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 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?

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?!”

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

Sample of Past Offerings

I Can’t –

Yoga

Improv

Buy a home

Draw

Have a dog

Adult my money – Financial Planner Edition

Adult my money – Personal Finance Edition

Figure out what I want to do in life

Organize my home

Find love

Put on makeup

Ask for money
 

Testimonials

"Hi 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. Thanks again!"
"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!"
"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 a little 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."

Current Offerings

Bring something to write on/with and if you’d like, food/drink for yourself. Held at Mac & Cheese Productions℠, in Wicker Park, near Ashland & Division unless otherwise indicated; exact address sent upon registration.


I Can’t: Travel

Would you like to create a lifestyle that includes traveling on your own terms? Would you like to overcome constraints such as time, money, family obligations, and no one to go with that often make you believe you can’t travel?

Alicia N. Ingram will share various types of travel, travel hacks, resources, and examples of real people who’ve created a travel lifestyle they always dreamed about. Learn creative strategies and actions to take so that you can get going, literally and figuratively. Whether traveling solo, in a group, or as a working professional, you’ll learn how to make the most of your travel experiences and not be the typical tourist. Bring your big (and small) travel goals, national or international, and your challenges for the Q & A. BONUS: Packing Tips from a Pro!

Long before she became a Chicago-based flight attendant six years ago, Alicia was constantly on the move as a traveler with a chronic case of wanderlust. During her time as a marketing consultant, she traveled everywhere from Nashville to Nigeria. Fulfilling her dream of living out of country, she recently lived in Mexico for over a year, while still working in Chicago. When not recovering from jet lag and bingeing on cable TV in hotel rooms during layovers, Alicia helps aspiring authors start and finish their books as a writing coach and editor.

Register

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Note that there are two I Can’t: Camp editions, a workshop and a getaway. The workshop is a 2.5 hour session in Chicago, the getaway is a weekend camping trip in Michigan.

I Can’t: Camp

For these editions, Mac & Cheese is partnering with Aaron Wolf of Adventures Accessed.

Aaron grew up in the Northwest ‘burbs of Chicago. After nearly failing out of high school, he graduated and shipped off to the Marines, serving around the world including an Iraq deployment. Upon his return, the transition back to the “civilian world” had challenges and Aaron dealt with an identity crisis that would last through college and into his corporate career. Five years later, things began to boil over. Panic attacks at work, a lack of outdoor exposure, and a VA hospital that really likes prescribing pills made life too much. He’d retreat to the forest to decompress, connect, and be himself. He eventually figured out that being immersed outdoors brought him back to a feeling of Self — that he could be Aaron and not Corporal Wolf, and that he was indeed his happiest, most creative, best version of himself when outside. If only he could make a career out of helping others find the same joy and benefits; turns out, he could. Aaron quit his job, wrote a business plan, secured financing, and now leads backcountry experiences as a professional, licensed outfitter/guide via Adventures Accessed.

Aaron is beyond proud to provide nature-based programs that —

  • help special needs youth build confidence
  • empower the next generation of great scientists at the Field Museum
  • provide exposure to urban youth, and
  • provide outlets to overworked, drowning in screens adults who need a break

Adventures Accessed Facebook ☆ Instagram ☆ Twitter ☆ Website

I Can’t: Camp — Workshop Edition

Are any of these you?

“You love nature, you just don’t want any of it on you.” – Woody Allen
“I like the idea of camping but get overwhelmed by planning gear, food, logistics…”
“I don’t have an REI-sized wallet.”
“I know nature is “good” for me; I just don’t really know what that means.”
“I want to explore more but would like others to explore with.”
“I want to be “outdoorsy” but don’t know what that means in Chicago.”
“I’m not sure if I’m ready to actually go camping but I’d like to some day.”
“I’d be up for a trip if someone brought the gear, food, ride, and knowledge.”

If you answered yes, I Can’t: Camp — Workshop Edition is for you.

Workshop Details
While nature may seem like a distant concept in Chicago, it plays a vital role in our physical health and emotional well-being, even for us urbanites. In this I Can’t edition we’ll learn how vital nature is in our daily lives, why we need more of it, and how to get more of it. From learning camping basics to addressing your “I’m embarrassed” questions and fears to equipment tutorials to location recommendations to weather-permitting hands-on activities, you’ll leave ready to head to the woods. And if you’re ready-ready, you can join us on our I Can’t: Camp — Getaway Edition in Michigan’s gorgeous Manistee National Forest!

All materials provided.

Register

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I Can’t: Camp — Getaway Edition

Are any of these you?
“I like the idea of camping but get overwhelmed by planning gear, food, logistics…”
“I’d like to go camping. But it kinda scares me.”
“I don’t have an REI-sized wallet.”
“I’m ready to get out of the city.”
“I’d like more nature in my life, to be more ‘outdoorsy’.”
“I want to explore more but would like others to explore with.”
“I’m IN! for a trip if someone brought the gear, food, ride, and knowledge.”

If you answered yes, I Can’t: Camp — Getaway Edition is for you.

