Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Meltdown

Don't have a mid-week meltdown! Here's something to do in Chambana to calm your nerves post-Christmas.

Not this.

Go to a local wine shop (Corkscrew, Sunsinger). Buy a bottle. Go home. Pour glass. Get your favorite magazine or flip on a mindless show on the boob tube. Chill. Fall asleep by 9pm.

Or at least this is what I plan to do. With hopefully some food in there somewhere...

Otherwise, find some way to treat yourself today. The holidays have me emotionally spent this year. I love giving people gifts, and catching up at dinner with family members.

This year, I had a sinus infection and a dog that chose to gobble someone's plate the one second I wasn't watching her. This means that instead of conquering Monopoly with my overly competitive family (like I OBVIOUSLY would have done...) I had to nurse a vomiting dog and come home early. Boo.

If you stayed home and actually WANT to get out of the house, Mike N Molly's is doing their weekly trivia night (8-10p, free) with DJ Otter spinning afterwards ($1 cover, support local music!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Meltdown

                               Vid NSFW. I mean, it is a rant afterall...
Don't have a mid-week meltdown, here's something to do tonight to forget about how rough your last hump day before Christmas was:  
I mean, come on.. who doesn't love shoes? As long as they let me kick mine off and try a pair on, I'm good. I kid! I kid! But I'm sure it would be quite interesting. Today from 9-5pm.


Or, if you are looking for something post-dinnertime DJ Belly is doing Open Decks at Radio Maria. Here's your chance to get wasted and try to DJ. This is probably the perfect recipe for getting over a mid-week meltdown. Check it out! Tonight at 10. If I tried, it would be about as awesome as the image above. I might just have to scurry over there tonight.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Meltdown

Don't have a mid-week meltdown! Here is something to brighten your spirits: Todd Yohn (famed comedian) will be performing standup at Memphis On Main tonight!
Todd Yohn's sassy headshot.

Info on Todd (stolen from his FB):  
Todd has appeared on HBO, SHOWTIME, VH-1, and COMEDY CENTRAL. He has worked with Glenn Campbell, The Four Tops, Charlie Daniels, and is Joan Rivers' favorite opening act (in his price range). His humor and songwriting have made him one of the ORIGINAL "regulars" of "The Bob and Tom Show." Simply put, Todd does comedy the way comedy was meant to be performed.

Info on Event:
After a sold out show in July, Todd Yohn is back in Champaign! One night only come see Todd Yohn bring his high energy and unpredictable stand up comedy to the Memphis on Main Stage.

Hosted by C-U

With performances by:
Rich Castle
Kenny Wilcoxon
Justin Tuttle

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. ONLY 90 tickets available and over 30 are already gone. E-mail OR visit for all the info.

Monday, December 10, 2012

UC Smiles = ??

Here and there I've been hearing weird talk about made-up local currency. WHAT is going on? Is this even legal?? Turns out, yes. When done properly a community can have their very own, special, local currency.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Meltdown

Brain Filler: 50 Freakout GIFs - Image 26

Don't have a mid-week meltdown, here's something to do tonight to forget about how rough your hump day was:

Gurrrlll.... You know I gotta give my Wednesday Meltdown shout out to my Twin City Derby Girls!!
Tonight at Emerald City Lounge the Twin City Derby Girls are thanking their 2012 Season Sponsors and are giving deets on how YOU can become a sponsor for the 2013 season. Trust me, you WANT to be a part of this roller derby league. They are really going places and are quickly becoming a highly competitive force to be reckoned with!

Here's the info:
Twin City Derby Girls Sponsorship Appreciation Happy Hour
Tonight, 6-8pm, Emerald City Lounge, Free event
Snacks will be provided and there will be some great drink specials. Plus, you'll get to meet TCDG members!

More info on Chambana's roller derby league can be found at:

PS: For funsies, here's me jamming this season. I'm the one in blue ready to rip your head off. Or, you know, skate really fast.

