Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Neptune’s Comedy Club

Neptune’s Comedy Club

Tired of visiting the movie theater for your cold weather entertainment?
Today I thought I’d shed some light on a new comedy club that’s opening this week in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs. The comedy club is called Neptune’s Comedy Club, started by my very own hubby, Matt Sommerfield, who is producing the show and warming up the crowd each week.
Here’s an interview I did with Matt to let you know all about this great new entertainment hub!
Be sure to check it out… I’ll be there!

Q: What is Neptune’s Comedy Club?
A: Matt:
Neptune’s Comedy Club is a new, clean comedy club opening at Port Edward Restaurant in Algonquin, IL. The club was created by local Chicago Comedian Matt Sommerfield (me), with the purpose of bringing professional, clean comedy to the northwest suburbs.
Q: What kind of comedians can people expect to see at Neptune’s?
A: You can expect to see veteran comedians coming to perform at Neptune’s. I look to hire comedians with excellent credentials. Many have been on Comedy Central and WGN. Several have performed with other professional comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, Jay Leno and many more!

Q: When are the shows?
A: Shows are every Thursday night at 7:30pm at Port Edward Restaurant in Algonquin, IL (Starting February 10th, 2011, this week).

Q: Where is Neptune’s Comedy Club located?
A: Neptune’s Comedy Club is located at 20 West Algonquin Road, Algonquin, IL 60102 inside Port Edward Restaurant.
Q: What kind of food and drinks can people order at Neptune’s?
A: There is a full 40′s style bar in the club and people can order wine, cocktails and beer as well as sodas and water. Appetizers will be available for purchase during the show. If you want the full experience come in at about 6pm and order the Bistro Menu! The food is excellent and its a great in-expensive 4 course meal before you go and enjoy your show. Allow at least an hour and a half eat time before the show starts.
Photo (Ken Sevara, headlining comedian this week at Neptune’s Comedy Club)
Q: How can people get tickets to the shows? And how much do tickets cost?
A: You can get tickets many different ways for the show.
You can go to www.neptunescomedy.com and order there.
You can call the restaurant at 847.658.5441 and order on the phone or reserve your tickets to pay at the door.
You can go to http://portedward.com/neptunecomedy.htm and order tickets through the restaurant’s site as well.

If you order tickets on the phone or on Port Edwards website make sure you tell them which show you are coming to see.
We have a variety of ticket prices. They are as follows:
TICKETS
$12 each – Pre-Sale single ticket reservation
$15 each – at the door
GROUP RATE TICKET PACKAGES:*
$11.50 each for 4 tickets = $46
$10.50 each for 8 tickets = $84
$10.00 each for 12 tickets = $120
*(Group rates not available at the door)

Photo (Matt Sommerfield, producing and opening each week at Neptune’s Comedy Club)
Q: Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. Would this show make a good date night?
A: Absolutely. The big thing here is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money and you don’t have to worry about the content being embarrassing or inappropriate. I don’t think taking someone to a comedy club where they feel uncomfortable and humiliated makes for a good date night. Plus, it is a very romantic atmosphere. Candlelit tables, wine, appetizers and good clean comedy!

Q: Can Neptune’s accommodate a larger group (say 8 to 10 people) coming together to celebrate a birthday?

A: Absolutely! We are working on birthday, anniversary and other party packages as well! Right now you can order group rate tickets to save money! I am working on putting together some other incentives as well for future shows!

Q: Where can people find more information about Neptune’s Comedy Club?
A: If you want to know more about Neptune’s Comedy Club, see who’s performing and buy tickets, check out www.neptunescomedy.com. You can also follow us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_183242201688754 and twitter http://www.twitter.com/neptunescomedy
Thanks for the great information, Matt! Finally a comedy club that has great entertainment and a great atmosphere, that’s affordable and close to home for us suburbanites!
You can check out a preview of the comedy you can expect to see by watching video clips on Matt’s website www.mattsommerfield.com.

Fiery Winter Sky

Fiery Winter Sky

If you’re like me by this time in February you’re ready for Spring! I’m so over the frigid temps and massive amounts of snow. But, I have to admit that I came home one day last week at dusk to this Fiery Winter Sky. It made me stand in awe out in the cold for a few minutes. I ran inside, grabbed my camera, and captured this bit of wintery beauty.
Enjoy these gorgeous winter sky scenes and remember, Spring will come again!


Baby Shower Details

Baby Shower Details

Earlier this week I featured a diaper cake that I made for a baby shower I helped throw last weekend. I feel like I keep running across more and more pregnant ladies due this Spring. So, I thought you may enjoy seeing some of the details for this Baby Shower to give you some ideas for a Baby Shower you may be throwing in the near future! No paper streamers or heavily frosted cakes here…Check it out!

Above you can see the diaper cake as a decoration on the central coffee table.

I loved this chair layout for the Baby Shower. The mom-to-be got a big comfy chair to sit in with all the ladies’ chairs surrounding, so they could easily see the gift opening. The coffee table and rug in the center helped the space to feel more intimate, anchoring all the seats into one seating area.

Forget the plastic cups and plates, we used a classic cut glass punch bowl and traditional punch glasses. We (the four of us who threw the shower) decided we had these great items at our disposal and didn’t mind washing dishes if it meant using these beautiful pieces. Back to the classic entertaining pieces…yeahhh!

We really used minimal decor for the Baby Shower, but it really turned out beautiful. Since Cheri, the mom-to-be, is having a boy and her nursery theme is nautical, we tied all the decor at the shower together with a color palette that reflects that: Blue (more turquoise), Yellows, and White.

Above you can see the food table with a simple yellowish gold linen and a large turquoise vase filled with flowers in yellows and white with large winding stems to give it a little earthy flair.

Because we kept the food really simple we used varying height stands and trays for displaying the food to giving the table a rich appeal. We kept the food really simple with fresh fruits and a veggie tray with 3 different kinds of hummus, 2 trays of miniature quiches, and brownie and cookie bars. No heavily frosted cake here…every shower I’ve been to, it never seems to really get eaten (ladies seem to not like the heavy icing).

We had the privilege of using the beautiful traditional appetizer plates that have a ring to hold the punch glasses. They’re not only beautiful, but so practical. They allow you to hold your plate of food and punch glass with one hand, while chatting and eating at the same time. Love these!

I love using what I have and Re-Purpose It in order to decorate. These little turquoise vases are actually votive candle holders. I just loved the color and thought they’d be perfect for the event. So, I purchased one bunch of simple white fresh flowers and cut them to fit in these little “vases.” We set these little arrangements around on some taller bistro tables and next to the diaper cake on the coffee table. They’re small, but really added a pop!

As a host of a shower I think its important to have a clearly designated space for people to put their gifts for the mom-to-be. I think the best way to designate the gift drop spot is to place a table near where the guests will enter and designate “this is where gifts go” by simply placing one gift there. People will get the idea and then you won’t have to answer 20 questions of “where should I put my gift.” We just simply moved the table to the gathering area when it was time to open gifts.

This Baby Shower was a great time. I hope you feel inspired for your next event to think beyond the paper streamers and heavily frosted cakes! Let your creative mind run wild!

The mom-to-be and each of us hosting got to take home a small bunch of flowers from the shower to put into bud vases at home. I put mine in this beautiful bud vase that was a wedding gift from my sis. Its been really nice to have fresh flowers in my home this week…A preview of Spring!

Blizzard 2011 Photos

Blizzard 2011 Photos

Today in the whole Chicagoland area, we’re all snowed in. For those of you elsewhere in the country, I thought you may like to see photos of the famous Blizzard 2011. Its the 3rd largest storm in Chicago’s recorded history. The photo above was taken just outside my front door this morning.

Above you can see snow passed my window sills and that thing in the snow there is my grill.

Officially O’Hare Airport recorded 20.2″ of snow in the last day and there are 50 mph winds with temperatures dropping below zero with windchill in the next 24 hours. Gotta love living in this area of the country!

In the photo above you can see my picnic table seats completely covered in snow and my neighbor’s dog in the back ground. This is a really large dog and he could barely move in the deep snow.

Here you can see my hubby, Matt, using our sleds as snow shoes trying to get to our shovel on the end of our deck.

Here he’s starting to shovel out our front door.

“Go Matt go! Conquer that snow! Great job!”- I guess you could say I’m the cheer leader!

If you’re in the Chicagoland area today, I hope you’re home safe and warm or playing in the massive amounts of snow!
Stay warm!

