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If you like laughing while getting scoop on events, food, travel and crazy antics then get to know The Mary Delia - welcome!!

I love you, Yelp

Dear Yelp,

We agreed that we would let Facebook and Scrabble think they are my favorite apps on my iPhone but we both know that it’s you.

I love that I can search any type of business … restaurant, nails, copies and see how folks rate those business before I choose where to go. Once I follow your advice the magic continues. All I have to do is hit ‘directions’ and the iPhone map shows me just how to get wherever you’ve recommended.  Thanks, Yelp.

I depend on those Yelpers whose often funny, very detail oriented, occasionally oddly lacking perspective critiques of every kind of business help me choose where to spend my money.

Note to Yelp reviewers: servers have bad days. Leave 10% and give it one line in the Yelp review and move on … maybe the servers feet hurt OR I always think…maybe you were not so nice even though you have time for a 19 paragraph review about one server!

Note to conspiracy theorists: Yelp can’t manipulate reviews … it’s legit. http://www.yelp.com/faq

Back to you Yelp

I appreciate that you work in every city and always seem to know when I mean tacos as in fancy grass fed beef cilantro crusted vegan slaw Mexican and when I mean tacos as in we better eat something that costs a dollar or we’ll be way hung over tomorrow.

So we know I love you, Yelp then you had a party….

The venue was the Peggy Notebaert Museum in Lincoln Park. It has 108 reviews and 4.5 stars on Yelp.
It’s a multi-level, indoor/outdoor, clever, kid friendly museum grade party space with wolves..

Wolves at Peggy Notebeart Museum

Wolves at Peggy Notebaert Museum

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Yes, it’s a party for Yelpers who love to critique and over-research every decision on the internet.
Yes, it’s full of free foodie and beverage samples from the vendors Yelp attracted.
Yes, it’s a costume party.
These are truly my people
.

It's a bunny at the Yelp DJ table!

It’s a bunny at the Yelp DJ table!

A Yelp Marketing Dude dressed as a dog  - woof!

A Yelp Marketing Dude dressed as a dog – woof!

There were over 50 vendors handing out samples – I love you, Yelp – a quick shout out to my favs
– Justin’s peanut butter packets…natural and packable
– Dry Soda ..it’s new and has all kinds of cucumber and blackberry flavors ..adult Clearly Canadian
– Kind Bars .. generous with the samples – nice…kind, actually
– Baba Pita -..delicious food and a beautiful set up .. they could have been catering a wedding
– Big G’s Pizza famous for the Mac & Cheese pizza slice in Wrigleyville next to Yak Zies were giving away full slices and running some kind of Twitter re-tweet contest that was social media cool
– Full Belly Pickles can be found at Whole Foods they make a pickled bean that begs you to make a bloody Mary…spicy
– Just Turkey at 1132 Bryn Mawr.. new mandatory stop when I am in the neighborhood

Sexy lady animals playing corn hole at this excellent venue

Sexy lady animals playing corn hole outdoors on a perfect Chicago night

Hello Sangria! and the tastings were frequent and plentiful

Hello Sangria! Tastings were frequent and plentiful. Well done, Yelp Vendors!

Shaw's Lobster Rolls that's the kind of food vendor Yelp attracted! Yes, please

Shaw’s Lobster Rolls that’s the kind of food vendor Yelp attracted! Yes, please. And I put the Shaw’s All You Can Eat Seafood Buffet (Friday in Schamburg and Sunday on Grand) on my Eating To Do List

From Yelp itself – Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great — and not so great — in your world.

Insider note for those who read and don’t skim… check out the Deals Near You on Yelp … I have had plenty of $40 for $20, free desserts and comped drinks just by doing a Deals search and visiting a restaurant or bar I haven’t been to before – download it!

More about the venue from http://www.naturemuseum.org says Consider that people spent more time walking on paved surfaces, eating processed foods and living sedentary indoor lives than any other time in human history. Not to mention the exploding urban growth of the city which ground away the natural landscape and local flora and fauna. People were starving for an authentic connection ot the natural world. A place in our urban area where they could experince the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

 

Jazzing in Chicago – Chicago Jazz Tour and Fest

It was Sinatra’s kinda town and it’s a place for great music – my sweet home Chicago.

Officially from the website Jazz Fest is …Known for its artistic creativity, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. It promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through free, quality live musical performance. Since 1979, the festival’s mission is to showcase Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_jazz_festival.html

Here’s what it really is

Beautiful Millennium Park downtown Chicago at dusk on the final night of Jazz Fest

Beautiful Millennium Park Chicago at dusk on the final night of Jazz Fest. The best bands I heard had an 81 year old band leader!

Free admission – just bring a chair or blanket and wine and snacks!

Jazz Fest kicks off with a Jazz Tour sponsored by the Chicago Jazz Institute. For a $25 fee you get a very nice photo pin (or just wear one of the past years real nice photo pins – we spotted a 2004 one) and hop aboard a trolley to access 15 different jazz clubs all over Chicago. The tour goes as far as 7000 North at the Mayne Stage and as far as 8700 South. (Remember the Great Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed 3.3 squares miles so the city is rebuilt on a grid. That’s the reason it is called the Second City. Population wise Chicago is actually the third city behind NYC and LA.)

The Jazz Fest Tour is one of the coolest things I have done in a Chicago ..

Reggie's Music Joint - there's a rooftop in Chicago I didn't know about? With cute musicians, an $8 buffet with sliders & mac&cheese and an outdoor pool table with a view of a Southbounder red line train? Loved it!

Reggie’s Music Joint – there’s a rooftop in Chicago I didn’t know about? With cute musicians, an $8  mac&cheese/slider buffet and a outdoor pool table with a view of a Southbounder red line train? Loved it!

Norman's Bistro with Ernest Hawkins  To use some jazz vocab these cats were excellent!  The drummer had four sets of sticks and with four musicians there was a fedora, a beret! Do these guys need a groupie? I am in!

Norman’s Bistro with Ernest Hawkins – these cats were excellent! The drummer had four sets of sticks! and there was a fedora, a beret and a swinging sound check guy. Do these guys need a groupie?

A drummers eye view of the world at 50 Yard Line with a seven man band and a sequined, 60+ plus set of swing dancers that were all out hitting it on the dance floor. The lady lead singer took a song break or two to bus some tables - pretty cool joint.

A drummers eye view of the world at 50 Yard Line! A seven man band with a sequined, 60+ plus set of swing dancers that were all out hitting it.  The lady lead singer took a song break or two to bus some tables – pretty cool joint.

City Life Alfonzo Jones trio - felt like I was in a the band leaders basement bar he was so comfortable up there meanwhile the bar looks a bit like a diner and there is ketchup and a honey bear honey bottle at each spot along the Formica counter -- why?  That's for the chicken and fish they fry and the owner puts her own bbq/hot sauce in the honey bear jars - I almost put on in my purse!

City Life with the Alfonzo Jones trio – felt like I was in a the band leaders basement bar he was so comfortable up there! Meanwhile the bar looks like a diner with a ketchup and a honey bear honey bottle at each spot along the Formica counter — why? That’s for the chicken and fish they fry and the owner puts her own bbq/hot sauce in the honey bear jars – I almost put on in my purse!

We went to Red Pepper Lounge but they hustle the “Jazz Tourists” right past the regulars into the back which (Kindly Intended Criticism Warning) kinda felt like a conference room but we hopped on a trolley and saved a hefty cab fare back to The Drake at Oak Street between the Mag Mile and Lake Michigan. The Drake’s Palm Court is often thought of for Christmas season high tea and other formal occasions but watch their schedule for terrific jazz music if you are looking for a reason to get dressed up and swing!

The Flat Cats play the Drake regularly and are terrific! http://www.flatcatsmusic.com/events/
Catch the Flat Cats at the Drake on Saturday nights -- all ages and all musical tastes will enjoy!

I can hear a few of you questioning my musical appreciation … when did I become a swinger… musically.. that is. In my days as the Singles Tour Director I heard and danced to a lot of swingy jazz bands. Remember, Gentleman, if you learn to dance; you can get laid forever… no matter your health or wealth .. if you can see or hear as long as you can still take the lead on the dance floor the ladies will love you.

