Sunday, February 28, 2016

Single Cup Club Coffee Subscription Review and Discount

We've gotten 2 months of coffee deliveries to date, and we've been impressed with the quality. It's so much fun to try new flavors and who doesn't love to get boxes in the mail?! This has been such a great subscription to try out. We recommend it.

I admit it. I'm a coffee snob... a caffiend... a daily indulger in the brew. So, I was extra excited to be invited to partner up with the Single Cup Club to share this sweet discount with our readers at ChiIL Mama. This makes a great gift idea for all the java juice junkies in your life with discerning taste.

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a member of the US Family Blogger Network and we've been given a complimentary sample for review purposes in exchange for sharing this deal with our readers.

My readers get to save! 25% off Membership signup - CLICK HERE And Use code: HOLIDAY25

The perfect friend in the pursuit of amazing coffee, Single Cup Club is like having your own "guy" in the coffee world. Each month, a box of artisan coffees is shipped right to your door for just $19. You'll experience three small batch roasted coffees with each month's box in the convenience of Kuerig compatible single serve cups. Get 25% off your Single Cup Club membership (Gift & Ongoing Membership). It's the perfect box for the coffee lover in your life, especially if that coffee lover is you!

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a member of the US Family Blogger Network and we've been given a complimentary sample for review purposes in exchange for sharing this deal with our readers.

Simple Loose Leaf Monthly Tea Subscription Review

It was our pleasure to review a gift tea subscription to Simple Loose Leaf. The teas arrive monthly with 2 re-usable muslin tea bags. We've been impressed with the quality and variety of the selections.

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a member of the US Family Blogger Network and we have been given a complimentary sample in exchange for sharing this offer with our readers.  

The perfect partner in your pursuit of a happier and healthier you, Simple Loose Leaf is like having a personal Tea Somalia. Each month, a box of savory loose leaf teas is shipped right to your door for just $17. Each box has 4-5 loose leaf teas, 2 re-usable muslin tea bags and a beautiful card detailing your month's tea selection. Try each tea and order more from our store with a 50% member's only discount! ChiIL Mama's readers can click HERE to get 25% off your membership (Gift & Ongoing) at Simple Loose Leaf. It's the perfect box for the tea lover in your life, especially if that tea lover is you!

This is a great idea for a gift for the friend who has everything. It's a tasty treat and fun to get something special in the mail every month. 

Each Tea Box includes at least four (x4) loose leaf teas
Included in your Tea Box are two (x2) reusable tea bags for easy brewing!

Tea Boxes contain a Black, a Green, a Herbal, and a few surprises.

Black Tea Examples:
Assam, Yunnan, Keemun, Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey etc.
Green Tea Examples:
Gunpowder, Genmacha and Naturally Scented Green Teas.

Herbal Tea Examples:
Rooibos Blends, Lemongrass, Chamomile, Rosehips, Yerba Mate, Chai Blends etc.

Other Tea Examples:
Rooibos Blends, Tisane Blends, Decaf. Teas, Oolong Teas, Pu'erh Teas

Each month you will receive a box of wonderful and unique loose leaf teas. Every month we make sure you have everything you need to get the perfect cup of tea brewing right out of the box! Each month we also send you a code that you can use to get great discounts at

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a member of the US Family Blogger Network and we have been given a complimentary sample in exchange for sharing this offer with our readers.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

Shakespeare 400 Chicago Style Continues as We Devote a Year to Celebrate Shakespeare

Last night we were thrilled to cover opening night of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's compelling modern adaptation of Othello. Earlier this week we were enamored with opening night of Gounod's opulent Romeo and Juliet at Lyric Opera. Check back with ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows for Shakespeare 400 news, reviews, and photo filled features all year long. 

From concerts to ballet, opera and theater, Chicago is bitten by the bard bug! Shows we are reviewing are in bold. This week, Harris Theater for Music and Dance presents the first dance performances of the festival: Hamburg Ballet’s Othello , while the Moor’s story also unfolds as a gripping psychological thriller at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The world's most celebrated love story finds new dimension in Gounod's Romeo and Juliet at Lyric Opera, just as two concerts at Rockefeller Chapel explore popular styles of music from Shakespeare’s time. Looking to shake things up? A handful of tickets remain to catch (In) Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare at the Museum of Contemporary Art this week.

And there’s much more to come! In March, the UK’s Filter Theatre brings its rock-and-roll Twelfth Night to Chicago Shakespeare; Harvard Professor Michael Sandel hosts a lively town hall-style conversation; Gift Theatre performs its Richard III at Steppenwolf's Garage; and Logan Center for the Arts screens two masterful films of King Lear.

Across our great city, with Shakespeare as their guide, the best international and Chicago talents remind us of life’s endless possibilities and the universality of the human condition. There’s so much to enjoy—come play your part! Follow the hashtag #ChiShakes400.

More ChiIL Shots From ChiIL Mama's Adventures at Othello, Opening Night. Chicago Shakespeare Theater:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Photo Recap: Women Driving Excellence at The Chicago Auto Show 2016

ChiILin' in Chi, IL With 
Women Driving Excellence 2016

Women driving and women drivers are no longer a punchline, but a serious force to reckon with! Thanks to Chicagonista and Women Driving Excellence (#WDE16) for raising the bar on Women's Day at The Chicago Auto Show once again and presenting an incredibly inspiring day of programing with some of Chicago's finest female movers and shakers. Every year I am in awe after Women Driving Excellence, and motivated to go out and up my game for the coming year and do something amazing.

Here at ChiIL Mama, we've partnered up with Chicagonista and Women Driving Excellence for 3 years now. It was my great pleasure to be invited back as an official writer/photographer for this fantastic annual event. Thanks to Nissan, Jewel, and all the great sponsors for supporting such an excellent showcase of diverse talent. We have been compensated for spreading the word. As always, all opinions are my own.

Check Out ChiIL Mama's Full Set of Original Shots from Women Driving Excellence 2016 Right HERE: 
(More favorites imbedded below.)

On February 16th, The Chicago Auto Show prominently featured Women Driving Excellence once again. This was my 3rd year covering it as one of Chicagonista's official writers. I've come to truly value this event and eagerly anticipate it. I'm actively job hunting right now, after years of freelance writing and managing both our family business and several award winning blogs, while raising my children, so the "Jumpstart Your Network – A power hour hosted by Chicago’s top Networkers" was of particular interest to me this year. I met many fascinating women and exchanged business cards with quite a few new contacts.

Next, the Honoring Trailblazing Women Presentation emceed by Janet Davies-ABC7 News was nothing short of inspiring. This year’s honorees included Lisa Madigan-Illinois Attorney General, Marilynn Gardner-Navy Pier President & CEO, Dominique Jordan Turner– Chicago Scholars President & CEO, Kathleen Henson-Henson Consulting Founder & CEO, Dee Alexander– Song Stylist. 

It was fascinating and encouraging to hear from each of the honorees in turn, and we couldn't have asked for a better emcee than the charismatic Janet Davies.

As if the Trailblazing Women weren't enough, they were followed by a panel of 3 Leading Women in Tech sharing their thoughts on trends, collaborating, startups, and how to foster relationships for business growth. New this year, the panel was lead by Katy Lynch, CEO at Techweek, with Elisa All Founder & CEO of 30Second Mobile, and Yana Nirshberg of ParadigmNEXT.

Of course we also adore joining MJ Tam, Beth Rosen, and Nancy Loo, who host the #ChicagonistaLIVE! Talk Show, Chicago’s first social talk show. We join them live as often as possible, for their monthly shows, and follow along on line and social media when we can't be there in person. Their rapport is a hoot and the shows are always lively and informative, with stellar guests. 

Finally, the 2016 WDR event featured a new GPS Pitch Engine Contest where five aspiring entrepreneurs made presentations to a panel of experts in search of rising businesses. The Pitch Engine Contest was presented in partnership with Inventorz Network Co-Founder Dhana Cohen and will be judged by Dahlia Saper of Saper Law and Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event.

Check out lots of recaps from the 4th year of Women Driving Excellence on line, by looking for the hashtag #WDR16. We can't speak highly enough about this celebration of women who help start, accelerate, fuel, and steer others to excellence. Sure the car puns are fun, but don't underestimate the caliber of women involved in all aspects of WDR. From the planners, publicists, and panelists to the incredible honorees, this event is a power house of wonderful women.

