Why Not Girl! of the Week: Maggie Daley

Why Not Girl! of the Week: Maggie Daley

Photo Courtesy: Chicago Magazine

The city of Chicago is mourning the passing of former first lady Maggie Daley, a true Why Not Girl!  Daley died last Thursday after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.  She may be remembered by some as being the wife to former Mayor Richard Daley, who served as the city’s top executive for 22 years.  However for anyone who knows anything about the Daleys, they know that she was more than just the woman behind the man.

Maggie Daley played a key role in the beautification and environmental preservation efforts of Chicago.  She was a key player in the development of the city’s Riverwalk along the Chicago River as well as the installation of the flower beds that line Michigan Avenue.  In fact, each spring the city plants tulips named in honor of Daley, Tulipa Maggie Daley.  According to her husband, Daley was crucial in transforming the city so that it can live up to its motto, “urbs in horto,” or city in a garden.  In addition she transformed the city’s old library into the Chicago Cultural Center, a must-see for any architecture aficionado visiting the Windy City.  With its grand staircase and two stained glass domes, the Center can truly take one’s breath away.

Restoring the brilliance of Chicago’s arts and culture was a key mission for Daley’s life and founding the After School Matters program will be what she is remembered for most.  In 1991, Daley started a simple after school arts program that served 260 students.  The program began as an arts-related jobs-training program for city teenagers.  Now it serves 20,000 kids, exposing them in everything from theater, art, technology and architecture.

Maggie Daley showed us that although her husband held the title, the work that she accomplished was very much her own.  She has transformed the city into a place that is beautiful, clean and, in my opinion, probably envied by other major cities.  One may not have agreed with her husband’s politics, but for anyone who has lived in or visited Chicago, you can agree that the city of Chicago that you experience today would not be what it is if it wasn’t for Maggie Daley.


Why Not Girl! of the Week: Mila Kunis and Cpl. Kelsey De Santis

This week we’re celebrating two Why Not Girls!: actress Mila Kunis and Marine Corporal Kelsey De Santis.  These two women show that all that may stand between you and a night out with a Hollywood celebrity is an invitation via YouTube … and of course, extraordinary service to our country.

Cpl. De Santis famously invited actor and singer Justin Timberlake to a Marine Corps ball this past summer through a video she posted on YouTube, which has received millions of views including those of JT himself.   As you can see, De Santis knows how to call a guy out with her humor and her toughness.  In fact, she is the only woman serving at the Martial Arts Center for Excellence at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.  (Of course she should get a date with JT!)  Fortunately for De Santis Timberlake accepted her invitation and escorted her to the dance on November 12.  On his blog, Timberlake said that it was “one of the most moving evenings I’ve ever had” and thanked his date for being “my hero.”

On the flip side of the gene pool, Marine Sgt. Scott Moore posted his own YouTube invitation to actress Mila Kunis after making a bet with a fellow marine while serving in Afghanistan.  While some may say that Kunis had to accept the invitation after her “Friends With Benefits” co-star Justin Timberlake accepted his, I think we all agree that this was a girl saying, “Why Not!” to thanking one of our military heroes for his service by escorting him to a separate Marine Corps ball.

To both of these girls for putting themselves out there, Why Not Girls! say, “Hurrah!”

Put on Your Mouse Ears

Photo Courtesy: Why Not Girl!

Imagine this: a 30-something-year-old couple getting up just as early as they would for work are standing in line singing the chorus of the theme to the Mickey Mouse Club as they wait to get on the monorail which takes them right to the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.  They skip through the gates and head straight to Space Mountain in order to get their FastPass and skip the impending wait of long lines later.  The two cover the park and hit all of Disney’s must-do attractions: the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.  They eat hot dogs for lunch and follow them up with about a pint of cookies ‘n cream (for him) and mint chocolate chip (for her) before heading back to the cold weather of Chicago.  Now this may not seem like such a strange scene if they were accompanied by a stroller with a toddler in it or the desperate pleas of an eight-year-old to go hug Pluto, but they weren’t.  These two are at Walt Disney World by themselves with no kids in order to just act like kids themselves.  And we enjoyed every minute of it!

