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Gossip Genie Blog

16 Ways to Get More Out of Spotify

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Words of Advice | No Comments

Spotify Blog Header

In today’s digital market, streaming services have entered a full-blown rat race for your attention. From original heavy hitters like Spotify and Pandora to up and coming contenders such as Tidal and Apple Music, consumers now have more options than ever to satisfy their listening needs.

However, unless one of these new outlets decides to buy me dinner, my commitment stands with Spotify. As a service, it continues to modify and improve the listening experience of its users — an essential move in order to remain on top.

I noticed, though, that many of my friends and family members don’t stay up-to-date on the new features that it regularly releases and because of this, are not utilizing the service to its potential.

So, I decided to create this blog post to help better your Spotify experience (after all, you want to get the most out of that $10 a month, don’t you?)

Music Discovery

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge music junkie and avid concert-goer. I am constantly on the hunt for new music and nearly all of the great songs and artists I find are thanks to Spotify.

  1. Loaded Playlists: Open up your ‘Browse’ tab, and dive into a virtually bottomless pool of new content. In one place, you will find playlists dedicated to today’s top charts, specific genres, and all moods and vibes.

 

  1. Discover Weekly Playlist: Last week, Spotify announced that it would begin creating personalized playlists for all of its users. Now every Monday morning, you can find a brand new mixtape waiting for you, based on the artists and genres you listened to the week before. So as your taste in music evolves, so will your weekly playlist — pretty cool, right?

Spotify Blog Discover Weekly

  1. Brand Playlists: Did you know that loads of brands are on Spotify, too? The next time you’re digging your favorite store’s playlist, search them in the app to see if it’s posted! To do this, navigate to your search bar, type in the brand, then scroll down to the ‘Profiles’ subtitle to see if it’s there.

Spotify Blog Brands

  1. Discover Tab: In addition to the Discover Weekly playlist, Spotify compiles a list of artists and albums you might like as well. For example, I listened to Bombay Bicycle Club last week so it suggested I give Los Compensinos! and Noah and The Whale a listen too because they produce similar music. To find these lists, head to your ‘Browse’ tab, then click ‘Discover.’ Wait, feeling the artist you’re listening to right now? Find others just like them by simply hitting the ‘Related Artists’ tab on their profile.

 

  1. Check Your Notifications: Although this one is not hidden, many users simply have no interest in perusing the updates Spotify sends to them. If you don’t, start! Spotify stays on top of new album releases and single drops so you don’t have to. Simply make sure that you’re following all of your favorite artists, and Spotify will let you know when they’ve added new content to stream.

 

Artist News

Spotify loves keeping you in the loop on the whereabouts of your favorite artists. Whether they’re in town or releasing a new album, it’ll make sure you have access to all of this information.

  1. Upcoming Show Announcements & Offers: If you follow an artist, you will be able to see their upcoming shows on their profile. Moreover, you can even buy merchandise using Spotify as well. When I navigate to Twenty One Pilots’ profile, for instance, I can see that they have a Lollapalooza after show coming up this weekend.
  2. Spotify Blog MerchArtist Playlists: Artists often have public playlists available to their followers on their profiles. This keeps you connected to what they’re listening to while hopefully discovering a few jams to add to your collection as well.

 

  1. Lyrics: This is a super neat addition to Spotify’s desktop features. Now, you can sing along with your favorite tunes as if you were watching a lyric video on YouTube.

Spotify Blog LyricsSocial Networking

I love the social networking features Spotify has to offer. I can now listen to music with friends in ways that were never before possible.

 

  1. Sending Music: Probably the most obvious way to share music with friends is through Spotify Messages. Through Messages, you can send other listeners songs, albums, artists, and playlists. It’s an awesome way to share and collect music with those who understand your taste best: your friends.

Spotify Blog Messages

 

  1. Collaborative Playlists: Spotify also allows more than one user to contribute songs to a playlist, which makes crafting the perfect combination of tunes turn into a group effort. I’ve seen people use this feature when putting together a playlist for birthday parties and barbecues.

 

  1. Friends Top Tracks: Relying on the friends feed is no longer the only way to discover what your friends are listening to. If you go to your ‘Browse’ tab followed by ‘Charts,’ you’ll find a playlist entitled Friends Top Tracks. This is a collection of songs your friends have been listening to so you can check them out yourself. It even specifies which friends are playing each song.

 

Functions & Utilities

Spotify is constantly working on ways to improve the overall navigation, usability, and convenience of its service. These additions to its app really do enhance the user experience, which solidifies its position as a top streaming source.

  1. Private Session: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suggested friends use Spotify only to hear, “But I don’t want everyone to know what I’m listening to.” Not a problem — Spotify gives you complete control over this. For a temporary fix, turn off updates by clicking ‘Private Session’ in the drop down menu next to your name in the top right corner. To make this change permanent, navigate into your preferences, and turn off both Facebook and Spotify feed updates. With these features, your love of ABBA and the Grease soundtrack can remain a secret.

 

  1. Queue: I only recently discovered that Spotify allows you to add songs to your play queue without altering your playlist. If you would like to listen to a song next without having to save it to your list, just right click on the track and select the appropriate option.

Spotify Blog Play Queue

 

  1. Local Files: So, how do we survive now that Taylor Swift pulled all of her music from Spotify?! It’s simple: add local files to your library. You can upload your music from iTunes into the app in your preferences. With this feature, ‘Blank Space’ can be a part of all the playlists you like!

 

  1. Download Music: I truly believe that splurging for the Premium experience is well worth the money you pay each month. Included in the $10 you spend is the ability to download songs onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This saves your data while also allowing you to listen to music in areas where Wi-Fi and/or 4G signal is weak.

 

  1. Smartphone Controller: I love this feature! Using my Android, I can quickly change what I’m listening to on my computer, no matter what room of the house I’m in. This way I don’t have to sacrifice volume for convenience.

Indecisive Nation Unite! Yelp Helps Save the Day.

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | No Comments

When it comes to making decisions, I’m the absolute worst. I mean, on any given day it can take me 2 hours to decide what TV show I want to watch. So it’s no surprise that last Friday night my boyfriend and I found ourselves aimlessly wandering the streets of Lakeview looking for somewhere to eat. Being the picky eaters that we are, finding somewhere that we can agree on is an especially painful process. This is exactly why I love Yelp so much.

Yelp is a crowd-sourced local business review and social networking site. The site has pages devoted to individual locations, such as restaurants or salons, where users can submit a review on their products or services using a one to five star rating system. In addition to writing reviews, users can react to reviews, plan events or discuss their personal lives. As of 2015, Yelp.com has 142 million monthly visitors and 77 million reviews.*

If you didn’t catch that, Yelp is perfect for anyone who has a hard time committing to well, pretty much anything. Don’t know which nail salon has better service? Yelp it. Want to find the best pizza in town? Yelp it. Trying to find a new doctor? Yelp it. Yelp’s slogan, “Real People. Real Reviews.” basically tells you all that you need to know. With that slogan in mind, I think it’s important to remember that because these are humans, like you and I, sharing their reviews – their opinions are just that, opinions. People aren’t always going to like the same things or experience the same kind of service. However, if a business is plagued with 1 star reviews, in my opinion, it’s best to assume that they’re pretty accurate.

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Glaze Teriyaki – Photo courtesy of @cnsherman

Aside from viewing other Yelp user’s reviews, Yelp gives business owners a chance to respond to reviews, either publicly or privately. I currently oversee a Yelp account for one of my clients and find that a company’s responses, to both good and bad reviews, can help shape the way other Yelp users view your business. If a person gives you a good review, thanking them is more likely to keep them coming back for more of whatever you’ve got. If they give a bad review, it’s important to acknowledge their concerns publicly to let them, and others, know that the issue isn’t being brushed under the table.

For the basic Yelp user, it showcases features such as connecting with your friends (or others whose reviews you find useful), sharing photos, marking others reviews as “funny, cool or useful,” responding to other users reviews, making reservations, checking in at a location, ordering and having food delivered, scheduling appointments, ordering flowers, you get the gist. On top of all of that, you’re also able to connect to Facebook and Twitter so you can share your reviews there as well. Did I mention that Yelp has an app for iOS and Android too?

You’re probably wondering what food I ended up using Yelp to find on Friday night. We had our heart (halfway) set on a little Mediterranean spot on Broadway but I ended up running into an old coworker who had just come from Glaze Teriyaki Grill. She recommended we try it out but I was still persistent about the other place, thanks to their 4.5 star Yelp review. After Yelping Glaze, I instantly changed my mind, we decided on Glaze and I couldn’t be happier that we did (thanks, Carina!). Cute interior, great food and the most amazing staff to boot! It’s safe to say that we’ve found our new regular spot. Which reminds me, I still have to go give them the 5 stars they so fabulously deserve.

Next time you’re in a bind about which business is better, from bars, to drive-thrus, to law offices (yes, you can review those too!), just follow the stars, they’ll (hardly) lead you astray. Don’t forget to help your fellow indecisive Yelpers out either, leave those reviews like it’s your job.

*Info taken straight from the source – Yelp.com.

I Got 99 Problems And They’re All With LinkedIn

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

Linkedin online social network

Okay, I will just come out and say it: I hate LinkedIn.

To put my feelings into perspective, I would describe it as the fly episode of Breaking Bad, any Adam Sandler movie made post-2005, and yes — I’m going there — the Nickelback of social media platforms.

So, what is my problem? Why do I have so much beef with LinkedIn?

It’s simple: it’s not living up to its potential.

For the professional world, LinkedIn is a well of valuable resources, filled to the brim with contact information, job listings, and industry-specific news. Moreover, it is the ideal way to keep in touch with your network; everyone from old coworkers you enjoyed spending happy hour with to the big wig you met at the bar last night can be collected in one place, ready to be easily contacted should the need ever arise.

However, if users are to utilize these features to the fullest, it is essential that the site be easy to navigate. That, right there, is its #1 problem: it is not easy to navigate.

Over the years, social media’s other big dogs, particularly Facebook and Twitter, have added attributes like hashtags and geotagging to their bag of tricks. These attributes are designed to help users quickly and efficiently find the information they are looking for.

Think about how simple it is to find the posts you care about on these sites:

  • You want to learn more about what’s happening in Washington D.C.? Search the hashtag.
  • You can’t remember the name of your cousin’s boyfriend? Read the photo tag (you should probably check out his profile too, Creeping 101).
  • What’s Kim Kardashian been up to lately? Check the trending topics (let’s be real — she’s always on there).

 

LinkedIn, however, doesn’t support hashtags, photo tagging, or geotagging. Without these, I find myself constantly struggling to find the content I want to see. I get lost in a web of industry groups and company pages in their search function that never quite meets my needs.

Now, I will throw LinkedIn a bone, though. It does allow you to tag friends in comments and posts, which is a huge help! I just believe advancing this feature would have astronomical benefits for its users by giving them faster access to the content they are searching for.

While discussing LinkedIn with a friend the other day, she told me about her biggest issue with the site or for the purposes of this blog post, problem #2: “There’s nothing social about it.”

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Although I don’t completely agree with her — the biggest arguments being the ability to endorse connections and interact with posts— there are ways to improve its title as a ‘social’ media platform.

To begin, making an individual’s previous posts visible somewhere on their profile would be a step in the right direction. If I am interested in seeing a friend’s latest post, it is virtually impossible for me to do so unless it happens to appear on my feed or a link is sent my way.

I also believe that adding a chat function of some sort would be extremely beneficial.

Think of the possibilities that can come with a chat function:

  • Recruiters and candidates can communicate instantaneously.
  • Catching up with connections can take 10 minutes rather than 10 days via InMail.
  • Coworkers would be able to share links directly through the site instead of turning to Gchat.

 

Now, I understand that the chat function would have its limitations. For example, you wouldn’t be able to chat Richard Branson just to ask ‘What’s happening?’ but I do believe that there are ways to implement one that would be only advantageous for users.

So, let’s move on to the last issue I will discuss, problem #3: its analytics.

Unless you’re willing to shell out, LinkedIn offers you next to nothing as far as analytics goes. Do I blame them for this? Absolutely not. They’re running a business, and businesses need to profit. Therefore, selling premium accounts is a must.

However, do I really care if an anonymous user viewed my profile? No, I wish they kept that to themselves! Now, I’m just sitting here wondering if my ex-boss is keeping tabs on me or if a recruiter for the job I just applied for viewed my profile and thought ‘Eh, not interested.’

Sidebar: I feel like there are probably some horror stories out there about people going mad trying to figure out who the dreaded, anonymous ‘LinkedIn Member’ is (please forward any stories you have about this my way, I’d love to know).

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Back to the point, the analytics offered to LinkedIn’s users are weak. I used my free month of Premium and feel like I wasn’t getting much more than I did with my usual, bottom-of-the-totem-pole account.

Perhaps my issue with the analytics is a personal one rather than a universal gripe. As a Social Media Manager, I see all of the free analytics available to my businesses on Facebook and Twitter, and I feel like that tarnishes my view of LinkedIn. After all, you are essentially just branding yourself like a business on LinkedIn, right?

So, there you have it! These are a few of my issues with LinkedIn (obviously I don’t have time to go over all 99, time is money after all).

Although I dislike LinkedIn currently, I do think that a few simple alterations, additions, and improvements would be all it takes for me to sing a very different tune (think ‘Photograph’ by Nickelback verse ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates). I would love nothing more than to change my opinion on it and should that ever happen, I will happily write a new blog post on it.

Even though I’ve dwelled on the site’s flaws in this post, it is still important to note that it is a significant and worthwhile resource for professionals. So, here is me using a glass half-full perspective:

  • The fly episode is one of the most complex and brilliant episodes of the entire Breaking Bad series.
  • Adam Sandler might not be making the cinematic gold he used to, but he still has a relevant and thriving career.
  • Nickelback, as much as we all love to rip on them, is filthy rich and raking in more and more money with each passing day.
  • LinkedIn is an excellent reservoir of information that with a few minor tweaks, can be untouchable.

Social Media Gives Shelter Dogs a New Leash on Life

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you have a TV, you’ve probably seen Sarah Mclachlan’s ASPCA commercial at least 14 times (minimum). I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that my Facebook profile is comparable to those commercials. Some might take that as an insult but I like to think of it as a compliment. I mean, we can pretty much do just about anything with social media these days so if you have the chance to help do something good, why wouldn’t you?!

