this isn't a "best of" list || 2015 ||

To be completely honest, 2015 was not my favorite year for music. My schedule did not allow for as much listening so that had a definite impact but overall it just didn't feel as strong as years past. Even some of my all time favorites (MMJ + Hot Chip, for example) failed to really excite me with any of their songs. 

All was not lost though! There were a few gems hidden throughout the year. I have to say, the ladies really brought it in 2015. I don't think I've had so many songs sung, written, or covered by women on my list before. I also didn't have too many older songs that stood out this year. After reading "Girl In Band" I had Sonic Youth on rotation quite a bit. I also had to add "An Ocean Between the Waves" from War On Drugs even though it came out last year. This was my all time favorite song to see live + I thankfully got to do so twice in 2015. The rest are all songs that were either in heavy rotation or invoked some special feeling inside me. Enjoy!

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010


i was there || grimes

Show: Grimes

Location: Metro

Date: 11.25.15

Favorite Song: I didn't have enough time pre-concert to really give her new album a good listen so "Genesis" an old tried + true favorite did it for me.

Memorable Moment: Grimes being Grimes.

Biggest Letdown: I told myself about a million times the day of the show to make sure to get there early because half of the fun of Grimes concerts is watching the weirdness ensue onstage yet there I was standing in the way way back.

This Show: was pretty hard for me. It was the first show I went to after the attacks in Paris + as much as I tried I couldn't get thoughts from that horrible night out of my head. I haven't been to another show since. I'll get back in there but I am still pretty shook up.


i was there || kurt vile

Show: Kurt Vile

Location: Thalia Hall

Date: 10.23.15

Favorite Song: There is something so cool about "Pretty Pimpin"

Memorable Moment: Crazy enough, this was my first show at Thalia Hall. I loved it! Such a great venue in such a charming neighborhood. I can't wait to check out more shows here when it warms up so I can wander the neighborhood a bit before.

Biggest Letdown: There were several points in the night when the crowd was talking much louder than Kurt Vile was playing. It was a little awkward, to be honest, + very annoying.

This Show: While it wasn't my favorite Kurt Vile show it was a good night to check out a new concert venue.


i was there || hinds

Show: Hinds
Public Access TV

Location: Lincoln Hall

Date: 10.22.15

Favorite Song: I'm admittedly not super close to all of their songs but I think "Bamboo" would have to be my favorite from the night.

Memorable Moment: They made it clear early in the night that they had been on tour for a while now + wanted to party in Chicago. They then proceeded to take shots on stage + piss off Lincoln Hall a bit by inviting the audience onto stage for the final song. I hope Chicago treated them well for the rest of the night.

Biggest Letdown: I really wish I had asked everyone in the crowd who their favorite Hinds girl was. I think that could tell a lot about a person. My favorite was the bass player.

This Show: was comprised of four Spanish girls playing instruments on stage, so there's not much to dislike about that. They were super cute + having a lot of fun on stage which translated to lots of fun in the crowd. I don't think I'll listen to their album a ton on my own but I still enjoyed it.


luh || unites

A few weeks back Spotify Radio introduced me to this really great band called WU LYF. After about 5 or so listens of their album I was sufficiently impressed + did a little more research on the group. What I found was a bit heartbreaking -- they had been broken up for years. The worst.

I can't help but feel like the music gods are on my side though. Recently I have seen news of their reincarnation of sorts called LUH which seems to be just as good. Check them both out.


i was there || north coast music festival

Show: North Coast Music Festival
The Chemical Brothers

Location: Union Park

Date: 9.6.15

Favorite Song: Cliche as it is, it is hard not to say "Swoon." That song is a whole lot of feelings. Starting off the set with "Hey Boy Hey Girl" was a smart choice too.

Memorable Moment: What wasn't memorable? With The Chemical Brothers the whole night is going to be a production. I think the obvious answer would be the creepy mummy-like dude (very similar to the clown from years past). For me, however, it was their ability to build the crowd up so much before going absolutely nuts. And I don't mean in the douchy EDM way. They did it with total skill + control.

Biggest Letdown: I guess if the weather was less brutally hot + I had no better plans for the day I would have liked to get more out of my ticket. It would have been nice to see a few more acts, namely Portugal the Man + Twin Shadow. I would have liked to have seen a little bit of Disco Biscuits too but I couldn't pull myself away from The Chemical Brother's set.

