5/4 – BMA and Maggiano’s
This week was a busy one for me, especially as far as professional development goes. On Monday, I attended the Business Marketing Association (BMA)’s event “An Afternoon with the Stars” at 1871. I love 1871, because it’s such a cool community of entrepreneurs and startups. Just being there makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. We have a partnership where we handle BMA’s social media channels and in return, get to attend the events for free. There are a lot of really cool events and speakers, and the lunch events are usually at Maggiano’s, which is an added bonus. I think a lesson can be learned from BMA and Social Media Beast’s partnership – bartering isn’t dead. If you have a skill that would help a business you’re obsessed with, you might be able to make a trade.
Anyways – speaking of Maggiano’s… My boyfriend had a gift card to go, so we went after the networking event. I don’t know if I’m late to the game on this or what, but Marco’s Meal for Two is an incredible value. You share an appetizer, get two entrees to eat in the restaurant, two to take home, and a dessert. That’s four complete meals (two per person) for $40 total ($20 per person). It’s some heavy stuff, so I don’t recommend it on a regular basis, but it was a nice treat. Our waiter was awesome, so extra points for that.
5/5 – Einstein Bros Bagels and Argo Tea
I got a coupon for BOGO breakfast sandwiches from Einstein and decided to use it this morning. If you haven’t already, sign up for their email newsletter. That’s $6 for two ridiculously good breakfast sandwiches that I spaced out over two days.
Argo Tea sent me $5 to spend for Cinco de Mayo, which I used on my favorite beverage – the White Tea Acai Squeeze. They send out $2-5 in savings every other week or so, so you should probably join their loyalty program if you’re as obsessed with Argo Tea as I am.
I went to another networking event at Cole Haan, but ate dinner at my boyfriend’s place. We’re starting a tradition of making our Cinco de Mayo fare at home, because it’s not worth battling the crowds at the bars and Mexican restaurants. Besides, tacos made at home last for days.
5/6 – Protein Bar and Hot Pursuit
Today I started my salad tasting rounds for an upcoming article about the best bang for your buck regarding salads in the Loop. I went to Protein Bar and met brand evangelist Teddy who let me try an asian salad and wrap. More on that to come!
Later that night, I went to a pre-screening with an old friend from high school. We saw Hot Pursuit, and you totally could too if you read this article about how to see movies on the cheap.
5/7 – Freshii, Naansense, and the Digital Professional Institute
Today was day two of salad tasting, and I went to Freshii to see how it compares to Protein Bar. I met the General Manager, Nick, who walked me through a couple different menu items and let me taste their kefir froyo, a delicious chicken salad, and a green smoothie. Check out my full write-up in the next week or two!
I knew I’d be in the Loop until at least 8pm, so I grabbed dinner at Naansense. Have you heard of the Freebie app? It’s currently based in Chicago and you can try new businesses for free based on your social influence. So I got a free Chicken Naanwich and it was divine.
Right after, I hoofed it over to the Digital Professional Institute for a free SEO strategy session with Leslie Herskowitz of Performics. Using case studies from big e-tailers she’s worked with, we learned more about getting found via search. This is becoming more and more important to me as I build up ChicagoCheapAss.com! Follow the Digital Professional Institute for more free and paid events. I just signed up for a few more.
5/8 – RPM Italian and Kelsey’s Bar
Today was an exciting day. My boyfriend’s brother proposed to his girlfriend. They make an awesome couple and it was really a matter of time until everything was official. My boyfriend and I tagged along for the festivities and celebrated with the happy couple at RPM Italian. I’m so spoiled having gotten to check out both RPM Italian and RPM Steak in the same month… Anyways, while neither of those places is “cheap” by nature, they comped $40 from the bill under a “Birthday” stipulation to make the engagement dinner a little more special. I’d say one of those two occasions would be a good time to check out either of the RPM’s… just make sure to tell your waiter what you’re celebrating!
After RPM, we went to Kelsey’s in Lincoln Park. Word on the street is that if you sweet talk Brooke she may throw you some free shots… just make sure to tip well!
5/9 – Fishing in Mchenry, IL
The rest of my weekend was spent with family and friends. Today I joined my boyfriend with his good friends at one of their lakehouses. I caught a catfish. It was pretty baller.
5/10 – Mother’s Day!
Today was spent in the suburbs with my family celebrating Mother’s Day. I got my mom a pretty nice gift, but then she turns around and brings me a present, too. What an amazing lady. It’s a belt with a beer opener buckle she found while thrifting. One of these days I’ll write a post (with the help of my mother) about how to thrift, where to go, etc. She’s the one who taught me how to never pay full price for anything. She’s my inspiration.