Friday, September 19, 2014

Mabel's Labels: High Quality Labels for the Stuff Your Kids Lose

Disclosure: Special thanks to Mabal's Labels for sponsoring this post. 


I've written about my daughter's name before, and since it's not so common, we can just forget about finding pre-made labels featuring her name. Thankfully, there's Mabel's Labels - cute, functional labels featuring every name under the sun. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

curb: The app that makes ordering a taxi easier than ever

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Curb. I received a promotional code to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


It's raining. Snowing. Or you just need to get from your Chicago neighborhood to the Loop, and pronto. You could try hailing a cab...if you manage to find one (it's impossible). I can't even tell you how many times I've dealt with taxis never making an appearance (yes...I've been stood up...by a taxi...). In fact, the last time I called a taxi the good (bad) old-fashioned way - by telephone - while running late for a flight out of O'Hare - it never arrived leaving me in quite the pickle. Luckily a neighbor stepped up but it truly was a disaster of a travel "situation". 

Here's a new option: 

Monday, September 15, 2014

#MakesMeSmileMondays Happy Birthday, Morton Salt Girl! #MortonSaltGirl100


Disclosure: Special thanks to MommyParties and Morton Salt for sponsoring this post. 


Whenever I drive from our Logan Square neighborhood to the Chicago Loop, I pass by the Morton Salt Facility.

Did you know that Morton Salt was born in Chicago in 1848? Since then, the Morton Salt Girl has changed her look but hasn't aged a day. I love seeing her transformation over the decades.


I hosted a small gathering to celebrate the birthday of this American icon

I loved learning more about this little Chicago girl. 

"Ever since the introduction of anti-caking salt in 1911, the Morton Salt Company had been trying to develop a concept that properly illustrated this innovative feature.  To solve this problem, Morton hired advertising agency N.W. Ayer and Company to develop a marketing campaign that would promote the anti-caking properties of their salt.  The result of which would become one of the most iconic and enduring brand figures of all time. While several plans were proposed, an originally disregarded alternative concept was noticed by Sterling Morton, the son of founder Joy Morton.  This idea was that of a young umbrella-toting 8 year old, who was accidentally pouring salt while walking in the rain. While this concept demonstrated the value and innovation of Morton’s anti-caking salt, it also added a symbol of innocence and purity.  The Morton Salt Company adapted a new slogan, “When it rains, it pours.” inspired by a well-known proverb of the time.The ad debuted in a series of ads for Good Housekeeping in 1914, and the Morton Salt Girl was introduced to the world." (mortonsaltgirl100.com) 
You can celebrate her big 1-0-0, too! Visit MortonSaltGirl100.com and join the party! 




Friday, September 12, 2014

Find Your Eyewear Match @Iristocracy #SassyMomsBTS #ziggyglasses

Disclosure: Special thanks to Iristocracy for sponsoring this post. 


Looking for your perfect eyewear match?



I had the pleasure of trying out a new site that promises to match you with the perfect eyewear. For the first time ever, I was able to find a great pair of frames that fit my face and my style without having to leave home! I selected these adorable Ziggy sunnies - I adore their whimsical, retro styling! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall Family Getaway to Lake Geneva

This article originally appeared on ChicagoParent.com


Most people think of Lake Geneva as a summer family travel destination, but fall is one of the most magical times of year to visit this beautiful and historic resort. Less than an hour and a half by car, Lake Geneva is a perfect day trip from Chicago. This southwestern Wisconsin resort community became popular just after the Civil War, when wealthy Chicago families discovered the beautiful, spring-fed lake and began building summer homes there. You can still see these many historic, lakeside estates by boat or via the 21-mile walking path that circles the entire lake.

Here are five ways to celebrate autumn in Lake Geneva:

PLAY

Set off on the ultimate leaf-peeping experience.

With eight different zip lines high up in the trees, five sky bridges, three spiral stairways and a one-of-a-kind "floating" double helix stairway, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours offer a truly exhilarating experience. I must admit that heights aren’t my thing, but once I gathered up the courage to just let go, I felt safe and secure as I zoomed through the treetops. My daredevilish 13-year-old son joined me on the ziplines and he was thrilled to fly through the forest. Our two guides were funny and full of jokes but also reflected experience and knowledge, putting everyone in our group at ease. If you’re looking for the ultimate family bonding experience and your kids are all seven years and older, book your adventure at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours STAT. And if ziplining isn't your thing, consider challenging yourselves on the High Ropes Excursion through 16 different obstacles or explore the more than eight miles of Arbor Trails designed to accommodate beginner to advanced hiking and/or mountain biking.

