Tag Archives: writing

One Night at SUR

Whenever my best friend/creative life partner Danae and I go to LA for work we always go to SUR because we’re trash.

We went there for dinner once which was a mistake we won’t make twice. Trust me, it’s essentially just Lean Cuisine minus the Goat Cheese Balls which are v good. Stassi wasn’t lying, but it’s not about the food, right?!

So one night last week, Danae and I walked into the lounge and had a seat at the last open “table” literally right behind the hostess stand and directly in front of the DJ booth. Imagine walking into a dimly lit pre-school and sitting down at a table where tiny humans are coloring or drinking martinis or whatever. The tables in the SUR lounge are a good inch and a half shorter than that.

After we took our seats on the floor, we looked to our left at the bar where episodes of Vanderpump Rules play in continuous loop on the TV above the LVP Sangria. And then there she was… SCHEANA, in all her evil arched eyebrow, thigh high boot, SUR uniform glory. Peter walks over to us, dead eyed, and asks us “what we want” and then disappears for like 20 minutes. What service! It’s cool though, maybe it’s not about the “drinks” either. After we finally got our $15 raspberry mojitos which were 70% mint leaves, 5% raspberries, 20% seltzer water, 5% regret and exactly 0% alcohol, in walks DJ James Kennedy and a bunch of dudes we didn’t recognize. “It’s my buthday!!” DJ James shouts as Scheana, who had been standing by the bar, (working hard!) for a solid 25 minutes at this point, squeaks with delight and gives leaping hugs all around. A girl at a different kids table asks for a pic and they all oblige and then disappear into the neon purple haze.


It was an out of bra experience that was more than we could have ever asked for and 100% more than we could handle.

We sucked down our drinks. Took three super cute photo booth boomerangs and then ran away screaming… until our next Sexy Unique Restaurant Restaurant & Lounge adventure.

Happy Birthday, DJ James Kennedy! Enjoy your pasta!! *wink*

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The Evolution of a Sad Girl

Sad music makes me happy. Most people can’t wrap their head around that notion, but it’s true.

My Sad Girl story starts in high school. New Hampshire. Early 2000’s. Wearing studded belts and sneaking out to go see Taking Back Sunday. The hairs on the back of my neck raising when I heard Something Corporate play ‘Konstantine’ during their opener for Yellowcard. Posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics in 90% of my AIM away messages which seemed like a good idea at the time. Drinking shitty beer in cul-de-sacs with my friends; listening to Panic! At The Disco and ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ on repeat. I think I watched the music video for ‘I Miss You’ once a day at least. I was peak emo and it was glorious.


(16 year old, teen angst Madison in my sisters dorm room.)

After my first big soul crushing heartbreak I found Chiodos. I remember seeing Craig and the boys play a tiny venue off of Main Street in Nashua, NH. Feeling fucked up was the price of entry and it felt so good to stand in a room full of people going through their own shit. Every scream made my cold, black heart race. I was home.

When my parents got divorced I found Atreyu and then I got a kitten and gave him the same name. He’s a real asshole. Now if only he could sing while playing the drums.

Then came Senses Fail, Silverstein, A Day to Remember, The Used, Brand New, Thrice and mother fuckin’ UNDEROATH.

I got sunburnt in parking lots every summer with my sister at Warped Tour and wore a t-shirt that said “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” to Taste of Chaos which looking back was probably a mistake.


(Okay this is kind of cute actually. IMA BUY IT.)

And then I met a boy who listened to Nirvana, Kings of Leon, The Shins, Led Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, The Stones and Radiohead. I fell madly in love with him and with Kurt Cobain and Caleb Followill and Alanis and Thom Yorke and Elliott Smith and Eddie and Jerry and Stevie Nicks and Anthony Kiedis and all the rest of them. My musical tastes shifted, but the sullen undertones were always there.

I went through a hippie phase, an EDM sunglasses indoors phase, a hip-hop phase after phase after phase. I’ve had a thousand different versions of myself.

And then I met Danae.

We went to grad school together in Atlanta and I remember listening to Taking Back Sunday in her car and having it all come back to me in that moment. I had stopped listening to pop punk, but just because I stopped listening didn’t mean all the bands I loved stopped making music. I had a lot to catch up on.

We got a job together as a creative team at an ad agency, moved to Chicago in 2014 and discovered a little place called Beauty Bar and Emo vs. Pop Punk night every Sunday. Just like that, I was home again.


(Me and Danae at Emo vs. Pop Punk Night @ the most beautiful bar in all the land.)

One night in early 2017 when we were out at Beauty Bar, we met a girl named Lola and a guy named Ryan. There was an immediate connection there. I thought I was going to end up falling for Ryan, but I fell for Lola instead. We’ve talked every day since we met and she’s quickly become one of my favorite people in the whole world. Those soul connections, man. Crazy.

