monthly roundup no. 8: may 2018

Posted in Living by

May is over, and it felt like finally, knock on wood, I got a reprieve from some of the stuff that’s gone on this year. Between mourning my grandma, my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and some other personal stress, nothing truly remarkable happened! I went to LA for work, went out to Navy Pier to see some Nashville friends play, and even got to make it to a Cory Branan show. The older I get, the more I start to really enjoy May – it’s usually when I spend a lot of time planning out my summer, and just like last year, I’m so excited to be spending it in Chicago. It’s the king of street festivals and I love that there are so many fun, free ways to see the city!

This month my saved links echoed the theme of something I’ve been focusing on in therapy – you don’t have to carry around everyone’s crap, and you don’t even have to carry around your own crap.

The Cost of Losing Your Keys: Okay, this first one is less in the “theme” of the others, but I’m so proud of it – I’M FINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE BILLFOLD! It’s been my favorite blog for years (the only one that I can remember reading in every city I’ve lived in) and I would be lying if I didn’t think it was super cool that I’m published on the same site as Taylor Jenkins Reid now. Last summer I lost my house keys… and let’s just say, it’s cost a lot more than I would have thought it could. (My roommate would like to update the total with an additional $50 from when she locked herself out of the apartment and had to take a Lyft out to pick up our spares from my boyfriend.) Anyway, it’s been my goal to write for The Billfold for a really long time, and I’m so happy to have finally done it.

9 Simple Ways to Start Living a More Minimal Lifestyle: Apartment Therapy has been my guilty mindless blog lately, and the articles are really helping me purge things I don’t need anymore but have struggled to part with. 8 and 9 in this list have been key to me while trying to clear out my closets. Their Weekend Project series is super fun too – every now and then if I’m just sitting at home not doing anything, I’ll take a look to see if there’s something I can quickly knock out.

If It Ain’t Yours, Don’t Carry It: Marisa Mohi is a friend-of-a-friend I’ve linked to before, and if you’re a writer, I definitely suggest adding her blog and YouTube channel to your regular reads. This post helps to simplify a pretty easy concept – you don’t have to carry the burdens of others – and it’s just something that I needed to hear at just the right time.

On Weight: I know Malory through the same grapevine I know Marisa from, and her food podcast is really great (if you’re in the Oklahoma City area and need food recommendations, OKC OVER EASY is where to look!) I’ve struggled with my weight for basically my whole life except the two years I was running super regularly. In this post, Malory says weight is stress I carry around on my body. I identify with this in a brutally familiar way, and part of losing weight for me is shedding the memory that a lot of the weight carries.

How to Stop Letting Your Anxiety Make Decisions for You: I’m getting much better about this, but I definitely admit that it hasn’t always been easy and I haven’t always excelled. Most of the time, whatever anxiety I feel isn’t even about the thing I’m feeling it toward, so really trying to figure out what’s actually going on has been key in starting to deal with this more effectively.

What are you reading this month? Any particular projects you’re working on to get summer ready?

May 29, 2018
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7 companies hiring work-from-home employees this month: may 2018

Posted in Career by

Memorial Day weekend is here! That long weekend-free stretch from January to the end of May is a struggle for me every year – by this point I’m definitely feeling the burnout, and I’m grateful for the refresh. If you’re looking to make a change in your career, you could use this extra time off and the vibes you’ll have after relaxing for a few days to work out your resume, write some awesome cover letters, and apply to some awesome new jobs! Fully distributed companies and teams continue to grow, and even traditional companies are seeing the benefits and offering more work-from-home positions. Here are a few to look into this month!

Part-Time Sales Representative at Museum Hack: I’ve been really interested in Museum Hack for awhile – they offer “renegade” museum tours in cities across America, and their non-tour guide positions are all remote. If you’re looking for something part-time to supplement an existing job, or want to test the work-from-home waters, this position could be a great way to put your customer service skills to use!

Customer Success Manager at monday.com: When dapulse rebranded last year, they chose monday.com as their new company name, and I can’t help but wonder how much that domain name cost. They’re growing exponentially now, and looking for an MST/PST Customer Success Manager to cover their off-hours. The company is based in Tel Aviv, so this would essentially be an overnight coverage position. If you’ve got lots of experience in customer support, this autonomous position with a cool productivity SaaS could be for you!

