April 15, 2014

Italio: A Build Your Own Italian Experience

While I was compensated for this post, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Being a youngest child, I am very much in tune with my inferiority complex. In the course of my life I have been known to say things like, "but I never get anything!" and stomp my feet. I haven't done this recently as I am now a mature adult trying to set an example for three children.

However, once you are a youngest child, you are for life. So, I am also highly attune to unfairness, injustice, and when I don't get my way. Therefore, there have been times in my adult life when I am slightly jealous when other areas of Chicagoland get a cool store or restaurant before the southland. This time though, Italio, picked nearby Orland Park to place a restaurant, and I couldn't be happier (no whining or stomping here).

A few weeks ago, all five of us made our way to Italio for dinner and we enjoyed every part of our meal. From the salad to the pasta, from the bread to the canoli chips there wasn't one part of the meal that we didn't like. 

Italio can only be described as a build your own Italian experience. There are different options on the menu like chicken or meatballs, different sauces and other toppings to mix in with your white or whole wheat pasta. If pasta is not your jam, you can make a custom salad complete with fresh vegetables, protein, and delicious italian cheeses. There are also wraps called piadinas that look delectable and would be perfect for a picnic dinner at the soccer field. 

In the past I have talked about how sometimes my kids can be picky. If you have that kind of family, Italio is wonderful as you can customize each person's dish to what's suits him or her (this also contributed to no whining or stomping from my children). Everyone was so friendly and accommodating and was willing to offer an extra set of hands with carrying or dinner to the table. 

We will definitely be heading back.

Thank you Italio for a wonderful and much needed night out!

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April 14, 2014

Years of Wisdom Acquired in 72 Hours or What I Learned at The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

If you follow me on Twitter (if you don't, why not?) you would have seen that I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at the University of Dayton.

Over three hundred and fifty writers converged on this university, which, by the way, had just experienced some NCAA Basketball success by making their way to the Elite 8 this year. Gooooo Dayton Flyers!  

UD knows how to party and upon making it to the Elite 8, the president of the university was crowd surfing among students on campus. How cool is that?!

The only surfing I'm familiar with is channel surfing.

This isn't the only reason, though, that UD knows how to party. Inviting over 350 humor writers biannually to converge on your campus to learn how to be more funny, not only shows you know how to party, but shows you have a pretty amazing sense of humor yourself.

In just 72 hours, I walked away from this experience with what seemed like years of wisdom, a renewed sense of purpose, and new ways to hone my hilarity. I made some new hilarious friends. Also, being the good little nerd that I am, I took copious notes at every session and workshop, so I have those too.

And it all started with a woman named Erma. She had three kids just like me. She wrote what she knew, just like me. Thank you, Erma. Women, humorists, and writers everywhere thank you!

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