Thursday, November 19, 2015

Try to be Shakespeare...

"Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate."

This was another quote read by my yoga instructor that perked me up. She described the meaning as not comparing yourself to others, but it reminded me of an article I recently read by Mark Manson called "In Defense of Being Average." The take away from the story 'was shoot for greatness, but be content with mediocrity.' It's a really great read that pinpoints how today's limited attention only allows for the extreme and can make us feel inadequate when in reality, most everyone falls somewhere in the middle, just like us. Real happiness lies in contentment when we embrace just that and--wouldn't you know it--stop comparing ourselves to others. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

You are not a tree.

I talk about leaving Chicago all the time. I don't know if I ever actually will, but after all these years here, the city has lost a lot of the allure that it had for me in the beginning.

Then I recently saw this quote on facebook (originally shared by Kenny Rogers) and decided I've either got to stop complaining or do something about it. Lots of life decisions to be made in the near-ish future, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Now Playing: Otherwhile

Digging this new Otherwhile album because, well, I love Stevie Nicks. I found their song "Die Hard" in Spotify's New Music Friday playlist today and it sounds just like the one with the scarves.

I can't find much about them, but apparently the band is led by former Ra Ra Riot cellist Alexandra Lawn, and in this Brooklyn Vegan article from last year they list Fleetwood Mac and The Pretenders as influences. ORLY.

Another song that stood out in the New Music list today was Donna Missal "Keep Lying," but I don't know anymore about her. Could just be an initial reaction. TBD.

"Are you SAD?"

A co-worker asked me this yesterday, referring to the seasonal depressive sads, and it got me thinking.

The last few weeks have been pretty rough for me, but for no particular reason. Yeah, weather has been getting colder and my public transit commute has been a special kind of hell lately, so I thought I was just feeling down because of that. But I feel like everything I attempt, whether it's as simple as getting to work or just trying to plan ahead a little bit is met with resistance. In short I've just been feeling generally down and discouraged. And angry. I have a lot of anxiety and anger, too. Plus my focus has been almost nonexistent, even writing and editing this post is hard to care about.

It's been especially bad since the daylight savings time change almost two weeks ago, so maybe the shorter days and lack of daylight combined with the other stuff really is affecting me. I always feel this way this time of year, but I think I'm more attuned to it this year since I'm working out more and not drinking alcohol as much to distract me.

For this very reason, I planned an extended warm getaway for the tough winter months, but that's still a couple months away. I've finally decided to get one of those phototherapy light boxes that a friend who goes through the same thing recommended, so hopefully that helps some. I'll go ahead and make a check-in appointment with my old therapist, too.

Anybody else got the sads? How do you deal with it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Back To The Future Day!

It's here. October 21, 2015. We're now officially in the future.

So many articles, interviews and playlists popping up about my favorite movie(s) Back to the Future and the predictions made for what is now present day. USA Today is even issuing a novelty copy of it's news paper (but not til tomorrow since, ya know, it was the next day's news that Doc had). I got up and ready early this morning to see the core cast interviewed on the Today Show complete with DeLorean. (I promise I'll get back to normal tomorrow, guys.)

Tonight to celebrate, I think I'll stop by Emporium Arcade Bar where they're unveiling the new Twin Pines Mall beer collaboration. Obviously it's a "heavy" IPA with spruce tips... They'll be showing the movies and the Cubs NLCS game, which is a wholenother story.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back To The Future Day Is Nigh

As the world already knows, the Cubs beat the Cardinals to advance to the NLCS, putting them one step closer to fulfilling the 2015 'Back to the Future II' prophecy. They're two games down to the Mets, but they come home tonight, so there's still hope.

I wrote a little something for the occasion for Chicagoist, basically wondering if we're in the right timeline according to the movie, or if we're in the skewed alternate timeline where a blonde butthead hotel entrepreneur rules...

It might look like I'm a Cards fan rooting for the Cubs, but I'd call it more of a plea. A plea to a baseball team to prove that we're in the correct space time continuum. Ok, maybe I'm really just a big fan of the game and of the Back to the Future movies.

'Back To The Future' Day Is Upon Us, But Which Timeline Are We In?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Go Cubs?

It's MLB Playoff season! Today is a big day for the Cubs because the newish Wild Card single playoff game will determine whether they have a shot at the World Series.

In fact, if not for this new playoff game, they wouldn't even have a chance. They're technically third in the division, meaning that division winners the Cardinals are automatically in, and number two Pirates would be the wild card rounding off the NL playoffs under the old rules. So I guess MLB is getting exactly what they wanted--the wild card game is making baseball more exciting.

Things are even crazier this year, though. These three teams--the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs--actually have the three best records in the entire league. But the playoffs aren't made of the best by total numbers.

