back to basics

In the last couple of months there has been a shift in my life. I was so gung ho on getting my home perfect that I spent next to no time/money on items to wear. Now I'm starting to notice how worn (+ boring) my wardrobe has become. My focus now is on the basics + knowing what to invest in + what not to.

sandals | bracelet | purse | ring

Living in Chicago it is pretty silly to spend much money on shoes. I walk everywhere which I love but my shoes don't. Aside from snow boots + sneakers I really try not to spend much money on shoes. Those sandals above were under $20, fit like a glove, + look almost identical to options that cost 10x as much.

Jewelry is one of those mid-tier purchase items for me. I don't dress very flashy so I like my style to shine through in my jewelry. It's nice to treat yourself every once in a while but typically you can find unique pieces without breaking the bank. I couldn't pass up on these two items above. They are so  me. Bagatiba is another good option for cute, affordable jewelry that I just stumbled upon.

Now to the good stuff. I am so not a handbag girl. I have been using the same two bags for the last 2+ years. One was about $50 + the other was a gift card purchase so clearly this isn't an area I want to spend my money on. Maybe it's a recent promotion talking but now I'm starting to understand the value of a nicely made handbag. This is an item that gets so much use but doesn't wear down as easily. This bag is number one on my wishlist + I'm hoping to snag one next month when they restock.

As for clothes themselves, I still feel a bit stuck on that. So often I shop + I rarely see items I like but I think my focus should be fewer/better. I am definitely in that in between time. As Britney would say, "not a girl, not yet a woman". I blame that for this uncertainty.


oh my cenote

One of my favorite parts of Mexico was our trip to the cenote. For obvious reasons (it is an under water cave) I didn't have my camera with me so all I have have are my memories from that day. But thanks to the interwebs I can give you a bit of a peek at our visit to Cenote Dos Ojos.
One of the main reasons I wanted to make a stop in Tulum was so I could visit a cenote. What I didn't know was that there were so many to choose from. After asking a few people for recommendations Cenote Dos Ojos seemed to be the obvious front runner. We went the snorkel route but I'm sure scuba diving would have been amazing too. The whole thing took about two hours but it was a nice way to shake things up after days of laying by the pool/beach.


new kicks on the block

Past experiences have taught me that when getting fitted for running shoes by experts you are probably going to walk away with a somewhat ugly pair. And that's okay, because they will support your foot perfectly. Well ugly shoes know more. The shoe that not only fit me well but also fit the best turned out to be the prettiest too. Now I just need this know to melt so I can test out these blue beauts.


mexico || 2015

I like starting 2015 off with a strong travel game. Mexico isn't anything fancy but it's just about the nicest way to spend a week in February.

We got into Playa Del Carmen pretty late on Saturday so instead of going straight to our all-inclusive resort we decided to save some money by staying at a smaller hotel nearby. Coco Cabana was such an awesome place and totally exceeded my expectations. I would have been completely happy to stay there the whole time. The owners were so helpful. Plus, they have some pretty great wood oven pizza.

It's a bit hard to tell from the photo above but we got to stay in this adorable purple bungalow, palm roof + all. I couldn't get a good photo inside but it was round with a pitched ceiling + looked a bit like a yurt. The bathroom didn't have any doors so that was a bit weird but we only stayed at Coco Cabana for 12 hours before heading nearby to the Platinum Yucatan Princess.

The Platinum Yucatan Princess is an all-inclusive, adults only resort that just opened late last year. They had their shit together for being a newer hotel + there was also the benefit of it not being too crowded. Also, fun fact: adult only resorts mean it is okay to have not one but TWO porn channels. Talk about an upgrade!

Porn aside, it was a comfortable stay. The food was pretty okay but it was more than easy to maintain a piña colada in my hand at all times. The weather was pretty much perfect + we also got to experience the Super Bowl in a theater full of displaced gringos. That was a treat. This leg of the trip was definitely all about relaxation mode + soaking up some sun.

We also spent one evening making a trip to downtown Playa Del Carmen which was surprisingly large. It was one huge strip of souvenir shops, bars, + restaurants. I had a fun time exploring + people watching.

The last leg of our trip took us an hour south to Tulum. Tulum was meant for exploring but unfortunately we were hindered the first day due to a storm that came through. The view above is from our bed though so watching the storm come in was actually really cool + also provided a perfect backdrop for an afternoon nap. Vacations are for siestas, right?

We stayed at a nice little boutique hotel called Blue Sky Hotel. It was a little bit further from the Tulum hub than I anticipated but it was so great to be that close to the water. It had this cool little dock we could walk out on but the guard "dog" up top scared me a little bit.
Day two in Tulum we finally got to do some exploring. We wandered around downtown for breakfast + then made a stop at the Archaeological Site to see the Mayan ruins. Those were pretty neat + filled with iguanas.

