Bumpin’ Tunes

In no particular order, here are 5 albums that rocked my world in 2011.

1. Common “The Dreamer, the Believer.” Ok, I lied. In particular order, this is no. 1, a must listen. While always known as a thought provoking lyricist and poet, Common takes it to a whole new level this go around. I mean, who else has Maya Angelou on their opening track? She also backs his new book, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” which I’m obvi pretty pumped for. (Review of that bad boy forthcoming) Theme of this album: Dare to dream and watch what happens. *Sold. Not to mention, the album art is the perfect visual depiction of how b’d my m feels while listening.

2. The Black Keys “El Camino” Whoasauce, these brothers are so badass. Have been for a while and they definitely do not disappoint with their latest album. By far my fave rock album of the year. I’m still really interested in putting together a flashmob with this guy’s moves. Lmk if you’re down…

3. Foster the People “Torches” If you’re looking for a straight up jammin’ album, look no further my friends. Every song that made the cut is a toe tapper with great lyrics. It’s the kind of album that makes you want to dance around in front of your mirror rockin’ out. (yea, you know I did!) Super sad I was late to the party on the show in Chicago (ON MY BIRTHDAY NONETHELESS)…which means I also missed out on the Do-Good Bus. SUPER sad face ): Fingers crossed they bring it back on their upcoming tour.

4. The Roots “Undun”  The ol’ roots crew has dropped another winner. Usually every other album is a “eh”, but I’m a fan of this character themed record backing up “How I Got Over” (which was pretty awesome). I’m also a sucker for piano based instrumentals of all kinds, so my seal of loving approval has been stamped on “Undun” Also, loving this graphically depicted breakdown of the record from The Fader.

5. Adele “21” I’d have to discount my own music taste if I didn’t include this one. Homegirl is legit, and I swear this has nothing to do with my obsession of English accents. It may have something to do with my affection for pianos.  A youthful old soul with a magical voicebox that reaches deep inside and stirs up some emotions you didn’t even know existed. I think they call that soul shaking and that pretty much sums her up.

6. Gramatik “Streetbangerz Vol. 1 & 2” I lied again, 6 albums that rocked my world. I already did a post on this one, check it out here. And don’t be fooled by the thug life title, I know senior citizens who love this guy.

2012 can’t wait to see whatcha got!

Consider this your Christmas card (:

Greetings from Shenna Jean!! It never fails to shock and amaze me how quickly a year flies by, yet here we are again. 2011, you were quite good to me….but 2012 is lookin’ even betta!! I got after it in 2011, in fact my theme of the year was “Make It Happen” and that’s exactly what I did. So without further ado, here is my 2011 Recap!

Highlights


In a nutshell, I had some big things happen with Lifebook at the beginning of the year as we released an online version of the program, took some trips that allowed me to meet some great contacts, I was fortunate to grow my knowledge in the world of online marketing and learned one of my best lessons of the year: never have your head so far up someone else’s dream that you forget your own!

Walking away was by far one of the scariest things I’ve done all year, but lead to one of the best events of 2011: The Summer of Shennaigans. Oh yes, we’re talking a summer break in the Chi folks, and it was super badass. A few weddings of the season, yoga (almost) everyday, my first flashmob, Trapeze lessons!, lots of beach days, stand up paddle boarding, baseball games, a new bike, pool time, parks and ambitions of frisbees, patio drinking, planking galore, porch club, co-ed softball, Cali, Maui, Michigan and La Porte!! This girl was truly blessed. Word from the wise: when life hands you a summer break, TAKE IT.

Swinging for the fences with the Big Hurt during The Summer of Shennanigans

Throughout the entire summer I had one main objective however: get in with lululemon athletica. I was focused, I meditated on it every day, I had my eye on the prize and after 3 months and 7 interviews later, I began my dream job 😀 A place where I can wear yoga clothes and my nike high tops all day and dance around the store to sweet jams? Talk to complete strangers, brighten their day and turn them into repeat guests? Lead an amazing team of like minded people to kicking ass and taking names at one of the coolest stores in the infamous Gold Coast of Chicago? Work for a company who promotes personal development and goal setting, provides opportunities for it at every bend and wants to see you be a better person above all else? Um, yes please!!!

The past few months have been a whirlwind, gettin’ in where I fit in and lovin’ it. And I can’t begin to tell you what this job has done for my “Get it Right, Get it Tight” goals!! Hellllllllllo Crossfit!! If you haven’t heard about it, read up here and find your closest box. It will transform your body in less than 2 months, no joke. (You must obvi go, all the time for at least 2 months, don’t half ass it.) Not to mention all the fun new types of yoga I get to try, although my heart is and always will be at The Lab.

