Positive, Honest, Deep Content

Today, I was enjoying a little “soul pancake’, wait, wait, what… have you seen this yet? Ok, ok, I forgive you, well just in case you have not heard of soul pancake here it is.

This video right here my friends is positive, honest, and deep content and I live to create positive, honest, and deep content.


My handsome husband Nathaniel and I (The Bergamot ) labored for over 2,000+ hours on creating out new record TONES ( drop date 9.15.15) – making it the best we could by writing the best songs we could and by working with the best team in the world.


From writing in our home in Brooklyn, NY to recording and mixing in the Hudson Valley, Nashville, Hayesville, Hartford, Atlanta, South Bend, and the final mixing and mastering completed in Manhattan – it has been a wild and crazy ride. All of this to make the best album we have ever made.


I just wanted to send you this reminder, that you too have what it takes inside of you to create positive, honest, and deep content that matters because,”there is something irresistible about someone acting from their honest, authentic core. If that’s not where we’re creating from, then why are we creating at all?” (soulpancake)


Go create something great today.

Shine ON,


giving the world a reason to dance, one song at a time.

Finding Rhythm: Thoughts on Well-Being and Creativity

Summer Tour The B
Recently, I have been existing between the buzz of NYC and wheels on pavement touring living the road-life. It has been exhilarating juggling the push and pull of transformation, launch, and peace of mind.
Since summer is finally here I have been eager to picnic outside and lounge in the glorious warmth of the sunshine yet, there is so much to be done.
Like when I wake up I feel a pulsating push to keep advancing and pushing on to launch our new album TONES into the world as its drop date of September 15th, 2015 quickly approaches.
Nonetheless, the 4th of July is this weekend and I am so excited to perform at Audiofeed Music Festival. <3 Anyways, I wanted to share this article I found at https://www.filmandmusic.com/articles/finding-rhythm/81 its called Finding Rhythm: Thoughts on Well-Being and Creativity and you know what it is spot on.
I have found solace in partaking in these three lifestyle rhythems and hope to find solace too.
Finding Rhythm: Thoughts on Well-Being and Creativity //
When filmmakers think of pacing, they typically think of plot, scenes, music, editing. But there’s another form of pacing that’s equally important — if not more so — than how you pace your story: the way you pace your life. As creatives, we are prone to bad habits. We pull all-nighters. We eat fast and cheap. We spend hours, days, even weeks sitting in our chairs, writing and editing, and living inside our heads. Sometimes it seems like these behaviors are required. Par for the course. But the weird thing is, while creatives are notorious for their unhealthy lifestyles, our best creativity often happens when we’re living our healthiest.

We’ve been reading Tom Rath’s Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes, and it’s reminded us just how connected creativity and healthy living really are. Here is a brief recap of the things we’ve learned from Rath that might help you find a better pace for your life — and your work.


Sleep and productivity do not have a zero-sum relationship. What you subtract from one does not get added to the other. In other words, subtracting an hour of sleep from your night won’t give you an extra hour of productivity during the day. In fact, by stealing an hour of sleep from yourself, you’re actually stealing energy from every hour that you’re awake the next day. And not getting enough sleep severely hinders your ability to think and function.

In his book, Rath brings up the famous 10,000 hours study — the theory that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become great at anything. You’ve probably heard about this rule. But Rath points out an often-overlooked facet of this study: “If you go back to Ericsson’s landmark 1993 study, there was another factor that significantly influenced peak performance: sleep. On average, the best performers slept 8 hours and 36 minutes. The average American, for comparison, gets just 6 hours and 51 minutes of sleep on weeknights.”

If you’re wondering why your creativity has slowed and your brilliance is waning, consider how much sleep you’re getting. You probably need more.

…not getting enough sleep severely hinders your ability to think and function.


Most people sit for 9.3 hours a day. And then they go to bed. According to Rath, inactivity now kills more people than smoking does. But the solution is not to build in a few nights a week for exercise. The solution is to cut down on chronic inactivity as a whole. Sitting all day and then hitting the gym won’t do as much for your health as you’d like to believe. In fact, Rath cites a very discouraging study that found it does nothing. To cut down on chronic inactivity, Rath suggests taking a two-minute walking break for every 20 minutes you’ve been sitting. Just those two minutes are enough to cut down on some of binge-sitting’s seriously negative effects (spiking blood sugar levels, weight gain, back problems).