But wait, there's more! It dawned on me the other day that the Cubs could clinch the NL pennant on Back to the Future Day (October 21, 2015). It's scheduled to be game 4 of the NLCS. According to the movie, the Cubs would have already won the World Series by this date, so it's not completely fulfilling the prophecy, but it's eerily close. I mean, I'm not saying that Robert Zemeckis predicted the future or anything. There's a lot of stuff from Back to the Future II that hasn't happened, but there is a guy that looks just like Old Biff running for president...

Back to the Future Day is October 21, 2015
It all comes down to tonight's game. Personally, I'd love to see the Cubs move forward. They'd play my home team the Cardinals next in the NLDS, which would be super exciting (and stressful) for me living in Chicago while rooting for the rivals. And I can't say I wouldn't be excited to see the Cubs go all the way. I'd like to see what happens to this town if they did, and I guess you could say that after 106 107 years, they're due.

You'll never see me cheer for them, but I wouldn't hate it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fun City Stuff

I talk A LOT about wanting to leave Chicago. Ever since I hit the decade mark and felt that I had earned my stripes, my excitement for the city has waned. Are the winters worth it? The hour-plus four mile commute? Sure it makes us feel tough and deserving, but for what?

Where would I go? Exactly. I'm still trying to figure that out. I know that I would miss the easy-access culture and always-happening events in the city that I take for granted now. For example: two events this week that I'm very excited about attending!

solarise. (photo by braden nesin/chicagoist)
First, Wine Under Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory. I love wine and I love the conservatory. Win Win! They've also got this really rad light art installation up for the next year called solarise: a sea of all colors. I'm excited to see it in person.

Then tomorrow night I'm going to the Museum of Contemporary art for their new after-hours series, Prime Time. I've talked about the Best Summer Ever, the year my friends and I spent a lot of time at the MCA, including the old after-hours party, First Fridays. This new series will happen less often, but sounds like it will be even more of a spectacle.

And capping off the weekend? Circus Cats.

Monday, September 28, 2015


We ventured outside for a rare celestial event last night, a total lunar eclipse with a supermoon. It's an event that hasn't happened in 33 years and won't happen again for another 18. We had our fingers crossed for a clear sky, and when we went out at first, we saw nada. Clouds everywhere. It was a beautiful night to be outside though, temps right around 70 degrees and dry. 

As we walked home from the 606 elevated trail (where we went to get a good view), we could intermittently see some of the moon, and we realized the eclipse was happening, the shadow was slowly covering the moon and it looked like a crescent. The moon was still white, which I didn't understand because everyone was saying how it was going to be this red/orange blood moon.

We grabbed a blanket from home and headed to the park nearby. Then, at the end of the hour, the clouds completely cleared and there it was. The the red harvest moon! I guess the shadow had to be completely over the moon to create the red glow, and I'll admit it was pretty cool.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Conversations with a two year old

This is my best friend's son. Isn't he just the cutest? They live in a different city, so I don't get to see them very often. It's tough because he's growing up so fast that he almost looks like a different kid every few months when I see him. And of course there's that selfish part of me that doesn't want him to forget who I am.

Thank goodness for FaceTime! This week I got TWO calls out of the blue because he decided he wanted to talk to me! We talked about baseball, ice cream, naps, castle and man...all the cool stuff that two year olds are into. And of course the guy with the drums (my husband).

Hopefully I'll make it into town soon to see them in person!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Festival Season In The Bag

Riot Fest 2015 is over* and thus closes another music festival season, or zips up the bag as it were. I always pack up my music fest wares, credentials, schedules and whatever else into a ziploc bag, and at the end of the summer I throw it into a box in my crawlspace.

I've never been much of a scrapbooker, as much as I wanted to be. I still have a half-finished scrapbook from high school, with all the other crap intended to go in it in a box with the book. I'll get to it one day... riiiight... It's usually when I'm looking for something specific in the box that I come across all those old memories (what day/time did so-and-so play at Lolla 2005???). Or when I move, but I've been living in the same place for almost six years now.

Who knows, maybe one day I'll have kids that will enjoy going through the boxes, trying on my wristbands and checking out the bands on the schedules noting who made it big and who they've never heard of.

*here's our Chicagoist coverage:
Day One
Day Two 
Day Three

Friday, September 11, 2015

Interviewing Me

Riot Fest returns to Chicago today, which reminded me about an interview I did at the fest last year with indie leather crafting co. In Blue Handmade. This time it was me being interviewed, which was weird since I'm normally on the other side asking the questions, but I think I did ok! They asked me about writing and journalism as part of their Between The Lines series where they talk to all types of writers--journalists, poets, songwriters, etc.

