Smatterings: September 2015 Vol I

  • 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
  • Italics is my voice/means I’m the one to follow up with, which you can do here
  • If you have your images turned off, you might want to turn them on as there are often pictures included
  • If you are reading this in an RSS feed, you may want to head to the original post, so you’ll see everything
  • Want to post in Smatterings? Find out how here
  • 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!


American – $106: Chicago – Phoenix (and vice versa). Roundtrip, including all Taxes

Moving to Chicago When You Don’t Know a Soul

Fire destroyed Lincoln Square Lanes, which the owners claimed was the oldest bowling alley in the city.

Via GapersBlock

Calling Oak Street Beach the “best urban beach in the world,” Rich Cohen waxes poetic about life on the shores of Lake Michigan in the New York Times.

Via GapersBlock

Get Paid to Go to Weddings: This Woman Makes $1,000 a Day as a Professional Bridesmaid

21 Great Teacher Discounts: Stock Up on Classroom Supplies for Less

We Finally Found a Free Alternative to PayPal and Venmo

15 Most Affordable Cities for Singles

A Unique Way to Make Money on Amazon: How I Earn $1,500 a Month

Sick of Having Roommates? 48 Ways to Afford Living Solo

A Trick for Making More Money as an Airbnb Host: Target Business Travelers

How I Paid Off $8,100 of Credit Card Debt in Just 3 Months

20 Everyday Items to Buy at the Dollar Store (And 10 to Get Elsewhere)

40 Questions that Will Quiet Your Mind

12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude (That Will Change Your Life)

5 Powerful Ways to Free Yourself from Negativity

7 Surprising Reasons You’re Attracting Toxic People

30 Quick Stories that Will Make You Think Differently

4 Questions that Will Change Your Attitude (When You Can’t Change Anything Else)

Every Carrier’s Confusing Phone-Buying Plans, Explained

Don’t Use Sarcasm In Conversation Until You Trust Each Other

Learn Eight Helpful Microsoft Excel Tricks with This Handy Cheat Sheet

Three Simple Items You Should Always Have on You When Traveling the World

Amazon Underground Gives You Free Access to Paid Android Apps

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You’ll Never Go Back From

This Video Teaches You How to End a Conversation Gracefully

You Don’t Have a Creative Block, You’re Just Procrastinating

The Best Browser Extensions that Protect Your Privacy

What Travel Destinations Weren’t What You Expected?

Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Home Wi-Fi

Netflix Is Losing Lots of Big Movies Next Month, and Hulu Picked Them Right Up

Air Canada – $697: Washington D.C. / Chicago – Tel Aviv, Israel. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

13 Reasons You Are So Happy You’re No Longer in Your 20s

9 Movies That Will Make You Love Chicago

The 5 Prettiest Offices in Chicago

The difference between time and attention


America’s 8 Most Overlooked Small Cities





Creative Ideas Happen When You Stop Checking Your Phone

Hometown in the NYT!

Where to Eat and
Drink in Evanston


Unbelievably over the moon happy for all the ridiculous success that people around me are experiencing!!!!!!! Life of Frickin’ Yes℠! CONGRATS Y’ALL!!!!

Julie Shapiro Selected as New Radiotopia Executive Producer

WGN hires Justin Kaufmann to shine at night

‘The View’ Executive Producer Bill Wolff Out, Candi Carter In

Washington Post ‘How journalism is changing for the better, in 1 chart’ via Jennifer Brandel

Science Says It’s Totally OK To Spend All Your Money On Travel

CUSP is coming up!
Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 8.53.07 PM
It’s impossible to describe, check it out here and then get yo’ ticket!!!
I’ve been twice, it’s all things lovely and random.

Every autumn, we pack two days with mind-racing ideas from over 25 seemingly unrelated presenters. We ask them what keeps them up at night and gets them out of bed in the morning. Then we all buckle up and go for a ride.

A Short Lesson in Perspective

This magical word will change your life!


Director of Development AT 826CHI

Bespeak Studios is a new meeting space nestled in the north Lincoln Park neighborhood—just blocks from the teeming Clark & Diversey intersection.

If you’re seeking an affordable and inviting place to host your next…
⁃ Networking session
⁃ Board meeting
⁃ One-on-one coaching appointment
⁃ Client meeting
⁃ Meetup group
⁃ Workshop (including Dabble classes)
⁃ Technical training class
⁃ Neighborhood event
⁃ Writing group / book group / discussion group

…Bespeak Studios offers the perfect gathering place for you and your colleagues, clients, and friends.

✓ Get more information and schedule a tour of the space, visit us at
✓ Sign up for one of the Dabble classes we’re hosting:
Introduction to PhotoShop 
So You Want to Write a Grant
✓ Connect with us:
⁃ @bespeakstudios

What Happiness Is, Around The World: Let Us Know And We’ll Illustrate It (15+ Pics)

If I know you and would recommend you, feel free to ask me to do so. At one of my favorite non profits (one I worked for for years).
JOB: We’re hiring a Program and Research Coordinator!

Courageous piece by a Cheese It. Please share if you think it may be of help to someone in your network.

Elizabeth Gomez: Beast Woman



Watch Tig Online | Netflix

JOB: Associate Classes/Workshops Producer (part-time)

Why Are We so Distracted All the Time?

The Braggart’s Dilemma: How to Promote Yourself Without Being a Jerk

Abandoning the Work I Hated

Possibly my most favorite video ever.

I’m an Adult and I Have No Idea How to Make Friends

Italian Neighbors Build a Social Network, First Online, Then Off

Such a complex topic for me…

On Picking My Brain

Ohhhh, YES!!!

Get on board! Support the Lime Line and transit expansion

How to Escape Your Cubicle and Live the Dream Life

The city is now your office.Deskpass offers access to over 25 of the finest workspaces in Chicago with a single, affordable monthly membership.

I love baby name articles!

How to name a baby

Check out this awesome project by a Cheese It!

BOOMBOX combines the successful features of popup shops and festival booths to provide innovative transitional retail spaces at affordable prices. BOOMBOX is a prefabricated, modular kiosk installed in high volume public spaces to provide nomadic retail opportunities for entrepreneurs and community activators. The BOOMBOX kiosks are integrated into the urban infrastructure and retailers have the potential to range from commercial services to civic community-based resources and provide new venues for art, architecture, and commerce in a short term model.

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

 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 now? 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 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 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

Recent Blog Posts

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

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
  • Park Whiz: compare price, location, and amenities for parking all across the US to find the right parking spot for you. $10 credit when you sign up here
  • 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 $20 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 handfull 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. The last time I used it, I liked the gal a lot, her name is LaQuita Hayes if you want to try to use her as well**

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.23.39 PM

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

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Notify of