Archives for February 2013

Experiencing Valentine’s Day

Experiencing Valentine’s Day

How many people actually remember what they got for Valentine’s Day last year?  How about the year before?  I would venture not too many of us recall those gifts.  But, what if the gift was a trip to Napa Valley touring the wineries and vineyards?  Chances are pretty good that we would remember THAT gift, right?

Lulu’s Valentine’s Day party looms large in the Keats household.  Of course, because I work at a Stationary/Craft store that specializes in fantastic, creative and colorful cards and gifts, the pressure is on  to deliver something unforgettable for Lulu’s class. I’ve already spent a small fortune pulling together the Valentine’s surprises for Lulu.  Once I finished buying the stuffed animals, cards and candy, I started to wonder how much is too much to spend on Valentine’s Day?  Is it normal to spend $40 on specialty cards that our children must assemble and decorate prior to giving to her classmates? Is there a right amount?  How much should Adam and I spend on each other?  What, exactly is “love” worth on Valentine’s Day?  So, like any good mom addicted to google, I looked for an interesting infographic to share on my site:  


Courtesy of: CashNetUSA It’s Economic

I’ve come to a decision.  My love cannot (and should not) be measured with dollars.  I guess I can’t be included in these statistics because this year, it’s not for sale.  In lieu of tangible objects, I have requested that my loved ones shower me with great experiences.  It looks like  agrees with my preference too. (At last!  Some validation!) Today’s article entitled “Last Minute Valentine’s Gifting: Survey Reveals Consumers Want an Experience” identifies that more and more couples (or in our case families) are craving having experiences like going to concerts, musicals and other large group venues.   (Monster Trucks anyone?)  I guess it’s time to throw away that gift box and candy I was going to give Adam tomorrow for Valentine’s Day because we have decided to go tUniversal Studios Orlando for Valentine’s Day, President’s  Day, Mardi Gras and Purim: It’s a celebration of multiple holidays wrapped into one adventure.

We are hitting the road and venturing down to Florida to embrace:

  1. The sun (Sorry, but when you live in Chicago, it’s hard not to crave a warm sun shining on your white & pasty skin)
  2. The Despicable Me Minions
  3. Mardi Gras parade to rival the ones in New Orleans
  4. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  5. And, of course, my personal favorite, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Best of all, I will toast Valentine’s Day with my two favorite people: Adam and Lulu.  Better yet, we’ll all be drinking butter beer!

butter beer

Mmm….Butter Beer. Lulu gets a Butter Beer Mustache in front of Hogwarts.

Wishing everyone a sunny, love-filled Valentine’s Day!  I can’t wait to experience my gift!

Hyundai Santa Fe: My One True Love Is Inanimate.

Hyundai Santa Fe: My One True Love Is Inanimate.

I Love My Car

I Love My Car

Dear Betsy–

Before I knew you, I wanted you.  I’ve longed for you since I first saw Demi Moore drive off with your cousin in St. Elmos Fire.  Each day when I am in the car pool line, behind the Cadillac Escalades and the random Hummer or two, I am proud to be in my fire engine red Hyundai Santa Fe.  Those cars have nothing on you and, trust me, are not loved nearly as much as I love you, my sweet, wonderful dream of an automobile.

Knowing of your mere existence, incited emotions in me that I did not know I possessed (at least not at age 13.) I begged my parents when I was a mere teen, and then again in my twenties for permission to meet and spend my life with you.  My declarations of love and adoration were discarded as a passing fancy.  As if someday I would turn my back on you and secure a more mature acquisition.

You are red; the color of fire, speed and the sun.  On the inside you are soft and allow the sun to shine on those chilly Chicago days when I begin to lose hope of ever seeing sunlight again.  Did you know that, like a lover waiting for her soulmate, I purchased a red down parka and red cowboy boots well in advance of your arrival?  I knew that someday you would enter my life and we would be together until the salt started to dissolve your internal organs.

It took some cunning and conniving for us to be together.  I had to dispose of the competition.  It took me a few years but eventually the others just couldn’t keep up with the Chicago winters. Many complaints were lodged by those wanting to take you home. But you chose me.

Betsy!   As soon as we are together, you take pains to ensure my every comfort. Like ever so slightly toasting my buns when the days are frosty with your awesome butt warmer. Or by blowing cool air on me when it is hot outside. Your windows automatically open with a bush of a button.  You ensure that I have plenty of spots to place my drinks, my food, csmart phone, computer, tablet–well, you understand.  Your leather seats cushion my bottom after a long and arduous workout. And regardless of what we leave inside of you daily (apple juice, an old banana or cleats) you do your best to smell fresh and clean.   You take such pains to accommodate my every need.  You’ve always been like that.

Aesthetically, Betsy, you remind me of a Gaudi sculpture.  You are smooth, without harsh lines or edges.  You are whimsical and are not afraid to show your lighter side. You rarely show the random nicks and bruises received by traversing the City of Chicago.  Nor do you advertise when you have been hiking in the woods and come out covered by pine sap, bird poop and camping clutter.  You just remain the same fire engine red truck with whom I fell in love.

There is talk about replacing you for a newer, faster, shiner model these days.  I want to assure you that, until you are ready to quit me, I will never quit you.  So, please go on consuming massive quantities of gas and oil.  I know that, after all of these years, you’ve developed some expensive habits like getting poor milage in the city and on the highway.  It’s to be expected.  But I don’t blame you.  Keep shining on my beautiful girl.

Affectionately Yours,

Renee, aka Windy City Momma



Oh! The Splendor and Beauty of the 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe