Browsing Tag

divvy

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CheapWeek,

CheapWeek: Home Cookin’

If there was one theme to summarize this week for me, it would be: delicious food. This week was about an equal split between having awesome food out at restaurants, and spending time in my own kitchen, executing delicious recipes.

7/6 – #Foodiechats and #BetterBurgerProject at Frontier

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I’ve been lucky to become an active part of the #Foodiechats community. About a month ago, I took a trip to Aurora’s Two Brothers Roundhouse for a live event. This week, I was invited to an event at Frontier, sponsored by the Better Burger Project, which is a contest offered through the James Beard Foundation. Look for a dedicated #Foodiechats post soon. I had an awesome time and met some amazing Chicago foodies! Can’t wait until the next event 🙂

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7/7 – Farmer’s Fridge on Spring Rewards and Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup

I bought a credit on Spring Rewards for Farmer’s Fridge that was $2 for $5 and bought myself a Buffalo Chicken Salad for lunch ($8 total). As you guys have probably already figured out, I love Farmer’s Fridge, and even featured them on a post about Best Salads in the Loop.

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For dinner, I made one of my favorite soups, Roasted tomato and garlic (with garbanzo beans). Look for a how-to coming soon on the blog!

7/8 – RPM Steak on Uber Eats and Weezer at the Taste of Chicago

One of my favorite restaurant groups, Lettuce Entertain You was featured on Uber Eats this week. They have so many awesome restaurants, including my favorite Chicago restaurant – Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. I ordered the Mediterranean Salad from RPM Steak using a free promo code (that you could’ve gotten if you were following me on Twitter!). Even if you didn’t take advantage of the savings this week, you should sign up for LEYE’s scratch off booklet.

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After work, I headed over to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago. I can already see a bunch of you rolling your eyes, but hear me out. Don’t go for the food. It’s over-priced and the portions are way too small. The most unique item there was rattlesnake sausage, but I wouldn’t want to eat that anyways (though my boyfriend did). Purchase natural sausage casings to store them properly. But the Taste of Chicago tends to attract big music acts, and you get to see them FOR FREE (unless you’re one of those person who HAS to be up close and personal and wants to shell out $25 for that privilege). So we snacked on some over-priced food, but got to see a big-name act, Weezer, for free. I had some bad-ass “Papas Bravas” from the Bruges Brothers food truck, which were reminiscent of spanish patatas bravas, but also had chorizo slathered all over them.

And look at these cute wine cans I found!

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7/9 – Client Breakfast

Today was an interesting day at work. A couple members of the Social Media Beast team made their way to Burr Ridge. I used my Zipcar connection to secure our transportation, and had an awesome omelette once I got there. That was probably the highlight of my day… I took it easy that night. Everyone needs a break every once in awhile!

7/10 – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Chicken Enchiladas and 1000 Followers on Twitter!

Today was a big cooking day for me. I made some delicious Lemon Chicken Orzo soup after defrosting about three pounds worth of chicken. Here’s the recipe I used, if you’re curious. I love this kind of soup and made enough for a couple meals. Big batches are the key to taking care of a lot of meals with a proportionately low level of effort.

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Because I had so much chicken, I made chicken enchiladas for dinner. I modified this recipe, which was pretty easy to follow, but be careful with the oven instructions. I was past-due for some homemade enchiladas, and made some cilantro-lime rice to go with it. I’m so happy to have moved to a place with a functional kitchen! It makes creating all this delicious food so much more enjoyable than in my old studio.

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Finally, a personal goal was accomplished today when I hit the 1,000 follower mark on Twitter. Follow me if you’re interested in digital marketing news and (obviously) Chicago events and deals.

7/11 – Tour de Fat and Cafe Gaudi

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I forced myself out of bed bright and early for New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat. My boyfriend somehow managed to break his bike (#spokeproblems), so we both decided to rent Divvys in case we got too drunk to bike home. That’s what I love about Divvy versus bringing your own bike everywhere. Sometimes you’re going to want to make one way trips, and you can’t do that with your own bike. We took part in the bike “parade” with a lot of crazy bikers and bikers. Next year we’ll have to come in costume! We had a few beers afterwards at the carnival. There was a silly “fashion show” featuring event attendees and free style rappers, describing each participant. We tried some of New Belgium Brewing’s small batch beers including their Hop Tart (yum!) and Pear Ginger (meh) beers. We listened to a couple bands, got some Curry Wurst from the Donermen food truck, and called it a day. At least for the Tour de Fat.

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We had a Groupon to spend at Cafe Gaudi, but stopped first at one of my boyfriend’s old haunts – Quencher’s. I hadn’t previously been to the bar and was anxious to try it out. They had my favorite shitty beer (does that even make sense?) from when I studied abroad in Barcelona – Estrella Damm.