After seeing the ruins we climbed down to the public beach to cool off for a bit.The water was so clear + nice here.

The last stop of the day was at the Cenote Dos Ojos where we snorkeled in the water caves. The photos below aren't of the Cenote Dos Ojos, but of Casa Cenote which was near our hotel. The water in these cenotes is so unbelievably pretty. I don't know if it's actually true or not but our guide said that these cenotes were made from meteors.

All + all, Mexico was a great trip + a very necessary escape from the Chicago winters. I would definitely go back + would love to explore parts of Tulum a bit more. One of my favorite parts of the trip was just observing. The colors + scenery were so different than what I typically see in Chicago so it was nice to just take that all in.

father john misty || chateau lobby #4 (in c for two virgins)


i was there || zola jesus

Show: Zola Jesus
Ryley Walker

Location: Athenaeum Theater 

Date: 2.16.25

Favorite Song: "In Your Nature" is the song that hooked me on this lady but "Dangerous Days" was also exceptional.

Memorable Moment: This tiny woman in massive wedges decides that climbing on top of the speakers + jumping off is a good idea. She landed on her booty a little bit but recovered quite gracefully. Thankfully. The trumpet player was pretty cool too.

Biggest Letdown: Love you, Zola, but your stage presence was quite awkward. That's probably the aspect of a show that matters the least but at times I just wanted to close my eyes.

This Show: Zola Jesus has the voice of a fucking angel. You completely hear her range + slight imperfections that actually end up being pretty perfect + help give the songs character. It's nice to not have someone hide behind auto tune or loud instruments.



Generally speaking, I don't think I have much of an "I'm better than you" attitude...except when it comes to fostering. For the second year in a row I spent part of my two week work holiday vacation welcoming a very loving + very deserving PAWS pup into my home. I feel so good for what I have done for these dogs the last two years + I don't care who knows it. 

This time I was paired with Judo + he was the absolute best. Fostering this year was a different experience for me. I grew less attached to Judo but I also feel more inclined to keep him than Rutherford. I spent more time with Rutherford, he was a lab like the dog I grew up with, + I think he needed me more. Judo was a little smaller than I imagined, he came to my home during a somewhat stressful time for me, but he was so good. He has his occasional moments of mischief + craziness but he is still an adolescent (1.5 years). When he really screwed up (like when he peed on my stairs after I took away his bone. ASSHOLE! But also very smart.) he knew it and went straight to his cage no questions asked. He rarely barked, seemed to get along okay with other dogs, + was totally happy to chill with me on the couch. No dog is easy and all dogs take a lot of work but Judo was an easier amount of work.
Judo hasn't been adopted yet + although he is perfect in my opinion it likely will be some time before he is adopted because unfortunately that is the way life works. I've been seriously thinking about fostering him again and just paying for a dog walker while I work but I will have to wait until after my Mexico trip (more on that later). If he still hasn't been adopted or taken into a foster home after that I might take the little guy back for a few weeks (or probably forever knowing me). 

If that doesn't happen this will likely be the last you hear from me on the topic but I do have one last plea. If you are looking to get a dog or are willing to open your home up to one for a few more weeks please consider Judo. He's so great + could really use a break from shelter life. It seems like PAWS is in pretty desperate need for adopters/fosters at the moment so taking any dog or cat would be a huge help...I'm just clearly biased towards Judo. If you can't adopt or foster than please at least send good vibes to this little dude. I have never met a dog more desiring and more deserving of a good home. 


The Crazy Dog Lady


nils frahm || says

Despite having a ticket for it I still didn't make it to the Nils Frahm show  at Thalia Hall in November. I have a feeling this might turn out to be one of those misses I really really regret. But maybe not. Perhaps he'll make his was back to Chicago soon.

Stick this song out. It has a bit of a slow build but the last couple of minutes are so beautiful.


it's starting to look a lot like christmas (in january)

The last couple of years I have gotten really good at the post-holiday shopping deals. Specifically, I've developed a pretty decent Christmas decor collection. I'm just one level away from being a grinch so it hasn't been a big deal for me to go without a Christmas tree each year and buying this stuff full price is pretty ridiculous. If you wait until after Christmas everything is essentially half price. Much more reasonable. I think 2015 might be the first year I have a Christmas tree. And as a total shock to exactly no one, it is going to be animal themed.

Most of my ornaments are from West Elm + Anthropologie but I've also got some fabulous, musical ladies coming from Crate + Barrel too.


hello, 2015

I was going to start by saying that I'm not really one to make + keep resolutions but after looking at my list for 2014 I actually ended up doing a fairly good job. These are all things I would like to keep up in 2015 too.

