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official opinions: relax to joni mitchell’s “night ride home”

We’re starting our week out with one of our favorite crooners, Joni Mitchell. Inspired by Joni’s unorthodox guitar-playing style, Jeff chose “Night Ride Home” as this week’s Music Monday selection. You’ll hear the crickets and ambient night sounds in the background of this song, inspired by a moonlit night in Hawaii. Listen to the recorded album version below, or check out this live version!



Official Opinions: Tis the Season for holiday classics

Hang up those stockings by the chimney. Break out the hot cocoa and smother the ones you love with presents and warm fuzzies. One of the best things about being home for the holidays is being able to watch all those classic yuletide films, so here are a few of our favorites that we fa la la la love to watch around this time of year.

1. Elf – 2003
“I just like to smile, smiling is my favorite!” Honestly how could you not love a movie that features Will Ferrell in bright yellow tights and a green coat trying to be a 6’3″ elf in New York City. The Jaded New Yorkers mixed with Buddy the Elf’s hyper personality always leaves us with a grin just thinking about it.

2. Jingle All the Way – 1996

Ok, this is more a guilty pleasure than it is a fantastic holiday movie. There’s just something that gets to me when I see Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting for an action figure on Christmas eve. Also Sinbad is in this movie! Nothing gets better that JINGLE ALL THE WAY with these two.

3. A Christmas Story – 1983

It’s hard to miss this movie since TBS has made it their holiday tradition to show it for a solid 24 hours on Christmas day. But we aren’t complaining. Between you, me, the B.B. gun, and the leg lamp, I could literally watch this for 24 hours and still laugh every time Ralphie and his brother visit Santa at the mall. Ho Ho…Ho.

4. The Year Without a Santa Claus – 1974

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one of those claymation movies from the ’70s. This one in particular sticks out in my mind because it wanders a bit too far into the realm of weird holiday movies. Santa gets a cold and takes a break from Christmas, so we end up with two weather brothers, Snow Miser and Heat Miser, who just won’t get along to let it snow in a southern town in the United States. It’s kind of complicated, but a classic nonetheless. Heck, Snow Miser’s song was even sung by Arnold Schwarzenegger when he played Mr. Freeze in the wonderfully terrible Batman & Robin. Check out the Miser’s intro songs.

5. Home Alone 1 & 2 – 1990 & 1992


The season wouldn’t be complete until someone screams “Kevin!” at the top of her lungs in my household. We don’t have any relatives named Kevin, but this kid, “what the french call les incompetents,” and his holiday antics have been a tradition for as long as I can remember. It celebrates clever catch phrases, independence, family you can’t stand but still love, burglars and the incredible cleaning skills of a ten year old boy. Seriously, how did Kevin manage to set up all those traps by himself and then cover them all up in one day?

6. The Muppet Christmas Carol – 1992

A classic with a twist, this is one of the best versions of A Christmas Carol. Personally we love how The Muppets interpreted the story of Scrooge (an amazing Michael Caine) and his humbug Christmas ways. It’s narrated by Gonzo as Charles Dickens and includes some of our favorite Muppets playing the classic characters, like Kermit and Robin the Frog as Bob Cratchit & Tiny Tim, and the two old guys as Jacob (and Robert) Marley. (Fun fact: did you know their names are Statler and Waldorf?)  And don’t even get us started on the amazing singing!

7. It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946

This film has become a yuletide national treasure, and is counted among many people’s favorite films ever. Its moral is classic; you may not be wealthy or reach your original dreams, but you will never be a failure when you look at the friends and people whose lives you have touched. Enjoy the little things, love the people you’ve met and good things will come of it. Out of all the other holiday films I feel like this one really lets you think about the true value of the holidays. And you just can’t you resist James Stewart; that voice is amazing.

On that note, everyone at Stitely wishes you Happy Holidays and a great New Year! Take some time to enjoy the ones you love and maybe catch a few of these movies. We know we will.


