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#CheapWeek
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CheapWeek: New Opportunities

This week was characterized by big news and awesome new opportunities.

6/15: Blackhawks Win!

Today was a big day for Chicago sports fans. The Chicago Blackhawks won for the first time at home since 1938 (according to a sports-loving friend. Don’t quote me on that). Needless to say, everyone was excited. I kept it pretty low key, but everyone else I knew went out to Wrigleyville to celebrate. The honking by my house didn’t stop until well after 1:30am.

6/16: Chicago Ideas Week Twitter Chat and Cupid’s Undie Run Race Director

In random wins of the week, I won a Negroni Week tshirt. I was really going for this really sweet bar kit, but I can’t be mad about winning a free tshirt essentially advertising my love of alcohol.

In much more awesome news, I was contacted Monday afternoon about running a Twitter Chat for Chicago Ideas Week. This is kind of a big deal for me, because I really only just started to understand Twitter. Since then, my Twitter following has been growing exponentially. I was excited when the Chicago Ideas Week people were interested in me hosting a chat about exploring Chicago on the cheap – my specialty. You can follow this link to see some of my favorite submissions to the chat.

After the Twitter Chat, I met up with a former Social Media Beast intern at Lyfe Kitchen to help guide her through the process of applying for jobs post-graduation. Lyfe Kitchen is by no means a “cheap” place to dine, but is known for catering to many different kinds of diet (vegan, gluten-free, etc) and for using very high-quality organic ingredients. So I enjoy checking it out every once in awhile.

Finally, I’ve been talking to the people in charge of Cupid’s Undie Run about getting involved. I’ve been desperate to throw myself into some kind of volunteer role and originally applied for their marketing committee in Chicago. I was asked to consider being a Race Director, and after a brief interview process, was selected for that position! I’m excited. I’m going to Colorado in July to meet with Race Directors from other cities.

Oh, and I had a shift at Zipcar tonight, working with design students from General Assembly at Brooklyn Boulders. Check out this sweet painted Zipcar:

#CheapWeek

6/17: Goodblogs at The Kitchen and BMA Fuel Event

One of my coworkers was invited to attend a content marketing company pitch at The Kitchen and didn’t want to go and asked if I would instead. I thought – networking opportunity? Delicious food? Count me in. I actually met a girl my company has been speaking with about influencer marketing, and signed myself up at FindYourInfluence.com. I have to be honest with you – I didn’t fully understand Goodblogs’ pitch, but the food was incredible. I’ll come back for you.

Later that night, I went to the Business Marketing Association’s sports marketing event. It was at the Chicago Sports Museum which I had no idea existed until now. It’s actually a pretty cool space, technically a part of Harry Caray’s in Water Tower Place. Admission is free after eating there, or you can get $6 off eating there after going to the museum on a normal day. If you just want to go to the Chicago Sports Museum it’s $6 per person. They have tons of motion activated sports games featuring Chicago sports greats and memorabilia if you’re into that kind of thing. The food was pretty kick ass, too.

6/18: Blackhawks Parade and Chicago Blog Week

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I work for an awesome company. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Instead of cooping us up inside, we all walked to the Blackhawks Parade together and took some great pictures and videos for our clients. And got to enjoy watching our Blackhawks and their shiny trophy move through Chicago. Chicago Trolley, who provided the transportation for the players and Stanley Cup, is actually one of our clients 😉

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In some other exciting news, I met the founder of Chicago Blog Week last week. We met tonight to discuss partnership opportunities. He recorded a “Conversations with Bloggers” featuring ChicagoCheapAss.com that you can watch here (or below)! Furthermore, he’s asked me to be a speaker for two different topics at his August event! Can’t wait.

6/19: Pinterest Blog

While blogging is usually a pretty slow money maker, the art of writing blogs for other people is not. I recently made a connection with a nice gentleman looking for content to populate his blog on the topic of marketing. As this is something I spend a lot of time learning about, he found me qualified to write for him. You can see my latest post about generating money by using Pinterest. He liked it so much that I’ll be writing at least 4 more articles for him!

