Smatterings: August 2014 Vol 1


  • Did you know that if you search the hashtag #smatterings on Twitter or Facebook, you can get much of this random goodness all neatly laid out for you, going back months and months?! 
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  • Want to see upcoming Mac & Cheese Productions events? Calendar here.



Rodney Atkins to headline WeishFest 2014 on Saturday, August 9th.
Visit to get your tickets.

WeishFest (pronounced “Wish” Fest) is an all-day music festival unlike anything in the area.
WeishFest transforms a baseball stadium into the site which holds the best party of the summer.
With incredible music, food, venue, and atmosphere, WeishFest brings together thousands for a day you do not want to miss.

The Andrew Weishar Foundation (AWF) was created to honor the memory of Andrew Weishar and his legacy of helping others to live with faith, courage, and strength. Our mission is to provide immediate resources to families with children or adolescents stricken with cancer. We will provide financial assistance to these families in need and dedicate ourselves to these acts of kindness and generosity.

Andrew and the Weishar family learned firsthand what many survivors have learned when coping with cancer:

  • Acts of kindness – Andrew was constantly amazed and grateful for the endless acts of kindness he received from so many people.
  • Financial Burden – When Andrew was diagnosed, the Weishar family quickly realized that, on top of being a physical, mental, and psychological struggle; cancer is an extreme financial burden.
  • Escape from the toll of cancer – During Andrew’s 3-year battle, his greatest highlights were the “escapes” from the treatments and realities of his diagnosis. Andrew’s time with his family and moments of everyday, normal activities, provided needed reprieve from the realities he was facing.

Prior to Andrew’s passing, in October of 2012, he asked his younger brother Dan to “pay forward” the acts of kindness and generosity he received. In early 2013, AWF was created to honor Andrew’s request of paying it forward, specifically by: providing acts of kindness and generosity; easing the financial burden; and providing a temporary escape.

Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | HEADING TO DENVER!

Mac & Cheese is heading to Denver! A one-night only offering, I’m teaching my popular Live the Dream: A Life of Yes workshop out West.

If you have any Denverites in your network, would you share?

Class info/registration.

You can tweet: #Denver,  this class is coming your way for 1 night only via @dabblehq @sayahillman! “Live Your Dream: A #LifeOfYes”

A (Proven) Freelancer’s Guide to Growing Your Business

Bike Thief Thwarted by Online Community of Cycling Vigilantes

New ‘Dream’ iO Theater Includes Four Theaters, Three Bars and a Beer Garden

What if Morgan Freeman read LeBron James’ letter discussing his return to Cleveland?

Via NextDraft

Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | LIFE OF YES MEETUP

Interested in networking without having to network?
Come join us at the next one!
Limited to 20 to keep it intimate.


Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | LIFE OF YES! SLEEPAWAY CAMP (LOYSC) –
Application for the Fall is now out!!

Some pics from LOYSC a week ago —

Life of Yes! (LOY) Sleepaway Camp is designed to equip you with a way of thinking and a community rooted in you getting as much as you can out of your life. 

Everyone comes solo.
Check out the details for info on the next one. 

The makers behind Scouted want to bring a human element to local recommendations by putting the people first, not the location. There are no editors, no experts, no curators—well, a little on the homepage—just real, honest people talking about the places they love. Scouted is encouraging you to find places that match your taste through the people who actually go there.

Find some like minded people and check out the places they enjoy. Share your own recommendations and help others discover your favorite places and activities.

Via Swiss Miss

Filmmaker Casey Neistat Explains His Clever Workspace Organization System of Little Red Boxes

Pork Shoppe Barbecue Opening in Former Kingfisher Restaurant

City’s First Barrier-Protected Bike Lane Would Have Three-Foot-Wide Curbs

The no-baby boom

Oh, the Humanities! A Reading List Pertaining to the English Major

The Down And Dirty History Of TMZHow a lawyer from the San Fernando Valley created a gossip empire and transformed himself into the most feared man in Hollywood, all by breaking a few long-held rules and, as rumor has it, lording over a notorious vault full of secrets.


A beautiful interactive documentary about couples asking each other intimate questions. The { } And.

via Swissmiss



Getting Old Is Scary — Even For A Little Girl





Powerful, powerful read. 

Kiss Me Like Movie Stars Kiss

The Importance of Eating Together

Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school.

75 Years In The Making: Harvard Just Released Its Epic Study On What Men Need To Live A Happy Life

MasterCard’s Ajay Banga: Why ‘Yes, If’ Is More Powerful Than Saying No

Startup Escape Plan: How to free up time, energy & money to build your future


All Nippon Airways – $779: Chicago – Guangzhou, China. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

Ahhh, I so need this!

Imagine your name is Vasiliki Sotiropoulos. Or Aoife Caomhánach. Or, heck, even Idina Menzel. You’re proud of your ethnic moniker and wouldn’t change it for the world. The only problem: Nobody knows how to pronounce it.

Namez is here to help.

This free website and app enables you to record yourself saying your own name (EE-feh Ka-va-na), then creates an instant link to said recording. You can post or imbed this link anywhere you’d like–say, in your résumé or at the bottom of your email signature–or just passive-aggressively send it to your idiot father-in-law who always forgets that the S in Islais silent.

You can also use Namez for clarifying the phonetics of companies (Givenchy! Fage!), cities, menu items and the like.

The end result? John Travolta might not botch your intro at the Academy Awards.

Via PureWow

How to Cold Email a Complete Stranger

NYT article

Love People, Not Pleasure

Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | POTLUCK! (A SMORGASBORD OF IDEAS) 

Potluck! (A Smorgasbord of Ideas) brings together several of Chicago’s best and brightest, funniest and handsomest, wittiest and engaging-est for an evening of rapid fire musings on whatever they choose to muse upon.

Each Dish does whatever he/she wants, for six-minutes.

No actual food involved. You just come, sit in the audience, and soak it all up!

Check out the lineup for AUGUST’S lineup! 
And buy NOW, we sell out.

Curated by Mac & Cheese Productions and TeamPete

Ahhh! Love!

Watch a cocoa farmer try chocolate for the first time

Buzzfeed gets serious and asks: Why don’t British singers have British accents when they sing? And while we’re on the topic, why doAmerican singers have British accents when they talk? (Now that’s a jolly good question.)

Via NextDraft

What would happen if Ebola came to the United States?

Who Wins in the Name Game?

From dating to job prospects, a name has remarkable power over the path of its owner’s life.

10 Things Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying

“Richard Norris was 22 when he shot himself in the face. This was back in 1997. He doesn’t remember how or why it happened, but his mom, who was three feet away, said it was an accident. She remembers pieces of Richard’s face showering her body. This was in the living room. The gunshot had blown off his nose, cheekbones, lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, and chin, leaving just his wide brown eyes and a swirl of nameless twisted flesh. The miracle that would come to define Richard’s life begins with these tragic details.” GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas on The New Face of Richard Norris. What’s it like to live with an entirely new face? Not nearly as easy as it looks.

Via NextDraft

Over the weekend, the Ebola virus spread to a fourth African country. Nearly 700 people have died during the outbreak.

Via NextDraft

Work, email, social media, a never-ending to-do list, too many commitments, too much on the schedule — you’re crazy busy. But are you this busy because it’s just the nature of life in our increasingly digital, device-driven society? Or is it — as a series of recent studies suggest — because you’ll do just about anything to avoid introspection? “In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes.” (Can an Introspection App be far behind?) Louis C.K. often touches upon this need to be busy: “Sometimes when things clear away and you’re not watching anything and you’re in your car and you start going, oh no, here it comes, that I’m alone, and it starts to visit on you, just this sadness. And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

Via NextDraft

HA, I love this!

