Typewriter Nails {DIY}

Before I travel, I always paint my nails. I usually like to make them somewhat relevant to my trip, but I usually just paint them a pastel color with polka dots. However, considering I am going to BEA and Book Con, I thought these typewriter nails would be appropriate. Simple, a tad messy, but overall: uniquely cute. Let's get on with it, eh?

All you need is:
A light shade of nail polish
Top coat
Rubbing alcohol
Newspaper (ripped up into 10 small pieces)

Now here's what to do:

1. Paint your nails with your light shade of nail polish. White, neutrals, pastels or even neons will work. I used a pastel pink color. Make sure your nails are 100% dry until you move onto the next step.

2. Now, once your nails are dry, submerge them in rubbing alcohol ONE NAIL AT A TIME. Keep your nail in the rubbing alcohol for 5 - 10 seconds.

3. Then quickly take one piece of newspaper and press it on your nail for 10 seconds. Slowly peel the newspaper off. You should get clear-ish words on your nail. If it's too faded, try it again. Repeat for all 10 nails.

4. When done, take your topcoat and go over each nail. This is an important step because the letters will fade if you don't go over with topcoat. Then you're done! 

This is a really simple tutorial, but it can get messy. If I had the choice to do it all over again I would make sure each and every word was clearer. Because I have a few nails where the words are so faded to the point it just looks like a bad nail polish job. Overall, I will do this again. 

The Do's & Don'ts of Social Justice

Social justice is something I've always been passionate about. Perhaps a few years ago, it became almost like a trend. A good trend, though, considering it made thousands of people aware of the issues we face today. Regardless, with every 'trend,' you're going to have people not doing the trend correctly. There's been a lot of bad apples on the social justice tree, making the entire community look like a bunch of uneducated whiny people. This isn't the case, though, obviously. Before you reblog that text post, THINK. Go out to your community and make a change. Our ancestors fought to be where we are today, so let's do what we can to improve society. Here is my list of the do's and don'ts of social justice. I'm sure I missed some, but it's a good reminder no matter where you stand in the community.

How to Deal with the Crowds at Disney

Planning a Disney trip is truly an art form. We all want to make sure we do it right. We all want to make sure we have fun. We all want to make sure we don't miss anything important.

When I found out I was going to Disneyland for the first time, I spent a long time researching what I needed to do. When I got there, I realized most of the information you find on the internet is entirely useless and you shouldn't spend time stressing. Therefore, I'm writing this post so you don't have to read hundreds of blogs essentially telling you to get there early and wear sunblock.

Basically, there's no way to truly avoid crowds at Disney. It doesn't matter how bad the weather is or what time of year it is. Disney is eternally busy. And every single day, the crowd is different. HOWEVER, Disney really cares about their guests. If I'm being honest, I never minded the wait. Here's ways you can deal with it. 

1. The middle of the day is terrible, but it's still Disney, so deal with it.
Arriving early and staying the entire day is a must. Most of the people going to Disney are locals, or families from across the country who don't know what they're doing. Therefore, not everyone is going to get there super early and last the entire day. Parking there and getting to the actual entrance of the park takes a lot of time as it is, so arrive earlier than you would expect. The middle of the day is crazy. It's warmer, the people are grumpier, and the lines are longer. However, it's best to keep a positive attitude and just enjoy the ride. ALSO, huge tip. Main street is always open an hour after the park closes, so save your souvenir shopping and last minute trips till the end.

2. Bring your own food. (I made the mistake of not.)
Disney is one of the few parks that allows you to bring food and drinks. They have a variety of food options, accomodating to all diets, HOWEVER...the money adds up. You will get dehydrated fast. You will need actual substance in your body. We all want to try a dole whip, a mickey pretzel, and popcorn. But you will realize your energy will drain fast. Stay hydrated, bring a sandwich or something. If you are dining for one or two, the money isn't a big deal. But if you have a family...that's where it get's complicated. You will be walking around all day so make sure you bring something that gives you energy.

3. Bring what you need, because Disney is super accommodating.
When going somewhere like Disney, we always think, "WHAT SHOULD I BRING?" Yet at the same time, we don't want to go overboard. Here's the thing. I went with just one of those little phone/wallet things and survived the entire day. I wouldn't recommend overpacking because it becomes tedious. At most amusment parks though, if you have a backpack / purse, not all rides have a place for you to put it. Even if they do, it's not always secure. Disney's high thrill rides have a really secure place in front of your seat for you to put your stuff. It's honestly such a great invention. So if you're bringing a backpack, no fear.