In recent years, laws have been put into place in many states not only to regulate the commercial breeding industry but also to completely ban puppy mills. Due to laws of this nature, the popularity of adopting/rescuing dogs has grown tremendously. Shelters are full to the brim, many times having to turn animals away because there’s no room. So where does social media come into play and how does it help?

Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram have proven to be great outlets for animal shelters and organizations seeking help with dog rescue, fostering, adoption and medical funding. These social media platforms allow them to reach a high volume of people, not only in the direct vicinity, but all over the world with just a few clicks of a mouse. Shelters are able to share photos and videos of the dogs that they have available for adoption or use hashtags such as #adoptdontshop, which helps decrease the time that animals are stuck in the shelter.

deli
My rescue dog, Delilah

Being the dog lover that I am, two of my all-time favorite organizations have to do with dog rescue/awareness (duh). Check them out below and see a few ways that they’re using social media to garner attention and support their individual causes on a constant, and almost overwhelming, basis.
 
Trio Animal Foundation (TAF) is a charitable organization that assists shelters, rescues and individuals by paying the medical bills of homeless pets. TAF also promotes adoption and responsible pet ownership, including spay and neutering.

  • TAF uses social media to connect with fellow animal lovers on a raw, real and emotional level. They use photos and tell stories without holding back, allowing the audience to feel connected to the animal and their journey. The use of visuals (photo and video) has proven to have higher levels of engagement than posts with plain text.
  • TAF is quick to respond to follower’s questions and comments which is critical in not only gaining followers but also maintaining the ones that they already have. This level of rapport creates a unique bond, creating lifelong supporters of the organization and their mission.
  • Although TAF is Chicago based, they’ve been able to use Facebook and Twitter to reach animal lovers all over the country. Because medical funding is such a large part of their organization, this is extremely important. They have been able to raise more money for the animals in shorter periods of time due to the large reach.

 
Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. (PFOB) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to educate people about the history, temperament, and plight of the pit bull-type dog; raising awareness to rally against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and Breed Discriminatory Laws (BDL).

  • Not only does PFPB use social media to educate on pit-bull-type dogs, they also use their platform to share posts about dogs who are in urgent need of a home. Because their following is so large (462k Facebook fans!), they have a high success rate of finding help for the dogs that they post about.
  • Like TAF, Pinups for Pitbulls is very active with their fan-base, making it easier for followers to feel a connection with the organization. This increases the amount of shares that their posts receive, making their organization noticeably more visible across the web and the country.

 
Its easy to look back even 10 years and see the impact that social media has made in the world. I bet no one ever thought that they’d be able to help save dogs just by sitting on their computer. Crazy, right? The next time you see someone sharing a post about an animal that needs help, instead of scrolling past it, take a minute and think about hitting the ‘share’ button instead. Who knows, your share just might help that dog find his furrever home.

How Do You End Your Emails?

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information | One Comment

letters-389108_1280The struggle is real, my friends. Ever since I can remember I have been a grammar fanatic, correcting friends, family and coworkers. Yes, I am that annoying person that will call you out when you use I instead of me or vice versa. You all know from previous posts that I have an apostrophe abuse intolerance. Anyone that cannot distinguish between your and you’re should be in solitary confinement.

I proof read my emails many times over before I hit send and something that I have always struggled with is how to conclude an email. A few years ago I settled on “Best, Jacqui.” I realized that “Thank you” wasn’t always appropriate, “Warm Regards” was a little too cheesy, “Sincerely” was too formal, therefore, “Best” was the winner. On June 2nd, that all changed, I have been trying to fight the fact that I read this article.

“The problem with best is that it doesn’t signal anything at all. “Best is benign,” says Judith Kallos, an e-mail etiquette consultant. “It works when you apparently don’t know what else to use.” Others have called it charmless, pallid, impersonal, or abrupt. Caity Weaver, writing for the Hairpin, said it’s like “the black tank-top tucked in the rear of the display” at Target. “A few years ago, best seemed kind of uncaring—like turning your shoulder to the person without thinking,” says Liz Danzico, the creative director at NPR, who occasionally blogs about e-mail communication. “Now, it’s like a virus.” And so it’s mutated: “All my best,” “all best,” “very best,” and so on.”

First of all, an email etiquette consultant exists?! Second of all, I think they are being a bit harsh – after reading that, I feel as though I have personally offended people with my use of “Best” as a closure.

I got very anxious reading this article and had to take a break and come back. If I can’t use “Best” what will I use? Well here’s the answer and it’s a whole lot of NOTHING.

“So if not best, then what?

Nothing. Don’t sign off at all. With the rise of Slack and other office chatting software, e-mail has begun functioning more like instant messaging anyway. “Texting has made e-mail even more informal than it is,” Pachter says. In conversations with people we know, complimentary closings have started to disappear. Tacking a best onto the end of an e-mail can read as archaic, like a mom-style voice mail. Signoffs interrupt the flow of a conversation, anyway, and that’s what e-mail is. “When you put the closing, it feels disingenuous or self-conscious each time,” Danzico argues. “It’s not reflective of the normal way we have conversation.” She ends all her e-mails, including professional ones, with the period on the last sentence—no signoff, no name, just a blank white screen.”