6/20: Door County Beer Festival

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My boyfriend’s family owns a nice lake house in Door County, Wisconsin and invited me up this weekend for an annual event they enjoy – the Door County Beer Festival. There were a ridiculous amount of breweries represented, and we sampled almost all of them (don’t tell my mom). My favorite pick of the day was Island Orchard Cider. They had an incredible pear cider and apple cider “brut.” I’m sad I wasn’t able to buy a couple bottles, but I’ll be back up again soon.

6/21: Door County, Continued

Before heading home, we went fishing and shot some guns. Typical Door County activities. Then a 5 hour drive home. I’m so sunburnt, but it was an awesome 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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CheapWeek: Connections are Everything

Connections are everything, and that was pretty characteristic of the awesome things that happened this week. Always put your best foot forward when meeting new people (and maintaining old friendships) – you never know where they could lead!

6/8 – Farmer’s Fridge, Quirky and #Foodiechats

Farmer’s Fridge is very close to my heart after being a part of it’s early months. I wrote a post about Salads in the Loop a few weeks back and am doing a giveaway featuring one of their salads! Anyways, this week, Farmer’s Fridge opened a new salad vending machine in a 7-Eleven location in River North. They were doing specials everyday ranging from free salads or 25-50% off. I got there for one of the free ones! Always a nice surprise. Make sure you’re following their social channels or subscribe to their newsletters – they tend to do things like this with the launch of new locations, which is happening fast.

An interesting thing happened when browsing a big Quirky sale. Quirky is an up-and-coming company that sells products everyday people invented. They have a lot of promotions and the products are a great value. Something weird happened and my order totaled $15, when it should’ve been 3x that amount. I reached out to the company and they said I got lucky and they’d honor the sale! The order was inspired by a cool beach tote with a mesh bottom to shake out sand.

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The highlight of my day, however, involved a trip out to the suburbs. I was invited to participate in a #Foodiechats experience. For those who don’t know about #Foodiechats, it’s a weekly Twitter chat connecting foodies around the world (and it’s about to become something even bigger). This event was at the Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, conveniently next to the train I took in. We sampled food from their upcoming Summer Festival and a healthy plethora of Two Brothers Beers. I won’t go into too much detail here because I plan on writing a follow up post, but it was a night to remember! Lots of thanks to my friend Taylor who got me in on this event!

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6/9 – Xoco and Lentil Marinara

Today I made my second ever trip to Xoco. It’s one of the office favorites, and a Rick Bayless restaurant creation. I met with a friend who helped me move to buy him lunch. We discussed this blog and he will be helping out with a section about networking and speaking events! I think it’s something this blog is missing, as it is aimed at young professionals in Chicago.

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For dinner, I made my favorite creation – a lentil marinara “pasta” with zucchini noodles. It’s one of the “cheapest” things I make, but also one of the most flavorful and healthy. I’ll write up a recipe and take some pictures for you guys next time I make it! 🙂

6/10 – Influenster and Sox Box

I recently joined an online community called Influenster. As I am constantly trying to build up my online communities, it only made sense to cash in on it in some way. Basically, Influenster gives me the opportunity to try new products for free in exchange for using and talking about them. So there will likely be an upcoming blog post about what I found out I’m getting from them first. It’s a PUR sink attachment to purify water. I bring a Brita water bottle with me everywhere I go… this will make it even easier for me to use clean, purified water when I cook!

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The Blackhawks played tonight (and won!), but I was invited to a Sox game with my company and some of our clients. It was my first time in a box, and I felt like a celebrity. All-you-can-eat food (hot dogs!), beer, and the most delicious dessert cart to pick things from. And you can’t beat the view. Thanks to whatever clients couldn’t make it – I had fun in your absence!

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6/11 – Devil Dawgs and Techweek

Probably knowing how hungover we’d all be after the Sox game, we had our monthly lunch, featuring the culinary wonders of Devil Dawgs. Besides crazy hot dog creations, they have some amazing sliders (the Elvis with peanut butter and bacon is to die for) and chicken sandwiches. I haven’t tried their milkshakes yet but want to. Through a mistake on our end, or theirs (I’m not sure), I didn’t get my slider this time 🙁 But I’ll be dreaming about it.4

I found out today that I got a free media pass to Techweek Chicago. I went last year and had an amazing time meeting tech industry professionals and listening to experts I really respect speak about things that matter. Do you write for a company blog? Freelance or have your own blog? You might be eligible for for free media passes – not just for this event, but many others in Chicago. Concerts, speaking events and more usually give out free media passes depending on the industry you write for. It’s worth looking into! They also have free attendee badges available for specific events if you want a taste of Techweek without paying for a full badge.

