Apr 26, 2010

Belle of the Ball ~ Kenmore Connects with Chicago Moms

Sometimes blogging is more than incredible. Enjoying fellow bloggers for a night of libation and laughter is so good for the heart and the soul.

In Chicagoland, Kenmore held a cooking extravaganza at Kenmore Live Studio, 678 N. Wells. Jammed packed with mom bloggers from the midwest, Kenmore Live Studios was filled with the chatter and exuberance of a night sure to be enjoyed.

The evening began with Mixologist Charles Joly. He combined special flavors and fruit to make knock out cocktails. Chef Nick Lacasse's tastings were inspiring.

There was entertainment, and of course Kristin Chase, blogger and author of "The Mominatrix - Guide to Sex".

Chabanamoms, WeaselMomma, Mominatrix, Melisawithones, Houseonahillorg

Kim Moldofsky of  Mom Impact and Hormone Colored Days , along with Richard Goldsmith of  Kenmore , wined and dined us with spectacular flair.

And the goodies were awesome! I've been cooking with my Induction Elite 1500 with Saute Pan which is so fun to use.

My kiddo had a quick and yummy egg sandwich the next day!

BUT the Belle of The Ball was definitely Brandie!!! All night we laughed and joked with Tracy about the great fun we were having, and how it beats being at home doing laundry. Brandie shared that her washer and dryer were on the fritz and screamed wouldn't it be nice to have a BRAND NEW ONE!

Much later in the evening, we participated in a raffle AND GUESS WHO WON!

It was so fabulous seeing her do the Happy Dance!!!

What a time!


Apr 21, 2010

So yum!

After spending just a few minutes in The Bleeding Heart Bakery, your senses begin to take over.

The sumptuous scrumptiousness is not what overwhelms. The creative artistry is astounding! Punk rock cupcakes? Skull and bones treats that taste good are in abundance!

I am an addicted fool and am so glad to have caught up with Michelle Garcia, who with Vinny Garcia, runs Bleeding Heart.

Main Office:
1955 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL

Bleeding Heart Oak Park
1010 North Boulevard
Oak Park, IL

How did baking become a part of your life?

At a very young age I found my self homeless and addicted to drugs. I got placed in a program where kitchen duty was a punishment. I got in trouble alot, and learned so much. Eventually I got in trouble on purpose because the kitchen became my safe place. It has stayed that way ever since and is the same 16 years later.

Many people love to bake, myself included, but only a few of us can make folks eyes roll back into their heads. Give us an insight as to how your art became sustainable AND scrumptious?

I have always been...different...it took alot for people to take me seriously. I felt as though I always had to work twice as hard and bake twice as fast and make product that rocked twice as hard as everyone around me in order to be taken seriously. I set my life to be very regimented and I am an incredibly determined person. I was raised believing in sustainable living practices and once I opened a business, those practices became the same for my business. I would never do something, or make a product that I wouuld not allow in my own home.

I am a vegan. I have previously caved when trying to satisfy my sweet tooth. What compelled you to provide vegan fare?

I was vegan for 9 years. I know there are alot of people who have an issue with me no longer being vegan. The fact is, I have health issues that caused me to have to change my diet. I had absolutley no choice and have now, never been healthier. However, when I was vegan, I spent alot of time wishing everything I ate did not consist of cardboard and granola. When I opened the bakery I decided to go about vegan recipes differently. I wrote the very best conventional recipes I could and made them vegan. I was sick of people thinking that just because someone is vegan means that they have no tastebuds.

Tell us about your farmers? What does organic mean for you and for your clients?

Throughout the years we have worked with ALOT of people. It is constantly changing because farms production fluctuates as does different product availability. The farm I love the very most would be Growing Power. They really are the whole package. They educate themselves and the consumer, their urban farming is an amazing educational tool - bringing vegetables to urban food deserts and their products are exceptional. I find myself creating my menu based off their availability and that is so inspirational.

Also, I truly love Organic Valley. I understand they are HUGE now, but I have been with them from the very beginning. Their products are exceptional. The scones we make with their soymilk are by far the best and the fat to water ratio in their butter is spot on. They also really, truly, care about who their consumer is.

Who is on the Bleeding Heart team?

Michelle and Vinny: co-owners and partners in life and crime:)

Aaron and Ryan: Store managers

Crystal: Office Manager and Manger of Special Orders

Margie: Accounts Payable and Receivable

Korine and Alisha: Cake Decorators

William: Production Manager in Training

Tracy: Cupcake and Dessert Production

Dan: Breakfast Pastry production manager

Luca: Cake Ball and Dessert Production

Marcos: Delivery and Dishes


(at the time this posted, I understand a new team was in training transition so, this list may or may not reflect the current Bleeding Heart team)

Be sure to enjoy!!!




Apr 20, 2010

10 Little Things That Lead To A Happier, Healthier, You!

10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

When attempting any life change, keep in mind that most situations are result of your mental state of mind.