As for 2015, four goals come to mind:

Be Less Grumpy

I'll call myself out. Lately I have been a total grump. I am sensitive + I let things get to me. As a result I don't think I'm always the most fun person to be around. And that kind of sucks. 2014 was stressful, yes. But a change of mindset could have made it a little less so. It is definitely a challenge for me but I'm really trying to let go more. I want to make more fun in my life. Work hard, play harder. Or something like that.

Mind My Mobile Manners

Recently I have become much more cognizant of how people use their phones in public + in my presence. I do my fair share of this too but it is still a rude + nasty habit. Not only that but it makes you miss out on so much of what is going around you. This year I'm going to try to be more present.

More Original Content

I want to write more, create more, + do more this year. I felt a bit creatively starved in 2014 because I didn't make enough time to do the things I love. I'm going to try to plan more in 2015 so I make this actually happen.

More Selfies

Well maybe not necessarily selfies, but more photos of myself. I am a bit camera shy + recently have had very few photos taken of me. I think there will one day come a time when I am old + wrinkly that I will wish I had taken more photos of myself in my youthful twenties. Those days are coming to an end soon so I better start saying "cheese". So with that, here is a grainy, sleepy selfie.

Cheers to the new year!


top shows | 2014 |

2014. The year I made it to 58 shows, 5 festivals + probably a handful more late nights that I may or may not remember well enough to have designated "I Was There" posts. My concert choices this year were smarter, more unique + a few definitely put me outside of my comfort zone (I'm looking at all you weirdo Phish phans). Some were pretty mediocre but more than enough were great. These ten top my year:


27 things i've learned in 27 years

27. No one knows you as well as you know yourself. Know you limits. Accept it if things don't feel right. Step away if you need to. You can't force things to happen when you want them to happen + that is okay. The things that are meant to happen always will.

26. It's a small world after all. Even in a big city like Chicago, I find more often then not that both social + professional circles are actually quite small. Build a reputation that you're proud of.

25. Be thankful for the people in your life. You wouldn't be where you are or who you are without them. Life's a whole lot easier with a good support system.
24. This is the point where you should stop doing things to fit in. If you can't be happy with yourself as you are then you're going to have one long, sad life ahead of you. 

23. Don't settle. Whether it's a not-so-great job or a boy that could probably be treating you a little better,  trust your gut on this one - if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. You deserve the best.

22. Keep figuring out ways to learn more. Last year I took a terrarium making class + loved it. This year I went to a seminar on the meaning of life + was inspired. I hope next year brings many more opportunities for mental stimulation.

21. Establish your own exceptions. Maybe I should have saved a bit of money over the years by having a roommate, but isn't the freedom of being able to walk around all day in your underwear worth it? You get the picture...

20. Develop your own style. Know your body + know what suits it. If you're unsure, pay someone to tell you. Then, have fun with it. I should know who you are from looking at 5 pieces in your closet.

19. Learn how to navigate yourself. There's not always going to be someone there to hold your hand. And just think of all the opportunities you'll miss just because you have a fear of doing things on your own. You'll be surprised how much you learn about yourself.

18. Stop being a spoiled brat + be thankful for all that your parents have done. I would be no where without my parents. Year after year they have done nothing but love + support me. Chances are, you're in the same boat. Don't forget to call + remind them that you appreciate them.
17. Be a role model. Whether you know it or not, someone probably looks up to you. Your behavior can shape someone else's life, so make sure you're making a positive difference.

16. Stop being a picky eater. People don't like going out with picky eaters + they sure don't like cooking for them. While I can understand one or two off limit ingredients, there's more to life than the top tier of the food pyramid.

15. Write things down + take photos. You're going to appreciate it years from now. Your family will appreciate it even more.
14. Have at least 3 recipes that you can absolutely nail. Not everyone is going to be a great cook, but you should at least have that handful of recipes that don't cause you to freak out every time you get invited to a potluck feast. I'm hoping my handful grows a bit over the next year.

13. Gossiping is no longer cute or acceptable. Just because you were once popular for this trait as a child doesn't mean it's going to stick with you through life. If anything, it will only make others like you less.
12. Don't drop loads of money on the newest trend. Trends are trends for a reason - they don't last. Invest in those classics + go the cheap route on the "hottest" new things.

11. Show a bit of compassion to others that need it. This isn't always the case, but it's usually pretty easy to spot someone that could use a friend or a little bit of encouragement. Going out of the way to say a few nice things or have a short conversation can really make a big impact on someone + it's such a simple thing to do.

10. Now is the time to be selfish. At this point in my life I really don't have many responsibilities other than needing to do well with my career. That leaves an ample amount of extra time to do the things I love, to travel, to pamper myself.

9. Let others form their own opinions. I'm all for being passionate about specific causes or politics, but please don't shove your opinions down my throat. We have brains for a reason + most of us are pretty capable of using them intelligently. Please let me decide what is right for myself.