6/12 – Activate and Chicago Blog Week

Activate has some sweet deals!

Activate has some sweet deals!

So Zipcar, my weekend Brand Ambassador job, has a partnership with Activate. Activate throws parties in alleys in the Loop and brings together tons of artists and music – it’s a great time. We’re doing an instant photo booth and get to meet a lot of attendees. By some crazy turn of events, I found myself face to face with Dante, the founder of Chicago Blog Week. To make a long story short, I may be a speaker at the event! More details on that as they unfold. We plan on meeting later this week 🙂

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6/13 – Mae Concert

The first concert I ever saw was Mae and The Audition, in a church in Wheaton. It’s crazy how far I’ve come since that day, but Mae (and The Audition, really) holds a special place in my heart. So I bought tickets months in advance from someone who couldn’t make the show. Didn’t have to pay any of the extra fees – score! I went to the Bottom Lounge and sang my heart out to all my old favorite songs. It was a special tour, focusing on my favorite CD of theirs.

6/14 – Aroma Workshop

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I bought a Groupon a couple months back after hearing how awesome Aroma Workshop is. I took my boyfriend with so we could each create our own signature scents. We smelled a lot of different scent bases – from fruity to musky and everything in between. One of Aroma Workshop’s employees expertly combined 4 different possibilities to choose from. We each left with the perfect signature scent to suit our tastes – so much more personal than a store-bought cologne or perfume. If you buy the Groupon, it works out to be about $30 per person. Aroma Workshop also carries a variety of bath products that you can combine with your scent. They keep your combinations in their computer system so you can refill in the future!

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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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CheapWeek,

CheapWeek: Burger Binge, Chuck Palahniuk and Moving

5/25 – Postmates Epic Burger

The week started off on a great note since Monday was Memorial Day. I cooked up a big breakfast for my sister and boyfriend, and ordered a pretty rad lunch from Postmates, which was offering free Epic Burger (up to 2) for Memorial Day weekend. I beat the “surge” pricing by ordering right when the freebie was offered, but throughout the weekend saw it go as high as 3x the delivery price. No bueno. When using Postmates plan accordingly.

5/26 – Cooking Leftovers

I had to be out of my apartment by Friday night, so this week was spent getting creative with what was left in my fridge. It’s amazing how many different things you can make with a limited amount of materials. One delicious but weird combination was some turkey sloppy joe meat with rice and broccoli.

5/27 – Yelp Burger Binge, Reddit, StumbleUpon and the University of Iowa

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This week was Yelp’s “Burger Binge” week and several delicious Chicago burger joints had $5 specials. Perhaps the best special was at Flub a Dub Chubs, where I got a ridiculously good burger (the “Grandma K” burger had a pretzel bun, goat cheese, and bacon), fries, and a drink for $5. Normally that would’ve been at least $15. You may have missed this year’s Burger Binge week, but follow Yelp Chicago on Twitter for more local Chicago events.

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I made huge strides today in blog traffic after discovering how great of referral traffic can come from Reddit and StumbleUpon. I double my monthly average visitors in the span of two days. Unreal.

Finally, my old management professor Ken Brown (now the Associate Dean of the business school!) gave a shout out to my blog on his blog.

5/28 – 25 Degrees burgers and Falafill Groupon

Because one burger is not enough to qualify as a “binge,” I went to another of Yelp’s Burger Binge week spots for lunch with a friend. 25 Degrees had a great burger special for $5 when they were usually $13. Although I noticed while there that they do a lunch special that’s $13 for a burger, fries, and a beer. I’ll be back! This time I got a Specialty #1(Arugula, Thousand Island, Bacon, Mindoro Blue, Fontina Cheese) and sweet potato fries with a garlic aioli dipping sauce. Not a bad way to spend lunch!