Stitely Entertainment Blog

Planning your big day is an experience that most brides love.  Although it can certainly be stressful and time consuming, you get the chance to create your own vision for your fiance, family and friends to enjoy.  But as the endless details of wedding planning begin to pile up, so can the price!  From invitations to dresses to food to thank you cards, there are a lot of little expenses that can sneak up on you.

Here are a few tips from your friends at Stitely to help out the cash conscious bride:

  1. Timing is everything:  For couples who have not yet chosen the date of their ceremony, don’t be afraid to plan in the off season.  Sure, everyone loves a beach wedding in June, but a fall wedding in a cozy chapel can be just as wonderful and romantic (and can also result in great photos!)…

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stitely soundboard: Stitely’s got the “Moves Like Jagger”

I don’t know that there are enough words to describe the scene at Stitely Entertainment‘s Fifth Annual Valentine’s Day Dance on Saturday, February 11. The Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza was a fantastic host, with great views both inside and out. We’re really pleased to have partnered with such a great venue!

The festively decorated interior was filled with tasteful Valentine’s decor, votive candles & subtle lighting, while guests marveled at the view of the city from the Wolf Point ballroom.  For some, the evening began with a delicious prix fixe dinner of Italian-Asian fusion in ItaliAsia, Chicago Mart Plaza’s in-house restaurant.  While the diners enjoyed their meal, a Stitely soloist serenaded them with romantic violin music. Some guests chose to launch their festivities with drinks and appetizers at the Cityscape Bar.  However, it was after dinner that the dance party really began.


The Stitely Orchestra and DJ Vicente did a fantastic job of getting everyone, old and young, on the dance floor.  As a company with a passion for celebration, it was so great to see everyone out there enjoying themselves, losing themselves in the music and ambiance of the affair.  Everyone had a great time dancing the night away with their friends and/or valentines.

Some of the highlights of the evening include the Stitely Orchestra’s showstopping rendition of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” complete with rap! Since we’ve started using background tracks plus the live band, the possibilities for playing brand-new top 40 hits have been endless.  Other fresh additions to this year’s song list were Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon Five.


DJ Vicente pumps up the jams

Our former Stitely interns!

DJ Vicente played double-duty this year, running the Stitely Orchestra sound system and DJ-ing on the band break. If you were on the floor, you couldn’t miss his raucous dancing as he mixed sound from his iPad. His DJ mixes included some awesome party tunes spanning genres from indie rock to hip-hop to New Wave.

Another new addition to this year’s party was the outrageous Traveling Photo Booth!  This fun photo booth encouraged guests of all ages to get silly or sweet for the camera, and a lot of guests walked away with super cute keepsakes. If you’re looking for a hilarious treat for your wedding, definitely check out The Traveling Photo Booth- they were a total hit!

Special thanks to our awesome marketing intern Asia and our own Ed Lines, Jr., Stitely salesman and superb wedding photographer, for their awesome photos!

Thank you to everyone who made this evening such a success! It was so great to see some of our past clients, interns and friends dance the night away.  For those of you who couldn’t make it, we missed you and hope to see you next year.

Jeff and the Stitely gang


Official opinions: Stitely Office Love Songs

We’re keeping this week of love rolling with an office love playlist.  Enjoy the Stitely staff members’ favorite love songs.



  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Range Life by Pavement
  • Don’t Let Me Down by The Beatles
  • First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes
  • Anthems For a 17 Year Old Girl by Broken Social Scene


  • You’re My Best Friend – Queen
  • Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney (One of her husband Russ’ all-time faves)
  • Cowgirl in the Sand by Neil Young


  • Tree by Sebadoh
  • Hearts & Bones by Paul Simon


  • And I Love Her – Beatles
  • Everlasting Light – Black Keys
  • Let My Love Open the Door – Pete Townsend
  • Words of Love – Buddy Holly
  • Oh My Love – John Lennon
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love – Ingrid Michaelson cover


  • If I Were the Hero by Kitty Devine (This is Ed’s band in which he plays guitar. He wrote this song three years ago for his daughter!)

