February 22, 2017

In The Heat of February

Well, well, well.

Chicago lost it's collective mind this weekend after it hit over sixty degrees, and continued to linger on for most of the week. While I wish I could have utilized the weather a little better, time was spent wrapping up projects and trying to give myself a bit of rest after what seems to have been a non-stop couple of weeks. I soaked up a few rays of sunshine today as it hit near seventy. Oh, the glory!

It seems as though I had been up to something nearly every day or evening and it just took it's toll. I finally went to see a doctor last Wednesday after having symptoms of a sinus infection for what seemed months (it was months). I hate admitting that I'm sick or that I have to actually go on some medication for what's going on with my body. This time I got three different things to take for it, and I finally feel better. It's a bit bonkers to think about how long I went just trying to get used to feeling like that. So it goes.

But whilst suffering that little infection, I had a rather fantastic time dabbling in a few other things; I FINALLY WENT TO THE AUTO SHOW. My own mind was blown at the fact that I had never been. Also, I had to go see the Maybach. For me, that was like going to see Concorde in person (which I did on a detour from DC to Virginia just to see it, along with the SR-71 Blackbird)  I mean, that's really all I needed to see there, but it was nice to stroll around and see things shine. I'm a big luxury vehicle fan, and had a glorious time sitting in all the Maserati's, except the Gran Turismo, they had that sucker locked-up. Of course they did. Above all else, I think I had the most fun getting extremely stressed out whilst watching the test tracks. Shoutout to Jeep for a glorious stress-fest (truly the best kind)

{Check out: 'The Trees In Russia'  and 'Wake Up Gladiator'}

I went to Schuba's last Monday to check out The Flashbulb take it slow and then make it funky. I had a feeling he was on tour, so I'm glad I got the inkling to check that out a few weeks ago. It's always righteous to look up and see an artist is on the road and still be able to snag tickets before they hit your city. We could talk about how sad I am that this was not the case with D.R.A.M last month or with Run The Jewels (they're here this week, I believe). It was really neat to see this played out live. I've been listening to his albums, specifically Nothing Is Real and Arboreal, for the past few months. As I dipped into some other stuff, I found he has quite an array of sounds. I didn't know exactly what his show would touch on, but it was a lovely selection that came together rather nicely. I would have stuck around after the show to snag a few words with him, but I had a 5am wakeup time and the show wrapped at 11:15 or so. 

And then it was Valentine's Day. Dan called me a few weeks ago telling me about Sumi Robata Bar and that he booked a reservation there, mainly because he was super curious about it, and knew I would probably dig it. Indeed I did! We ordered almost everything on the menu, at least on the Robata side. Once we started, we basically just kept upping our order. I am so glad that I could hold out for one more night so I could go here. Such a great time working our way through various courses. However, I woke up the next day feeling the collective effect of not taking care of your body. Even though I had the protein of so many animals kicking about in my system and not one, but two bowls of miso soup, nothing was enough to repair what was going on.

After a full round of meds and a few days on the low vibe, I'm almost back to normal. Full normalcy seems like a stretch at this point. I'm trying to take advantage of any bit of relaxation I can muster, the busiest day of the work day is next Tuesday and it's actually quite insane {Packzi Day}. What feels like half the city floods through the doors throughout the day. While it's madness, its also rather glorious. The excitement, the running around, and my most beloved task, keeping the team jazzed as hell. This is accomplished by just yelling and having a blast. There's nothing else you can do in that situation except just try to make it fun. The most difficult thing will be trying to muster up that energy after 8 straight shifts in a row, with the final one being the longest and the most enduring. BRING. THAT. SHIT. ON.

Onto the music! Here's what I'm vibin' on at the moment;

Desperado by Rihanna
Float by FTSE {Ft. Kenzie May}
Go Robot by Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Wait For You by SOULS
Love$ick by Mura Masa
I Am You by Nightmares On Wax
Without by Sampha
Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson
San Andreas Fault by Natalie Merchant
Headlock by Imogen Heap
Love Is Mystical by Cold War Kids
Hustle Rose by Metric
Spirit by Future Islands
We could talk about the MAJOR phase I went through with the album 'Singles' a couple summers ago. It was pretty much all I listened to for a solid three months. It makes me want to dance, cry, laugh, feel, and share it, so much so that I made a scarf based on the album cover. I'm actually really surprised I didn't devote an entire post to them during that period of time.

In other crocheted projects;

I made this baby blanket for a friend and co-worker who's due next month.
It's been awhile since I've been in blanket territory. It was good to be back.

Although I was plenty busy with this for a few days, I cranked out a few other projects that will be hitting the shoppe soon. While this was enough on it's own to do within a five day period, I found that once this was finalized, I kept wanting to crochet and keep creating. That is where I am able to really find some sense of self. I love turning a thought into a concept., and a concept into a design. I want to create on a much larger scale, with greater mediums. I'll have to see what I can do about that. But for now, I'm going to see what I can do about getting some serious sleep. TG

February 6, 2017

Dipping into 2017

When I first started writing this post, 2 months ago, it was a delightful four degrees outside, which was a major upswing from that morning's negative numbers, and wind chills creeping lower beyond that. So this city does what it does best and looked awful whilst trudging around in nine coats and three pairs of pants (it happens to the best of us, but not me because I took an Uber to work).