4. Don't plan your day.
Shocked to hear this? Get a general idea of what the park has to offer, but planning your day is a huge mistake. You'll end up missing out on more than you think. The magical thing about Disney is you never know what's going to happen. Did I know my first Disney ride was going to be Pirates of the Caribbean? No, but the line was really short so I thought, why not? Later in the day, the line was circling around the ride. Then, I wanted to Minnie, but the wait was 30 minutes. I wasn't in the mood to wait to meet them, so I left. Then I saw Minnie at the end of the day with no line whatsoever. The waits for the rides / characters / parades / etc are truly never that bad and they are completely manageable. But if you plan your day moment by moment, you may be wasting a lot of time.

5. Enjoy the wait.
It's true. You're at the happiest place on Earth. Talk or play games with the people in line with you. If the wait for the ride has interactive scenery to it, such as Star Tours, enjoy it! I know I did. All the lines generally move fast, but complaining isn't going to get you anywhere.

6. Supervise your children.
They say this before almost every ride, and it's true. Realize you are being inconsiderate to others if your children are being a distraction. I've heard so many cases of children jumping out of rides, whining/crying, vandalizing property, running into other people and so on. It's quite simple, if you don't think your child is ready for Disney, maybe they aren't. If you want to bring them, keep your eyes on them! We all want to have fun at Disney, regardless of age. The cast members and the other park-goers are considerate to you, pay them back by being considerate to them.

I'm Going to BEA & BookCon!

From May 26th to June 1st, I will be back in one of my favorite cities (NYC) for Book Expo America and BookCon. I cannot wait! I will be staying in the East Village using Airbnb for the first time. I will be reviewing books, talking amongst authors and publishers, attending book parties, drinking good coffee and obviously just enjoying the places I used to find myself wandering in. New York really holds such deep emotion for me and I am forever grateful for what it prepared me for. And ooooh, am I glad to be back. HELLO QUEENS, HELLO MANHATTAN, HELLO BROOKLYN, HELLO HARLEM. Ya girl is back. I will be sharing the journey via instagram and my blog within the next few weeks. 

Eating in Cleveland

Find yourself eating in Cleveland, Ohio? Probably not.
Regardless, a lot of my blogging endeavors have included food blogging. You may have read my installment of Eating in NYC posts. If you haven't, check it out.

Now, I'm going to talk about eating in Cleveland. Growing up in Northeast Ohio, I've gone out to eat almost everywhere. Everything is sort of spread out, and a lot of the time these eateries are in hidden, unexpected places. If I'm being honest, most of the places here are nationwide restaurant chains. Every town has an Outback and Applebees. And if you can't find a place you think you would like, there is a Chipotle in every town as well.

However, no matter where I am, I like to eat something different when I travel. Here are some of my picks for 'Eating in Cleveland.' Enjoy!

Aladdin's Eatery

Lebanese food never sounded so delicious. Taste the falafel, get some hummus and fresh pitabread, and do yourself a favor and try their delicious soup. There's never been something here I didn't like. Pictured above is their v-nine soup, filled with delicious veggies.

Burger Fresh
You know how I said earlier some of the eateries are in hidden, unexpected places? Well, Burger Fresh is surely one of them. It's a fun concept and the burgers are good (veggie for me, obviously), however I do feel they could use a better PR / marketing team. It's rather small, it's hidden, and they could use more options. But for starters? I think if you're in the Brecksville area, this is a not a bad place to get a burger. You get to customize your patty, the bun, and your toppings. However, I feel the majority of people are fine with their fast food, so Burger Fresh should bring something more unique to the table. Regardless, I still enjoyed it.

I love Choolaah so much I dedicated an entire post to it. I cannot stress this enough, Choolaah isn't just my favorite to eat in Northeast Ohio, but it's one of my favorite places to eat anywhere. It's a fast-casual yet 110% quality Indian eatery. You will truly be overwhelmed the moment you walk in. By the service, the set-up, the versatile menu. And then...you'll take your first bite and you'll fall in love. Read more about my experience at Choolaah here. And if you don't feel like reading it, take my advice: try the samosas. 

Colossal Cupcakes
If you're downtown, this is a super cute place to check out. The cupcakes are delicious and the aesthetic of this Euclid avenue hotspot is refreshing. For a city that can be quite bland, Colossal will brighten your day. Read more about them here. 

Lucky Cafe
In an old-fashioned, farmer-market-esque area of Tremont, Lucky Cafe is super cute. The tea I had there was this fruity tea and I remember it being the best I ever had. However, they could sharpen up on their barista skills a bit. Regardless, there's a super cute garden you can eat at. I recommend coming here when the Tremont farmer's market is going on so you can just walk right over. 

Miss Molly's Tea Room
Those pink rose walls, lace tablecloths and floral arrangements are getting to me just by looking at them. I've been coming here ever since I was a little girl and was happy to revisit it three years ago. It's more for the experience instead of the food, to be quite honest. Drink tea like a true tea-drinker in this beautiful setting. Best for a light brunch.

