Four Things

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Who knew that Meatloaf is the great voice of reason among politicians, or at least among upper middle class white men.

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Reminder for you and your partner: you already know a Love Spell.

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We are halfway through Hanukkah! Here is a musical Dose of Hanukkah.

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I can’t stop thinking about this sweatshirt, only because I touched it while at Madewell and it was SO soft and I would have bought it right then if they had a medium in store. Christmas is right around the corner…

 

 

 

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7 Things

We’ve rounded up 7 great links from the week.

73f227b0-7657-4998-9673-77f4ceb605f2--ae930c88-1bbf-4f80-b227-b11d74934fcb-green.jpegGreen Goddess Kale Smoothie

This smoothie has two secret ingredients. I’m going to tell you those secrets: pear, and… salt? Trust me. I made it, true to the recipe minus the vanilla, with every intention of modifying the recipe after I had tasted it. NOPE! I am hooked. Eating it every day and staying full for 3+ hours even after a long workout. I ended up subbing the almond butter (mine was rancid) with almond flour, and it is delicious and still adds protein.

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10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job

The reactions to our Professionals series has been incredible! I have been taking long, hard looks at my own career trajectory and am glad to share my lessons learned with all of you. Since this was posted, I’ve learned one more “last resort” method of following up: send the business a giant, hand-labeled manilla envelope with a copy of your resumé, cover letter, and sample work inside.

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24 Women on How Life Changes with Age

I am not sad to lose my youth. Every year brings me more experience and wisdom. I am genuinely excited to get old (except when my younger sister calls me old). The reflections of these women, from their twenties to their seventies, are thoughtful and resounding.

“Conveniently for me, the older I get, the less I care about the age of my friends. I have come to realize that the connections humans make are truly timeless. Growing up, I was nervous of older or more sophisticated women. Then, as I became a mom, I was nervous of the moms who seemed to be old pros at this gig and had no time for a newbie. Not sure if time has softened or hardened me (you pick), but lately, I simply don’t care! I am so happy making my own decisions. This confidence has brought me MANY new amazing friends. I used to feel that I was ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ for that group… but really, if I can party like I am 30, and reflect like I am 60? I think I’m on the right track.”

-Susan, age 41

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Eclipse Experiences in 5 Regions

Did you see the eclipse? Here are photos and stories from 5 friends who experienced the eclipse in ranges from 85% to totality.

 

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NYX Total Control Foundation

As the weather gets dryer, do you find your skin following suit? I was having trouble finding a tinted moisturizer that wasn’t a goopy BB, CC, or DD (what??) cream that clogged my skin. I just tried this thin foundation that comes in a dropper bottle and mixed it with my lotion for the perfect blend of moisture and color. The thing that most impressed me was how long it lasted. I wore this all day, and even though it was mixed with a heavy lotion, the coverage didn’t budge. 2_00bd1b58-5f7e-4e1b-a3bc-f01c2471b634.jpg
In Chorus by Justina Blakeney

I love this musical image of bowed heads and peeking eyes. It seems to show unity and independence happening in unison within a group of unique and diverse women.

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Ten Best Album Covers of Summer 2017

Our roundup of the 10 best album covers of the year so far. I guarantee that with this group of artists, some you’ll know and some you won’t. Each album has a link to a track for a first listen.

 

 

Ten Best Album Covers of Summer 2017

The 10 best album covers of summer 2017. The albums are ranked by the artistry of the covers, but they are all so good! Each listing has a summary of the album artwork and music, followed by a linked track for a first listen.

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10. “OKNOTOK” by Radiohead

Radiohead rereleased the album, “Ok Computer” with previously unreleased tracks from the original recording session. This refreshed compilation “OKNOTOK” revisits the love and fear of technology, and reminds the listener to maintain a healthy skepticism. The album cover for “OKNOTOK” is the 20 years vintage cover of “Ok Computer.” This album is ranked #10 because the artwork is iconic but… recycled.