Diaper Cakes

Diaper Cakes

I’ve always wanted to make a diaper cake and this last week I had the opportunity to do just that! A few of my girlfriends and I threw a baby shower for another friend due to have her baby in just a couple weeks. We wondered what we could do for decor and what gift we could give her and the diaper cake seemed like just the perfect thing! Read on to see how you can snatch one of these great diaper cakes for your next baby shower.

For this diaper cake I used 100, size 2 Pampers Diapers that the mom-to-be can use for her little one in the not too far future. All of the toys and baby care items on the cake were items from her baby registry, so its stuff she’ll definitely use.

The items on this cake include 3 baby bottles (2 on the inside of the cake, 1 on the lower tier), 2 sippy cups, 1 baby teething toy, 1 baby comb and 1 baby brush, and 1 giraffe sensory toy.

The navy blue and white striped ribbon with touches of pale yellow ribbon with white polka dots I chose to use on this diaper cake was inspired by the mom-to-be’s nautical themed nursery.

This diaper cake was a hit! As you can see (below) it was a beautiful centerpiece that was usable decoration for the baby shower. The mom-to-be can leave it put together for a time in her nursery as decor, or disassemble it and use the items as soon as her baby arrives.

I loved making this diaper cake and it turned out to be such a fun gift! As one of my services, I’m now offering to make diaper cakes for your next baby shower. There are so many different types of diaper cakes. The one I created for this baby shower uses baby toys and care items on the tiers as decor. As you can see the one below uses simple ribbon and flowers as the decor.

No matter what theme, colors, or design you want to follow, I’ll create the perfect gift/centerpiece. Prices vary depending upon the size of the cake, the decor on the tiers, using items from the mom-to-be’s gift registry, etc.

If you’re interested in a diaper cake please send me a note by clicking the Ask Madindy tab at the top of the page. In the Subject line please indicate “Diaper Cake” and under Your Message please describe more about what you’d like to see included in your diaper cake, including when you’ll need to receive your diaper cake. I’ll reply with an estimated cost and some design ideas.

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry!

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry!

Many people get really upset when they find out the extensive list of foods they have to cut out when going GF.
They think no more bread, pasta, pastries, pizza, cookies, cakes…There’s no way I can do that! I’ll be hungry all the time!

I’m here to tell you that you can go GF, eat great food, and not go hungry!
Here are some tips to show you how. Here’s Tip #1…Stay tuned for more tips to come.

Tip 1: Change the way you think about food.
In the past when deciding what to eat your qualifications may have been as follows; It has to taste good.
Think about this mindset though…Eating food just because of taste, only satisfies one part of your body: the taste buds.
But your taste buds are only such a small part of your body.
If that food only satisfies your taste buds, but doesn’t provide your body with anything else that’s kind of a silly reason to eat it and yet many people’s diets are focused solely on what tastes good.

I agree that you should enjoy the taste of the food you eat, but you also have to look at why we need to really eat.
The main reason we have to eat is to fuel our bodies.

Going GF or going on a diet to lose weight often means cutting out many of the foods that you love because they taste good, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never eat tasty food again.
You just have more qualifications for your food now. Your food must:

  • Fuel your body to its highest functioning potential (meaning GF)
  • Not cause inflammation or an autoimmune response in your body (meaning GF)
  • Taste good

Stay tuned for more tips to come!

Gluten Free

Gluten Free

Most likely everyone has heard someone they know say they are “Going Gluten Free.” Unless you’ve been following a gluten free (GF) diet for a while or care for someone who follows a GF diet you may be curious as to what this GF thing really is.

In this new segment, Gluten Free, I’ll be demystifying this topic, telling my personal experience with going GF, as well as providing resources, product ideas, and recipes for those following GF diets.

So, first things first…Let’s demystify this GF thing!

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s not a grain itself, but is a component of these grains. Gluten is an elastic protein that causes baked goods to bind and makes them light and fluffy.

Why are so many people avoiding gluten?
Gluten itself is not inherently bad for you, but for people who have Celiac or simply have an intolerance to gluten its bad for them. Gluten intolerance and Celiac used to be very hard to diagnose because the symptoms can be synonymous with so many other ailments and diseases. Awareness of these issues has grown tremendously in the last few years and many people are now discovering that they simply “Feel Better” when following a GF diet.

What is Celiac and how is it different that having a gluten intolerance?
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness describes Celiac Disease as such: “Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten.”
www.celiaccentral.org/Celiac-Disease/21/

Celiac is determined genetically, meaning that if you have a family member that has it, you’re more likely to have it. Your doctor can see the first signs through a blood test.