Listen to Hero by Kitty Devine

  • Here and Now by Delamitri
  • No Se Tu by Luis Miguel

And of course, the ultimate love song by The Flight of the Conchords:


Official opinions: Carly’s Popular Pulled Pork and Polenta

In case you didn’t already know, Carly, Stitely‘s Event Planning Guru, is also a kick-ass cook. Here’s a recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork with Soft Polenta she tried for the first time last week and it was delicious! Invite a friend over or enlist your significant other to stir the polenta while you shred the pork and cook the BBQ sauce. Timing is important here – the polenta should be served immediately so it maintains its smooth texture.


Pulled Pork:
• Pork spare rib
• Beer

BBQ Sauce:
• Ketchup
• Brown Sugar
• Mustard
• Worcestershire Sauce

• 4 cups water
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 cup polenta cornmeal
• 2 tbsp butter

Pork: Get a large stove top pot that will fit all of the pork spare rib. Place the pork in the pot and fill with beer until pork is fully submerged. Simmer for about 2 hours until the pork is cooked through and your kitchen smells like heaven. Remove the pork from the pot and let cool for a few minutes, then pull the meat from the bones and shred using your fingers.

BBQ Sauce: In a separate stove top pot, add about 2 parts ketchup to 1.5 parts brown sugar (more or less to taste) – enough to cover all of your shredded pork. Mix in 1-2 tbsp. mustard and a splash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste). Stir until all ingredients are mixed together and do a taste-test. Continue to add more of these ingredients until you get the flavor you prefer. When you’re done adding ingredients, bring to a simmer until the grainy mixture becomes smooth. Place the shredded pork in the pan and stir until the BBQ sauce covers all of the pork. Once you start you can’t stop, so try not to steal too much of the BBQ pork from the pan before serving!

Polenta: In another separate stove top pot, add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then add the olive oil and gradually whisk in the polenta cornmeal. Reduce to medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10-15 minutes until the polenta is fully cooked and soft. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Scoop the polenta immediately onto a warm plate and spoon the BBQ pork on top. Enjoy!


guest star: Stitely’s newest addition – Asia Elsner

We are happy to introduce our newest intern to the Stitely team, Asia Elsner! Asia is passionate about event planning, web marketing and LGBTQ rights, just to name a few of her many interests. We sat down with the new Marketing and Multimedia Intern to get to know her a little bit better:

Stitely Entertainment (SE): Tell us about yourself.

Asia Elsner (AE): My name is Asia and I’m the new intern here at Stitely…a.k.a. I’m the voice behind some of the recent blog posts! I am a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Advertising & Public Relations with a minor in Sociology. I’m originally from Houston, Texas but I am here in Chicago for life; I’m in love with this city! But overall, I’m basically just a girl who likes cats and old-lady glitter tops.

SE: What is the last book you read?

AE: Do graphic novels count? If not, they should! I just read Persepolis for one of my classes, which is about a young Iranian girl’s experience during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Graphic novels and comics are my favorite…as a kid, I was a fan of Archie Comics and my most recent favorite is the Scott Pilgrim series.

I am currently reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake.

SE: What kind of music do you listen to?

AE: I’m a fan of mostly everything—except most country music. I tend to listen to either indie music or rap (basically complete opposites, but true.) Discovering new music is one of my favorite hobbies! I find myself using the Shazam app on my iPhone frequently, which listens to the song playing anywhere and tells me the title and artist so I can go download it when I get home.

SE: What are some other hobbies you have?

AE: Well, I am online A LOT. I like to entertain my Facebook friends with ridiculous pictures from the “interwebs.” I can’t remember the last time my Profile Picture on Facebook was actually of me and not of something absolutely random. I also have my Tumblr, which is my guilty pleasure. When I finally step away from the computer screen though, I really love to dance and explore different parts of the city. I also Skype a lot with my 6-year-old sister, Adelaide, and my 5-year-old brother, Basil, who are both home in Houston.