First listen: Man of War

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9. “Process” by Sampha

It is fitting that, as many of us are introduced to Sampha on his debut solo album, the cover features his face. It is like we are meeting him for the first time. Seemingly in deep thought or repose, Sampha’s image emobdies his album’s message of overcoming grief, his “Process.” Whether or not you know his name, you have likely heard Sampha’s voice singing with Solange, Frank Ocean, Drake, or Kanye. His tracks are heart-wrenching, especially in the context of his story, and his approach to the music is tender and sweet.

First listen: No One Knows Me Like the Piano

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8. “What Now” by Sylvan Esso

Cynical lyrics are masked in lyrical melodies and pulsing electronic rhythms in “What Now.” The duo took their time in completing this album, in order to meet the high standards held by fans after the success of the first album. Tracks like “Radio,” capture the wishes of a generation of young hopefuls with appropriate bitterness and vulgarity. Sylvan Esso’s album cover, with an impassioned kiss and brightly colored parrot, is playful and personal, just like the featured tracks.

First Listen: Die Young

 

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7. “More Life” by Drake

Featuring Drake’s father, Papa Graham, on the album front, “More Life” is a personal and reflective compilation. Weaving words with his characteristic flow, Drake shares poetic, intimate stories and lets the rhythmic accompaniment give shape to his words.

First listen: Two Birds, One Stone

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6. “The Order of Time” by Valerie June

Valerie June’s sound is a surprising blend of old Appalachia and contemporary city. Before you hear her speak, you see her wide-curled dreadlocks and feminine attire and you expect her to sound youthful. Her untamed voice, though, carries old stories from the hills of Tennessee through the bold, unique warbles of a seasoned Memphis-raised musician. June’s distinct voice is sweetly balanced by her gentle picking on the guitar or banjo. This album infuses a haunting roots sound with rockabilly electric guitar and a tambourine straight out of church.

First Listen: Shakedown

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5. “Melodrama” by Lorde

Telling the story of a party from start to end, Lorde takes a step back from what is popular and a step toward what is true. In a delicate painting by artist Sam McKinniss, the singer-songwriter is featured tucked into bed and cast in the blue light of the evening. The track “Sober,” inspired by the anticipation of a cab ride to a party, is lively and upbeat, describing the desires that inspire a party. The reprise of the track, “Sober II (Melodrama),” taunts of the melodrama that transpired, describing the calm clean-up after the party: “Oh how fast the evening passes/ cleaning up the champagne glasses.”

First Listen: Sober II (Melodrama)

 

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4. “Not Living in Fear” by Hear In Now

A perfect trio of violin, cello, and bass, Hear in Now is jazz, but more. Occasionally, a voice winds through astral strings with purposeful vocal melodies. “Not Living in Fear” features a cover that embodies their sound. The three musicians embrace, set in a field of bright waves and pastel clouds. Each track is titled in such a way that it focuses the listener’s intentions like a meditation.

First Listen: Not Living in Fear

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3. “Folklife” by Jayme Stone

Jayme Stone is a prominent ethnomusicologist of our time, not documenting but living the music traditions. It is only fitting that a collection of reinvented folk music features images of contemporary people represented by folk art. Stone’s tracks are as distinct and captivating as the images on his album cover. His music draws sounds from uniquely American landscapes,such as the deep south, which is distinctly represented in the visual cover art with cotton and watermelon plants.

First Listen: Wait on the Risin’ Sun

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2. “Good For You” by Aminé
This bold cover art is referenced in the music video of the track “Red Mercedes.” In this narrative, the toilet is the only brief reprieve from the arduous 9 to 5 grind. (Reminds me of the app Poop Salary… sorry!). The track “Yellow” gives us a little insight into the bright backdrop for this comedic image. In other news… millennial pink is dead.

First Listen: Yellow

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1. “Planetarium” by Bryce Dessner, James McAlister, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens
This album art extends beyond the imagery of the cover. There is a dedicated website in the same extension of galactic beauty. The songs are named after many elements of our planetary system and the album is arranged as a collective of art. Space is found in the multimedia of “Planetarium,” from the sounds of electronic waves to the visual feathered flames of the sun.

