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.



When I think about my dream home it looks a little something like this but with an updated kitchen + baths + probably some more closet space. But for $4,000/mo this 1,800 sq ft three bedroom, two bath rental near Brooklyn could be yours as is.

I'm a total sucker for exposed bricks + wood beam ceilings. Quite honestly, a place like this in Chicago isn't totally out of the question either if only I had a little bit thicker of a wallet. The West Loop has quite a few spaces like this with the character I love. I would pretty much die + go to heaven if I could have a place like this for my own.


dude decor

There have been a few occasions where guys have asked me for my help with decorating their homes. I feel pretty confident that I have good taste + that my apartment is put together well but I have never really thought about decorating a more masculine space. My home isn't overly girly but what are the alternatives when you are not decorating with fur + vases full of flowers? I was a bit stumped but turned to my trusty sources for some inspiration that would make any man feel at home.

1 | 2 | 3 | 45 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Tips On Decorating Like A Man

1. Use Masculine Materials. Think metal, wood, leather, plaid, + concrete

2. Keep the Colors Neutral. Use a mix of black + white as well as colors that sway on the dark side

3. Showcase Your Hobbies. Whether its sports, travel, or music we want to know what you enjoy. Display what you like to do in your free time with photos, books, + knick knacks

4. Increase Your Chances of Getting Laid. At the very least you should always have extra toilet paper, clean towels, throw blankets (because chicks are always cold), + sheets, blankets, + extra pillows on your bed. Bonus points if you have plants, family photos, + mirrors.

Manly Starter Items
(That chicks like too)
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Where To Shop

Unlike me, you probably aren't willing to spend much money on decor. A few places to get started are: Ikea (for good linens), Roy's furniture, CB2, Craigslist (wood/metal items only. Fabric items are too creepy), Etsy (for unique items you can't get anywhere else).