Where’s the beef?

Who loves Italian beef? I do!! MaMa D’s in Lemont, Illinois (western suburbs of Chicago) is truly the best beef you will ever try! If you don’t live in the area- It’s worth the trip!

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It’s homemade everyday.. the perfect blend of spices and salt.  I don’t like things too salty and I am obsessed with this beef. OBSESSED is most likely not a strong enough word.  I want another one right now! The juice is the absolute best! I get my beef wet with cheese and sweet/hot peppers.  If you like your beef dry, I would get some juice on the side to dip it in.  It’s so tasty!  I need all the fixings on my beef! It’s incredible and I am telling you that you will not be disappointed.  Stop in and tell them Fancy Flops sent you! I love so many other items on the menu. When you go in, be sure to look at both sides of the menu. They have so many items to choose from. The Greek chicken on pita is also one of my favs (I get it with gyro sauce).. But out of all the menu items.. the homemade Italian beef is the best in the world! My favorite item on the catering menu is the lemon chicken! Check out their Facebook page to read reviews, see pictures, etc.

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Nothing Small About Smallcakes

cupcakes-iv.pngI recently walked into Smallcakes of Orland Park, IL (right by Charming Charlie’s and Marianos) and well I am so glad I did. I try to eat healthy most of the time, but everyone.. yes EVERYONE needs a good dessert every once in awhile. Gluten free?  No worries. They have gluten free cupcakes too!  I want to eat quality ingredients and something that obviously tastes good! Smallcakes of Orland Park is everything it’s cracked up to be and more!

Their cupcakes are HUGE..and delicious! They bake and frost 12 signature flavors every morning fresh from scratch. They donate anything that doesn’t sell and re-bake the next day fresh and ready to go.  How amazing is it that theycupcakes III.png donate the uneaten ones everyday? I think it’s incredible and extremely thoughtful. I love businesses that do things like this.  We need more incredible businesses that don’t waste and give back whenever they can.  That is truly going the extra mile to give back.

They have seasonal flavors and you can check out the flavors of the day in the shop or on their Facebook page.  As I was browsing in their adorable shop, I came across the PUPcakes! I will definitely have to pick them up to try (review on those coming another time).  My sister has two dogs, so I will have to surprise my doggy nephew and niece one day! Smallcakes in Orland Park also has freshly made ice cream everyday.  Icecream infused with cupcakes- yup- that’s what I said.  I tried some and it was magnificent. Everything about Smallcakes is fresh and homemade.

Now onto my favorite cupcake- the Oreo for sure! If you love oreos, you will be obsessed with this cupcake as much as I was! The icing is so tasty and it has oreo pieces inside of it as well as on top! They also do custom cakes which I will have to give a try.  The owner said they recently hired some cake decorators so I can’t wait to see what they can create! The inside of the shop has a very boutique feel and a great place to go grab a sweet after you eat! Stop by today and tell them fancy flops sent you!

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Anytime For Anyone

Anytime FitnessAre you like me? Writing, reading or doing laundry at 1a.m.? Why not work out??!? Anytime Fitness is awesome because whether it’s 1a.m. or 1p.m.- the gym is open! I started working out at the Anytime Fitness in Lemont, IL last month and let’s just say it’s taught me how to be a healthier person and truly has changed my life! You walk into an extremely inviting gym where everyone is kind and educated on all the machines! I was greeted by one of the managers Nikki and well, she’s absolutely fantastic! Nikki has an abundance of fitness knowledge with an upbeat personality! She doesn’t come across judgmental, like I have experienced at other gyms. They truly care about their members and go the extra mile.

They have monthly challenges to keep you motivated, as well as keeping it fun.  Anytime in Lemont even has little perks here and there, like providing cucumber water on a anytime fitness 6.pngTuesday or fresh water infused with basil and strawberries.  Who doesn’t love that? The gym is never over crowded and I have never had a problem getting a machine whether it’s 5p.m. or 1a.m.

Now, let’s talk about what’s included in your membership.  SO MUCH! You get a complimentary fitness evaluation from a certified personal trainer.  They have a tanning booth that you can use- unlimited and included in your membership.  I think it’s great especially for people with seasonal depression.  I am not a huge fan of tanning booths, but it’s nice for a 2 minute session and some vitamin D when you have seasonal depression. One of my favorite aspects of Anytime is the massage room.  It’s a water massage machine and it feels oh so good after working out on your muscles… YUP- It’s also included in your membership.