Some people may not be able to digest gluten well, but do not necessarily have Celiac. These people are considered gluten intolerant. Gluten tends to be a very inflammatory food, which is one reason that many people feel better when they avoid it.

What are some of the symptoms of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance?
There are a wide variety of ways that gluten can affect your body. Some of the symptoms of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance include digestive issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal pain), fatigue, joint pain, poor weight gain, delayed growth, infertility, depression, thyroid disease, skin rash (eczema). For a Celaic Disease Symptom Checker visit www.celiaccentral.org/disease-symptoms-checklist/

Do you think you or someone you know may benefit from a gluten-free diet?
Do you know you’d benefit from a GF diet but think its too hard?
Don’t stress…I’ll point you in the right direction and give you great resources, recipes, and tips.
Hope you’ll keep following for more info to come in the weeks to follow!

Chocolate Cherry Clusters

Chocolate Cherry Clusters

I’m always excited when I find a recipe for a sweet treat that I can adapt to fit my restricted diet and in the same swoop make a “normal ingredient” batch for guests. The best part is that these Chocolate Cherry Clusters only have a hand full of ingredients and require no baking. And by the way, I loved them and so did my guests! Happy cooking this weekend!

Ingredients for normal batch:
3 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup dried cherries (I also used dried cranberries as well)
10 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (1 3/4 cup)
Powdered sugar (optional)

Ingredients for my dietary restricted batch:
3 cups GF cornflakes (I used Nature’s Path Organic Honey’d Cornflakes, GF)
1/2 cup dried cherries (I also used dried cranberries as well)
10 oz. GF, dairy-free, semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (1 3/4 cup) (I used Enjoy Life brand)
GF powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
I made my “special batch” first and then in the same bowls made the normal batch for my guests to save money, as the “special batch” costs quite a bit more to make. Also make sure to make “special batch” in the bowls first then the regular batch to avoid allergen contamination.

1. In a large bowl, break cornflakes into small pieces. Add cherries and toss together. Tip: I cut up the dried cherries to disperse more evenly.
2. Place chocolate in heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until chocolate melts, 3- 5 minutes. Pour melted chocolate over cornflake mixture, and with a rubber spatula, gently fold just until cereal and cherries are completely coated.
3. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I sprinkled with powdered sugar to make them look prettier. And set in a cool, dry place, 1 hour. Tip: place in fridge or freezer to speed up. Store in airtight container, up to 1 week. Makes 18.

*Recipe source Everyday Food, A Martha Stewart Magazine, January/February 2011 Issue.

Stay Healthy this Winter Part 4

Stay Healthy this Winter Part 4

Here’s Tip #4: Supplement

There are so many supplements advertised to take to keep your body healthy, especially during winter months. It can be really confusing and many people may just say “forget it”. So, if you are going to take 2 supplements this winter these are the two I recommend:

-Probiotics- Take a probiotic blend supplement. The quality and amount is crucial. Stick to a trusted manufacturer and 40 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day. Probiotics are marketed for digestive health, but remember that something like 80% of the immune system is tied into the digestive tract. Keep your digestive tract healthy and your immune system will thank you. I’ve personally tried many different brands and the one that I’ve found that works best for me is Dr. Zimmer’s 7 Blend Good Bacteria www.zimmernutrition.com. A little pricey, but it’s been worth it for me.

-Vitamin D- Your body produces it when your skin is exposed to the sun. So in colder temps when your skin sees a lot less of the sun, supplement it. Although the FDA suggests that the average adult needs 400 IUs of vitamin D, many other studies suggest that the average adult needs anywhere from 3000 to 4000 IUs. A blood test is the only way to determine the exact amount your body needs. I’ve found that Puritan’s Pride High Potency Vitamin D is a very good quality and really cost effective www.puritan.com

*As always, check with your doctor and do your own research before supplementing.

Stay Healthy this Winter Part 2

Stay Healthy this Winter Part 2

Here’s Tip #2: Drink

Fill up your glass at least 8 times a day with water to keep your body hydrated and flush your system, but go the European way and forget the ice. Downing cold liquids requires your body to exert energy to restore itself to its warmer temperature and also tightens the sinus cavities. So try room temperature water or warm herbal, roobios, or green teas. Drink to your health!