Virtual Administrative Assistant at Modern Tribe: Virtual assisting has been a great side hustle choice for years, and if you want to transition into making it your full-time gig, Modern Tribe might be looking for you. They’re a digital marketing company that has worked on a ton of really creative projects (Tuniversity is my favorite) and they’re growing their Operations team.

Travel Guide for WOW Air: Talk about a dream job. WOW Air is looking for someone to travel to each of the cities they service and write travel guides for the city. One of my life goals is to be published in an airline magazine, but I would never have thought about an option like this!

Recruiter at Invision: Invision is a collaborative design app, and it’s used by a lot of leading companies. They’re looking for an HR recruiter to hire more engineers for their platform – this is a great opportunity for anyone with a background in SaaS HR and working with developers and engineers.

Analysts Relations Manager at Gitlab: Gitlab is one of my favorite tech companies. They’re inclusive, diverse, and best of all, they’re very transparent about their hiring process. The Analyst Relations Manager will facilitate relationships with Gitlab influencers, research trends and manage outreach programs. Many bloggers participate in influencer programs, so this could be a way to apply the skills we’ve learned from blogging!

Communications Administrative Assistant at 350.org: Passionate about climate change and the environmental crisis it’s causing? 350.org is a non-profit working toward awareness and research of this growing problem. If you’re looking to transition into communications, this is a great way to get your feet wet while using your customer service and organizational skills!

Are you looking for a new, remote job for the summer?

May 25, 2018
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doing Chicago: cheap and free music festivals

Posted in Travel by

free festivals in chicago

Chicago in the summer is the best place in the world. (I haven’t been everywhere, but I’ve been enough places to be pretty convinced.) One of the best things is our seemingly unlimited supply of free street festivals – there’s something going on every weekend, and even during the week. Music festivals are super popular and run all summer, from Do Division the first weekend in June through the end of October, so check out these cheap and free Chicago music festivals!

Bookmark this post and come back all summer to find activities to check out!

Weekly Events

Navy Pier Beer Garden: The Miller Lite Beer Garden at the end of the Pier features performances almost every day of the week. Beer here is also super reasonably priced, and the gorgeous views of the city as the sun sets is totally worth the schlep out to the shore from whatever neighborhood you’re in. Check out their calendar for music events, plus other great free things to do while you’re in Chicago.

Haymarket Brewery: On Thursdays, Haymarket Brewery has an Americana music series featuring a lot of my faves and friends from Nashville. This is actually a year-round series happening every week, so pop over for some great brews and tunes, even in the dead of winter!

Grant Park Music Festival: Grant Park is home to the largest outdoor classical music festival, which is pretty cool. Events here feature the option to purchase tickets, otherwise, GA seating is always free on the back of the great lawn. Special guest conductors and performers and performances of classical greats is an excellent way to add some culture to your Chicago trip, without adding a big price tag.

Annual Events

June

do division

Photo via Do Division Facebook

Do Division Fest: Do Division is sort of the symbolic start of summer for me. It’s the first weekend after Memorial Day on one of the coolest stretches of West Town. This year’s headliners include Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Deerhoof, and Bear Vs. Shark – not bad for a free street fest! In addition to eight(ish) hours of music at two stages per day, there’s also a sidewalk sale with local artists and vendors, a family fun festival with activities for the kiddos, the shops on Division set up their sales outside, and restaurants expand their patio seating.

Andersonville Midsommarfest: Andersonville on the north side is a really fun and diverse area, and from June 8-10, they present a great street festival. A $10 donation goes to the neighborhood chamber, and you can take part in yoga, check out music, shop the vendors and sidewalk sales, and eat until you can’t eat anymore. Andersonville has a heavily Swedish heritage, so partake in some traditions like dancing around the Maypole and eating Swedish food (it’s more than just meatballs.)

Chicago Blues Festival: This free festival in Millennium Park is also June 8-10, so if you’d like to stay closer to downtown, stop in for a set here. I love picnicking at Millennium Park, and there’s a Mariano’s nearby – pick up some snacks and a bottle of wine for a cheap, romantic date downtown. The incomparable Mavis Staples caps this year’s festival on Sunday night at the Pritzker!

Taste of Randolph: Three stages in the West Loop along Restaurant Row? Sign me up, please! This festival is pretty long-running, and this year will take over Randolph Street from June 15-17. The lineup is insane – I can’t wait to see Mayer Hawthorne and the amazing MONAKR again – for a $10 entry donation. Taste of Randolph is definitely a can’t-miss event for your weekend in Chicago!

