Weber Grill: Grill with a chef

mealIf you are looking for a business casual and/or fine dining establishment outside the city, turn to Weber Grill in Lombard, IL. Yup, the same Weber Grills that everyone has in their backyard, but a chef is cooking it on a Weber grill for YOU.  When George Stephen invented the Weber kettle grill back in 1952, he sparked a backyard revolution. His guests couldn’t believe how tasty grilled food could be. We’ve kept the same attention to detail and grilling expertise at the Weber Grill Restaurant. I went to celebrate my Goddaughter’s 21st birthday & it was a memorable and delicious meal.  We were greeted by such friendly staff & hosts.  The restaurant has a welcoming entrance way where you can see into the kitchen. It’s in a great location, located between Oak Brook and Yorktown Malls.  There is so much around if you are looking for something to do before or after. We started with some delicious drinks. All mixed peggydrinks are made in house & made to order.  The hand shaken margarita is made with Olmeca Altos Blanco tequila, triple sec, fresh lemon and lime juices. It’s incredible and so tasty. It’s a fresh tasting drink with a kick. Now, let’s talk about the bread! Who loves pretzel bread? Me!! I do! It’s my favorite and this pretzel bread was warm, fresh & came with wonderful cheddar spread. I had the seasonal butternut squash salad and it was tasty and had sweet delectable pecans in it. It was large enough to split.  The overall portions are large, so come hungry … and you’ll be happy.  Now, you can have amazing food, but horrible service.  Not here! Our server was incredible.  He was attentive, funny, personable & all over fabulous.  I would truly go back just to have him wait on us.  He made the experience a memorable one.

I highly recommend the Ribeye. It’s aged for 28 days, charcoal seared and served with two sides.  It was full of flavor.  Personally, I didn’t taste any fat…all flavor.  Sometimes ribeye can have too much fat on it, but this was absolutely perfect.  I didn’t see any fat on the meat, but it had all the flavor of having fat in it.  The sides were delicious, and everything is made from scratch.    Right now, Weber Grill even has a holiday deal! Now until 12/31, when you buy a $100 gift card you will receive a $25 bonus card! It’s the perfect gift and if you haven’t tried Weber Grill, I highly recommend that you do.  

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Luxury Right In the Suburbs

01Looking for a modern and trendy place to say outside the city of Chicago?  Sometimes you don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of the city, but you want the modern and pop feel of the city life.  I recently stayed at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore (A Marriott Lifestyle Hotel) in Northbrook, IL.  It’s a 5 star luxury hotel fromchinb_phototour35_R.jpg the moment you walk in.  I loved all the silver, purple and grey décor.  The hotel has two restaurants, an indoor pool and this extremely awesome lounge!

We were greeted by welcoming, friendly front desk staff.  We walked into our King room that had a modern, very clean feel.  The luxurious bedspread and bed were comfy, and the room was spacious.  The bathroom was an average size, but not extremely spacious.  It was perfect because we were only staying one night.  We had great open windows that let in natural sunlight.  We got dressed and ready for our evening dinner.  Ruth’s Chris is right now site.  No drive or uber, just walked right now to our mouthwatering ribeye.  I had squash salad which was divine and honestly to-this-day the best salad I have ever eaten in my life.  It had walnut, squash and this remarkable maple dressing.  We ordered a bottle of pinot nior which was delightful and of course we both ordered steaks.  I got the ribeye, which was and still is my favorite steak in the world.  Anyone that has ever said you can’t get a good steak from a chain-restaurant has never eaten at Ruth’s Chris.  I finished off my dinner with some raspberry sorbet.

After dinner we went to the lounge at the hotel.  It’s a trendy feeling with a very luxury look.  I loved every part of it.  I enjoyed a glass of wine and the service was amazing.  I wish I caught the servers name that night because he was attentive and "VFMLID=50408325"after a wedding party, was still on top of everything and we never had to flag him down or wait.  Since you’re not in the city, the parking is free and they have a large open lot.  Overall this hotel was 5 stars all the way and I can’t wait to go back.

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What’s it all caked up to be?

cakeCakes are the new vocal point of the party.  They are the staple of the dessert.  When you think of a cake, I no longer thing of a sheet cake with Happy Birthday.  I think of something so much more.  I think of art.  I think of perfection and quality.  Customization is something that always comes to mind when I think of cakes now.  I want to make that cake for a birthday party, wedding or baby shower something to remember.  Something that they will be talking about for years to come.  Something that other envy when they see pictures.  Smallcakes of Orland Park recently make a housewarming cake & it couldn’t have been more perfect.  It had the personal touch with the delectable taste.  They can customize anything you need.  They can make cupcakes into all shapes and sizes.  I had the mini cupcakes and I would recommend doing the full-size cupcakes, if possible.  They have a stronger taste and overall I enjoyed them more.   If you’re looking for a custom cake and you live in the Orland Park area, I highly recommend SmallCakes of Orland Park.  The customer service is 5 stars and the taste is a true thumbs up!

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Neat, Clean & Perfect

Napkin 4Are you having a party?  Looking for plastic forks and paper plates? Don’t forget the napkins.  Having personalized napkins gives that extra touch to your gathering or party.  I personally think a true shower, party, birthday can’t go without personalized napkins. I am all about the little things and making a personal touch to everything.  Personalized napkins are the way to do that without being over tacky.  Your guests will definitely notice the little touch.

I highly recommend Napkins Personalized. The customer service is beyond 5 stars and the quality is perfection to a T. Keep your guests clean with the personal touch that will give your party a memorable experience.

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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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