Chicago in White: Exclusive PopUp Picnic Dining

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Enjoy the beauty of Chicago summer and Chicago’s people at an intimate evening of wine, white dresses and checkered picnic blankets. Chicago in White returns for its 6th annual celebration this Saturday, August 6th.  Be dressed to the nines to be part of the most lively gathering since its launch in 2011.

Chicago in White is inspired by the 1893 “City Beautiful” movement, designed to bring the city together in appreciation of its incredible aesthetic and design.

Every year, Chicago in White finds a location to stage its pop-up picnic style dinner party. They provide the tables, chairs and entertainment. You provide the lovely conversation and classy look.  This year’s secret location (Hint hint: Greater Hyde Park area, home of beautiful Promontory Point and President Obama) will be announced via email to all ticketholders the morning of the event.  Guests then pack their picnic baskets, dawn their all white attire, and head to Chicago in White’s outdoor location to begin an evening of breaking bread with old and new friends.  There will also be two types of ticket options this year.

  • $35 for General Admission
  • $150 for VIP Chloe Wine Collection Experience: be pampered with a delicious meal and wine pairing for two!
  • Both ticket holder types can pre-order Chloe wine from the collection or sample/purchase wine on-site
  • Think you got the look? Compete in the #ChloeInWhiteBestDressedContest 

Extra experiences can heighten your picnic party with Eataly!

At Chicago in White, Eataly will provide samples of their housemade gelato, and guests can also enjoy a complimentary demonstration and tasting of their housemade mozzarella (6-7:30pm).

Menu and pairing details, along with ticket info, are available at 2016chicagoinwhite.eventbrite.com

Don’t be Chi alone! Join Monica and her knight in white for an unforgettable evening this Saturday!

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Down and Dirty Mudderella Recap

We DID it, our first mud run as a Chi Organic Girls team! We took a leap of faith off the final 10 feet high platform onto an inflatable and then trailed dirt to the finish line.
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So what muddy mysteries did we solve and what mud madcap adventures did we have? Muck through our review of our first ever Mudderella run.

Muddy Mistakes

Sooo dressing for the after effects of a mud run is a challenge.  Double check what you pack the morning of. Kate forgot a dry bra for after the race–leading to wet t-shirt contests all day. Bring layers, a towel, and a bag for wet clothes too. Although the weather channel may tell you it will be 80 degrees, what they actual meant was 60 degrees. We were freezing after our Antarctic hose off and really should have packed warm joggers and a jacket just in case. You can always remove an extra piece of clothing if you are hot.

Need more mud run tips? Check out our previous post here.

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Muddy Mastery

Smells like Team Spirit

15 obstacles and 5+ miles=determination! We loved Mudderella’s pre-muck area with free braiding, fake tattoos, warrior makeup (purple lipstick anyone?) and face painting. Oh and a roof….when we arrived, it was pouring so it was a perk to stay dry and pretty for first pictures. Women were totally in the spirit of the challenge with creative team names like “Cookie Mudsters” or “Girls Gone Dirty”. Green tutus and team camaraderie filled the barn we huddled in.

Bringing a muddy spectator buddy to drive us to and from the event was a huge win. Our friend followed our route, took shots of us in action, and held our finisher t-shirts so they wouldn’t get dirtified.

What we especially embraced was the power of women. We dragged each other through mud pits, other women launched us up walls. We let chicks stand on our shoulders literally to breach obstacles. You don’t experience that in the competitive race world so THIS is exactly why non-competitive runs like Mudderella are essential. Whether you walk the whole way or run like madwomen, Mudderella girls are ready to encourage, cheer and lend an actual helping hand.

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Thanks to Mudderella for hosting us!  Any other questions about this fab fun female event?!  Reach out to us in the comments section.

 

Healthy Fast Food: Green Bean Chicago

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It’s not often that healthy and fast food share the same title but magic is possible.  Behold, we hath found a restaurant that aims to do both (oh and its yummy, princes and princesses).  We know there’s a few chain healthy alternatives in Chicago but none are 100% gluten free, GMO free and free of common allergins (no nuts, coconut or chickpeas) like the new Green Bean Chicago.

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It’s not often that you learn about the passion behind the restaurant you are eating in either.  Owners, Executive Chef Mike Watson, Aaron Bush and investor and dietary manager Srinivas Ravanam partnered on this daunting culinary adventure for many reasons. Mike thinks about the health of his children and how fast food often targets them.  Aaron works in the health and wellness industry across the state and sees how limited healthy food availability affect people throughout Illinois.  Both wanted an affordable fast healthy option for working families.  Both strive for a healthier tastier lifestyle for themselves.

We received free samples of their menu for review.

Menu Highlites:

Pick Your Protein: Chicken, Portabella Mushrooms (vegetarian) or Steak

Wrap it up: Choose a gluten free wrap, gluten free panini, or keep it simple with a salad

What’s Your Flavor? Choose Asian, Caesar, Caprese, Griller, Greek or Spanish style toppings

What we ate:

Gluten free Mushroom Griller Panini – pineapple, asparagus, mixed greens and spicy mango sauce

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Gluten free Chicken Caprese Panini – mozzarella, basil, tomatos, red onion with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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Gluten Free Mushroom Caesar Wrap – croutons, parmesan, romaine and caesar dressing

Sides – Sweet Potato Fries, Tempura Green Beans, Black Bean Hummus

Dessert! – Gluten Free Caramel Cupcake with Italian Salted Caramel Gelato

Green Beans

Loving the light life:

All meals (entree, a side and a drink) are balanced to run around 500-600 calories. There is NO soda at Green Bean but instead homemade stone fruit waters are provided for the combos.  Price point runs about the same as a Panera, Chipotle or chain greasy fast food meal, around $8-$9 for a meal.

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Who needs gluten?

Kate is sensitive to gluten and has tried gluten free wraps and breads before. Some good (Udis), some not so good (some kinda yucky wrap).  Chef Mike’s personal gluten free bread and wrap recipes (a mix of tapioca and rice flour with extra love) don’t seem “gluten free”.  Both were hearty and satisfying.

Take us to flavor town!

Monica noted the sweet potato fries were delightfully crispy.  Chef Mike explained they are made fresh 4-5 times a day…no preservatives here peeps.   She also adored the salted caramel melty creamy gelato.  Kate was stuffed to the brim by her chicken caprese panini and, although she doesn’t normally get the feels for mushrooms, these ones were garlicky, juicy and free of that sometimes unpleasantly earthy flava flav.  No complaints at the taste office here.

Final Tasting Notes:

We highly recommend Green Bean.  It’s health conscious, allergy friendly, and you get your monies worth.  Fun Foodie Fact: You can get breakfast or lunch/dinner ANY time (for you brunch cravers).  It’s also awesome if you have a social group with dietary needs.  You can bring your diabetic dad, celiac sister-in-law, and nut allergic nephew all to the same place!  Green Bean is expanding to Schaumburg (yaya suburbanites!) and plans to franchise in future locations.  So lighten up and head to Green Bean when you’re in the mood for a healthy and quick meal!

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Nike and JW Chicago Fitness Showcase!

Ready to warm up this weekend? Join us for a heart pounding, music bumping workout with Nike and JW Marriot Chicago this Saturday, 12-2 p.m, to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Where:  JW Marriott Chicago – 151 West Adams Street Chicago, … Continue reading

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 1

If you are living on a tight budget OR aren’t quite clear even where to start with jumping in the fitness “pool”, these fitness activities are free, fun and can guide you in the right direction to feel more calm, strong and the bomb in 2016!

Strength Training

If your goals include muscling it up or toning it down, these indoor, outdoor and online options can fuel your fitness fire.

Nike Training Club Chicago

Train with top Chicago fitness professionals in classes ranging from barre to HIT in addition to speed, endurance and long distance run training. Nike Training Club Chicago supported super fabulous events last year like Train with Hart, a 5K run with Kevin Hart, and #getouthere, a temporary Chicago river front workout facility to withstand the Chicago chill.  Need a little help sorting through your fitness goals? Sign up for an exclusive Resolutions Consultation with a Nike fitness pro and get athletic coaching advice for nada dollars.  Join and sign up for workouts here.

