Monthly Archives: July 2013

Finally Made it to my First Full Moon Jam!

I found out about the Full Moon Jams up at Foster Beach two years ago and I finally make it to my first jam last Monday! It’s not entirely my fault; it seems that every time I tried to go in the past I’ve either had to work or it’s been cancelled due to poor weather conditions (including twice so far this year).

The jam began back in 2004 by a group of friends looking to get together and has grown to become a celebration that brings together a assorted mix of performers, musicians and spectators. Once a month, on a day nearest to the full moon, people gather to watch fire spinners perform to music by local percussionists.

I can’t even begin to explain my excitement leading up to the jam – I honestly had butterflies in my stomach and when I saw the fire from a distance I was about ready to jump out of the car! I made one of my co-workers come check it out with me and he was equally as intrigued to see what we were getting into – and what we were getting into was a completely different subculture! Who knew there were this many hippies hangin out in Chicago?!

As the sun set and the full moon rose, dozens of fire dancers ignited their fans, poles, pois, & hula-hoops and performed to the crowd of onlookers gathered around. They burned to the beat of the nearby drum circle made-up of local musicians (and when I say ‘musicians’ I really mean ‘anyone who brought a drum along with them’). Everyone was welcome to join in on creating the shared rhythm or they could jump inside the circle and dance with no inhibition – freedom of self-expression at its finest! There were drums of all sizes, maracas, raddles, people howling and even a tuba. A 7-year-old stood next to a 70-year-old, both with grins going from ear-to-ear. For two hours, I watched in amazement, as they twisted-and-twirled their flaming props, crack a fiery whip and breathed giant puffs of blazing fire into the sky. Here are some snapshots from the jam…

Full Moon Jam

Drum Circle

Fire Spinner

Fire Spinning & the City Scape

Fire Breather

Hooping with Fire

Fire & the Full Moon!!!

Closing out the Jam

A mesmerizing Monday – if I must say so myself! I’m already looking forward to next month’s Full Moon Jam…and looking for drum as well :)

Would you jump inside a drum circle and dance like no one’s watching?

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Sunday Funday at Pitchfork Music Festival

Last week was a busy week for me and once again, I’ve got a lot to catch you guys up on! I’ll start with Pitchfork Music Festival in this first post. Thank you to everyone who voted on which outfit you thought I should wear to the festival last Sunday. The outfit that received the most votes was this one…

Anthropologie Chevron Suit, Dad's Plaid & Cut-Offs (3)

Although I love this look, I didn’t go with this outfit for the festival. The strapless top is perfect for during the day when the sun’s out (no awkward tan lines!) and my father’s blue plaid button-down is great to cover-up with after the sun sets. The only issue is that, if you recall, the chevron top is actually a one-piece swimsuit. In reference to the restroom factor when choosing the best festival fashion, this ensemble would be a nightmare – there’s just way too many things going on! If you undress it, you’d have to untie & take of the button-down top (and find some place to set it), drop the denim cut-offs, and shimmy out of the one-piece suit in the port-a-potty. That’s a lot of fussing around with your fashion in not a lot of space; and there’s no way you’re going to do all that in one breathe!

So what did I wear? I opted for this outfit…

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I’ve had this vintage floral-motif top from Free People for a while. The print is playful & fun, the sheer material is breezy, and as the high-low hemline trend is starting to taper, I figured I wear it while I still can. The olive wool hat from Topshop shielded me from the sun (and the rain) and the fuchsia allowed me to be hands-free, while also adding other pops of color & texture to the outfit.

I had a relaxing day sitting in the grass listening to the live music. There were also vintage resale, accessories, and artwork vendors to browse through if you wanted to get away from the stage and tons of food options to choose from. I’ve been to a few festivals at Union Park so I’m pretty familiar with the layout of the grounds. I strategically set myself in between the two main stages so I could toggle back and forth between sets and still be near the front. I was really looking forward to seeing MIA perform. I was a bit disappointed because they were having a lot of sound issues. The mic cut in and out & speakers screeched – but she still put on a good show. R. Kelly closed out the night and also put on a good performance. He played through a string of his hit songs and adlibbed some pretty funny songs in the off time. Here are some of my pics from the festival…

Festival Vendors

Food Vendors

Art Vendors

Pitchfork Performer

MIA Performance

MIA (1)

CrowdSo many people!