First Listen: Saturn

 

5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been traveling all summer. These last few weeks have been spent in the car, which means we’ve been listening to a lot of music and a LOT of podcasts. I am sharing some of our favorite podcasts with you here.

Science is Cool
Radiolab always has a fresh take on innovative, or sometimes just plain weird, science and technology. This episode is about a meat lover who is forced to stop eating red meat because of a freak accident… one that could happen to any of us!

Learn from People Around You
This American Life looks at people and the inner-workings of our everyday world. This episode is tender when you least expect it, and highlights the importance of platonic and cross-generational friendships.

True Life Crime
Criminal is about crime and criminal activities, but approaches the criminals in the situation as people. There are surprising episodes that show people challenging the law of the time to do what they feel is intrinsically right. One episode that blew my mind was this one, about lifelong identity fraud and the least-likely suspect.

Scary Stories
Lore is a podcast about folklore and myth that lives on and continues to scare. This episode about the Chicago murder house hits close to home… it’s literally a 15 minute drive from my apartment! Yikes!

Everybody Loves Food
Gastropod is so cool. Every episode looks at a different food element through the lenses of science, history, and culture. I think just about everyone can get behind this episode about the benefits and long history of caffeine.

 

 

Check out this unexpected party playlist and my to-do list for the final days of summer!

Unexpected Party Playlist

My grandpa turned 80 this week! I have been assigned the rewarding task of assembling a party playlist with all of his favorite songs. For years, if Grandpa hears a song he likes, he writes the title down and I return with a cd of all the tunes. This is a random sampling of some of the songs he has requested over the years for his master playlist.

Sinister Minister by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
I was lucky to see this group perform in Brooklyn, last week! Somehow I didn’t know that Victor Wooten is the bass player?

Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night
The cool thing about making these playlists for Grandpa is that I end up with new music in my arsenal. This song has been on my party playlist ever since! Also, I love this seventies getup! These guys are so fun to watch perform.

Lime in the Coconut by Harry Nilsson
He did all of the voices in this recording! You should definitely watch this absurdist Muppet’s version, while you’re at it.

Life’s Been Good by Eagles
This song has such a relaxed feeling and playful lyrics. It is a very casual conversation about the life of fame and riches.

Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
Another song to make you laugh. Van Halen uses a lot of enthusiasm and comedic timing to pull this silly song off.

 

Related: Pay Attention to these Musicians this Summer
Related: I Was Invited to a Secret Concert

NYC Goals

We’re headed to New York City today! Here are 5 goals for our visit.

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1. Rent a CitiBike and ride everywhere!

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2. Take an NBC studio tour and try to get standby tickets for the Tonight Show!

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3. See a free concert in the parks!

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4. Go to Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre.

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5. Hang out at the Seinfeld Diner!!!

What I’m Listening to Right Now

Chance the Rapper performed a Tiny Desk Concert! He does himself a disservice by calling himself a rapper because he is so much more. This performance is singing, poem, singing. Seriously.

It’s too good. I can’t stop listening, ever since I heard it live.

The single that is often overlooked. Yeah, you can sing every word of “Rehab,” and you’ve heard “Back to Black,” but do you know Valerie? This interpretation is bluesy and beautiful.

This tune is laced with nostalgia and by now I think it is safe to say that it is my summer anthem.

What’s in a Carry-On?

What do you pack in your carry-on when your travel day looks like this:

6:00 a.m.: Leave for airport
8:20 a.m.: Board flight
11:30 a.m.: Land
1:00 p.m.: Board bus
4:15 p.m.: Exit bus
5:00 p.m.: Hike to campsite

 

I’ll tell you what!

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Entertainment: iPod, Book, Earplugs, Journal, Pen, Cards, Headphones

 

 

Toiletries: Baby Powder, Castile Soap, Deodorant, Hair Tie, Lotion, Toothbrush,  Tweezers,  Razor, Microfiber Wash Cloth, Comb, Tooth Tabs,

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The essentials: Grocery Bag, Sunglasses, Vapur Water Bottle, Wallet, Currency, Passport

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Snacks of your choice!!!!

 

Bonus if your bag folds into itself for easy storage during the rest of your trip!

Not pictured: 2 jackets, phone charger, external battery, directions and tickets

Related: What’s in a backpack?
Inside the Bag: At the Gym!
What’s in a Bag: San Fran Plan

 

Weekend Link Pack!

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I am really excited about camping soon, and when it is a short trip, you have the option of cooking over a fire! Love this paella recipe. Not camping? Try it on the grill or in your firepit!

29018cba-939e-4308-a42c-14fee8572a26.jpegJuly 22nd is National Hammock Day! I am loving this limited edition campy print.

 

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Did you end up getting anything on Amazon Prime Day? We didn’t, but now that we have paid bills and assessed our finances and needs for the summer, we are placing a small order. As an active freelance musician, it is crucial to be able to record and livestream performances. We are going to take the plunge and by the simplest, cheapest Go Pro. We are also solving all of our back problems with a foam roller, and file under weird: we are getting a squatty potty for that “back to nature” experience. Don’t ask. Just watch these ridiculous videos.

 

pwbJ40RUO179-yMOyt5j_AndriusBurba5.jpgAbsurdly cute photos of cat bellies.

 

Have you seen the voice of Gollum reading Trump’s Tweets? HILARIOUS!

 

ac9497672748fd60314b6c63b1ac55b18a9e4c3e.jpegCheck out this incredible Chicago loft!

 

download (2).jpegNPR draws parallels between our beloved undercover investigators and the reality of today’s FBI investigations.

 

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Don’t follow the norm too closely. Humanity is getting stupider.

 

I know it’s still a month away, but I am so excited for the next season of Broad City! It feels like the contemporary Seinfeld, and sometimes walking around downtown Chicago in the summer feels like being in my episode of these New York based shows. My dad says it’s because I’m “urban” now. I guess he’s right! I definitely love trading smoothie strategies with my best friend.

19050652_1916497905230123_2233495599372566528_nWhich shade of millennial pink wins your vote?

 

How sweet is this? Did you cry? Did you call your grandmother and tell her you love her? What a wonderful celebration of life.

I Was Invited to a Secret Concert

Here’s what happened!

I got a text from my good friend, Sara, who asked if I wanted to go to a secret concert. We didn’t know where it would be or who we were going to hear, and we had to enter a lottery to try and get tickets. Of course I was game!

Sara entered our names for the Sofar concert, and we were selected to attend! Our tickets were $15, and we received an email 24 hours before with the location and rules.

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Before the concert we grabbed dinner and went for a walk through the nearby parks. We visited this outdoor performance space with an exceptional turquoise floor.

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We had no idea what to expect at this event! The location was downtown Chicago, and when we arrived they checked for our names on the list and directed us to the correct elevators. We ended up in a beautiful workspace, partway up a building overlooking the Lake Michigan, dotted with sailboats as the sun was setting. We were handed a paper with media details for following the bands that would be playing that night.

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The view from the venue. Photo Credit: @SaratheWeiz

The floor was covered in cushions and pillows, and there were sofas and chairs lining the space. The whole thing felt relaxed and intimate.20170712_193532.jpg

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They went over the rules with us again at the venue before the event started. In summary: respect the music. No talking during performances, don’t leave until all the groups have played. This organization, Sofar, started in a flat in London when musicians and their friends were tired of playing over talking at bars. They hosted a small house concert with 10 people, and this organization was born! They now plan similar house concerts for local artists in over 350 cities!

This was the venue packed full of engaged listeners.

The first artist was a singer/songwriter called The Regular. He had an incredible voice, and played this really unique bass drum + tambourine set-up along with his guitar, while singing. It was a contemporary one-man band.

 

The next artist was a very skilled saxophonist called Beatbox Sax. He combines professional level playing and smooth sound on the instrument with aggressive extended techniques, like slap-tongue and singing into the instrument. His set was very upbeat and engaging.

The last group was Man Wolves. They are very young, but are great players and have apparently acquired quite a following!

Check out Sofar Sounds! See if they are in your city. This was an amazing concert!