Anytime Fitness 4.pngAnd last, but not least you get the virtual studio included in your membership! It’s a fully automated system and you can do yoga, kickboxing and more with a virtual instructor. Oh and I forgot to mention they also have live classes included in your membership.  Does it get better than that?  Probably not.  I tried Zumba for the first time at Anytime Fitness and though I am not a great dancer, it was fun! If I had to say something negative about anytime (and I don’t want to), I would say the only thing they are lacking is a pool.  That personally isn’t important to me and I feel that you get so much for your money here, so truthfully- It’s my new favorite gym for sure!

Now, let’s talk about my first 30 days! My first full 30 days of truly working out at anytime fitness 5.pngAnytime, I lost 6.5 pounds and I am eating 100% better.  Forget the weight, I truly feel so much better and I can’t wait to see where my goals are at in 6 months! I will definitely keep everyone posted and you can see my weekly posts about Anytime Fitness on my Instagram page as well! Do you want to try out Anytime Fitness for FREE? Yup, I said FREE! Get your free 7 day pass right here or call the Lemont, IL location and tell them Fancy Flops sent you!

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Where in Milwaukee?

milwaukee riverwalk.pngMillions of people visit Milwaukee every year! I was one of those people! I went for a short weekend away from Chicago and it was a great weekend.  Milwaukee has over 150 restaurants to eat at, fests and events all year, 17 museums, 25 theatres, breweries, 75 golf courses and over 130 bike trails.  I didn’t have time to visit everything, but I definitely have some suggestions and must see’s from my short stay!

Now, when your going away- your first question is always going to be where do I stay? We stayed at the Aloft Milwaukee Downtown and I truly could not have been happier! We had to wait a bit backyard.jpgto valet, so give yourself a little extra time for that.  When we checked in, the staff was friendly and helped me with all of my tourism type questions.  We walked into our spacious room with a room viewing the water.  It was absolutely gorgeous!   Check out this incredible view. We ubered from the hotel to our destinations and it was perfect.  It was less than 10 minutes from everything we were going to.

We came back to the hotel after our first night and stopped at the hotel bar to have a fewmilwaukee 1.jpg drinks.  It’s a great open bar and the staff was ever so kind! I couldn’t say one bad thing about the bar if I wanted to.  It was relaxing and inviting at the same time.  On day number two, we came back to relax at the hotel after dinner and it started to rain.  We sat inside the lobby and by the fireplace they had some games.  We grabbed some drinks and played some connect 4 and Uno! Doesn’t get better than that.  The hotel is inviting and comforting for couples and families alike.  They even have an outside area where you can sit and relax with firepits.  You walk outside the back of the hotel straight to the river walk.  It was such a peaceful day and great experience to walk right on the riverwalk.  We walked straight over the Pool.jpgriverwalk to dinner and back.  When we go back to Milwaukee, I no doubt know where I am staying- Aloft Milwaukee Downtown for sure! Incredible views and extremely friendly staff! It’s the perfect spot with access to everything! P.S. Become a SPG member to maximize your benefits too! Great perks being an SPG member!

As for food, check out my write up about Doc’s Smokehouse in Milwaukee. Omg! Best Brisket ever!!

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Best Brisket You’ll Ever Eat!

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wingsI walked into Milwaukee’s Doc’s Smokehouse and so glad I did! It’s a great atmosphere with friendly staff.  It wasn’t very busy, but we got there about 7p.m., so it was pretty early for a Saturday night.  We started with some brisket nachos and the smoked wings. The smoked wings had a dry rubbed, smoked, then flash fried served with Alabama white sauce.  The wings were honestly incredible.beef brisket.png

Now let’s talk brisket.  The best- BEST brisket I have ever eaten in all of my life! You can choose lean or fatty.  I chose fatty and the flavor is truly out of this world! Brisket and ribs are my favorite BBQ items and this is by far the best brisket I have ever eaten in my life.  I truly can’t wait to go back! You can also check out their Facebook page here!

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A Splash of Orange

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Make homemade sugar scrub today!

What do you need?

10 drops of mint essential oil

2 cups of sugar

1 cup coconut oil (I recommend organic!- Garden of Life is my fav!)

2 drops of orange extract

1 drop of tea tree oil

This recipe makes about 2 (two) 8 oz containers. If you like it more oily, add less sugar. Everyone likes their scrub a certain way. It’s absolutely amazing and the smell is to die for! I didn’t want to add a lot of color, just a very pale orange color. You can also make that color stronger too (food coloring), if you wish.

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Rub the scrub between your toes & on your feet to get rid of all your dry skin. Let it soak on there for a minute or two and rinse. Your feet will be silky smooth. It also makes an amazing body and hand scrub as well. It’s just absolutely amazing.

I wrapped mine in little jars. You can pick up glass jars at various stores. I got mine at Target.  They sell them everywhere, even online. If you are looking for a cheaper route, you can guy the plastic containers and decorate those up as well. It’s a great thing to do for yourself or give as a gift to your friends (even for Valentine’s Day). It’s even a super cute idea to give your bridesmaids with a pair of flip flops from Francesca’s Fancy Flops the week of your wedding.  If you would like to try our mix, we would be happy to send you some. Just email us (francescasflops@yahoo.com) and we can quote you a price for sizes and shipping.

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Splish, Splash & Super Soft

BFFEver hear of Perfectly Posh? I suggest trying their fabulous products! I am literally OBESSED with the face scrub. My face has never been so soft and felt so clean! It’s called BFF for a reason! When you find the best you want it to last forever. Millions of natural microbeads gently exfoliate and freshen in a blend of grapefruit and peppermint essential oils. Clear away dry, dead skin in a flash and always put your best face forward. Gentle enough for daily use so you never have to go a day without your BFF. Wash with water and a pea-sized drop bffs.pngonce per day to naturally clean and exfoliate neck and face. Pat dry then follow with Night & Day for lasting results.

The toner is incredible! I used it everyday after the face scrub.  It’s called BARE IT ALL. Cleanse and tone with this no-rinse, Posh Perfect3-in-1 makeup remover, facial cleanser, and moisturizer with a skin-calming blend of lavender, sage, and peppermint essential oils. Reishi mushroom extract helps promote cell renewal while saw palmetto, chamomile, and calendula deep clean, so you can take it all off. Gentle enough for everyday use. Apply cleansing tonic to a cotton pad and gently wipe until skin is completely clean. Use daily, morning and night. No rinsing required. Shake well before use. Let Kristi help you with your products.

The beach hair smells INCREDIBLE! It leaves your hair honestly so soft, tangle free and beach hairwith a lovely smell! Are beachy waves and voluminous locks on your hair wish list? Our Epsom and sea salt-filled spray helps add texture and volume for effortless style in no time. The salt allows waves and curls to form more easily and it can even help absorb excess oil. Just apply a few spritzes to wet or dry hair and work it through for beachy, carefree waves that look like you just got off the beach.She will definitely let you know what items are the best for you! Kristi is awesome! I seriously loved everything I tried, but out of what I tried- the BFF and the Bare all were my absolutely favorite!!

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Mago Magnífico

mago IIIHave you ever heard of Mago? Mago Grill & Cantina has Mexican and Latin inspired dishes and the most incredible guacamole I have ever eaten.  They have four different locations in the Chicago area. Mago Grill & Cantina is the creation of award-winning Chefs Juan Luis Gonzalez (former head chef of Fuego Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar in Arlington Heights) and Ric Munoz. It’s original Latin and Mexican menu is comprised of authentic favorites like freshly smashed tableside guacamole, seafood ceviches, savory salsas, fresh salads. Mago’s main dishes feature steak, chicken, pork and seafood including the chef’s own mago IIGrandma Paula’s family recipes. Our menu offers all the classics: suiza-style Burritos, Enchiladas, and Fajita’s including a unique Mago-style creation served in a hot molcajete. When it comes to Tacos, Chef Juan Luis has developed a host of flavorful recipes to pick from – all promising to excite the taste buds.

 

mothers dayMy sisters and I celebrated Mother’s Day and they had an incredible brunch. From the moment that I stepped into the Bolingbrook location to the moment I left, the serve was beyond 5 stars! Our server kept checking on us and was extremely attentive-even for a brunch. Many times, I find serve goes down a bit at brunches, but that was certainly not the case here.

The French toast looking entrée was actually calledmago brunch.png Pan Frances de Horchata.  It’s thick cut challah bread dipped in almond and horchata custard.  Topped with toasted almonds and fresh guava butter.  It’s sweet and satisfied every sweet tooth that I had! The Prime Rib was cooked to perfection.  You can see I have a small dish of maple syrup.  I can’t possibly be the only one that dips my bacon and sausage in syrup. And guacamole.. let me tell you! It’s done tableside..and (mouth watering) truly out of  this world incredible.  If you haven’t been to Mago, definitely stop in and give them a try.  You won’t want to miss out on this incredible spot!

