I Can't...

Have an idea for an “I Can’t,” either to attend or to facilitate? Head to the Suggestion Box.

‘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 you were up for trying?

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].

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.

In-person offerings are held at Mac & Cheese Productions℠, in Chicago’s Wicker Park, unless otherwise indicated; exact address sent upon registration.

For virtual offerings, you’ll need an internet connection and the free Zoom app. A device with a camera/being on video is encouraged but not required, unless otherwise noted. You should be able to attend virtual offerings live; replays are not offered.


Register

Make sure you select the correct offering, sometimes there are lots to choose from! For details about each event, scroll down; suggested you read the detail before you register as there are no refunds. Double check time zone, as events occur worldwide; time zone converter.



For dates and times, check the registration boxes above

This is a virtual offering. Facebook Event if you have friends you’d like to invite or if your general network would want to know about this via a share.

If you’ve ever thought that real estate investing (from afar) sounded interesting but out of reach, or if you’ve never considered investing in real estate because your own market seems too expensive, this is for you. You’ll see that you don’t need $1 million or an MBA to get started. Instead, we’ll work together to determine whether or not long distance real estate investing is a tool that will enable you to live a more fulfilling and secure life, and, if it does, we’ll create a roadmap to help you find your first investment.

An informal session where actual numbers will be shared. Even the ugly numbers, you ask? ESPECIALLY the ugly numbers! (This offering pairs nicely with I Can’t: Budget!)

Agenda

  • How to determine if out of state investing is the right fit for your personal and financial goals
  • Things to consider and prepare before you begin investing long distance (hint: know WHY you’re embarking on this journey and get your financial house in order)
  • Common mistakes and pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Personal stories about what went right, what went wrong, and goals for the next few years

Instructor

Kory Dieter is a Chicago-based real estate investor who began her investing journey by purchasing a duplex in 2016. She lived upstairs and rented the downstairs to help offset the mortgage costs. Two years later, she got the itch to keep investing but found herself frustrated because she couldn’t find property in her own city that met her criteria. Luckily, she was introduced to the concept of long distance real estate investing and jumped right in. Since then, she and her husband have creatively grown their portfolio by taking a leap in investor-friendly markets outside of Illinois using a couple different strategies. Today, she offers housing in 4 states to 25 different families. In addition to serving as a real estate investor, Kory spends her time as a chief of staff for a large health insurance company, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and running or biking Chicago’s lakefront path with her husband, Brandon.   Instagram

To Bring

  • A device with Zoom downloaded on it and the ability to connect to the internet
  • Note-taking materials
  • Food/drink for yourself if you’d like

This is a virtual offering. Facebook Event if you have friends you’d like to invite or if your general network would want to know about this via a share.

Do you want to eat more home-cooked meals but don’t know where to start? Learn how to easily plan, prepare, and cook meals. If you’re not a fan of cooking or you think you can’t cook a meal, this is for you. You’ll learn how to curate simple, healthy, tasty meals that require less than 5 ingredients and take less than 15 minutes to make/assemble. You’ll receive a copy of the instructor’s fifteen recipe eBook.

People with food restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, allergies, etc.) welcome! Please note your restriction upon registration.

Instructor

Gwen Holtan started her nutrition coaching business, Beyond the Box Nutrition, in September 2017 with her business partner Sheena Lawrick. She worked in the healthcare industry for many years and decided that it was time to follow her passion of helping people live healthier lives and reach their weight loss goals. She believes that diets with a name (Keto, Whole30, or Intermittent Fasting) are not necessary to lose weight and wants her clients to keep fun foods (treats) in their diet while losing weight so long-term adherence and sustainability are more likely. Bye bye revolving door, merry-go-round dieting lifestyle and hello to finding what works for you! Gwen loves to celebrate her clients’ successes and feels there is nothing better when a client reaches their goals and is ready to “graduate.”   Website / Facebook / Instagram

To Bring

  • A device with Zoom downloaded on it and the ability to connect to the internet
  • Note-taking materials
  • Food/drink for yourself if you’d like

 
This is a virtual offering. Facebook Event if you have friends you’d like to invite or if your general network would want to know about this via a share.
 
  • Feel like everyone else has their finances figured out while you’re pretending everything’s fine?
  • Is looking at your bank account or credit card statement difficult?
  • Would you rather [insert every horrible thing] than look at your finances and figure out how to organize them into a usable budget?
  • Have you been wanting to start a budget forever but the overwhelm is real and stopping you?
  • Does starting a budget feel pointless because you don’t know where to begin or won’t stick to it?
I Can’t: Budget is for you.
 
“I’ve met with other folks before who help people to better manage their personal finances but Chloe is the most down-to-earth and approachable one I’ve worked with so far. Her transparency and honesty around her process was refreshing and made everything feel that much more attainable (who else actually posts their monthly budget forecast and actual spending for the public to view and learn from?). It was fun (budgeting can be fun!), entertaining, REAL and I Iearned so much from the process. Also, SUPER amazing value for how much I spent. I am walking away from this feeling empowered and excited to start my own journey of making my money work for me. Thank you Chloe and thank you Saya for putting this together!”
 
Making a budget has been on your to-do list forever. One of those things you’ll get around to eventually, but eventually never seems to actually arrive. Plus, you’re not the only one, right? Only 41% of American households actually follow a budget, right? But wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead for once? Wouldn’t it be nice to have control over your finances and not worry about how you’re going to cover next month’s or even next week’s bills?
 
In this workshop, Chloe (aka Clo Bare) takes you through how to create a budget that aligns with your priorities. By the end, you’ll have created your very own personalized budget, understand how to update it as you go, and also have loads of tips on how to stay on budget, save more money, and even start to invest in that retirement fund.
 
This is a topic where there can be negative feelings — shame, fear, inadequacy… People hate talking about money and they especially hate feeling like they don’t know something they think they should know. But the good news is MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCE.
 
Most people don’t know what the heck a 401(k) is. Most people don’t know the first step in creating a budget. Most people ignore their finances and hope they’ll just work out somehow. And that’s totally okay.
 
By coming to this workshop, you’re taking the steps you need to get to a place where you control your money, instead of allowing your money (or lack of money) to control you. It’s okay if you don’t know and it’s okay if you feel like you should’ve known. We don’t get taught this stuff in school and Clo Bare is all about a judgment-free, vulnerability-safe zone.
 
“I recently attended an ‘I Can’t Budget’ workshop with Clo Bare and absolutely loved it (& her!). First off, her energy and enthusiasm for such a dry topic is so welcomed and awesome. Not only do I want her to help me with my finances, but I want to be her friend. Clo Bare introduced me to ‘values based spending and savings’ and raised my awareness around my money story. While I’ve always been aware of my ‘money story’, I didn’t realize how it was holding me back. After this workshop, I feel like I finally have the tools, mindset and strategy to help me feel ‘in control’ of my money and know that it’s ok to spend because I’ve already saved and accounted for everything else.”
 
“Learning about budgeting from Chloe is like sitting down with an extremely knowledgeable friend, except minus the fear of that friend judging you for struggling with money. No matter where you are in your budgeting journey — just starting out, mostly under control, or ready to dive into the world of investing — Chloe has great information and resources to share. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel anxious talking about money, because I knew that for once, I was talking with someone who understood the struggle, and who would give advice and tips without judgment.”
 
Instructor
Chloe Daniels, also known as Clo Bare, is a personal finance blogger and financial coach who started her debt-free and financial independence journey in 2018 when she was saddled with $70k in debt from her student loans and car loan. Within a year of deciding to finally tackle her personal finance, and get serious about paying off debt, Clo Bare managed to pay off $20k in debt, while still paying cash for five international trips in one year and saving more than $13k in the process on her five-figure income. A year later, she started investing in real estate, paid off another $20k in debt, bumped her retirement savings up to $110k, and is now on track to retire by 46. Despite having studied English and Spanish and being terrible with money in her early 20’s, Clo Bare is a self-taught budgeting and investing fanatic whose passion is to teach, share, start conversations, create safe spaces to be vulnerable, and answer questions about adulting your money.   Website / TwitterInstagram / Facebook
 
To Bring
  • 2-4 weeks of your spending and income–preferably 4 weeks so you can see all your monthly expenses. You can either keep track leading up to the event or you can print out/have handy your bank account transactions and credit card transactions so you can go through what you spent while we’re creating the budget. These numbers are for your eyes only and you will not be asked to share them.
  • A device with Zoom downloaded and the ability to connect to the internet
  • Note taking materials
  • Food/drink for yourself if you’d like

This is a virtual offering.  Facebook Event if you have friends you’d like to invite or if your general network would want to know about this via a share.

Saya started visual note-taking as a way to focus, process, engage in something tangible that created something tangible, and to use her beloved yet gathering-dust writing utensils and notebooks. (More middle-aged school supply use, please!)

This workshop is laid-back hands-on. Therapeutic. Meditative. Beginner. Perspective-shifting. Joyful. Simple.

Learn how to listen differently and effectively, and how to organize and graphically visualize your resulting thoughts. We’ll talk basics, then we’ll apply. And apply. And apply. Where apply = put shapes and words on paper.

You do not need to be artistic. You do not need to be creative.

Can you write words? Can you draw a line? Can you sign into Zoom? You have all the skills and experience required.

To Bring

If you have a favorite notebook or other favorite supply, you’re encouraged to use them! You’ll be encouraged to experiment so variety is good.

  • A device with Zoom downloaded and the ability to connect to the internet
  • Note taking materials
  • Food/drink for yourself if you’d like
  • You can absolutely use WHATEVER you have at home; below is a guide, don’t feel you to follow this list exactly 
    • Blank white paper (loose or bound; if you use a notebook, it’s best if it lies flat and stays open); ideal size is 5×7 – 8.5×11
    • A black rollerball-point pen like this
    • A black felt-tip pen like this
    • A black fiber-tip pen like this
    • Your favorite coloring utensils
      • Markers, colored pencils, gel pens, planner pens
      • Suggested you bring ones of varying sizes and colors
      • Crayons are the only coloring utensils not recommended
    • Optional:
      • other blank paper — textured, colored, different weight…
      • A set of lettering pens like this

This is a virtual offering.

  • 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?
I Can’t: Decorate Cakes is for you.
 
You’ll be taken step-by-step through the process of icing and decorating your very own holiday themed cupcakes. Fun and appropriate for all ages.
 
 
“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!”
 
“Thanks for an amazing event on Friday night! As promised, here’s a couple pics of our cake. I say our cake because I pulled the cakes out of the oven when they were done. My daughter did all the leg work and all of the piping. Thanks for stepping up her cake decorating skills to the next level.”
 
“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.”
 
Instructor
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
  • A device with Zoom downloaded and the ability to connect to the internet
  • Food/drink for yourself if you’d like
  • Cake supplies — 
    • Wilton Decorating Set, 18 pc @Walmart or POQOD 53 pc set @Amazon
    • Green and “No-Taste” Red Gel Icing Colors @Walmart.com
    • Optional – Royal Blue Gel Icing Colors (Hanukkah options)
    • One dozen pre-baked (non-iced) cupcakes
    • Pre-made buttercream Icing (recipe will be provided)
    • Spatula (preferred) @Amazon or butter knife for spreading icing
    • Waxed paper or extra plate (for practice board), access to hot water
    • 3-4 Bowls to divide you icing (1 bowl for each color- red, green, white, blue)
    • Optional – holiday themed sprinkles, edible glitter, mini-candies

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.