Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This Mother's Day Go Beyond Macaroni Art At Best Buy #GreatestMom #MothersDay #ad

Yay! Mother's Day is nearly upon us. You know... that holiday where moms the world over say "I don't need a thing. Just make me something." And hapless husbands and clueless kids take them at their word. Don't get me wrong. I adore my kids' art works and have drawers overflowing with them. But... a macaroni duck is appreciated SO much more when it's sitting on top of something awesome from Best Buy! 

Disclaimer:  ChiIL Mama is elated to be a WOLF (Women's Leadership Forum) Blogger for Best Buy. The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free for sharing this promotion with our readers.

I know, it's generally mom who handles the family gift buying, which is why many moms get stiffed on Mother's Day. But you can handle this. It's familiar Best Buy... not a perfume counter. You've got this! Go beyond bouquets and make this Mother's Day the greatest with a gift that will last past breakfast in bed.

Dads, your kids' mom is pretty awesome... all of us are.  And kids, you owe your very existence to your mom! And generally you owe your mom thanks for your transportation, food, emotional-physical-financial support, and a good chunk of your education, too.

I'll admit... I'm one of those "I don't need a thing" mamas, guilty of telling my husband and kids not to get me anything. Some past Mother's Days, that's exactly what I got! And I'll admit, deep down I was a little let down about it. Don't let that happen to your mom.  Click here for Best Buy's Mother's Day Gift Center.

Here's a cool coupon to get you started:

Why is Best Buy a best bet for great Mother's Day gifts?

Twitter Party to WIN:
Best Buy is hosting two Mother's Day Twitter Parties on Friday May 2nd at 12:00pm CST and Wednesday May 7th at 7pm CST. Feel free to join one or both of these parties for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great products. 

Search #GreatestMom to follow along and Tweet with your favorite Mother's Day Gift ideas from Best Buy.

Do you relate to any of these personas? 

Can your mom cook a celebrity chef under the table?  Is your mom always On-The-Go?   Did your mom close a deal, sign a new client and make it to soccer by 5:00? Does your mom have the traveling bug; always looking for a great family adventure?  Is your mom the hostess with the mostess who loves entertaining?  

Check out the top picks for all types of moms at the bottom of this post & right here at Best Buy's Mother's Day Gift Center. 

Make some fridge art, kids, and stick it on TOP of one of these ChiIL picks for the Greatest Mom ever... YOURS:

Here at ChiIL Mama we were thrilled to be chosen to share Best Buy's top picks for all types of moms.  In fact, we related to so many of the types it was hard to pick just one. Most moms wear a LOT of hats, and I'd be elated to wake up on Mother's Day to breakfast in bed and just about any of these gifts below!  

Still, travel and photography are my first loves, so I've gotta go with Adventure Mom for my top pick. I shoot rock bands, music fests, and exotic locals. I even interview famous people, so I have to have gear that works well, sometimes in tough shooting conditions. 

I have a great DSLR camera, but I've been dying for a GoPro. It would have been a hoot last year to use it in Vail, CO white water rafting and zip lining, not to mention at the music fests we covered including Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, Summer Camp Music Festival, and North Coast Music Fest.

Adventure Mom Gift List:
GoPro Hero 3+ Black Action Camcorder
Nikon D5300
Nikon AW120 Waterproof Camera
Samsung Galaxy S® 5
*Canon Selphy CP910 Wireless Compact Photo Printer
Canon R50 HD Camcorder
Google Nexus LTE (Connected) tablet
Samsung GS5 Otterbox Defender Case
*juice pack air Charging Case for Apple iPhone 5/5s
Lenovo Yoga 2
*Lowepro Photo Traveler 150 Bag
*LifeProof - frē Case for Apple® iPhone® 5 and 5s
iPad Mini Defender
*Dynex™ - External Battery
LG Tone Pro
"Logitech® Ultimate Ears BOOM Wireless Bluetooth® Speaker
Slingbox 350

(*ChiIL Mama's favorite gifts under $100 won't break the bank.) 

