The Next:Chicago Talent Season 2

When executive producer, Calynn M. Lawrence reached out to me and asked me to be a part of Season 2 of Chicago Talent I was totally excited. I was excited because it always amazes me when people find me on Instagram! I know its a great tool to market yourself and your brand but it always blows my mind when it actually serves its purpose! 

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Chicago Talent isn’t a typical reality show, Chicago Talent is focused on the day to day hustle and bustle of rising creatives in Chicago! Events, projects, writings etc are all that Chicago Talent is all about, showcasing those who are on the come up and looking for that big break while still maintaining!46439127_772766239762365_923308275175260160_n Showing exclusively on Facebook, Here. You can get to know the cast and crew and see what is next! I am so thankful for this opportunity and what is to come!

If you are in the Chicago area and would like to attend the premiere party please shoot me an email, arellaswan@gmail.com! 

XOXO, ARELLA

DIY:Christmas & Cocoa

Every year I spend Christmas Eve with my grandmother and this year was no different except it was just here and I. Usually it’s my two to other cousins but this year I had my grandmother all to myself!

We usually bake something to eat for the Christmas Festivities but this year I wanted to try a Hot Chocolate bar. Needless to say, it was a hit! I got items from Trader Joes, Dollar Tree, and Marshalls and it was extremely affordable! 20181225_10094020181224_194350

Vanilla extract from Marshalls and glass saucers from Dollar Tree.20181224_194343

Cinnamon and, candy canes all from Dollar Tree. In the glass bowls, I crushed up some green candy canes for toppings. I also put honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the glass bowls as well. I didn’t do the typical marshmallows because I don’t eat them. (I’m Pescatarian) 20181224_194341Mugs from Dollar Tree20181224_194338

Organic Hot Cocoa mix from Trader Joes!

The decor was some leftover garland from last year and some unused ornaments. The snowman bowl was a gift and came right in handy for this “project”.

What traditions do you celebrate this time of year?

XOXO, ARELLA

The Recap: Step up Step out and Shine

When I saw my twitter cousin, Africa Miranda was coming back to Chicago for her book tour I knew I had to go! Africa has always been a kind, beautiful spirit every time I encountered her whether it be online or In real life.  If you are new to the force that is Africa you can find out more here! (You are welcome)

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The event took place at the UIC Forum and was hosted by the Chance Program at UIC which allows students to have numerous opportunities to grow their passions  WHILE in school. The hosts were current students and they had so many great questions for Africa on her book and just overall gems.

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If you have ever been to Africa’s events, page or site you know how beautifully curated it is, so her event was no different.  Bright colors, fresh flowers, and just an overall great atmosphere!

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Event Takeaways:

1. Everything will not be perfect AND that’s okay. Africa talked about always wanting and making things perfect and once she realized that things won’t always work how you want it to you have to keep it moving!

2. Do not let people put their own self-doubts on you.  (You shouldn’t travel alone, work that job, cut your hair etc.) Follow your own path!

3. Step out of your comfort zone. You ever wonder why shit don’t shake? Because you are comfortable! Step out and Do it, whatever it is!

4. Everyone has a story, don’t be afraid to share yours! Africa wrote her book to share her story and help others so they won’t go through the stuff that she did. Also, a lot of times people are afraid to be transparent because of judgment, however without being open, you don’t heal!

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Africa Inspires me not only because she literally does everything I want to do and she does it well, but she also inspires me because in her book she is real about her journey. No fluffy sugar-coated writing but truth and wisdom. That is appreciated. If you want to purchase Step up, Step Out and Shine you can go here.

What ways are you being transparent in your life? Tell me and let’s talk about it!

XOXO, Arella

The Recap: Chicago Ideas Week

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Chicago Ideas Week is an amazing collaboration of ideas, talks, and labs about important topics that matter! Whether its politics, reform, music, and fashion Chicago Ideas week covers all aspects! This is my first time attending (Last year I was sick). The panel I attended was about music and how it created culture and influence culture.

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One of the artists who drew a mural related to the panel!
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Panel from L-R, A-Trak, Dave 1, DJ White Shadow, Joan Morgan and Andrew Barber of Fake shore drive.

Each panelist had unique stories but they all had one thing in common, they both worked with, around and in tune with Music! Each panelist also talked about how the music they listened to as a kid influenced them as an adult.

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Each panelist took the time to talk about what helped them navigate the music industry and going to that next level!

DJ White Shadow talked about his Journey from small town to working with Lady Gaga and how being kind got him where he is.  Shadow was very big on the impression you leave and how you treat people. I personally thought this was great because you don’t hear that advice very often!

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Joan Morgan coined the term Hip-hop Feminism.

Joan Morgan, an amazingly bold and beautiful soul talked on women in Hip Hop and how as women in the industry you have to be on point! Morgan discussed how important it is to keep your craft up and to stay immersed in the culture!

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A-Trak and Dave1 talked about the influence music had on their sound and fashion.

Two nerdy boys from Canadian were influenced by the soul sound and the hip-hop waves. Both brothers talked about how music made them wear certain clothing, speak a certain way and influenced their creativity.  Each panelist brought a unique perspective and helpful insight into not only the everchanging music climate but also how to stay relevant in a whirlwind of new sound and new information.

Event Take-Aways

Be a good person! (I know so cliché right? Every panelist said this over and over and it worked for them, It for sure is worth a try! 

Never stop learning!

Embrace what is you and only you!

Music is a creative outlet that can influence the masses, use it wisely! 

Keep at it! (Dave of Chromeo  stated that he was a late bloomer, having gone to Grad school to realize he really wanted to do music)

Be on time and walk in the room like an underqualified white male. (This is what Joan Morgan left us with, can we say Mic Drop? )  A word. A lesson. A message all in one! 

How has music influenced you culturally? Let’s chat!

For more about Chicago Ideas Week and how you can get involved next year click here!

XOXO, Arella

Chicago Ideas Week

Coming up next week is a great forum for discussion, talks, hands-on activities and ideas being shared amongst many different people and platforms!

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Chicago Ideas Week challenges us to get to know new faces and solve the problems that not only influence Chicago but also the world.  Join me next week and take advantage of all things  Chicago Ideas Week!

Tickets are still available, here!

If you are going let me know in the comments!

XOXO, Arella