Getaway Details

For three days and two nights, we’ll backpack through the Hidden Lakes of Michigan’s Manistee National Forest. Each day will be a different hike (and swim, if that appeals) and each night will have a different scenic view. Lakes, streams, expansive wetlands, lush forest, and wildlife are the norm. We’ll learn map reading, fire starting, foraging, and natural history. Most importantly, we’ll connect with our group and our selves, distraction free, surrounded by beauty, and most importantly-importantly, campfire s’mores!

Unlike Life of Yes℠ Sleepaway Camp, where we sleep indoors, have plumbing, and don’t have to make our own food, this is really camping-camping. Ya know, dirt, sleeping on the ground, bugs.

All materials provided.

FAQs

What level of camping experience do I need to have?
Absolutely none.
 
What if I’m nervous to go camping?
You’re not alone! That’s why we’re doing this. Hopefully the fact that you’ll be led by a friendly, experienced guide and accompanied by other friendly, also kinda nervous folks including I Can’t curator Saya lessens some of your nerves.
 
How will we get there?
In a van.
 
How far is the drive?
About four hours.
 
Where do we leave from and return to?
A spot in Lakeview near the Belmont El stop.
 
Can you tell me more about where we’re going?
Check out the Manistee National Forest website.
 
Can I come alone?
Absolutely.
 
Can I come with others?
As long as there’s room, absolutely.
 
Where will I sleep?
In a provided tent or hammock, or under the stars; you choose.
 
Will I be sharing a tent and if so, with how many?
Typically you share with one other individual. If you’d like to be in a tent with 3-4 people, arrangements can probably be made. Solo sleeping arrangements are available in enclosed hammocks or under the stars.
 
Where will I go to the bathroom?
No plumbing or outhouses, kids. We’ll learn how to properly, uh, squat.
 
What’s included in my fee?
Food, equipment, transport from Chicago, facilitation, and forest access.
 
What do I need to bring?
You’ll get a detailed list on how to dress for outside functionality and comfort but here’s a simplified list:
  • Hygiene gear
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Extra batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Hat
  • Water resistant coat
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Small towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash bag
  • Lighter
Can you accommodate my food restrictions?
Probably. Note them when you register and if we foresee any issues, we’ll be in touch. 
 
What level of fitness do I need to have?
You should be comfortable walking two to five miles while carrying a pack, at times over uneven terrain. Some nimbleness may be required for muddy spots, downed trees, or the like.
 
Is this scary-hiking?
No. Both on trail and off trail, the terrain is gentle to gently rolling. (Saya is deathly afraid of heights and falling off of mountainsides but Aaron has assured her she has nothing to worry about)
 
What if I can’t swim?
Swimming is optional. A creek crossing or swamp encounter is possible but nothing beyond knee deep.
 
What if I get hurt?
Adventures Accessed Guides are field tested and trained in Wilderness First Aid and beyond.
 
What if there’s bad weather?
Rain or shine, we’re a go. Trips have yet to be cancelled due to weather but of course, safety first; if weather is severe, the trip will be cancelled and you’ll get a full refund.
 
What’s the Refund Policy?
Speaking of refunds, no refunds unless we need to cancel due to weather or other circumstances. If you need to transfer your spot, you can, minus a $50 transfer fee; contact Mac & Cheese Productions℠ for a transfer.

Register

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I Can’t: Clean

  • Does your home give you anxiety, shame, or stress due to its “dirtiness”?
  • Have you not had people over or fear the “drop in” because of the state of your home?
  • Are you overwhelmed when you think about cleaning and thus press the IGNORE button?
  • Do you not want to think about cleaning but still be able to clean your home?
  • Do you want someone to tell you “clean in this order” “clean this every month” or “use these products”?
  • Do you want insider tips from someone who both cleans for fun and for money?
  • Wanna learn how to make cleaning manageable, part of your routine, enjoyable even?
  • Most importantly, do you want to test drive a Dyson v10?!
Head Cheese-It Saya has cleaned for fun all of her adult life. Creating those win-win-win scenarios that brings her so much joy, she now “What is my life?!” also cleans for money and employs a cleaning crew. A lover of making life easy and easier, she has taken all of her cleaning knowledge and passion, and her affinity for systems and spreadsheets, and created a realistic, simple, empathetic blueprint for how to bring non-tortuous sparkle & shine to your life.
 
Mac & Cheese is a safe space where you can be a 43 year old who doesn’t know how often to clean the shower or what products to use on the stove. Bring all your questions, your SOS’, your gripes, your feelings of “I’m the only one who…”! (Secret: you’re not)
 
Important Note
If you are looking to get your Marie Kondo, KonMari, Spark Joy on, this isn’t that. This is not about organizing your home and getting rid of stuff. Looking for support in that area? Check out Chicago’s 1st certified KonMari consultant and Cheese-It herself, Kristyn. She’s on the Mac & Cheese Service Provider Referral List on the FAQ page.

 

Register

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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.
  • 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. Mac & Cheese can hold 30ish. 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.
    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.