Lush Life

Romance is mush

Stifling those who strive

I’ll live a lush life, in some small dive

And there I’ll be, while I rot

With the rest of those whose lives are lonely,








Valfré: Artist Spotlight

I need to give a shout out to the talent at Valfré. Hey girl, hey! Love you!

Valfré is an LA based label that was founded by artist Ilse Valfré.

Bold and unapologetically tongue-in-cheek, Valfré has quickly become a global source for the creative and wild-at-heart.

Her art has evolved into an entire collection of unique and adorable cell phone cases, journals, clothing, jewelry & more

Keep up with Valfré on Instagram and Facebook.

ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram
ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram
ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram
iPhone Cases, ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram
ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram
Man Tamer Choker in Pink, ilse Valfré (@valfre) • Instagram


Recharge and Relax, Naturally

Wednesday! I hope it’s a happy one for you all.

This past weekend, I spent an entire day exploring Disneyland Park in Anaheim. It truly is the magical place that they say it is.

I went with a dear friend, and neither of us had ever been there before. (Although, seeing as we had both grown up in the Midwest, we did experience Disneyworld in Orlando, back in the 90’s.) Sunday, at the original Disneyland, we had such a blast discovering every single ride in the park–from morning until after the nightly (!!!) firework show. It’s A Small World! Roller coasters! Yes.

Today brings us to the top of our own weekly roller coaster, the mid-point peak, where we each have the power to choose the trajectory of the remaining days in this seven-day cycle that determines so much of our existence.

Will you raise your arms above your head and savor the ride, or will you close your eyes and wait for it to end?

My arms have been up and waving like a crazy woman this whole week, and I’m doing what I can to keep the positive motion rolling. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, my focus lately is on being mindful and moving through the world with intention, empathy, and a sense of humor. It all begins with self-love, so my advice is to take some time to pamper yourself and prepare for the remainder of the week ahead.

Here’s some mid-week stepping stones to help you to relax & recharge… you deserve it.

Honey Facemasks

Raw Honey is the answer to everything. Prized for its healing properties in ancient civilizations, it makes an incredible mask for your skin all by itself. This is something that you can do several times a week to improve the tone and softness of your skin.

Totally edible and chemical-free skin nourishment, Raw Honey is great on it’s own, but you can also mix and match other food-based ingredients to create a more tailored mask. Add 1 tsp. Avocado and 1 tsp. Plain Whole Milk Yogurt with 1 tsp. of Raw Honey to boost the hydration in this mask. The fats in the avocado and whole milk yogurt are deeply moisturizing to the skin, while the lactic acid in the yogurt smooths your skin, refines pores, and stimulates collagen production. Try adding lemon for fading scars and dark spots, or aloe to calm sensitive skin.

Essential Oils All Around

Aromatherapy uses plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. I have a number of essential oils rolling around in my purse at any given time, as inspired by my a lovely friend of mine who is also always ready to share the gift of their scents when needed.

Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint… I’ve got you covered.

An oil-diffuser is an effortless way to distribute the essential oils into the air, but you can also just as easily drop a few oils into the bathtub or a sink filled with (hot) water in the bathroom while you’re facemasking… Or, boil some water and put a few drops of essential oil into a glass bowl along with it for a quick, room-filling refresher scent.

Essential oils can be distributed in many different ways.

Lately, I have also been into creating misting sprays with a mixture of oils in water to spritz in the air/on door handles to sanitize/ on my skin/ etc. The use varies, depending on which oils I choose to include.

There is so much that can be said of the varying essential oils and their respective properties, I can’t begin to get into that here. But if you’re interested, this site has a nice list. I personally love the smell of Lavender, which has calming and sleep inducing properties, and is beneficial for treatment of issues with the nervous system, insomnia, pain relief, skin/hair care, blood circulation, & immune system health, among others.

Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil. 

I am pretty sure that everyone has received the memo on Coconut Oil already, so we don’t need to get into much detail here. Long story short, you need it in your life, you can use it for just about everything. Makeup removal, moisturizer for your skin, cooking… Coconut oil also works for oil-pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique, basically swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This results in whiter teeth and helps to draw toxins from the body for overall health improvement.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar is another holy grail item for so many reasons. This can be used anywhere from cleaning and cooking to being part of your beauty regimen. It’s IMPORTANT that you choose organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to ensure that it’s toxin-free. Bragg ACV is the best, where you can see the tiny cobweb-like substances that they call ‘the mother…’ Yassss Gaga.

ACV has super antibacterial properties, so it can be used as a facial toner/cleanser, promoting skin clarity, as it helps to balance your skin’s PH levels. Just make sure to dilute it with water. When consumed, ACV is great for detoxifying the body, weight-loss, cholesterol-control, it works as an energy-booster, a digestive-aid…I could go on and on. Drink a shot of it in a glass of water daily as your own healing elixir, proven since 400B.C.


Simple additions to your daily or weekly routine can affect such positive changes in your mood and overall existence.