Thanks again to Katie and the In Blue Handmade crew for reaching out and being so cool to work with!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


That's not me, but I looked just like that. (Chicago Paddle Co.)
This Labor Day holiday weekend had it's ups and downs, but one of those ups was on a paddle board!

I went with my friend Irene up to Hollywood Beach to go Stand Up Paddling. I was nervous, but it wasn't quite as hard as I thought it would be. I didn't even fall off once! It's still a challenging workout though, especially for your core.

The season is pretty much over, but I'm looking forward to getting back out on the water next summer (or the next time I go on vacation!). I might even try a SUP yoga class!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making the cut.

Very dramatic moment last night as I cut my finger with one of our brand new wedding registry knives. It's not too bad, but it was scary because there was a lot of blood. Luckily Husband was there to take care of me or I would have been in a much bigger mess.

There's something weird about being in the moment you get hurt, it's almost like you're outside your body watching it happen. I literally felt nothing as I watched blood pour out of my finger, but I also didn't move, so it's good that someone else was there to direct me to the sink and clean me up. Shock is a crazy thing, isn't it?

On a related note, I think I need to take a knife safety cooking class. Do those exist? I thought I was being careful when in fact I was being very dumb.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Rock Doctors Are In

Last week on Sound Opinions the Rock Doctors addressed a very serious issue that has been plaguing ears all over. It's a terrible infection that Tankboy and I have dubbed Epic Folk. You know it, the "of monsters and lumineers and sons, the glut of hey-ho choruses, overused banjo and mandolin."

Seriously though, it's a great episode and it just might turn you on to some great new rock music.

And I'm with Jim and Greg, their patient should really consider a gig in music criticism. She's great at putting that abstract feeling into words.

UPDATE: Tankboy made it on air to inform the doctors of the name of the ailment that plagued their patient. Listen for the callers in the last five minutes of this week's episode.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back at the -ist

I've been back in the saddle at Chicagoist writing about dance going-ons in the city and helping out with summer music festival coverage. I guess you could say I took a break during wedding planning (and event recovery), but I'm excited to be writing again. I've got some cool stuff coming up this fall that I'm excited about, too.

Here's some of my recent dance coverage:
'So You Think You Can Dance' Tour Comes To Chicago Theatre This Fall 
Watch World-Class Dancers For Free At The Chicago Dancing Festival 
The Dancers Breaking The Color Barrier In Professional Ballet (my interview with the Joffrey Ballet's Erica Lynette Edwards about Misty Copeland's historical promotion to principal dancer at American Ballet Theater) 

And all our group previews and reviews from Pitchfork and Lollapalooza:
Lollapalooza 2015: Previewing The Undercard For All 3 Days 
Lollapalooza 2015 Day One: The Party Starts Earlier And Earlier 
Lollapalooza 2015 Day Two: A Raucous Ruckus 
Lollapalooza 2015 Day 3: Rock And Stormy Roll 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Preview: Friday 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Preview: Saturday 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Preview: Sunday 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Day One: It's Hot! And The Temperatures Are High Too 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Day Two: What A Roller Coaster 
Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Day Three: A Strong Finish

Monday, August 24, 2015


We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery
― Samuel SmilesThe Lives Of George And Robert Stephenson

This may not be the exact quote that my yoga instructor gave us at the end of class this weekend, but the message is the same. It reminded me of one of my favorite inspirational quotes about peace. I think about it often in attempt to stay grounded and present.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hideout Riverwalk?

Almost out of nowhere, the Hideout Riverwalk is opening today. That's right, the "hidden" music venue (where Husband and I also had our Wedding Party) has a second location on the newly revived--and very visible--Riverwalk downtown.

That's me! (photo by Husband/Tankboy)
We stopped by the soft opening last night, and the place is pretty cool. The bar inside is a mini-replica of the Hideout front porch (complete with 1354), and there's a bunch of outdoor picnic tables and a tiny Hideout stage (complete with sign--now in blue) where they'll have live music almost everyday.*  I could see myself spending a lot of happy hours here, especially since they're also serving handheld pot pies from Bridgeport Pasty. Here's a look at the complete menu:

* everyday but Wednesday and Saturday
Weekdays 5:30-7:30 and Sundays 1:00-3:00

Movie Night

At the end of the work day I'm tired. I tell myself I should read in the evening, but I always just end up watching TV until it's time to go to bed and wake up and do it all over again. It's monotonous, especially with the crappy reality shows and even crappier sitcoms that dominate network TV these days. It's so easy to just zone out in front of the screen. This week I've made more of an effort to watch things that I actually want to see instead of staring at whatever's on. I even started a list of online shows and movies I want to see instead of trying to remember when I'm already exhausted.

