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...

2015

2014


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.
TG

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.

PLAYLIST:

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 ]


Cookies;





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

*BONUS TRACK*

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.


SONGS TO HEAR:

'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?

April 2, 2016

Currently Taking The Cake;

Hello, Hello!

I hope everyone's been enjoying this week! Here's what's goin' down;


Follow-up Celebrations;


Each year I order a cake that really sets the tone for that age or that has some sort of meaning to me, yet something that's a bit humorous. This is even easier because I work in a bakery. For our birthdays, our gift is a cake on the casa. Keeping in theme, I had to go with a Bloody Mary/NOLA theme, because how was I to resist? It was between this or a dachshund eating a hot dog and the Bloody Mary (with the pizza garnish) kind of took the cake on this one. I ordered this to share with my parents last weekend. Needless to say, they were amused.


The Jams;

Now this will be my third time in a row mentioning Flume, but I simply just cannot help it. This album has different ways of hitting me and I fall for certain songs at particular times (I mean, isn't that sort of always how it goes?). Right now it's all about 'What You Need'. This song hit me full force on my walk home the other day and it's made it's way into my daily rotation of listening. It makes me even that much more exciting for my "gymnastics ribbon" to get here so I can crank some serious waves and grooves to this tune (yeah, I ordered one and yeah, Siri calls me Missus President.)




Oh, The Lumineers, they've done it again. They've released yet another song that sort of wrecks me. When I heard they were back with a new album, I said "Huh, Why haven't I ever really gotten into them?" and then I remembered that I dig their music, but it's a bit too cathartic for me, in the same way that Bon Iver is. I find when that happens, I avoid it more than choosing to embrace it. 'Stubborn Love' has me crying by the second verse and I couldn't even tell you why. That's happened the first time I ever heard it and has happened ever since. There are no associations, no memories that flood back, just raw emotion. The problem is, I really love the song, I just avoid it because of the reasons previously mentioned. When WXRT announced that they'd be playing their latest single, 'Ophelia' from their latest album Cleopatra, I was a bit nervous. Yes, I was actually nervous. (SIDENOTE: 'Ophelia' by Natalie Merchant is one of my all-time favorite songs) I liked it right away, but it was drenched in that emotional tone that gets me every time. I'm definitely looking to see what else this album churns out, but will not be attending their show when they roll through. Although, I would pay a pretty penny just to hear 'Ophelia' played live.

Fitz and The Tantrums are back with a new single, 'HandClap' that is not on their usual wavelength but one that works well for them. Normally, this is not a sound I would go for, as it has that ultra-pop vibe to it, but the first time I heard it, it was a Friday night (the day it dropped), I was just about to get out of work, and I had dancing on the brain; the right state of mind to hear this song. It made me feel something, and therefore, it wins me over. However, I do hope they have some songs on this album that ring true to their classic sound. Sometimes, there is no room for the old sound on a new album. I absolutely loved this band when they came around on their debut, Pickin' Up The Pieces and still think that those songs are incredibly solid and some of their best. I have a feeling there are good things to look forward to with this upcoming release.


Wolf Alice isn't new to the game, however, like Flume, and a million and one other artists and songs, music hits me at certain times. When it drops isn't necessarily the important factor here, it's when it makes you feel something is when you bring that song into your life as something more permanent. A memory stake in the music game. Thier single, 'Bros' dropped in 2013 for their EP Blush, however, was reworked for their debut album, My Love Is Cool. I love this song, and I think the music video does well for this. So many people miss the mark on their videos, making me regret watching them. However, it works well for the visual. Definitely a great tune for a long walk and a sunny day. I am guilty of not hearing this entire album yet, but no worries, it's on the to-do list and I'm sure there will be more songs to fall in love with.

Throwback

Another one in the daily rotation? TURN IT UP. It's 'Heated Heavy' by Krayzie Bone. This song hits me so well - I heard it the other day and it was a glorious refresher. 


#Cookies;


So this is a thing. These are on sale at my bakery that I work at. Yes, I decorated them. I really couldn't resist. What else would I do with the chick cookies after Easter time? You can most often find me saying #blessed after nothing at all significant and is a running joke at work (and among 1/3 of the world). Will people get it? I don't know. This one was for me (for all of us, really). It's like the time I Bowie-d everything; PURE SATISFACTION. If you've read this blog for awhile, you all know how much cookie decorating means to me. I am so jazzed that I get to decorate them once a week. It is a marvelous way to get out my creative side whilst getting paid. That's the real glory. #Blessed

The day after his death. Everything was going to get Aladdin Sane-d.
 




As usual, I've got more up my sleeve, but that's for next time. Have a great weekend, kids! TG








March 23, 2016

28 and Feelin' Great!

A couple of big things went down over the past couple days (and then I bought some makeup);


I turned 28;


HOLY MACKEREL! It feels good, it feels great! I like being this age. I like being older and I think for me, the journey will only get better, or at least that's what I'm hoping for. I'm enjoying gaining a bit of wisdom along the way and having different opportunities and experiences to look forward to. For the first time, perhaps ever, I worked on my birthday. I normally was always able to weasel my way out of it, but this year was different. While it's a fact I couldn't pass on the cash, I also wanted to surround myself with my work crew. They've become such an important aspect of my life, as I work with them each day the ones I share the most laughs with. You all know how it goes; your work friends have the ability to know you on such a different level and I really value that aspect of the relationship. I also have a lot of spectacular regulars that I've become well-acquainted with by now, and some of them stopped by for my birthday with a small gift in hand, and others were there just for the sake of being there, and I got to say hi and pass on a little birthday cheer. The best birthday gift is being around those who bring you joy, who fill your life with that much more purpose, those are the faces I want to see, those people are the ones I want to celebrate with. 

Scofflaw;

Oh, what a lucky duck I was. It was my choice for dinner (birthday brat). While there are SO many places I want to go, sometimes you just want to go somewhere you love and are familiar with. There's little room for error on such days, and I knew Scofflaw wouldn't disappoint. A friend highly recommended this place to me over a year ago, and last night, it was my 5th time heading to the swanky gin joint and every time it hits the mark. I'm a huge fan of their "Swizzle" series. It's always a tropical-based tiki drinks, finely tuned with things I typically really go for in cocktails; coconut, lime, & pineapple. Any one of those three items listed in a drink will typically result in me ordering one. HOWEVER, last night was all about kicking it off with a Red Snapper. I needed to settle the score with my Bloody Mary craving, it was simply just too far ahead in the game and I had to get my fix before it totally took me over. In all honesty, you really cannot go wrong with any drink you order; they are all made extremely well and while each one is unique, they each taste superb. 

The kick of that drink was fantastic. The perfect amount of spice, and while there was no garnish (duh, it was a Tuesday night), it was exactly what I needed. The vibe was there and that's all that matters. But you best believe I followed it up with not one, but two Swizzle #15's.

Me with my Red Snapper!

Besides having on-point drinks, Scofflaw has a bangin' menu; it's chocked full of goodies at extremely reasonable prices. Mixing, Matching, Pairing, & Sharing is the name of the game at Scofflaw. Charcuterie, kale salad, braised short ribs, liver mousse, and of course, a cheeseburger, will all be found on their menu, along with plenty of other things to fill in the gaps. The environment is unique and the vibe is always a good one. Head over there when you get the chance and head into the back room.


Lollapalooza line-up announced;


Ay yi yi. This day has the ability to make me or break me. I get so anxious around Lolla lineup/ticket time that I hardly know what to do with myself. Last year's line-up blew it out of the water, almost every act was someone I wanted to check out or was an act I needed to see. I didn't know what to expect this year. Once the headliners had crept out into public knowledge, I was thirsty for this festival. I LOVE Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, & Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I couldn't come up with who else would round this fest out. While up early for work, I took a peak at the dropped announcement this morning and just kind of went "huh, alright."