I believe that it’s a daily must to take some strictly-focused ME time. Set goals, both long and short-term, meditate, pamper yourself, focus on the future…

Cheers to making moves and positively affecting our spheres of influence through the remainder of this week!





Spotlight: Dre Green, Only One

Listen up! Chicago, this babe is in your backyard…

This week, Dre Green released her debut EP, Only One. Dreamy vocals blended with poppy, r&b beats, reverberating whispers, eerie growls…she even raps a little in “Guarded.” There’s so much going on in the album and it’s all just so great.

Photo by Scott Kaplan

Her mesmerizing voice paired with kick-ass production work from fellow Chicagoans Jeremiah Meece (Lo-motion, The-Drum), The GTW and Supreme Cuts… it’s everything right now.

The track “Neymar Night” is one of my favorites, sexy and smooth, with the perfect input of voice quips, “Really? OK.” …and that G-major trail of at the end, totally seals the deal.

Stream and download the album on Bandcamp.

You can catch Dre Green performing a DJ Set this coming Monday, Aug. 25 at The Burlington Bar, 10pm. 


No longer just the Birthday Sex singer, Jeremih has spent the last several years releasing inventive R&B that’s eluded mainstream radio waves. Noisey calls his 2012 mixtape Late Nights with Jeremih is one of the hands-down classics of contemporary R&B, and his work with LA producer Shlohmo has already yielded memorable jams like “Bo Peep” and “No More.”


Shlohmo has been steady producing ethereal gems, Banks’ Brain for example–one of our favorites. The guy knows what he’s doing.

Now the duo’s long-promised EP, No More, is here, featuring those two songs, an extended cut of Late Nights standout “Fuck You All the Time,” and three new ones, including a song with Jeremih’s Chicago peer in leftfield pop stardom, Chance the Rapper

Released yesterday in the spirit of celebration on Jeremih’s birthday, the No More EP is available for free download here. Grab it and enjoy.

Listen: Jeremih and Shlohmo, No More


Chicago Summer is Official

Tomorrow marks the official start of Summer 2014. To us in Chicago, the weather has already climbed to over 90 degrees a few times this season… perfect weather for the many outdoor festivals and events that are set to occur in the city.

Patios are open and beaches are already buzzing with locals and tourists enjoying all that our city has to offer.

Here are our picks for spots to hit up tomorrow in celebration of Summer’s arrival…


Oak Street Beach – Lake Michigan is almost warm enough to swim in, and the sand volleyball courts are fresh. Sit outside and enjoy drinks with friends at the newly renovated bar and grill along Lake Shore Drive. They are open until about 10pm on any given day.

A loaded bloody mary from The Twisted Spoke.
A loaded bloody mary from The Twisted Spoke.

The Twisted Spoke – Looking for a rooftop to spend your day on? The Twisted Spoke in River North is your answer, with great food and drink specials. An edgy bar and brunch spot full of unexpected menu items and some of the best bloody mary’s on the planet! With veggies, deli meat and a beer side car, the bloody mary’s here could almost be a meal on their own.

A plate of tacos from Big And Little's Chicago Restaurant.
A plate of tacos from Big And Little’s Chicago Restaurant.

Big And Little’s – This newly-opened restaurant in Lakeview has a menu full of easy to eat and inexpensive items. Try out a few of the handcrafted tacos or a uniquely flavored burger. The newest location is on Belmont, near the red line stop. Complete with an outdoor seating area and a BYOB drinking policy, you never know what to expect–other than a happily full stomach.

Other Notable Locations include the Northern Hollywood Beach, if you’re looking for less-crowded day at the beach; Millennium Park, a go-to for tourists with a water feature to cool you off; Navy Pier, another tourist hotspot with a ferris wheel for great views; Museum Campus, even if you’re not planning on spending your money to sightsee indoors at the Chicago Museums, there are still plenty of sights to see on the lawn of the buildings- a great spot for people watching or sketching.

No matter what you choose to do with yourself, enjoy the first day of summer! Chicago has a lot to offer for all walks of life.



Chicago Street Cleaning Begins Today

FINALLY this winter is over… Chicago street sweeping starts today, so pay attention to street signs in order to keep your hard-earned cash.

After a brutal winter, Streets and Sanitation has launched an aggressive spring cleaning plan effective starting this week.

Crews will pick up litter and other objects along curb lanes while street sweeping trucks scour the main thoroughfares.

To ensure that the street is cleaned curb-to-curb, temporary parking restrictions are posted the day before the work is scheduled to begin on any street, a city news release said.

Some arterial streets have permanently posted signs that specify a once-per-week period when parking is prohibited for street sweeping.

To find out when your neighborhood is up for cleaning, check with your local ward sanitation office. Street sweeping requests can be made by calling or texting 3-1-1.

The WARE team is looking forward to the much-needed spring cleaning… now let’s work on these potholes.


The fine for parking in the way during a street sweeping is a minimum $50 ticket.
The fine for parking in the way during a street sweeping is a minimum $50 ticket.

Both temporary and permanent are in place throughout the city, these cleanings are scheduled to occur at weekly intervals- keep an eye out!