Posts Tagged ‘Music


Official Opinions: The Office Party Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again. Cubicle dwellers dread checking their e-mails daily because they know that soon enough they’ll see the “urgent” message regarding their RSVP to the holiday office party. The veterans will immediately seek a way out. The 20 year employee miraculously has no problem calling his wife and saying, ” You know, I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and we should really spend some more time with our family. Wouldn’t it be great if we visited your parents for the week?” It will be a cakewalk compared to dealing with the new kid who’s a bit too open about his personal life after a few glasses of punch.

If your office actually puts on a great party at the end of the year, then this post isn’t for you. However, we’re not all that lucky. For the rookies out there who aren’t able to come up with an escape plan before the party committee corners you, here are a few tips on how to survive the office party and avoid going down in office lore as “the guy that mistook the copy machine for a urinal.” Continue reading ‘Official Opinions: The Office Party Survival Guide’


Official Opinions: Taste of Chicago Music Guide

If you live in Chicagoland, odds are you’ve been to the Taste of Chicago. Not only is it the city’s biggest festival, it’s also the largest food festival in the world. Warm weather, free admission, and a host of Chicago culinary favorites make the Taste a can’t-miss event.

Aside from the giant turkey legs and Rainbow Cones, the Taste also offers incredible live performances from some major musical acts. In past years, artists like Carlos Santana, Kenny Rogers, and Trey Songz have all graced the Grant Park stage.

In 2011, the run of great performers continues. Each day’s entertainment has a theme, with most shows happening at the Illinois Lottery Stage while the headliner plays the Petrillo Music Shell on South Columbus Drive. Let’s take a look at what remains for this year’s lineup.

Wednesday, June 29: Celtic Music Day: Enjoy two hour blocks of Celtic dance performances at noon and at 2:40 pm, and then enjoy a headliner double dose at 5 pm featuring Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams, followed by renowned fiddler Natalie MacMaster.

Thursday, June 30: Variety Day: Get your calypso fix at noon with local quartet Steelin’ Jazz. After grabbing lunch at the festival, White Mystery hits the stage at 4 pm with some brother-sister garage rock. Grammy-winning headliner Natalie Cole will take the stage at the Petrillo Music Shell at 6 pm, and you don’t want to miss such an “Unforgettable” performance.

Friday, July 1: Country & Americana Music Day: At 1:20 pm, Whitey Morgan and the 78s bring honky tonk country to the Taste. The headliner duo of Court Yard Hounds – which boasts sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of Dixie Chicks fame – and country music icon Loretta Lynn is sure to have Grant Park jumping.

Saturday, July 2: Variety Day: Chicago Yestet, a HUGE jazz collective, brings their unique blend of brass, spoken word, and activism to the Illinois Lottery Stage at noon. At 3 pm, headliners will be the recently reunited country rockers The Jayhawks, as well as Everest. Run over and check out retro soul group The Congregation at 4 pm; the band is a Metromix Chicago Rock ‘n’ Vote 2011 finalist!

Sunday, July 3: Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Party: Taste 2011 ends on a high note, as the city celebrates legendary blues label Alligator Records. With all the classic blues in the air, it’ll be tough to focus on the food. At noon, enjoy Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and at 2:40 pm Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King will take the crowd into the evening.

As much as it’s a celebration of the world-class food that Chicago offers, the Taste is also one of the best (and cheapest) ways to enjoy diverse, quality Chicago music. And few things go better with good food than good music.

The Taste runs daily from June 24-July 3rd, with gates opening at 11 am. Admission is free and food/drink tickets are $8 for a strip of 12.


Music Monday: “Streets in the Rain” by Sean Kelly

For this week’s Music Monday Eric chose “Streets in the Rain” by Sean Kelly. He is the lead singer for a band called The Samples, which was formed in Boulder, Colorado in 1987, and came from the members’ early sustenance of food samples from the local grocery store.The group’s music can be described as a mix between reggae and rock/pop. Enjoy!






Official Opinions: indie wed is for lovers

For those of you who have never been to a bridal show, they can be overwhelming. Tons of vendors, lots of noise and so much to see that you don’t even know where to begin. But this weekend a couple of us Stitely gals went to Indie Wed to check out the scene, and what we found was a lot fun!

Indie Wed is not your average bridal show.  It caters to couples who are taking “a more modern, edgy, or eco-friendly approach to their special day,” as well as more traditional couples who are looking for unique or hand-made special touches such as custom stationery on recycled paper or crocheted ring pillows.  It was hosted on three separate floors at the Ravenswood Event Center, which is a totally cool space, btw.  If you have never been there, you should definitely check it out!  A converted factory, the space is big with high ceilings and the Showroom has antique cars and old neon signs lining the walls.  It definitely fit the independent, funky, crafty, boutique-like vibe of the show.  They had a ton of different types of wedding vendors ranging from photographers, bakeries and caterers, to fashion, stationery and floral designers.

Rachel at Indie Wed

As the resident bride-to-be, I found a lot of inspiration for my wedding! These are a few of my favorite things from Indie Wed (insert Sound of Music Reference here): I think the item(s) that I enjoyed  the most, the one I will probably incorporate into my wedding, are these incredible button bouquets.  I just love how quirky and interesting these are, and since you can get them by the wire I’m thinking about adding them to my flower bouquets.  At least they’ll last longer than the real flowers. I also really liked these beaded flowers by Ododo Originals. Hmmm, these would look great on my bridesmaids… And this peony pendant by Moira K. Lime would look pretty good with my dress. In fact, it was difficult for me to keep from buying everything in the place!

The Button Bouquet

Carly liked the sassy hair pieces from Lulu Mae and the Bario-Neal rough cut diamond engagement rings. And the amazing dishes offered by Fig Catering, like the succulent braised pork.  A combined favorite was Vavoom Pinups, a vintage style photography studio that specializes in dolling girls up in sweet 50’s vixen outfits with glamorous hair and makeup. This looks like so much fun, I can’t even stand it!

Even though by this point next year my wedding will have passed, you will still find me at Indie Wed.  Not just for the delicious food and incredibly artistic products, but for the awesome ambiance as well. Check it out.

Rachel and Carly


Official Opinions: tech-savvy weddings

Lately, the term “on-the-go” seems to be ingrained in everyone’s life. Although at times it may appear that there is not enough time to get things done, so many tools have been created to make life easier to handle and aid in multi-tasking. Brides-to-be, especially, have very long to-do lists with the addition of planning a wedding. For this reason it is not too surprising that there have been apps created to help brides plan their wedding while they are on-the-go.

1. Wedding 911 by the Knot is an app that is a Q&A forum for future brides to get instant answers to their wedding questions.

2. Wedding Dress Look Book by the Knot is an app where you can browse for dresses by body type and style while out and about. It also links to where these dresses or ones similar can be found at boutiques around your city.

3. The Wedding Envi app helps to streamline the early planning process by serving as an organized on-the-go source of inspiration. With a large database of images for all categories ranging from cakes, dresses, invitations, flowers, and hairstyles anyone in the wedding party can search through these images to save and forward them. The images also link to sites where more information can be found about the inspiring photos.

4.The MyRegistry app allows you to create a gift registry for your event, compare prices before adding items to your registry, keep track of gifts purchased, send e-card invites to allow friends and family to check out your registry and even scan bar codes to add them to the list.

5.Waltz…Your Wedding Dance App allows you to watch instructional videos for classic dance moves to give you the confidence you need to dance that first dance as well as other dances through the night. Whether you are taking lessons and need to practice or just want an introduction to the dances this is a great tool to pick up some new moves to use during your night’s entertainment.

Not only is this on-the-go technology aiding in organization, but a few professional photographers are also beginning to use them as tools to help capture moments during the weddings themselves. Whether it be as a tool that helps in moments where large cameras may intrude, or to film the whole wedding this may be a trend that starts popping up. Below are a couple short wedding videos shot on an Apple iPhone.



Official Opinions: music monday’s everlasting light

For today’s music Monday pick, Carly chose Everlasting Light by The Black Keys. Listen below for a great way to start off the week!


Official Opinions: chicago music playlist

Music. It’s what fuels life. Music can alter emotions, move a crowd, bring a smile, and simply complement your life. It is so strong in fact, that often times I will be sitting on the train, walking through the city, or spending time with friends and hear a song that fits so perfectly with the moment that it is as if my life had a soundtrack. I believe though that everyone’s life has a soundtrack to some extent, be it music or the bustle of trains mixed in with city sounds.

Chicagoans are very fortunate to be surrounded by music. This is a city that has more street performers, live music events, and start-up bands than you could count. For this reason this blog will be dedicated to those Chicago artists that may not be as known. Give them a listen. They may end up in your playlists or your life soundtrack.

1. The Bright White – Red Summer Rose

2. Gaberdine – 1918

3. I Luv Luv Birds – Flicker

4. California Wives – Blood Red Youth

5. Smith Westerns – All Die Young

6. The Corduroy – Lines

7. Emblems – To Your Door

8. Paper Arrows – Look Alive

9. The Congregation – Save the Wine

10. Dastardly – Villain

Any other Chicago bands to listen to? Leave a comment, I would love to listen.


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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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