This week it's been a lot of movies. Here are the titles we've watched so far (and my amateur two cents on each one):

Welcome to Me
A new movie on Netflix starring Kristen Wiig. It's about this lady with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and then shenanigans ensue. Wiig is great in it, I've enjoyed watching her acting roles grow outside of the weirdos she played in her SNL days, but the movie as a whole was meh. The story arc and a lot of the "shocking" scenes felt flat and pointless in the end.

Horrible Bosses 2
This movie is unassumingly hilarious. I saw it on the plane on the way to our wedding and I was laughing out loud. I've been insisting that Husband watch it with me since it showed up on HBO. It's non-stop action and laughs, and if you ask me, I'd say it's better and even more ridiculous than the first one.

I still prefer hot guy Jake Gyllenhaal to serious actor dude that he's morphed into, but you cant deny that he's really good at creepy. I didn't even know what this movie was about (which might have made it better) and I didn't expect the turns it took. The plot isn't really all that scary, but the suspense and gore had me covering my mouth and eyes for a good deal of the movie.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

5 minutes

My husband told me about a writer who, in an effort to write every day, would pick a five minute part of his day that was worth talking about. Every day has a five minute moment that could serve as a prompt or make a good anecdote. After my seven month hiatus from the blog, and a lengthy hiatus from writing in general, I've decided to give it a try. Sometimes I back away from writing about something because I'm pressuring myself to analyze or find some bigger meaning, but not every piece has to be a novel!

I'm cheating a little bit with a story from last week because I kept telling it to friends and co-workers (though Husband getting stuck in a McDonald's vestibule during last night's storm while I was home alone could be amusing, too).

Husband and I decided to go for an evening walk, something we never do since we already walk everywhere (we live in the city and don't even own cars), but it was a nice night and we wanted to do something besides sit on the porch. Instead of walking toward the park, we walked up to the old Mickey's bar that had recently closed and is supposed to be turning into some sort of upscale tavern slash inn. We never walk up in this corner of the hood since it borders the interstate and isn't on the way to anywhere, so it was something different. After peeking in the windows and reading the permit postings, we strolled west down the next street. I hear this strange humming sound which isn't that unusual since the interstate is right there, but then it gets louder and we realize that it is a car horn and this banged up SUV comes flying around the corner right towards us! We leap out of the way towards the buildings, but the Jeep speeds straight down the street. The front end is completely smashed in and the driver has a the airbag laying in his lap. When I finally realize that I'm not getting hit by a car, I connect the dots that this person is probably in the run stage of a hit-and-run. By the time I think to look for a plate though, he's too far down the street to read it. It all happened very fast. We go by our neighborhood Corner Bar to compare notes (Jeep went by them, too), and then look around the hood, but didn't find any evidence of a wreck. Later, we were able to put the pieces together on our Facebook neighborhood watch page, and the good news is the guy was caught. Good thing since I was feeling guilty about not acting fast enough to get a plate, but like Husband said, he wasn't going to get far with the horn stuck blaring like that. Turns out the vehicle smashed into the corner of a condo building a few blocks away and then hit several parked cars while trying to get away.

Never a dull moment in the city!

Friday, August 14, 2015


Hello? Is anyone there? I can't tell through all these interwebz cobwebz. It's almost hard to believe that my last post was last November--nine months ago!

Actually, it's not that hard to believe. I did get married, and unlike all those bloggers who share every step of the planning process, I kept most everything pretty private. No shame towards those bloggers though, many of them actually helped me through planning my own semi-traditional wedding. I just didn't feel much like re-visiting a step once it was completed. There was so much to do and there were always more tasks waiting when you checked something off the list.

For how much work we avoided by doing two semi-casual events, it was still a ton of work and almost every step had a lot more emotion attached to it than I expected, which, to be honest, was pretty draining. I can't imagine how intense the engagement period would be for a bride managing a diy wedding with lots of vendors!

In the end, our destination ceremony and local party were perfectly us. I did learn a lot about tradition and etiquette, mostly so I knew what rules I was breaking and doing so with intention. I have no regrets about anything we left out, and just as important, no regrets about anything we included. It was nice to have total control so that we didn't feel obligated to do anything we didn't want to do. Not that either of our families are the controlling type, they all just wanted us to be happy. And our priority was that everyone was relaxed and had fun. I'm pretty sure we all succeeded.

Enough words, though. Pictures are what everyone really wants. Here are a few choice pics from our Vegas ceremony at the Cosmopolitan (pics by the lovely Danelle from Imagine Studios), our photo shoot at the Neon Museum the day before (pics by our dear friend Aubrey of Aubrey Jane Photo), and our reception party at The Hideout (pics by Mr. GlitterGuts himself, Eric).