adventures in chicago

Ten years ago, an email changed the direction of my life and I wouldn’t change a single moment of it as I LOVE what I get to do each day. But I will say, if that email hadn’t come, you would still find me in Chicago. I adore this city.

For spring break, Cody and I decided to spend a week back in old stomping grounds, to visit and re-explore the city. Here are a few great moments from our adventure!

Top places to visit:

  • The Bean
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • William Harris Lee & Co.
  • Hamilton: the musical
  • Andersonville (our old area!)
  • Wrigley Stadium
  • Chicago Field Museum (dinosaurs!)

Chicago in marchHamilton entryChicago 17-1

Chicago 17-2Chicago 17-3Chicago 17-4Chicago march 3Chicago 17-5

And then sometimes, you just come across crazy things…

Chicago 17-6

>> photos by @creativecoffee, filters by a color story and afterligh


wonderfully terrible christmas music finale 2015


Friend gatherings, cookie decorating, Muppet Christmas Carol…man, I love the holidays! Here is the complete installation of the #25daysofwonderfullyterriblechristmasmusic and a few fun shots from this crazy month. Peace and joy to you and yours!

Ella the reindeer

Ella Fitzgerald the cold-nosed reindeer!

Spelling stockings

A loving in-law forgot how to spell my name 🙂

Holiday piano

Time to jam!


wonderfully terrible christmas music days 6-13

Christmas sign round
And the collection continues! If you missed days 1-5 of #25daysofwonderfullyterriblechristmasmusc, check it here!

#6 A breathy “Oh Santa” by Kylie Minogue

#7 “12 pains of Christmas” with terrible audio and GREAT video

#8 Weather Girl’s “Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man) 80’s YES!
#9 (You know I love a cappella but…) Sing-Off’s “Little Saint Nick”

#10 I needed a pick-me-up so the WONDERFUL Rockapella “Glow Worm”

#11 a creepy/sad minor version of “All I Want for Christmas is You”

#12 the great Love ctually “Christmas is All Around” 

#13 is not really a Christmas song but surely a new classic from Christmas Queens album “This is How We Jew It”

Enjoy this & last year’s complication!


wonderfully terrible christmas music days 1-5

Christmas music is wonderful – truly, I am one of it’s biggest cheerleaders! But every once in a while you get that song over the store radio that makes you wish for an ear infection or swimmer’s ear to avoid the painful sound waves attacking your poor, innocent sound receptors.

Thus #25daysofwonderfullyterriblechristmasmusic was born. See the full playlist from the last 2 years:



This year I have even received requests, so if you have anything you wish to submit, I’d be willing to subject myself to the torture 🙂 Here is this year so far:

#1: Anna Kendrick and Snoop Dogg mash-up (a new classic.)

#2: RuPaul’s newest gem “Christmas Cookies” (much love to RuPaul though, just not my jam.)

#3: Switch it up with the terribly wonderful Muppets!

#4 Revamp of the Chipmunk Song where they awkwardly flirt in Spanish…

#5 A new release from Phoenix featuring Bill Murray and I believe a theremin (?)

Christmas music

If you have any wonderfully terrible ideas to submit, comment below!

ah-ha experiment #1

A brilliant friend recently clued me in to one of her creative puzzle-mind games she uses to solve problems. Each day she reads a bit from three books (non-fiction) and then tries to find the correlation between them and locate the thread that reasons why she read those particular words that day. I know. She puts my problem solving skills to shame daily.  

 So I’m trying it, but with only two books to ease myself in. I am reading Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99U, and How Music Works by John Powell. These are technically not related, but not apples and oranges either. (Baby steps.)

What I see from my passages today is a vision of action and not to fear self-promotion (initially.) As musicians we enjoy avoiding conflict, unless our skills are being questioned – then we are a mama bear viciously protecting our egos. I can say from experience that it is both helpful and infuriating when playing next to someone that has perfect pitch in an orchestra; yes they are correct on all pitches, but if the starting pitch the oboe player (or out-of-tune piano) gives you is not 440, then you are in for a rough ride. 

Most musicians find themselves in the category of not putting themselves out there enough. Seth Godin explains that we are truly professional creatives when we choose to create even when you don’t feel like it. And the reason we tend to attain short-term goals but fall flat on the long term ones ones is fear – fear of criticism and fear of being labeled that you actually know what you are doing.   

…it puts you into the world as someone who knows what you are doing, which means tomorrow you also have to know what you are doing, and you have just signed up for a lifetime of knowing what you are are doing. (Seth Godin)

So the thread I’m choosing to see today is to not fear being labeled – as a person with partial-perfect pitch (thank you ANTS song!) or to be labeled as knowing what I’m doing, when I know I will eventually have moments everyday where that will not be true. 

To close I leave you with Powell’s imaginary argument between two pre-1939 perfect pitch singers:


summer rains playlist

RecordsSomeday I will live in the Pacific Northwest where my enjoyment of drizzly days won’t seem so abnormal. On these rare days that occur in my current city of Omaha, I enjoy listening to a playlist like this:

Jetty Rae > Bad Apples
Punch Brothers > Don’t Get Married Without Me
Ingrid Michaelson > Over You
Amanda Shires > A Song for Leonard Cohen
Caro Emerald > Riviera Life
Rosie Golan > C’est L’amour
Civil Wars > Go
Regina Spektor > All the Rowboats
The Mike Block Band > So Far from Us
Mindy Gledhill > I Do AdoreHex coffee