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I spent the night getting some packing done and wanted to use one of the last Groupons I had for my neighborhood. This one was for a place called Falafill, which is a fast casual mediterranean place. The Groupon was for two entrees and two sides, but honestly the entrees were sufficient without needing the sides. I got a bowl with meat, rice, and a pita. They let you take that to their “Mezza Bar” where you load up on typical mediterranean veggie dishes. You can fit a lot of these sides in the bowl. Entrees are $9.50, but worth it if you load up before you leave.

5/29 – MOVING

Today was a mess of boxes and logistics. My boyfriend and his brothers graciously helped me move from my old apartment to my boyfriend’s garage (have to wait a few days to move into my new place in Roscoe Village). Having strong men around to help with these sorts of things is awesome – just make sure to reward them with pizza and beer!

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One thing worth mentioning is that I FINALLY tried 5411 Empanadas before vacating the neighborhood of Lakeview. They had some incredible flavors like the above pictured Malbec Beef, a Goat Cheese/Dates/Bacon empanadas, and a Chorizo/Patatas Bravas version. At $2.50 a piece, they won’t break the bank and can make a good snack or meal. They have a food truck that circles around the Loop! Check their Twitter for locations.

Finally, my latest blog post for Choose Chicago was posted, which is about Remington’s – a new restaurant addition to Michigan Avenue.

5/30 – Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Cruise and Chuck Palahniuk

Saturday was the busiest day of the week (keeping in mind that I just packed up my life and moved out of my apartment!). My boyfriend and I got up early to go to Navy Pier (tourists) to board the Mystic Blue for a Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Cruise. I’d been to an event by the same organizers before and was excited to see how it would differ on a boat. The weather sucked, but luckily the festivities were indoors. We got 20 tickets each and a tasting glass and honestly didn’t even make it through all of the tickets because each vendor gave such generous pours. Various cheeses, sausages, and pastries were passed around as everyone tasted all the great alcoholic beverages Wisconsin has to offer. I would definitely do it again!

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After the boat came back to the pier, we hustled to Union Station for the next part of our day, which required going to Naperville. If you’re not a regular Metra commuter, you may not be aware of the Weekend Passes, which allow you unlimited train rides on Saturday and Sunday (and some holidays) for $8. Usually train fare to the suburb where my parents live is that much for one way, so don’t forget to ask for this deal!

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Once in Naperville, we split a cab with some other attendees of the event we were headed to. My favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk, was in town for a speaking event to promote his new book. Tickets were $40 and included signed copies of that book and the Fight Club 2 comic. It was a pretty incredible event – he read some short stories, led some fun competitions, and answered fans’ burning questions. We hung out at the hotel bar afterwards to watch the Blackhawks win. We were lucky to catch Chuck Palahniuk as he was heading out and got a picture! He answered my burning question about the ending of Survivor, but I won’t spoil it here… 🙂

5/31 – Ay Ay Picante Groupon

After getting home late Saturday night, I had to sleep in. I had a pretty lazy day, although I did publish another article reviewing the Fitbit Aria. I had another Groupon burning a hole in my pocket (so to say), which was only about a mile from my boyfriend’s house. Plus it’s BYOB! We went to Ay Ay Picante which serves Peruvian food. I’ve got to get acquainted with the menu because we’re going to Peru this September 🙂 The Groupon was for $30 worth of food and it was about $20 more than that after two entrees and an appetizer. I’d recommend it!

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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CheapWeek,

#CheapWeek – Remington’s, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

5/18 – #BikeLakeview and Zipcar

Today was a good day for freebies. After checking in to Kuma’s Corner using the hashtag “#BikeLakeview,” I won a $25 giftcard to any participating Lakeview Chamber of Commerce store. It pays to know what’s going on in the social world. If you’re on Twitter, you should check out the Chicago lists I made, keeping track of these promotions (or just follow me. I retweet great offers on a regular basis).