So the last half of my year has been focused on sweating a lot, working at the wal-mart (when retail is your family business, that’s the kind of inside jokes you get) and doing me. Little love update for ya: We’ve got Single Shenna in the house and we all know how much fun she is! After 10 months of dating a great guy, I gained some valuable insights about the person I still need to become in order to be in my ideal relationship. Puttin’ in the work now, so when he shows up on his horse I’ll be ready (;

Goals

Get it Right, Get it Tight
Overall idea here was to get into a solid sweat routine; check. My health and fitness vision is to be a healthy, athletic size 4 that has more energy than she knows what to do with. I haven’t tried non-strechy clothes on for a while I can’t verify the size 4 yet, but the main objective is to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, which I very much do.
-Run a 5k each quarter (Done, thank goodness for 15k catch ups!!)
-Practice yoga at least twice a week (Next time you see me ask to see my forearm balance and my handstand)
-Clean up my eating habits, as they are often likened to that of a 6 year old. Made some progress, but not nearly as much as I’d like, but that’s what 2012 is for.

Hot Chocolate 15K in November

My Personal Brand
Whether you realize it or not, you (yes you!) are your own personal brand; what you put out into the world, how the world perceives you, is essentially who you are. And, you own 100% of the shares in your company, so do what you must to get the results you’re looking for! This past year I had a few things I set out to do in this bucket:
-Update my wardrobe with quality pieces that reflect who I am and are functional for my lifestyle. (Thanks to lulu, I’m very much overachieving in this department, so much so that I might need a new goal in 2012 to not “update” as often.)
-Design and update my studio apartment at Loft 5H. (New bedding and throw pillows make a world of difference peeps, I suggest switchin’ it up soon if you haven’t already! A memory foam mattress is a great addition too.  I did not however complete my frame gallery project which is disappointing and will be in 2012 Q1 goals.)
-Create my Lifebook V2.0 and complete an update in each category. (Started off SOO strong and made it all the way through My Personal Life, I will soon post the PDF’s once I figure out how to do that. 2012 I will be tackling the last 6 chapters!)
-Update my online brand and get to postin’ regularly on my blog. (A big round of applause, as I’ve blogged more in 2011 than any other year of my life. However I’m not completely satisfied with the results and will be posting weekly in 2012, hold me to it!!)

Glimpse of the Studio @ Loft 5H

Debt Free is the Way to Beee!
This one is pretty explanatory, who wants to spend their life owing peeps money when you could be doing way cooler shit with it? Not me, so this was the year to eliminate all the debt that my 20’s blessed me with. With the exception of my student loans, I am happy to report that this goal has been knocked out of the park. **Special thanks goes out to my nerdy accountability partner, this free spirit would not be nearly as successful without you xx**

Feed Me! Says the Brain
Plain and simple, I like to learn. I like new concepts, music, places, ideas and the intellectual side of me has to stay busy for me to be the best version of myself possible. 2011 brought some amazing new things into my life!
-Take at least 5 trips a year, 1 international, 4 domestic, at least 2 must be strictly pleasure. (Maui is overseas at least?? Colorado, Cali (x2), Vegas, DC, Grand Canyon, Michigan, and La Porte. I got around in 2011.)
-Minimum of 2 books a month. (Read some great ones this year: entire Hunger Game series, The Help, Like Water For Chocolate, Tales from a Yoga Studio ((I was on the beach for that one)) Tribes, Good to Great, Leadership Pipeline, Body Confidence, The Witch of Portobello, and currently nearing the end of Atlas Shrugged ((FINALLY!!)) to name a few.)
-Must digest at least 5 new albums a year and attend one concert per quarter. (SO MUCH GOOD NEW MUSIC RIGHT NOW!! However, the defining albums for me this year were: Adele “21” Foster The People “Torches” Gramatik “Streetbangerz Vol. 1 & 2” Jay-Z & Kanye’s “Watch The Throne” Common “The Dreamer, The Believer”. Dropped the ball on shows this year, but did see Watch the Throne at United Center and that shit cray, obvi.)

Black sand beaches in Maui

My Fairytale Relationships
Knowing that I’ve got people all over the world and knowing that I’m not the best at keeping up with my phone book and knowing that we’re all growing up, going separate ways and making it even harder to keep up, means that I have to put in a little extra work with the relationships that I want to maintain.
-KIT Project: Reach out to one long distance friend each week and one family member each week via phone/Facetime/Skype to catch up. (Dani, Madison and I smash this goal…have grown so much closer to her since that little squirt came along and Tangpuz I’m not sure where I would be without our skype sesh’s. Tiff, you’re on the list to conquer on the reg this year and so is my pops.)
-Create a viable love strategy, regular date night routine and needs list for my man. (Well, I don’t currently have a man, so the love strategy is a little tough, but it’s not something that my last partner and I were good about so maybe there is a clue. I am going on dates, which keeps my options open and I did create my list of needs in a relationship so that the expectations are clear with the next lucky fellow.)
-Be the best “Pseudo Maid of Honor” a girl could hope for in her wedding. (Awesome concert themed shower for your closest friends, check! Super baller Vegas bachelorette party, check! Surprise flashmob to a song you would have never expected at the reception, check!)

Me, Madi & Dani

So there you have it folks! 2011 was filled with growth, experience, awesomeness, learnings and fun…and more to come in 2012! Look for my official 2012 goals to be posted by next week (:

Here’s to you and yours having the best holiday season and a very happy New Year xx

A Note from the Universe

Aside

Be there. Go there now and never leave. Imagine that your dreams have already come true. Live your life from that mindset. Predicate your behavior on that reality, not the illusions that now surround you. Filter every thought, question, and answer from there. Let your focus shift and be born again – because dwelling from, not upon, the space you want to inherit is the fastest way to change absolutely everything.

See the difference?

Love,

The Universe

Holiday Jamsauce Playlist

Tis the season for holiday tunes and what better way to celebrate than with a festive new playlist. Introducing: Holiday Jamsauce, a collection of songs that will make you tap your toe, reminesce of your childhood and shake your groove thang. Must give credit where credit is due…I was inspired by a lulu blog post that got me started. Then I collabo’d with the executive chef/playlist master of Loft 5H to make sure we had all the classics and then peppered in some flavor of my own. Enjoy.

A few highlights:
“Christmas in Harlem”: Kanye does Christmas? Um, yes please.
“Carol of the Bells”: An a cappella version by the group Straight No Chaser; don’t sleep on these guys.
“Last Christmas”: George Michaels, need I say more.
“Frosty the Snowman”: Fiona Apple puts her gritty spin on childhood classic.

PS
How much do you love spotify?! Me too.

Jamsauce: A song that is totally and completely jammable; in a righteous way.
Ex: Turn it up man! That song is hella jamsauce! 

It’s that time again…

That’s right, it’s a flashmob! This one is going down on Saturday December, 17th at 2:00pm on Michigan Ave in front of the Old Water Tower. Watch the video to learn the dance, skip to minute 9:11 for a sneak peak. Show up in your cold weather dancing gear and we’ll get sexy and you know it. (The song is LMFAO I’m Sexy and I Know It if you’re trying to practice in your mirror at home. Don’t lie, you know you wanna.)

Listen Now: Gramatik

I’ve been listening to one artist for the past 3 weeks…that’s what happens when I find a new one that I’m mui obsessed and impressed with. So I’ll write a blog post and then quit talking about him.

Maybe.

As soon as you take 5 mins to listen and rock your own world.

Gramatik– the best producer you’ve never heard of. Originally from Slovenia, this guy throws down hard. He’s got quite a few albums floating around out there, but to get you hooked I HIGHLY recommend (I actually am going to make it mandatory for my music peeps, you know who you are) that you check out Street Bangerz Vol. 1 and Street Bangerz Vol. 2.

“Well what is he?” everyone asks. My response: “Everything and nothing you’ve ever heard before.” Gramatik takes hip hop beats and infuses them with equal parts jazz, funk, soul and electronic to create a vibe that is intoxicating. You can’t help but immediately be drawn in and next thing you know your tapping your toe and bobbin’ your head and asking, “What is this?!” My response: “Your new favorite album.”

He’s also got producer Derek Vincent Smith’s (better known as Pretty Lights) toe tappin’ too…enough that Gramatik is the latest edition to the exclusive Pretty Lights Music record label. 

So whatever you were planning on doing once you finished reading this post, push it back 5 mins and click here instead.

Plankfest

Playboy pinball machine to foosball table plank.

This past holiday weekend, my friend Hans and I decided to jump on the Plank wagon and I can’t tell you how glad I am that we did. Started by the Aussie’s earlier this year, this fad has been sweeping the world. In case you’re wondering what’s the point, there isn’t one really. Just lay down like a plank and take a picture.

Here’s a nice little collection of our planks. In case you’re wondering, we were going for the “austere glare” in a few of these, but have since been corrected that a proper plank shows no emotion whatsoever and is completely face down. Got it.

And you can be sure there will be more where this came from.

The original plank that kicked it off.

Shadow Plank.

Home Plate Plank.

The watch out Hans is going to pants you on top of an 8 foot rock plank.

Picnic table plank.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Flashmob’s are hot right now. So hot that I decided to put together some flashmob action as a surprise for one of my best friend’s and her new husband at their wedding reception.

I can’t say that it was easy. Quality choreography that appeals to everyone, makes sense with the song, and is quick to learn doesn’t just materialize out of thin air. And then comes motivating the masses to spend their hard earned leisure time learning a dance. Believe me, that is no small chore either. Thank god for my drill team roots is all I can say.

However, with the help of fabulous friend, a few bottles of wine, iMovie and the use of YouTube, it can be done. From soup to nuts, we provided a music video, instructional video, as well as the song lyrics with moves like trucker pump, blind man, and hula girl written out, so about 30 of our friends could provide the memory of a lifetime for one of our all time favorite couples.

Many many thanks goes out to Hans Gehrke for without the blind man move the dance just wouldn’t have been the same, Joan of Five Grain Events who weaved this secret endeavor into the evening’s schedule seamlessly, Stitely Entertainment (special shout out to Dallas Wright!) who was the only one I’m aware that captured the brilliance on film. And last but not least, to all the friends who made it possible!!! Not going to lie, you guys had me sweating the day before, but made me so proud that night!

Without further ado, I give you the Jordan Wedding Flashmob Part 1. And please do call if you’d like a flashmob (: