Smatterings: August 2015 Vol II

  • 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?!
  • You can also see past issues by doing a search on the blog for Smatterings
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  • Want to see upcoming Mac & Cheese Productions events in one easy to read/find spot? Calendar here
  • Appreciate Smatterings? Drop something in the Smatterings Tip Jar for the time it takes to curate and send this twice-monthly goodness!


Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | NEWS & UPCOMING EVENTS

Due to all the asks I get about my trips — recommendations of activities, food, lodging, how I score travel deals, etc. — I’ll be posting more in-depth blog posts in this area. Up next? Portland, Maine! If you want to be alerted to when travel posts go up, you can subscribe here.

Digital Garage Sale

  • I’m continuing to downsize and adjust paths I travel, which means getting rid of stuff
  • Items here, including freebies!


  • The event that started it all, 12 years ago!
  • Join the thousands of people who’ve come through the Mac & Cheese doors
  • 20 to 30 people all come solo for a low-key evening of expanding networks
  • Fall date just added
  • More info & reserve a spot here

Fear Experiment℠

  • The Fall class – storytelling, a capella, and stepping – has been selected!
  • Sign up solo to create community via an artform that perhaps you’re not the best at and then perform in front of 700
  • If you want to get on the waitlist, head here; we usually take a few off each round!

Life of Yes℠ Sleepaway Camp

  • “Truly one of the best experiences of my life” – camper
  • Unplugged, everyone comes solo
  • If you’d like to apply to Fall’s getaway, head here; this’ll be the last one until next summer.

Life of Yes℠ Meetup

  • Chatting with strangers on couches and armchairs about how to live a full life – professionally, socially, romantically, whatever-ally…
  • Sharing of resources, ideas, and overall positivity. 
  • More info and rsvp

Life of Yes℠: Live YOUR Dream, not THE Dream workshop

  • I share personal anecdotes and the philosophies that have shaped my path, encouraging students to have “Aha!” moments and think proactively about how you can get the most out of life. 
  • You’ll leave not only with big-picture philosophies but also small-actionable steps you can apply immediately.
  • Fall date just added
  • See reviews, more info, and register here

Idea Potluck

Pub Quiz Night

  • In true M&C fashion, you are encouraged to come solo.
  • You’ll be put on a team of (friendly) strangers. Is it scary to come by yourself? YES! Will you live and have a good time? YES!
  • Questions will range from “Name the Brady Bunch housekeeper” to “The unrest in which Asian country in 2007 was called ‘The Safran Revolution’?”, and everything inbetween
  • The first one sold out and was a ridiculous blast, jump on this NOW

Productivity Class

  • I share an overview of numerous resources (mostly tech-based) that I use on regular basis to maintain organization, frugality, and efficiency, along with tips and insight, to give you a starting point to deciding which tools to further investigate and incorporate into your own life.
  • This class is not about learning the ins and outs of specific tools, but about someone else narrowing the overwhelming field of options and presenting her best-practices and favorites for you to choose which you’d like to learn on a deeper level.
  • Many people get work to pay for this!
  • See reviews, more info, and register here

For the difference between a Life of Yes℠ meetup, workshop, and camp, head here.

Cheese-It referrals and discounts are at the bottom of Smatterings.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 10.55.36 AM
​The Shift provides a convenient, local, work and meeting space for individuals, teams, and small businesses with all the productivity-boosting amenities of a downtown office – without the hike!
With a full calendar of small business classes and professional development workshops, plus a vibrant community of innovative, driven professionals from a range of industries – The Shift is your community coworking space to be more productive, get things done, and get connected.
Facebook (ShiftChicago)
Twitter (@TheShiftChi)

Activity to do! (See how you can go for free!)

In Love and Warcraft-Pre-production-ad art
In Love and WarcraftBy Madhuri Shekar
directed by Tlaloc Rivas
a Chicago premiere production
August 13 through September 20, 2015
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 6pm

Beginning  August 13, Halcyon Theatre presents In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar, a romantic comedy about fear and acceptance of intimacy both physical and emotional in a cute and geeky leaning way. In Love and Warcraft is directed by nationally acclaimed director Tlaloc Rivas.

Evie Malone—gamer girl, college senior and confirmed virgin—has it all figured out. Not only does she command a top-ranked guild in Warcraft with her online boyfriend, she also makes a little cash on the side writing love letters for people who’ve screwed up their relationships. Love is like Warcraft, after all. It’s all about strategies, game plans, and not taking stupid risks. But no amount of gaming expertise can help her out when she’s next to a handsome, non-virtual, boyfriend, who is ready to rock all of her worlds.

There are two paths you can take to reach your seat —

1.) Through our Radical Hospitality program, we are holding a number of seats for first come, first serve, free entrance to every performance. The box office opens one hour before the performance.

2.) Audience members who prefer guaranteed admission can do so for a $20 fee ($10 for the Ceyx series) paid in advance online.

Halcyon Theatre is in-residence at Christ Evalengical Lutheran Church in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. We are two blocks west of Kedzie Ave and two blocks north of Montrose Ave, on the corner of Wilson and Spaulding in Chicago.

More information may be found here

How to Secure Your Home When You’re a Renter

This Flowchart Can Help You Figure Out If You Should Quit Your Job

How to Eat Well and Manage Your Food Allergies While Traveling

If You Want to Learn a New Skill, Let Go of Your Pride First

How Being Non-Confrontational Has Held Me Back in Life

A Brief Guide to Quitting a Bad Habit

Boost Your Creative Skills With This Simple Word Exercise

Get a Boost of Creativity By Doing Something Mindless, Like Cleaning

What Was Your Most Unexpected Child Care Expense? 

How to Get a Job by Targeting the Companies You Want to Work For

“If It’s Not a Hell Yes, It’s a No”

This Video Explains How to Properly Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

Be More Interested In Conversations by Playing Detective

This Cartoon Explains How Important It Is to Have Good Posture

The Dumb Things I’ve Caught Myself Doing After Moving to a New City

RepairPal Estimates What Car Repairs Should Cost in Your Area

Be More Likable In Conversation by Making the Other Person an Expert

Determine How Many Seats You Should Have In Your Living Room with This Rule

A List of Side Jobs that Don’t Suck (and Pay Well)

Taking the Plunge: How to Get Over Your Fear of Failure

Learn How To Drive Stick In Five Minutes

Why You Should Always Try to Haggle When Renting an Apartment

I Shouldn’t Have Waited So Long to Travel Overseas

Top 10 Simple Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do

How Only an Hour a Day to Work on Your Passion Can Be a Good Thing

Four Signs You Should Fix Your Current Job Instead of Quitting

How to Automate Your Finances and Save Money, Explained in One Graphic

This Calculator Will Help You Decide Between a Roth or Traditional IRA 

The Best Podcast Manager for Android

Top 10 Awesome MacGyver Tricks That Speak For Themselves

What All of Those Confusing Dress Code Terms Really Mean

Skip the Tiny Weights: Weight Lifting Isn’t That Different for Women

The Cities with the Highest Salaries for Your Occupation

Advil Beats Tylenol For Pain Relief

Treat a Job You Hate as Training to Move On to Something Better

Check out this article on how a deaf person enjoys music


BREAKING: $39+ O/W Nonstop Flights on Sale from Southwest!

What’s an Ambivert…and Am I One?

The Safest Countries for Solo Lady Travelers

Creative Ways to Keep Learning




I just signed, join me? Evanstonians, Whole Foodsians, humans….

Stop the Racism!

The 23 Things to Always Have in Your Desk

Totally reminds me of Fear Experiment℠ and everything it stands for!

Our work is theater


United – $116: San Francisco – Chicago (and vice versa). Roundtrip, including all Taxes

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”

SET Program Coordinator (Part-time, Contractual)

Why Zirtual’s Demise Makes Me Glad I Turned Down Millions in Funding


Not everybody will like you

Barber gives kids haircuts in exchange for them reading to him

The biggest mistakes people make when choosing a life partner

5 Rude Emails You Send Every Day

The Secret To Happiness Is Ten Specific Behaviors

This teacher’s method for identifying kids who may need a bit extra is fascinating

Share This With All the Schools, Please

Party Of 1: We Are Eating A Lot Of Meals Alone

You Won’t Sell a Lot of Books, But That’s Totally OK

JOB General Manager Position Available at Bobby’s Bike Hike – Chicago

How To Ask Someone For a Coffee Meeting

The Surprising Things You See (and Learn) When Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

How to Turn Your Dreams into Your Reality

16 Things You Might Not Know About Uber and Its Drivers

What Is Happiness?

How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Power a Career Transition

10 Legitimately Awesome Jobs You Can Do From Your Livingroom

Leaving Hot Yoga Before the Class Ends

The glamorous life of a frequent traveler is a lie, researchers say

10 Things to Do in Chicago Before Labor Day


6 Signs You’re Due for a Career Change

I don’t know… I can’t handle long ones, even if they’re of the positive nature.

A Eulogy for the Long, Intimate Email

The Perfect Way of Saying “No”

How to Do More in Less Time


Mac & Cheese Productions Goodness | CHEESE-IT DISCOUNTS & REFERRALS

  • My Service Provider referral list and my Chicago venue referral list, along with other resources can be found on my FAQ page
  • 25% off Lesbians Who Tech Summit with code LWTMAC
  • Luxe: Sends valets to park for you, wherever you are – it’s fast, affordable and convenient. Use SAYA for $20 credit
  • Zen Payroll: payroll services, tax filings, what I use for all my money’ness; use this link, get $100 when you become a paid user
  • Champion Energy: who I use for my electricity (you don’t have to use ComEd!); use this link and code Shillman9894, get a $25 credit on your bill
  • LastPass: manage your passwords and other top-secret info (forget about memorizing tons of different passwords!); use this link, get a free month of Premium
  • Mailchimp: easily manage email campaigns; use this link, get $30 in Monkey Rewards
  • Kitchfix: delicious healthy food delivered to your door; use this link, get $15 off your first order of $30 or more (see my blog post on why I love them)
  • LYFT car-service: like a taxi, but way easier to use; use code SAYA20 for $10 off first ride
  • Uber car-service: like a taxi, but way easier to use; use code UBERCHEESEIT and get a $20 credit for first time users
  • Airbnb: my favorite way to lodge when in other cities (you can also make a boatload of cash by being a host); use this link for a $25 credit ($75 if you host!)
  • Handy: cleaning service; use code SAYA3359 for $25 off your first use **NOTE: They’re pretty inexpensive and in the handful of times I’ve used them, definitely feel ‘getting what you’re paying for’. Not the best, not the worst. If you use the same person that might help in things like being late because they couldn’t find you, knowing the quirks of your house, etc. I think I found someone I really like (she’s currently here right now. I’ll share her name next time if she’s a go!).**

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 the free, time-consuming Smatterings twice a month.

Wanna give me a “hug”? A “thumbs up”? Smatterings Tip Jar

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