Fitness Mom:
Samsung Galaxy S® 5
Small UP24
Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit
Fitbit Flex Topaz
Belkin Sportfit Armband
Speck iPhone 5c candyshell + faceplate
Otterbox Commuter for GS4
Xbox One Console
Mega kitchen system
Breville Juicer
Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor
Neon Pink Powerbeats
iTunes card  $25
Fitbit Aria Wifi Smart Scale Black
MisFit Shine

Foodie Mom:
Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 16GB
Mini Jambox Wireless Speaker
iPad Air Defender Papaya
KitchenAid Ultra Power Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Cuisinart Griddler
Smart Oven Convection Toaster/Pizza Oven
Oster Waffle Maker
Hamilton Beach set and forget slow cooker
Cuisinart Food Processor
8 bottle wine chiller
Ninja Blender
Breville Juicer
Samsung 22" Class LED 1080p HDTV
Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Hand Blender
Keurig special edition
Rocketfish Under-Cabinet Mount For Most 13" - 22" Flat-Panel TVs
Dash Greek Yogurt Maker

Samsung Galaxy 5
Lenovo Yoga 2 13
Plantronics Voyager Edge
SONOS Play: 3 Wireless Speaker
Bose® - QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Earbud Headphones
HP 14" Chromebook
Studio C Mint to Be Ladies Laptop Tote
mophie juice pack powerstation
Otterbox Symmetry Case for iPhone 5s/5
HP® ENVY Wireless e-All-In-One Printer
Microsoft Touch Cover for Surface
Samsung GS4 Case-Mate Glam Case
e-Reader Kindle Paperwhite
mophie juice pack air Charging Case for Apple iPhone 5/5s
Samsung Gear 2 Metallic

Disclaimer:  Once again, ChiIL Mama is elated to be a WOLF (Women's Leadership Forum) Blogger for Best Buy. The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free for sharing this promotion with our readers.

Art and Culture is Yours with Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza’s New Arts & Cultural Package #Travel #KansasCity

Visit Breathtaking New Exhibits at
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 
The National World War I Museum

Here at ChiIL Mama we LOVE to travel and explore new places.  With Holiday Inn as your home base, you'll always feel at home.  Six months ago, we were invited to an unveiling of Holiday Inn's new look -- Change Your View, right here in Chicago. We were so impressed with the style, quality and value!  Check out the bottom of our feature here for a few of our social media posts from that night, at Holiday Inn's downtown Chicago location.

Now, The Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza’s Kansas City Arts and Cultural Package gives guests the opportunity to experience the best of Kansas City culture. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, two of the most renowned museums in the U.S., are participating in the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza’s Kansas City Arts and Cultural Package. For rates starting at $129, guests staying at the hotel receive two tickets to the Nelson-Atkins special exhibit, “Roads of Arabia,” discounts at The World War I Museum, shuttle transfers to and from the museums, and breakfast for two.

“By making the hotel their ‘base’ for the day, guests will have plenty of time to explore the museums as well as take advantage of our great location near the Country Club Plaza shops and restaurants,” said Stephanie Porter, director of sales at the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza.

  • The Nelson-Atkin’s upcoming exhibit, Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Apr. 25 – Jul. 6), features amazing artworks in more than 200 recently excavated objects, none of which have been seen outside Saudi Arabia until 2010.
  • The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth & Sky exhibit (Sept. 19 -Jan. 11, 2015), brings together 140 works of art representing more than 20 Indian nations. The exhibit celebrates masterworks spanning the centuries, from a 2,000-year-old Human Effigy stone pipe to a 2011 beaded adaptation of designer shoes.

  • A hungry teenage assassin and a wrong turn forever changed the world. Guests can view On the Brink: A Month That Changed the World (now through Sept. 14), the special exhibition examining the underground organizations, diplomatic communications and international newspaper reporting of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and its political aftershock.
  • Many believed the war that began in the summer of 1914 would be over in a matter of days or weeks. Featuring many objects and documents previously not on exhibit, the National World War I Museum's new exhibition Over By Christmas: August-December 1914 (May 3 – March 29, 2015) examines the romantic notion held in the early days of the war colliding with the harsh reality that the war would not, in fact, be over by Christmas.

“The upcoming exhibitions at the Nelson-Atkins and National World War I Museum are extraordinary, and we’d love for as many tourists as well as locals to get a chance to experience them,” said Shannon Stone, assistant manager of marketing and communications at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

About the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza
The centrally located Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza ( features 240 guest rooms, ballrooms, meeting rooms, the city’s largest seasonal outdoor heated swimming pool and the popular Main Street Cafe and Lounge. Within walking distance to shops, restaurants and entertainment the hotel is centrally located to the best of Kansas City, including Sprint Center Arena, the Kansas City Convention Center, the Kansas City Zoo and multiple art museums and medical centers. 

Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza
One East 45th Street (45th and Main)
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 753-7400
Toll-Free (800) 957-5654
Fax: (816) 753-0359

ChiIL Mama's Take On Holiday Inn's new look:

ChiIL Mama's Instagrams 
from #ChangeYourView @HolidayInn Chicago, Mart Plaza

@holidayinn #changeyourview doesn't get much better than that view!!

Photo credit:  Bonnie Kenaz-Mara for for all Instagram shots in this feature

 sweet suite! Downloadable tunes, headboard reading lights, comforts of home #changeyourview affordable luxury & style & a million $ view. 