If I can recall winter 2015, which I definitely can, I remember it being super mild, like, sitting-in-parks mild because it was fifty freakin' degrees in the heart of December. But 2016 it was when this post was being written, which in every other sense was a total bitch, so it seems on par. I also feel like those who had a "good" 2016 are keeping that slice of information to themselves. It would very much be like claiming your adoration for the Cleveland Indians in the final week of October in Chicago. You just didn't do it. But while the weather was rather miserable, there have been some beautiful flurries that momentarily coat the city in wonder and beauty. Luckily today is not one of those days, as the temperature reads in the mid forties.

Whatever, let's get to the good stuff, which is music. I feel such a large shift lately. I will FOREVER be an XRT girl. That is where my core base of music is and it will never, ever be neglected by my musical soul. I just find that I'm gravitating towards an array of other things I haven't been into in a long time, or have been, just haven't properly shared. I know I briefly touched on this topic in my last post, but music transitions are huge, and perhaps hit me harder than they would most. I typically have about two or three each year; where I listen to particular groupings of certain genre's. I never know what it's going to be, but usually it's something I already love and have completely neglected for at least a year, as if it's a musical Rolodex, and there are somethings that just stay in the background for longer than you intend them to. I guess it's all about the mood, and the mood always has the ability to change.

This particular set of music has come to me at all different times, from numerous sources. Some old, some new. I've been listening to these particular jams and the albums they belong to, quite a bit over the past two months. I have been in such a whirlwind, that it leaves me little time to write, but so much time to listen.

{Heavy in Rotation}

Wolf and I by Oh Land
Legend Has It by Run The Jewels
Okay, sidenote; I've been a RTJ fan for a minute now, and a month or so ago
my cab driver asks me which radio station I would like for him to put on.
Obviously, I chose XRT. It's The Big Beat with Jason Thomas. He plays
'Noise Pollution' by Potrugal. The Man (solid jam), and THEN PLAYS THIS SONG.
I lost my mind in the back of this car. Chicago's Finest Rock bringing my
other finest choice into the mix. HOT DAMN! What a moment. Also, this song solidifies
my final decision in needing a pair of nunchucks. I need to just throw down to this song.
and every other Run The Jewels song.
Demon Days by Gorillaz
Outlier by Bonobo
Say Something Loving by The xx
Obsessed upon first listen.
Adorn by Miguel
Holy. Shit.
Oui by Jeremih
My girls were bumpin' GCI in the back at work one day, MONTHS AGO, I heard this song AND FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. I had no idea who it was by, all I knew was "ah ah yah" and that apparently helped no one. I hadn't heard it again until 5 days ago. I thoroughly flipped out and was finally able to find out who it was by and it's title. THE SATISFACTION WAS REAL. This is an album I've been listening to in full. Another rather sexy jam off Late Nights: PLANEZ (ft. J. Cole). If this guy needs a dancer for any show or tour he ever does, he can contact me.
Hard Liquor by SOHN
Hot Thoughts by Spoon [NEW SPOON! YES!]
Déjà Loin by Yann Tiersen
I put 'Fervier' on my Halloween mix a couple posts ago because it was
extremely appropriate. However, I've been listening to him for years. I even
went to see him live hoping I'd get to hear some of the songs I love most. 
Nope. Anyway... his album, C'était ici, has to be one of my all time favorites.
He's behind the music for Amelie, which hopefully helps familiarize his work.
I listened to this album straight through twice in a row a few weeks ago whilst decorating cookies.
Houdini by Foster The People
Shades of Cool by Lana Del Rey

All in all, 2017 has been an interesting array of emotions compacted into what feels much more than two months in. Overall, things have been going well. There's always room for improvement and progression, and right now I need a lot of both. There have been a lot of great things going on and ways I've been keeping myself plenty busy. Dan and I celebrated the incoming of 2017 at Scofflaw (seriously, GO THERE) - one of our favorite places and had an amazing time. I attended the XRT Listener Poll in the first week of January, The people that I surrounded myself with that evening were exquisite. I had a really lovely time and am so glad it was able to happen. I've been spending plenty of time at Bitter Pops, Dan and I checked out the Art Institute last week and tried Terzo Piano, Tony's latest - verdict is out, it was delicious.

 Roamin' with the Lions outside the Art Institute and  The lovely ladies at Bitter Pops/2nd home

NEW YEAR'S EVE at Scofflaw

I recently made this concept for my shoppe - based on Run The Jewels 3. I was super stoked when I found these yarns and knew right away I needed to utilize them properly. I am in love with the album and wanted to make an inspired, yet wearable piece. LISTEN TO THE FULL ALBUM HERE.