In other news, Zipcar will be giving away free passes to a popular Chicago music festival soon. I do work for them as a brand ambassador on the weekends, so I already scored two one-day passes for me and my boyfriend. 🙂

5/19 – Just Salad and Bull & Bear

I came to the office today with a bunch of packages waiting for me. I’ve been using the office as my shipping address because I’m about to move. Two of the packages were some pasta sauces I’ll be reviewing soon (complete with recipes!), as well as a half-priced Graze snack box. The final box was a perk claimed from Klout. If you haven’t heard of Klout before, it’s a platform that aggregates the sum of your influence on all the social channels you’re active on. Every once in awhile, you’re eligible to receive cool “perks” offered by different companies. In the past, I’ve gotten dog treats, fast food gift cards, and more based on the topics I’m an “expert” in. This time it was a free Clinique moisturizing lotion – worth $30!

#CheapWeek - Remington's, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

For lunch, I went to Just Salad, in order to finish my research for the upcoming post about best Salads in the Loop. I got an awesome Buffalo Chicken salad and reusable salad bowl… I’ll explain why you should also get this bowl in the upcoming post 🙂

After work, I hung out with a couple of my old Groupon coworkers. Our original plan was to go to Rockit Bar & Grill, but as part of their re-branding, they neglected to create a daily menu of specials. LAME. So instead we hit up an old favorite, Bull & Bear, where we got half-priced appetizers (bacon cheese fries) and half-priced bottles of wine. We ended the night at Highline, where it was surprisingly easy to get a spacious booth in front of a TV to watch the Blackhawks game.

5/20 – Remington’s and Chicago Craft Beer Week

Today was easily the best day of the week.

It started with getting a free book in the mail after participating in an AMA webinar the previous week. I love business books, so this was a really nice surprise.

#CheapWeek - Remington's, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

Then I headed over to Remington’s with a friend for the best lunch I’ve ever had (especially on a work day). We sampled cocktails, appetizers, soup and two different sandwiches in the name of an upcoming Choose Chicago blog post. I’ll save the details for the upcoming review, but know that it was amazing and you need to try it out for yourself.

#CheapWeek - Remington's, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

As my boyfriend is a homebrewer, we couldn’t get through this week without planning on going to a Chicago Craft Beer Week event. I gave him a list to choose from, and he decided on a Medieval Craft Beer dinner at Cobra Lounge. All Rise Brewing operates out of Cobra Lounge, so for $35, we had unlimited beer and a dinner of spit-roasted pig, turkey, roasted veggies, salad, cheese, fruit, and cake. They even gave us to-go boxes at the end so we could enjoy it again the next day! What a deal. I’m told they’re thinking of doing this more often, so you should follow them on their social channels if that’s something of interest to you!

5/21

Everyone needs a day devoid of craziness – this was mine 🙂

5/22 – Pitch Perfect

Today I finally saw Pitch Perfect. The only thing I want to mention here that hasn’t already been said elsewhere on this blog is that if you can get out of the city to see a movie – do it. The further you are away from the city center, the cheaper tickets will be. Instead of paying $12 per person to see Pitch Perfect, it was $12 for two tickets in Forest Park. Probably stating the obvious, but definitely worth mentioning.

5/23 – BLACKHAWKS JERSEY

#CheapWeek - Remington's, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

It was one of my boyfriend’s cousin’s birthday today and again I found myself out in Forest Park. Yes, I know this is CHICAGO Cheap Ass, but Forest Park is accessible via CTA Blue Line. Anyways, we went to O’Sullivan’s Public House and drank while watching the Blackhawks game. They were giving away raffle tickets for an authentic Crawford jersey after the game, and I WON IT. I don’t often win things, so that was pretty awesome.

5/24 – Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival

#CheapWeek - Remington's, Blackhawks, and Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

Source: TransitTees.com

I ended off the week by inviting my sister to spend the day with me. She and my parents live in the burbs, so I love showing them around downtown when they have the chance to come up. We started the day with shopping, then dinner. We checked out Buena Vista in Lakeview, which is BYOB. BYOB restaurants are the greatest thing, and there are so many in Chicago. I’ll write a post about my picks, soon. After dinner, we checked out the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. They had cover bands, snacks, and some good shopping. It was a suggested donation of $5, which is pretty typical of neighborhood festivals. We picked up some delicious donuts and some awesome tank tops from Transit Tees. I spent a good chunk of change today, but a lot of it went towards treating my sister who’s birthday is coming up… money well spent!

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