Oops, I Did It Again (CHICAGO CLASSES)

Ok, I did it with a lot of partners and help, but I couldn’t resist a shiny young Brittany reference! (Keeping it classy…)

Remember back in October of 2013 when I announced a digital partnership with Chicagomag.com and KRRB? Well – that is still going along swimmingly, I must say. It’s great content for our site and our readers, while adding a little something to our business side as well. I hear often how much people enjoy the Chicago Classifieds, and I still find it extremely exciting.

Fast forward to a shiny young 2015 – and I am excited to announce the next Marketplace partnership for Chicagomag.com: CHICAGO CLASSES!

This partnership is a perfect example of what you will often find me preaching about monetizing content. It has to be something that helps the reader! Something unobtrusive and possibly even helpful! It can, and IS being done! 

Chicago Classes is for you if you live in the Chicagoland area and you are looking to enhance your life through a little bit of extra knowledge. Offered there, in an easy to organize for YOU kind of way, are hundreds of local classes that will enhance your personal life, your kid’s life, or maybe even your career.

Sign up now and get $10 off your first class! I hope that you enjoy and that we can keep learning and exploring this world, digital and otherwise, together.

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February Photo A Day: DAY 1

I think the toughest part of Fat Mum Slim‘s February photo a day project is to choose which image best represents the day’s theme. I suppose the best thing to do is just choose one and run with it. So here you go! My view crossing Michigan Ave. on my way to the office today. I am so lucky to see this everyday. Chicago is still, after all these years, my kind of town.

The Urban Biker: Equipment

In an effort to be time efficient, healthier, and at the same time greener – I am considering becoming a bike commuter. From my house to my office, it’s about an 8 mile ride along a beautiful lake front bike path. Why haven’t I worked up the courage/energy/equipment to start doing this yet??? Well, I am working on all these things. But, let’s start with the fun stuff: The Equipment.

1. Bell Citi Bike Helmet seems to get some good reports online. I find helmets to be so ugly, but especially in the city, very necessary. ($39.95)

2. I have an old mountain bike, and a super cool vintage bike. Neither of these bikes are good for 16 miles of riding per day. Perhaps I can sell both of these bikes to get something that is sturdy, and has a comfy seat. Something like this beautiful Schwinn? ($349.99)

3. Some washable gloves to help with vibrations and to wipe away some sweat. ( $13.11)

4. The ensemble doesn’t have to be crazy cute, but is should be comfy and presentable, right? What about some Swrve bamboo v-necks and water and wind repellent bike knickers? (I love that those pants are described to have “articulated knees for comfort on a bike or barstool”.) ($90 for 3 shirts + $90 for knickers = $180)

5. Of course I will need some waterproof bicycle panniers for hauling a change of clothes, makeup and such. Why are these so pricey? I did see some DIY options out on the internet, but nothing that ended up looking very great. Regardless, I hear that no matter how water proof they claim to be, that you should like with plastic bags just to be safe. Here are some nice ones. ($120)

6. A good cable lock will be a priority. ($39.95)

So this means that for less than $750 (minus whatever I can sell my current two bikes for), I too can become a bike commuter. Weeeee!

DIY Art Inspiration Idea: Reusing The Crib

I have an idea. I shall collect it and I hope by doing so, I will soon be inspired to create it!

Here a bit of back story with me waxing on about what to do with some of the crib pieces when my son graduated to a toddler bed. This crib was a great purchase for us, an Ikea Gulliver in white – that converted to three different stages: infant, baby, and toddler – all in a modern clean form, and all for about $100 bucks.

But now, we have graduated to a big boy bed, and I have the rest of the crib to reuse or recycle. The always inspirational Chez Larsson wrote a post a while back that I have been saving up for this time. She came up with several awesome ideas for reusing a crib very similar to ours:

Photo from: Chez Larsson

I have been noodling with what to do with the heavy flat bottom part of the crib for a while, and I think I have it. I want to create a large art piece for our house. Yep, you read that right. I want to cover it in plywood or canvas (yet to be determined) and then create something fun on it. I have been thinking about this DIY piece every since I saw it way back when:

Photo from: Apartment Therapy

I love the graphic quality, the gray-scale, and the nod to my favorite state. I want to try to incorporate one or all of those things in my piece.

One idea I have is to DIY something using paint swatches, as I have been seeing a lot around the blog-o-sphere these days. (Like here.) Wouldn’t it be cool to use black, white, and shades of gray paint swatches to create something Chicago inspired, using Photoshop to pixalate an image into a mosaic. Something like this?

Or maybe something really simple and illustrative would be fun:

Or – how about creating some fun filters on Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel – then print, patch together and cover in matte finish Mod Podge?

What do you like, or do you have another idea altogether? I am torn (as usual) with a hundred indecisions, visions, and revisions.

2011 Michelin Guide Chicago Bib Gourmand Winners

Just when I think I know a lot about a little, I learn I didn’t even know that much. My new knowledge of the day: The Bib Gourmand award: a Michelin Guide distinction awarded to restaurants judged to offer very good food at a very good value. (An appetizer and entree, plus a glass of wine, will cost $40 or less.)

Phil Vettel wrote today about 46 Chicago restaurants who just found out that they received The Bib Gourmand. How did they discover this? In the night, Michelin representatives sprayed the image of Bibendum (the formal name of the Michelin Man, from a Latin phrase meaning, “Now, let’s drink”) on the sidewalks in front of the restaurants so they had a nice surprise in the morning.

I have been to many of these spots (14 to be exact), but seeing who I might be able to get away with a $40 meal, I am creating a new goal to hit all of them at some point soon. Besides, I have had most of these on my list to check out, so now here’s a good final push!

Ann Sather
Belly Shack
Bistro 110
The Bristol
Ceres’ Table
De Cero
Frances’ Deli
Frontera Grill
Gilt Bar
Girl & The Goat
Green Zebra
Han 202
Kith & Kin
La Creperie
La Petite Folie
Los Nopales
Lula Café
M. Henry
Mixteco Grill
Opart Thai House
Paramount Room
The Publican
The Purple Pig
Raj Darbar
Riccardo Trattoria
Spacca Napoli
Taste of Peru
Thai Village
Twin Anchors
West Town Tavern

Alternative Media

I am sad that I haven’t been posting much. The Chicago media climate (!*&!), being a busy working mom to an almost 3 year old (!), keeping my marriage strong and happy (<3), trying not to ignore my friends and family who keep me going ((((hugs)))), and just keeping up with the laundry (blech) have all made any extras a bit tough. When that happens, this blog turns into more of a Tumblr site with photos just rolling along. Not such a terrible thing, I suppose.

The good news about this crazy media stuff happening all around me? I have finally given in and understand (and am sort of obsessing over) Twitter. As a news source, I am finding it very useful. It’s not just about hearing things celebrity’s are doing!!! What a relief!

Another thing to come out of it was a term I heard just today: Blogs are Alternative Media. I really like that. It helps me fit things into much needed catagories, while giving blogs a bit of importance and weight. Print can live for its purposes, and so can digital. I really like that.

Anyway – I am off to jump back on the roller coaster – but I leave you with this beautiful scene.



The Chicago Skyline, waves crashing on Fullerton Ave beach.

Renegade Craft Fair 2010

This weekend was the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair. The creative offerings were overwhelmingly inspirational. I can’t believe this was my very first visit! I will be back again and again, and would highly recommend a visit. There was something like over 300 artists represented! Please take a moment to go and check them out. Some of the things I saw tempted me into buying, but many others tempted me into trying to make.

Here are just some my favorite things that I saw: (sorry I don’t have direct links to each artist, however you will find each one at the above link)