Although we are what we eat, we are also what we THINK.

So for ONE, if we think we are worn-out, shriveled and tired - chances are WE LOOK worn-out, shriveled and tired!

The first of ten is to change your thoughts!

You are a vibrant, beautiful, special, intriguing and awesome person!

Wake up each morning (Stuart Smalley will tell ya!) and say "Dog Gone it!" I'm special!

Special people do special things. They eat special, they talk special and they love life.

Wake up, use your china! My son and I eat off my great-grandmother's wedding china almost every day.

So two would be treat yourself as if you were royalty, because you ARE!

Three is eat RIGHT! So many of us ENJOY food so much that we live to eat. Eating to live is a much better thought. Fresh fruits and veggies should cover the largest portion of your salad plate. (Stop eating off BIG plates, just sayin')

Four is EXCERCISE vigorously. And that's all I have to say about that!

Five is breathe. We must breathe to live, but breathe deeply and purposefully whenever you think about it. It is calming and SO good for you.

SIX is LOVE. Love life, love the things that you love with fervor and with passion.

Seven - this may sound weird, but my stylist said don't wash your hair TOO much. You can rinse it every day but DON'T wash it. I thought she was crazy, but I did it and WOW, do I now have a healthier head of hair!

Eight - watch what you put in your mouth. Seriously, the "poison" warning on my toothpaste really made me re-think toothpaste. I use natural toothpaste. Investigate it. Do I sound crazy? But do investigate it.

Nine is rest. Rest rejuvenates.

TEN TEN TEN! Enjoy each and every day - tomorrow is not promised!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 blogging program to be eligible to win 6 free Juicy Rewards points and a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”


Apr 19, 2010

Passing The Baton

This Chevy Mission Week belongs to WEEK 2 Mom, Kelly O'Connor.

Have you ever seen a brighter smile??

This busy mom of 4 will be carting a few of our kids over to the Charter School for more fun-filled After School mentoring. She also has other service events lined up! Stay TUNED!

And with the Chevy Traverse being SO SPACIOUS - filling the cargo space might seem silly when all you REALLY want to do is SIT DOWN and take a breather!!!


Kelly O'Connor

{wanna follow on Twitter? use the hashtags #ChevyMissions & #ChevyMoms }


Apr 16, 2010

Not Your Grandmother's Chevy

For the next eight weeks, follow me as I gleefully take part in a mission to restrengthen America's fiber. For the past few months, I have been blessed with a relationship with GM/Chevy.

I requested to test a Tahoe initially.

Traveling to Florida in the Chevy Tahoe was a life-changing experience in SO many ways.

As a single mother, it afforded me the grand opportunity to take my parents and son on a road trip that we have never had the time or money to do.

My father was self-employed as a florist for the past 60 years. There were far too many chances missed for us as a family. So, with GM's Communications Manager Social Media, Connie Burke's blessing, we set off on an adventure that would both strengthen our love for one another and deeply entrench us into the success of GMC's comeback.

I have been a foreign car driver the last 10 years. I felt that I had to.

Back when I was a single mom with no significant other, it was vitally important that I have a vehicle that would not render me helpless on the side of the road at night with a little one.

As I stated, my dad worked 12-15 hour days with my mother. No way to bother them - as I had to many a day - when I was driving a Jeep Cherokee back in the early 90's.

I need reliability and minimal upkeep. If I can simply change the oil and put air in my tires, I consider that a major plus.

Flash forward to now - 10 years later and I am not as vulnerable. My parents have since retired and I have an incredible person in my life that I can rely on. Things have changed. Times are different. BUT, I STILL, having found reliability and endurance in foreign cars, desire that.

I recall 19 years ago when my now deceased Grandmother had her "eye" on "that Chevrolet Cavalier".

Chevy is America. Chevy and GMC are now ready to meet the challenges of today's American needs.

Having driven the Chevy Tahoe 7 days and over 1800 miles, I can firmly attest that I am ready to put my faith back into the American Dream.

I feel compelled and very passionate about the products.

SO, I signed up, presented a mission and am now participating in a "Chevy Mission."

Each week the Chevy vehicle enables a mom from my son's school to trek 6-7 kids to an inner city charter school where there are economic challenges. There the kids mentor and read to younger peers in an after school program. They also assist teachers in any way they can.


If you had a Chevy Mission, what would it be???? CHEVY MISSIONS ON FACEBOOK

{wanna follow on Twitter? use the hashtags #ChevyMissions & #ChevyMoms }


Apr 13, 2010

Chevy Missions

Many of you know by now, I have developed quite the relationship with Chevy/GMC.

My compensation is being allowed, in a journalistic capacity, to test drive and participate in much of their community outreach. I must say, it has been quite the honor. Attending a few of the Chevy Mission Meetups has sparked within me a fire that I now want to bring to you!

I have seen what the new and improved Chevy/GMC is ALL about, and I am excited to be a part.