A groovy group of us that can usually be found sending off righteous tweets pertaining to XRT, gathered, and took over the front table at City Winery. We listened to the finest DJs from the finest station lay down what went down on their station in a year's time.
It's a night where you feel like you're best friends with everyone in the room.
It's always nice to meet with those you interact with on a different platform. An inviting group of people where everyone just seems to "get it".

We are enjoying your treats from this morning and you're a very good dancer.
and the morning after you get some Twitter love. Treats earn tweets. As does dancing well.

And here I am. In the thick of transition, which seems to be my favorite place to reside. All that I care about right at this very moment is getting outside and soaking up some of that sun that will only be here for an hour or so. I've been nothing but productive today, but as always, I've got some extra energy to burn. A Monday afternoon stroll is exactly what I need. TG

November 30, 2016

The Upswings of Autumn, The Lows of Fall, and The Music In-Between

Why, hello.

I feel there's a lot I could talk about here that has happened since my previous post; the election, the girl who flipped out in Michael's (I'm in there all the time, their staff is chocked full of lovely people), the current work vibe, or even Thanksgiving. But let's not get too crazy. For now, I think I need to chill out, post some tunes, and hit on the highlights over the past month.

Let's start out with Oriole;

When I checked the 2016 Michelin recipient list, it looked as it should, but with a few new names on the list. Oriole was one of those names that happened to catch my eye. Oddly enough, a few days later, Dan told me he booked a reservation there because it piqued his interest as well. HELL YES. Our reservation was on Wednesday November 9th, or the day after the election. Needless to say, it was a much-needed culinary pick-me-up.

WHAM BAM, THANK YOU, MA'AM! The menu (yes, yes, I PEEKED BEFORE GOING!) looked like it was going to be a complete masterpiece and it was exactly that. Course menus have the ability to bore me, however, when paired with delicious wines, spirits, sake, + cider that go hand-in-hand with what's on your fork, they turn into an experience not easy to forget. 

Before going I was so excited for the first plate, because ANYTHING with caviar works for me, but blended with those particular fruit pairings made it even more desirable. The bone broth and beef tendon also had me rather giddy, along with wagyu dishes, because, obviously. Any thought I had of what it would be like was blown out of the water as it became a beautiful reality. Plate after plate came to our table, and each one was a true delight to consume.

There were some real stand-outs. We had a very hard time figuring out our favorite dish once our final course had been completed. The staff, the environment, and obviously, the food were just beyond. I am so glad I was able to go and see how wonderful that place is. If you can, please make your way over and do the same. You will not be disappointed. 

The Jams!
Hot Damn! This has been a solid music month for me. I've come across some stuff I'm really amped on, along with falling back in with some older tunes I haven't given as much time to over the past year or two. The genre is all over the board as I'm in a particularly weird phase (what's up Saturn's Return?). I'm reconnecting with my older music loves; rap and R+B, along with more upbeat/electronic. I think I just want to always be dancing. However, November was an emotional month. Music has a way of easing these things and these songs have kept me going and have given my mind something to entertain.
Here goes;

The Strain by Blockhead
Sleeping Lessons by The Shins
Odd Look by Kavinsky
Hiiijack by SZA
Say My Name (ft. Zyra) by Odesza
Tangle by The Hics
Needed Me by Rihanna
(Rihanna is a damn hit-maker and I love this song. It's sexy as hell and I've been amped on it.)
Heaven or Las Vegas by The Weeknd
Drift by Alina Baraz + Galimatias
Cocoa Hooves by Glass Animals
Dark Star by Polica
Equus by Blonde Redhead
Percussion Gun by White Rabbits
Rotten Love by Levy
Okay, I have to give some serious credit for this one, because after hearing it and seeing it used to the right affect, I've been listening to it daily (much like most of these other songs);
my buddy (and former co-worker), Michael, made a video-a-day for a year and put them all together in this righteous longer video. I think it epitomizes what it's like to attend university in Chicago. I would be just as enthused if I didn't have a cameo appearance (2:30ish) in this righteous montage of life - but seriously, his choices in music are on point (so glad he uses Beiruit's 'Sunday Smile'), it captures a specific slice of life. I love it.

Black Wednesday

Oh, the glory of rounding up the crew for a fantastic pre-Thanksgiving shindig!
Back to Naperville we went to experience the top notch experience that is partying at the Beck's.
Something I've been doing a fine job of since the high school days.
When it comes to Suburban tom-foolery, no one does it better than those rounded up on the Thack.
This year was a massive throwdown, as the mix of groups have come together. My best friend, Erin, has a fairly large family, and since each sibling is cool as hell, they tote around a good amount of friends. This year, the youngest Beck, had brought his collegiate friends back with him, and we tried, we really really tried to make that as smooth as possible. It worked, kind of, but ultimately, it was nice to have such a large surrounding. To have a merge of the groups. At the party's peak, we had the garage packed with liquor loaded bodies, dance moves, and great tunes.

Most of the crew, missing a few, but it's always nice to have Mr. Marty B, 
owner of the home, party with us for a little bit.