The last few years have been concert after concert with Danae. Warped Tour, Riot Fest. You name it, we’re there. Two became three when Danae met her boyfriend, William. And then Lola and Ryan came along. We’ve got our PPP crew and I love it so fucking much.


(Me, Danae and Lola @ Dashboard for the 10,000th time, March 2017. Chris Carrabba, WE LOVE YOU.)

I still love all my favorites, but my playlist has expanded tenfold.

We’ve got the Chicago scene: Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Sleep On It, Cupcheck, Ship Captain Crew.

The up–and-comers: Capstan, Moose Blood, Boston Manor, Turnover, Northbound.

And the hot list: The Story So Far, Have Mercy, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, Bayside, Our Last Night, Transit + so so many more.

The pop punk cup is overflowing with good music right now. We are so damn blessed.

The emo/pop punk scene is alive and well. I came back for nostalgia and fell in love all over again. I traded my studded belts for a vegan leather jacket and I’ll never ever leave again. Oh and I still post Dashboard lyrics on Twitter every now and then.

Once a Sad Girl, always a Sad Girl.


For more on the Sad Girl life, check out https://illinoissadgirls.wordpress.com/ 

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What To Expect From Your First Yoga Class


I’ve frequented many a yoga class off and on for the last ten years or so. It’s a pretty good work out, decent way to relax and you’re almost guaranteed to walk out with some amusing stories to share with anyone who’ll listen.

Here’s a step-by-step analysis of what happens in a yoga class.

When you first walk into the yoga studio you’re usually greeted by a blast of incense followed by a “Oh hello there!” from the instructor who is most likely doing a head stand alone in the studio. Her name is probably something like, “Flo” or “Jade” and she’ll jog over to greet you at a tiny little wooden desk topped with an appointment book, business cards, a little bowl of mints and giant potted plant and ask you to sign in. After this you’ll move into the waiting room where you’ll place your belongings into a little cubby and remove your shoes (I’ll get to the no shoes in a moment) then you’ll probably get a cup of water and stare at the bowl of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Mini’s on the counter in front of you and ponder eating some, but refrain because you are here to exercise after all, that would be as counter productive as drinking a beer before you begin your sun salutation.

Next, you’ll walk into the studio and decide on a spot to lay down your mat and situate yourself for the duration of the class. This is a very important decision that should be carefully executed as to avoid frustration and embarrassment. First you want to avoid being too close to the one person in class who is way better than everyone else, as is demonstrated by their mastery of the most difficult poses before class has even begun. Don’t be intimidated. Just stay away. Avoid the middle-aged bros that are clearly there to try and hit on girls and stare at their butts in those form fitting yoga pants. Don’t put your mat down right in front of the instructor if you don’t want to constantly be touched and made an example of and whatever you do stay in front of any grandmas, you don’t want that ass bending over in your face. Go for a spot somewhere in the second row, off to the side. Trust me.

You’ll probably see a tall stand in the back corner of the room holding weird blocks, straps, mats and other foreign objects. Just to be safe, grab one of each, if you don’t use them, you can always build a fort with them later or throw them at the way-too-good-to-be-in-this-class lady to stop her super loud guttural breathing techniques. Gross. Also, bring your own mat. It’s nasty enough that no one is wearing shoes, but do you really want to walk, touch, roll around and lay down on a mat that a hundred other people have sweat all over? Again, gross.

During the class, there will be moments when you’re holding a pose and the teacher will offer you a proposition: “you can either stay here or make the pose more challenging by extending further…” When this moment happens, prepare yourself and look around, because someone, maybe even multiple people if you’re really lucky, will turn into a human twister game, eat shit and quickly revert to child’s pose. They’ll be quick, but it will live in your memory forever.

Be sure to keep your ears open for the mid class fart the lady in the back lets out, but try to avoid laughing out loud. It’s like an unwritten rule of yoga that if someone rips ass you just have to power through and remember to laugh about it later.

The teacher will walk around and tell you to hold poses for like 100 full breaths in and out through the nose and out the mouth and tell you to “listen to your body.” Like you’re body isn’t saying “FUCKIN’ OUCH!” Just keep breathing. You’ve got this. Then she’ll put you in some crazy position with your feet up in the air balancing on your pinky finger or something and then tell you that “this position is super good for your thyroid and really opens up your chi.” Oh really? Is it??? Then you’ll get to end the class with a chant or two “OOMMMMMMMM” It might seem strange, but just do it. You’ll feel zen AF. Promise. Finally, you get to lie down, close your eyes and listen to a sweet lullaby from heaven for like 15 whole minutes. Nap time involved in an exercise class?! SIGN ME UP.

There are plenty of entertaining moments involved in a yoga class and probably many more yet to be discovered, but all in all, yoga rocks. So go forth and tree pose my little warrior 1’s. You’ll make me a very happy baby indeed.


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5 Ways to Know if You Chose The Right Pizza


Life can be scary sometimes, full of countless choices and forks in the road. Especially when it comes to pizza. There are so many toppings, sauces and crust styles available. How can you be confident that you’ve made the right choice? What if you make the wrong one? Well, have no fear. Here are some surefire ways to be totally sure.

  1. You like the pizza– Are you eating pizza? (YAS) Does it taste good AF? (YAS) Are you not allergic to any of the ingredients? (YAS) Are you definitely going to eat another piece even though you’re already kind of full? (YAS!!) Congratulations, you chose the right pizza.
  2. You eat some the next day– While eating an entire pizza in one sitting deserves praise and respect, sometimes you just can’t finish the damn thing. And that’s okay! It just means you’ll have LEFTOVERS. You’ll wake up late the next morning and walk over to the fridge expecting to see the usual bag of shriveled arugula, Brita filter, a mostly-empty bottle of soy sauce and some flat diet coke. Then you’ll open the door and be greeted by the heavenly presence of enough pizza to put off going to the grocery store for another few hours. Grocery stores are the worst!
  3. You’ve had it before– If at first you like your pizza, order it again (and again and again and again.)
  4. Someone you like and trust recommended it– A real friend will never lead you astray in the pizza ordering department. If they do, run away as fast as you can and never talk to them again.
  5. It’s pizza– Unless you pull a Mary Kate and Ashley and put literally everything in your parents’ fridge that you took without asking on top of a perfectly good cheese pizza during a bullshit sleepover with your creepy ass friends, you’re probably going to love your pizza. Because it’s fucking pizza.

And that’s really all there is to it. Don’t be intimidated by all the options out there. Just believe in yourself and order the dang pizza, you freak! ❤



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Thank You, That’s Enough.

If you live in the Chicago area and like to laugh at how terrible human beings are in general, then come see “THANK YOU, THAT’S ENOUGH” at The Second City. Written by me and seven other weirdos. Performed by six actors who are sure to make you spit your drink out at least once.

The show is Fridays at 10:30pm Aug 28-Sept 25 in the De Maat Theatre. You can buy tickets at the door, by phone or online here: http://www.secondcity.com/shows/chicago/thank-you-thats-enough-2/ 

This show has been a year in the making so come see what my fellow writers and I have been up to the last year and come fluff your disappointment in humanity with us!


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The day is here at last. Marriage equality for all! Now my dads can get married anywhere they want to and that’s the greatest sentence I’ve ever written!

Here’s a quote from my dad, the bravest, truest human being I’ve ever known.

“Today is a big day for LGBT people in America. Having the right to legally marry and to have that marriage recognized in all 50 states is huge and landmark. I have been fortunate that I have experienced very little discrimination in my life and my children and family have been loving and supportive. I am fortunate to have a normal life with a long term partner. The 5-4 ruling today make us all equal as it should be. Love is love.”

I was at work when I found out this magnificent news. I immediately called my dad, but he didn’t answer. Then I ran over to the office of one of my favorite co-workers who is a proud gay man. I found him ugly crying at a TV and I ran up and hugged him and started crying too. We jumped up and down with excitement right as my dad called me back and we shared our excitement over the phone. He lives in Las Vegas and I’m in Chicago so a virtual hug was the best we could do. There was magic in the air. 🙂

Remember where you were today, because this moment will go down in history.

What an amazing time to be alive.

“It is so ordered.”



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WTF?! Wednesdays: “Straight From The Horse’s Mouth


Well well well. I bet you thought I forgot about this little weekly whatever and you were right! Well mostly.

I’ve been jotting down WTF’s in my phone for like a year and a half and have just been too busy (lazy) to write a post. So now I have plenty to choose from and a lot of time to make up for, so here we go. Back from the dead, it’s WTF?! Wednesdays! (woo!)

Phrase: “Straight From The Horse’s Mouth”

WTF does that even mean: From a reliable source, on the best authority.

Where Did That Come From: “In horse racing circles, tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters (betters?). The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even the inner circle, that is, the horse itself. A 20th century phrase.”

My Take: Okay, I don’t know what they were smoking in 1913, but like, horses can’t talk tho.

I hear this phrase every Now And Then (love that movie). Sometimes it even comes out of my own mouth (not true) even though I am not a horse (true). Usually I say this to try and convince whoever I’m talking to that whatever I’m saying is in fact true, which isn’t hard because I’m always right. *shakes head no* You say this so that you sound like you know what you’re talking about. So you sound like you’ve got all the hot gossip because you “keep in touch with people” and “have so many friends” even though you get all of your information from Facebook because for the most part, you hate everyone. Isn’t social media fun!?

