I Can't...

If you have an idea for an “I Can’t,” either to attend or to facilitate, head to the Suggestion Box at bottom of page

‘Member summer camp? Where you learned, participated, and stretched yourself amongst an invigorating blend of familiar and new faces? Where you were led by welcoming, low-key counselors in a welcoming, low-key environment where the only item on your Packing List was a bag of “I’ll try”? In Mac & Cheese Productions’ I Can’t series, adults state they’re unable to do something, they try it with a bunch of other adults who also “can’t,” and everyone proves themselves wrong and not only does the thing, but enjoys it and says, “That wasn’t so bad. In fact, kinda fun. Good for me! What’s next?!” 

Through I Can’t, adults do the thing they’ve been wanting to do but haven’t done because [insert excuse here] —

  • “I’m too old”
  • “I’m out of shape”
  • “I missed my opportunity”
  • “Money”
  • “Time”
  • “Kids”
  • “I’m embarrassed”
  • “I don’t have anyone to do it with”
  • “I don’t have anywhere to do it”
  • “There’s nowhere I feel comfortable doing it”

As at camp, topics and structure are varied but the “be yourself amongst others being themselves and witness the magic that happens when you try with others trying” vibe is pervasive. 

Current Offerings

Mac & Cheese is an inclusive, no judgment (of self or others) space, and welcomes all human beings. Bring something to write on/with and if you’d like, food/drink for yourself. In-person offerings are held at Mac & Cheese Productions℠, in Wicker Park, near Ashland & Division unless otherwise indicated; exact address sent upon registration. For virtual offerings, you’ll need wifi/cell service and a device with a camera (phone, computer, tablet) and will be visible to the hosts and other attendees to make conversation more conversation’y, unless otherwise noted. You should be able to attend virtual offerings live; replays are not offered.


Join Us

Make sure you select the correct offering, sometimes there are lots to choose from! Times are CDT. For details about each event, scroll down; suggested you read the detail before you register as there are no refunds and you should sign up knowing all the ins and outs.

Below is for I Can’t: Relax



For dates and times, check the registration boxes above

This is a virtual offering.

Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake and thought to yourself, “I wish I could do that”? …Well, you can!

  • Do you want to learn a new creative skill that’s fun and delicious?
  • Do you have no, some, or lots of experience decorating cakes?
  • Do you want a social diversion while social distancing?
  • Do you want to experience a creative activity to enjoy alone? With a child? With a partner, friend, parent?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then this is the perfect activity for you. Fun for all ages! You’ll be taken step-by-step through the process of icing and decorating your very own cake creations.

“As a business owner I don’t spend enough time doing things that are straight-up FUN, but that’s exactly what this experience was. Everything was fun: baking a cake (which I don’t normally make time for), connecting with the energy of the kids and adults who chose to decorate cakes on a Friday night, and seeing my colorful creation come alive in front of my eyes. If you need more fun in your life, this class is for you!”

“I Can’t: Decorate Cakes was such a fun date night for my husband and I. We needed something like this to energize our Friday night routine and was such a bright spot during our COVID quarantine. As two complete novices in cake decorating, we walked away with confidence and skills to be able to decorate any baked good for any occasion, all thanks to the wonderful skills and patience of Cheryl.”

Guide

Cheryl Bennett is a lifelong learner and curiosity explorer who loves to experience new things. She loves to travel and explore new cities; meet and interact with people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. She’s always on the lookout for new opportunities for both professional and personal growth, and is usually either taking, leading, or looking for a new class or workshop. She’s the Baltimore Mac & Cheese Chapter Leader.

To Bring

  • Cake supplies — 
    • Wilton Decorating Set 18 pc or POQOD 53 pc set
    • Gel Icing Colors option 1 or option 2 
    • Pre-baked (non-iced) cake; non-bakers can purchase Entenmann’s, Sara Lee, or other pound cake
    • Pre-made buttercream Icing (recipe provided upon request; send Cheryl a message here)
    • Spatula (preferred) or butter knife for spreading icing
    • Waxed paper or extra plate (for practice board)
    • Access to hot water
  • A video-capable device that has the most recent version of Zoom downloaded and is able to connect to the internet
  • Food/drink if you’d like; eating during class a-ok!