My little brother Basil

On our Disney World vacation








SE: Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

AE: I love all six of the Tegan and Sara albums but I am especially in love with Metric’s album Fantasies which has my favorite songs “Help, I’m Alive,” “Gold Guns Girls,” and “Sick Muse.” I’ve also been listening to a lot of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s new album Watch The Throne, as my previous Top Songs of 2011 blog post shows. Oh, and The Backstreet Boys. The early Backstreet Boys. 90’s music is the way to my heart.

SE: Are you musically-inclined?

AE: I really wish I was (and I try) but alas no. I got a guitar for my 18th birthday and occasionally pick it up and strum a few chords. I can learn songs pretty well and play them but I don’t have the ability to bring it out and jam with someone. I also have a secret dream of being a DJ. We’ll see how that plays out…

SE: Do you have any pets?

AE: After failing to keep my two Betta fish alive more than 6 months (R.I.P. Scarlett Johansson and Debbie Peggy,) I opted for the first real pet in my life! My 10-month kitten, Trevor, is a dreamboat and the perfect boyfriend. I adopted him from a friend who rescued him but couldn’t take care of him and he is probably the sweetest cat I have ever met. And what is Trevor’s best trick? HE PLAYS FETCH. Hardcore fetch. He’s the coolest cat ever!

SE: What’s the best part about working at Stitely?

AE: Everyone has been so sweet and welcoming! They have a really great core team of people who truly care about giving their clients the best musical experience. I am really excited to dive into my projects and bring my own craziness to the team!


official opinions: Asia’s Top 10 Songs of 2011

Hey guys! My name is Asia Elsner and I am the new Marketing and Multimedia Intern at Stitely. You’ll learn much more about me next week but I wanted to introduce myself by sharing my top songs of this past year. Even though it’s 2012, these 2011 hits are still on repeat on my iPod!


#10 –  No Church in the Wild

Artist: Jay-Z and Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean

Album: Watch the Throne

This song is just killer. I start it before my workout and it gets me so pumped!


#9 – Skyscraper

Artist: Demi Lovato

Album: Unbroken

After Lovato was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spent some time in rehab, the former Disney pop star came back with this amazing song showing everyone how she’s stronger than ever.


#8 – Pumped Up Kicks

Artist: Foster the People

Album: Torches

Though recorded in 2009, Foster the People got initial attention when this song appeared in an episode of the popular TV series Entourage. It went on to reach #1 on Billboard’s Top US Alternative Songs in 2011.


#7 – We Found Love

Artist: Rihanna

Album: Talk That Talk

Rihanna is simply unstoppable! This song is the lead single coming off of her latest album, Talk That Talk. Her previous album, Loud, featured number one hits like, “S&M,” “Cheers (Drink to That)” and  “Only Girl (in the World)” (All of which almost made the list!)


#6 – Paradise

Artist: Coldplay

Album: Mylo Xyloto

I am so impressed with Coldplay’s newest CD, Mylo Xyloto. Lead singer Chris Martin’s vocals are hauntingly captivating and give this new song that classic Coldplay charm. Also, the video features Martin in an elephant suit trying to find his way home to his herd of elephant band members. So there’s that.


#5 – Rumour Has It/Someone Like You

Artist: Glee Cast

Original Artist: Adele

Album: Glee: The Music, Volume 7

Simply put, Adele + Glee = MUSICAL GENIUS.


#4 – The One That Got Away

Artist: Katy Perry

Album: Teenage Dream

It’s a rare thing when a Katy Perry song gives me chills but when it happens, it is so good. The video tells an amazing story in a short five minutes about a lost love. Get the Kleenex ready.


#3 – Midnight City

Artist: M83

Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

This is my favorite song to put on when I am about to go out for the night. And as with many other songs during 2011, there is a great sax solo at the end!