For example:

ME: “OH MY GAWD, did you hear Kaitlin got engaged?”

NOT ME: “No way, really? But I thought he cheated on her.”

ME: “Yeah, but she said they worked it out. I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”

NOT ME: Oh, cool.

So profound. So basic.

That’s really all there is to it. If you’re gonna talk about people behind their backs make sure you’ve got your facts straight before you drop a “straight from the horse’s mouth.” Don’t embarrass me.

Okay, cool. See you next time!

And I found the origin info here, so it must be true. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/336400.html 

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A is for Aria


I’ve been on a Pretty Little Liars telebinge lately and I’m okay with that (though my poor boyfriend may feel otherwise). After every season finale, my internal speculation synapsis begin firing wildly and I convince myself to watch “just one more.” I’m hooked.

I want to know who they’re wearing, what kind of cupcakes they buy at Lucky Leon’s and if I can be their BFF (except for Spencer, who I want to smack in the head with a frying pan). But most importantly, I desperately want to solve the mystery: who the hell is A, you guys?

I’ve gone down an ‘A’ Rabbit Hole today and after watching some ‘Aria is A’ theory videos on Youtube, I can’t help but agree that she definitely could be. I’ve realized a few things that weren’t in the videos and there was A LOT of evidence listed.

Here’s one ‘Aria is A’ theory videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0XASEUz_-Q

1) The first ‘A’ message to the girls came when Aria arrived home from Iceland.

2) There’s a lot of talk about Aria possibly having a double personality (The Black Swan costume, The Daisy Buchanan costume). It seems to have been overlooked that in season 1 Mike Montgomery has some sort of mental breakdown and his parents disagreed about what should be done about it, ultimately they chose to get him help from a psychiatrist. During this, Aria’s dad is reminded of his brother, whom they infer had some mental problems and killed himself and Ella says something like “Mike is not your brother.” So that means that Aria’s uncle and her brother BOTH have/had mental issues so there is most definitely a history of mental illness in her family.

3) Motive. Yes, Aria could have wanted to keep Ali quiet about her Dad’s affair with Meredith, but what about Ali’s relationship with Ezra? They’ve shown flashbacks of Aria bumping into Ezra when she’s going into her dads office who was a teacher at the college Ezra attended. So what if Aria had seen Ezra around and became obsessed and wanted him to herself? Ali had what she wanted and so she became A to get it and keep Ali away.

4) Aria never really gets screwed over by A. For example in season 2 when Aria and Holden go out together in order to go do things their parents don’t approve of (see Ezra/fight in underground karate matches). ‘A’ sends Byron a letter saying the address of where Aria will be that night (The vegan French restaurant) and Aria (who never misses an opportunity to see Ezra) ditches him to watch Holden’s match. Coincidence? Or Aria trying to make it seem like ‘A’ is trying to mess with her so people won’t suspect that she’s been ‘A’ the whole time.

5) And according to my friend, Danae, who got me into PLL in the first place, “Aria is generally useless in trying to uncover who A is. She’s never trying to be a part of the solution and it’s probably because she’s the problem!”

Gahh, okay, I really need to get back to work! Only two more years until we actually find out.

If only I could get paid to PLL.

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Inside the Intern Closet: with R. Kelly

It’s a snowy Tuesday out here in Chicago. Welcome to Chapter 1 of -Inside the Intern Closet: with R. Kelly- Reporting live from the intern closet at DDB, SURPRISE!!!! it’s me, Madison.

First things first. Oh man guys, I’m a Copywriter for real! Huge high five to all my fellow Circus clowns. If you’re feeling clicky, check out my portfolio www.goalittlemad.com ! The Creative Circus is the place to be if you want to go into Advertising, hands down, but that post will be coming later.

I’ve been cruisin’ on a razor scooter since ’99 and on the first day of my internship, I saw several people scooting around the office. This made me want to Ron Burgundy my emotions from the mountaintops, or at least try and start a slow clap. I kept my feelings inside though and just brought my scooter in with me the next day. They’ve got some top notch scootin’ floors here at DDB, perfect for some power scoots.

Seeing my name on an office door every day rocks. The intern office is located under a staircase next to a picture of a massive cheeseburger in a closet-like room with no windows (I know, so many things!!) …so my Art Director and fellow Lady Bro, Danae and I did this:


It may be a closet, but it’s our closet. ❤

That’s all for this episode.

Until next time,

-Madison “I’M AN ADUUUUULT” Jackson

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