I have tried for the past month but I just can’t do – I hit undo send and have to put a closure in there and it’s usually, “Best.” I feel ashamed like an alcoholic hiding bottles of liquor in random places taking nips here and there. I just can’t get used to hitting send without signing off. Yes, I have a signature but that just doesn’t seem personal enough.

How do you end your emails? I am definitely taking suggestions!

 

BEST,

JACQUI

 

 

Brands react on social media to Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, What's Trending | No Comments

In a historic day for equality in America, major brands are taking to social media to voice their support for the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. By mid-afternoon today, the hashtag #LoveWins has already been used 2.24M times and counting.

Love has the final and enduring word, it seems, and these brands found creative ways to share their support.

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The Bridesmaid Bylaws

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | One Comment

This coming weekend will mark the 5th wedding that I’ve been lucky enough to take part in, 6th if you count my brief stint as a flower girl when I was 4. Throughout the course of these weddings, I’ve learned a few things about what it takes to be a bridesmaid. You might be thinking, “What is she talking about? All you have to do is put on a dress and walk down the aisle.” If this is your thought process, I’m going to take this moment to let you know that you are sorely mistaken.

Planning a wedding can be an incredibly stressful event for a bride (and groom!), so as a friend and bridesmaid, it is your duty to love, and more importantly, support your friend throughout this time. Check out my top 5 tips on how to be an above average bridesmaid.

  1. This is not, I repeat NOT, your wedding.
  • This one’s a shocker, I know, but try to keep in mind that this isn’t about you. Your time will come – but for now, your opinions, tastes and interests don’t matter. Put yourself in the bride’s shoes and imagine how you’d want your bridesmaids to treat you. She surely won’t be an angel throughout the entire process but it’s your job to grin and bear it.
  1. Ask how you can help.
  • Don’t wait until a week before the big day to extend a helping hand. From the color scheme, to invitations, to the bridal shower, to seating arrangements – the bride is guaranteed to need your help with something. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help lighten her load, I promise that she’ll appreciate it.
  1. You’ll (probably) only wear the dress once.
  • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. A-line isn’t your style? Chartreuse isn’t your favorite color? You’d never wear ruffles if your life depended on it? Too bad! It’s time to be a good friend, suck it up and wear whatever the bride-to-be wants you to wear.*
  1. 99 problems & the bride ain’t one
  • Your friend has asked you to partake in one of the most special events in her life, treat this as an honor. Whether you’re having trouble planning the bachelorette party, can’t seem to find somewhere to get your dress hemmed or the other bridesmaids are being difficult, don’t let these predicaments fall onto the bride’s plate. She already has enough going on without hearing about how Becky and Susie don’t agree on the center pieces for the bridal shower. Work it out by yourself, or among the bridesmaids, and move on.
  1. Make memories & take photos
  • Engagement party, bridal shower(s), bachelorette party, ceremony, wedding reception – my head is spinning and I’m only a bridesmaid! With so many things going on, the bride can get wrapped up in the moment and completely forget to take photos of her own. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Instagram photographer or a professional one, whip out that smart phone and get to snapping! When she realizes that she didn’t get any photos, you’ll be her saving grace.
  • Read More

Something to Nibble On

By | DIY, Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s no secret that I love food. I mean, I’m eating while I type this blog post. With last Friday marking National Donut Day (possibly my new favorite holiday), I started thinking about what food holidays we celebrate in the good old USofA. There are days, weeks, even entire months dedicated to specific foods and food groups, some of which are more popular than others. If the holiday is big enough, there are stores that even give away food freebies for the corresponding holiday (thanks Dunkin Donuts!). Now is the perfect time to explore the wonderful world of food holidays so I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be some of the best (and weirdest) food holidays that are celebrated in America. You can thank me later.

January

National Hot Tea Month – What better month to cuddle up with a cup of hot tea and a good book?

January 1 – National Bloody Mary Day – The day after NYE we all need a little hair of the dog, right?

January 2 – National Buffet Day – Do I really need to say anything about this?

January 14 – National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day – One grilled Rueben sandwich, please.

January 19 – National Popcorn DayGarrett Popcorn anyone?!

January 20 – National Cheese Lover’s Day – This is my own personal slice of heaven.

January 23 – National Pie Day – Apple? Pumpkin? Blueberry? Pick your poison!

January 25 – National Irish Coffee Day – Stop by Mrs. Murphy & Sons to get the real stuff!

January 27 – National Chocolate Cake Day – One word – yes.

February

National Snack Food Month – Potato chips, candy bars, beef jerky, oh my!

February 1 – National Cake Pop Day – Check out Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique, they have some of the best in Chicago!

February 4 – National Stuffed Mushroom Day – I know this day isn’t for everyone but if you like mushrooms, it’s your time to shine.

February 5 – World Nutella Day – I haven’t quite caught onto the Nutella craze but for those who have, go nuts!

February 5 – National Frozen Yogurt Day – Nutella AND froyo in the same day?! Tummy ache central.

February 10 – National “Have a Brownie Day” – You don’t have to tell me twice.

February 18 – National Drink Wine Day – As if we needed a designated day for this.

February 22 – National Margarita Day – Fiesta time! Be sure to look for specials at your local watering hole.

February 29 – National Frog Legs Day – Wait, what?! I think I’ll pass on this one!

March

National Frozen Food Month – Time to stock up on those Hot Pockets!

March 3 – National Cold Cuts Day – Pastrami, Salami, Turkey – the options are endless!

March 5 – National Cheese Doodle Day – Channel your inner Honey Boo Boo and go elbow deep into a bucket of cheese doodles.

March 6 – National Oreo Day – Double stuffed, red velvet or birthday cake? Have all 3, you deserve it.

March 9 – National Crab Meat Day – Seafood lovers rejoice!

March 18 – National Sloppy Joe Day – Get out the wet wipes, this one’s going to be messy!

March 23 – National Chips and Dip Day Dean’s French Onion dip is calling my name.

April

National Grilled Cheese Month – All day. Every day.

April 6 – New Beer’s Eve – Celebrate the day that marks the end of prohibition with a cold one, it’s only right.

April 16 – National Eggs Benedict Day – Breakfast is served.

April 24 – National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day – This little piggy isn’t going to make it all the way home.

April 30 – National Raisin Day – If you’re one of those health conscious people, this one’s for you.

May

National Hamburger Month – Fire up your grills, it’s patty time!

May 3 – National Chocolate Custard Day – Chocolate is great any day but if you’re looking for an excuse to eat it, here it is.

May 5 – National Enchilada Day – Happy Cinco de Mayo!

May 11 – National “Eat What You Want” Day – And for me is also known as “every day of the week.”

May 15 – National Chocolate Chip Day – Eat those suckers straight out of the bag if you want to.

May 24 – National Escargot Day – You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

June

National Dairy Month – Get your share of calcium, vitamin D and protein this month.

June 5 – National Ketchup Day – I don’t think we celebrate this holiday in Chicago.

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – Stop by the nearest ice cream shop and treat yoself.

June 10 – National Iced Tea Day – Check out tea shops near you for possible freebies.

June 19 – National Martini Day – Shaken or stirred?

June 20 – National Vanilla Milkshake Day – You have to stop by Oberweis for this one. Heaven on earth.

June 22 – National Onion Ring Day – Make your own blooming onion with the help of the Food Network.

July

National Ice Cream Month – They couldn’t have picked a better month to celebrate this cold treat.

July 4 – National Caesar Salad Day – Uhh… what? To each their own, I guess.

July 6 – National Fried Chicken Day – The ultimate comfort food holiday.

July 7 – National Macaroni Day – Chicken & Macaroni two days in a row? Hello KFC!

July 13 – National French Fry Day – Because who doesn’t like french fries?

July 24 – National Tequila Day – This holiday smells like trouble.

August

National Catfish Month – Here’s a month for all you freshwater fanatics. Bon appétit!

August 3 – National Watermelon Day – Did you know that the heaviest watermelon was 268 pounds? Yes, you read that right. 268 pounds.

August 6 – National Root Beer Float Day – Stop into an A&W Restaurant anytime between 2 p.m. and store closing and grab a free root beer float!

August 8 – National Frozen Custard Day – Check Culver’s Facebook for free frozen custard contests.

August 13 – National Filet Mignon Day – Instead of dropping a ton of money, use Pinterest to celebrate and make your own!

September

National Chicken Month – You can fry it, you can grill it, you can bake it… you can do pretty much anything with it.

September 1 – National Gyros DayKronos Foods has been known to give out free gyros all across the Chicagoland area.

September 5 – National Cheese Pizza Day – Check out some of the best places in Chicago to celebrate this cheesy holiday.

September 9 – National “I Love Food” Day – I’m not saying that they picked this holiday specifically because it’s my birthday but….

September 18 – National Cheeseburger DayCheck out all your local burger places, find some offers and then eat at ALL of them!

September 27 – National Chocolate Milk Day – There’s no age limit on this holiday.

October

National Pizza Month – Pizza lovers unite!

October 1 – National Kale Day – Don’t knock it until you try it.

October 4 – National Taco Day – Whether you’re celebrating at Taco Bell, Taco Burrito King or in your own kitchen, this is one food holiday that everyone will love.

October 14 – National Dessert Day – Pick your top 5 desserts and eat them all.

October 25 – National Greasy Foods Day – This day is hangover heaven. Grab all the greasy foods you can and indulge!

October 30 – National Candy Corn Day – This food holiday goes hand-in-hand with Halloween.

