It all started in the summer of 2010. The United States Men’s National Team
(U.S.M.N.T.) qualified for the World Cup. My friends were all talking about it but I didn’t have much to contribute. I never really
watched soccer or even played it before that summer. However, as the tournament progressed the USMNT would perform well enough to make it out of the group stage. One of the more significant matches was against England as the USMNT tied 1-1 with an equalizer from Clint Dempsey
in the 40th minute.
Along with the World Cup, my friends would also join a Sunday soccer league that was hosted weekly at Kelvyn Park. In need of some additional players, I would join the roster and go on to finish the season. This is when soccer really started to interest me. I was playing weekly with my friends in the league as well as joining pickup games at various parks in Chicago like Haas, Montrose, Foster, etc.
When not on the pitch, we were at my friend Antonio’s house eyes glued to the T.V. as the world’s best footballers came together to compete. It was the start of what would later become a passion of mine. Throughout my four years at DePaul, I participated in the intramural soccer league hosted by The Ray as well as leagues around the city. Currently, I play in a Sunday soccer league at
Peterson Park on the far North side of Chicago. We’ve only played one game but I’m feeling optimistic for this league. A lot of our squad consists of the same players from several years ago when I first joined the game. Also, we’re rocking some pretty cool Japan national kits. I encourage all my fellow soccer enthusiasts, players, or even just fans to check out recreation leagues throughout the city. It’s a great way to meet people, get some activity in your day, and embrace soccer culture!
Thanks for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
Side note, if you are reading this blog and play goalie or know someone that plays goalie, let me know! Our squad is looking to fill that position!
Calling all Rick and Morty
fans! This blog is for you, well us, but you know what I mean. The Rickmobile
will be in Chicago on June 1st for the Don’t Even Trip Road Trip tour.
Essentially it’s a giant truck that looks like Rick and is also a store traveling across the U.S. and bringing fans from all over together. The grand journey began May 11th in Atlanta, Georgia and has since made its way to the east coast stopping in Brooklyn, Boston, and more. Wrapping up those locations, the Rickmobile is now making it’s way to the Midwest stopping in Detroit, Cleveland, and a couple other destinations before reaching the Windy City.
yet? Challengers Comics ,
a local comic shop on Western Avenue just under the Blue Line stop, will host the event – it will start at 6pm
and end at 9pm
, according to the Facebook
page. #Rickmobile has been designated for all Intsagram
and Twitter posts from fans as they share their Wubba Lubba Dub Dub
I know where I’ll be Thursday, June 1st at 6pm. I look forward to meeting other fans of Rick and Morty as well as attending the event with my 3+3=6 (another Rick and Morty insider) group!
Thanks for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
DePaul is an amazing university and I have had a great four years here.
My opinion is biased, I would recommend this institution to anyone and everyone looking for a higher education. While being a Blue Demon was always on my mind senior year of high school, the reality of tuition and other costs presented a threat to that desire. I was very fortunate to receive several scholarships that didn’t just help me pay for DePaul but actually made it a possibility to attend.
One of these scholarships came from the Office of Multicultural Student Success .
The Mazza scholarship was the foundation of my college experience. It grounded me as a student of DePaul University and contributed to my personal and professional development these past four years. I have been extremely blessed to be a part of such a great mission. I bring up Mazza now because just last Friday we had our annual end of the year dinner. Our group went to Café Iberico in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
The restaurant focuses on Spanish cuisine and has been around since 1992. They specialize in tapas, Spanish appetizers or snacks. The food was really good and the atmosphere was also nice. There were shie
lds on the walls with different crests on each one. The experience was nice and I recommend Café Iberico to
anyone looking for smaller eats
that pack a big taste. As I finished my arroz
con leche I looked around the table. I was sitting at the end so I had a good view of the group. Then it hit me; this was my last dinner with my Mazza friends. I’m graduating this year, a theme that has been pretty prevalent in my blogs, and I will soon go on to the “real” world to work and apply my major.
The underclassmen sat on the opposite end of the table and they were all chatting, cracking jokes, and having a good time. They’ll be back next year, I won’t. As we said our goodbyes there were quite a few, “I’ll see you around” type farewells. From making it possible to attend DePaul, to contributing to my personal and professional development, to creating this family of scholars the Mazza scholarship has done so much for me.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
The Futuro Media Group
was founded in 2010 by Maria Hinojosa ,
an award-winning journalist and DePaul University professor. They produce shows like In The Thick and Latino USA
, the only weekly show on NPR dealing with topics of Latinx
news and culture.
This past Thursday they hosted an event at DePaul titled Latinos: Political Participation? Mobilization? Or Silenced? They had several guest speakers including Steve Cortes, Enrique Acevedo, Justina Machado, and more. The event was held in Cortelyou Commons and a variety of topics were discussed. Steve Cortes, an outspoken, Latino Trump supporter, shared his thoughts and opinions of the current administration and answered questions from the audience. Though the topics at hand were sensitive, the audience remained engaged and was open to having a dialogue. Afterward, there was a quick lunch provided for those that attended. Many students went up to the guest speakers to have a one-on-one talk during the break.
After lunch, Justina Machado took
the stage alongside host Maria Hinojosa. Born and raised in Chicago, the Latina actress talked about her childhood experiences in the Windy City, her current life in Holl
ywood, and the variety of projects she’s working on now. The audience, including me, cheered several times as Justina Machado gave a shout out to certain neighborhoods and restaurants like Avondale and Sam’s Red Hots. The event was a great example of embracing difficult conversation and promoting dialogue. If anyone is interested in learning more about The Futuro Group
you can click here
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
I’m a soccer player (fútbol) but my brother is a runner. While I run up and down a field attempting to score a goal and put my team on top, my brother runs, well, just to run. There aren’t many that have the passion and desire to go mile after mile over and over until they’re simply ready to go home. My brother is quite the Forrest Gump
in that sense (without the beard). Running is his therapy but for me it’s my most recent self-challenge.
It started one ordinary night as I was sitting at my desk staring at my whiteboard. Written in black marker are several video projects, general reminders, and two motivational quotes. I was thinking about how far I have come in my personal and professional development. Staring at the board, I craved a new challenge. Thus running my first marathon came into mind, that’s a lot though, half marathon instead. I stood up, grabbed my black marker, and wrote it at the top of my list, Marathon*. The asterisk, as I explained to my brother, is because I’m running a half-marathon but that doesn’t sound as bold so I wrote marathon.
Here’s the thing, as mentioned before, I’m a soccer player. It is true I run, according to New York Daily News the average soccer player runs a distance of 7 to 9.5 miles a game. The big difference is that a ball distracts me as I try to score and win. This is where my brother comes into play. I told him about my new challenge idea and he said he is down to not just help me, but also race alongside me (or probably much further ahead…but alongside me in spirit).
Ideas like this pop up all the time in my head, so it doesn’t mean anything just yet, it’s the execution that makes all the difference. I’ve gone running 5 out of 7 days for two weeks now. I started at no more than 2 miles but I’m currently at 4.08 miles, at a comfortable 8’30” pace. That might not be very impressive to some runners out there but for me it is a huge improvement. My brother has pushed me to go further every single time. I’ll never forget the first time we ran 4 miles and I didn’t think I could make it. The day after I ran for 4 miles again alone.
I’m excited to embrace this new personal challenge and I’m happy my brother is helping me out. This would not be possible without him as he can run for 13 miles just for “fun” and has encouraged me to get to that level. Seeing him zoom through the streets regularly, but always looking back to make sure I’m keeping up, has made me realize that I can do this, I just have to keep going the extra mile.
Rejoice, rejoice the long and much anticipated wait, at least for me, of The Get Down Part II
is now over! For those of you that may be unfamiliar, The Get Down is a Netflix original directed by the Oscar
nominated Baz Luhrmann
. Set in the Bronx, New York in 1977 the series follows Ezekiel Figuero a teenager with an incredible lyrical ability struggling to fit in and infatuated with Mylene Cruz, the neighborhood angel.
After watching season one, or Part I as Netflix is marketing it, I found myself in love with the series, the characters, the setting, and more! Baz Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors, so I might be slightly biased. I have watched The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet
, and Moulin Rouge
all projects that he has directed. To see Luhrmann’s style and aesthetic brought to a television series has been amazing. Needless to say I am very excited to login to Netflix today and check out Part II of The Get Down
Thanks for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends!
As the clock ticks onward and my time as a Blue Demon undergrad comes to a close, I realize I am experiencing some of the last moments with many of the organizations and clubs I have been a part of throughout my time here at DePaul.
Yes, I will stay in touch with my friends, peers, mentors, etc. but life moves on. Some of us will be attending master’s programs at other universities and others will be pursuing careers in Chicago or elsewhere.
This past spring break was my last service immersion trip with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (O.M.S.S.). This year we went to Washington D.C. and worked with a Wider Circle
. I was one of two seniors on the trip. Along with our service, we also became immersed in the communities that we were in. Visiting various museums, attractions, speaking events, and more, often times comparing and contrasting these experiences with Chicago and the broader global context.
As a senior, it was nice to see the underclassmen enjoy themselves as I did during my first service immersion trip. It was a bittersweet week as every moment was impactful and all my peers were awesome. Yet, I know this may be one of the final times I enjoy an experience such as this. With that being said, as I frequently do, I made a video of my time in Washington D.C. Check it out and enjoy!
D.C. is a beautiful city.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Living in the information age all the applications, websites, profiles, etc. that are available to help people in different ways feel overwhelming. My personal experience of trying to be healthier is a prime example of this. I started off with the MyFitnessPal app developed by Under Armor. It’s a great app and helps me log food and meals everyday so I can keep track of my calories and macros. Just as I was set on using the app for the rest of my life, my sister got me a Fitbit for Christmas and with the health-tracking wristband came their health app. I then switched to the Fitbit app for my daily logs of food and exercise but found that using MyFitnessPal was easier for food. So now, I’m kind of in this in between of using Fitbit to track my workouts and using MyFitnessPal to track my food for the day, bouncing back and forth from one app to the other.
The point of this is that apps, and resources in general, are at an all-time high in this day and age.
One app I recently downloaded is Handshake
. Let me start off by saying, I’m super late to the game on this one. When new things come out I usually like to wait for the super early users to test it out and give reviews. After that I’ll probably partake in the second wave of users depending on what I hear and read.
Handshake is an example of how I was late to the party. I first heard of it at the beginning of last year through a mass email that was sent to most, if not all, DePaul students. I was hesitant to download the app and register an account for my own stubborn reasons, a decision I have come to roll my eyes toward. At just 10.9 megabytes, Handshake has become an immediate must use for me.
I downloaded the app last week before attending the Creative Career Fair in the loop. I easily logged in with my DePaul username and password, set up my profile, and began looking at events and companies listed to attend. It is very convenient! I’m the type of person to open 5 tabs on their browser to research one thing and Handshake made that process easier and quicker. Specifically with the Creative Career Fair, I was able to look at a list of companies attending, see a description, and positions available. Again, late to the game but super awesome nonetheless!
As with many things I write about, I highly recommend checking out the Handshake app! It seriously was a game changer for me as I prepared for last week’s Career Fair. If you want to read more about Handshake click here
Thank you once again for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
Going to the Chicago Auto Show
at McCormick Place
has unintentionally turned into a tradition for me and my family. The first year I went was with my dad and siblings as a little kid. I remember being really bored and not interested in any of the car displays. It was not the best first impression.
Years later though, I would end up going once with a friend of mine and three times (including this year) with my family, totaling five Auto Show experiences. It’s quite interesting because I do not feel as though my family and I go out of our way to reserve time off and attend it. Instead, going to the Auto Show has just become something that has sort of happened over and over again, getting to this point that is now kind of a tradition.
I do love the Auto Show, by the way, don’t get me wrong I can sit in Ford Mustangs all day long as I fantasize owning several, hopefully, in my near future. I just find the growth of this tradition to be more unique than some of our other ones.
As with the previous years, the cars on display were incredible! I saw fast cars, slow cars, and cars that I am not sure can legally be driven on the road, but are still interesting to look at anyway. What was the winning brand? Personally, I think the Ford Mustangs takes the gold this year. I’ll admit I am slightly biased, okay very biased, but there is something spectacular about the Mustang series. It’s a classic and the style for the price, in my opinion, cannot be matched. Though the picture that corresponds with this article is of me posing with a Toyota dressed in Cubs gear (good move Toyota), you will also notice my very proudly worn Ford hat. There’s just something about their brand that I love and that is why I say they take gold this year, and possibly every other year, we’ll see.
Either way, if you’re looking for another Chicago event be sure to check out the Auto Show. It happens every year at McCormick Place and tickets are pretty cheap. Hint, hint the super awesome and amazing Office of Student Involvement
(OSI) has even cheaper tickets than the already cheap tickets for all students! Just a heads up if you are interested. That’s all I have for today, friends!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
I’m quite the nostalgic person. There are times when I’ll sit around with friends or family for hours talking about memories and reminiscing on life. There isn’t really a “good old days” when I think back on my life – I mean that in a positive way. When I reminisce, I think of positive times and find them in all moments of my life. This doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the hard times and challenges that have occurred, but those thoughts usually come second. The reason I’m writing about nostalgia this week is because there are some moments in life that while experiencing it I know that it will become a memory I look back on fondly. This week had one of those moments.
9am Monday morning my iPhone alarm wakes me up for the day. As usual I get ready, get dressed, grab a coffee from Starbucks, and make my way to campus. The weather was gloomy and my spirits were on a slightly less optimistic. This week, I felt, was going to be a long one. Then Tuesday came with Wednesday following and Thursday right after, you know how the week goes. I would go to class, get lunch, go to another class, maybe stop by an event on campus, etc. Thursday I had to register for spring quarter classes, which led me to multiple email exchanges with my advisor as I sort everything out for graduation. Oh boy, graduation. Friends and family are asking what I am going to do and what my plans are. I have many plans and by no means feel unprepared in that regard, but the constant questions make me anxious and overwhelmed at times. Finally Friday came and after three long meetings beginning at 11am and ending at 5pm, I found myself at my girlfriend’s house.
Her T.V. broke and no one could figure out what was wrong with it. We tried the typical unplugging and plugging it back in, the good old fashion Nintendo blow dust out of the ports, and pressing random buttons for several seconds trying to troubleshoot it. Nothing. So her sister suggested we play board games (millennials not using technology and enjoying face to face interaction OMG). A few moments later, Clue
was brought out and we set it up. I was Professor Plum, 37, a former professor of Ancient Mid-Eastern Culture that had been funded by Sir Hugh Black, the unfortunate deceased. We played the game, my girlfriend’s family and I, reading the rules as we went along. After I won the first game we all decided to play again. There were laughs, accusations, misleading information, and more. It was a nice relaxing way to end what had been a very fast and exhausting week.
This was the moment I referenced at the beginning of this blog. All of us playing Clue as we sat around the coffee table and marked items off our lists in an attempt to bring the murderer to justice. I know it’s not the most enlightening situation ever, but it is a little thing that I know one day in the future I’ll look back on and smile.
Sometimes it’s hard to be optimistic. Sometimes it’s hard to see the positives in life. Sometimes negativity seems to be prevalent in everything we encounter.
Optimism and a positive outlook is something I strive to bring to all situations, relationships, etc. Just last week I wrote on how I waited in line for tickets to Obama’s Farewell Address in Chicago
. While the end goal was something that made the wait well worth it, there were quite a few times I wished that I were back in my nice warm bed resting. I couldn’t feel the tip of my nose and I was jumping up and down to maintain body heat. The brutal wind did not help. Everything in that moment was crummy and, in comparison to being warm and at home, seemed to be the less popular idea. Yet, I kept my thoughts positive. I tried to think about how awesome it would be to see Obama, I sang, danced, and played Pokemon GO
This idea of being positive is not the answer to all things, but I do truly believe there are times when it should be something to strive for. Yes you can, yes we can, and anything anyone puts their mind to can be accomplished. I’ve been told I’m quite the idealistic person and once learning what that word actually meant, I agree. It is so important to be able to look at what is and imagine what it can be.
So in times of difficulty, hardship, or adversity I say look to the sky, be happy and know that the sun will come out tomorrow. If you look up #OptimisticChallenge you’ll find a variety of videos with people dancing and smiling. It is one of the more recent social media trends to emerge. Give it a search, have a chuckle, an
d know that the best is yet to come.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
“You really love Chicago, like a lot.” Said a friend of mine as I drove us down Belmont Avenue, a street on the city’s north side. There was more to the conversation but that specific quote made me think. Why do I love Chicago so much? There are many cities with skyscrapers, train systems, deep dish-well pizza, and more so what is it about the Windy City that I find so special?
I came to one conclusion and that is the amount of things occurring in the city. I say “things” purposely to be vague because there is such an array of events, occasions, etc. that happen in this city. President Obama’s Farewell Address hosted by The McCormick Place
here in Chicago is a prime example of one of those “things.” A couple weeks ago a friend of mine sent a link to a group chat I am in. The link directed readers to a page of the White House website
that displayed information on President Obama’s Farewell Address. The very limited amount of information said a ticket distribution would be held on January 7th, three days prior to his speech. No time was given nor an exact location (McCormick Place is a huge event center). Immediately I knew I wanted to attend the event and began asking friends and family to join me on my adventure to get tickets at McCormick Place at a time I was not sure of.
While many said they were interested, most ended up backing out due to the amount of time required. So I, along with my girlfriend and her sister, decided to wake up Saturday morning at 4 in the morning to be at McCormick place by 5 and wait in line for tickets. What an experience that was! On very little sleep but high morale we ventured off into the three-degree morning that viciously challenged our spirits to get a spot at the President’s speech. With several layers on, a scarf around my neck, and a ski-cap I was prepared to wait outside for the doors to open. Luckily, there was only a short 15-minute period of time before McCormick Place officials let us indoors. The rest of the process, though long, went fairly smooth as we waited in line, obtained our tickets, and left back home for the day.
I was happy I decided to wait in line, as President Obama’s Farewell Address was one of, if not the most, historic event I have ever attended. Regardless of politics, he has changed the narrative of American politics and has brought hope and inspiration to so many. There were the chants of “four more years,” standing ovations, and the tears streaming down so many faces President Obama gave his farewell to the American people.
Thank you for reading my blog and until next time, stay awesome friends!
Has it been three months already? I feel like I just got here! My LA quarter
experience is coming to an end with the last week of classes. Tuesday is a normal class and Thursday we will be turning in our final papers and showcasing our final projects. What has been an incredible, inspiring, and phenomenal experience is coming to its conclusion. I’ve enjoyed my time here in Los Angeles and I cannot wait to get back to my sweet home Chicago.
My last full
here would finish in spectacular fashion as our LA group went to The Happiest Place on Earth
on Sunday, Disneyland
. What another amazing experience! I didn’t see Mickey Mouse but I did see Minnie posing for the paparazzi as I walked past her on my way to one of the many rides I would go on. Disneyland is a remarkable theme park with characters dedicated to transforming the real world into the fun, sing-along fantasy that Walt Disney himself visualized. Musical performances, theme rides, an array of shops, and more - I was overwhelmed with childhood characters and stories coming to life. The nostalgia was like no other and my group used up every single second of our time there. My personal favorite rides were California Screamin
and Hyperspace Mountain
, two different rollercoasters that had me screaming and holding on to my lap bar for dear life.
Though our day started off with lots of traffic and long lines, the moment I stepped foot into Disneyland I understood why it was called The Happiest Place on Earth. As I finish out my time here in LA I encourage everyone and anyone with the opportunity to go to California to check out Disneyland! I know I have been seeing a few posts on Facebook of friends of mine being admitted to the Spring LA quarter and I will be sure to share the message with them as well! My last Sunday in California was a huge success!
After 108 years without a World Series Championship and 71 years without a World Series appearance the Chicago Cubs, once coined the “Lovable Loser,” are finally World Series Champions.
With an estimated 5 million people in attendance for the rally and parade in Chicago and countless marketers from Nike to the Walking Dead using this opportunity to show their support, some might be tired of hearing about the Cubbies. However, I love every second of it!
I don’t think there was ever time when I liked so many pictures, tweets, statuses, and more on social media! It truly is a historic time for the city of Chicago and I could not be any more proud. I definitely did all I could to support the Cubs from out here in LA. This is a great time for baseball, a great time for Chicago, and a great time for the Cubbies! The question has been floating around online, “Where were you when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016?” Here’s my story.
After creating a video for the Cubs V.S. Dodgers NLCS in Los Angeles, my roommate and I decided to fly back to Chicago. While there we planned, orchestrated, and executed a World Series video with friends of ours. The Cubs had just gone down 3-1 in the series. I would stay in Chicago long enough to see the boys tie it up 3-3 forcing a game 7. However, my flight back to LA wouldn’t allow me to stay home for the final game.
That afternoon I would go to O’Hare
for my plane ride back. Departing at 3:13pm, I would land in Los Angeles at 5:40pm PT giving me enough time to still catch the majority of the game. My cousin came to pick me up and we drove to the nearest restaurant that had a T.V. We ended up at Truxton’s American Bistro
where we would watch, as the craziest, most entertaining game I have ever seen would unfold. Jumping up and down from my seat, cheering and clapping and shedding some tears of joy after they won, it all happened there. My cousin and I would also enjoy some of their amazing food. Afterwards, we would drive back home playing Steve Goodman’s Go Cubs Go on a loop with the windows lowered all the way.
As the city moves on with business as usual, it will never forget how the Cubs came back from 3-1 to win and triumph in the most bizarre World Series game 7. So many Chicagoans came together to celebrate after that. The city came together fans from all over the US and the world came to root on the Cubbies! The 7th largest gathering in history would take place downtown! It truly is a historic time. For the last time on this blog (possibly, probably) Go Cubs Go!
He's taken the music world by storm, he’s a Chicago native, he isn’t signed to a label, and fans everywhere love him! His name is Chancellor Bennett better known by his stage name Chance the Rapper.
Releasing his third mixtape in May 2016 titled Coloring Book
, Chance continues to impress music critics and listeners everywhere. With over 57.3 million streams in the first week it has become the most successful mixtape to date for the artist. This resulted in the Recording Academy, the academy responsible for the Grammy’s, allowing stream-only releases to be eligible for a nomination. Which is a huge game changer for Chance and stream-only artists everywhere.
This brings us to Chance’s most recent, unique moment. “Hey, Why Not Me?” Have you heard or seen the question yet? In Billboard’s latest issue the independent rapper is seen posing on his full-page ad. What’s the reason for it? Chance has had tremendous success in the music realm and even more so, he’s done it in unique and completely new fashion. The game has changed because of how he decides to market himself and create. Chance is asking for one simple thing, nominate him. I’m sure the musical star would not shy away from actually winning a Grammy
but that’s not the goal at the moment. See Chance has always been about taking things step by step and right now the short term simple goal is to get nominated. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Chance the Rapper, check him out! It’s worth it and highly recommended! Even Metacritic scored his last mixtape at an average of 90 (which is incredibly, above average).
Thanks for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends!
I love to explore. I've never really been the type to sit still, it's a blessing and a curse.
This week my family is coming into town and I cannot wait! See, being in LA is the first time I've ever lived somewhere other than Chicago. Born and raised in the city I have been on the Northside
since I was a baby. That means that I have always had my family with me no matter what. If I had a hard day, if I didn't do well in a class, if I went to a cool event I would always come home and tell my family all about it. When I leave for the day to go to class and explore Chicago I always came back to my house.
Now it's different and I have to rely on text, FaceTime
, Facebook, etc. to communicate with them. I leave my apartment and explore LA but there isn't any coming back home to my family to tell them about it and share my experiences. It's difficult, but not impossible, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. However, now they're coming to visit and I am super excited to show them everything that Los Angeles has to offer! The beaches, the malls, the restaurants everything! As much as I love to explore and travel I also love to be with my family and to share my days with them. This weekend is going to be awesome!
Thanks for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friends!
Chicago has the Cubbies, Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire, and more. Los Angeles has the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Rams, Galaxy, and more. This blog will be focused on the similarities and differences of life in Chicago and life in Los Angeles.
Quick disclaimer: I am not saying one city is better or worse than the other, I am simply sharing my experiences in both.
L.A. has grown on me this past month. I’ve come to love the awesome grocery store that is Ralph’s. The Chicago equivalent of it would probably be Jewel Osco. However, Ralph’s has this amazing rewards program that, in my opinion, is one of the best. Each time I shop there I save about $10 on groceries with my rewards card. The prices are similar, if not the same, to other stores I’ve been to (such as Target and Food 4 Less). Thinking of places in Chicago like Jewel Osco, Strack and Van Til
, etc. I can’t think of anything that can match Ralph’s. But! Every grocery store in Chicago does have my favorite brand of Pepper Jack cheese (Sargento) and I have only found it at a Target that’s 30 minutes away from my apartment here.
Aside from grocery stores, L.A. is much more of a driving city than Chicago. The public transportation is present but not preferred. Many times I’ll GPS a location and it is a 15 to 20 minute drive, and by train or bus it is over an hour. The key difference here is that a lot of times it is preferred to take the public transportation
in Chicago because it is actually faster than driving. DePaul is a great example of this with the Loop campus and Lincoln Park campus being one quick train ride away.
The food scene is amazing in both cities, different, but still amazing. I’ve seen a lot more smaller, independent shops and restaurants here than in Chicago. When it comes to pizza, Chicago takes the gold
, but L.A. has such a huge array of places to eat. Many times you actually feel like you travel to that place as well! Many of the restaurants are in neighborhoods that reflect the part of the world they’re from such Chinatown or Koreatown. While Chicago also has a huge variety, the restaurants are not specific to a neighborhood as much as in L.A. Many times you’ll have the option of pizza and burgers on one side of the street and tacos and chicken fried rice on the other. It is more of this collage of restaurants on a block.
That wraps up what I have for today. This blog is longer than usual but there is just so much to write about!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome friends!
I am by no means an expert hiker. I am not even sure what makes one an expert at hiking.
Just this past summer I went on my first ever hike with my younger brother and my girlfriend. I wasn’t the first person in my family to go hiking, that honor belongs to my older sister and her boyfriend. She has always had the interest, but the idea and actually going to do it picked up steam in June. The first hike I went on was at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. I actually wrote a blog post about it. You can read it here
. It was a great experience the scenery was beautiful, the walk was calming, and the pictures were awesome.
The reason I am bringing up hikes again is because just this past weekend I went to Topanga State Park
here in California. To go on, you may have guessed it, a hike!
A handful of students from the LA Quarter program
decided it would be a fun way to spend our Sunday afternoon and I, of course, was completely and totally down (not in the literal sense but the cool slang sense like “Ya dude I am so down to go to the beach”). Having gone hiking about four or five times in the summer, I knew exactly what I needed. I grabbed my designated exploration backpack (a backpack I bought at Lollapalooza
last year because the gym bag I had broke, but that’s a story for a different blog), five water bottles (three for myself and two for my roommate), and a handful of snacks ranging from fruit to granola bars (truly an essential if you’re going to be walking/climbing for 2 hours or more).
After gearing up I picked up my cousin and her roommate, met with the rest of the group, and drove to Topanga. I was ready to conquer the climb up to Eagle Rock, one of the key destinations in the park. Immediately I noticed some key differences between California hiking and Midwest hiking, specifically Illinois, the air is a lot dryer. Hiking requires breathing, much like life in general, but more so controlled breathing. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. At least that’s what I was taught. The difficult thing about that is the dryness of the air. I felt dry but not dehydrated. I wasn’t dizzy and I was drinking water as needed, but there is something about the air that proved a challenge for me. Even though the air was dry and the sun was ever present, everyone in our group made it to Eagle Rock
and back to our cars. The first hike in California was a memorable one and I look forward to many more as I continue my life here for three more months.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome my friends!
Chicago is known for many things like pizza, sports, and diversity. The music scene is no stranger to that list.
With smaller venues like the Metro and the Aragon hosting smaller artist and larger arenas such as the United Center and Allstate hosting more popular musicians, there is never a dull weekend in the city.
This past Sunday I took advantage of what my hometown has to offer and checked out Twenty One Pilots
(TOP) for their Emotional Roadshow tour at Allstate. It was incredible! To anyone that knows me personally, my love for TOP is no surprise. I first heard them in the summer of 2014 on Q101, a radio station dedicated to smaller more underground bands. The song I heard was Car Radio and ironically it played on the car radio of the vehicle I was driving for work. Now very present in the mainstream, the growth of Twenty One Pilots can interestingly be seen throughout their performances in Chicago.
In 2013 the band performed on the small, side stage at Lollapalooza
to a crowd consisting of a few early followers. Fast forward to 2015, the duo was invited to perform at Lollapalooza again. This time, however, they were at the Samsung stage providing them more room and attention than 2013. Given a performance time of 5:30 PM on Sunday, the band was expected to draw in a decent crowd but nothing larger than what a headliner could attract. What actually occurred took the music festival by surprise. Tens of thousands of fans came to see their beloved duo take the stage. Some spent their whole Sunday waiting at Samsung stage in order to get a good spot. Others ran over from various stages where other artists were performing. After TOP’s set ended the tens of thousands of music listeners headed elsewhere leaving the opportunity for fans of Florence and The Machine to advance to a better viewing spot. TOP’s after Lollapalooza show was held at the House of Blues and would mark the second to last show in a smaller venue that the duo would perform.
Capping their 2015 in Chicago with one last performance at the Aragon
, Twenty One Pilots would wave farewell to the underground scene as they broke into the mainstream revisiting Chicago this past Sunday at the Allstate arena. On a personal note, it sucks to have so much competition now when I am trying to purchase tickets for my favorite band, on the other hand, I am happy to see so many people enjoying their wonderful talent as I have done so since 2014.
Summer is a wondrous season of warmth, joy, music, and most importantly my birthday.
This blog, however, is about utilizing your summer to the best of your ability. The end of the school year can seem like the end of productivity to some as students prepare for long days on the beach and seeing old friends. For others, the summer serves as an extra academic quarter where they can take courses in order to get ahead or catch up.
Regardless of what your summer plans may be, it is important to use this time the best way for you. The summer after my freshman year I worked at St. John Berchmans part time and took two classes that accounted for my general requirements. It was a more relaxed schedule that allowed me to enjoy time with my friends and travel a bit.
This summer my plans are a little more productive. I have an internship with the Chicago Sky Basketball team; I am looking for a part time job, and will also be taking courses online. Different times call for different arrangements and this break will be dedicated to preparing myself financially and academically for my LA quarter in the fall. I encourage you, my fellow readers, to take a moment and think about what you need from this summer. It can be as simple as relaxing from June to September or it can be busy as I am predicting mine will be.
Nonetheless, sitting down and reflecting will take you a long way, maybe even write down in a notebook what you would like to accomplish during this 2016 summer break.
“I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!” Sound familiar?
Team USA gears up this summer to take on international teams from South America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean in the Copa America Centenario! This year marks 100 years of the Copa America
and the U.S. is hosting the tournament. Chicago will be hosting our United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and Costa Rica as well as Argentina versus Panama and the Semifinal round.
All the games will be played at Soldier field home of the Chicago Bears football team. I am super excited because I love soccer! Here at DePaul I play on the intramural teams throughout the school year and in the summer I join leagues around the city. The USMNT had a good run in the 2014 World Cup making it out of the Group stage. They competed with international teams Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. The team would fall to Belgium later on but showed that the U.S. is a force to be reckoning with in the soccer world.
Since then, the team has seen rises and falls in their success losing in the CONCACAF tournament that would later be won by rival international team El Tri of Mexico. The Copa America is important for two reasons one head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has introduced a new, younger and inexperience team to the world, literally the world. With veteran players such as Dempsey, Bradley, and Howard the USMNT will both succeed in this tournament and set the tone for the Confederations Cup and later the 2018 World Cup or they will lose and it will be back to reconstruction for our team.
Only time will tell but for now I chant in support of my USMNT, “I believe that we will win!”
79 degrees and not a thing to do on a sunny, Saturday afternoon my brother calls me and asks if I can pick him up from school as he just finished his race. In a lethargic manner I arise from my slumber, get dressed, and drive to my alma mater to get my brother.
I arrive at Gordon Tech (now DePaul College Prep
) and see him playing games on his phone while sitting in the sun. He gets in my car, tells me about his race, and drive to the store to pick up some items. With such a beautiful day at my disposal, my previous craving to stay in all day and watch Daredevil on Netflix had left and all I wanted to do was explore the world. “Do you want to go on a hike?” I asked my brother. “Uhmm, sure why not.” he replies. I call my girlfriend and ask her if she’d like to join us on our spontaneous adventure, she says yes.
My brother and I pick her up, go to our house, pack some water and snacks, and make our way to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
in DuPage County
. As we park, I take notice of others in attendance. This was my first time on a hike and I wanted to see what others were wearing, drinking, eating, etc. I saw these two gentlemen wearing backpacks that seemed to have anything one might need when venturing into the wilderness. There were also some bikers with mountain bikes, water, helmets, and more prepared for the journey ahead of them. My group? Well we had sneakers, water, sunglasses, a small backpack, squished granola bars, and a thirst for adventure!
We took our first steps into the unfamiliar realm of nature and made our way to a post containing simple directions. “Waterfall 2.9 miles à” it stated. Our crew then began our hike down the path to the waterfall. The experience was one definitely worth the trip. We saw robins, squirrels, otters, and dragonflies. There weren’t any deer sightings but we did find some tracks showing their presence. A passerby pointed us in the direction of a playground just through the forest so we went, for what we thought would be a quick stop by. Playing on the monkey bars, swings, and eating some of our squished granola bars quite some time had passed and we decided to save the waterfall sighting for another day.
Some might call this a failed mission but considering it was my first time ever hiking, I think it was a huge success! If you’re ever looking to get in touch with nature make sure to check out Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County, you won’t regret it!
In the summer we have the Milwaukee Arts Festival, Farmer’s Market, and movies in the park. The frigid cold of the winter doesn’t stop us as we host Holiday on The Square, a day where participating shops and restaurants offer deals, treats, tastings, and more! Logan Square is known as one of the more diverse neighborhoods in Chicago with 38.2% of homeowners working blue-collar jobs and 61.8% working white-collar jobs. The median household income is around $76,000.
It is my personal and expert advice that if anyone is ever looking to explore Chicago a little more they should go check out Logan Square. The art scene is incredible, the food variety is like no other, and the local shops give a more intimate and less city type feel. While there are things to check out in the winter, as previously noted, the summer time is ideal to fully experience the neighborhood.
Imagine a pancake that looks so good you want to frame it instead of eat it. It is the Mona Lisa of the breakfast food, the Statue of David of cakes. Well, you must be having a Dancake
then! YouTuber, Instagrammer, and professional pancake artist, Dancakes, came to DePaul the other night for the DePaul Activity Board’s weekly event, DePaul After Dark (DPUAD).
With an estimated attendance of about 200 students, Dancakes kept the crowd interested as he made his famous artsy cakes while streaming it on a monitor for everyone to see. He did Simba from the Lion King, Michelle and Barack Obama, Danny DeVito, and more! He even took time to create my dog Gimzo as a pancake and it was pretty awesome (wipes away tears of joy). If you want to see more of Dancake’s awesome creations make sure to check out his social media down below!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay
It is almost impossible to not know of something fun happening. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer there will only be an increase of these awesome city events. This brings me to the purpose of today’s blog, go out and do stuff!
Yes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV, etc. have unlimited content that you could spend hours and hours of your day watching and enjoying; and as a filmmaker I frequently let my day get consumed by those but there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored as well!
Just a few weeks ago I went to this gallery at a place called the GRAFFITI LOUNGE
located at 116 W. Hubbard St. I knew someone that was showing some of their work at the gallery and went to support them. Aside from the incredible artwork, the atmosphere of the place was an experience in itself. The view was incredible, the food was delicious, and the people were really nice. It was one of those moments were I could have decided to have stayed home and catch up on House of Cards or go out and see a part of the city I have never been to before. I think it is safe to say, I chose wisely.
This was just one event too, there are tons happening every day at different times in the city both indoors and outdoors! So with that being said, please take the time to check out Chicago events happening by clicking on this link
. I hope you have an awesome experience and learn something new about the city you live in.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
“Good music is hard to find,” said no one ever at DePaul University.
Here on campus we have tons of talented musicians that dedicate their lives to playing, writing, and performing. Just last week the DePaul Activities Board (DAB) hosted its annual Battle of the Bands, where student bands and DJs come to battle for the audience’s admiration in hopes of getting their vote and winning the grand prize.
The line up this year had a variety of talent from the hardcore rock style of Rotten Mouth to the smooth, funky jams of Walcott. In between bands, DJs performed their sets to keep the crowd going. It was a packed venue over at Lincoln Hall, a venue near campus just north of Lincoln and Fullerton. The winning band was awarded studio time and connections with Music Garage in Chicago.
The winning DJ gets the opportunity to open for After Hours, the EDM DJ performance that happens after FEST in the McGrath arena. As if all this wasn’t enough for an awesome packed event, the FEST line up is revealed exclusively to all those that come first then online for all of DePaul to see. The winners included Rotten Mouth and DJ Affinity. Make sure to check out DePaul After Hours to see DJ Affinity open for Grandtheft! Also, in case you are wondering. The line up this year is Karmin opening, T-Pain in the middle, and The Neighbourhood headlining FEST 2016!
Make sure to get your tickets next week when they go on sale!
“It’s the final countdown!” (Mimics guitar noises with mouth).
That is exactly what I thought as I pondered what to write about for this blog. The Final Countdown is a song created by the artist known as Europe. It’s a pretty famous song and one you should check out if you have not heard it yet.
Now to bring it back to the blog, I am writing about this song because it is our Spring Quarter here at DePaul. That means fall and winter have passed and there are only a few more courses between me and summer. With the weather getting warmer, the day getting longer, and shorts making their way back into my everyday outfit it can be difficult to focus on classes when all I want to do is go to the beach. However, this blog is to remind you, and myself, that we have to finish strong!
Chilling in the sun and driving for endless hours with the windows down as your hair flies in the wind is almost here but business is business and work must be completed first. DePaul will be transitioning into the glorious, festive ways of the summer with various events on campus like Battle of The Bands and FEST
but these are to be enjoyed only after you, and I, have finished the work that must be done. So in conclusion, help me help you help me and let us work together to finish this year strong and earn our fun, relaxing summer!
Let’s do this!
5:00 AM: Alarm goes off. Snooze? No time, I grab my phone and call my friend. “Are you up?” I ask. “I’ve been up, I just got out of the shower,” she replies. “Oh, okay I’m getting my stuff ready then I’ll be on my way.”
5:45 AM: Pack my equipment in my car camera, drone, GoPro, 360-degree camera, and three tripods. I start my car, look at my mirror, check my blind spots, and I’m off. First stop is Starbucks, a necessity when waking up so early in the morning. “What’s up Jerome?” Jerome is my favorite Starbucks barista; he’s really cool and funny too. “What are you doing up so early?” He asks. “I’m trying to shoot the sunrise.” I explain. My usual drink, when the weather is on the colder side, is a venti peppermint mocha. About two seconds go by from me ordering my drink and me getting my drink, Jerome is fast like that. “Thanks man, have a good one!” I say my farewells to Jerome and head back to Falcon (side note: Falcon is the name if my car).
6:00 AM: I arrive at my friend’s house and text her, “I’m here.” “Coming,” she replies. Two seconds pass, maybe three, she isn’t as fast as Jerome and she comes to my car. “Let’s go!” I exclaim. I drive off NASCAR style down the street. The sun rises in 30 minutes and we have to drive across town to the beach, park, walk to the spot, and set up my shots.
6:30 AM: Traffic caught me off guard. I didn’t think there would be so much this early in the morning. Getting closer to the lake and I just realized I am not too sure on where to park. I’ve only ever walked and biked to the beach. Also, the sun is starting to peak. “Where do I go?” I ask my friend. “I’m not sure” she replies. Still driving in pursuit of a parking spot and I see an entry that I am not entirely sure I could go into but I do anyway. We find the parking lot, good risk to take; we park, unload, and walk to the spot. Time is not on our side and the sun is ready to rise for the day. The wind whips against my face as I try to set up the shots I need.
6:45 AM: The sun has already begun rising but with a little movie magic I can fix it. All cameras are rolling and my friend and I hide our faces from the wind as it continues to hit us.
7:15 AM: We wrap up, go to Falcon, and head to Jam and Honey for some breakfast.
March 31st, 1:00 PM: I sit in Starbucks with Taylor, my partner in crime and write about the crazy, fun, and hectic experience of going out that day to shoot the sunrise. She’s reading a history book and I am excited to be reliving this story as I write about it for my blog.
March 31st, 1:30 PM add the video to the blog and share it for viewers to enjoy.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed the video (the video is posted below), and as always stay awesome!
Creating things is awesome. From nothing but a thought in your mind to now a physical object that can be handed out and shared. I love to create.
Here at DePaul I am double majoring in Digital Cinema and Public Relations and Advertising. The Digital Cinema portion of my degree is what I am going to focus on in this blog. It all started when I was in 8th grade. My father had bought me my first camcorder, it was supposed to be for our family but I used it the most, and my sister had just bought the first laptop for our family. It was with these two items that I began making movies.
I would use the free editing software known as Windows Movie Maker and I would film my brother, my family, and anything else I could. I began putting the clips into the editor and messing around with the different functions, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Which, in a way, was kind of nice. I was not told how to edit, how to add clips, or different ways to cut. I simply did it through trial and error.
That was one of the coolest feelings ever for me to just mess around with something that I had to figure it out. It was a discovery and I was addicted to learning more and exploring more. I started doing little camera tricks like making stuff disappear, making inanimate objects move, and adding music to my footage. The biggest take away I had was just to create. There are no rules - no right or wrong way to go about it, there is just creating. Making something that didn’t exist before is a feeling that I love.
So to my fellow artists, explorers, and creators I say to you ABC, Always Be Creating.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome friend!
Family, friends, good Samaritans, and more! This was my experience this past Thursday as DemonTHON, our dance marathon on campus, worked all day and night to raise $48,000 for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
From 6am Thursday until 12am Friday our dancers went anywhere and everywhere in the city where they would have the opportunity to get someone’s change or kind donation For The Kids. The venture began with a kickoff event in Centennial where coffee, bagels, and other breakfast goods were provided to give us the energy for the long, demanding day ahead of us.
Serving as the Assistant Technology Director, I arrived on campus and immediately pulled out my camera to film promotional content for our YouTube channel and Facebook page. Directors, assistants, and morale captains packed into the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) with their laptops writing heartfelt emails to family members, friends, past teachers, and anyone else that might be willing to contribute.
Classes served as an obstacle on this ambitious day and a three-hour depart from my DemonTHON duties had to be taken. However, my adventures resumed at the end of class. Reporting to OSI, I inquired about anything I may have missed and what was next to come. A hospital tour brought me and several dancers to the loop to see what all our donations and hard work do for the hospital.
The day did not end there, and I rushed back to OSI to drop off footage to the Director of Technology so he could edit and upload it for our social media. Switching hats from DemonTHON to DePaul Activities Board, I volunteered as a dealer for Black Jack for our Casino Night themed DePaul After Dark. The event ended at midnight but I was allowed to leave early to join my DemonTHON crew just before the big reveal of our total.
It was back in OSI that over 50 members awaited the final number. Tired and sweaty we cheered and kept our spirits up with chants like “I believe in miracles!” Finally, it was time, we entered the conference room and the countdown began. Everyone in the room was silent and apprehensive to see if we reached our goal. The animation created by our Director of Technology and PR Director began to rise and the final number was revealed, $48,312.99! The room erupted as dancers hugged one another and cried tears of joy. We had accomplished our goal! This was my first experience ever for Miracles ‘Til Midnight and it was amazing.
Run, sprint, just go, and don’t look back. Sure, people will look at you like you’re crazy but it’s a feeling that cannot be matched.
It was the summer of 2014 and I had just completed my first year at DePaul. I was looking forward to hanging out with old friends, playing soccer for endless hours, and going on long late night bike rides. Yet, it wasn’t exactly like that. I got a summer job, enrolled in two courses, and the tires on my bike had to be replaced. It was overwhelming.
A friend had told me about “free running.” Sound weird? It kind of is. The idea is to, at any moment and any place, take off sprinting as fast and as hard as you can. Just go and don’t look back, until you’re out of breath and need to stop to catch it. There really isn’t any purpose to it besides the feeling of freedom and the burdens being lifted off your shoulders for that short moment where you feel on top of the world.
Running, it’s so simple but so impactful. I remember when she first told me about the idea and I thought it was a bit weird and figured I would never try it myself. To sprint for no reason, what if someone thought I stole something? Or thought I was running away from a crime scene? These were the logical, and limiting, thoughts I had at the time. Then one day, after work, I felt it. I was tired, stinky, exhausted, and just felt crummy. I remember walking out of the building and there was an open sidewalk, not a person in sight or a car driving by. I looked to my left and my right, behind me and in front. I just felt it and began, walking my pace quickened and then, I sprinted. Down the side street, jumping over cracks in the sidewalk, dodging fences that people left open, feeling the wind in my face, my short hair pushing against the breeze, sweat gathering on my forehead, my heart pounding, and my legs churning. I ran as fast as I could in my cargo shorts and tennis shoes. At the end of the block I stopped and put my hands on my head as I gasped for air. I laughed and smiled. Not one person was around me, not one car driving by. I had just completed my first ever “free run” and I now understood why it was called that.
Thanks for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome!
Dear Mom and Dad,
Blue Demon Week 2016 recently came to a close, I’m in the winter quarter of my third year here at DePaul University, and I cannot stop thinking about how grateful and blessed I am to be here at this institution. My friends are painting their faces, the band is playing music in the student center, and everyone is eating this Rice Krispy treat that turns their mouth blue. Words cannot express how I feel. With all the fun festivities around and the school spirit enriching our days, every thought of mine comes back to you two. My mom and my dad. You are my role models, my inspiration, and my heroes. Your unconditional love and your never-ending support are something I have come to learn is rare, and for that I am forever grateful. Here at DePaul I am thriving and loving every day I am on campus. I have roles in several organizations, I am taking vigorous courses that challenge me every day, and the future feels limitless. This I owe to you.
The courage I have to yell “selfie” while student leaders pose with our president, Father H., comes from the confidence you instilled in me. The ability to listen to others and hear their story comes from the love you have given me. And the passion I have for everything I do comes from the passion you have for me. Anything and everything I do in the future will be because of you.
So as I conclude this open letter, I want to say, thank you mom and dad for your love, your kindness, your compassion, and most importantly thank you for believing in me.
Your grateful son
“Kill ‘em with kindness.” Something I hear quite often. I’m not sure how to feel about it.
On one hand you have a positive and kind act being the response of a negative one, but on the other hand is it a genuine kindness or is it just a different method of revenge?
This is what I like to call, an “either or” type of situation. This means that there really isn’t a right answer it simply depends on what you believe. I like to think that the killing with kindness method, regardless of intent, is a good one. If you try to fight fire with fire, well, you’re going to get a bigger fire. However, if you fight fire with water, that changes the game.
There was an interesting activity I took part in on a retreat once in high school. On the floor laid several candles all of which were lit. The speaker began talking about the significance of everyone and their purpose in life. As she progressed in her speech, she began blowing a few candles out. She continued this until there was just one candle left. At this moment, the speaker told us that we are all lights in this world. The last candle was blown and we sat in darkness. With our hearts beating, our minds thinking, and our senses feeling (my words not hers) we make this world the place it is. The speaker continued her speech and began lighting the candles one by one until the whole room was once again bright.
One light may not seem like a lot, especially when it is surrounded by darkness but together, we shine bright and make the world warmer. This, I believe, is the key. As St. Vincent himself believed oh so many years ago, we must learn to coexist, accept, and love one another because together we are bright and warm and the darkness stands no chance.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome.
I remember being told that if I didn’t get A’s and B’s in school that meant I was a bad student. I remember being told that if I didn’t read, study, or act properly I would never succeed in life. I remember being told that I had to dress a certain way and talk a certain way in order to be taken seriously. These things I remember. I also remember the first novel franchise I ever became obsessed with, Captain Underpants.
With mean old, grumpy Mr. Krupp becoming hypnotized by his students, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, Captain Underpants was created to save the world from various villains that threatened our existence. I took an instant liking to the novels written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey.
With the success of Captain Underpants, spinoffs were produced such as Super Diaper Baby. It was no question that I would begin to read those as well, given Pilkey’s talent for entertaining writing. Then one day I decided to take another look at the first novel. Usually I would read a book from cover to cover then immediately jump to the next one, indulging in a sort of pre-Netflix binge of literature. However, this time I went to one of the final pages and saw a picture of a man with text just below the image. It was Dav Pilkey and the text was a message to the reader. I cannot recall the full excerpt but what I do remember is the excitement I felt when I read that Dav Pilkey was not really a “good” student and that his teachers told him he would not succeed.
This changed my world. It is a lesson that I have kept with me ever since that day. We are all unique in our own way and no matter what any teacher, boss, friend, or ex-friend says, in the end all we can do is be ourselves.
It was not the end of the world if I got anything lower than a B. The teachers that doubted me were wrong because here I am today at a world-class university achieving and succeeding every single day.
Who would have known that a superhero running around in his underpants would have taught me so much?
The days are long but the years are short. I find myself balancing the daily life of a college student, oblivious to the time passing. I wake up, get ready, grab coffee, take the train to the Loop, and head to class. It is a routine, it is my schedule.
As I reflect on my college life thus far, I remember when I was a freshman taking my first steps on campus following the student orientation leader like it was yesterday. I was excited, apprehensive, and even a bit scared. I was entering a new world transitioning from high school to college.
Fast forward, now I am a junior. I am in several different organizations with leadership positions in two of them. I’ve been on retreats with my fellow peers, participated in DePaul’s dance marathon (DemonTHON), planned and coordinated events for the DePaul Activities Board, and more. It has been, and still is, an experience I will remember for years to come. When I think and reflect on the person I am and the values I hold dear, my four years at DePaul will be a major aspect of that. As the days fly by and I continue to go about my routine, oblivious to the time passing, I am convinced more and more every day that I made the right decision by becoming a Blue Demon.
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome.
The holidays are on their way and as usual, people have begun setting up their trees and playing Christmas music. My family has always been quite the procrastinators when it comes to setting up our own. Usually, traditionally, we set up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, in reality, we usually wait until the week of Christmas. Maybe not enjoying it for too long before the actual holiday but leaving it up for a good amount of time after Santa makes his visit to our home. This year, my mom decided to get a head start on Christmas.
I was very surprised a few Wednesdays ago when I showed up with a film crew to my house ready to make a short for my visual design class, and the tree had been placed in our living room. Though bare, the Christmas tree stood tall and invaded the space I needed for my cinematic world. Unable to shoot around the tree, I decided to allow it in our shots. Since the film is set in winter, I figured it could work aesthetically. Friday that same week, I came home late from DePaul to be greeted by a wondrous, beautiful display of flashing lights and sparkly ornaments. It eased the tension from my demanding week and calmed me. Though I was disappointed that I did not get a chance to assist in the setup, my mom explained to me how the train, that goes around our tree and plays music, was still in the box. She was hoping that one tradition would remain the same. So, like every year, my brother and I played Straight No Chaser’s Christmas album, constructed the track for the train, and placed the polar express in its rightful position.
Yes, Christmas in my house came quite early this year but every night when I return from a long day of studying and campus activities; I see the star shining on top and the lights flashing away endlessly. Just for that moment, I forget about the demands of the world and the abundance of tasks that lie ahead of me. Who knows, maybe this early Christmas helped me do better on my final exams.
Happy early holidays. Stay awesome!
Winter is upon us.
Do not let any random warm days fool you, my friend. Soon there will be snow up to our knees, cars will need a few extra minutes to warm up, and even Santa will need help flying through the stormy weather.
Yes, Chicago winters are infamous for testing the patience and character of all its inhabitants. From neighborhood teamwork to shovel up the streets and sidewalks, to the cars that still drive 60 mph as if snow is a myth, the winter tests us all.
With the cold heading our way soon, it is important to know what is going on. Unlike summer, destinations need to be planned because no one wants to walk around without a safe, warm place to go to. My recommendation is to make sure to layer up, take a nice hot beverage with you on the go, and plan your adventures wisely!
Of course the snow and blistering cold isn’t all that bad. Make sure you enjoy the white fluffy beauty of Mother Nature before it is gone for the year. Throw snowballs, build snowmen or snowwomen, and make some snow angels. Whatever your winter goals are and wherever you may be, I hope everyone has an amazing holiday season!
Thanks for reading my blog, stay awesome friend!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas? No.
survey is up and being shared all over DePaul social media platforms! From Twitter to Facebook, if you are not following the DePaul Activities Board yet change that now.
FEST is DePaul’s spring music festival held on the Quad during the last quarter of the year. Every year there are various events held to promote the event from forums to surveys. Just today the DePaul Activities Board released the official FEST survey for FEST 2016.
With an amazing line up from The Neighbourhood
to Chance the Rapper
, this year is already creating buzz around campus. So who do YOU want to see at FEST? Check out the survey on the link below.
Also, if you’d like to read more about FEST and the DePaul Activities Board, click on their website and see what the organization is all about.
Thank you for reading my blog! Stay awesome my friends!
Coming soon to a theater, school, and city near you! Bernadette the movie finished production this past summer and has a target release date of spring 2016.
Professors John Psathas and Patrick Wimp ventured to create a feature length film utilizing the skill of DePaul students and the opportunity provided by CDM’s (College of Digital Media) Project Bluelight.
With a dedicated student crew, John Psathas, director and producer, and Patrick Wimp, director of photography traveled all around Illinois to create the perfect suburb for their coming of age comedy. Taking full advantage of local Chicago actors as well as students from the DePaul Theatre School, the teaser for Bernadette has been played over 8,000 times with the Facebook page being just shy of 2,000 likes. Several articles mentioning the film have been released through various news outlets such as The DePaulia
, Reel Chicago
, and the Chicago Tribune
. The film is now in the post-production phase but behind the scenes photos, witty statuses, and other content is being released on their social media sites frequently, keeping fans of the film engaged until the premiere. To keep track of the film follow and check out the links below.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did working on it. It is a great display of the talent here at DePaul University and an even better display of what good collaborations can create.
“Fly the W!” “Go Cubs go!” “Cubs Nation!” If you’re in Chicago, you’ve probably heard the awesome news. Cubs are heading to the Pennant for the first time since 2003.
Dominating the St. Louis Cardinals, the beloved Cubbies took the series 3-1 (best out of 5) and they did it with one win on the road and two in their hometown. Fans all over say this is the year the Cubs go all the way knock on wood.
For many fans, this highly successful season comes as a surprise as it was noted early on that this would be a year of progress. The “five year plan” was something Cubs President Theo Epstein came up with. The reason, to give fans a deadline by which he would transform the Cubs from lovable losers to playoff contenders. Criticized, at first, for three consecutive losing seasons, Epstein is now in his fourth year as Cubs president and has shown what he is made of. Building from within, Epstein brought up 3 key players from the minor leagues. These included Kris Bryant
, Albert Almora
, and Javier Baez
. Additionally, the Cubs signed Cuban powerhouse Jorge Soler
to a 9 year, 30 million dollar contract. Epstein saw the talent and brought them to Chicago - a gamble that is paying off.
All stats aside, the story of this team is one to remember. With 8 of their players being born in the 90’s, the Cubs are a young team and show potential for years to come. A season that was supposed to be nothing more than another building year, has now turned into the latest chance for Cubs fans to see their team win a World Series. Players built and developed from within the organization have taken charge in the Big Leagues making names for themselves against top teams in the MLB. The Chicago Cubs have been exciting this year for many more reasons than just their record. It’s their story, their players, their fans, etc. This - knock on wood - is our year!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Go Cubs! Fly The W!
DePaul University is awesome, that’s no secret. I’ve said it many times in these blogs and in casual conversations with friends.
While there are so many great things about this institution that I can talk about forever, nothing can compare to the first few times I visited the campus. It was a long time ago, in a very different Chicago. Daley was still mayor and the Sears Tower, well it is still the Sears Tower, but you get the point. My sister was a junior at DePaul and asked me if I wanted to come to campus. Being in high school at the time, I was super excited to be on a college campus around college people doing college things. She brought me to the student center in Lincoln Park, showed me the SAC
, the Quad
, etc. It was awesome, I was in love, and I wanted to be at DePaul that moment.
Fast forward to a few months after that visit, my friend from high school and I are walking around Lincoln Park. Realizing we were close to the student center, I suggested we explore the campus. We entered the student center and saw the fast, busy hustle of college life. No one noticed us and we had no idea where to go so we just continued exploring. Walking without a purpose, I gave my friend a fairly poor tour of the campus as everything my sister had taught me had faded from my mind. Though the information I provided may have lacked accuracy, it was a joy to show my friend the college of my future. The moment I stepped in Blue Demon territory I knew it was the right place for me. No other place had the life of DePaul, the beauty, or the convenience of being in Chicago.
While many students may be looking for the right college for them at this time, the best suggestion I have is to explore. Be fearless and ask questions, Google everything there is to know about the college, find out what it is they’re known for, what they focus on, etc. With this big moment in the life of a high school senior, I wish you all the best of luck!
Thank you and stay awesome my friends!
T.E.A.M., an acronym I learned at an early age, stands for “Together Everyone Accomplishes More.” Teams are important in life because they help everyone go further than they could ever go alone. With a group working in unity to accomplish a common goal, there are no limits. I’m a firm believer in teams, I have been taught my whole life that it is essential to work together in order to get things done.
I attended a Digital Cinema Collaborative (DCC) event just last week. We had first year students (and others that were interested in getting more involved with the film community) ask mentors about anything they wanted to know. There was one question that stuck out to me: “How would someone that wants to make a movie go about starting it?” Mentors then began answering the student with various responses about the process, planning, etc. Finally, it was suggested to the student to not be afraid to ask others for help. Proud of the DCC mentors, I related to that response the most.
I often think about how many times we need help. It could be with homework, working out, or our car. Asking for help can often be a scary thing and I know I have personally shied away from requesting others assistance in a time of need. Yet, it is something so crucial to our existence.
Sports consist of teams, companies consist of teams, and even our world is a team. We see others in need and we help them, or we have a vision and a goal and inspire a group to fulfill it. When people work together and do their role we see giant skyscrapers built, World Series or Stanley Cup championships won, humans on the moon, and progress for a better tomorrow. Indeed as a team, united as one, no task becomes too great and no challenge can overcome us. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand." Let’s work side by side for a common goal because together everyone accomplishes more.
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome!
There’s a date! You may ask, “A date for what?” DemonTHON! DePaul University’s 24-hour dance marathon! Sound awesome? Interested in being a part of this really cool nationwide movement? Well look no further!
DemonTHON is our annual dance marathon where we raise money for the Ann and Richard H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. We dance, inspire, and strive for a greater tomorrow. I got involved with DemonTHON last year as a member of the Catholic Campus Ministry team. You can register as a team or individually. Together my team and I raised money For the Kids!
