Archive for July, 2012


Taste of Chicago

My family went to Taste of Chicago today and I realized that I wanted to review the Taste on my blog. I had thought I would only review movies and TV shows – but I now know that it will be more.

Every summer for the last 18 years, my husband and I have attended Taste of Chicago.  As each of our children turned 11, we included them in our trip.  We love to expose them to the many cultures, people, and food that the Taste offers.

This year some major changes were made to the Taste.  There were 20 less vendors, vendors were only allowed on one side of the street, and instead of being over the 4th of July for 10 days, it began today and will only run for 5 days.

On the train ride home my children, husband, brother-in-law Dean, and I began talking about our day.


  • The vendors on only one side of the street:  This made for wide open spaces for people to walk, allowed more room for strollers/wagons, and helped one to avoid feeling smothered by a throng of people.
  • Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill – my favorite foods of the day: Tequila-lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast Taco and the 1/2 Tamale Wrapped in Corn Silk.
  • The variety of ethnic foods from many cultures: Taste of Chicago gives you the opportunity to try new foods you may never experience otherwise. My husband tried Korean food for the first time. The Chap Chae was his favorite dish of the day.
  • The cleanliness of this event: Chicago does a great job of running this event and keeping things clean.


  •  The smaller number of vendors:  Large crowds visiting less vendors meant longer lines.  Some lines went halfway across the street.  People strolling had to walk through the lines and this created a little confusion and opportunities for cutting in line.  The smaller number of vendors also meant needing less time to make the rounds of the tents.  It normally takes us 2-3 hours to make an entire circuit.  This year we were done in 1 1/2 hours. That’s okay if you work downtown and are visiting on your lunch hour; but not okay if you spent money for 5 people to travel downtown for the day.
  • The price increases: Metra’s train fare increase and the increased prices of food made this a costly family event.  In the past, “taste portions” were 2-4 tickets, with most averaging 3 tickets ($1.50). This year, “taste portions” were 4 or 5 tickets ($2.00-$2.50). We did not see any 3 ticket “taste portions.” The cost of drinks also went up substantially. From 3 tickets to 5 tickets. And in case you are wondering – “taste portions” are smaller amounts of an entree dish.  This is perfect if you want to be adventurous and try small amounts of several dishes.


  • Hearing Jennifer Hudson doing her sound check while we walked the Taste.
  • Being two feet away from Mayor Rahm Emanuel: His body guards protected him while he shook hands with both the vendors and the public.  See pictures below.
  • Time spent with my family
  • refreshing our tired feet in the dangling creek (in the gardens across the street from Taste)

If you would like more information on The Taste of Chicago, visit:

Taste of Chicago


Laughter is the best medicine!

My oldest son, Nolan, is in a back brace for the summer.  Overuse in high jump and pole vault have laid him low this summer.  He is allowed movies, TV, and books.  He can also do light activities such as frisbee, walking, and swimming now, but it is definitely not the summer envisioned by a 16-year-old boy.

My niece, Samantha, my daughter, Hannah, and I are trying to put together a comedy movie night for the family to get Nolan through this final stretch of summer.  I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine.  We are trying to come up with a list of our favorite comedies with the stipulation that the movies need to be for the age range of 12-years-old on up.  This has proved to be the tricky part.

So far this is our list:

Samantha – The Airplane Series                            Kyle – Dodgeball

For 18+ The Sitter

Suz (me) – Happy Gilmore, Meatballs               Hannah – House Bunny

For 18+ Stripes, Caddy Shack, Revenge of the Nerds, Police Academy


I would love to know others’ opinions as to what movies make them laugh the most.  All are welcome to contribute, no judgements passed!  Please just share!




A Little History

Since I can remember I have been a HUGE fan of TV and movies.  As a child I could recite the week’s evening line-up (times included) for all the major networks.  Lucky for me, there were really only 3 major channels back then.  I was obsessed with Star Wars and planned on marrying Mark Hamill.  If he wasn’t available I was going to marry Pierce Brosnan because Remington Steele was the best show ever!  I know you are laughing.  It’s okay, I am too.

As I moved into adulthood, movies remained an important part of my life.  While we were dating, my husband and I enjoyed seeing movies together on campus at Bradley University.  It was at Bradley that, for the first time, I walked out of a movie.  Not because it was poorly made, but because I was so disturbed mentally and emotionally.  The movie was Flatliners with Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts.  If I told you why I was so disturbed, I would spoil the movie, but if you are a person that likes to be creeped out – this is a movie for you.

Movies and TV have now become family events.  I have three children.  Nolan is 16, Hannah is 14, and Kyle is 12.  Their personalities are very unique and their tastes in movies and TV has become just as diversified.  Nolan is my action or comedy kid. Hannah loves anything with Channing Tatum and then leans toward dance movies or chic flicks. Kyle has eclectic tastes and is usually willing to see almost anything.