Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: November 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

OMG! It is Cyber Monday!!


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Here it is...my "official" Cyber Monday blog post where I share faves and some coupon codes


I kid, there is nothing official about this post, I just like jumping on the shopping bandwagon. Because I am an affiliate marketer, I get a TON of coupons and promo codes emailed to me daily so I thought I'd sift through a few and share them. Do what you will with them...hopefully you will share them with friends!

Let's start with some music, due to my recent love for Pandora.com, here are some great bands I've found...

If you're looking for a bit of luxury, I have a few deals here...

Maybe you're looking for some electronics, here are some deals from Amazon.com and Abt Electronics

Clothing, make-up and girly stuff

Thanks for reading, I will keep my eye for more discount codes!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankgiving Eve...And, Yes, I am Thankful!


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I was reading various tweets tonight and people were commenting on what they were thankful for and it got me thinking...what am I thankful for?


I am not a religious person, I do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, therefore, Thanksgiving is really important to me. Not only is Thanksgiving important because of what it actually signifies, but also because it is the only "holiday" that I recognize in the winter season. So, while everyone else is out shopping and tis'ing the season, I am basically finished celebrating. I just sit around and wait for the New Year. Then, I sit around and wait for June because I live in Chicago where it can realistically snow through April.

So What Am I Thankful For?


  • Dior DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation Medium Beige 300 I am very serious, do not laugh. This is THE BEST foundation make-up I have ever used in my life. If you try it, you will be shocked at how awesome you look!




  • While I am at it, I will also say that I am grateful for Dior Dior Bronze Sun Powder Spray -- because I am NOT tan. In the winter, I look like I am 1/2 dead, so I need bronzer!




  • As long as we're on the make-up track, I will just add ONE MORE amazing piece of make-up that I am thankful for! Dior DiorShow Iconic Mascara I've been wearing mascara since 6th grade and this is by far the best.




  • I am grateful for my friend John Brady who works at Calumet Photo. I met Brady about 11 years ago when I used to shop at Wolf Camera on Chicago Avenue. I had taken on a project to commemorate the end of the millennium. I would take a roll of film (yes, kiddies, we used to take pictures on rolls of film) each month. I was using a disposable camera and Brady convinced me to buy an SLR. And just two weeks ago, Brady sold me my first DIGITAL SLR a Canon EOS Rebel T1i Body and Lens. The nice part is, my accessories from 10 years ago (Canon EF 70-300mm Lens, and my Canon Speedlite Flash) still work with this camera - even though they are SLR and not digital SLR! So I am also thankful for that!




  • I am also grateful for the ability to take gorgeous pictures like this one with my brand new camera! (Is this pic gorgeous? Maybe, or at least I think so)



  • Cactus in Cabo San Lucas


  • I am grateful for my friend @Mknox999 who has become my partner in almost all of my work endeavors. We met 20 years ago in college and over the past two years, Mike has turned into a close and trusted friend and my business partner. He came back into my life at a time when I needed him and our working relationship slowly grew into what it is today. I would not have chosen Mike to be my partner - the universe chose him for me and the universe was right!




  • On that note, I am grateful for shareasale.com and @jasonrubacky. I know it sounds funny but it wasn't until I started working with @jasonrubacky at shareasale.com that I really started to scratch the surface with affiliate marketing. I know I've only started to scratch the surface but I like the challenge.




  • I am grateful for the recession. Yeah, that is right, you heard me...I am thankful for the recession. It realigned my thinking. It gave me a new perspective and it refreshed my career. When I couldn't find a job, I picked up a new skill set (or two).




  • I am grateful for @diablo_guapo my close friend! Matt has been such a strong support system for me over the years, I could write an entire blog post about how grateful I am for that friendship.




  • I am OF COURSE grateful for my family! I love my mom, dad and brothers more than anything imaginable on this planet. There is nothing I wouldn't do to be close to them and I am so happy to have them (even though they sometimes make me mental).




  • I am grateful for all my other friends too. Not just Mike and Matt!




  • Howard Stern. I am always grateful for Howard Stern, for SIRIUS Radio and for anyone who dares to speak their mind and stand up and say something that others may not agree with!

  • Finally...I am grateful for TWITTER! I would say that it has changed my life. I mean, I loved MySpace and I love Facebook but not like I love my Twitter. And on that note, you should follow me -->> @leyla_a


    Totally Unrelated Affiliate Links from Amazon.com:
  • Monday, November 22, 2010

    #CellarNotes TweetUp at NoMI with @NoMISomm


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    Cellar Notes at NoMI

    I am really excited to share the #CellarNotes Tweet-Up with everyone because it is such a fun concept. On Wednesday, December 8th, from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. I will be hosting #CellarNotes at NoMI. NoMI is located inside the Park Hyatt on Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue. For this wine tasting event, @NoMISomm, also known as Aaron Sherman, the Sommelier at NoMI, will take us on a real life journey of The Wines of Twitter.

    Guests will have the opportunity to taste four different wines inside the cellar room at NoMI. Space is very limited, so be sure to register early!