Rath suggests taking a two-minute walking break for every 20 minutes you’ve been sitting.

But more than that, walking has some serious creative benefits. In fact, a recent study by Stanford found that walking improves creative thinking not just during the walk, but afterward as well. Some of the best creative minds in history were avid walkers. Everyone from Goethe to Darwin to Steve Jobs. Taking short walks throughout the day will not only improve your health, but it will also improve your work.


Eating shouldn’t be this hard. These days it’s impossible to keep track of what’s good and what’s bad. The easiest solution often seems to be to just eat as many chicken nuggets as you can until new research surfaces. Or you could do what Rath suggests: consider everything you eat as a net gain or a net loss. Rather than attach yourself to any one fad or school of thought, consider the effect each bite will have on your body. “If you make a decision that does more good than harm, such as opting for water over soda, it is a net gain. When you pick a side of fries instead of vegetables, it is a net loss.”

What is a net gain or a net loss? Rath suggests a simple test: look at the ratio of carbs to protein. A good goal is to eat mostly foods with a 1:1 ratio of grams of carbs to grams of protein, and never eat foods with more than a 5:1 carbs-to-protein ratio. It might not be the most nuanced way to look at your food choices, but it’s a good place to start. And getting started is important. The things we eat have a direct effect on the brain’s ability to think creatively. Bad foods (stuff with lots of trans fats, sodium, and sugar) can fog us up and block good thinking. If you’ve hit a creative wall, your creativity might not be the problem — it could be your diet.

The things we eat have a direct effect on the brain’s ability to think creatively.

It’s important to remember that all three of these activities (sleeping, moving, eating) function together. Fixing just one is never the answer. You have to fix all three. It might sound a little self-helpy, but we’ve been amazed by how much more creative energy we have after putting these things into practice. It doesn’t take much. Like Rath says: small choices lead to big changes.

Article first seen at Finding Rhythm: Thoughts on Well-Being and Creativity 

Get offline and free your mind

tones image promo for blog

A day spent indulging in the simplicity of life reminds me of how important it is to unplug.

Today I went on a long walk through Brooklyn with my husband, we met up with friends at church and laughed over a perfectly baked blueberry muffin from a local bakery called The Blue Oven.

Then we made a new friend a the local polish shop up the street. Then we sat on a bench and ate hot polish noodles and cabbage until our hearts were content.

We did not have the phone on, we kept it in plane mode, we gave ourselves permission to not need it, and it was kinda magical.


There is true freedom in being free to be present. Today were all so inter-connected and instantaneous about everything that sometimes you just need to turn it off, put it away, and unplug.

The trill of life is to live. To take in the beauty of the real world and just sit for a while holding hands and dreaming. Talking, smiling, and sharing a perfectly baked blueberry muffin freshly pulled from the oven with a little butter to boot.

Yes, those truly are my very favorite moments in this life. For to love and be loved in return is, was, and always will be what life is all about.

So go out there and unplug, see what you will find today.

Shine ON // Jillian

PS if you have not gotten a chance yet do check out my food blog at www.thedistractedbeet.com and if you like what you see subscribe by entering your email addy into the box on the top right hand side of the page.

Bergamot exudes joy, ecstasy in homecoming concert at DeBartolo


SOUTH BEND — The Bergamot threw a celebration and called it a concert Saturday at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

For almost two hours and through 20 songs, the band exuded joy and ecstasy in its playing and its interaction with the audience.

And it was a well-deserved and well-earned celebration for this Brooklyn-based sextet formed by South Bend natives Nathaniel Paul Hoff and Jillian Speece while they were students at Marian High School.

They had a lot to celebrate:

• A homecoming concert in a venue Speece said she had dreamed about performing in since it opened 10 years ago;

• The release of the band’s latest — and best — album, “Tones,” as well as a book of poetry by Hoff;

• And Speece’s 27th birthday.

But if it was inevitable Saturday’s concert would be special for the band and the audience, something else was clear, too: This band deserves to succeed.

Meticulous and finely textured arrangements played by a group of musicians in total sync with each other, Speece’s knock-you-down vocals, and hers and Hoff’s exquisite harmonies provided the musical power of the performance.

Add in Speece’s exuberant stage presence — her dance moves, ecstatic playing of the tambourine, between-songs expressions of gratitude to the audience — and The Bergamot has the complete package: superb musicianship and personality.


The concert also demonstrated this is a new Bergamot, one that has moved well away from its roots as an acoustic duo, which was, itself, an economic necessity when Hoff and Speece started their career together.

Their indelible melodies and harmonies remain integral to The Bergamot’s songs, but both “Tones” and, even more so, Saturday’s performance mark a clear move toward much more of a rock sound than anything they’ve done before.

It’s noteworthy, for instance, that it took until the 15th song and following an intermission that Hoff played his acoustic guitar, and he didn’t use it much thereafter. Instead, besides a few songs played at the piano, he stuck to his Gibson Les Paul.


And the band rocked, right from the beginning with the lead-off track from “Tones,” “Forget About Tomorrow,” a signal of what would come.

From “Tones,” the irresistible energy of the syncopated rhythms on the title song and “Next to You”; the freak-out of an instrumental break that featured distorted guitars, fiery violin, and pounding bass and drums on “Burst Out”; Hoff’s warm tenor lead on “Miles”; and Speece’s soulful delivery and the combination of Justin Gaynor’s electric guitar arpeggios and Notre Dame alumna Audrey Hayes’ violin solo on “Remedy” all provided some of the night’s numerous highlights.

Among the set list’s older songs, Speece’s voice conveyed absolute joy on “You and Me,” the deceptively joyful pop-rock of “Wishing Well” recalled that of the Barenaked Ladies and the stark arrangement of “Broken Hearted” with just Gaynor’s and Hoff’s electric guitars and Speece’s voice gave the song a sense of desperation.

The Bergamot also played one cover Saturday, Steely Dan’s “Peg,” and it was a standout for its arrangement, especially the use of Hayes’ violin to carry the song’s signature riff and the upbeat jazz-disco groove that had Speece dancing while she sang.

But this was also a homecoming for Hoff and Speece, and they added several personal touches to the night, including a spontaneous invitation to two of Hoff’s cousins, Jordyn and Lexie Kahler, to sing the last chorus of “Me and Roscoe” with them, and the planned guest spots by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as pianist on “School Notes” and their friend Kevin Krizmanich, who provided a soulful trumpet introduction to “Candy Wrappers.”


Hoff and DeBartolo’s executive director, Anna Thompson, also coordinated having the audience sing “Happy Birthday” to Speece, and Hoff and Speece dedicated their emotionally affecting acoustic duo rendition of “Young Again” to his maternal grandmother, Joan Webber, who died April 13.


The only real critical issue of the night was in the sound mix: Too often Hayes’ violin was too soft to hear, especially over Fegan’s drums, and even Gaynor’s electric guitar didn’t always have enough presence at times.

Otherwise, this homecoming was a triumph for The Bergamot.

As Speece said at one point, “There are so many dreams coming true tonight.”

If there’s any justice in the music business, many more will come true for The Bergamot.

to read the original review click here 

shine ON

Surround yourself with people who reflect who you want to be


“Your vibe attracts your tribe. Your tribe imprints a vibe on you. Life is very short. Choose wisely. Be fearlessly you and dare to let go of the people who dim your shine. Develop new and old relationships with people based on mutual support and empowerment. Give all of your authentic self.

As an entrepreneur, teacher, creative, and forever student of life, I make a conscious effort each and everyday to put myself around those who are pushing their own self perceived limits. The people who raise the bar on themselves daily, share their gifts openly, and empower me to be more of myself.

People who are loving and living their passion and purpose ignite the same within you. So, keep your own vibes high and prioritize time with those who reflect the same. Plan adventures, gatherings, work and play time with them often. Rub off on each other. Fan each other’s flames.”– Amber Suckswert Founder of http://epicself.com/


Hiya there,

This passage resonated with me today and I thought you might enjoy it too. Thank you for being a light in my life. Continue raising the bar daily, share your gifts openly, and empower yourself and others to be more yourself.

Shine ON


Livin La Vida Loca in Brooklyn




Since moving her God has worked in and through me. This universal love has lead me here to refine of my heart and grow my faith. Living in New York City is beautiful. Sure, it is not easy but who said it was supposed to be. through living here I have been given abundant light and love.


Recently I found myself watching this documentary on emotions called E-motion. The beginning of the movie starts with this passage.