I wasn't that stoked about it, and while I would absolutely be tickled pink by the opportunity to see Radiohead again, I couldn't justify spending $120 on another time around. While there are other artists I could see that day, sometimes I just prefer the venue show, and perhaps that will be my chance to check out pre-shows/after shows when they roll through. Same with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Would I love to see them? Hell yeah, but not for $120. What I DID do was get a Sunday ticket so I can groove my little heart out to LCD Soundsystem - that to me was extremely worth it. Also, Flume?! That was another artist I was pretty hyped on who also happens to be playing on Sunday, along with Haim. Hell yeah!

I'm almost relieved. I was a bit stressed about making the money work. I'm glad that the line-up isn't all I wanted it to be this year, because frankly, now's not the time to be spending money on festivals or be filled with sorrows over missing killer acts. I am very glad I get to enjoy the glory for a day, there's a lot to look forward to.


The mini makeup haul;

I'm not going to act like this is suddenly a make-up blog, but you get the idea.

1) Physician's Formula mineral wear 2) Maybelline BB cream 3) Essence XXXLShine 15 True Love 4) Essence liquid lipstick 5) Essence black gel eyeliner 6) Maybelline Pumped Up! Colossal Mascara 
For makeup and me, it's been a journey. Needless to say, it was pretty vital that I hit Ulta in March for double points, the $10 off coupon, and of course, to get the freebie gift (Benefit roller ball mascara #blessed). I was also equipped with $30 in gift cards. It was the perfect time to reload on a few things that had been running low, plus, you know, birthday treats.

While I always go with Physician's Formula powder, my other items have an ability to shift. I like trying out new products and brands, and today I was extremely curious about Essence. Keep in mind I've been seeing this brand for a long time, but for whatever reason, at that particular moment, it piqued my interest. So much so that when an employee came by, I asked her about it and raided her brain of everything she knew about the line. What it boiled down to was that the brand had actually gotten some great feedback from users, but certain items were more reliable than others (so I figured). 

Based on appearance only, it seems as if it's branded similar to a Korean makeup company- very cute and unique packaging, but they're not, they're based out of Europe.What I really wanted to know if their products were cheap (like, really cheap) because they was shitty or cheap because sometimes you just get lucky and can come across great products that aren't marked up. I like to take a gander and see where certain things are made. XXXLShine is made in Germany, as where the liquid lipstick is made in Italy, which holds some validity. Essence even has little ingredient guides for their products off to the side, which is always nice to have on hand. I am looking forward to seeing how these items play out.

I've tried a lot of different brands at this point, and sometimes for certain items, I just keep coming back to the "mass product" side of the store. While I do believe there are certain things worth paying more for, there are a handful of things you can get in this area of the store. This time around, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, whilst getting the best quality at that price range. A lot of time was spent at Ulta, comparing different products and shades, which was nice versus just making impulse buys, because that is so easy to do in such an environment. I'm happy with my new stash, but don't look for a review anytime soon, unless it's some life-changing shit.

All in all, this has been a great start to the week. I've got a couple tunes up my sleeve to get out to you guys next time. Get out there and do something awesome! TG

March 21, 2016

A few things worth mentioning...

It's been a minute and it's time to do something about it.

The look of this blog has transformed, it was time for a change and I'm so glad I finally got around to sprucing this sucker up. I feel like a lot of shows have slipped by that are absolutely worthy of talking about. The truth is, I'm not amped on the idea of drumming up feelings about a show I went to in November.

Not only has there been a decent amount of concert-going over the past 5 months that I've neglected to post about, the amount of phenomenal music I've come across, both new and old, has been overwhelming, and you should probably know more about that.

I want to focus more so on what's going on at the moment; products I've come across that I love, food I cannot get enough of, songs or albums that won't leave my head, and concepts or ideas that mean something to me right now.

There is no theme, there is no style, it's just a vibe that has the ability to change at anytime.

While concert reviews will definitely still be a thing, there needs to be some sort of focus that captures more of what I love and things that I fill my life with on the daily, because it's really all about the little things, yeah?