WDE is a collaborative community created to connect entrepreneurial and established women in business, philanthropy, media, government and community leadership positions. WDE provides women multimedia access to industry influencers using in person and digital social platforms.

The #WDE16 event was created by two social media mavens, MJ Tam and Beth Rosen of the popular ChicagonistaLIVE! online talk show. While there are many activities that appeal to women at the Chicago Auto Show, they felt the need to create a special program that would recognize women who exemplified unique vision and talent that fueled the fire of passion in the community. And passion and authenticity were the themes of the day, mentioned many times over in anecdotes, answers and advice.

It's incredibly empowering to celebrate women by lifting them up through the use of powerful social networks. And the WDE events are excellent at inspiring all women to continue in empowering and engaging other women to do greatness for each other. This annual event always includes a full day program honoring and celebrating innovative, entrepreneurial, accomplished, businesswomen in Chicagoland. 

For more information, and recaps, visit
follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope, 
or join the conversation at #WDE16.

Once again, here at ChiIL Mama, we've partnered up with Chicagonista and Women Driving Excellence for 3 years now. It was my great pleasure to be invited back as an official writer/photographer for this fantastic annual event. Thanks to Nissan, Jewel, and all the great sponsors for supporting such an excellent showcase of diverse talent. We have been compensated for spreading the word. As always, all opinions are my own.

More Favorite Shots:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Additional Casting Announced For The SpongeBob Musical in Chicago

Announces Additional Casting for the
World Premiere of Broadway Bound

The SpongeBob Musical
in Chicago

Ethan Slater
Nick Blaemire, Lilli Cooper, Danny Skinner
Gavin Lee

Co-Conceived and Directed by Tina Landau
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Music Supervision by Tom Kitt
Choreography by Christopher Gattelli

Performances Begin on Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Limited Engagement through Sunday, July 3, 2016
at Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre

Broadway In Chicago and The SpongeBob Musical are thrilled to announce additional casting for the Chicago engagement. Joining the cast are Gavin Lee as Squidward, Nick Blaemire as Plankton, Danny Skinner as Patrick, and additional ensemble members will include Juliane Godfrey, Jesse JP Johnson, Lauralyn McClelland and Allan K. Washington.

They join the previously announced Ethan Slater as SpongeBob Squarepants, Lilli Cooper as Sandy Cheeks, Gaelen Gilliland, Curtis Holbrook, Stephanie Hsu, L’ogan J’ones, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Mark Ledbetter, Kelvin Moon Loh, Vasthy Mompoint, JC Schuster, Abby C. Smith, Jason Michael Snow.

Additional casting will be announced shortly.

The SpongeBob Musical will begin performances on Tuesday, June 7 at Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre (24 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL). This is a limited engagement through Sunday, July 3, 2016.

The SpongeBob Musical is co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, book by Kyle Jarrow, music supervision by Tom Kitt.

The SpongeBob Musical will be a one-of-a-kind musical event with original songs by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of AEROSMITH, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and a song by David Bowie with additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.

The design team includes scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Kevin Adams, projection design by Peter Nigrini, sound design by Walter Trarbach and casting by Telsey + Company/Patrick Goodwin, CSA.

The SpongeBob Musical will be produced by Nickelodeon with Sony Music Masterworks and The Araca Group.  

Since premiering on Nickelodeon in July 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon.  The series has been the most-watched animated program with kids  for more than 13 consecutive years, and over the past several years, it has averaged more than 1 million total viewers every quarter across all Nickelodeon networks.  As the most widely distributed property in Viacom history, SpongeBob is seen in over 185 countries and translated in more than 50 languages. The Paramount Pictures feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water premiered Feb. 6, 2015, landing at #1 opening weekend and going on to be a major hit globally.  The character-driven cartoon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob, an incurably optimist and earnest sea sponge, and his undersea friends.