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North Face Mountain Athletics

Cold air, they don’t care.  North Face continues their free Mountain Athletics outdoor workouts Tuesday at Lincoln Park and Thursday at Millennium Park even in the winter.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is for you!

Each session, led by two The North Face trainers, prep you for outdoor goals.  Sign up here.

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Chicago Park District

Looking for something local?  Check out your nearby Chicago Park district building this week, January 2nd-10th, for free boxing, swimming, aerobic exercise and more.

Target Commit to Fit (with Adam Rosante and Idalis Velazquez)

It takes at least 21 days to start a habit so Target wants to bolster your fit meter with a free 21 day Commit to Fit workout program.  Adam Rosante, certified athletic trainer, and author of “The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean, Train Dirty & Live Hard” and Idalis Velazquez, founder of IV Fitness LLC and the creator of the PowerUP60 training method, power through with you by leading a series of Target Youtube videos for abs, cardio and strength.

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Dance

ARC Chicago

Join in a Dance Free for All January 5th-10th with the American Rhythm Center Chicago.  Classes ranging from Tap, Break dancing, African Dance, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian and much more are all free!

Dance Fitness with Jessica

These short, high energy dance routines are lead and follow style but still could be club ready with practice.  Jessica Bass starting a small group dance class in Knoxville, TN that expanded to hundreds of free Youtube videos in addition to a purchasable fitness program.  Lace up your dancing shoes and prepare to werk.

If you don’t have twinkle toe or muscle head genes, stayed tuned for Part 2 of our Free Workout posts: Yoga and Running!

 

Bake 425º Pizza Review

For once the suburbs beat Chicago to something yummy.  New local business, Bake 425°, promises Farm-to-Crust Bake at Home pizza and operates in Highland Park, Hinsdale, Evanston, Glencoe, Winnetka and Lake Forest.  Bake 425° took over the hole left by HomeMade Pizza Kitchen but with a modified format.  Owner, Bill Borneman, decided to keep the ease of the pre-made ready to cook pizza but shift to locally sourced, small batch and organic ingredients.  Specialty diets are honored with gluten free crust and vegetarian pizza options.  For traditionalists, classic cheese, Margherita and “pick your own topping” choices begin the menu.  Adventurous pizza monsters (like us) will be pleased, however, by the unique menu items like Poblano and Chicken Sausage pizza or the Earth Lover pizza with truffle oil, Yukon Potatoes, Portabello mushrooms and Béchamel.

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Bake 425° gave us one pizza, one salad and a cookie to sample and review.  We chose the Go Green vegetarian pizza, Sunshine salad and chocolate chip cookie.

What we liked:

Pizza: The Go Green pizza comes with pistachio pesto sauce, brussel sprouts, quartered cherry tomatoes, garlic oil and mozzarella.  Pesto sauce on pizza is a total thumbs up and the brussel sprouts were (thankfully) roasted and crisp.  Crust is whole grain so some consumers may not be used to the dough’s heartier taste compared to white flour.

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Salad: The Sunshine salad was filled with spicy arugula greens, roasted butternut squash, pine nuts and shaved mozzarella.  Lemon oil dressing complimented the mix with a tart and bright flavor.  The salad did need a little bit of salt and pepper to balance the sour lemon.

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Ease of Cooking: Bake 425° gives you everything you need to cook your ‘za, except an oven of course.  Instructions are clear and you are provided with parchment paper for cooking, eliminating the need for any pans or clean up!

Serving Sizes: We fed three people, which averaged about $10 dollars a person…not bad for a quality take home meal.

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What we would change:

The Chocolate Chip Cookie: Nothing really against the taste of the cookie but after eating a pizza, maybe the gelato that Bake 425° offers would balance out the meal better than ending with more dough.  We were so stuffed from the pizza, we barely touched the chocolatey dude.

Why would you try it?

When you are having one of those “I wanna stay in my blankey and bake on my couch” kind of nights, Bake 425° can simplify your night without compromising your taste buds.