Portraits Inspired by Spam

Photographer Christina De Middel turns spam (scam) emails into fictitious portraits:

NATIONAL TREASURESOur favorite books from every U.S. state

TOOL TIMEThe best new kitchen gadgets

The 50 Best Documentaries Streaming on Netflix 2014


What It’s Like Being a Stock Image Model

Paste Magazine: The 50 best documentaries streaming on Netflix.

Via NextDraft

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made some remarkably stupid and offensive comments, essentially suggesting that women need to do more to prevent the provocations that could lead to them being beaten by their significant others. What was his punishment? Nothing. In this piece,The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern is not surprised: ESPN — The worldwide leader in pricks

Via NextDraft

We Analyzed Nearly 1 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned

Why Chicago’s Divvy Trails New York’s Citi Bike-Sharing Program

Could Cargo Bikes Become the New Minivans for Chicago Parents?


The Untimely Death of World Traveler Harry Devert

Really interesting.

This Restaurant Kept Getting Awful Reviews. Then They Discovered Something Mind-Blowing…

Husband sent me this. Should I be offended?

Dear Mona, How Many Couples Sleep in Separate Beds?

If I know you and would recommend you, feel free to ask me to do so.


Development Assistant at WTTW (PBS Chicago)

If I know you and would recommend you, feel free to ask me to do so.

Great place to work!

User Happiness Rep at GiveForward

An eye-opening video series on one of Chicago’s public schools, Montefiore (one of the schools I used to manage via my first job out of school!). Such babies dealing with such… ICK. Good reminder to be grateful for what you have and to give where you can.

If I know you and would recommend you, feel free to ask me to do so.
JOB: Senior Associate Director of Admissions , U of Chicago

JOB: Bright Pink, Program Coordinator

JOB — good for folks looking for PT work!
Director of Community Interaction

Stop with the Street Harassment

Let’s Call This What It Really Is — And Let’s Put An End To It Founder Brian Ma Returns With Weave, Which Is Like Tinder For Professional Networking

What would you do to grow little smarter by knowledge every single day?

5 of the Wildest Summer Camps for Grown-Ups

What are we chewing now that we are chewing so much less gum?

Via NextDraft

“I was 29 years old and living the dream, or at least my version of it, when everything changed. I was in love with an amazing woman and had a rent-controlled sublet in New York City’s West Village and a good job at a glossy magazine. By any estimation as I now recall my life before it was tossed upside down, my girlfriend and I had no discernible problems.” In Matter, Larry Smith’s My Life with Piper: From Big House to Small Screen.

Via NextDraft

39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color

Microsoft Just Laid Off Thousands of Employees With a Hilariously Bad Memo

Interruptions Are Even Worse Than We Thought

“My daughter recently passed away after a long battle in the children’s hospital. Since she was in the hospital her whole life we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?” A dad posted that to Reddit the other day. He got back the photo he wanted and a lot more.

Via NextDraft


OVERVIEW: Mobile Makers seeks a Production Coordinator to post editorial and graphical content to our website, in email campaigns, and other online channels. This junior-level position reports to the Director of Engagement. It is a full-time position working on location in Chicago.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Production Coordinator


Tips and Hacks for Everyday Life: What are some small facts that might save your life one day?

Why You’ll Never Change Political Parties




The Park District Wants to Know Which Crummy Playgrounds Need Fixing

Director of Programs
Illinois Humanities Council

Services I’ve used recently and liked, mostly for making my life easier, cheaper, and/or less full of stuff I don’t like doing —

I used this for the first time in Nashville and LOVED it! Used it about five times in five days. So easy and inexpensive! I left my sweater in one of the cars and the gal returned it to me IN CHICAGO a week later. I love not having to bother with cash, and while I don’t always want to chat with drivers, I liked it on vacation.

Look for the pink mustache!