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After Quenchers, we took the blue line to Cafe Guadi for some tapas. It was anything but authentic Spanish, but it hit the spot. We got patatas bravas, croquettas, bacon wrapped dates, and a few other “tapas” with a pitcher of sangria. Then we officially called it a night.

7/12 – Awesome Breakfast, Awesome Dinner and Apartment Organization

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One of my favorite weekend traditions is making a big, bad breakfast. I realized that today was the first time since moving that I actually went through with it! The boyfriend and I cooked up potatoes, eggs, and bacon for a perfect start to the day.

We woke up really early after passing out really early, so I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my apartment and running some errands. I love days that I can devote completely to these activities. I also had a chance to work on some freelance projects, which is a weight off my shoulders.

Finally, I curled up on the couch to watch the end of Shark Week, and made a bad-ass bacon chicken pasta bake.

What a great week.

Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.

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Events, Food, Life, Transportation,

Chicago Ideas Week: Exploring Chicago on the Cheap

It’s no secret that I love participating in Twitter Chats.

Yesterday, I was asked to cohost Chicago Idea’s Week Twitter Chat: #Ideaschat (Tuesdays at 11am CST). In a nod to this blog, the topic was “Exploring Chicago… on the Cheap.”

In addition to just documenting this momentous occasion (my first time hosting a Twitter Chat!), I’d like to share some of my favorite responses for each of the questions, which all revolved around topics my blog holds dear!

Question 1:  What is your best tip for living in Chicago on a Budget?

Question 2: Festival season is approaching! What’s your best tip for attending on a budget? What festival will we see you at this year?

Question 3: What’s your tip for getting from one place to another in Chicago (on a budget, of course!)?


Question 4: Where do you go when you want the most bang for your buck for a meal?

Question 5: What’s your favorite free Chicago activity?

Thanks for everyone who participated and made this chat useful and informative! I know I learned something new about the city I call my home.

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Dating, Life,

Top Ten: Cheap Chicago Tinder Dates

Many of my friends have been in situations where they’re planning a first Tinder date but are unsure of what to do. Keeping in mind that they might end up not even liking the person, it’s important to find cost-effective solutions to get to know someone.

Cheap Chicago Tinder Dates

  1. Go to the beach.

    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date - Beach

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/npvphotography/3785601544

    While going to the beach is limited to the (few) summer months in Chicago, this is actually a nice, low-key way to get to know someone new. You can BYOB (at your own risk!) instead of paying an expensive bar tab. You may also get to see what your date looks like in a swimsuit. Win-win all around. For those who like to multi-task, the beach is a great opportunity to soak in the sun and play a game of beach volleyball, so that even if your date sucks, you can cross gym and tan off your list for the day (the only thing left to do is laundry!).

  2. Go on a picnic.

    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date - beach

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenilio/

    Ok, it might sound lame to you, but there are so many beautiful parks in Chicago. There’s the Chicago Botanical Garden, Millenium Park, and more. You can even visit the Lincoln Park Zoo to make it look like you really planned things out. If you’re a foodie, make some delicious sandwiches to really impress your date. Have them bring the booze. Sharing is caring (and cost-effective).

  3. Go on a bike ride.
    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date - Bike

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/9041673199

    Most Chicagoans already have a bike, but Divvy day passes are only $7 and are a good excuse to explore Chicago while getting a cardio workout. I highly recommend riding the lakefront path for a picturesque view of Lake Michigan. You can even tie in the picnic or beach idea if things are going well and you want to extend the date.

  4. Improv shows.

    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date - Improv

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/houseofsims/2968543327

    There certainly is no shortage of improv shows in Chicago. They make for a great first date because they help break the ice. Tickets range from free to $20 per person, but everyone has an improv friend looking for audience members (just ask!). I suggest getting your buzz on before going in (ideas for happy hour coming up!), and buying something to sip on once you get to the theater. Here are a couple solid options for improv shows:
    Second City
    iO Theater

  5. Go to the Movies.
    No, I’m not talking about the typical expensive movie theater route. See a post I wrote awhile back about cheap movie-seeing alternatives.
  6. Check out a concert.

    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date: Concerts

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzy/4546469482

    Depending on how discerning your tastes, Chicago has plenty of shows in the $10-20 range any night of the week. Another option worth looking into is Jukely, which offers “unlimited” concerts for $25/month. To guarantee a plus-one, you can pay $45/month for “unlimited” concerts for two. Jukely represents a lot of Chicago music venues, so there’s bound to be something you (and your date) will enjoy. Plus you’ll seem like a badass for having concert ticket hookups.