This Show: I have always said that The Chemical Brother's set at NCMF year one was one of the top 3 shows I have ever seen. Their performance this year was right on par too. I didn't know what to expect given their new album but they really played most of the hits. They are an absolute must see if you haven't yet.

ryan adams || all you had to do was stay

Who knew I was a Taylor Swift fan??

Well I don't know that for sure, but I do know that I have always loved Ryan Adams + he makes the 1989 album sound good. I'm enjoying all of the songs so far but this one has been the initial standout.


new york

New York City has never really been at the top of my list of places I want to visit. I had been once before when I was about seven years old for the Macy's Day Parade + I suppose thought it would just be hard to top that trip. Or maybe it was the fact that I live in a pretty great city of my own that I wasn't dying to to go to a bigger, smellier version of my home.
When my favorite male artist (Jamie xx) + my favorite female artist (Maya Jane Coles) announced a show together in Brooklyn it seemed like as good of a reason as any to revisit this monster of a city for one quick weekend.

We arrived early on Saturday + headed straight to Central Park on one very beautiful day.

From there we wandered through Times Square which was a pretty awful experience. The Naked Cowboy got uncomfortably close to me so it is safe to say that I never need to go back there again in my life.

After a quick siesta we headed to a wonderful Portuguese restaurant called Lupulo in K-Town. We went early enough that it wasn't hard to get in + the food was really really great. If you're in a major city + unsure where to eat just check out Eater. The Chicago version is always spot on so I figured the same would be true for New York + it was.

After dinner we headed to a rooftop bar called 230 Fifth with phenomenal views + a mediocre crowd. Not necessarily a place I would go to all the time but the view is totally worth it for out-of-towners. From there we wandered over to the Meatpacking District/Highline area which was clearly the place to be on a Saturday night. I would've liked to see more of that neighborhood in day time.

Day two brought us to Brooklyn which was my personal fav. Every bar, shop, nook, + cranny was just inherently cool. I've never had a desire to live in New York City but Williamsburg changed my mind just a little bit. I would easily go back to NYC + spend all of my time in Williamsburg.

...Next season on Vice...

I wish I could say how much I loved Jamie xx + Maya Jane Coles but I had a tummy ache + the music was just okay. More on that HERE.
Outside of those highlights we mostly just walked + walked + ate pizza. And then walked more.
There were some cool neighborhoods that I would like to go back + visit some day but one of my favorite things about this trip was the very cool AirBnB we stayed in in East Villiage. Some Italian photographer + his artist girlfriend lived there + there apartment was just so interesting + filled with light.

And there were fun things for me to play with, like this fencing mask...

To top it off (literally), it had this giant rooftop with a beautiful view of the city. Definitely a selling point.
That's about NYC for me in a nutshell. It was a good little getaway but I was glad to head home with Chromatics playing on repeat through my headphones. It just felt right.

My one souvenir that I'll leave you with is this accidental selfie of my RBF (resting bitch face) that I'm actually kind of a fan of.

Peace out, New York.

i was there || andhim + jamie xx + maya jane coles

Show: Jamie xx + Maya Jane Coles

Location: Verboten Stage One
Brooklyn, NY

Date: 8.23.15

Favorite Song: This shouldn't totally surprise me because I've seen these guys before + their Essential Mix is pretty great but AndHim probably had my favorite set of the day. I think the key here is "day" though. Jamie xx + MJC are going to be better suited for night. AndHim was fun which was desperately needed for the daytime.

Memorable Moment: Cliche as it sounds, it just felt really cool to be at an outdoor party in Williamsburg. The crowd wasn't all that different than what you might see in Chicago but it did feel slightly more special. For whatever reason, living in Chicago seems totally normal to me but Brooklyn feels somewhat different. I think if Chicago neighborhoods were more geographically isolated by bodies of water like they are in NYC it wouldn't be all that different.

Also, someone hit a drone that was flying over the concert with a beach ball + it gave me a good laugh.

Biggest Letdown: I definitely ate something bad while I was there + a tummy ache kind of put a damper on my day. While I wish I could have stayed + raged all day + night for the after party that just wasn't in the cards for the day. The sound wasn't all that great there either so it wasn't like I missed the worlds greatest show.

This Show: Was a perfect excuse to get myself to New York. It was a toasty day but Verboten Stage One was a pretty cool location that really did a great job featuring Manhattan in the background. Not the best show I've been to musically but it was something different + I did enjoy myself.


i was there || dirtybird bbq

Show: Dirtybird BBQ
J Phlip
Justin Martin
Claude VonStroke

Location: Randolph Street

Date: 8.15.15

Favorite Song: J Phlip had this little ditty where she went from Jamie xx to "Just" by Bicep. And then capped it all off with a song about shaking your booty. Female producers know whats up.