Photo Cred: Laura Fitch

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tonight in C-U: Cupcakes + Rock 'N Roll

My husband (Keith Norton) is in a band called Cody & The Gateway Drugs. They are playing at Cream & Flutter tonight in Downtown Champaign and you should go! They are on at 9pm and it is a free show so get your cupcake on and get ready to groove.

Here's what band member Cody Sokolski says about tonight... "Candlelight debut of Cody & The Gateway Drugs will launch their quiet roar tour Saturday Night. Featuring the incredible too cool for school Keith Norton, the incredible, heart as big as Tejas, David Howie, and the sultry & mysterious Madame X aka Katie Flynn"  

If that's not enough to get you there, well I just don't know what is! If you see me, stop and say hey!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Meltdown


Don't have a mid-week meltdown,
here's something to do tonight to forget about how rough your hump day was: 3rd Annual Birthday Bash!
Tonight, 7-9pm, Indi Go Artist Co-Op - 9 E University Ave/Champaign
$10 Tickets at the door, food and drinks from Michaels' Catering, entertainment, door prizes from local retailers, and more
All of proceeds go to Champaign County YMCA

Mike N Molly's - 105 N Market Street/Champaign
Trivia Night, 8-10p, Free

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gift Guide - Where to shop in Chambana for those people you kinda know.

Okay, so the hardest part of the holidays is when you end up buying for people you don't know that well. Or, perhaps you know them well but are just stumped on where to start shopping. I've come up with a list of my most encountered people categories and some stores that they would love!

Dudes can be difficult to shop for because they always shrug their shoulders and are like "uuhhh I don't know.." or throw out a $300 gaming system that you can't afford. So here's my advice:

The Dude

--likes: beer, sports, outdoor activities, and probably fire
Where to shop in Chambana?  
Gameday Spirit (team apparel and the like)
Champaign Surplus (outdoorsey/adventurous gifts)
Picadilly Beverage Shop (alcoholic beverages). also, very soon Common Ground Food Co-Op may offer brewskis as well! *Update: Common Ground now DOES offer brewskis and more!
Jos. Kuhn & Co. (ties for dad, nice clothes, and really sweet hats)
Body N' Sole Sports (athletic gear)
Record Swap (records/CDs)
Exile On Main Street (records/CDs, dvds, video games)
Live Action Games (vintage video game systems/games)
Furniture Lounge (sweet duds, records, and beer memorabilia)
CV Lloyde Music Shop (guitars, sound stuff, nice headphones)

(ps: i'm not really much of a "pinner" but i have a pretty sweet "Dude" board that could possibly inspire gift ideas)

Girls are tough because they always say "Oh, you don't have to get me anything...." but you know you do and that it shouldn't be the typical Bath & Body Works gift basket (trust me, don't even try it). Here's my advice:

The Lady
--likes: crafting, wine, a good scarf, and probably fire.. in candle form
Where to shop in Chambana?
Needleworks (needle-working supplies, and other crafts)
*Update 12/21: You can also check out Klose Knit for yarn!
I.D.E.A. Store (all kinds of fun random stuff you could use for crafting + benefits local education)
Art Mart (good for stylish housewares, cute gifts, jewelry, gourmet foods & wine, and treat yo' self type items)
Findings (high quality clothing and jewelry)
Circles (high quality clothing, shoes, accessories)
Checkered Moon (unique gifts, quality clothing, nice accessories)
Jane Addams Bookstore (books, greeting cards)
*Update 12/21: Check out Corkscrew for wine and liquor as well!

People with kids know everything to get another person's child. If they're 3, they probably wear this size of clothing and can play with this type of toy and can eat this type of food. If you don't have a kid, all of those things are a mystery and, frankly, are a little terrifying to try to figure out. Here's my advice on where to start, and remember: one awesome thing about shopping local is that the people at these stores will actually help you.