Erin + I for our obligatory Black Wednesday photo.
Although this year I'm actually looking pretty normal.

and in prior years...



It is always so nice to see everyone, especially around the holiday.
I have finally made a fair amount of friends in the city, something that surprisingly took awhile.
It's hard to find consistent people to hang out with, as so many people work excessive hours or are extremely busy in other facets of life. It's even harder to build relationships that resemble anything like the friendships that have already tested some serious time and changes. So many of my closest friends live in other states, and when they come to town, we try to raise a little hell and have a hell of a lot of fun.

All in All...

I cannot help but think of how much has changed, yet remained the same in a year's time.
 Last November was a really emotional month for me, and the past year has presented so many challenges, a lot of ups, but so many downs. Now that November is nearly over, I realize how much it resembles last year's, in an emotional sense. This time it presented itself in other ways, other ways I'm almost grateful for, because someone can only take a month like that every decade or so. I think it's just a wonky month. Daylight Savings + Thanksgiving + Holiday work season can be a tumultuous mix. 

I really hope that things are on an upswing for me and that some of this has been a nice little test that I'll somehow pass with great luck. Perhaps I'll just get used to it being dark at 5pm - whichever comes first.

I'm looking forward to whatever's next.

October 31, 2016

Scary Good Music.

Happy Halloween!

This year I was Alice and I was servin' up a wonderland of goodies all weekend at work.
Of course I'll slip into the role once again this evening to celebrate the real deal.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd throw together a few songs to keep the monsters mashin' and a few to send you down the rabbit hole.


Fervier by Yann Tiersen
{This is probably the ultimate Halloween song.
I'm a big fan of Yann Tiersen's work, but there's something downright creepy about this one -- in a great way. While this track is ultra long, it's the perfect thing to have going on in the background today, especially around the 6:40 mark}

Ghost Song by Air
Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix) by Hiatus Kaiyote
Angel Echos by Four Tet
L.A. Woman by The Doors
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray
Fur Lined by How To Destroy Angels
Courtship Dating by Crystal Castles
Which One of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer by Blockhead
Tsars and Hussars by Daedelus
Parting of The Sensory by Modest Mouse
Strangeness and Charm by Florence + The Machine
Eminence Front by Pete Townshend
All In Forms by Bonobo
The Pills Won't Help You Now by The Chemical Brothers

I really miss the use of 8Tracks for making playlists. I no longer have my 12,000+ songs stored on this particular hard drive, making it rather hard to get the songs I want on most sets I want to make.
This way will have to suffice for now. 

October 13, 2016

Autumn Grooves

Way-Hey! It's freakin' autumn and I'm stoked about it. The past month I've gloriously eased into cooler temperatures, high boots, short skirts, and light jackets. Oh, the glory! It is absolutely my favorite season when it comes to wardrobe, and while we've had some serious Portland vibes, the weather has been pretty rad. I feel as though fall is naturally a transitional period, a time to re-acclimate. This is my season, I feel secure in it, as if I always realize the most about myself during this time of year. I feel that every one handles seasonal shifts very differently. Let autumn linger forever.

I had a nice little stay-cation about a month ago, which was much needed time off, especially before the holiday haul where 40 work weeks become 50+ hour weeks. While I would have loved to have gone somewhere exciting for a few days and get that true feeling of escape, I figured it'd be nice to stick around and spend my money locally at places I love. I was able to fill the time with fantastic people, sneak in a day of righteous nature, and enjoy some damn good food + booze.

Starved Rock . Sept 22
also my half-birthday, folks --very important ]


Cubs cookies. That's all basically anyone cares about. I decorated over 400 of them on Tuesday. They're already sold out (It's Thursday). Although I don't blame people, the whole situation is extremely exciting and I absolutely love decorating them, so it really works itself out.

I am also quite fond of the rocket ships I decorated last week for a custom order.

But let's delve into some music;

The Playlist

1) Clouds Up by Air [The Virgin Suicides soundtrack]
An album that must be listened to every autumn. Multiple times.
This intro song always hits me the hardest.

2) Creator by Santigold
3) Sulk by Radiohead
4) Nara by E.S. Posthumus
The many things that run through my mind each time I hear this song.
Always sets the tone for some sort of scenario for my mind to entertain.

5) Depth Charge by DJ Shadow
[I just saw him play the Metro and could not wait to hear this live.
A total immersion of sound. T'was an incredible show]

6) U R A Fever by The Kills
7) Bittersweet by Big Head Todd + The Monsters
8) Blue Light [Engineers  'Anti Gravity' Remix ] by Bloc Party
9) The Enchanter [Unkle Reconstruction]- Robert Plant 
The amount of mix CD's I've put this on...

10) It's Bad You Know by R.L. Burnside


Seeing DJ Shadow play live was incredible. He's such a master of his craft and the room held such fantastic energy. Like 'The Enchanter', this has ended up on many mix CD's that I've made in the past. When he threw this down last Friday at Metro, everyone lost their damn minds. We all shared that same excitement of finally hearing it played before us. It was such a great spot to see him, for I've had some rather dashing experiences at that venue, but he could have filled a much bigger space. Intimacy at some shows is vital, and I think this was able to encompass that kind of vibe, even though it happened to be flooded with humans.