July

craig finn at west fest

West Fest: Another festival that shuts down along a stretch of great restaurant options, West Fest is July 6-7 this year. The first time I met Craig Finn was at this festival, so it holds a dear place in my heart. It’s on the smaller scale, so if you get overwhelmed by the big crowds at Grant Park or Taste of Randolph, this is a great one to head over to. A small kids area is far away from the stage to protect their hearing, food trucks park at the end of the street, and vendors line the road. (My suggestion? Grab dinner at Roots Pizza. Soooo good.)

dessa at square roots festival

Dessa at Square Roots Festival 2016

Square Roots Festival: This festival in Lincoln Square gets some pretty heavy hitters every year – the first year I went, it was my first solo Dessa show, and I was just delighted. (I heard her sound check start, thought I was running late to the show, and ran in on crutches… only to realize it hadn’t yet started.) This year Square Roots is from July 13-15, featuring Nashville favorite Pokey LaFarge and Chicago locals Get Up With the Get Downs among (many) others. A $10 donation gets you through the gates for the full weekend (and benefits the Old Town School of Folk Music), and like many other festivals, there are lots of vendors and family-friendly activities. I remember this festival as one of the best food spots – it felt like the food and beer options went on for miles!

doomtree at wicker park fest

Wicker Park Fest: Wicker Park/Bucktown is still my favorite part of Chicago, and Wicker Park Fest is July 29 and 30 this year. It’s a $10 suggested donation for admission, but they shut down part of Milwaukee Ave., put up three stages for music, and fill the street with vendors and Goose Island beer. There’s also a kids festival here. Headliners should be announced in a few weeks, and after Doomtree and Guided By Voices last summer, I’m not sure how they can top it this year!

August

Big Evanston Block Party: I’m really excited for this first-year block party. SPACE in Evanston is one of my favorite venues here, and from August 25-26, they’re celebrating ten years of concerts. Two of my favorites are headliing – The Old 97’s and Guided by Voices – so I can’t wait! It’s a free festival with options to purchase VIP upgrades, but it looks like early registration is required, so grab your August 25 and August 26 tickets early.

September

Chicago Jazz Festival: This festival is where I lost my keys last year, but I’ll try not to hold that against them. Sitting on the lawn here, sipping bottles of wine picked up at Mariano’s nearby, and watching the sun set over the city skyline is such a nice, relaxing way to say goodbye to summer.

goose island 312 block party

312 Block Party: This Goose Island party represents the end of summer to me. 2018 dates haven’t been posted yet, but it’s typically the third weekend in September. Last year, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists headlined, and in 2016, Beach Slang was my favorite set. Word on the street is that this year, the Empty Bottle is bringing in the best lineup yet, and another bonus (besides the beers and excellent brews?) Grab Hot Doug’s from the food area here, which is a Chicago classic.

Did I miss any other free Chicago music festivals? Let me know what your can’t-miss picks are!

May 23, 2018
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best workout gear

Posted in Work Out by

I recently got a treadmill desk! For about a year I’d been heavily considering it, trying to determine which model would be the best option, deciding if such a major purchase was even feasible (I do move around a lot, after all.) The Nordictrac Treadmill Desk was my pick, for reasons including reputation and speed (it goes to 6mph, meaning I can use it for running as well as work,) but there are plenty of other more portable and space-saving options out there. When I moved to Chicago, my workout gear took a severe hit – since I wasn’t running much in Nashville, I had gotten rid of a lot of my gear. An in-home treadmill begs for a wardrobe of sweat-wicking saviors, though, so I did a stockpile splurge to re-up. Here are some of my new faves and what I love so much about them!

icyZone Racerback Workout Tanks: I have a long torso, so it’s often hard for me to find shirts that are long enough to be comfortable – let alone workout tops that are comfortable. When these came up on an Amazon search, I liked the colors a lot, so I nabbed them. They’re the perfect length and look really great. After years of wearing lululemon, I can also attest that the quality of these rival many of my Swiftlys.

EMY Strappy Sports Bras: A lot of my shirts have open backs, catering to bras with cute back styles. They’re expensive, though, so these are another thing I’ve let my drawer skimp on. This pack of five for $30 is not only comfortable and true-to-size, but the removable padding also helps my poor undersized girls feel a little more confident. (Okay, so maybe it’s me that they help. Either way.)

Saucony Sport Socks: Along with my long torso and undersized breasts, I have gigantic Dutch feet. It can often be hard to find affordable socks that fit my size 12’s – most women’s athletic socks are only sized to 10, so they come up only midway on my heels. These are thick and comfy, and almost oversized – I’m sure they’d be great for people with normal sized feet, but if you feel like yours are bigger than average, these are the socks for you.

c9 High Waisted Capri Leggings: All high-waisted everything, all c9 everything. My daily pants for the last three years or so have been c9’s high-waist full-length leggings, but since I prefer to work out in capris, I have quite a few of the junior versions in my drawer as well. The high waist is comfortable and makes me feel a little skinny, and c9 always has stylish options for their gear, like the lattice details on this pair.

Contigo Autoseal Water Bottle: My ADIDAS water bottle is finally starting to give up the ghost, but it’s fine, because bf got me the best and fanciest replacement a few months ago. This water bottle is insulated so it keeps things super cold for a long time – even overnight – and it doesn’t leak at all. The handle is really handy too, so when I’m carrying my mobile office (you know, my computer, charger, phone, Kindle, bullet journal, etc. etc.) from the treadmill to the outdoor office, it’s easy to hook it onto my pinky and tote it around.

What are your workout/fitness must-haves?

May 18, 2018
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spring favorites 2018

Posted in Living by

SPRING IS HERE!!! Along with it, I have some new favorite things. Let’s jump right in, because I have a lot ot say this time!

Netgalley: I love to read – surprise! Reading on my Kindle has really ramped up my reading rate lately, and Netgalley is part of why. It’s a platform for publishers to issue galleys and advanced reading copies to readers and reviewers, then collects feedback to send back to the authors and publishers. You don’t even have to be a blogger to sign up – if you regularly post reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, you’re just as likely to land books for review. It’s a really great way to save money on your reading habit and discover new authors and books. If you’re interested in some of the titles they have, I denote Netgalley books in my book club posts. I’ve requested more than one based on the cover or title and had them turn out to be among the best of the year!

Gregory Workman backpack: It’s been a long time since I was a backpack wearer – even in college, I didn’t use them often. Now that I’m using public transit more (which is a good thing!) but the tote-style bag I had been using doesn’t cut it. It’s so much weight on one arm, so I started looking around for a better backpack. I found this Gregory Workman on sale at Sierra Trading Post, and I’ve really been liking it! The quality is good, there’s a built-in laptop case, and there’s not an overwhelming number of pockets in the name of hyper-organization. This purchase may also mark my cross over into official adulthood – there was a “cuter” bag on the website I considered, but this one seemed better quality and more functional. Huh.

Quip: I’ve never had an electric toothbrush – it just hasn’t seemed worth the hassle, especially when I’m still living off stockpiled toothbrushes (thanks coupons!) Boyfriend splurged on a Quip membership a few months ago, and I get the hype now. The toothbrushes have built-in timers so you know exactly how long to brush each quadrant of your mouth, and the toothpaste is really good. The toothbrushes look really nice on the sink top too (I have the gold metal one, of course.) It also comes with a travel case for easy transport and each refill includes a mini travel tube of toothpaste, too.

No. 7 Stay Perfect Foundation: I fell in love with Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra-Long Wear foundation a few years ago, but man, it is pricey. Nothing else compares to it, though (not even the Fenty foundation that everyone loves. I find it to be really drying and that it doesn’t look very smooth on my face.) Last weekend I decided to do a half-hearted Google search for some dupes, and there were one or two reviews of this, so I picked it up at Target. (I forgot how frustrating it is to try to get a good skin color match from the drugstore.) This is probably the best drugstore foundation I’ve ever used. The texture is great (not drying even without moisturizer,) great coverage, and a little goes a long way. It also has SPF which is a big win for me. The shade I got is a touch too light, but I’ve been mixing it with Lancome’s Skin Feels Good foundation (super creamy and light, also with SPF) and it’s a good match until my summer skin kicks in 😉

Jervis Cottonbelly’s Twitter: I’ve talked intermittently about liking wrestling before, but it’s largely something I’m “in the closet” about. (I even wrote an essay about that for a zine full of smart and funny girl wrestling fans!) One of my favorite wrestlers, Jervis Cottonbelly, is an excellent Twitter follow if you’re into wrestling or not. He’s very motivational, optimistic – and, even better, talks openly about his mental health struggles. Every morning, he posts some affirmations for the day – something I need, for sure.

What are your favorite things this month?

May 8, 2018
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