Memorable Moment: The prohibited items list.

Biggest Letdown: How can you call this a BBQ when there are no grilled meats?! I was pretty bummed but my boyfriend, who thought he was going to a chicken festival, was especially bummed. As someone who works in advertising these false claims just don't fly for me. Additionally, everything about this day was very low budget. I kept thinking to myself, "so this is what a music festival in Akron, Ohio must be like." It just didn't quite feel like Chicago until you turned around + saw the skyline.

This Show: I love the concept of getting a whole crew from a record label to play. Low budget or not, if I could get one of these for Ghostly or DFA you can sure as hell bet I would be there. Plus, the record label comradery is super adorable.

i was there || lollapalooza

My new friend. Poor guy was not doing so hot.

Show: Lollapalooza
Father John Misty
Hot Chip
War On Drugs
Alabama Shakes
Gary Clark Jr.
Paul McCartney
The Weeknd

Location: Grant Park

Date: 7.31.15

Favorite Song: My first set of the festival was Father John Misty + I made it to the stage just in time to hear two of my favorites -- "Nothing Good Ever Happens At the Goddamn Thirsty Crow" as well as "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings." Not necessarily my absolute favorites of the day but they made for an excellent start to the day.

Memorable Moment: Hot Chip was definitely the set that livened up the day. After hearing mostly new songs at their Milwaukee show I was pleasantly surprised to hear them play pretty much all fan favorites. These guys (+ one very cool chick drummer) never get old.

Biggest Letdown: Timing didn't pan out great for this festival. I hustled all the way to the south stage to catch Alabama Shakes' set only to meet them with technical difficulties. Later, the plan was to catch Paul McCartney + then head to The Weeknd before exiting the park. The beginning of Paul McCartney's set was a bit of a snoozefest as he tried to push some of his newer songs so we hiked our way back north to see The Weeknd only to be confronted with major delays to their set time. I wish I had reversed these plans. And this is why I hate Lollapalooza.

This Show: My first three sets of the day were performances I had already seen earlier that year. I would have loved to see someone new but with the lineup being as weak as it was this year I had no complaints seeing any of these three again. Even though I had just seen War On Drugs the night before I was glad to see a second set from them because I love them so much. Overall, not my favorite Lollapalooza, after parties included. I'm either outgrowing this festival or they need to do a better job luring me back in next year.


i was there || hot chip (dj set)

Show: Hot Chip DJ Set

Location: Smart Bar

Date: 7.30.15

Memorable Moment: There were a few minutes in the night where Slaptop, the opener, remixed The xx + all was right in the world.

Biggest Letdown: Being the old loser that I am I did not stay long enough to hear Hot Chip, which is hindsight was totally fine. I've seen their live shows twice this year + while fun, I doubt their DJ sets can compare.

This Show: kind of put a bad taste in my mouth. I am always the first to compliment Smart Bar + it probably is still my favorite venue in the city. The bookings are great, the soundsystem is top of the line, + historically the staff has been nothing but professional. The post-War On Drugs crowd seemed pretty tame in my opinion but the door man barked demands to the entire line instead of addressing my simple question. Later that night as I was leaving I saw the very same guy make a kid balance on one foot + then told him he needed to come back later because he was too wobbly which was not at all true. This dude was on a major power trip which as a fan of the venue was pretty disappointing to experience first hand.

i was there || war on drugs

Show: War On Drugs

Location: Metro

Date: 7.30.15

Favorite Song: There's this line at the beginning of "An Ocean In Between the Waves" that goes: "I watch you as you hesitate walking through the rain" + for whatever reason it gets me every time. "Under Pressure" + "Red Eyes" are of course classics too.

Memorable Moment: About a year ago Pitchfork published Inside Man, a look at front man Adam Granduciel's successful career despite the monumental hurdles of personal anxiety. It is a long read but a great read + made me respect this performance that much more knowing how hard it was for him to be away from his "safe place."

Biggest Letdown: Getting there a little late. Bros in the crowd. The usual.

This Show: Even though I saw most of this show from the gallows it was still a really great show. I would put War On Drugs in the same bucket as Ryan Adams or My Morning Jacket -- I don't think their music will ever get old to me.


i was there || toro y moi

Show: Toro Y Moi

Location: Metro

Date: 7.29.15

Favorite Song: I'm a sucker for "Rose Quartz."

Memorable Moment: This was one of those shows I have been waiting to see for a while. I have definitely had some opportunities to see Mr. Chaz Bundick but this one finally panned out.

Biggest Letdown: My date ditched out on me so this was a get there late / leave early kind of night for me.

This Show: Was almost what I expected it to be. I wish I had first seen Toro Y Moi in 2013 during the height of Anything In Return. The newer album just doesn't quite do the same for me.


a project

I'm the queen of making lists of projects that I never seem to complete but I really want to take a stab at this DIY. I should note that there are no instructions + I have no prior knowledge of weaving, but it seems doable to me.


i was there || fort romeau

Show: Fort Romeau

Location: Anita Dee Yacht

Date: 7.23.15

Memorable Moment: Fort Romeau sounded great but also seeing Blackhawks fly over you while riding on giant yacht was pretty remarkable.

Biggest Letdown: I'm not sure of this was my "memorable moment" or "biggest letdown" but the crowd on this boat was true club rats. Half the fun of the night was watching the crowds + we had a front row seat.

This Show: While I would have preferred to see Fort Romeau in Chicago's favorite basement it could not have been a more perfect night on Lake Michigan. I'm glad I finally got to check this guy off my list but I would love to see him back in Chicago soon. His music has an easy vibe to it which I enjoy.


i was there || pitchfork music festival

Show: Pitchfork Music Festival
Panda Bear
Mac Demarco
Future Islands
New Pornographers
Parquet Courts
Kurt Vile
Todd Terje
Jamie xx
Courtney Barnett
Madlib + Freddie Gibbs

Location: Union Park

Date: 7.17.15 - 7.19.15

Favorite Song: Being up close + personal for "SeeSaw" by Jamie xx was a definite treat of the weekend.

Memorable Moment: Jamie xx, Clark, Future Islands + Courtney Barnett were my favorites from a musical standpoint. Mac Demarco + Freddie Gibbs were the most hilarious. Overall MVP was Todd Terje. He sounds great + was a ton of fun.

Biggest Letdown: Some brief but nasty weather rolled through Union Park on Saturday. A few moments after the storm passed Sophie had mysteriously disappeared from the lineup. I never heard officially if this was weather related but I was bummed to say the least.

This Show: was another one for the books. Except it was even better because my friend helped me score VIP tickets. The wine spritzers were flowing + aside from a short storm, the weather could not have been more perfect. I probably listened to a little less music this year because of VIP but overall it was another successful Pitchfork weekend.

The fork in the road to Pitchfork. Or Pitchfork alley. Whichever you prefer.


i was there || spoon

Show: Spoon

Location: Petrillo Music Shell

Date: 7.11.15

Favorite Song: "Inside Out" followed directly by "I Turn My Camera On" was one of the better ten or so minutes I have had in a while.

Memorable Moment: I am a bit surprised I have never seen Spoon. While Taste of Chicago wasn't the most ideal circumstances it was good to check such an iconic band off my list.

Biggest Letdown: I wish I had done a better job of explaining to people that I was going to a Spoon concert + not to the Taste of Chicago for a Spoon concert. There is a big difference between the two + it comes in the form of severe judgement.

This Show: made me feel very grown up when I thought back to how I first learned about Spoon. I first discovered Spoon on the Music From The O.C. Mix 1 like many other sixteen-year-olds at the time. "The Way We Get By" was the anthem during my first adventures in driving, now here I was 12 years later enjoying the more emotionally driven songs. Times they do change.


i was there || my morning jacket

Show: My Morning Jacket

Location: Chicago Theater

Date: 6.9.15

Favorite Song: I had two favorites. One new + one old. "Like A River" was new + melodic while "Heart Breakin Man" brought back a wave of nostalgia. It is crazy that these songs were made 15 years apart. There has definitely be a growth/progression to their sounds.

Memorable Moment: Few things excite me more than Jim James' sense of fashion. Pair that beautiful silk kimono jacket with his luscious curly mane + a guitar + you've got yourself a bonafide sex symbol (or rockstar at the very least).

Biggest Letdown: I was sick as a dog the night of this show + it took everything in me to make it out. I did + I'm glad I went but I couldn't bring myself to stay for the entire set. Unfortunately I seemed to have left just before MMJ starting warming up with the old classics. I mostly heard the new songs, which are fine, but I prefer 2000-2005 MMJ more than 2015 MMJ.

This Show: My Morning Jacket is just one of those bands that I'm always going to love seeing live. Seeing them live at the Chicago Theater is something special too. I was only able to make it to night 1 of 3 but that just makes me want to step up my MMJ game even more the next time they make it through this lovely city.


ratatat || nightclub amnesia

I'll 100% admit that I had to turn to Pitchfork's Magnifique review before I could ever fully process my feelings for this album myself. I don't always agree with Pitchfork but I think they hit the nail on the head with this album review.

I have to preface that I do really like the album. It sounds like RATATAT which is a great start. I think "Cream On Chrome" was a perfect first single from the album which got me excited for the final release. Where it falls short for me in terms of progress. Most of the songs sound just like something I might have heard on one of their older albums. Which again, isn't a bad thing, it's just not something I'm going to get overly excited for. Our as Pitchfork cites, "nothing leaves an impression." I will have this album on rotation for sure, but I think it will primarily be passive listening.

The two standouts for me (at least initially) are "Nighclub Amnesia" +  "Cream On Chrome." I'm still really looking forward to their 9.8 show at The Riv. If you've never seen them before you are in for a treat. Tickets are still available HERE.

i was there || the very best + glass lux

Show: Glass Lux + The Very Best

Location: Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Date: 6.4.15

Memorable Moment: Admittedly, I am not very up to speed on the latest music coming out of Africa. I made it to Millennium Park for Glass Lux (babe alert) but was glad I stayed for The Very Best. They brought some major energy + style to the night. Downtown Sounds always attracts a very diverse crowd since the shows are free. Despite the obvious differences among the crowd everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Biggest Letdown: I didn't walk a way from the night with any new favorite tunes, but it is hard to really be let down when listening to live music for free on Chicago's front lawn. 

This Show: The weather has been pretty rough this Summer so this was one of the few free concerts I was able to enjoy at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It was perfect night to sit outside with some canned rose + friends.


303 || the entry

I moved into my boyfriend's mostly empty place a little over a month ago now. Some progress has been made, but progress has been slow. I've been mostly okay with this (because my bank account is forcing me to be) but I do love having everything put together perfectly at home. 

The part that is driving me the nuttiest right now is the wall paint. You can see in the photo below but it is this ugly dark beige color which when paired with our very 90's shiny maple cabinets makes me want to vom. The paint will have to wait a few more months unfortunately. I bring this up because until the backdrop is complete nothing is going to look all that great in here. Patience, grasshopper...
This is NOT our furniture. It belongs to the former owners.

The good news is that aside from the painting, most of the progress that has been made is in the form of large purchases. I have the sofa, dining table, rugs, etc purchased. Now comes the smaller pieces + styling -- which to me is the fun part!

The Entry 
Although we will spend the least amount of time in our front entry, it is the first thing you see when you walk into the unit so I would like it to look nice. It's also the smallest + least overwhelming part of the condo so I'm hoping it is an easy one to tackle.

The Challenges
 - The space between the floor + the bottom of the door is minuscule. Finding a stylish rug that is thin enough so that won't be caught in the door every time it is opened + closed will be tough.

- There is a lack of outlets on the wall where our console sits. I would love to have some kind of lamp or wall sconce over here but I'd have to figure out a work around. Do they make battery powered lamps?

The Plans

This is the general vibe I'm going for (pending my "landlord's" approval). Artwork, styling, etc will be different, of course, but I love this general palette against a clean background.  I'm heartbroken that the Anthropologie Abate Slatted mirror is no longer available. I knew I should have jumped on that. Maybe it will come back in stock? I have that West Elm rug on back order, however I am worried it won't work given challenge #1. Plans are meant to change, I suppose.


courtney barnett || small poppies

I hope you all bought your Pitchfork Music Festival tickets. My favorite Chicago fest is just 9 days away + this lovely lady will playing the green stage on Sunday + is definitely a must see. The Sunday lineup is stacked pretty nicely with Jamie XX, Todd Terje, Caribou, Waxahatchee + many more. Remember, festivals are marathons not sprints.


the argument for "stuff"

I have a lot of stuff. Random collections I've started + long forgotten. Late night Etsy finds. A vase or tray for pretty much any occasion. At my old apartment I had a specific place for everything + it worked. When I moved last month this "stuff" 1. scared the crap out of my boyfriend + 2. seemed to have lost its place/purpose. I plan to share more soon on the progress at the new place soon but in the meantime, here is my argument for "stuff."

Below is the jaw-dropping London home of stylist + photographer Carole Poirot. She demonstrates perfectly that you can have knick knacks + trinkets without them over-taking your whole space. These are the little details that I absolutely love.