Let's delve in;



Things I currently cannot get enough of;

That NEW ORLEANS soul.

I took the trip down to New Orleans in late February on a particularly "great weather" weekend. It was my first time going and I had picked the destination. I fell in love, as so many do, with the spirit and soul of that city, the feeling was absolutely spectacular. There is so much more I can say about that trip; the music, the dancing, the mindset. I experienced so many great things during my time spent there and every day I wake up saying "TAKE ME BACK!" I long for that NOLA spirit, hopefully I can head back sooner than later. It is quite the hot spot this year as so many close friends and acquaintances made their way down there over the past couple months. I don't blame them one bit.




But more importantly, let's zone in on something very particular that I took home with me from that trip;
The constant BLOODY MARY cravings.

Current Drink Vibe:

I kicked off the flight on the way to Louisiana with a bloody, ordered one wherever I could during the trip, and of course, I rounded off the trip with bloody sips on the way home. Now I long for the primo experience of sippin' whilst strollin' down Bourbon St.
TAKE. ME. BACK.

From Daisy Duke's on Bourbon St / NOLA Bloody Mary

Now, wherever I go in Chicago, at any hour, if I CAN order a Bloody Mary, I will order a Bloody Mary.
I've even started putting pepper and hot sauce in my orange juice...

Needless to say, the hype is real. This is my go-to drink right now.


Tune-age;

For the mellow moods; Over the past month or so, I've been particularly amped on Four Tet. I'm not new to his music, but the album in reference, Pink, I hadn't heard before, even though it was released in 2011. A close friend was listening to 'Locked' and I had a stellar reaction to it. It was the perfect song to hear at that particular moment, which had then sparked my interest in the rest of the album. It makes beautiful chill/study/creative music.

Flume is another artist who I became rather amped on semi-recently. I use the self-titled album as a go-to for music to put on in the background for almost anything. I cannot wait to take this album into a dance studio. The range is fantastic and I think there's something for everyone on this album. I really enjoy the latest single 'Never Be Like You' ft Kai.


 

Another huge winner for me in recent months has been Sia's latest, This Is Acting. I'm a fan of most things Sia puts her voice on, and this was no different. I definitely recommend giving this album a listen, it has an uplifting, vibrant tone to it mixed with softer jams. A great album for getting ready.

Favorite Tracks: 'Bird Set Free', 'Alive', 'Move Your Body', 'Reaper'



Hey, are you into EL VY yet? You probably should be. Matt Berninger of The National teamed up with Brent Knopf of Menomena to crank out this album. Return To The Moon was released in October and I was lucky enough to see them play The Metro in November. I've been diggin' (and dancing to) their record ever since.

Favorite Tracks: 'I'm The Man To Be', 'No Time To Crank The Sun', 'It's A Game', 'Return To The Moon'.


Good Eats;

TODAY'S BRUNCH: treated myself to some delicious avocado toast & fresh OJ at Mortar & Pestle.
And while I have a picture of it, I might as well talk about it. THIS TOAST. I like avocado's, but I'm not bonkers about them. Most of the time I can handle a few slices here and there, however, they are so ridiculously good for you, it's hard to find a reason not to eat them even if  you're not the biggest fan. After reading some reviews about Mortar & Pestle, I see everyone is raving about this avocado toast. It's delicious AND it has plenty of magnesium?!  Okay, cool. Now I wanted it.

The flavor blend is divine; the green glory is topped with lemon, cumin, chives, sea salt, and aleppo pepper, which pretty much equates perfection. Those people were right. I was right for ordering it. I was craving it so hard yesterday that I felt as though I needed to go back today to relive the delight. And back in I went - that glory was mine. While I only got this today, I ordered more during my last visit. Their menu is excellent and gives me that heavy Portland vibe in the sense that the ingredients are rather simplistic, but they're accentuated in ways that make the dish more unique and flavorful. I highly recommend heading to Mortar & Pestle for brunch. TG