I also had the joy of finding out that I missed that Glass Animals show I was so excited about because that's the hand life decided to deal. I guess I can just be glad I've seen them play live (although briefly, Lolla 2015) once before. The new album would have been nice to hear in a live format, but so it goes. I really thought it was in November. Also, why do I always miss October shows? This unfortunately happened with Blockhead last year or the year prior and I still haven't forgiven myself.

I'm looking forward to the tail end of 2016, looking even more forward to it being over. 2016 is being a real bitch, and frankly, I think we've all had enough. For now, AUTUMN! TG

August 31, 2016

Summertime Vibes

And it is now nearly the end of August.

I cannot believe the swiftness of summer, how 3 months feels like 3 weeks. And so it goes.

The other day I found myself sitting at a table behind Osmium, taking in a few sips of one of my favorite coffee concoctions. While it was 85 degrees, I was taking my Agave Latte hot. As I sat there jotting down a few lines in my journal, I realized just how fast it was slipping away [warm weather, that is, not the latte]. There were only a handful of days left to feel summer's heat on our skin, to be overwhelmed with sunshine, warmth, and the sporadic thunderstorm. I love summertime. We look forward to it during every other season. There's such a magnificent ease to it all, an energy.

However, for all the glorious things I filled the past 3 months with; the concerts, the company, the delicious meals, the plethora of beer; I am ready for fall. Hell, I may even be ready for winter. Yes, I will absolutely hate myself for typing this later [you can find me denying it in 4 months]. It's not the freakishly cold days I'm longing for, it's the desire to stay INSIDE. Summer sets me free, leaves me with no excuses, a bit obligated, and also leaves me a bit broke and scattered. I have one focus in the warmer months and that is to have no focus. A lengthy autumn would be most desirable.

Try 'Em Out:

1) Bitter Pops  .  2) Fahlstrom's  .  3) The Northman  .  4) DMK Burger Bar  5) Mortar and Pestle
[worth the mention and your business]

The Line-Up:

Oh, the concerts! I have been to a slew of shows; Le Butcherettes and At The Drive In [Riviera]Of Monsters and  Men and Florence + The Machine [sponsor, sponsor, other sponsor in Tinley Park]Phish [Wrigley Field]Sweet Spirit [The Hideout], Lollapalooza (Flume, Bloc Party, LCD Soundsystem), and Ray LaMontagne [Northerly Island]. Each holds their own impact, Le Butcherettes inspired me beyond belief, Florence is the queen of everything, Sabrina was such a gem when I saw them at The Hideout, and then there is Ray LaMontagne, whom I've been wanting to see for a solid 10 years. He moved me to bits with his cathartic voice and made the wait absolutely worth it. While a lot was seen, it seemed like there were so many I missed. Luckily, I have a small pocketful of shows coming up in the next few months that I'm rather excited for: [Glass Animals, Gold Panda, and Nightmares On Wax].

The Playlist:

1) 'Insomniac Olympicsby Blockhead
{but honestly, I've been listening to all of Blockhead's albums in heavy
rotation this summer if you're not familiar with his work, I suggest you delve in}
2) 'Hey, No Pressureby Ray LaMontangne
3) 'Soundcheck' by Catfish and The Bottlemen
4) 'Right Here' by Tricky
5) 'Wish I Knew You' by The Revivalists
6) 'Be, I Do' by Nightmares On Wax
{like Blockhead, Nightmares On Wax have been another group that I've
put endless hours of listening time into over the past 4 months. I cannot get enough}
7) 'The Perfect Parts' by Shakey Graves
8) 'Take Me To A Party' by Sweet Spirit
9) 'Forest Crunk' by Aesop Rock
10) 'Cha Cha' by D.R.A.M.

The Summer Visual:

         1) sippin' a Bloody at Dry Hop    
2) Pre-Florence platform excitement!

3) With my Sister-in-Law, pre-phish  
4) Meeting Jeff Garlin at my work

5) F.R.I.E.N.D.S: The Musical The One Where They Sing  
6) Sweet Spirit at The Hideout

7) Sabrina signed my shirt after telling me I should take it.
Seriously, I love Sweet Spirit, such rad people.

8) beverage line-up at Mortar and Pestle

Enjoy what's left of the summertime! -  TG

August 11, 2016

Lollapa-OH YEAH! {2016}

Ah, yes, yes yes. One of my favorite posts of the year, one of my only posts of the year these days, is about Lollapalooza. While late to give it the sum-up, it couldn't be neglected.

The fest got another day added on this year in honor of the 25th anniversary (which we have now found out will be an on-going occurrence) and while I was amped on a good majority of the headliners and various other artists, money was a factor this year. One day was going to have to do it, and since I had seen Radiohead and could settle for not seeing RHCP (I know, I KNOW). It was all about LCD Soundsystem. I had been wanting to see them for so long, and after their retirement, I never thought the chance would come around. LOW AND BEHOLD!! 