 

 

 

 

 

 



This is a virtual offering. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Equal Justice Initiative.

Meditation? Check. Soothing music? Check. Weekly massage? Check. Damnit, why am I still having trouble relaxing? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Self-care is such an important element of allowing us to meet our personal and professional goals and commitments. Now, more than ever, we have to take the time for ourselves to learn how to and make sure we’re prioritizing our personal needs and energy. Whether you’re looking to kickstart your self-care routine but don’t know where to start, or are trying to understand why the relaxation techniques your friends are doing aren’t working for you, this class is for you. You’ll leave with a better understanding of self-care and what barriers may be getting in our way of maintaining habits. We’ll work on various techniques, building a personalized plan, and start putting that plan into action.

Guide

Danielle Kayal incorporated yoga into her life 20 years ago as a reprieve from the always-on, addicted-to-doing lifestyle she had been living (and this was just after graduating college). She saw physical and mental results immediately and kept up her practice, earning a certification as a certified yoga teacher in 2015. Since then, she has incorporated yoga’s philosophical and holistic principles into her life and has expanded her practice to include reiki and meditation, with an emphasis on mindfulness-based stress reduction. As a Human Resources professional for the last 13 years, Danielle has seen the effects of stress and anxiety in the workplace firsthand. She believes there is a better and more gentle way to experience work and life and is passionate about helping others create space in their body, minds, and hearts.

To Bring

  • A video-capable device that has the most recent version of Zoom downloaded and is able to connect to the internet
  • Note taking materials
  • Food/drink if you’d like; eating during class a-ok!
  • An open mind

Testimonials

"Saya, I just wanted to say thank you. I was really scared about taking (I Can't: Improv), but you and Pete did such a great job of making a space where there was no room for fear and insecurity. It was really helpful for me to be there."
"The workshop was so comprehensive and has really gotten me excited about cleaning. I am also thinking about how I can incorporate ideas into other areas of my life, so thank you again!"
“(I Can't: Budget) was honestly one of the most engaging and comfortable programs I've ever attended - both on or off Zoom - and I coordinate programming for a living at a public library. It's a rough topic to fully engage with and commit to, but the framework and resources Chloe provided made it feel far more approachable and less intimidating than I could ever imagine it would be. I'm feeling inspired, open and ready to tackle goals I've been putting off for financial reasons. Chloe showed me it's possible to pay down debt, save, and still live my best life. I'm excited for what comes next!”
"I attended the I Can't: Clean workshop because I knew there must be more strategic, efficient, and effective ways to clean than what I've always done, and Saya definitely showed me better ways! From general strategies like working from the top of the room down to specific product recommendations I came away with knowledge I could use (and I did use it--I gave my kitchen a thorough scrub a few days after the class!). It helped that the class was in a casual setting because it made it easier to ask questions (and to confess our personal cleaning shames). I wouldn't think to take a cleaning course anywhere else because I'd assume it would be very judgmental, but I knew from other Mac & Cheese events that the class would be low-pressure and practical."
"I Can't: Camp was an adventure worth the bug bites. We hiked, swam, built fires, told stories, created in-jokes, saw a bald eagle, and got comfortable being uncomfortable! I appreciated the balance of downtime and doing things, being able to connect with the group but also enjoy the peacefulness of nature. Learning new skills that I didn't know were "me" was exciting - at one point the group was cheering me on as I scraped and scraped a firestarting flint SO determined to get a blaze going (it worked!). I couldn't have asked for better leaders in Saya and Aaron: funny, low-key, positive people who inspire confidence and put people at ease. I came back to Chicago dirty, smelly, itchy, and craving a shower beer like no other, but with tons of positive memories and zero regrets."
"This workshop was great! Kristyn and Saya were awesome. I learned a lot on approaching home organization and have a better understanding as to why my strategies previously didn't work. Kristyn was passionate and very knowledgeable. The workshop was held in a comfortable setting that fostered great interaction and dialogue."
"I thought this class was great! I learned about yoga and got to try it in a super comfortable environment, the instructor was fun and explained things. The class overall was a great way to bring people together with similar interests and also things they’re each going through."

Sample of Past Offerings

  • Yoga
  • Grieve
  • Improv
  • LinkedIn
  • Organize my home
  • Buy a home
  • Photograph
  • Draw
  • Have a dog
  • Side hustle
  • Figure out what I want to do in life
  • Land my dream job
  • Clean
  • Find love
  • Put on makeup
  • Travel
  • Ask for money
  • Wine
  • Bake
  • Camp
  • Adult my money 

“I attended the I Can’t Find My Dream Job workshop and it really helped to boost my motivation in looking for a new opportunity. Before the workshop, I felt stuck and generally directionless. I really didn’t know what I was looking for in my “dream job” but I knew what I was doing at my current job did not match. Through the exercises, resources, and ideas of the workshop, I was able to put one foot in front of the other and not feel so overwhelmed by the concept of switching gears. The workshop provided specific steps that I could do that night or the next day to get myself on the train towards reaching my goal. I wrote them down and actually did those tasks! I also found the personal stories from Saya and L’Oreal Thompson to be incredibly motivating. There is something uniquely profound about being in a room full of people who are going through what you are going through AND people who have moved beyond that state to where you want to be. It is the extra push you need to dig yourself out of any ‘stuck’ situation. And that is really why I love going to these workshops and events, even outside of the I Can’t offerings. It’s truly an authentic community of people who can affirm and understand what is happening with you in the moment, and at the same time support you when you say “I can” to something. The support goes above and beyond. This workshop as well as other offerings from Mac & Cheese Productions has profoundly shifted my perspective about life in general, knowing there is a like-minded group of inclusive, diverse and positive people willing to support each other in making the absolute most out of life – in every aspect.”

Suggestion Box

"I Can't" Idea

Suggest an "I Can't" topic, either as an attendee or as a facilitator. If you have a facilitator in mind whom isn't you, tell them to fill this out. Note that this is a very popular series both on the attendee side and on the facilitator side, so if you're suggesting yourself for the latter, no promises. Additionally, Mac & Cheese is much more likely to collaborate with people already in the M&C world, people whom we already know are fabulous; meaning if you don't already come to events and/or interact online, you should start doing that! The whole "friends helping friends" thing...
  • Please make sure you type this correctly. If you're just suggesting a topic, Mac & Cheese probably won't reach out; this is is more for folks who want to facilitate a session. But, just in case...
  • If you'd like to share further info on the topic.
  • The rest of the form is for people interested in facilitating

    You're all done if you're just submitting a topic idea — skip down to SUBMIT.
  • If virtual, Mac & Cheese will host on Zoom. If in person, Mac & Cheese is usually where I Can'ts take place, but sometimes it makes more sense to hold a session elsewhere, e.g. a glass blowing studio, a gym, or an animal rescue.
  • If you're open/it doesn't matter, state that. In-person Mac & Cheese can hold 30ish. Virtual Mac & Cheese can hold 100. Keep in mind: how many attendees will make it worth your while, venue size, venue capability (number of tables and chairs, etc), materials you provide, desired participation level (individual, small group, whole group), desired "feel" (is intimate preferred?), desired potential revenue (the more people, the more revenue potential).
  • If yes, when and why then? If you're open and timeframe doesn't matter, state that. We try to have at least a month of registration being open and it can take a week'ish for initial back and forths and event creation, so ideally, you don't want to do this within the next 2-4 weeks.
    Do you XYZ without having to be reminded? If you're given instructions, do you read and follow all of them? Are you punctual? Do you pull your weight? Are you proactive? Can you manage life without a lot of hand-holding? Do you offer something fabulous? Are you low-maintenance? Do you think you can work with a Type A only child who has a lot of opinions, systems, and preferred ways of existence yet whom is also collaborative and open to your you'ness? Are you someone who aligns with Mac & Cheese Productions℠ and is someone Mac & Cheese would be proud to be affiliated with? Are you a good person who believes in equality for all? Are you nice?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.