Take a unique cruise on the U.S. Mailboat.

Our entire family, most especially my four-year-old, enjoyed hopping aboard the U.S. Mailboat for a guided tour of Lake Geneva. This special cruiser carries on a tradition that began all the way back in 1870, offering the only marine mail delivery of its type in the country. Loaded with 150 passengers, mail, a very brave and agile mail person and a steady-handed Captain, the crew delivers mail to about 60 homes around the lake. We loved watching as the "Mail Jumper" hopped on and off the boat, delivering mail with a smile. The tour operates every day at 10 a.m. - including Sundays when they deliver newspapers - from June 15 to September 15.

Feed baby deer and watch a parrot ride a bicycle.

At Animal Gardens you can pet, hold and feed exotic and farm animal babies. At the deer park, we were even able to hand-feed the deer. The Exotic Bird Show featured eight large parrots that talk, sing and perform tricks. Also on site is The Dancing Horses Show, a live equestrian extravaganza, which can best be compared to a Las Vegas show performed on horses.

Ride a real My Little Pony.

Dan Patch Stables at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers pony rides for little cowboys and cowgirls or horseback riding (ages seven and up) through acres of the fall-kissed Grand Geneva property. My daughter is obsessed with My Little Pony, and a ride on a real little pony was a dream come true.

Catch some fish.

Enjoy a family fishing trip with Lake Geneva Fishing Guide Service. You'll set off on a pontoon boat equipped with everything you'll need for a successful day on the water. Another fishing alternative isRushing Waters Trout Farm, a beautiful 80-acre farm with crystal clear ponds and raceways full of rainbow trout, guaranteeing that you'll score a catch of the day.

STAY

Our family stayed at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, a family resort situated on 250 wooded acres alongside two miles of Delavan Lake shoreline in Delavan, Wisconsin, a small resort town that neighbors Lake Geneva. Our large, well-appointed room featured a patio mere steps from Lake Delavan. My two kids (ages four and 13) couldn’t get enough of the outdoor and indoor swimming pools; the 18–hole golf course is another draw. Another top pick for a family-focused resort is The Abbey Resort, on Geneva Lake, in the lovely lakeside town of Fontana.

EAT

Popeyes, a family-owned restaurant known for its fab Friday night fish fry, is a popular pick for lunch or dinner, and is steps away from the main pier which is the boarding site for the U.S. Mailboat cruise. The pretzels and fried cheese curds make a stop at Sprecher's a must-do. Don't miss the handmade fudge and candies at Kilwins in downtown Lake Geneva.

Monday, September 8, 2014

#MakesMeSmileMondays Cooking Classes at 312 Chicago

Have you ever eaten out at an Italian restaurant and found yourself wishing that you could re-create the experience at home?

I attended a cooking class this past Saturday with Executive Chef Luca Corazzina of 312 Chicago. Every first or second Saturday of the month, Chef Corazzina hosts "Scoula 312", giving guests the chance to learn authentic Italian recipes. Best of all, you get to eat everything you learn to make!

This past Saturday's class focused on the Art of Fish. I sat at the bar overlooking Chef Luca, drinkingwhite wine while he worked his culinary magic. I learned a variety of techniques and recipes and then enjoyed a three course meal that I'll be able to easily recreate at home. 




Upcoming classes include....
  • The Art of Risotto - October 11 at 12 p.m.
  • The Art of Meat - November 8 at 12 p.m.
  • The Art of Holiday Recipes - December 6 at 12 p.m.
Classes are $45/person and include recipe cards, a bottle of 312 Aged Balsamic and light bites. For more information visit www.312chicago.com or directly purchase tickets here: http://scuola312.eventbrite.com.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School...Back to Blogging...

Sculpture of main characters from cartoon 'Zaczarowany ołówek', Łódź Culture Center, Poland 

It was a wonderful summer. The kids and I...
 visited with Santa Claus at Holiday World,
 toured the Circle City,
kayaked with Beluga whales,
visited lovely towns as we all practiced our French,
we flew,
we ziplined,
we camped.
I managed to get my son off to Annapolis, MD.,
and way up to the northern reaches of MN for summer camp.
My daughter went to a one week zoo camp and a one week dance camp, but otherwise just spent time with me.
On a personal level, I completed a huge book project. It pretty much enveloped my summer, but I learned so much.
(stay tuned for more info on my upcoming book!).
It was a fun, restful summer, and most importantly, I got to spend lots of time having fun with me kids.
And now it's back to school and back to blogging!

Here's to an amazing fall!
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