MIA Put Your Hands Up

R. Kelly Performance

R. Kelly

View from up closeWhile it’s fun to get up close to the stage…you’re usually left staring at the back of someone’s head.

Stage & Skyscraper!Sometimes it’s better view from a bit farther back. The stage & the skyscraper – such a pretty sight!

HoopDancers.jpgOne day I will be this good!

The aftermathThe Aftermath

Fallen FlopThe fallen flop. I bet this guy wished he would’ve worn different shoes!

Flood of People Leaving PitchforkFollowing the festival – the sea of people waiting for CTA

If you voted for one of the other outfits, here are my thoughts on some of those…

All-Saints Twisted Fringe Top & Cut-Offs (2)

This was the runner-up outfit for the festival. I love this look because the cotton top & cut-offs are comfy and casual, while the twisted trim & fringe are a fun, playful touch.

Free People Wildcard Tank Top & Cut-Offs (2)

I love this look as well (I suppose shouldn’t say that for all of them…but I really do :) Again, the cotton graphic top and denim shorts are a simply styled go-to. I’ve already worn this outfit to two festivals this summer, so I went with something else.

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Say ‘Hello’ to my fashion friend! Yet again, with the easy-going cotton graphic & cut-offs. The strand of stone brings out the green in her eyes while the fuchsia fanny pack picks up on the tone throughout the top.

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I like the muted hues & mix of patterns throughout this ensemble, but an ivory maxi skirt at a music festival = huge mistake. There’s no shot I would’ve made it through the day without someone stepping on it & ripping it or staining the skirt!

Urban Outfitters antique-motif kimono with band graphic tee and cut-off denim shorts (2)

Another great look and popular pick! I don’t really know what else to say…other that I love it!

Urban Outfitters red floral tank with navajo shorts (1)

This is my schizophrenic styled outfit. The red, vintage-motif top and black & white Navajo-print shorts are complete opposites…but for some reason, I think look stylish when worn together. I wore this to WaveFront so I went with something else.

Gold Maxi Dress &  Navajo-Print Scarf

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A maxi dress with a scarf has been my standard outfit this summer. It’s simple & stylish, soft & still sexy. Something great about this outfit is that you have the option to take the scarf off and use it as a blanket. Simply unwrap it from around your neck and set the fabric swatch from Free People on the ground to sit on…it’s so big, you can even invite a friend to join you!

Urban Outfitters black & ivory navajo print jumper (1)

I said it in my initial post…rompers in regards to restrooms at a music festival are not a good idea. Enough said.

Now that you know what outfit I wore…which of these would you have worn to Pitchfork if you could pick one? Send me a comment with your choice and why!

Saturday Morning Must-Do: Division Street Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning during the summertime they close down a couple blocks of Division Street and set up a Farmers Market. Conveniently located right across the street from my house, every weekend I can walk down the block and stock up on fresh flowers, organic produce, and home-made bread & honey for the week ahead like many other Chicagoans do (well…minus the fruits & veggies for me :). Here’s an overview of the market from my roof top.

Division Street Farmers Market

From specialty-strains of cabbage to many kinds of mushrooms, crates of sweet corn to mounds of watermelons, farmers from the suburbs & surrounding states gather up their crop and cash-in by selling it to city-folk. Grass-feed meat cuts, Wisconsin cheese curds, cherries, berries, cucumbers, asparagus the size of your arm, peaches and radishes. Fresh herbs and bundles, upon bundles, of beautiful blooms. The Division Street Farmers Market, as well as the many others located throughout the city, supports small family farms, promotes a healthier society, and shows appreciation for local, fresh, sustainably-raised produce & products. Here are some pics from my trip this morning…

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn (1)

Mound of Watermelons

Many Kinds of Mushrooms

Home-made Jam

Fresh-Baked Bread (2)

Fresh Produce (7)

Fresh Produce (6)

Fresh Produce (3)

Fresh Produce (5)

Fresh Produce (2)

BerriesFresh Herbs

Clusters of Colorful Flowers (4)

Clusters of Colorful Flowers (3)

Clusters of Colorful Flowers (1)

Cherries!

