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grant park

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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.

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Events,

Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Photo from Lollapalooza’s 2014 Volunteer page (that’s me in the middle!)

The title is a little click-baity but it isn’t untrue.

The secret to free Lollapalooza tickets is to VOLUNTEER at the music festival.

Ok, you’ll have to pay a $10 application fee, and commit some time, but it’s a small price to pay for being a Lollapalooza insider (and not paying a hefty three day ticket price).

Still interested? Read on and I’ll show you how to get into Lollapalooza for free*.

Volunteering: Getting free Lollapalooza Tickets

Every year around May, Lollapalooza starts advertising volunteer opportunities on their website. For the best chance of getting the team and times you want (more on that soon), you should sign up for Lollapalooza’s general email newsletter to have first dibs. If you have volunteered in prior years, you will get a head start (of about a week) on new applicants (nice).

The volunteer application costs $10 to help Lollapalooza fight spam signups and to make sure potential volunteers are willing to commit. Keep in mind – you must have a Chicago address to be eligible to volunteer.

In terms of actually scoring a volunteer gig, you need to fill out a profile. You’ll be asked about:

  • Past Volunteer/Work Experience
  • Past Lollapalooza Experiences
  • Availability

The more effort you put into this, the better your chance of scoring a gig. Basically, the Lollapalooza staff just wants to know you’re jazzed about their amazing music festival and want to see if you have the skill set necessary to deal with the tasks involved in your role.

Availability is extremely important in actually getting selected. You will need to be available the full weekend (all three days, including one non-weekend day) to have the best chance. Shifts are about 4 hours and are roughly one of the following:

  • 10am-2pm
  • 2pm-6pm
  • 6pm-10pm

If you have already volunteered, you can get whatever time shifts you want. If you’re new, you’ll need to be a little more flexible. Seniority rules, but you can still see the bands you want if you’re willing to work a less than ideal shift at least once. Pick an early shift on the day you’re most interested in, and opt for the midday/night shifts on days that are less important to you.

Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Teams range from environmental initiatives, volunteer headquarter operations, map handouts, general festival guides, and more. I personally like working on the environmental initiative teams. They tend to have the most spots available. I have volunteered for both Green Team and Aqua Team in my three years of volunteering, but I prefer Aqua. Green Team is a little intense – you have to stand in the sun half of the time (see the above picture) and try to reason with people who are under the influence about what goes in trash, recycling and compost. It can be so much better than this, people. Aqua team is awesome – shade, a plentiful supply of water, and lots of thankful patrons.

Perks, in a nutshell:

  • Free day pass for each shift worked, up to 3
  • Free food coupon valued around $5
  • Snacks and drinks at volunteer headquarters
  • …not to mention a much less-used bathroom
  • Not paying over $200 for a ticket

There are so many other non-obvious perks that I’ll let you discover on your own. You’ll meet some awesome people who are volunteering by your side and interacting with you as a festival-goer. So don’t miss this opportunity to experience a different side of Lollapalooza!

Have you volunteered at a music festival before? Which teams have you participated in? Share your free Lollapalooza (and other festivals!) experiences and more in the comments.