Mmmmm... cake pops. As tasty as they look. #changeyourview @holidayinn

Fine wines #changeyourview @holidayinn

Lovely spread #changeyourview @holidayinn

Abstract, Artsy and Absolutely Breathtaking!  Chicago View from Holiday Inn.
#changeyourview @holidayinn

#changeyourview with a few of these delicious signature shots in @holidayinn Merchandise Mart's revamped bar. No beer goggles required...

Click here to follow ChiIL Mama on Instragram, for photo filled fun around Chicago and around the world!  We feature urban lifestyle, arts, entertainment, theatre, music and travel for adults and families!

SHOWS ON OUR RADAR: Motown The Musical Now Playing at The Oriental Theatre #BroadwayInChicago

We can't wait for the press opening on 5/8!  We'll be there to review for ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama, so check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often, for our take on all the hottest Chicago shows. In the mean time, get your tickets squared away! Show dates are selling fast.

It began as one man's story... became everyone's music... and is now Broadway's musical. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy's journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. 

Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as "My Girl" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL!

Just opened April 22 at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, IL. Tickets now on sale:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PHOTO RECAP: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2014

ChiIL Mama's adventures in C2E2 land

We've been at McCormick Place frequently over the past few months, first for The Chicago Auto Show and then the enormous International Home and Housewares Show (click for our coverage). Now the cars and gadgets have been shipped away for the season and we can cover our favorite convention to shoot. Every April the convention center morphs into a colorful, otherworldly mash up you have to see to believe!

Check out our full set in the slide show here and our favorites embedded at the bottom of this feature.

This is our 3rd year covering C2E2 and sadly, the bigger they've grown the stingier they've gotten on the press front. The first year they comped us 4 press credentials for the whole weekend, so I could publish my kids' take on C2E2 and my sound guy husband could mic up people for interviews while I ran the video & still cameras and conducted interviews. Gone are those days. If I only had a Tardis to travel back...

This year they gave us 1 Friday only pass.  So, I did what I could solo, to capture the playful fun of the fest.  I logged in just over SIX MILES of walking on my smart phone app inside the doors of C2E2 land, and came home with nearly 500 stills.  

Family Fun:
Adventure awaits for all ages. My own 10 & 13 year olds were bummed to be stuck at school Friday instead of enjoying the C2E2 immersion, but we were able to meet a few other kids getting schooled in pop culture!

Fans can meet artists in action, authors, and actors. Here are a few of our favs.

Here at ChiIL Mama we love to feature families doing their creative thing together... like these two moms with their littles along.  

Chainmaille Dr. Who Scarf and Ren Faire Skirt/Corsette Topper!

There IS life after birth and just because you make a life, that doesn't mean you can't still have one!

Get Your Geek On:
At C2E2 you can get your geek on at loads of themed booths. We gravitated toward the unique ones with artist made wares.  

We bought several handmade, one of a kind Dr. Who themed necklaces and a bracelet, and one with a sweet Divergent/Hunger Games mash up for my mighty girl 10 year old from

How perfect is that for a whovian writer...?!

This booth was pricy but a super cool idea!

There were even some poignant moments as fans paid tribute to their own fallen heros of the film industry. My husband worked on shoots with Harold Ramis a number of times and said he was truly a great guy.

We dug the monster makeup/mask demos.

There were also some tee shirts too cool to pass up.  We adore Hayao Miyazaki so I bought two unique shirts with mash ups of his characters. I tried to make up for ditching the kids this year with some surprises for them, but I really missed having them for photo ops and input.

I did have the chance to do some networking and check out some edu-tainment. We'll have book reviews and more in depth features to come on some of our favorites.  I got this awesome Tee from Kill Shakespeare for my 13 year old son who has been reading Romeo & Juliet for school. 

My 10 year old daughter is also doing short scenes from Shakespeare in class, and she's currently in Macbeth and will be doing A Midsummer Night's Dream shortly!

Next up... 

These are a few of our favorite pop-culture things that made an appearance at C2E2 in no particular order:

Foodie Fun:
The food selection made up for in quality what it lacked in quantity. There were vegan, veg and carnivore choices. I had a tasty pulled chicken BBQ sandwich from Robinson's.  I was also please to see our local, neighborhood favs, Revolution Brewery representing with their infamous Anti-Hero IPA and a new IPA brew, Galaxy Hero.  Hero or Anti-Hero... IPAs rule my world.

Didja mean C2E2 or R2D2?!  Maybe BOTH!

Our favorite part of C2E2 is the rampant creativity of the fans! The Cosplay kids were out en masse, and the mash ups were prime entertainment.  We love it when people are passionate about their play. Check out our "Best Of" below:

Mom & Daughter!