8. I am an idiot for killing my skin all of those years in tanning beds.If you're vain like me + haven't yet learned this lesson, please know that spray tanning has come a long way since those orange tint jobs. There's absolutely no need to fry yourself in a bed when you can get a nice spray down every couple of weeks.

7. A healthy body means a healthy mind. Each year the correlation between the two seems to grow stronger + stronger. If you're not exercising or eating right you're going to feel like crap, both physically + mentally.

6. Have a hobby. Better yet, have a few. As lame as this sounds, being known as the music junkie by my peers makes me feel really great about myself. Being that "expert" at a specific thing can really improve self esteem + it's an easy way to form bonds with new people.
5. Pay off your debts. I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but I was incredibly reckless with my money (or the money I didn't have) when I was 23 + 24. I kept thinking that more was just on the horizon + I also probably spent more than I needed to to try to fit in with certain types of people. It was stupid, but a lesson. I will never let myself get that careless again. It's such a huge burden that weighs over you for so long.

4. Sleeping in past noon is no longer acceptable. A cruel reality, but true. Sleep is important though, so just cut down on the number of all night ragers.

3. You have to work at friendships, especially as you get older. I'm really pretty awful at this one, especially with so many good friends living in different cities. I've never really been much of a phone person which makes this process that much harder for me. Sometimes all it takes is just little things to show that a person has a special place in your life.

2. Mind your f'ing manners. Maybe it's all of the years I spent as a waitress, but it honestly blows my mind how rude people can be to those working in the customer service industry. Be appreciative of their help. Not only are you making an ass out of yourself, but you're also embarrassing the people you are with.
1. Be prepared to laugh at yourself. You're human, mistakes will happen. The best recovery is a good giggle + others will appreciate you all the more for it.


i was there || st. vincent + future islands

Show: St. Vincent
Future Islands

Location: Chicago Theater

Date: 12.2.14

Favorite Song: One of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard was St. Vincent's intro to "Your Lips Are Red." That was some goose-bumpy music. I've done a little research + it seems to be somewhat of a rare occurrence. I could be wrong on that but it's so damn pretty regardless. You can hear a variation of it HERE. "Cheerleader" was also a standout from St. Vincent's set while "Dream Of Me + You" was my favorite from Future Islands.

Memorable Moment: I would put Annie Clark in the same category as Bjork, J Law, + Nicki Minage. All cool ass chicks that make me proud to be a woman. Annie is so damn cool + I was not prepared for that. I'm pretty sure that I made a vow to myself that night that if I ever have a little girl of my own she's sure as hell going to have a guitar in her hands before she can take her first steps.

Biggest Letdown: Very little to complain about. Maybe the venue? Chicago Theater wasn't bad per-se I just selfishly would like to see them both somewhere smaller with general admission.

This Show: was limber. I'm pretty sure Annie Clark might be a robot with her perfectly timed + almost machine-like movements. And when she crossed guitars with her chick bandmate? Damn. I'm also pretty sure that Samuel Herring of Future Islands is secretly Gumby. Seriously, though. How does that guy move like that? I have mostly ignored Future Islands in this post so far which is entirely unfair because their set was phenomenal too. St. Vincent + Future Islands both fall into my top shows of 2014. No question.


mostly naughty but a little bit nice

Time for the annual wish list. I make decent progress each year but there are a few items that seem to be on my list every year. Will this be the year I spoil myself? I sure hope so!

Record Player
This one is on my list again. Every damn year. In my defense, I did buy myself one this year but I had to return it. I have almost 100 albums yet nothing to listen to them on. It's quite ridiculous but this is 100% the year I cross this off.

Disco Ball
$50.00 or more
Yep, still want this. Same rules apply -- must be 20 inches at least or it's unacceptable.

Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum
I'm running low one my current scents + this is at the top of my list. It's a bit pricey for something as unexciting as perfume but I use so little it is bound to last for a while

Ace of Swords Necklace
Sadly, I won't look as cool at this chick wearing her Ace of Swords necklace from Bloody Mary Metal but I still want it. I tend to wear more gold lately so I want to make sure that when I wear silver it is a statement.

Vintage Rugs
I'm kind of obsessed with rugs. The problem is that they are pricey. I bought my ever so popular Souk rugs from West Elm three years ago but the luster has worn off + it's looking a little worn in. I'd love to move it to my bedroom + replace it with a more unique and colorful option.

A Critter
My entire life I have loved animals. It's a little silly that I just don't have one but I want a dog + right now I don't think I am home enough to be a good owner. So I've explored other options -- smoosh-faced kittens, chinchillas, + my latest obsession,  hedgehogs. They only live for a few years + appear to be really low maintenance. They are the most snuggly but I think a hedgehog could suppress my puppy cravings for a couple of years.