4 very specific ways Netflix saved my holiday season (so far)

As a member of Netflix’s Stream Team, I love sharing the best of the streaming best each month- and this month, it may even restore a little of your fa la la. Although I’m compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and travel chargers are entirely my own. The craziness of the holidays is upon us, friends. (Heck, it’s always upon us, but now it’s wearing a little jingle bell.) Even if you’re staying in town- even if you’ve finished your shopping by {Read More}

“You’ll Want to Play With These, Too” Holiday Gift Guide & Book Giveaway!

Usually I let my kids do the fun stuff; the reviewing, the taste-testing, and the experiencing. Not today. I’ve gotta tell you- as soon as these gems arrived on my front porch, I knew that not only were these the kind of toys I wanted to play with, but that this season seemed to be ushering in a renewed love of free play with never-ending options. How awesome is that? (Disclosure: Although I’ve been compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and toys {Read More}

Here’s what’s making me cry this week.

I’ll admit it, I’m a happy crier. I’ll admit even more: I’m a happy crier who used to mock my own mother’s “isn’t this beautiful” welling-up at ads, movies, D.A.R.E. graduations, and so on. But in light of the fact that there’s been so much sad crying lately (and angry crying and incredulous crying and and and…), I’ll cheerfully put my reformed ways out in the open. Most recently, I happy-cried at the Goodman’s beautiful ‘A Christmas Carol,’ during the {Read More}

Win 4 tickets to the House Theatre’s (ballet-free!) ‘Nutcracker’

If The Nutcracker makes you think of slippered children and the type of dances that Sugarplum Fairies like best, then the House Theatre of Chicago’s take on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale is the refreshing palate cleanser your holiday season may just require. Created by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell and Tommy Rapley, and directed by Chris Mathews, this production has garnered quite a devoted following over the past 8 years. First off, there’s no ballet. Zero Tchaikovsky. And, while there’s definitely {Read More}

5 of my favorite holiday gifts & a giveaway!

Disclosure: Sometimes I get things for free! Sometimes I just love to promote people and things and require no more compensation than a hearty (virtual) handshake. Neither scenario impacts my words in the slightest, as all thoughts, opinions, and gingerbread feelings are entirely my own. *** One of my favorite parts of blogging is- and has always been- sharing my favorite companies and products with people whom I’m 99% certain would be hanging out with me and buying the same {Read More}

Thanksgiving, Chicago theatre, and a heavily discounted book!

Happy Cyber Monday! Thanks for spending it here (…on your way to that Amazon flash sale dealie). Last week was so jam-packed and Thanksgiving was so marvelous that I totally forgot about my Thursday post until, uh, last night. (Whee! Now that’s some quality turkey-ing.) Highlights: We spent the day itself at our great friends’/neighbors’ house and completely encroached upon their extended family time. (Thanks, Coopers!) Related: is that corn pudding/casserole thing a Midwestern wonder, or have people just been {Read More}

On the second day of holiday events & giveaways…

Welcome to the Four Non-Linear Days of Fun Events and Giveaways and Yes, Even Some Alcohol Too, Day Two! No, I still haven’t chosen a better name. So, a Chicagoland Santa visit is in the works, friends? You can’t put too much thought into this. If it’s not the right Santa- a really good Santa- your child will most likely be traumatized forever. (Don’t confuse that with your child crying in the photo. Because that most likely will happen anyhow. {Read More}

Upcoming holiday events and giveaway, DAY ONE!

Two weeks later, I’m happy to report…that I’m simply awful at taking a two-week blogging absence. (I even started thinking in quips and copy. It’s a sickness, I tell you.) However, I’m stoked to announce that there is SO MUCH AWESOMENESS to do and win and see for this upcoming season. Some stuff is Chicago-y type goodness, and some is nation-wide joy. (Today is entirely Chicago-centric, friends.) I’m gonna go ahead and call this series The Four Non-Linear Days of {Read More}