    What is Cellar Notes
    Cellar Notes takes place weekly at NoMI. Each week has a different theme, perphaps a different region or varietal is shared by @NoMISomm and experienced by the guests. The cost is $30.00 for this event.

    Through a wine glass.


    On Wednesday, December 8th, @NoMIChicago and @NoMISomm have organized a special Cellar Notes event specifically focusing on The Wines of Twitter.

    The following wineries will be featured:

    How to register for #CellarNotes
    In order to register for #CellarNotes, please send an @ reply or DM to @NoMISomm using the #CellarNotes hashtag. Someone from @NoMIChicago or @NoMISomm will follow up with you immediately. Remember, the wine cellar at NoMI will be at capacity at 14 guests, so be sure to tweet now!

    But wait...there's more!
    On the evening of the event, guests will be encouraged to tweet their experience at #CellarNotes using the hashtag and including @NoMISomm and/or @NoMIChicago. One winner will be chosen from the hashtag between 6:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M. The winner will receive Dinner for two at NoMI, with a special wine pairing from @NoMISomm.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Tour of Punta Ballena and Esperanza


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    Tour of Esperanza and the Villas at Punta Ballena


    We arrived at the beach house for the Villas at Punta Ballena, which is the name for the development of vacation homes here on the resort. The beach house has a small restaurant and a small, community pool. The communal areas over here are smaller because each home has their own pool and hot tub.




    On the morning of our tour, there was a water aerobics class.

    Water Aerobic Tools


    After touring the common areas, we headed down to the beach, where there is a nice bed for guests to lounge and listen to the waves crash or they can opt to have a massage in this area. I did not visit this area in the evening, but I can imagine how it might be romantic to sit out here as the ssun goes down.

    Massage on the beach anyone?



    From there we were heading back to our golf carts and on our way to Esperenza. Each residence and villa has a golf cart in the garage for members to use while they are staying at Exclusive Resorts.

    Golf Cart to get around the property


    Exclusive Resorts has several units in the residences at Esperanza, we were able to visit a condo on the top floor. The first floor residences have splash pools on their patios and the third floor residences have a great view of the ocean. The residences are decorated in a very traditional, Mexican style with upgraded amenities. Prior to your arrival, your concierge arrange your transportation, book all of your activities and they will do your grocery shopping for you and deliver it to your home.

    Esperanza

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    I really don't think much needs to be said about the beauty and the luxury that the Exclusive Resorts properties embody, the pictures speak for themselves. When I first started to tweet the pictures and post them online, people would comment "You are a great photog" which is hardly the case. It is so naturally beautiful here, I cannot imagine how one would be able to snap a bad photo. I will leave you with a few more pictures.


    View from Auberge Residences

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    Related posts to Exclusive Resorts and Related Items


  • My Upcoming Trip to Exclusive Resorts


  • Day One at Punta Ballena


  • CABO SAN LUCAS TOUR GUIDE. A Travelogue--CD includes Audio/Visual files and a Tour Map to transfer to your cell-phone, iPod, or Mobile Device
  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Day One At Exclusive Resorts - Punta Ballena


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    I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (or Los Cabos) at Exclusive Resorts with my #luxurychat team. I'm sure this sentence leaves you with many questions, I don't blame you, I am confused too, let's clarify.

    What is #luxurychat?
    #luxurychat is an open conversation that seven of us started, and moderate, on Twitter. Each month we speak with senior level, marketing communications executives who work on luxury brands. This month, we are LIVE TWEETING from Exclusive Resorts in Cabo. If you would like to join us, please search Twitter for: #luxurychat on Wednesday, November 17th at 5:30 EST and 2:30 PST. If you'd like to learn more about Exclusive Resorts, you can read my previous post here --> My Blog Post on Exclusive Resorts OR you can go straight to their website www.exclusiveresorts.com

    How did I get here?
    By plane silly. Oh, you mean how did #luxurychat come about? Earlier this evening we were trying to figure out exactly how and who spearheaded the chat but could not pin-point it. So here are some links - About #luxurychat And about the ladies who founded #luxurychat.

    In order to recap my first day at the resort, here are some photos followed by my terrible video log.


    I promise, I will get better at this video thing! (P.S. why must it freeze on the worst shot of my face).

    Seviche at Exclusive Resorts in Cabo San Lucas - blog post to come!

    Pouring a Margarita

    Stacy and Erina

    Party Getting Started






    Equipment I Used:
  • Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens


  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras


  • Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL
  • Friday, November 12, 2010

    The Un-Corporate Holiday Party in Chicago


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    I have not been to a proper, corporate, holiday party in Chicago since 2003...and I miss it.


    Costumed Characters in Chicago - Elf for Holiday Party


    My last corporate job was when I worked for Accenture in 2003 - 2004, and since that time, I have not been invited to a proper, corporate event and I miss it badly. In my early career, I worked for DDB Chicago and other agencies where we had INCREDIBLE holiday parties. Epic parties that were followed by intense shame the next work day.

    In 2004, I went to work for SUSHISAMBA and we had holiday parties after the holidays because we worked during the holidays. I never really count those because they took place in February and I was so busy planning other people's holiday parties that I never got a real feel for the holiday parties myself.

    So now that we're in 2010, and I am self-employed, I've decided to THROW A CORPORATE HOLIDAY PARTY for the self-employed. I am doing it. I am doing it on November 30th at SUSHISAMBA. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the entrepreneur, the self-employed, the freelancer and the person who doesn't really like their company and would rather celebrate with their friends.

    IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON ATTENDING CALL 312.595.2300




    Details...

    • Tuesday, November 30th
    • SUSHI & SAKE Celebration
    • 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
    • Start the night with a sake cocktail
    • Private event in the "Red Room" the private dining room at SUSHISAMBA on Wells
    • Five courses including: edamame, sea bass anticucho and assorted sushi
    • The opportunity to roll your own sushi roll and eat professionally made rolls
    • A flight of five sakes - learn about how the history and the making of sake
    • Price is $75.00 per person inclusive of tax and serivce





    • If you would like more information, there is a Facebook invite click here





    • You must phone the restaurant to confirm your reservation today 312.595.2300







    My favorite party of the evening

    Everyone who brings in a brand new toy will receive a $20.00 gift certificate from SUSHISAMBA towards a future purchase. The toys will all go to Dreams For Kids a great local organization that throws a holiday party for at-risk youth every December. I am really excited about this event so you can imagine that I will be talking about it a lot over the next two weeks. You better be there!

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    Monday, November 1, 2010

    The Chocolate Bar at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago


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    Chocolate Bar at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago 

    A perfectly civilized way to spend a weekend...


    Alaskan King Crab - The Peninsula Chicago
    Alaskan King Crab Poached in Cucumber Broth

    Before I start going on about the chocolate bar at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, I want to say that I am one lucky girl! I feel fortunate to be invited to these wonderful places and to experience their amazing offerings. Apparently, writing about my life for the past two years is worth something. In other words, I am disclosing that this meal was compliments of The Peninsula Hotel.

    On Friday night, I was invited by the Peninsula Hotel to try the new savory tasting menu in conjunction with their chocolate bar. Each Friday and Saturday night the chocolate bar is available from 8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. and it is an absolutely, perfectly civilized way to spend a weekend night with your family or a date. Lots of well behaved kids with their families sitting beside couples enjoying a romantic night out.

    I arrived at The Peninsula early because I had a site visit earlier that day. After my meeting, I paid a visit to the spa (I am looking for a new gym) and then waited in the bar for @nicoleyeary. While I was in the bar, a gentleman approached me with a dish. I was confused, but then the gentleman explained that Chef Curtis Duffy had sent it over from Avenues. I was speechless - both by the presentation of the Alaskan King Crab poached in cucumber broth and by the thoughtfulness. How did they even know where I was, or who I was? (sidenote, I've conversed with Chef Duffy on Twitter a couple times).

    We started off in the kitchen where I met Executive Pasty Chef Celine Plano and Executive Chef Kai Lermen. Having worked in some great restaurants when I was younger, being able to visit the kitchen is always a real treat.

    Pictured below Norman Love from Norman Love Confections below him is Chef Kai Lermen and below him is Chef Celine Plano.

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    Kai Lerman, Executive Chef at Peninsula

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    The chefs were a true pleasure to meet. Everyone was very kind, gracious and very inviting; explaining that the demands of working in a kitchen that operates 24 hours and allowing us to ask many questions.

    Next, we were invited into the lobby lounge where we had a lovely table in close proximity to the jazz band. Of course, our table was set impeccably well, but I was surprised to see that we were having a full meal with wine pairings. Pleasantly surprised.

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    The Peninsula continued to add to my pleasure by starting us off with a Porcini mushroom and hazelnut cappuccino amuse bouche. The soup was served in a cappuccino cup and accompanied by a glass of Chateau Langlois Brut Champagne.

    The first course, Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras was paired with Hirschbach and Sohne Piesporter Riesling Kabinett. The foie gras was a very familiar dish (I love foie and order it when I can) and a fair portion size.


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    The next course we were served was the Chocolate and Fennel Crusted Diver Scallops served with a potato mousseline (mashed potatoes) and a white chocolate saffron sauce. I'm not normally a fan of scallops but I did really enjoy this dish.

    The final course was the Roasted Squab with Quince and Creamy Polenta served with 71% cocoa squab jus. The squab had a very distinct flavor and texture. It is a dark, firm and dry meat compared to other fowl and has a gamey taste.

    Finally we were able to get up and run free through the chocolate bar. I wish I could describe all the fantastic items available but there are just far too many!
    But you can expect edible cocktails including: Raspberry Truffle with creme de Yvette, creme de Caco, egg and fresh raspberry. Chocolate mousse with pistachio, chocolate fountain, a station that prepares a delicious vanilla buttered brioche and fresh raspberry sauce.

    The "savory and sweet" four course menu is $68 including the Chocolate Bar. The Chocolate Bar sells for $40 without the "savory and sweet" four course menu. (These prices are exclusive of tax and tip)

    Chocolate Bar Pictures


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    This was a favorite of mine - pistachio mousse and macaroons...

    pistachio macaroon


    yum dessert

    Delicious Dessert


    -- Photos courtesy of Nicole Yeary and The Peninsula Chicago --

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