, world and Paralympic records numerous times during her career!

If you’re looking for a speaker to give your group some motivation and a little jolt, she may be just the person you need. Learn more about Linda’s amazing story on her website.

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Would you like to be the next Neighbor? Just email us and let us know your story. If you are a right fit, we would love to feature you and your business.

Saving the Planet one coffee cup at a time – Kinda.

Recyclable, reusable, biodegradable cups

This here is Alex, or you can call him “Mista Barista” (although we’re not sure he’ll respond to that). He’s a pretty neat guy. Makes great coffee. Loves Guitar Hero, volleyball and long walks on the beach (when it’s not cold). And we love him.

But as much as we love the guy, this post isn’t about Alex. It’s about the paper cup in front of him.

“Huh?” you may wonder. And who can blame you? Who writes about paper cups anyway?

We do apparently. Because we’re really proud of it. It’s made from all-natural sustainable resources. It doesn’t use petrochemicals as it’s lined with biopolymer made from all natural plant sugars. These cups are also fully compostable within 90 to 120 days.

Not only is it biodegradable, recyclable and made from plant material, it is also sturdy enough to keep your Intelligentsia coffee insulated and your fingers from getting burned. This means, no additional paper sleeves! See? We think of everything.

Because we’re trying to be as green as possible, we are big fans of this product, and we hope you are too.

Calling all commuters (and folks who just want some hot beverage to go), please come and test these cups and tell us what you think. Your feedback is important to us.

And while you’re waiting for your coffee to go (which won’t take long, we assure you – you’ll catch that bus or train!), Alex can also tell a mean knock-knock joke to keep you entertained. What a talented guy huh? (No pressure, Alex).