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. 


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.

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.


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