A friendly, affordable ride whenever you need one. Request a ride with the tap of a button, and get picked up by a driver within minutes. Yep, it’s that easy.

Use code SAYA20 for $25 off first ride!

Have been using Uber for a few years now. I especially like when heading to the airport, especially if it’s really early/late in the day. The drivers are less chatty than Lyft drivers, more like regular taxi drivers. Like Lyft, no dealing with cash and it’s super simple to “call” a car with your phone.

Everyday cars for everyday use. Better, faster, and cheaper than a taxi.

Use code UBERCHEESEIT and get a $30 credit for first time users!

We’ve used this in Hawaii, Asheville NC, Germany, and Croatia — all GREAT experiences! And crazy cheap in comparison ($39/night for a condo in NC, $100/night for a treehouse in Hawaii).Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Use this link for a $25 Cheese-It credit!

Cleaning and handyman service that’s really simple to use. No exchange of cash, including tip, point of service.

Use code SAYA3359 for $25 off your first use!

I’ve not been eating well nor inspired to cook well, and I’m a huge “if there’s someone out there who does what you hate well and they enjoy it, let them do it!” fan. Enter Kitchfix. I’ll do a longer blog post one of these days, but the gist — I’ve been ordering food from them for about a month and have loved it.

  • Delicious
  • Super easy to pick up (hubs all over the city, I ride my bike 7 minutes to get mine at a Crossfit gym). Or you can get it delivered (for more money).
  • It’s pricey to keep up for a long time, but if you’re just looking to jumpstart health (or if you make tons of money!), I’d DEFINITELY recommend it
  • I like that it’s real food and that it’s a local company (the head chef just got named to Crain’s 2014 top entrepreneur list)
  • Absolutely no prep save for warming
  • You can get large or medium meals, I get large

Here’s one of my meals, Mexican Style Beef Sliders — that guacamole is RIDICULOUSLY good!

With just a few clicks, you’ll order delicious, chef-crafted, fully prepared meals that deliver on flavor and nutrition while being specifically portioned to give your body everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t. The menu items, which cost between $12 and $15, embraced just about every clean-eating concept out there. Recipes eschew gluten, soy, corn and dairy in favor of coconut oil, organic vegetables and pasture-raised meat from farms in Illinois and Indiana.

Our menu is filled with local and organic ingredients from farmers in Indiana and Illinois. 

Use this link, get $15 off your first order of $30 or more!

Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | “LIVE THE DREAM:  A LIFE OF YES” WORKSHOP

“Saya is an incredibly likable facilitator who makes you feel instantly comfortable in her class. This is a quick overview of her Life of Yes philosophy and experience, and it is a wonderful way to sneak in some reflective time without making a huge time commitment. Several of her many ideas really hit home for me, and I’ve already made some plans and met some wonderful people just from this 2 hour experience! Bravo Saya!” – class participant

Last class of the summer is coming up, sign up here

And the Denver class is also coming up, if you’ll be out West or know anyone who will.


Supposedly they’re announcing the winners this month, crossing fingers!!!!

I am 1 of 115 semi-finalists, out of 16,000+!, to be in the running for an Amtrak writing residency where if selected, I’d get a sleeper car adventure on the long-distance route of my choosing to work on a personal writing project. I’d focus on penning my book! Besides writing ability, they also look at social media prowess and scope of your network, which leads me to ask YOU a favor… If you’re on Twitter, can you tweet: Congrats @sayahillman, 1 of 115 semi-finalists out of 16K! @Amtrak, pick her as a finalist! #AmtrakResidency #LifeOfYes



The 10 minute video of me reading my Listen To Your Mother story is out!
Insight into my upbringing and why I am the way I am today.


That’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed this issue.

Use someone’s services in Smatterings and LOVED them? Went to an activity suggested in here and LOVED it? Have some other positive come out of Smatterings?

Let me know! That fuels me continuing to do Smatterings twice a month.