Things I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging...

Things I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging...

Greetings and long overdue welcome from my tiny corner of the blog-o-sphere. If you're one of my Facebook/Twitter followers or a hand full of my blogging "regulars" I've hoped you noticed my lack of online activity. A void in articles where March should be. There seems to be a veil up when it comes to this field barring the writer from getting too intimate. But with the more I learn, I feel it necessary to be open about what's going on with me personally. Especially being that all the content I review or showcase are things I stand by. This past month brought about a lot of changes, and not just in online scribing. Sort of a dark period that forced me to alter my purpose. So just what has this explorer been up to in a month devoted to madness? check out the highlights below.

Now I don't want to demote my own limited power but this month I got to realizing that while super enriching, blogging is not all that prestigious. Most people, including some bloggers, get enticed by this image of bloggers like Perez Hilton or one of personal muses Kid Fury who have found a way to streamline their personalities into a real way to make money. What we don't realize is that the average blogger who does research and takes a very thoughtful approach to the platform doesn't experience such profit. To loosely quote another of my blog crushes Candace Jordan of Candid Candace, "I get paid in Facebook likes." The time and work that it actually takes to turn out these under acknowledged pearls of awesomeness is worth far more than the clicks I find myself begging social media for. And the perks that some bloggers get are few and far between. And don't even get me started on SEO. All that aside, after a lot of soul searching I found I really do love getting Chicago's funkiest events and hotspots out there to you, the amazing readers. It all become clear when someone asked me to suggest a night out spot and suddenly I found myself rattling off all these places I'd been. And I still get that goose bump causing rush when I get a new comment or a reader shares my work.

Remember all the things adults told you about growing up that you thought they were stupid for saying? Turns out they're right! Nothing caused heartburn more than having to eat a whopping slice of "bitch I told you so" pie than this month's work/school schedule. This year I decided to get my back to school on by applying for the Written Communications program at National Louis University. Shout out to the Financial Aid department for temporarily getting MOHELA off my back, yet allowing me to get myself into further debt! It didn't take long to realize that your masters is much different from your undergrad. You cannot cram for the test a few hours before and you certainly cannot just sit in the back with your head down because you're hungover and get credit. I still had to work my very real job, teaching. But I managed to come out unscathed.   But things were not like some fantastic 80s montage where everyone high fives in midair. My career sector might have gotten beefed up but I experienced a really crippling breakdown of a longstanding friendship which was extremely unexpected and pretty much knocked the wind right out of me. But like Peeps placed in a microwave, still I rise.

-Getting Ink'd
"You know most parents actually deter their children from getting multiple tattoos." Or famous last words, as I often refer to phrases uttered before I'm getting ready to do something crazy or especially stupid. This month found my father turning the big 5-0 and easily ushered into the mid-life crisis stage of life as we visited the city's famous Jade Dragon Tattoo on Belmont. After month's of badgering, I finally made the decision at the front counter to oblige my father in getting a tattoo with him.   

 After some negation I managed to make it out of the parlor with just the small heart, fulfilling the "matching" design idea my dad had. I now have 4 tattoos. The artist who did my dad's tattoo told me I officially made "white trash" status. I hope you're proud dad.
-Battling the Bulge
After many one night stands with late night diner menus and threeways between gummi bear tubs and wine bottles, it finally came time for me to put the chow down! Not exactly enthused with the prospect of giving up my favorite foods, I gave a "Why Not" approach when I heard news of a weight loss challenge led by fellow blogger and former Explorer of the Month, Gwyn Eggestein of Gwynspiration for Weight Loss. The five week Healthy Habits Challenge, offered a point system based on health themed challenges and practices. Each week on Saturday there was a weigh in, leaving the challenger to report their weekly earned points. After some push and pitfalls, as well as a binge weekend involving Harold's Chicken, I managed to make it 6 lbs lighter at the end of the challenge. The challenge really added the important skills of food journaling (I live for the Lose It app on my Samsung), creating "fun fitness", and acting as your own support with daily affirmations. With the tools I learned from Gwyn and the gang I've lost an overall 12 lbs since end of February. If you are toddling the fence wondering just how to lose your pudge, join Gwyn's newest initiative Healthy Habits 3 Month Challenge that's just kicking off today!