--likes: anything with noise, lights, and that requires batteries
Where to shop in Chambana?
Art Mart Toys (neat kid toys, some kid wear too)
Checkered Moon (kid toys, stylish kid wear)
Dallas & Company (stocking stuffer type toys, dress up clothes)
All Things Kids (resale shop with toys, books, clothing)
Orpheum Children's Science Museum (get a membership!)
B. Lime Online ("green" kiddo stuff)
Babyland (clothes, toys, supplies)
Jane Addams Bookstore (books)

Ahhhh, the ?? category. The people you get roped into shopping for that you hardly know. Co-worker gift exchanges, the in-laws, etc. With this category, you don't want to get anything too specific, but you want it to feel like you really thought about it. Here's my advice:

The People You Hardly Know
--likes: .... no idea.
Where to shop in Chambana?
Art Mart and Checkered Moon both have great gifts for all types of people. Almost anyone would appreciate one of the hilarious Fred & Friends household products (e.g. mustache corkscrew) and both of these stores sell them!

If you'd like to go the gift certificate route, here are some of my favorite places: The Art Theater, Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, Big Grove Tavern, Sushi Kame, Zojo Cafe, Aroma Cafe (currently offering a gift cert incentive. buy certain $$ gift cert, get $$ free. sorry, i forget amounts)

I hope this helps! I've linked each referenced store so you can get to know a little about them or find them if you're not sure of their location.

I'd also advise you go ahead and click the Treat Yo' Self link I tagged above because, well, its awesome. And watch the Big Lebowski video again, just to ENSURE your day is amazing.

Finally, many of these stores are offering Shop Small Saturday discounts. Learn more about those in my previous post. PS: Feel free to comment with any other stores you think would be a good addition to this list!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Local Black Friday/Shop Small Deals via + A few of my own finds!

Okay so I'm typing up some shopping recommendations, but until that is post-worthy here is an awesome round-up by about Black Friday/Shop Small Saturday deals at local businesses!

Follow this link for local deals courtesy of!

You can also download the Center City Perks App put out by Champaign Center Partnership. It is FREE and has all kinds of specials/discounts for local businesses!

Other deals I've found (and am super excited about!) are:

Recently Added: Circles Boutique: Nov 24 get 20% off coats and jackets, as well as Deana Rose Jewelry.

Checkered Moon: Purchases up to $100 = 10% off / $100-$300 = 15% off / over $300 = 20% off!

C.V. Lloyde: Spend $50, get $10 back in C.V. Lloyde Gift Cert (for each $50 spent) 11/24-12/29

Furniture Lounge: This Nov 23-25 get 20% off clothing & smalls (furniture not included). Also, Every $25 spent gets you an entry to win either a Bertoia Chair OR a Saarinen Side Chair (shown wrapped in their  front window) now through Dec 23. (drawing on Christmas Eve the 24th). 

Exile on Main Street: Buy 2 items, get 3rd free.  Also, 50% off used DVDs/Blu-Ray Now-?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overcoming your shop local fears... pt. 2

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Any products or stores mentioned are based off my personal experience. 

Today, I will address more common concerns with shopping local...

“I worry that shopping local is out of my budget.” - Sometimes, shopping local is seen as more expensive and sometimes it is true. You are often getting higher quality goods in comparison to big box stores. As a person on a budget though, I’ve been able to make it work for a few different reasons. Firstly, because the goods are higher quality you can get away with giving less. Let’s say I’m giving someone a gift from Forever 21. I end up feeling guilty for the undoubtedly poor quality of item and buy them a few more last minute things which are usually impulse buys which are usually 1) not that useful, 2) not that meaningful, and 3) more expensive. That’s why I like giving locally bought goods. You will typically get a better product that you can feel great about giving.

Sorry, I had to.
I’d like to note, however, that local small shops have clearance items and sales just like any other store. For example, I’ve gotten some really cute Betsy Johnson tights from Circles at half the price because they were on clearance. I’ve worn them multiple times for long nights out and there are no visible tears unlike their big box store counterparts (which I tend to destroy and then end up wearing them for derby). Or, as I mentioned in my previous post, Exile on Main Street will do promotional sales like "buy 3, get 1 free". With as many music fans as I have in my family, this is a totally worthwhile sale. So, go like some local stores on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and keep an eye out for amazing sales! I know you secretly have Facebook already open in another tab right now anyway, so get to it!