November

National Stuffing Month – I now have an excuse to eat my favorite Turkey Day side dish all month long.

November 6 – National Nachos Day – Pile up your nachos with your favorite toppings and don’t look back.

November 14 – National Pickle Appreciation Day – You either love them or hate them, there’s no in between.

November 16 – National Fast Food Day – Drive-thrus were invented for a reason. Check out the fast-food restaurants near you for special deals.

November 23 – National Espresso Day – Need an extra boost? National Espresso Day is the day for you!

November 24 – National Sardines Day – No, thank you.

December

National Egg Nog Month – My favorite holiday drink – get it while you can!

December 4 – National Cookie Day – Ever heard of a cookie hangover?

December 17 – National Maple Syrup Day – Pile all the syrup you want on some steaming hot pancakes or go all out and substitute syrup for the J in your PB&J.

December 25 – National Kiss the Cook Day – What better way to show your appreciation for all those wonderful holiday feasts?

December 29 – National Get on the Scales Day – I’m warning you, don’t do it!

December 31 – National Champagne Day – There’s no other way to ring in the New Year.

If you’re still reading this post, you’re either really hungry or you love food as much as I do. Either way, you’re going to want to check out a full list of food holidays via Foodimentary and mark down your favorites so you can celebrate them the only way you should – by shoving your face.

Summer Reading For The Young Professional

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments

Being a young professional, I am obsessed with reading biographies that have career advice intertwined within them. I find it so inspiring to read about people who have made strides in their industries and learning about their journey along the way. By the time I’m done reading one of these books, it always reignites a flame in me to stay focused on my career and be the best that I can be. If you’re a young professional looking for motivation, I’ve compiled a list of my top four favorite books. I promise they will not disappoint!

1. “If You Have To Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” by Kelly Cutrone

Kelly Cutrone, a public relations guru in the fashion industry, is the reason why I wanted to get my degree in PR in the first place. I would always watch her show, Kell on Earth, when I was in high school so when I heard she came out with a book, I had to get it.  I was not disappointed. This book was a clear wake up call that it’s impossible to have the perfect life when you are starting out in the “real world” and that it’s okay. Kelly mentions that while it is important to stay on top of your game, you will struggle at times. But if you can surpass those struggles and learn from them, that’s what will make you a better professional. On top of that, she gives brutally honest career advice with her most famous piece being, “If you have to cry, go outside.”

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2. “Normal Gets You Nowhere” by Kelly Cutrone

This book is the sequel to her first one, however the message is completely different. While the first book was about how to start your professional career, this book is about how to stand out in that career. No one ever wants to blend in and get lost in the corporate world. However, this is a great reminder that you have to constantly keep standing out, in any career field. To do that you have to reinvent yourself and create a personal brand. Kelly makes a good point by stating that history was made by world-changing people who did not fit in. So instead of accepting the status quo, she tells you to challenge it.

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3. “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso

Unlike the first two books, #Girlboss is more biography related but still has great career advice. Sophia Amoruso, founder of one of the largest e-commerce sites Nasty Gal, shares her journey on how she turned a small eBay store into a $100 million fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. By the time she was 28, Nasty Gal was bringing in about $23 million. That piece of information alone is inspiring, so imagine reading her whole journey. It was so great that I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one day.

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4. “Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media.” by Aliza Licht

This is my current read and I am almost finished. Aliza Licht, SVP of global communications at Donna Karen International, shares how she dropped out of medical school last minute to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Clearly it was struggle for her because all she knew was biology and science, but she figured it out and made a name for herself as the ‘DKNY PR GIRL’. She covers various topics like getting experience when you have no experience, going for promotions, being socially savvy, social media damage control and much more. I am also a huge fan of this book because she has a whole section dedicated to rocking social media. Once I finish the book, I will be sure to write a review on the blog. Stay tuned!

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The Complete Chicago Summer Guide

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information | One Comment

Chicago Summer

My fellow Chicagoans, we made it — the winter is over and summer is upon us at long last! I’m excited to say that the bitter blizzards, painful polar vortexes, and whistling winds are long gone. When you really think about it, we’ve earned this warm weather. In fact, we deserve it after spending all winter shoveling out parking spaces and dodging falling icicles.

So, now it’s time to treat ourselves to all of the great things Chicago has to offer! Beaches, festivals, shopping, restaurants — exactly how much fun can you have this summer? The limit does not exist. That’s why I’ve compiled this summer guide to help us get the most out of the season. So, say hello to your new, favorite bookmark: the complete Chicago summer guide.

Beaches

Ahhh, nothing tops going to the beach when it comes to summer! Chicago is known for the dozens of beaches it has in its front yard. Although I recommend avoiding them on all major holidays and Saturday mornings, it’s still amazing to always have this option available to us.

Out of all the Chicago beaches, I must say that 12th Street and Ohio Street are my favorites; these two locations are more relaxed and less crowded than the ever popular Oak Street and North Avenue. If you’re feeling adventurous this summer, venture out to a new spot!

Click here to find a complete list of Chicago Park District Beaches.

Concerts

No fear music lovers, I’ve got you covered! Below, I’ve compiled a list of the major music venues’ schedules to help you stay on top of which shows you’d like to attend this summer. From Taylor Swift to Aretha Franklin to Gipsy Kings, artists, big and small, will be making their way through town soon!

Check out these resources to see if your favorite artists will be hitting up Chicago on their summer tours:

 

As always, Millennium Park has brought back their free summer concert series, Downtown Sound. Instead of just Music Mondays, though, there are now Music Thursdays too! Click here to see who will be playing in The Jay Pritzker Pavilion this summer.

Festivals

No matter what your interests are, there is a festival out there for you! On my personal list of festivals to hit up this summer are Chicago Ale Fest, Lollapalooza, and Festa Italiana. I’m excited to grab a few friends and explore each of these events while enjoying the beautiful skyline in the background.

Thrillist put together an awesome calendar of all of Chicago’s festivals, here. Now is the time to compose your own list of must-attend street fests!

Fitness

The city has plenty of opportunities for those looking to stay active this summer! Besides just running along the Lake Shore Path or playing beach volleyball at North Avenue, you can get moving and stay fit in several, other ways as well.

If you’re interested in joining a sports league, Chicago Sport & Social Club has tons of options available to you — volleyball, dodgeball, and soccer to name a few. Click here to see what else you can get involved in.

Runners, Chicago always has you covered! RunGuides has created a list of Chicagoland area races for runners of all levels to take part in — check it out, here.

For early risers, Millennium Park is offering free Saturday morning workouts yet again this summer! Head on over to the Great Lawn to participate in Tai Chi, Pilates, and Zumba. Learn more, here.

My personal favorite reference for exciting and adventurous summer activities is Groupon. I love Groupon because I always discover amazing opportunities in the city that I didn’t even know existed. See what new activities you can try by perusing their local Health & Fitness page.

Movies

For those nights when sitting back and enjoying a movie sounds better than heading out to a bar, here is a listing of Chicago movies theaters, show times, and more.

Better yet, Millennium Park is also hosting a free summer film series in addition to concerts and workouts. Spread out your blanket, pop open a bottle of wine, and lay back every Tuesday night at 6:30pm to enjoy a movie in the park. Click here to see the film schedule.

Museums

As Chicagoans, we love to brag about our world-renowned museums. Besides the big dogs — Art Institute, Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, so on and so forth — the city has loads of smaller museums to enjoy as well. Don’t forget about the breath-taking outdoor exhibits and conservatories too, like those at The Chicago Botanic Garden and The Morton Arboretum.

Wikipedia actually has an extensive list of Chicago’s museums, here. Check it out to see what museums you’re ready to take on this summer!

As much as we all love museums, they can get expensive; that’s why taking advantage of free days is a necessity! Timeout Chicago looked up the museum’s free days and put them in a single article that you can find, here.

Parking

If there’s a surefire way to spoil a great night out, it’s paying $32 for parking or worse, not finding a parking spot at all. With all of these events happening simultaneously, parking can be an absolute nightmare. However, these apps and websites can help take the frustration out of driving downtown.

Meter Beaters: Created by Mike Mullin, this app is designed to help you find free street parking in Chicago.

SpotHero: Parking has never been easier than with this service. It allows you to find and reserve parking spots all over the city, saving you both time and a headache. You can even filter your spot search by price for those looking to stick to a budget.

ParkChicago: For those frequently in the city, this app allows you to pay for your street parking from the convenience of your phone. Set up an account and get parking today!

Bestparking.com: Although you can’t pay for spots through this resource, it does allow you to find and compare the prices of different lots and garages in the same area. This is a great site to locate the parking options around you, without having to drive around.

Outdoor Bars

With the warm weather, who wants to stay inside?! Winter has kept in long enough. Luckily for us, our city is filled with rooftop bars and awesome patios to enjoy.

You can find Timeout’s list of the best rooftop bars, here; it has some great spots to check out! Thrillist also put together this list of the best outdoor drinking spots by neighborhood. Whether you’re in Lakeview or Wicker Park, see what great patios and beer gardens are near you, here. 

Sporting Events

Nothing compares to buying a Chicago style hotdog at a baseball game in the summertime! To me, sitting in the sweltering heat or through a two-hour rain delay is worth seeing my team pull out a win.

Being a diehard White Sox fan, here is our schedule first! Having a Cubs fan as a boyfriend, though, I’m obligated to include their schedule as well. Click here to see Wrigley’s home games.

Baseball isn’t the only sport to enjoy this summer. The Chicago Fire also have games scheduled throughout the season! Take a look at their home schedule, here.

Theatres

For the art socialites of the city, Chicago has countless great shows for you to catch this summer! As always, Theatre in Chicago is your go-to hub for schedules, show listings, and news.