Winter has finally decided to descend upon us in Chicago and I’m finally in the mood to go ice skating. So, when I found out that the Peninsula Chicago opened an outdoor ice skating rink atop their hotel, I was GEEKED. Now, before you think that I just have a weak spot for making posh figure eights, allow me to point out that 100% of the admission + skate rental costs are donated to the Hephzibah Children’s Association and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.
The rink is only open to hotel, spa, or restaurant guests so it looks like I’ll be having dinner at The Lobby pretty soon (aka before March). Stay tuned for photos of my wintry excursion.
For more information on the rink, you check out the release here.
As I move through this Fabulous Giver lifestyle, I am constantly motivated by friends of mine who are doing selfless things for others, both near and far. Today, I wanted to spotlight two current projects being spearheaded by two of my friends.
My broseph, George, has one of the biggest hearts that I know. So, I wasn’t surprised when he announced his goal to collect socks and warm blankets to help get 213 people through this bone-chilling Chicago winter. The initiative, Cover Chicago, has also inspired similar efforts in Atlanta and Sacramento. Kindness is definitely contagious! For details on drop-off locations in Chicago, check out the flyer below. You can also keep up with the efforts on the blog.
Madie’s $10,000 Birthday Wish
Birthdays are a time of celebration, reflection, and wish-making. My soul sister, Madie (one of the fab ladies behind Divas, MPH), has made one BIG wish for her 30th birthday. And, that is to raise $10,000 to build a well in Ethopia. When she accomplishes her goal, the well will provide clean water for 500 people. Hopefully, I don’t have to tell you what a big deal that is. Madie has already raised over $3,000 dollars for the cause and has less than 70 days to raise the rest. Learn more about her wish and make a donation on her MyCharityWater.org page!
So, these are two of the people who inspire me. Do you have any do-gooder friends? Tell me about them!
One of Dr. King’s greatest legacies was his commitment to service. In honor of this legacy and make a difference, communities across the country will recognize Saturday as a National Day of Service.
In the video below, First Lady Michelle Obama talks about her family’s commitment to community service and learn how you can join the effort. If you’re heading to DC this weekend, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host a wide range of volunteering events in Washington, DC and across the country. Find out how you can get involved here.
I need to check out the website myself and find a volunteer opportunity here in Chicago. Chicago Cares usually hosts a citywide service event so fingers crossed that still happens. If not, I will definitely make it work. I can find a service project anywhere. Trust me on that one!
Given the choice between two identical items, would you pay 40% more for one if all of the proceeds were going to charity?
This is the question that I asked my Twitter peeps a couple of weeks ago. Most people responded by saying that it would depend on how they felt about the cause, the price difference, and whether or not it was a special edition product. All valid points.
This question came to me after surfing around on the Kenneth Cole website. You see, KC had two versions of their Red Pack-It Puffer on their website: one benefiting their AWEARNESS Foundation and a “normal” retail version. Both jackets retailed for $99.50, but at that time, the “normal” one was 40% off while the “charitable” one was holding strong at the regular price.
Now, do you understand why I asked? By the way, Kenneth Cole has since removed both versions of the red coat from their site.
So, your turn to answer the question. Would you have purchased the $100 version for a cause or the $60 version?
In 2011, I proudly and confidently claimed that 2013 would be my year and it is DEFINITELY off to the right start. These first two weeks of the year have been BIZ-ZEE. On Tuesday, I joined my Red Pump Co-Founder Luvvie and some of our crew to help shoot photos of our new t-shirt line.
The line is in partnership with the fab folks over at Royal Dynamite and will be available starting next week. Did I mention that for every tee purchased the company donates an education package to a child in Sierra Leone? Yes, so you will be doing good TWICE when you scoop yours.
My sister and I are still rocking and rolling on our Holiday Service Challenge and one of the things that we wanted to do was prepare a meal for families at the Ronald McDonald House near us. Our Ronald McDonald House program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. I have the biggest soft spot in my heart for children in hospitals and their families so I’m always down to do what I can to make things feel a little easier for them. In fact, a couple of years ago, my sister and I made Valentine’s Day cards for the families at the same RMH location. It is still one of the “funnest” things that I’ve ever done!
(Okay. Back to brunch.)
Eager to form a group, I sent an email to some of my favorite folks to see who would be down. And much to my delight, five folks signed up! Hoorah. That was the easy part. The hardest part? Figuring out the menu. I have probably only hosted three meal-based events in my adult lifetime. A large-meal guru that does not make. I took some advice from Karen, a Chicago Cares Project Leader who I met during a cooking service project for the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project. She simply told me, “Make sure that you choose something simple, in case people don’t show up.” BRILLIANT words.
So, with that in mind, I chose the easy, yet filling menu of French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey bacon, breakfast potatoes and yogurt parfaits. I also suggested to my group that if anyone wanted to make shrimp ‘n grits, it would be welcomed. Thankfully, my homeslice George stepped up to the plate and whipped up a delicious batch of the homestyle dish. He received so many compliments from the families… No one would’ve guessed that it was his first time making them!
Voila! (Not pictured: Yogurt parfaits and shrimp ‘n grits)
All in all, it was a fabulous Sunday morning spent cooking in one of the most beautiful kitchens that I’ve ever been in. I’m already looking forward to our next trip there. We’re thinking about doing this once a quarter.
Have any of you ever cooked a meal at the RMH? I would love to hear some tips and tricks from you. Oh, and additional recipe options would be greatly appreciated!
Interested in learning more about the Ronald McDonald House Charities or finding one near you, click here.
While I know that many of you have already completed your holiday shopping, I know that many more of you probably haven’t even started. I planned to put up a gift guide with zillions of charitable items until I realized that many of you are going to just hit up your local mall or shopping center for these last minute items versus ordering online. So, I decided to just feature 7 cool gifts that you can pick up while out this weekend. No shipping anxiety here!
I haven’t kept a hardcore diary in years, but Barney’s is really making me reconsider that. While browsing their Disney Electric Holiday collection, I came across the three gems below. I’m not sure if it’s the colors, the fact that Minnie’s silouhette is on it, or the presence of the old school lock and key BUT something in me is screaming, “I WANT ONE.”
Disney Electric Holiday Minnie Mouse Diary, $38
Since I just stocked up on some hot pink and gold leather journals, I know that I probably don’t need another. But, the neon green version is calling my name.
In the spirit of the season, Barney’s is donating 25% of the retail price of the collection items to the American Red Cross. So, that means that it’s okay if I buy it… Right?! Right?
In case you missed it, I’m knee-deep in my (now annual) Holiday Service Challenge. You can read more about it here, but the gist of it is that my sister and I commit to volunteering a certain number of hours to honor our Mom’s birthday.
We kicked off the challenge on December 1st and have been going hard since then. Over the past 13 days, I have made lunch at the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project, volunteered at church, created Christmas cards with my sister’s group of girls, and served dinner at a residence for women in transition. And, this weekend, I have THREE service projects lined up. I can’t wait!
Chicago Cares Carolers last year
You know why? Because all three of these are directly related to the holidays and spreading Christmas cheer. Something that I L-O-V-E. Want to know my plans?
A couple of days ago, I spotted these two cutesy items in the window at what I thought was Barney’s.
I called harassed the store clerks and accused them of making up stuff when they claimed they didn’t know what those items were (sorry). Anyways, I was in the area last night and realized that the items were actually in the windows of Marc Jacobs (whoops).
According to the helpful gentleman who answered the phone, it looks like the shirt and bag are only sold in-store for now. But, if you happen to be on the Gold Coast, pop in and scoop one for your future philanthropist. The t-shirt retails for $35 and the bag is $40.