Cheese Please

Cabbage

A cluster of colorful flowers to brighten up my place won’t break the bank at only $2.00 a bundle!

Beautiful Blooms

Where do you go to get your fresh fruits & vegetables? Do you grow them yourself, hit up a roadside stand, or rely on the grocery store?

 

Help me pick the perfect outfit for Pitchfork!

Pitchfork Music Festival kicked off yesterday over at Union Park. The three day summer music festival focuses on artists & bands from alternative rock, rap, hip-hop & electronica, with a little punk, jazz, and experimental thrown in the mix as well. This may be my favorite festival of them all because there’s such a variety in the line-up that there’s something for everyone. Sick of one sound?…just move on to the next stage and listen to a different set! Whether you plant yourself in the grass for a musical escape & drift off into an audible daydream or commit to going deep the pit, you’re bound to have a memorable musical experience; and with the likes of Bjork, Belle & Sebastian, MIA, and R. Kelly headlining this year’s line-up, that’s a definite guarantee.

I’m only going tomorrow and since it’s my only day, I intend on spending the whole day in the musical array. The second best thing at festivals, following the music, is the fashion!  I want to pick out something that’s stylish, but still comfortable since I’ll be there all day long. There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to picking out what you’re going to wear, such as…

  • The Weather & Elements– With every outdoor activity you run the risk of inclement weather. Hot or cold, rain or shine, the fate of the festival is up to Mother Nature. I looked ahead at the forecast for tomorrow and it’s calling for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 78°. That sounds like the perfect day to me! Considering the recent string up upper-90° hot, humid days we’ve had here in Chicago (and everywhere else in the country) this little cool-down is welcomed. Since Union Park has very few trees shade is a scarcity; so I’ll rely on mostly cloudy skies to shield me from the sweltering sun. Something lightweight and breezy is the best choice for this kind of forecast. When rain shows up on the radar that’s another story!
  • An All-day Affair – Attending an outdoor festival is often an all-day affair. You must make sure to wear something that’s keeps you cool and comfortable under the afternoon’s blazing sun…but warm enough when the sun is long gone. The gates open at Noon, first artists hit the stage around 1:00pm, the headliner goes on around 8:30 and the festival finishes up around 10pm. That’s a long day! With no re-entry allowed, once you cross that gate you only have what you brought with to work with.
  • Your Surroundings – Pitchfork is located in Union Park on the Near West Side of Chicago. I’ve been to a few festivals at UP (North Coast Music Festival is also held in this park) and it’s my #1 choice for a concert site. It’s a wide-open grassy plot; you can pretty much plop yourself down once you pick the perfect spot, you don’t even need to bring a blanket! Two weeks ago I went to WaveFront which was up at Montrose Beach; the set-up in the sand was a first for me and while it was fun, being surrounded by all that sand got a little annoying after a while. The little granules were everywhere – in my hair, pockets, shoes, drink; there was no way of avoiding it. :/
  • Style vs. Sentimental ValueHow much do you care about what you’re planning to wear? Are you willing to risk wrecking it? It’s pretty much a given that whatever you wear is going to get dirty, maybe even destroyed. Its dusty, maxis drag on the ground, layers get lost or left behind, tops get torn when things get rowdy – just keep in mind that whatever you wear may need some maintenance repairs when you get home or even thrown away entirely. I made the mistake of wearing one of my favorite scarves to a DeadMau5 concert at Congress Theatre. I lost it somewhere in the crowd at some point during the set…I have no idea when, where, or how (I made sure it was tied!)…but when the lights went up, it was no longer around my neck. I loved my silky snake-motif scarf & lost it…I’ll never make that mistake again! Another bad idea – flip-flops! If someone steps on your heel and rips it off your foot you’re stuck with only one shoe…and that would suck. I have my special pair of purple lace-up sneakers that I wear everywhere. They’re secured to my feet, won’t break, and protect my little piggies from being crushed in the crowd…the only down-fall: tan lines – but that’s the least of my worries.
  • The Bathroom Situation – You might find this to be a funny thing to factor in, but hear me out. Any fest-vet will say it’s important to 1. Locate all the lavatories so you know exactly where to go when you have to go, because there’s bound to be a long line when you get there. 2. Think fast – wasting time in line just to go to the bathroom sucks, especially when you’re trying to go in between music sets. Wear something that’s quick & easy to take on and off. If you can make it out of a port-a-potty without setting anything down (gross) and without having to take a breath that’s usually the best! And I’m pretty sure the person behind you will appreciate your speedy pee as well. 3. BYOTP – Bring. Your. Own. Toilet. Paper. (Kleenex, napkin, paper towel, heck, leaves for all I care). It’s almost a guarantee that they’ll run out of TP by the time the festival finishes, so remember your own resources. Rompers probably aren’t the best in regards to the restrooms. Do you really want to have to pull down your entire outfit in the port-a-potty??