We danced the full duration of the event, learned the morale dance, and I even got on stage to lip sync to “Dirty Diana”. It was an event that impacted me so much that I decided to take my involvement a step further. Working on the technology committee, I have begun doing video production for this amazing organization. My tasks mostly include filming and editing content for our YouTube channel. This year I hope to bring more friends of mine to the event so we can all dance together.
Dancing is fun, making friends is awesome, and the cause is a good one! The event sees a huge student turn out every year and gets major support from other organizations at DePaul, as well as local businesses.
If you are interested in finding out more about DemonTHON,
here are some links to check out:
Help me fundraise!
Words do not allow me to express just how amazing of an
experience this event is. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you are
interested in helping with the event or registering as a dancer.
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always, stay awesome!
“Do onto others as you would want to be done onto you.” A lesson my parents taught me early on in my life. If I don’t want someone bullying me then I should not bully others. Little did I know back then just how important their teachings would become. Being in college and working with many different people from different places, it is a value I have become very happy I have. There are many times when I experience cruelty from others in the way they speak and treat me. At the same time I observe friends, family, or just anyone feeling hurt by the harsh words of an individual. In this huge world with so many different cultures and ways of living, it is impossible to go through life believing there is only one absolute way to live. It’s times like these I remember the teachings of my parents and along with that, the new values I am obtaining at DePaul. Attending WLC (Winter Leadership Conference) this past year, I learned an abbreviation that has changed the way I approach situations, people, and life. SRL or a Socially Responsible Leader. The dimensions of SRL are something I have written about before, but just to refresh they are:
• Self-Understanding & Personal Integrity
• Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others
• Contributing to a Larger Community
• Knowledge and Intellectual Competence
• Striving for Excellence
I am a firm believer in these dimensions. Communicating is difficult and people often miscommunicate creating issues aside from whatever problem may need to be solved. With the five dimensions above, communicating will not necessarily be 100% clear, but it will be a lot clearer and better than a conversation without these dimensions. My hope for anyone that reads this blog, is that you read and understand these dimensions and of course, if given the opportunity, participate in WLC.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Finals are over, the stress is gone for the moment, and summer is finally here! However, this is not a summer blog, this blog for all the seniors that I have met this year. I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me as a friend, fellow DePaul peer, and genuine person. It was not until today when I was looking at my Facebook feed that I realized just how many great people I had moving on. From friends that I met at the Winter Leadership Conference to friends from the DePaul Activities Board, each and every one of you has impacted my life greatly in one way or another. The world is in need of all your talents and I am sure the class of 2015 will greatly influence it.
Thank you all for being amazing and you all have a special place in my heart. Go accomplish your goals and dreams and remember that I always got your back! Just like many of you have had mine. I hope to continue the greatness that the Class of 2015 has shown me and that I can inspire others as you have done.
Thank you for everything and congratulations!
“Dance like no one’s watching.” “Live like there’s no tomorrow.” “Live, love, and laugh.” These quotes are fairly familiar as I see them frequently on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Though they are used a lot, the meaning and value of these phrases should not be lost. It’s easier said than done to smile when you’re sad, to keep moving when you’re tired, and to think positively when you’re feeling down. However, I’m a firm believer in the fact that we have to do these things in order to continue progressing. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in resting and taking some days off to just relax and recuperate, but eventually we have to get back to the hustle. The world is always moving and it never stops for anything, with 7.2 billion people on this planet (and more coming every day) it is important to take the time you need, but to eventually get back into action. This, as I already said, is easier said than done. I have found myself feeling blah many times in my life. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep or be lazy with my dog, Gizmo.
When in these funks of mine I usually snap out of it with the help of my friends, family, and inspirational videos or quotes like the ones above. A common teaching in film school is to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I know how to write a script, film a video, and edit it but someone else might be a better writer or editor, and it is okay to ask for help because in the end the movie will better. So aside from film, in those moments of blah I look for my team of helpers to bring me up, and they usually do. A team is important in life because they support you and keep you up when the struggles of life try to knock you down. Even Batman eventually joined the Justice League. To all those that have helped me through ups and downs, thank you, this blog is for you. For the individuals that are looking for a team of their own, keep going, you’ll find one eventually and remember to ask for help when you need it. Together everyone accomplishes more!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!
Have you heard the news yet? DePaul University will be closed this upcoming Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day! So bring out those grills, text your friends and family, and sit back to enjoy a lovely three day weekend.
It is always nice to get an extra day to relax and rest, but why exactly do we celebrate Memorial Day? Well, Memorial Day is a day of remembering those that have died while in the service of the United Stated of America. Originally called “Decoration Day,” there are several different states and cities that claim to have founded the national holiday. However, in 1966 president Lyndon Johnson declared the birthplace of Memorial Day to be Waterloo, New York. He stated that it was “difficult” to prove the origins of the day with certainty.
Aside from the birthplace of the day one thing is certain, Memorial Day came to existence as a result of the Civil War. General John A. Logan
stated in a General Order that “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing flowers, or otherwise decorating graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Thus creating the Memorial Day we know and celebrate to this day. So to all those enjoying their three day weekend, make sure to remember the people that have changed our lives so greatly.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome!
Who Moved My Cheese? A
story written by Dr. Spencer Johnson. Life is an interesting adventure we go
through ups and downs, smiles and frowns, jumping with joy and spinning around.
The book Who Moved My Cheese? Tells
the story of four characters in a maze looking for “Cheese.” The Cheese is a
metaphor for things we want in life such as a job, love, money, etc. Though I
have yet to finish the book (I plan on finishing soon), I find it to be an
interesting and extremely relatable read. Comfort, stability, and security are
what many people spend their whole lives trying to obtain. The book’s intro
discusses how these different elements are desires for humans because we believe
they make us happy. This causes us to become attached and dependent on these
things when we get them, and when we lose them or it gets taken away from us,
it can be harmful. I was suggested this read back in high school by my sister, who
at the time was in college. I remember being very interested in the idea and
concept and therefore decided to read the book. Though I was filled with
interest, I failed to finish it due to the fact that I really could not relate
to the story. I was a junior in high school that played soccer, volleyball, was
in the National Honors Society, a student ambassador, and had absolutely no
idea of just how the world and life could flip things upside down. Coming into
DePaul, I experienced many changes and different things that really opened my
mind and broadened my perspective. One of the things I remember from
orientation was the theater school giving a performance on how college is
different and “better” than high school. I probably should have taken the play
more seriously than I did, but to be honest, the cliché case scenarios that
were discussed are all things that have come up in my life. The way people
react when in certain environments, the way I was shy to try anything different
my first year, and more.
With all the changes going around, it can often feel
like things are up in the air and not stable at all. I feel like that right now
with final projects taking up a large portion of my time. The thing to remember
is that life is all about adapting, or at least that’s what Who Moved My Cheese emphasizes. A person
can go from rags to riches or vice versa in a day and the way to survive is by
adapting to it. So to my fellow reader, friend, or follower I would just like
to say that if your Cheese has been moved recently do not worry. It is all a
part of life and while whatever dilemmas you may be facing seem too much, trust
me, they’re not. I recently had some Cheese moved in my life and though it was
hard at first, I’m still standing and walking through this maze of life.
“Ladies and gentlemen give it up one more time for [insert band/DJ name here]!” That’s more or less how my night was spent last Thursday at Battle of The Bands & Fest
Big Reveal as the MC. It was a great time, as always, over at Lincoln Hall
with the DJ’s keeping people jumping up and down and the bands giving the people a sound to sway to.
Of course the big thing everyone was waiting for, the reveal! Sound unfamiliar? Well there was a reveal that happened at the event, a BIG reveal, and if you were there then I hope you know what I am talking about. FEST 2015 is on its way! May 22nd is the official day and it is something everyone should go to! When talking about amazing, awesome, fun, incredible, and (I’m out of adjectives) really cool events at DePaul it is essential to bring up Fest. It is the biggest event of the year with thousands of DePaul students attending and amazing artist performing. It is held in the beautiful Quad and students can enjoy it anywhere from front row to the UHall patio viewing area.
Now, for the final part of this blog. Who is going to perform at Fest? Well, hopefully you have already heard as everyone has been Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and more about it. However, just in case:
FEST 2015 presents:
Opening – Milo Greene
Middle Act – American Authors
Headliner – Big Sean
But wait there’s more!
Milo & Otis
So if you have yet to get your Fest tickets, what are you waiting for? I will be there, other awesome people will be there, and it is going to be a great time!
Thanks for reading my blog and always stay awesome!
P.S. I want to see YOU at Fest and if you see me come say hi I love making new friends!
The birds are chirping, the grills are coming out, and the car windows are being rolled down. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Summer, of course, is what I am talking about.
With summer being right around the corner I have found myself in search of new places where I can do work, study, and just focus on school stuff. Sure, the quad
is beautiful but there are now frisbees invading the space and threatening our heads (which we need to study). And of course there is always the library to study, but with such beautiful weather it almost seems unfair. If you are like me and find yourself in need of some new study environments I have a few tips for you.
While it is technically still the quad, the hills by the SAC
(Schmitt Academic Center)
have been a place I used to get some work done. The good thing about this area is that people usually don’t go there to fling their frisbees or toss any footballs around. It is nice, peaceful, and you kind of feel like a king, or queen, as you look down on the people that pass by.
Two: Arts and Letters
, it is such a beautiful building with an amazing view. The giant windows in the lobby area may not provide the full outdoor aesthetic for you, but it sure does come close. The sun can be seen rising and setting from the very top floor.
Three: There’s no way I can talk about Arts and Letters without mentioning the patio area right next to it. With several chairs and tables to use and an overall beautiful feel, I often find people sitting on the patio even during the winter.
Last but not least: The Ray.
I know crazy right? Maybe it’s a personal thing, but there is something about the fast pace of the Ray that I find relaxing. While others are rushing around and working out, I am simply sitting in my chair doing so
I hope this was helpful. Thank you for reading my blog and stay awesome!