My jazz appreciation multiplied when I read Moving to High Ground; How Jazz Can Change You Life by Wynton Marsalis. It’s like a love letter to Jazz itself and helped me learn how to be a better listener and for part of the book I believed him… jazz can change my life!

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If you come to my sweet home Chicago and are looking to have your own jazz fest… I recommend the following …

Up on the Northside

http://www.katerinas.com/  – great food, romantic and terrific music!

http://www.jazzshowcase.com/ – a real ‘listening room’ as they say – south of the loop

http://www.andysjazzclub.com/ – right downtown near Michigan Ave — a little touristy but you can hit it right and hear great music all times of the day

http://greenmilljazz.com/  a Northside classic – kind of a throwback to jazzier times past

And not to worry this snowbird still can sing the blues at the beach http://www.bluejeanblues.net/

Finally below are the lyrics to my favorite jazz song….and an excellent primer on how to win my affections …

“Peel Me A Grape”

Peel me a grape, crush me some ice Skin me a peach, save the fuzz for my pillow Talk to me nice, talk to me nice You’ve got to wine and dine me
Don’t try to fool me bejewel me Either amuse me or lose me I’m getting hungry, peel me a grape
Pop me a cork, french me a fry Crack me a nut, bring a bowl full of bon-bons Chill me some wine, keep standing by Just entertain me, champagne me Show me you love me, kid glove me Best way to cheer me, cashmere me I’m getting hungry, peel me grape
Here’s how to be an agreeable chap Love me and leave me in luxury’s lap Hop when I holler, skip when I snap When I say, “do it,” jump to it
Send out for scotch, boil me a crab Cut me a rose, make my tea with the petals Just hang around, pick up the tab Never out think me, just mink me Polar bear rug me, don’t bug me New Thunderbird me, you heard me I’m getting hungry, peel me a grape

My head in the White Cloud – a tale of a toilet paper party

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White Cloud was one of the sponsors of the BlogHer Conference and as a long time Event Babe I was very impressed with their party. Seems White Cloud is the Cadillac of Toilet Paper.

They took over a small boring bar at the conference Hotel and were giving lady bloggers complimentary spa treatments. The venue was flooded with dry ice white ‘clouds’ and the walls were artistically stuck with TP. As I walked in the hostess in a Mad Men inspired dress made of creatively crinkled offered a tray and in a very sultry voice whispered ‘welcome to cocktails in the clouds?”

Model making toilet paper look good.

Model making toilet paper look good.

Quick etymology of the history of the word toilet … it has nothing to do with letting one’s self toil away..

toilet (n.) from Dictionary.com1530s, “cover or bag for clothes,” from Middle French toilette “a cloth, bag for clothes,” diminutive of toile “cloth, net” (see toil (n.2)). Sense evolution is to “act or process of dressing” (1680s); then “a dressing room” (1819), especially one with a lavatory attached; then “lavatory or porcelain plumbing fixture” (1895), an American euphemistic use. Toilet paper is attested from 1884 (the Middle English equivalent was arse-wisp).

Arse-wisp? Hilarious.

Side note — after a quick Google search I am reminded of participating long ago in a marketing focus group asking about toilet paper being replaced with pre-moistened squares like …Wet Ones. Good idea for the occasional messy potty visit, yes? But how the heck to market them?  Forget the fold over vs fold under debate they don’t fit on the roll.  It’s a big of a messy topic… the industry has been trying to sell the idea since 2001.

MD as Artist – PaintNite

Until last night this is the ONLY drawing I knew how to do. Every childhood art project was just this guy… sometimes I changed what clothes he wore. I never gave him hands.

It is a clown.  In case you were wondering.

It is a clown. In case you were wondering.

Then I went to a Paint Nite. (Thanks, Groupon.)  It’s an art class in a bar so wine is encouraged and you take home a painting that you actually painted. What could be better?

Here's where the instructor takes you step by step through how to create the designated painting for the night.