Phoenix Coffee
One of the few coffee places in NEOhio that isn't Starbucks. The prices are reasonable and the coffee is 110% authentic. I usually just get a small iced coffee with a little bit of vanilla and a little bit of soy milk. But hey, if you're into fancy latte art this is your place. Phoenix remains to be a NEOhio favorite of mine.

Tommy's is located in the Coventry area of Cleveland. Within the same block, you'll find a tattoo parlor, a book store, a CD exchange shop, a concert venue for indie bands, and a crazy toy shop. Coventry is pretty legit. So if you're strolling the Coventry streets, stop by Tommy's. They are known for their spinach pies, their classic AND vegan milkshakes, their awesome vegetarian menu, and because a lot of celebrities have came to Tommy's while in CLE. We've been here a few times and have tried the not dog, the BBQ seitan sandwich, the chickenless sandwich, the veggie burger, the spinach pie, the veggie chili, and the falafel. None of them disappointed us. 

Going to Townhall will make you feel like you're in a different city. It's ahead of it's time. Grilled cheese bars? Quality coffee and lattes? Organic, non-gmo? Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and paleo options? Smoothies? Food truck tacos? THIS IS ALL TOO MUCH FOR ME. I was staring at the menu for 20 minutes. Townhall honestly has one of the best menus I have seen and I wish I got to try more of their food. However, the service was an issue. Maybe my expectations were too high. But the music was too loud, the employees never cared to look us in the eye and it took our waitress 30 minutes to even ask us for our order. I will be back again one day for some coffee and a burrito, mark my words!

Rosati's Frozen Custard
I can tell you right now, Rosati's is the shit. Literally the best custard you're going to get. It's one of those places that has had the same menu for years, which makes it kind of a classic. Decadent yet soft chocolate and vanilla...and you can't forget the flavor of the day! Everyone in Northfield, Ohio always stops and checks for the flavor of the day when they drive by. Also shout out to Andrew for taking this photo. And most of the photos on this post. You can check out Rosati's website right here.

Rosewood Grill
Talk about fine dining. Rosewood Grill sounds romantic just by the name of it, and it truly is. Andrew and I went here for Valentine's Day and it was beyond amazing. The menu is small, but what they have to offer makes it worth it. Great flatbreads, mesmerizing salads, and CASHEW CRUSTED TOFU. Andrew ended up getting the cashew crusted tofu, covered in this TO DIE FOR thai chile sauce with crispy yet chewy sweet potato hash. It was super delicious. The aesthetic of this place makes it feel like you are really dining, I recommend it.

Campus Style with SOREL

A video posted by Maria Elena (@pinkchanelsuit) on
Because not all of you follow me on instagram, I thought I would share this video here as well! By posting a video to instagram showing your unique campus style and simply using the hashtag #SORELstyleMEcontest, you have a chance to win a $2.5k scholarship, star in a shoot with costume designer Jenn Rogien (Orange is the New Black and Girls), or win a pair of SOREL boots. And of course, had to pair it with some unreleased, old school Lana Del Rey. A big thank you to SOREL and Her Campus for partnering with me on this post! Happy entering, everyone.

Zoloft Belongs in the Trash {At Least For Me}

About two years ago, I was prescribed Zoloft by my current doctor. I was going through a rough patch in my life, and I can't say I don't still feel similar feelings that I did at the time, but things have gotten better. I remember talking to my school's psychiatrist and developmental psychologist and we actually ended up all being pretty close friends. I would constantly write. I would always drive to random forests and just sit there and write. But my mind wouldn't stop. I hated it.
Perks of constantly journaling. 

Looking back, it was a magnificent journey full of spirituality, strength, soul-searching and love. I couldn't have done this without my own strength which is why I am writing about this at this very moment. 

I never really told anyone about my battle with "whatever you wanna call it." I don't know how to label it. As a person who is into psychology, I know it's just theories and there's always new research coming out. Therefore, I'm open minded to what actually was going on. Regardless, it was going on. Did I have depression? Anxiety? Was I just stressed? Did something in my life psychologically mess me up to be this way? Or was it a lot of things adding up over time until I got to a breaking point? Was it a stage? Was I letting others negativity getting to me? Was my brai lacking serotonin? Was I lacking vitamin D? Was my spiritual frequency low? Or perhaps I wasn't comfortable within my skin? 

Gosh. The possibilities are truly endless. I could write 20 paragraphs of all the possibilities of what was actually going on. Like I said before, it was still going on. I was desperate. 

I remember getting home from the doctors office with a bottle of zoloft in my hand. It was literally a movie-moment. I kept tossing it around in my hand, back and forth, as there was a war in my mind. I already had doubts about this. I mean, no one knew for sure what was going on for me. I wanted to get through this on my own, not with chemicals. I wanted to be myself, not a robot.