Sunday was the obvious choice, because not only had I really wanted to see LCD Soundsystem, but I also was pretty amped on the idea of seeing Flume. His album, and recently, albums, have been in heavy rotation over the past year. Another sneaker-peaker was Bloc Party and Third Eye Blind, which means aspects of my younger self were very, very satisfied. There's not too much to say, I had a great time, the skies were blue and the breeze was light. Delightful company, great music, and solid surroundings. Who wouldn't have great things to say? So let's break this down;

Third Eye Blind: Well, this hardly counts, but we (by "we" I mean Dan and I) were DEFINITELY there for all of 'Semi-Charmed Life', which is what we all wanted to be there for. Honestly? That was the only full song that we saw by this group that helped epitomize my youth. We got there later than anticipated, but isn't that always how it goes? 

My obligatory festival pose. Give me all the music.

Flume: He played a great set, majority of what I wanted him to play, which was fantastic. It was so satisfying to see him live after listening to him SO much recently. I really just had a great time throwing down constant grooves out in that field, along with the rest of the crowd gettin' down. This was a perfect way to get settled in. Listen to: 'Take A Chance'.

Bloc Party: My high school self was more than satisfied hearing these guys play live. I never really thought that chance would come around. I thrived on Silent Alarm (and it's dandy remixed version) in my teen years and haven't stopped listening to them, just not as much. Since I had really only clung to certain songs off certain albums since then, their setlist didn't strike me as much as I had hoped, but then I had to remember I wasn't seeing them in 2006...Listen to: 'Pioneers'

Dan and I waiting for LCD Soundsystem.

LCD Soundsystem: OH, THE GLORY! The groovin' began immediately. It's hard not to channel David Byrne (Stop Making Sense) when you're dancing along to those beautiful beats. The song selection was perfect, as was the execution of each song. James Murphy's voice floated on summer air better than I could have imagined and the rest of the band filled in the gaps with electric magic. The satisfaction of seeing artists you'd never thought you'd see, is immense. There wasn't too much time to think, as my mind was being flooded with musical greatness, a tinge of herb (contact, of course), and the bottle of wine dispersed into 5 different cups. T'was a phenomenal evening, and I am so happy that I chose the final day of Lollapalooza, as my day. Listen to: 'Dance Yrself Clean'

This year the mood was so different. Normally I have to "come down" from the Lolla experience, but perhaps it was the whole one-day thing. Needless to say, much has been neglected in terms of writing. I have been to a plethora of shows, all worthy of saying something about, in the past three months. Summer always comes as an onslaught. Nice weather is here so briefly, that I'm trying to utilize it the best I can. Frankly, this has been the best summer I've had in years. Perhaps ever. It's been chocked full, and the people I've seen and met! I feel lucky. I am lucky. I am grateful that I got to attend this festival at all.

Here's to next year, although I can hardly believe this year's has already come and gone. TG

May 31, 2016

Wandering New Streets [life + music + products]

It's been a minute and a lot has happened. I am no longer a Lakeview resident within the city, but I'm now living life in Ravenswood. The past month has consisted of me putting my life into boxes only to take them out weeks or days later, and so it goes. Needless to say, I'm loving the space and can get completely used to this location. Lakeview is the ultimate "starter-pack" neighborhood for when you move to the city, which is why is suited me so well over the past two and a half years. It's nice to explore new space and move into a place that allocates such a nice transition.

In the mean time, there has been a lot of music that I've been amped on that I feel needs some sharing. These have been in the rotation over the past two months or so, and in that period of time, there has been a lot of time to process certain aspects of my life and a lot of changes have come my way, and this music has served as a tasty soundtrack. Music always seems to fall into place at the right times, and I'm thankful for it.


'Riverby Bishop Briggs is a hard-hitter and it was love on first listen, and of course I had WXRT to thank for that. Those are the best kind of songs, the ones that don't take any time at all. I highly recommend this jam, she's a powerhouse and I'm seriously looking to catching her play live when she rolls through. (please tell me that didn't already happen). I'm currently listening to it now and it's worth your time.

Daedelus, oh, how I love him and his funky bow-ties; I fell in love with 'The Open Hand Avows' on a stroll home from work. It's a tune that has the ability to make you feel on a larger level. A feeling that's hard to explain, but could be easily felt.

'Able To See Me' by Hippie Sabotage was one that crept in on accident and I'm so glad it did. My roommate's Pandora radio was playing this jam about a week ago and I had to check in on what it was. It definitely caught my ear right away and there have already been freestyle moves thrown down to this one, which always gives a song that much more staying power.

AND OF COURSE; 'Burn The Witch', as well as the rest of the songs off of A Moon Shaped Pool, the latest by Radiohead, but that was a serious given. That single seems to get better and better each time I hear it. The album really comes together as a whole and I can listen to it over and over.

I have to highly recommend giving Bosnian Rainbows a listen. Now, I've mentioned them before, but perhaps years ago when I saw them at Bottom Lounge. That was a hell of a show and I absolutely love their sound. Here's the whole album; Bosnian Rainbows. You're welcome.

Elemental Fusions:

I mentioned this brand a few posts back, but they definitely need a stronger highlight. I was exposed to these products about 6 months ago by a co-worker, whose parents make the products that make up the brand Elemental Fusions. Their goal was to make all-natural products that are affordable, yet extremely effective. They sell them locally and spread the word among family and friends, however, their stuff is too good to keep secret. For Christmas I received a handful of items from their line, containing all natural oils and scents, along with the essentials; honey, aloe, olive oil, glycerin, etc. I couldn't even pick a favorite item of theirs; candles (which unfortunately are no longer part of their line, but the ones I do have left, are awesome), facial scrubs and soaps, linen sprays, and most importantly, the lotions! I am obsessed with them - and you've got options; the thicker lotion that's similar to a "butter" - loaded with oils and goodness. It's the perfect lotion to apply just before you put on a pair of mittens, and you let your hands soak up the glory. The other option is their lighter lotion; absorbs at a quicker rate and still does a wonderful job of getting your hands tip-top moisturized. The scents are glorious as well; honeysuckle and tuberose have been my go-to's thus far in terms of any requests I've made for additional products. And trust me, there have been requests. While I speak volumes for the lotions, I need to mention the facial scrub because I absolutely love it and believe it's what god intended when it comes to facial scrubs. The elements of the ingredients it's made from really come together to leave your skin feeling extremely soft and well scrubbed without the harshness. Needless to say, they are definitely part of my daily skincare game and I recommend making them a part of yours.

[get at them] : TLC@ElementalFusions.com

While there is plenty more I can talk about and suggest right now, this seems like a nice place to wrap it up. I really do need to talk about that Le Butcherettes show though, which by now happened weeks ago. They opened for At The Drive-In on the 19th of May. It was some pretty rad shit and I'm beyond stoked I got to see them play live. Teri is a gem. I've always heard they put on a hell of a show, and thre is absolutely no doubt about that. For now, jam out to this; 'Witchless C Spot', a favorite off their latest album, A Raw YouthTG

April 14, 2016

For those in the service/retail industry (and loving it), this one's for you.

This is a topic that I've been wanting to get to for awhile now because it's something I think about nearly every day. For the past two and a half years of my life, I've been employed at a Bakery. While this may not seem like it hold an impact, or even necessary to talk about, it holds more weight because I'm 28 years old and have no real plan of switching up the game.

Here's how it went; I moved to the city (Chicago) 3 years ago. My transfer with a job that I loved fell through. I ended up having to hit the pavement and look for something I could do, yet enjoy in the meantime to make money. I didn't want a "suburb" job, meaning I didn't want to work at a major chain, or something that I could have done staying in my same location back home. I had worked at a slew of jobs where I had a nice supply of experience in management, customer service, and other elements of retail work. I had a real knack for it, and found that if I truly believed in the product at hand, I could sell it with ease.

So here I was, in the city and on the job hunt. I applied at a local bakery. I had experience in that department before, though limited to certain products such as cupcakes or cookies, however, this was much more extensive, an institution if you will. It's been one of the best bakeries in Chicago since 1922 and it's still owned by the same family. It's a tourist hot spot and a local favorite. Since I've been employed there, I've come across some of the most fantastic people and really have served people from all walks of life, from Tom Skilling to Tim Meadows, to the folks that have been going there since 1949 who have made it a part of their family tradition. The opportunities to grow here personally have been astounding. It's rounded out my customer service in a fantastic way; I've made the regular customers (or any customer) a part of my life, learning their name, and calling it out as they roll through the door. I have learned to take so much pride in my position there and try to make a difference in not only my co-workers lives, but my customer's lives as well. Getting to know the people who support the business is always rewarding. It's extremely valuable for everyone involved. Every job is going to have it's downsides now and then. While retail is retail, and at times you find yourself beating your head against the wall questioning why you're there, more often than not, it's extremely obvious why you're there, for me at least.

Last summer, for 6 months, I took a position as an assistant to a Real Estate Broker. I thought that this would be a great growing experience, a much needed change of pace, and a nice increase in my bank account. For the most part, it did entail those very things, but with some serious downfalls. I had scaled back to one day a week in the bakery, that was limited to decorating cookies for the store, a task that I love, but one that separates me from the rest of the staff. I missed my team, hell, I missed my customers. I was working in a home office, at times alone, or at other times in situations that were less than ideal, making me miss those vital connections that I had made each day at the bakery. While certain circumstances lead to others, I ended up leaving my position as an assistant, and kind of took some time to float. In that period of 6 months, I had enrolled in a Real Estate class and completed that course with ability to sit for the state and national exam. No, I still haven't done that yet. Yes, I've still been studying and have retained a great deal (and yes, I do want to get licensed). Anyway, I needed some time to figure it out, what I wanted and what made me happy, but in the mean time, I decided to ball up some pride, walk over to the bakery, and see if they were be able to give me a few days a week. I was pleasantly surprised when they when they gave me more than just a few. I headed back in for the full-time haul, and it fit like a glove.