"I doubt any local stores will have anything Aunt Clara would like..." - I could see some concerns about your local offerings being too limited. It is easy to visit one of the big box stores (should I just start calling them BBS? Yeah, Imma do that) and pick out a random gift for each person in your family. You may feel less satisfied than eating an overcooked steak, but at least the chore of gift buying is done. Wait… we’re buying these gifts to show our family and friends how much we love them,  right? So let’s do a little research (or I’ll do it for you) and figure out what unique and locally beneficial gifts we can buy right here in stores owned by our neighbors. Chambana has something for everyone! There are stores like Gameday Spirit for the sports enthusiasts, Furniture Lounge for the cool cats you know (and yes, they have everything from $2 stocking stuffers to $300 dining tables, nearly unlimited options!) and places like CV Lloyde Music Center and Skins-N-Tins Drum Shop for the musicians in your life... But wait, wait! I'm getting ahead of myself. We will get to name dropping soon. What I'm trying to explain is that there are many beautiful people in your life and many unique gifts offered locally that you can get for them! With such a large number of locally owned stores in this area, you won't have any issues picking out a gift for each person on your list.

Up next... a couple store suggestions for diff types of people (think: buying for coworkers, your mom, and kiddos)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Overcoming your shop local fears... pt.1

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Any products or stores mentioned are based off my personal experience.

First off, let me overcome some common shop small objections.

 “I don’t know where to start, big box stores have everything I need!” – Perhaps I’m a snob, but getting generic gifts from a big box store does not feel nearly as amazing as getting something unique that goes right back into our local economy.  Giving a gift bought locally feels different, too.  For example, I walk into Exile on Main Street looking for the perfect gift for my bestie. (Wanda Jackson on vinyl, anyone?) Talking about the new releases with owner Jeff (who knows everything about everything) inspires me to pick out a gift for brother-in-law while I’m at it. BAM! I walk outta there with all kinds of new goodies, had a good chat, and most likely took advantage of a buy 3 get 1 free sale ;) It feels awesome to pick out something unique and personal, rather than grabbing the first CD I see on the "Popular" shelf. Bottom line is that big box stores will only have what the general population wants. Your friends are better than that… right?

“I just get everyone gift cards, I don’t have time for picking out presents.” - Cool with me, you know that most of our local stores offer store credit of some kind, right? You can get really creative giving local gift cards. For example, I’d personally LOVE some store credit at Art Mart in Lincoln Square Mall (Urbana) or Carrie’s in Downtown Champaign.  (I’m not begging or anything…) Just pin down who you are shopping for and I’m certain there’s a store for them in this area! (if you're not sure where, just hit subscribe now, because I'll be talking about that soon)

Speaking of gift cards… Give the gift of FOOD! You know those local restaurants that you command Aunt Ruth to go to every time she’s in town? The ones you’re absolutely obsessed with? (Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, I’m lookin’ at you) Those are the types of places you gotta get your local (or even non-local!) friends gift cards to. The stomach is the way to the heart… yadda yadda… its true. Big Grove Tavern is a new obsession of mine. Turns out they sell gift cards, too. There are also amazing cafes and stores like Strawberry Fields, Aroma CafĂ©, and WalnutStreet Tea Company that sell caffeinated gifts and accessories for your loved ones. So, if you don’t know whether they’re a tea or coffee person just get them a gift card and sassy mug that says “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my caffeinated beverage.” Wait, do they make any that generic? Okay, get them one with Snoopy on it instead.

Next up.... 2 more shop local fears and how to overcome them. Coming soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shop Local Chambana + Free Download!

Okay so people get stressed about shopping local. I hear many say that it sounds too difficult, too expensive, too limited, etc. I completely disagree and want to give you my holiday shop small business guide for Champaign-Urbana that will help you realize that shopping local is easy and exciting! Because there are so many great places to shop and people to shop for, this will be a series of posts. You’re welcome ;)

Also, no matter where you are, shopping local and small is of utmost importance! If you're feeling sassy, you can use my simple design shown below as your Facebook cover photo to remind yourself and your beautiful friends to stay committed!