Then, I vividly remember reading this piece of paper listing all the side effects. It was literally a full sheet of paper, size 8 font, with all the things that could potentially happen to you if you took the pills. It started off with nausea, fatigue, anorexia, headache, low libido, indigestion, etc. Then it increased to suicidal thoughts, a possibility of becoming more depressed, passing out, and so on. Why would I take this if it's going to make me MORE sick and MORE depressed? 

So, I took it to the internet. I was reading other peoples experience with zoloft. A lot of people had a positive experience but I would say 75% of the reviews were bad. It either made things worse or had no affect for the majority. People were saying they felt controlled, soulless, and apart of this mindless herd of people. They were saying they had to take it for years, because once they got off it they went insane. Some people got so sick and messed up it truly ruined their life. Not saying it's not possible to have a positive experience, but wow.

That's when I knew I couldn't take it.

I learned a lot from that experience, but most importantly  I learned this: YOUR MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH SHOULD BE #1. People sometimes laugh and roll their eyes when I make decisions "for me." I've been called selfish, ignorant, unintelligent, delusional, and even worthless. But when it comes down to it, I care about my feelings. I care about my well-being. And I even care about others feelings. I can sense when people around me are feeling down and I hate to see people being forced to go through such hardship for the "good of society."

But those people are wrong. Forget 'the real world.' Forget pleasing people who couldn't give a shit about you. Forget negativity. Forget anything that doesn't make you happy.

Don't be embarrassed because you have emotions. Don't be embarrassed to talk to somebody. Don't be embarrassed to have a mental illness. I know I'm always available for conversation.

Listen. Any type of hardship takes time to overcome. Yet nowadays, doctors will prescribe pills to almost anyone. You really have to watch out before you make a bad decision. Research the medicine and research YOURSELF.

I'm proud of the decision I made two years ago, and I can't imagine what my life would be like if I actually decided to take it. After months of writing, soul-searching, eating, going outside, traveling, performing, meeting new people, reading, etc - I overcame what I thought I never could overcome.

I'm writing this to those who are thinking about using zoloft or other medication. It's best to educate yourself before you do. And know, it is possible to overcome hardship without medication. I think it's better that way.

☼ My California Adventures: FOOD ☼

This post is overdue. I went to California, fell in love with it, left, and now I'm going back to MOVE THERE. I thought I would do a few posts dedicated to all the crazy adventures that happened while I was there. This post specifically? Food.

I love traveling because the food is always so different. You can travel a mile out of your hometown and the food is STILL different. Even fast food chains in different states / countries serve different dishes. It's crazy. California was great because it's super accommodating for vegetarians. Almost every restaurant offered vegetarian options instead of just salads. Jackpot. Not to mention, they are also super accommodating for spicy-food lovers. I'm not going to be able to cover everything, but I'll do my best. Now, let's talk about the specifics!

I heard about this place a year or so back. It was created by the CEO of Chipotle and it's the exact same concept just for southeast Asian food. Uhhhh, yes please! The only thing is not everything tastes good together, in my opinion. At Chipotle, you can put whatever the hell you want in your bowl and you know it will taste good. Some of the spices weren't compatible at Shophouse, but overall, it's worth a shot. California is big on Thai food. If you're trying to get into it but don't know where to start, I recommend Shophouse. The employees are knowledgable of the company and will answer any questions for you. I got noodles, tofu, charred corn, peanut sauce, and I don't remember what else. It was pretty good but I recommend the rice instead of the noodles. They also have a wall of sriracha bottles you can actually use. That's when I fell in love.

At most stores, you will have flamin hot cheetos and hot fries. But here? Hot funyuns. Hot puffs. Hot chips. Hot fritos. Baked hot cheetos. XXTRA flamin hot cheetos. Hot cheetos with limon. You never have to search or wander. Every single flamin hot product is EVERYWHERE and it's always fully stocked. I honestly couldn't stop eating the XXTRA flamin hot cheetos. I first found them in maybe 6th or 7th grade in Ohio and became obsessed but they stopped selling them on the East Coast. So..this was quite a moment for me.

So much deliciousness comes from this place. If you are vegan, or if you just want to eat healthy / organic without settling for boring vegetables, this is the place to go. Nachos, chili cheese fries, pizza, burgers, and so much more. When driving by, it looks like just a small cafe but it's a must! It has this beautiful outdoor patio that looks like it came out of a Kardashian's backyard. Eat outdoors and try the nachos. It'll change your life.

Homemade Avocado Toast
In the backyard eating the best avocado toast I've ever had. I swear to God, Andrew is an expert at it. This freshly made toasted multigrain bread with pesto, California avocados, and tons of crushed red pepper? UGH, to die for. It tasted like pizza. I never am eating another breakfast again.