  7. Go out to eat (or drink).

    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date: Eat

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/trippchicago/

    Let’s talk about a unique approach to the standard first date plan. Before planning a date, check out SmallTabs, which has aggregated happy hour specials from almost 500 bars in Chicago. You can organize your options by day of the week and Chicago neighborhood.

    Also worth mentioning are some cool bars that will give you an extra bang for your buck. Check out Guthrie’s to test your date’s hand at various board games. Headquarters, which has two locations (River North and Lakeview), pairs free arcade games with craft beers and specialty cocktails.

    Another option for saving a few bucks your meal is to sign up for Spring Rewards. Spring Rewards allows you to be a Cheap Ass on the sly.

  8. Batting Cages, Mini-Golf, etc.
    If the idea of getting your date hot and sweaty gets you going, consider doing something active. Sluggers tends to run Groupon deals all the time for their batting cages. And, although I haven’t personally been there, Diversey Range seems to have decent pricing for mini-golf ($10 per person).
  9. Art Gallery Openings.
    Cheap Chicago Tinder Date: Gallery

    From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rotofugi/3332381118

    A rather unique approach to a first date is attending an art gallery opening. This is a good way to open up and get into your date’s head. It also makes you seem cultured. Plus, there’s usually free wine.

  10. MuseumsArt galleries and museums? You must be a really classy date. Several of Chicago’s finest museums have free days once a week/month/etc. Check out Choose Chicago’s list that breaks down where and when to go.

So the next time you go on a first Tinder date, stand out from the crowd and do something interesting. Or at least save some money before you decide if your date is worth it.

What cheap Chicago Tinder dates have you gone on that you would recommend?

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Transportation,

Chicago Transportation

There are so many different transportation options for getting from point a to point b in Chicago. It’s important to weigh what’s most important to you for different situations – time required or cost. The rise of on-demand transportation has made it more cost-effective to get places quickly, so I’ll summarize the differences between options.

Uber Logo

Uber. Most Chicagoans have a love/hate relationship with Uber. We hate Uber when we have somewhere to be, or just want to go home, only to find that Uber has jacked up their pricing to an insane amount ($60 minimum to go half a mile? No thank you). We hate it so much that someone even made an app to find locations that help avoid the surge pricing. On the flip side, Uber is always the quickest to pick me up and very cost-effective when not on the surge.

Promo code: je0tr for $10-30 off first ride (depending on current promotion)

Lyft Logo

Lyft. Lyft is Uber’s unpopular little brother. I have found that there are never as many Lyft rides available as there are Uber rides. However, unlike Uber, Lyft rarely initiates surge pricing, so it’s a good alternative on days you know you’ll be paying double or more on Uber (think: any major holiday or event that involves drinking).

Promo codeMADDY360 for $20 towards first ride

Curb Logo

Curb. Previously known as TaxiMagic, Curb is an on-demand service for catching a Cab. This will, on average, cost more than Uber, HOWEVER, they will never have surge pricing. Since Curb operates through a large network of cabs, you have a good shot of catching one during a crazy event or holiday.

Promo code: A09F86 for $10 towards first ride

Sidecar Logo

Sidecar. Sidecar is an interesting spin on the aforementioned on-demand transportation solutions. There are two important differences that make this option pretty awesome:

  1. Drivers “bid” on a ride based on the distance, so a person can see how much it will cost with different drivers before booking it
  2. Shared rides are often available where a person literally shares a ride with someone else heading their direction – could cost as little as $3

A caveat – Sidecar is not as well-known or widely used as any of the other apps previously mentioned. On average, it will take longer to be picked up. Sharing is caring! Spread the word so more people use it and transportation options increase in Chicago.

Promo code: MADDY59 for $20 worth of credit

Divvy Logo

Divvy. For those not in the know (or perhaps blind, as the flashy Divvy hubs are on practically every block on busy Chicago streets), Divvy is a bike sharing service that has recently taken the city by storm. Sometimes it makes more sense than riding your own bike when a person needs a one-way transportation option to a relatively close place. Divvy costs about $75 annually, but a lot of Chicago employers will cover some of the cost (just ask). Additionally, Divvy runs specific promotions on the regular, so if you can afford to wait, be patient and stake out the best price.

CTA Logo

CTA. You can’t live in Chicago and not use the CTA. There’s almost always an efficient way to get from point a to point by using a mix of trains and buses. For $2.25 a ride (or $100 unlimited each month), it’s definitely cheaper than any on-demand transportation. If  you decided to sell your old car, a car removal company will pay and remove your car on the same day!

The best thing you can do is make a plan ahead of time so you don’t end up wasting money at the last minute.

Any awesome transportation solutions I missed? Sound off in the comments.