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Double Delicious & Delightful in San Diego

cookieGoing to San Diego?  Don’t know where to stay? Look no further. Doubletree in San Diego off Circle Drive is the place to stay. Reasonable rates with top customer service! We walked in off Circle Drive into the entrance/front desk area.  It is a peaceful and relaxing front desk area surrounded by waterfalls and relaxing colors.

The front desk staff was friendly and we were greeted with a smile and a COOKIE. Yes, I said a cookie.  It was warm, chocolatey delicious. We were given our room keys and went to our guest room.  The king suite had a balcony. Definitely, get the balcony! We overlooked the outdoor and pool area. It was relaxing Hoteland when we were in the room, we kept the doors open for a beautiful breeze. The room was lightly lit and homey.

After we settled in, we ordered room service and cracked a bottle of wine.  The front desk personal was extremely helpful with all our tourism questions and provided us with maps of the local area. We ended our first evening with some drinks at the hotel bar.  It was classy, relaxing and the drinks were fabulously made.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the restaurant.  We both did the breakfast buffet and what a selection it was.  You can order an omelet from the server if you wish and there was a ton of food to choose from at the buffet.  There was fresh fruit each day and the pineapple was my Poolfavorite.  One morning they even had chicken and waffles.  I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy, but I topped it with some fabulous syrup and it was oh so delicious. Additionally, let me add that the young ladies that waited on us were incredible! Fantastic customer service! I would go back just for that incredible service.  By day #2, she brought our drinks and knew that he liked pop and I drank coffee.  Amazing.

Now let’s get to the pool.  We would order some drinks at the bar and headroom view.png out to the pool area.  Relaxing and the weather was about 75/80 each day.  It was perfect.  I took a dip in the pool and relaxed by the pool for a few hours.  It was quite and would be perfect for families and for couples.  The pool area has a hot tub, as well as great fire pits for you to relax during the day or in the evening hours.  The outdoor area is great.

We even got a little too much sun at SeaWorld one day and thank God the gift shop had some Aloe gel for our burnt skin! Saved the day!

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They also had a great dinner menu with salads, steaks and more. If you are going to San Diego, I strongly encourage you to stay a Hotel Circle- Doubletree. It’s a 5-10 minute Uber to anywhere you need to go in the San Diego area.

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Tip Top At Tin Roof

tin roof outsideGoing to San Diego anytime soon?  Live in the San Diego area?  You must, not should, but MUST stop in at Tin Roof in San Diego in Gaslamp district. It has some of the most incredible food there! The live entertainment was fun, exciting and was going all night long when we we’re there. We walked into the restaurant/venue in the early evening, sun still shinning and were greeted by some very friendly servers that stated that we can seat ourselves.  Everyone we met that evening had a smile on their face, were friendly and repeatedly asked how they can help us.

We sat at a table closer to the stage.  It’s a smaller stage, but wow did it bring in the party that night! We went on a 90’s cover band night and it was a fantastic time! Non-stop tin roof food IIentertainment.  The crowd was younger, fun and lively all night long.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Food of course! I tried chicken and waffles for the first time and let me tell you- I am so glad that I did! They were absolutely incredible! Normally you see large waffles with fried chicken, but this was very different.  There was little bites of waffle and fried chicken.  It was glazed in a maple syrup type of dressing and so delicious! Every bite was incredible and I was so sad when it was gone! Oh and I almost forgot that it comes in a large waffle cone.  The presentation is fantastic!

chicken and waffle.pngNow, let’s chat a minute about the beef brisket!  If I was to choose one word for this brisket is “Perfection.” I have been to many BBQ fests over the years, tried tons of pulled porks and BBQ’s and this by far is the best brisket I have ever eaten in my entire life. If you like brisket, thin and slow cooked, do not look any further! It has a strong flavor, but it’s not too spicy.  It is served with a side of hot sauce if you want an extra kick added.brisket.png

Drinky Drinky! Drinks are always important as well. If you like to drink, don’t want sugary-fake-like-drinks…then head over to Tin Roof! Great drinks! Basil Berry Moonbounce is the bomb! Definitely deep eddy.pnggive it a try, but it is strong.  Basil Berry Moonbounce has the following: American Born Moonshine, Fresh Lime, House-Made Simple Syrup, Fresh Berries, Basil, Topped With Red Bull.  Overall I can’t wait to go back!

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