Well, isn't this a given? I will forever regret not being able to try one of their hamburgers before I became a vegetarian but whatcha gonna do. However, the freshly cut fries are still worth the trip. The drive thru line actually had a guy there taking orders in advanced because the line circled around the place a couple of times...but everyone was patient and the fries were SOOOO mouthwateringly delicious. 

I've recently fell in love with sushi more than ever. It was quite simple: white rice, seaweed, sesame seeds, cucumber, avocado, carrots. But it taste amazing! At Shojin, the sushi is no where near simple, so make sure you order something you know you're gonna like. Located in the mall in Lil Tokyo, this place is actually kind of hard to find. So remember: it's in the mall! A tad on the expensive side, but the employees there want to make sure your experience is over-the-top. And I almost forgot to mention: everything here is 100% vegan. The ramen, the sushi, the drinks. No need to worry about chicken broth, eggs, or meat accidentally being in your food. Vegan but love japanese food? You have to stop by Shojin. Just do me a favor and don't order the green tea mojito. Just trust me.
Cafe Gratitude
This place had a lot of hype to me. Don't get me wrong, the food was great. But the service? Not so much. From what I've read in newspapers and what I've seen on food shows, eating at Cafe Gratitude is really an experience. But every encounter I had with an employee was negative. It took them 20 minutes to take our order when the restaurant was basically empty, they barely gave us the time of day or looked us in the eye, and they were giving more attention to people who appeared to be wealthy. Little did they know, I'm a REALLY good tipper. I always go above and beyond. ;P I just get really disappointed when a company doesn't stay true to it's values. "Raw vegan food! We should all be grateful for life! You are magical and amazing!" I'll visit again, because maybe it was just the specific location. But just giving you my two cents.

My Disney Audition Experience {Tips}

While I was in California, I had the pleasure to audition for Disney! I didn't really know what to expect, and if you're reading this, it may be because you want to find out more information. Disney basically tells you the address and what time to be there. And if you try to look at their youtube videos, they just tell you to have fun and stuff. But what is the audition? What should I bring? How long is it? I can help you out with that.

The casting directors at Disney specifically asked us not to talk about what specifically happened in the audition and I will honor that. But I will tell you about my overall experience, whaddya say?

You know when you get to an audition and it feels like the hunger games? Competitive, sometimes even snotty people everywhere, with their head shots and resumes in hand. They have their huge bags full of every dance shoe possible, and three bags of throat coat just in case. They are throwing out dirty looks like it's their job and everyone is either nervous or overconfident. Well...that's not how you should approach a Disney audition. 

You will mostly be waiting around, so talk to the people in line! Introduce yourself. Why are you there? Why are they there? It will make you feel a lot better and it will make you look a lot better too. There's no reason to approach this audition with a competitive or jealous mindset. Talking to the girl in front of me was what made the process easy, and we both learned a lot about life just from having a simple conversation.

There will be hundreds of people there and because Disney has several auditions a year, they are usually only look for a few people max. The probability of you actually getting casted is rare, but it's nothing to take personally and every audition is a learning experience. Here's the thing: you'll never know exactly what or who you're auditioning for. Sure, they will need replacements for Mickey and Minnie, the princesses and the pirates every now and then...but they are always introducing new characters, rides, and parades. I say this with any audition, but especially with Disney, don't go into the audition with a close mind. Show you have energy and just be yourself.

I saw a lot of people purposely trying to look like a certain Disney character and that's not something you should be doing. The casting directors have been with Disney for years and they'll be able to see right through you. Be yourself. In terms of appearance, don't overdress OR underdress. They emphasize to wear something comfortable, so do it. Keep the hair and makeup simple, and wear something that shows your body shape. I saw so many people in dresses and heels but I also saw so many people in hardcore workout clothing. You won't be getting a huge workout, but you should dress comfortably and appropriately. 

If you don't make it to the end, don't be discouraged. Disney is REALLY strict when it comes to height, weight and appearance  They want the individuals portraying their characters to really embody the Disney spirit. They want it to be believable, and you can't blame them! But like I said before, they are looking for new people all the time. Show your energy, be flexible, and be versatile. It'll benefit you! There you have it. Just be yourself and never give up. Classic advice but it couldn't be more true.


I just got back from California and I went to Disneyland for the first time! It was magical, obviously. But did I really need to tell you that? Here's a glimpse into the time I had at Disneyland / California Adventure.

Goofy was the first character we saw. We freaked out and he was being such a cutie. Then...
We said, "thanks for defeating Kingdom Hearts with us." AND HE DID THIS. My ride or die.
Later that evening I met Pooh...he kissed me on the cheek not once, but twice. He told me he loved me and we hugged several times. I think the line of 3 year old kids were getting mad but we just needed to have that moment. (xD)
The 2nd night when we went to Disney just for a few hours just for the hell of it and I had an insatiable craving for a Mickey rice krispie treat. The castle looked beautiful, Fantasmic was AMAZING, yet again, and I realized all the rides are better at night. 
When Pooh and I said our goodbyes. See ya soon, silly ol bear.

California Adventure at night. I wasn't crazy about California Adventure, but California Screamin was literally the best roller coaster I have ever been on. From the music, to the lights, to how smooth it was...it was truly an experience.

And this dairy free, famous treat. Dole whips are good, however...I wouldn't have it again. It was VERY refreshing at the time, but I don't see the craze. At least I tried it though.

- - - - -

So that's just my Disney post with a little glimpse into the adventure I had. We basically went on every ride (besides the ones that were down like Peter Pans Flight and the Matterhorn), tried a lot of the food, saw a lot of the characters, even caught a few parades and shows. Clearly you can't see that because I'm not going to take a picture or everything and tell you what I did ever minute, but you get the point. IT WAS PERFECT. The 90 degree weather and the constant walking was worth it all. I am for sure getting a season pass when I live out there. You can never get sick of Disney. At least I can't. I can't wait to become a Disney regular. EEEEEEEK. :')

More posts are to come, princes and princesses.

10 Reasons Why Ohio is the Worst State Ever

I decided to write an open letter to Ohio about why I am...well, so over it. I've stated this before because I don't want people to get offended or anything: I will always have a special place in my heart for Ohio but I can't stay because it will hold me back.

It's okay that you like Ohio, but that doesn't mean my feelings are invalid. Every time I express my disgust for this state, people always say "We have Cedar Point! Well, we have Lebron! The indians are coming back! We have the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame!"

True. It's not like Ohio doesn't have anything. It's not like that. It's never been quite that simple. All places have sports teams, amusement parks and museums. It's about the experience you personally get while living somewhere. We're all different so we all aren't meant to fit in everywhere.

So if you like living there, I respect it because I enjoyed growing up here. And if you hated living there, maybe we can laugh at all the stupid things we have gone through in our time there. Until then, let's talk about my 10 reasons why I prefer to be living across the country in a studio apartment with street parking and an awesome mexican place 3 blocks away.


1. Lack of nature. We have TONS of trails and parks, but they all look the same. Not that they aren't beautiful or anything, but it gets old. Ooooh a tree! Ooooh a creek. Is that a squirrel? Basically, Ohio is just plains. You aren't going to find any variety here. I love all nature no matter where I'm at, but I need to be by the mountains, the ocean, and some interesting wildlife. And if you aren't going to have that, at least have a city or two.

2. Lake Erie. Most places are near some kind of body of water. But...we have Lake Erie. Filled with bacteria and sewage, you do NOT want to find yourself swimming here. Locals will spend their days at the 'beach.' Honestly, just go to Wild Water Kingdom or make the trip out to the coastline. Lake Erie is the worst. Ugh. Gotta love pollution.

3. The sports. Oh....my...literal...God. I've known people that have been physically beaten up due to their stance on sports. Friendships have ended because the other guy liked the Steelers. "Did you see the game last night?" is heard at least 10 times a day. Every business in town is covered with Browns, Indians and Cavs merch. The general energy of Northeast Ohio is defined by how we're doing in terms of sports. I've traveled to half of the states in the US and sure, sports are prominent but they have other things to be excited about. It's impossible to escape here.

4. The weather. Humid Florida-esque summers, ice age 8-month-long winters where driving is near impossible, and the famous ever-changing temperatures. It's just not worth it. It's either too cold or too hot. Next.

5. The drivers. There are a lot of 'bad driver' stereotypes. There are also a lot of 'bad places to drive' stereotypes as well. But I would take a busy, fast 6 lane California highway over the roads of Ohio any day. It's simple...people in Ohio act quite entitled on the road. They won't let you over when you need to. Ever. They flash their brights at people for literally no reason. They get mad at anyone who does a bad parking job. They also get mad if they can't find a good parking spot within 30 seconds. They get mad when the person in front of them is going too slow or too fast. They take driving so seriously for a place where you barely need to go anywhere.

6. The politics. Close-minded people EVERYWHERE. I'm not even looking at one political party here. When it comes to politics, religion, philosophy, art, or really anything - people are close-minded. Open discussion is almost impossible here. You'd think for a swing state people would love to discuss this kind of stuff, but nope. They know what they believe and they can't respect what you believe. I hear arguments on a daily basis. Just chill.

7. High levels of nosiness. Sure, this isn't just Ohio. But it happens here. More than it does in most of the states I've been too. I will go to the corner store in Ohio and I will be stared down by everyone in the store for no apparent reason.Who am I? What am I doing there? Why am I wearing that? Who am I with? Things about me get around constantly and I don't even really talk to anyone. It could be because they have nothing else to talk about though. Hey, we have Cedar Point! (as everyone says to make themselves feel better about living in Ohio)

8. Meeting people is near impossible. 90% of people who are based here have one social circle filled with their coworkers /or/ people they went to high school with. People look to meet new people at bars and clubs, but there isn't great nightlife out here. If you're cool with that, then Ohio may be the place for you. But if you wanna meet actual NEW people, run for your damn life.

9. There is no city here. The fact that Cleveland should even be called a city is kind of funny, actually. Walking around Cleveland is like walking around a ghost town. Maybe if Cleveland got a better transportation system, a nice shopping center, and some more businesses, it would be considered a city. But it's basically just a bunch of sporting arenas and museums jam-packed into one area. And let me tell you, once you go down to Cleveland once...that's all you really need.

10. Lack of diversity. Ohio is mostly white people. Some people will argue that, but it's true. Congratulations on having 3 black friends and 1 indian friend but that doesn't mean Ohio is overflowing with diversity and culture. The only language you ever hear is English. The only food you'll ever eat is American. Growing up in a public school in Ohio is filled with racism and ignorant comments because every time there's someone that isn't white, they are labeled as the black or the asian friend. You get the point.

Ethereal Interviews: MAY 2015 x CHAD SUGG

Hi all! Hope you are well. May is here and I'm very excited to share with you May's Ethereal Interview! You might know Chad Sugg from the Backseat Goodbye. If you don't know the lyrics "I like Saturdays and the Rocket Summer," then you may not be a true Myspace kid. From singing/songwriting, to poetry, to being a dad, Sugg has proved to us all that he is quite the multi-talented individual. Luckily for all of us, Backseat Goodbye is back for the first time in quite a few years with an EP called 'Loud Songs for When the Night's Too Quiet.' Let's find out more.

To find out more about Chad, click here.
To find out more about The Backseat Goodbye and 'Loud Songs for When the Night's too Quiet,' click here.

1. First of all, I just want to say congratulations on the recent release of your poetry book, The Endless Nothing. Now you're coming out with some highly anticipated new music for Backseat Goodbye. It seems like you're always doing something creative. What is your creative process like? 
Thanks! Staying creative is a necessity for my sanity. In all reality, I absolutely hate standing still. I've really gotten to a point in my life where I've realized I only get one shot at this living thing, so I better do every last thing I want to while I can. As for the process behind that creativity, it's pretty straight-forward. I'll either sit down with my acoustic guitar and start strumming some chords, or grab a spot somewhere with my notebook/at my computer and start writing/typing up whatever comes to mind or expand on an idea I had earlier in the day.

2. Your son Walt is the absolute cutest. Has being a father changed anything for you? If so, what?
Thanks again! Being a father has changed literally everything. I love it, but it has been quite the task navigating how to be an independent musician with a two year old child running around constantly. I can say, it has officially been about two years and 20 something days since we had Walt, and I'm just now getting to a comfortable schedule that makes sense as far as working on music goes. As I said though, it's all worth it. Some days I'm not a fan of how terrible people can be, and Walt is the only thing that can make me smile in spite of all that every single time. He is the definition of innocence and pure joy.

3. As a poet and avid poetry reader, I've noticed that poetry doesn't seem to be thriving nowadays. People love poetry when it's by Sylvia Plath or Edgar Allen Poe, yet it seems like not that many people are paying attention to modern poetry. I can tell you now, I've been writing poetry for years because it's in my nature, but it would be nice to make a living from it. Has there been a struggle for you as a poet and do you have any advice for the aspiring poets out there?
Poetry is a funny little machine. I use it to find out more about myself and how I really feel about the world around me. I'm definitely an optimist at the end of the day, but that doesn't mean I don't get mad as hell about my personal struggles or the fact that sometimes people are crazy. When I'm writing poetry it all just sort of spills out of me... I'm not an optimist or a pessimist, I'm just a human, and for some reason touching the pen to paper lets me be honest with not just the outside world, but myself, as well. I do think there is a terrible shortage of popular present-day poets out there. I mean, I look at R.M. Drake and Tyler Knott Gregson, and they're doing great things for the genre... But overall, that's really it. There are literally two other present-day poets I know of, and I can't even remember their names right now. That being said though, Drake and Gregson's successes are hopefully championing a near future where not only readers, but publishers care about poetry again.