This past weekend my fiance Chris and I did just that.  We threw our age to the wind and acted a little bit “goofy” at the Happiest Place on Earth.  We took a couple hours to just have fun and enjoy some of our favorite childhood memories.  Now I have to admit that it took a bit of convincing to get Chris to go, but if the laughing and slight screaming as we plunged into Splash Mountain’s Briar Patch proved, this trip was definitely a positive experience for both of us.

So many times we kind of get bogged down with work, responsibilities, wedding planning and just the overall expectation that since you are now at a certain age you have to behave in a certain way.  Instead of giving in, we may just need to get on that amusement park ride that excited us when we were eight or get a scoop of our favorite flavor of ice cream on a hot day and not care about the calories.  Just a couple of hours of fun can help us revitalize our creativity, want and stamina to take on new challenges in our professional and personal lives.  As Walt Disney said when he opened Disneyland in 1955, “Here age relives fond memories of the past…and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”  

Sparkle and Shine

For those of you in Chicago tonight who are looking to get a bit dolled up and support a great cause, Girls on the Run is hosting their annual Sparkle and Shine Gala at the Drake Hotel.

Girls on the Run is a fantastic organization that encourages girls to live healthy lifestyles through running.  Some of their programs include in-school education and after-school fitness programs including their signature 5K events.

While I am not a part of Girls on the Run, a number of my friends and colleagues are.  Last year board members Diane Walker Markarian and Anne Sawkiw introduced me to the organization and I was given a chance to attend last year’s Gala.  It’s a fantastic event that not only allows you to give back by participating in their silent and live auctions, but also to just enjoy a wonderful night out at one of Chicago’s most signature landmarks.

I wish everyone involved in this year’s event success tonight and look forward to getting involved more in the future.

Why Not Girl! of the Week: Kathy McCabe

Kathy McCabe, Pat McCabe, Grand Cayman, sailing

Photo Courtesy: Kathy McCabe

There is no better person to be our inaugural Why Not Girl! of the Week than my mother Kathy McCabe.

I truly believe that she is the reason that this site even exists. For as long as I can remember my mom has always said, “I believe in you” to me and my three siblings no matter what we were attempting. Whether it be a basketball game, taking on a new job or running a half marathon, Mom has always supported us because she believes that life is about taking chances and putting ourselves out there. After all, life is just too damn short to just sit on your butt and do nothing.

For most of our lives, Mom has always been the head cheerleader in the McCabe Family as she encouraged us kids to try new things. However, it is great to see her now living her own words. She is known by many to be the center of the party (of course owning the margarita machine doesn’t hurt) and the organizer of fun. In fact, she is the one constantly inviting people to see Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and John Mellancamp concerts and is usually the first in her office to organize staff events at the Prudential Center or the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.

Kathy McCabe, 5Below, Ice Bar, Mandalay Bay

Photo Courtesy: Why Not Girl!

She was also the one to get us six floor tickets for U2’s Vertigo Tour in 2005. I may be wrong, but I highly doubt there were four other kids rocking it out with their mom only feet away from Bono at Madison Square Garden that night. In addition, during a family trip to Vegas to celebrate my youngest sister’s 21st birthday (yes, you read that right) it was my mom who said, “Why Not!” as she bought us all tickets (and drinks) at the Minus5 Ice Bar at Mandalay Bay. For my mom that night, there was nothing better than to act a little crazy and try something a little different with her family.

But her adventurous spirit doesn’t stop there. She is one of the founding members of an annual Women’s Wine Weekend event, which is now in its second year. Around 15 women head up to the Finger Lakes to take in the beauty of Upstate New York and enjoy a wide variety of wines. As the photo below shows, it is definitely known to be a good time and there is now a waiting list just to be invited.

Women's Wine Weekend, Finger Lakes, Upstate New York

Photo Courtesy: Kathy McCabe

My mom truly has proven that you can be a Why Not Girl! at any age. It’s not always about starting your own business or breaking a world record, but enjoying what life has to offer. It’s about getting your passport for your 50th birthday and traveling to Italy with your girlfriends. It’s about teaching yourself how to set up a computer so that your 90-year-old aunt can try out the internet. It’s about believing in yourself as much as you believe in everyone else.


Do you know someone who you would like to be featured as a Why Not Girl!? Read what we are looking for and send an email to lauren@whynotgirl.com.

Life’s an Adventure! Be a Why Not Girl!

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