For more information on The SpongeBob Musical, visit

The SpongeBob Musical will be part of the Broadway In Chicago series. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets for The SpongeBob Musical will go on sale March 13. For more information, visit

NICKELODEON (Producer). For more than 36 years, Nickelodeon has been at the forefront of creating beloved characters and stories that inspire and entertain audiences around the world by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, radio, recreation, books and feature films. As the number-one entertainment brand for kids, Nickelodeon has been at the heart of countless revolutionary TV moments, and it has been home to some of the most legendary cultural hits and iconic characters in television history--SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, Kids’ Choice Awards, Blue’s Clues, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Hey Arnold!, All That, iCarly and Rugrats.  Nickelodeon has been honored with countless honors, including 84 Emmy Awards. Nickelodeon is seen in more than 450 million households globally, and it has been the number-one-rated basic cable network in the U.S. for 20 consecutive years.  Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB). 

SONY MUSIC MASTERWORKS (Producer) comprises the imprints Sony Classical, Masterworks, OKeh, Portrait, Flying Buddha and Masterworks Broadway. Our artists range from icons to newly developing talents in classical, crossover and adult music, plus new and legendary jazz artists, as well as a vast catalog of musical theatre recordings including classic Broadway shows and original cast albums of today’s Broadway hits, most recently Kinky Boots, Once, If/Then and An American In Paris.

THE ARACA GROUP (Producer) was founded in 1997 by partners Matthew Rego, Michael Rego and Hank Unger.  Broadway producing credits include Urinetown, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Wicked, The Wedding Singer, Boeing-Boeing, Rock of Ages, A View from the Bridge, Lend Me a Tenor, Cinderella, A Raisin in the Sun, Skylight, Disgraced.  Upcoming: world premiere of Ayad Akhtar's Junk at La Jolla Playhouse.  In addition, The Araca Group provides merchandising services for live entertainment and theatrical events on Broadway and around the world.  For more information, please visit

Monday, February 15, 2016



**On Sale to the Public March 1**


Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Broadway In Chicago's fabulous offerings and the newly announced 2016/17 season looks to be spectacular. We're particularly excited to see HAMILTON! Book your tickets as early as possible for the best selection. 

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce its next season line-up: the Broadway musical HAMILTON, the North American tour premiere of Disney’s ALADDIN, 2014 Tony Award®-Winning Best Revival of a Musical HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, the 2015 Tony Award®-Winning Best Play THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME and THE BODYGUARD.  

The upcoming Season will go on sale to the public March 1, 2016. To renew or purchase a new subscription, please visit or call 312-977-1717. Subscriber benefits include savings of up to 50% off ticket prices, discounts on both parking and suite service, invitations to Broadway In Chicago exclusive events, free exchange privileges and more.  The Broadway In Chicago season line-up, including performance dates and venues, is as follows:

Performances Begin September 27, 2016
The PrivateBank Theatre (18 W. Randolph)
With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.  HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.

December 6 – 24, 2016
Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph)
Hailed as "One of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway" by The New York Times, this "dazzling" (Associated Press) adaptation is the Tony Award®-winning new play by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel and directed by Tony winner Marianne Elliott. Fifteen-year old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever. 

January 31 – February 12, 2017
Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph)
The award-winning musical based on the smash hit film, starring Grammy® Award-nominee and R&B superstar DEBORAH COX!  Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.  Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.  A breathtakingly romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.  Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film, which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, and adapted by Academy Award-winner (Birdman) Alexander Dinelaris, The Bodyguard had its world premiere in London’s West End where it was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards.  

March 7 – 19, 2017
Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph)
Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is the landmark American musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask that is “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time” (Entertainment Weekly).  This genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. Directed by Tony Award® winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and winner of four 2014 Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway and promises to take Chicago  by storm with what Time Magazine proclaims is “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever!”

Disney’s ALADDIN
April 11 – July 2, 2017
Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph)
Discover a whole new world at ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical.  From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle.  It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.  Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” ALADDIN on Broadway features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer). Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!), this “Fabulous” and “Extravagant” (The New York Times) new musical boasts an incomparable design team, with sets, costumes and lighting from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots), and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris).  See why audiences and critics agree, ALADDIN is “Exactly What You Wished For!" (NBC-TV).


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 16 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres.  Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including its newly named The PrivateBank Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.