4. You're quite active on all forms of social media. Youtube, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook - you name it. How one uses social media can really make or break someones career. (you've clearly been using it quite well.) However, it used to just be Myspace - that's actually how I discovered you. Do you ever wish Myspace was still successful as a musician? What has Myspace done for your career? 
Social media is an amazing thing. I can say, without it, no one one know a single song of mine. As for Myspace, that was 100% integral to the success of Backseat Goodbye. Myspace was the platform I launched my music from, and then came touring, and then came success. If I'm being honest, yes, I absolutely miss the social media marketing plateau that Myspace provided. The one key thing that not a single social media site has done since that really helped a lot of artists was the simplicity of having a music player on each user's profile where they could pick songs to play automatically when someone would visit their profile. And I totally get that you can look on Facebook and see that Becky is listening to Smashmouth via Spotify right now and Ricky is listening to Madonna, but when you go to Becky or Ricky's page, that song isn't magically playing for everyone to hear. That made a very big difference back then, and still does.

5. Speaking of Myspace, We all fell in love with Backseat Goodbye in the good ol' days when Technicolor Eyes came out. What can we expect from 'Loud Songs For When the Night's Too Quiet' compared to your music in the past?
If there's one song I owe my entire past 9 years of the music industry to, it's "Technicolor Eyes". Ha. While that's not my favorite song I've ever written, it is by FAR the most popular... I say that, because it's amazing how much one single three minute song you wrote in a chair in your apartment bedroom and recorded on your laptop can literally change your entire life. As for my "Loud Songs For When The Night's Too Quiet", it's very much completely different and the same as any BG release before. Lyrically, it will be immediately noticeable as Backseat Goodbye. "Sleepless In Seattle" is the kind of pop-culture infused lyric-driven track that I've always loved writing under the BG name. "Wasted Youth Parade", is a tongue-in-cheek yet also very realistic look at what it's like being a teenager in the modern age, and sounds very much like it would've fit well on my debut album. And one I'm really excited about is called "Love Song 1943". It's actually a song I started writing back just after I released my first full-length, "Dressed Up Like Dreams". The song was called "Apples" back then, but I never could get it quite right lyrically. I finally re-visited it after all these years, and got it exactly how it was meant to be, I believe. It's a song about a story I read once about a boy and a girl living on opposite sides of a fence in Germany during the Holocaust. The girl threw an apple over the fence to the boy, and long story short, literally 50 years later they both accidentally found each other in New York City and fell in love. It's one of the most honest, pretty little love songs I've ever written. And it's quite literal, as well, the main hook of the song is, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could survive this Holocaust? / You could wear that dress and I could bring you flowers / They can't get mad if they don't notice our smiles // And if the war lasts our whole lives / I'll rest my head each night and only think of you". I love it, and think it represents the "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" of Death Cab For Cutie for my own career.

6. Who have you been listening to nonstop lately?
Oh man, there's a good stride of great music coming out lately. And I'm finally on a good stint of discovery of new bands I really enjoy. Right now I'm loving Night Riots, Smallpools, the new Death Cab album, and I've been stuck on loving The 1975 for a good two years now. Also, I'm really into the super pop Whitney Houston singles from back in the day right now, too.

7. What are your thoughts on Spotify? 
I still don't know. I love it, and I also question what it's really doing to the music industry. Personally, it's great, I use it literally every single day. I pay for the membership and everything. However, as an artist, it's great that people can hear my music on there for free or a small fee, but I think it still has a lot of room to grow as far as being truly fair to all artists as far as payouts goes. With that being said, I also still buy my favorite bands albums on iTunes or vinyl, but I'm much more less apt to buy an artist I don't absolutely LOVE's album now since I can just listen on Spotify. So, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing. I feel like it's somewhere in-between... Which sums up exactly how I feel about Spotify as a whole. Overall, I think Spotify has excellent potential to be a great thing for the industry some day.

8. Favorite lyric you've ever written?
Wow. I can't pick a favorite lyric, my memory is too terrible for that. But, here are my favorites from my new EP, track by track:
+ "If you're wondering what I'm thinking / you probably really don't wanna know / you made me this way / it's not my fault I'm so depressing / say what you need, say what you mean / but don't go" (from Don't You Dare Say You Loved Me More)
+ "You said "I hate The Smiths, except for when we kiss" / the sad sound of Morrissey in-between our skinny lips / you sent me a text from the passenger seat / dedicating this song to everybody else but me" (from Sleepless In Seattle)
+ "They say it's such a bad idea, you know / to waste your time on the rock and roll / in the name of The Father, Son, and The Holy Ghost / bury me with my stereo" (from Wasted Youth Parade)
+ "Wouldn't be nice if we could survive this Holocaust?" (from Love Song 1943)
+ "The high school kids are in the front yard / to think we used to be that dumb once / they say dying young is fun the first time / but that'll never happen to us" (from Dying Young Is Fun The First Time)
+ "I've been wondering / do you get lonely, even when you're not alone, like me / 'cause it happens constantly" (from All The Wrong Places)

9. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. What is a word of advice you would like to offer readers?
Thanks for your time, as well! The best advice I could give at this moment is: Don't be afraid to be happy.