Trucking to Florida in the Tahoe was the beginning.

This week follow me as I partake in a community mission.

Me, Chevy Traverse and Chicago's West Side are about to merge.

Hope you stick around for this incredible ride!

{wanna follow on Twitter? use the hashtags #ChevyMissions & #ChevyMoms }


Apr 6, 2010


Chevy Tahoe 2010.

Sharp. Classy. Rugged. Graceful. Quality. Sleek. Reliable. Durable.

My first car was a Chevy Citation. Back in 1984 while I was driving that Citation around, I thought very little about Chevrolet's legacy.

Founded by Louis Chevrolet, and William Durant in 1910, where race-car driving and "Flint Wagon Works" meshed, Chevy vehicles have been a part of America's fabric for decades.

By the time I was driving my 1981 Chevy Citation Hatchback, cars in America were a far cry from what Louis and William could have ever dreamt about.

Their vision is now in the stratosphere!

The vehicle I test drove was state of the art. Full entertainment packaged LTZ in Red Jewel was a theater on wheels. Traveling up and down Route 209 in the Great Smokey Mountains was not exactly part of the plan, but unsuspecting travelers we were and had no idea I-40 was closed. Had we been traveling by day we would have exited with other travelers safely on to the detour at I-240 West. Instead we exited where the road deposited us - Scenic Route 209. I am sure this is a gloriously beautiful stretch of road, followed by a harrowing, yet breathtaking trip up and down the mountainside - BUT by night it was a scene from the scariest horror flick you can imagine. Chock full with creepy willows, jaw-dropping drops, no lighting, twists, turns, speeding locals, no locals, no anything, and signs that lead to cliffs (why?? I ask WHY are there signs that lead to dead end roads that end with a trip off the cliff???) and roads that simply stop and drop of into infinity. Yet, the Chevy Tahoe maneuvered every challenge remarkably.

Our trip, a little over 1800 miles, was perfect. Thanks to all involved ~ Connie Burke & the Chevy/GMC Team, Edelman, Fred Ligouri(Media Relations), and the entire G. Schmitz & Associates family for making this an incredible life experience!

Our stay in Jacksonville was equally elaborate thanks to Wendi Brogli and the staff at The Courtyards at San Jose. The unit was SO incredible. The Courtyards at San Jose is a luxury community that really pays attention to the fine details.

Our condo was immaculate and JUST LIKE home. The staff felt like family. My only regret was not having enough time to chill with them.

Although I went through Home Away, whenever in San Marco OR Jacksonville let them accommodate your stay! ( I was not compensated in any way regarding my stay with The Courtyards of San Jose )

When my arrival went 5 hours beyond what I stated, Wendi called to check on me!

The pool was such a nice touch and the grounds were seriously maintained.

The biggest plus is that it was pet friendly. Everyone living, or staying in the corporate housing, were sweet and genuinely nice. The area had restaurants and was close to everything or, at least, easily accesssible to everything.

What an adventure. What a way to spend my time on The Road To NoWhere!


Apr 5, 2010

I Almost Killed My Parents Last Night...

and my son, myself and my dog!

Travelling from Jacksonville, Florida we just simply HAD to make a stop in the beautiful and historic Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah IS breathtaking.

BUT Interstate 40 IS NOT.

Frightened Woman

Bevel roadway befallen by sliding rock back on the eve before Halloween 2009 (WHO KNEW) sent us on a willowing, wretching, winding road that left us wrenching!

We amused ourselves with tales of "What if" deep down knowing that "WHAT IFS" can come true!

As Route 209 had us hanging in what seemed like mid-air for 30 miles or more, this city girl saw in the mid-of-night (did I mention we tried to make it to Knoxville AT NIGHT?) I prayed to my maker more than several times.

Luckily pooch pooch slept through it all. I suppose dogs only come to attention when needed? OR why bother when it seems all is lost?

Thankfully, our ordeal was tethered by the ONSTAR TEAM that never left our side until we were completely out of danger.

We made it safely and that is the important factor, but when a road detours - DRIVER BEWARE!


Apr 4, 2010

Spring Break 2010

I read somewhere, before my recent road-trip, that travel in a car is "real".

You discover who you are.

In my case. I discovered a whole lot more.

I wanted to take this trip because my son is 14.

He is on the cusp of manhood. I invited my parents because we have never leisurely traveled with them. It was always under the gun, on an agenda, to a family event, or for the holidays - in my opinion urgh! Not enjoyable!

To be free in the wind. To be open on the road. Open to ALL possibilities was my desire.

I "accomplished my mission" according to my good friend Connie Burke, Communications Manager for GMC.

Chevy provided the wheels. BOY! Let's just say, four wheels, four people and one with four legs, turned out to be a mini-life in 5 days.

We dangled from mountain tops, dined by rivers and enjoyed America's beautiful scenery!

What an incredible Spring Break!