-Regaining Explorer Spirit
It may seem like it's all city slicking and wordplay but after a while of cranking out slug after slug of Chicago centered dictation, a blogger can get worn out. In an effort to get the inquisitive cranks moving again, I decided to hit the street. The noteworthy among my outings starting off with my excursion to Trader Todd's Karaoke and Tiki Bar for a single events. It was there that I finally got  to meet another ChicagoNow cohort, Jasmine Yates who pens the always titillating Joy L.O.V.E.-Lessons in Love, Sex and Dating. The event was fun and I must say I enjoyed myself. I got to meet some new people that were no less than interesting, got a good pat down from the monstrous crowd and even sang a tune or two.

Untitled Fire Painting

Yves Klein.Untitled Fire Painting (F 27 I), 1961. Courtesy of MCA online.

Next on the list of regaining the old inspiration was making a pilgrimage to one of my favorite art havens, The Museum of Contemporary Art. This is such a beloved place for me to just go and really meld into the crowd. Every time I visit there I get some vision or reaffirming for my writing, heck for my life in general. This trip's message, "destruction as the new construction." In the exhibition titled Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, you can see the progressive works of Japanese and Italian workers turned artists during the war torn years of World War II. With over 100 works featured using materials like animal skins, gravel, and even blowtorches, it easily made an impression.

And last but certainly not least, I got a chance to mull this whole reporting thing over at jazz spot M Lounge. I almost didn't want to include it because it was such a nice slice from the usual, who wouldn't want it all for themselves? The candle light makes good work of reverberating off the nearly all mahogany wooded areas of the sweep. Creating a glow and instantly perceived warmth to the spot. Not especially expansive, M Lounge uses its space to give a desired roomy appeal. Add the great drinks and the awe-inspiring singers and musicians featured on any given night, and you've got yourself a cure from the played out club scene. It's a very good option for you mid-twenty somethings, like myself, who are making the transition from shot-skis (see here for reference) to cocktails. I got a remedy from writer's block as well as the tired sounds of new artists in the mainstream. Here's a clip from the evening's songstress, Jazmine Skye, giving a mean rendition of Bill Wither's classic, Use Me Up.

Like the lyrical street poet...Juelz Santana once proclaimed, "IT FEELS SO GOOD-TO BE BACK!" My sentiments exactly. As long as someone's out there to read it, I'll be here most likely making a fool of myself and writing about it. Always with the spirit of exploring and getting lost in wonderment that is our fair city.

To commemorate our blogging comeback, 4-Star Explorer is giving away a free ticket for two to see the new movie Spring Breakers at Showplace Icon Theaters-150 West Roosevelt Road. Because what honors the tradition of spring break more than seeing Disney Channel stars go wild? has James Franco. 'Nuff Said. Just comment below with something you like to do instead of working and we'll reply if you've won! Be sure to include your email addy.

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  • Shavon!! I loved this entire post! I feel everything you are saying. I always wanted to be the glamorous like Perez Hilton but turns out blogging is not really like that. But it's worth it for the accolades. I also had the break down of a close friendship. It was a year ago for me but I still feel you on that one. And I love your "like peeps..I rise" comment. And yes grad school is different than undergrad I found that out when I got my J.D. And I know you wouldn't believe it 'cause I look tiny but ever since I moved to Chicago I've been battling the bulge too! I will check out the healthy challenge link I need it! I also want to check out that jazz spot. Love me some jazz! You should check out greenmill in uptown. And Thank You so much for mentioning my blog and my singles event. I really appreciate it!

  • In reply to JOYmatchmaker:

    Hey Jasmine! I'm glad you liked the post. People don't realize what us bloggers go through. I'm glad I can get the message out there as well as spotlighting your blog and events. You always have the best article ideas. Well, since you're the only one who commented would you like the movie for two? I'm not sure if you sang that night but it's the ticket we got for singing at Tradder Todds.

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