Before I had taken the assistant position, I had always actively avoided that "office-y" environment, (or any environment than involved sitting), but couldn't deny that job route seemed to pay more and have some benefits in the mix. I hadn't really considered what I was doing at the bakery a "real job", in the sense that it wasn't a career. Of course, I cared about my work, my customers, and my co-workers a great deal, but there wasn't the same level of pride. I suppose that my time away taught me a surprising amount, as time always does. I had to enhance certain skills as an assistant that hadn't necessarily been required of me at my other job, therefore, when I came back, I made sure those strong points transitioned over and became part of my renewed position. Just because it didn't feel like an "important" job, doesn't mean that it wasn't. It only grew from there, my desire was to create an environment where people loved to come to work, a place where customers can come in and it feels like home. I talk to so many people each day; it is such a magnificent opportunity to get to chat to those who have vastly different careers from one another, a valuable insight and marvelous way to grow communication skills. Making connections has always been vital to me, I suppose it's because my dad always "knew a guy" and I've always found that to be extremely cool. The more you talk to people, especially ones that differ so much from one another, the more opportunities you'll have, the more you'll find.

But it wasn't just that; it was the ability to have a staff that is impressionable, the ones who are just starting their interactions with customers. You can make a huge impact on how they deal with people not only at their place of work, but how they treat people in their daily lives. Likely, if you give great customer service, you're a pleasant person outside of your work environment, because you know how to work with people. When I was 18, I was lucky enough to have a fantastic boss who saw my strength in customer service and really pushed it and made me grow even more. A woman who taught me how important it was to be enthusiastic about your job and truly care about your not only your work, but your staff. My brother was another huge way I modeled my teamwork; create an atmosphere where it feels like you're working whilst hanging out, where everyone gets along, a true "team". No one gets left out, everyone has a good time, and we all work our asses off. We can shoot the shit, talk about absolutely anything, get a little dancing in, but if we're not working hard, we can't play hard.

That's another aspect of importance is the physical labor. I love being on my feet; constantly moving, cleaning, organizing, working on production, or lifting something. I like to feel like things are getting done. It's not like I'm just slingin' doughnuts here, folks (I mean, well, I AM), I dabble in a lot of different tasks within that establishment. It's huge. It's an actual production. We crank out so much product it's crazy. There's never a dull moment, there's endless amounts to do, and there's always someone to share a laugh with, and frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm happy.

Money is definitely important, don't get me wrong. However, I'm not about to put myself in a position that I disdain at a company I don't believe in, to have a larger bank account. The ideal would be feeling absolutely secure enough to pay my bills and have a nice lump sum to sit on for safety, but what fun is that? I take the money I earn pretty seriously, because it's not like I have a ton to go around (like, if we could accept tips, I could put a down payment on a house), but because I work hard for it and because if I am going to have a job I love, I may have to pay for that in the long run, but that's okay. It's not my only source of income (hey, hey) and the benefit of not taking my work home with me is remarkable. There's a reason why people stay in their retail positions for the length of their lives. Some of us actually love it. I have other pursuits, I have things I want to accomplish, Hell, I'm working towards them now, and I'm lucky enough to have enough time outside of work to pursue them on the side. How awesome.

What actually sparked this post (and it's length), was this article I came across just a couple hours ago. I look at this list and think, really?! Those jobs seem pretty damn essential to me, and while they may be the "worst", they all hold a pretty important factor of how we get shit done in this country. So why are they such low paying wages? To me, those jobs aren't the "worst", they are some act of selflessness. all of those jobs directly help someone else in a different way; a DJ delivering music to a large base of people and sharing valuable insights to music (what's up, WXRT?!), a firefighter saving lives whilst risking their own, pest control making our environments livable and helping the city's food establishments stay clean, military protecting, fighting, and serving for our country and it's citizens, retail associate helping you place an order or purchase an item, and newspaper journalists reporting on local news that impacts the lives of those in the area. Jobs and careers where the pay not be high, yet the value is astounding. THAT'S why people work these jobs. A firefighter is a firefighter because that's what they've wanted to do their whole lives, Wages aren't going to deter dreams, you just find a way to work around it. If the passion is there, you may simply find a way to make the money you need, but if you're lucky, you'll find a way to make what you need and beyond.

All in all, I've given up the mindset that I don't have a "real job". I damn well do and it's a pretty great one too. Service jobs of any kind can be extremely rewarding. If you're good at something, find a way to become better. If you're great at something, teach someone else how to be great at it too. You can choose the level of pride you choose to take in a job and you can indeed change your mindset and how you approach your position, ANY position. It doesn't matter what the hell you do, as long as you're doing it the best you can, as long as you believe in what you're doing, because if you don't, than what's the point?