I’m sure there are a few factors that I’m forgetting, but oh well; I’ll add those to my next pre-festival post. Keeping these points in mind, I need to pick out the perfect outfit for Pitchfork, add I’d like you to help! Here are a couple of my choices…

All-Saints Twisted Fringe Top & Cut-Offs (2)

1. My All-Saint’s charcoal fringe cotton top & cut-offs

Anthropologie Chevron Suit, Dad's Plaid & Cut-Offs (3)

2. A chevron-print one-piece swimsuit underneath cut-offs & my dad’s blue plaid button-down, with my brown suede cross-body bag

Free People Wildcard Tank Top & Cut-Offs (2)

3. My Free People ‘WILDCARD’ cut-off tank top and J.Crew rolled shorts, with my Free People brown leather hip belt.

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4. An Urban Outfitters tank top and cut-offs, with my fuchsia velvet fanny pack

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5. My Free People floral print high-low silk top and cut-offs, with my Top Shop olive wool hat & fuchsia velvet fanny pack

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6. A purple vintage floral-motif tank top and Arden B. ivory maxi skirt, with a plaid fedora & my brown suede cross-body bag

Urban Outfitters antique-motif kimono with band graphic tee and cut-off denim shorts (2)

7. A Joy Division graphic tee underneath my Urban Outfitters antique-motif fringe wrap with denim cut-offs

Urban Outfitters red floral tank with navajo shorts (1)8. A vintage floral-motif tank top with my Navajo-print shorts

Gold Maxi Dress &  Navajo-Print Scarf9. My Alternative Apparel golden maxi dress with a Navajo- print scarf

Urban Outfitters black & ivory navajo print jumper (1)10. My Urban Outfitters Navajo-print harem jumper with a southwestern carpet belt.

Vote now on what you think I should wear tomorrow!…

My Wednesday of Wandering

Wednesday’s are my favorite day of the week. I typically work during the day and have the evening free to do what I please. During the summer months that usually means I lace-up my sneakers around sundown and go for a run along the lake to see the fireworks near Navy Pier. But yesterday, I added another fun fitness activity to my night – I had my first hula-hoop dance class in the park! I joined a few other females near the Agora sculptures in Grant Park to learn the fundamentals of hoop dancing.

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With the hot sun overhead, slight (and I mean slight!) breeze on our backs, and grass between our toes we moved our hips & our hoops to the beat of the music. Things got a little out-of-control a couple times when we were trying to change planes and master the new tricks, but all-in-all, I had so much fun with this carefree activity!

Hooping in the Park (2)

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After hoop dance was done I strolled along the lake shore to find a spot to sit and watch my weekly fireworks. When the fireworks were over I strolled some more – through Lurie Gardens, into Millennium Park, and around downtown. I walked aimlessly through the streets admiring the big buildings, pretty lights, and sounds of the city (yes, surprisingly even sirens are soothing sometimes!). I observed the people around me dipping their feet in the fountain, enjoying a picnic in the park while on a date, and finding their reflection in ‘Cloud Gate’…

Strolling Along the Shore

Fireworks

City Lights

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Lurie Garden, Chicago

Cloud Gate, Chicago

I had such a lovely night being an urban nomad, walking around just me & my hula-hoop, relaxing, reflecting, and recharging for the rest of the week.

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life & lose sight of your surroundings.

Do you ever stop, take a step back, and admire all that’s around you?

Whether it be having a Starbucks on every corner or being able to see the stars shine in the black night sky, sirens blaring or birds chirping – always remember to appreciate all that you have.