There was a man on his death bed. He did not have much strength left and he said to his wife, “come close I want to tell you something. Listen very carefully I can only say this once I don’t have much strength left.” She replied, “I am listening darling what is it?”

He said, “Remember this always each morning the moment you take your head off the pillow you have all you need.” 

These works are now written on my heart. How profound. I hope you find the sustenance you desire everyday. Livin la vida loca in Brooklyn has refined my spirit and strengthened my faith in God. For this I am truly grateful today. Where ever you are in life know that you are loved.

Enjoy this video of our band The Bergamot performing our new single Forget About Tomorrow

Shine ON




Isn’t it funny how one small moment can activate faith. Like yesterday for instance I was just doing my thing, all hot and sweaty running errands in our Greenpoint hood and three seemingly normal yet extraordinary events occurred.


I recently received Test Pressings of our new album TONES on vinyl. However, due to our tiny space we were un-able to bring our record player with us to Brooklyn. So, I was on a hunt to find a local shop who would let me spin our record. Low and behold, the first shop I stepped into was an vegan ice cream shop called Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.


The guy behind the counter was so kind. He said, “sure lets do it, I know how important this is given that I am in a band too, I would be happy to spin your record”

“Thank God for this sweet guy he just made my day. I went ahead and supported the shop and made sure to give him a nice tip too. For me, this was a small miracle, I needed help and a stranger helped me.”


As, I sat there listening to our new record I watched a small 21 month old child dance to one of our songs called “Alive”. Then another women was humming along to “Burst Out” while tapping her foot.

No, one knew it was our band playing. It was really liberating watching how folks in Brooklyn responded to our album. I am humbled.


Then a California blond-haired blue-eyed girl walked into the shop. She gave free juice drinks to the workers and then we hit it off and she even gave me one too.

When I told her that I was listening to our new record she got chills on her right arm and said that she was so inspired by the music… the song that was playing is called “Money Honey.”


We all exchanged information and then I went on my way to the bank, and the laundromat.

As I walked on the sidewalk I looked down and there was a wad of crumpled up money. I looked around to see if there was anyone around me that could have dropped it. And there was no one. This is what I like to call “Activated Faith in action”


I was filled with glee like a five year old on her birthday party. I felt like God was giving me a $17 gift and so as I tucked it away into my bag I gave thanks for his loving provisions. For a long while I had been asking God for clarity and provisions to make it though to the next pay period and yesterday God reminded me that he is there and to watch for the small miracles that are occurring around us all the time.

The whole day unfolded into one big miracle of small beautiful moments.


This life is beautiful. God is good and deserves all of our praise. I hope you have the opportunity to do something beautiful for beauty beckons beauty.

Shine ON /// Jillian

shine ON


With belief , hard work, love, joy, and following your passion… dreams do come true!

It took 10 years but last night my dream of performing on Notre Dame’s campus at the DeBartolo performing Arts Center came true.    



Life is good!

Shine ON 

48 hours To DeBartolo 

Today marks the 48 hour countdown to stepping up onto Notre Dame University’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s stage. (A dream realized)

Below you’ll find a collection of shots taken today from different views and perspectives.



I hope this finds you well and if you’re around can’t wait to see you at Notre Dame on Saturday 7:30 PM at The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Shine ON



After a tremendously emotion filled week we made it to Maryland last night. This past Sunday at 2AM we got a phone call that Nathaniel’s beautiful grandma had passed away.

photo by even perrigo

This photo was taken on the dance floor at our wedding reception on August 24th 2013

I have been grandparent-less for two years. During those years I have shared many dinning room table talks with Grandma Joan. And to be frank I simply adored her, heck who didn’t.

She was a beaming snugly joyful woman who lived for God, her husband, and children (she had 10 kids)

Needless to say it was a huge emotional loss for both of us.

– – – – –

Currently, I am sitting next to my handsome husband in our beloved Volvo with 261,582 miles on it headed home from NYC to the viewing and funeral.

headed out of New York City on 4.17.15

After, the life celebration occurs we continue preparation for our homecoming debut at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Our new Brooklyn indpired logo. in Brooklyn you will see BKLYN everywhere so this is our take with The Bergamot – BRGMT

Yesterday, we left Brooklyn at 12:30 – Maryland bound. Then we had a high energy show at Goucher Colleges – GIG festival.

post show with fans who have become friends ❤️ these ladies

To say the least its been a heck of a week. More to come.

Shine ON