#2 – Why I Love You

Artist: Jay-Z and Kanye West feat. Mr. Hudson

Album: Watch the Throne

This is the only album to have two songs on my Top 10 list and it is well deserved! Much of the song samples the song, “I ❤ You So” by Cassius, one of my other favorite songs.


#1 – Who You Are

Artist: Jessie J

Album: Who You Are

Jessie J has a beautiful way of telling stories through song, making her my favorite artist of 2011. Her unique vocals carry a power that, in my opinion, no other artist can compare with.  This song stands out because of its positive message and its ability to showcase Jessie J as the amazing vocalist she is. She has the quirk of Lady Gaga with the musical talent of Adele.

“It’s okay to not be okay…tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising, just be true to who you are” – Lyrics from Who You Are


Guest Star: Jeff Stitely tells us his start in music

For this month’s Musician Spotlight, who better to sit down with than Stitely Entertainment’s own Jeff Stitely? We found out what inspires the President/Founder as a professional musician, what’s on his iPod and more.

Stitely Entertainment (SE): What are the five songs or albums you’re listening to the most right now?

Jeff Stitely (JS):

1) Rihanna – We Found Love

2) Chris Siebold & Psycles

3) Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil

4) Salif Keita – Soro

5) Howard Levy – Trio Globo

SE: Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?

JS: Well, I have had a drive to be a musician since I was 10.  But I’d have to say the first person was Ron Helm, my junior high school band director. He was like a shining light in the teachers that I had at the time. He was so engaged and loved music so much. I was already turned on to music but he had a vision for me going beyond what most kids do. When I was in 8th grade, he had me audition for the all-state band, which was something I’d never heard of and also something that no one in junior high had done before. I auditioned and became the all-state timpanist in the concert band. We then went upstate and the best musicians in the whole state we there. It was just an incredible experience…hanging out with these amazing musicians and learning that there was a whole world of people who are serious about being musicians.

The other person who was a huge inspiration was my dad. He played for the church and just loved music. He played classical music around the house when I was young and as with Ron, he helped make music a part of my life.

SE: What’s your craziest event story?

JS: I got hired to sub for another drummer at the Medinah Country Club and it ended up being a trio with two really old guys. It was for all the male members of the country club, all of whom were between the ages of 70 and 95. We played background music for the men as they were just hanging out and socializing, when they brought a stripper in! The stripper was at least 60 years old and I had to play music while she was stripping for these men! It was definitely one of my weirdest gigs…

SE: Do you have any regular gigs?

JS: I have a jazz trio gig at The Clubhouse in Oakbrook, IL the third Thursday every month. Generally, I just lead the company and play private events with gigs at jazz clubs periodically.

SE: What was your first concert?

JS: The first professional gig I played at was at the Old Spain with a piano player as a piano and drum duo behind the bar. We played and sang as people were eating dinner and I was only 15 years old. And that summer, I got a gig on a cruise ship!

As for the first concert I’ve ever been to, my dad had season tickets to the Broward County Performing Arts Series and I saw all sorts of performances. The first jazz concert that I remember was George Shearing and I also saw Rusty Jones perform with him, who is an amazing drummer who now lives in Chicago.

SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

JS: John Coltrane. There was an authenticity and a searching quality that he had his whole life. There was an undying quest for who he was and what’s possible in terms of his instrument…what’s possible in terms of expression…what’s possible in terms of the power that music can have to move people.

SE: You’re stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?


  1. Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil
  2.  Joni Mitchell – Night Ride Home
  3. Salif Keita – Soro

SE: Beatles or Stones?

JS: Beatles. Because of their songwriting.


Official opinions: on a clear monday you can see forever

Today’s Music Monday is dedicated to Stitely‘s sales rep Ed Lines, Jr. who is recovering well from his eye surgery this past month. Enjoy Johnny Nash‘s 1972 hit, “I Can See Clearly Now.”

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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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July 2020