Here’s where the instructor takes you step by step through how to create the designated painting for the night.

http://paintnite.com/pages/home/index hosts these events in lots of cities with all kinds of artists and all types of paintings — lovebirds, sailboats, sunsets, Chicago skyline. You could create your own little gallery! Amy Jo (www.aymyjoarndt.com)  was our artist/instructor who showed the group each step then checked in with each artists and encouraged everyone to personalize their own canvas….very positive atmosphere in case you feel ‘art-imidated’.   There is even an intermission of sorts they call ‘drink and dry’ while you wait for the first layer of paint to dry.  They say watching paint dry is boing .. I beg to differ!

Paint Nite supplies the canvases.

Paint Nite supplies the canvases.

The paint

The paint

Even the brushes ... everything but your beret!

Even the brushes … just bring your beret and creative spirit!

You can follow the teacher and paint exactly what she paints

You can follow the teacher and paint exactly what she paints

Or you can personalize

Or you can personalize

Much improved from the clown!

Much improved from the clown!

Windy City BBQ Classic – Chicago BBQ

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I took my self over by there by the Soldier Field to the South Deck Parking Lot for the Windy City BBQ Classic.

(Bought the ticket at a discount – Thank you, LivingSocial!)

 

I had the perfect BBQ Fest outfit on! I am also patriotic!

I had the perfect BBQ Fest outfit on!
I am also patriotic!

I love the competitive BBQ shows on the Food Network and I always thought going to Memphis in May – the Super Bowl of BBQing would be cool!  Lucky me Windy City BBQ Classic came to town promising No Electric, No Gas, Just Smoke!

Here’s what I learned…

1. Competitive BBQ is just sitting in a parking lot drinking.  The different teams competing set up a tailgate situation to feed the fire of their smoker round the clock over the weekend then they set up their whiskey and lawn chairs.

2.  You need a way more sophisticated palate than mine to tell the subtle differences in BBQ…. it’s all meaty, fatty, salty goodness.  Sometimes it’s on a bone, sometimes its chopped up on white bread, sometimes more sauce, sometimes it’s pastrami but basically meaty, fatty, salty goodness.  No complaining – just an observation from my Meat Stupor which is pronounced meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat stup-hiccup-or *sigh*..

3.  Lots of the BBQ Team Names and BBQ Descriptions sound dirty…. sauced, rubbed vs naked, smoke ya, porking, U baconing me crazy….

4. One quick KiC (Kindly Intentioned Criticism).  If 60 teams are using fire to cook unlimited tastings of hot, smoky, salty meat for 100s of guests in a black top parking lot on an 85 degree day having two guys selling bottled water and five guys monitoring the People’s BBQ Choice Awards ballot submission is perhaps not the best staff deployment.
Here’s a few a little visual meat porn

 

This is BBQ butt waiting for the judges to cut into it and taste it.  Now that's real pretty meat.

This is actually what is all about – BBQ butt waiting for the judges to cut into it and taste. Now that’s real pretty meat.

This is the side grill one team was using to cook their own lunch- hello baloney on the grill.  This team had three kinds of whiskey as they 'competed' through the weekend.

This is the side grill one team was using to cook their own lunch- hello baloney on the grill. This team had three kinds of whiskey on the bar next to the smoker/grill/trailer as they ‘competed’ through the weekend.

That's a whole damn pig a bunch of pig faces.  Porky cheeky goodness

That’s a whole damn pig on a stick and a bunch of pig faces. Porky cheeky goodness

I just loved these guys.  Good meat and there were four dudes in orange shirts banging out a ton of BBQ and their sign says they do BBQ, Parties and Snowplowing - so I like a multi-talented food staff!!

I just loved these guys. Good meat and there were four dudes in orange shirts banging out a ton of BBQ and their sign says they do BBQ, Parties and Snowplowing – so I like a multi-talented food staff!!

on Wrightwood Frenched chicken into lollipops with a terrific rub on each baby one with a little celery on the side -- elevated bbq!

Barn and Company at 950 Wrightwood Frenched chicken into lollipops with a terrific rub on each baby one with a little celery on the side — elevated bbq!

Final nod to local BBQ - County on Taylor Street served up delish meat!

Final nod to local BBQ – County on Taylor Street served up delish meat!