Spring is here! Saying something like that in Chicago is always risky as the weather can change from 70 and sunny to 30 and snowy within minutes. However, this spring seems to be a success thus far (fingers crossed) as the weather has been fairly warm and friends of mine seem to be going to the beach to take a lot of selfies lately.
With that being said, make sure to take advantage of all the great things to do in the city when the weather is nice. Millennium park
is always a beautiful place to walk around, The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
is quiet and relaxing, and much more!
With the arrival of spring comes the anticipation of summer. Some notable summer activities include the Milwaukee Arts festival (free), Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, and many more. One thing I always like having is a complete list of festivals in Chicago for the summer. So for people who are like me, or even if you’re not but are still interested in festivals in the summer, you can find a huge list on the website ChooseChicago
I hope everyone is enjoying their spring so far! Thank you
for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
“Vincentian Service Day 2015 coming up!” Stated one of the emails in my never-ending inbox on Gmail. The message contained information on the day the event would occur and what was needed in order to register.
As usual, I plan on attending Vincentian Service Day
with one of the various groups I am committed to here at DePaul. It’s really nice to be a part of so many organizations because when events such as these come up I can either participate in it with my scholarship group, my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry
) group, or my DAB (DePaul Activities Board
) group, etc. Nonetheless I am super excited to contribute once again to the amazing service the DePaul University offers.
I remember when I was senior in high school thinking about all the different things I had learned and accomplished. One of those things I was proud about was joining a club called Mission Awareness, a club dedicated to doing service activities in school and throughout the Chicago area. One of the thoughts I had as I applied to different colleges and universities was, “Am I going to continue this service?” DePaul was perfect for me because it took so many different things
that I learned in high school, such as service, and not only continued them but expanded on them. This will be my second year participating in Vincentian Service Day and I still remember my experience from last year as if it was yesterday. We helped with a community garden on the Southside of Chicago. The lady that overlooked the garden did it all on her own because city budget cuts allowed enough funding for one worker. Any sort of assistance she was able to get was all from volunteers. When the day ended, she was so grateful for our help that she gave us candy!
I am looking forward to Vincentian Service Day 2015 and I am looking forward to helping someone who may need it.
This year spring break brought many new memories, friends, and experiences my way as I traveled once again with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) to New Orleans, Louisiana for my spring break service immersion trip. The weather was beautiful, the food was spicy and delicious, and the people were amazing. We teamed up with the St. Bernard Project, SBP for short, to help repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Many people reacted in similar ways when I told them that I would be heading to NOLA
for service. They asked questions like “They still need help?” or “That was ten years ago what else needs to be done?” While staying in the lower 9thward, I saw many houses that had little to no progress since the tragic storm, houses that have been ignored and forgotten about. During drives to our service site I saw open land that I did not think much about. It wasn’t until Rachel, the director of SBP, told us that houses used to occupy the land and instead of being rebuilt they were bulldozed.
The experience was one that will always be with me and make me think about life, people, stories, etc. I will never forget just how different every neighborhood
felt, as if they were different states. When thinking of Chicago, I know that every neighborhood
has its own feel but I can still identify the areas as Chicago. Yet in
NOLA, the lower 9th ward was a neighborhood of progress, one that is rebuilding slowly but surely, the French Quarter provided an atmosphere unlike anything I have experienced in America, and downtown gave a similar feel to our loop with shops, people, and angry drivers.
NOLA has a special place in my heart now and the St. Bernard Project is something I stress for people to look into in order to provide some help and support for the New Orleans community.
If you are interested in helping out check out this link
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
College can be a pretty overwhelming place. Coming from a high school with a total of 500 students, it was quite the change in atmosphere when I entered DePaul my freshman year. I was used to seeing friends of mine all throughout the day and knowing everyone in my grade level. I’ll never forget the first involvement fair I attended. I remember all the poster boards, flyers, people, and more. It was chaos for me because there were so many different things to see and there seemed to be no way to navigate it all. It wasn’t until this year (my second) that I started getting the hang of things. I joined DAB (DePaul Activities Board), CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry), DCC (Digital Cinema Collaborative), MOC (Men of Color), did intramural soccer, and participated in several retreats and conferences.
National Pancake Day
was the other day and if you go to any IHOP you will get a free stack of buttermilk pancakes. Awesome right?
My friends and I contributed to the holiday that night. The idea of having a whole day dedicated to pancakes really got me thinking. This has to be one of the craziest ideas ever proposed, right? Well I did a little research
and found out that the day is used as a marker for the day before the first day of Lent. In the past, people would follow Ash Wednesday with meals that did not contain meat, dairy, eggs, etc. which usually led to a pancake type of food. Pancake Day is usually a day that precedes Ash Wednesday in either March or February (depends where you are). This made me think of other holidays that may not be as well known.
Here is a small list of days for the month of March
The list goes on and on. So, to end this article I would like to say that anything you can possibly imagine as a holiday, probably already is. However, if it isn’t yet a holiday take the chance and try to get it nationally recognized.
Thank you for reading my blog, and as always stay awesome!
The suspense is over! After about a year without a convenient grocery store, Whole Foods
is coming to DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus
. Students had great opportunity, as the first 500 customers in line will receive a gift card with a possible amount of 5-50 dollars. One lucky customer received a $500 gift card.
Whole Foods is replacing the long time grocery store, Dominick’s, which has recently sold the rest of their stores to Jewel Osco, Whole Foods, and Mariano’s. Students will surely greet the new store with a warm welcome having not had the convenience of Dominick’s for the past year. The grand opening is taking place Wednesday February 25th, 2015 at 9am. The Whole Foods will once again provide a grocery store on campus for DePaul students to use and offers a café in-store, something students are familiar with from the old days of Dominick’s and Starbucks.
Some students have expressed concern about the high prices that accompany the Whole Foods name saying they still might be forced to go elsewhere. The store looks great from outside and provides a nice view of the Fullerton on higher levels. Along with the view, there is also what looks to be a walk through where students can line up for morning café goods. This will surely be giving Dunkin Donuts under the L some competition. No matter what conflicts surround the opening Whole Foods, I am still looking forward to attending the grand opening and having a store to shop at that is on campus.
In the wise words of Michael Jackson, “Let’s dance, let’s shout. Shake your body down to the ground!” The highly anticipated and very fun event Blue Demon Week
is happening this week. It is sponsored by Student
Government Association in cooperation with D.A.B. (DePaul Activities Board), DemonTHON, and the Athletics Department. There will be a huge variety of events going on from bumper cars in the Student Center to trivia night. I hope everyone is as excited as I am! Now is the perfect time to show your Blue Demon pride.
• Monday (2/23): 7pm Student Center room 120 – We have trivia night
Last but not least, Friday (2/27)
night we have the Blue Demon Dance
! If you know me, I take any opportunity I can to get my jiggy on. The dance starts at 8pm and goes until 12am. There will be food, a DJ, and more. The dance will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel and provides the perfect chance for people to show off their
footwork. I hope to see everyone I know there and cannot wait to get my groove thing on. Tickets for the dance will be on sale throughout these events. Come enjoy being a Blue Demon this week and show off your pride!
Starting your day off the right way is very important, it can mean the difference between getting the job you want or doing better in class. As a kid, my parents would always tell me that I had to eat a good breakfast in order to get my day going. A good breakfast, in their opinion, usually meant a banana with orange juice and maybe cereal or toast. I’ve never been a big breakfast person but I do get my morning coffee every day.
Aside from food, there are other morning routines that are important to me. One of which usually consists of listening to music and getting the morning rust off me with a little bit of dancing as I get ready. Recently, I found this pretty awesome YouTube video that took a bunch of motivational speeches from movies and put them all together with music. It is great! I really get a kick out of it. It may be considered kind of cheesy by some, but when I hear just the audio without even watching the video, I get pumped for my day. There are several famous speeches and quotes like Rocky’s, “It’s not about hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” to Will Smith telling his son in a film, “You got a dream, you got to protect it.”
I like the video because it shares a very special message with its audience. The message is that no matter what happens in life, no matter how difficult things get, and no matter what anyone says you have to keep moving forward. The world is a big place with over 7 billion people in it, with over 7 billion different opinions, and over 7 billion different ways of living. So no matter what anyone says, thinks, or how many “hits” you get from life, get up and never give up. I invite my readers to watch the video on YouTube and I hope that they get just as much out of it, if not more, than I did.
You can watch the video below:
Fresh off WLC (Winter Leadership Conference), I told my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) small men’s group that I was enlightened. We meet on Monday’s and this past Monday, as many of you probably already know, was the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some schools had days off, others used this day to remember and share the ways of Doctor Martin Luther King, and for me I had my small group. It was interesting, as usual, but the discussion became centered around leadership which corresponds to the weekend retreat I attended. We talked about Jesus and his teachings and drifted into discussion about Doctor King.
One thing I noted about the discussion was the peaceful approach to very difficult and conflicting topics. Things such as prostitution or racism usually get people very heated in debate, and in unfortunate circumstances violence. This past weekend at WLC, we discussed the 5 dimensions of an SRL (Socially Responsible Leader). Which are as follows:
- Self-Understanding and Personal Integrity
- Taking Seriously the Perspectives of Others
- Contributing to a Larger Community
- Knowledge and intellectual Competence
- Striving for Excellence
I want to focus on number two, “Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others.” The way I interpret this dimension is that everyone has his or her own way of thinking. We all have values, morals, and opinions that do not always, in fact quite frequently, agree.
So this specific dimension, I feel, is easier said than done for two reasons:
One, anything you have ever been taught in life has to be put on hold and you need to listen to the person speaking. You need to think about their position and their life to understand where they are coming from.
Two, you have to go against your natural instinct of sticking to what you know. We have to become uncomfortable and delve into the life of another individual in order to truly understand them and take their perspective seriously. I believe that the great teachings of Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. are exactly what we should use as models for our life. They push humanity to be more. Everyone has his or her opinion, and everyone will fight for what they believe is right. It is a higher understanding that allows us to relate to one another. To say, “we are different and that is not something that should separate us, but rather something that should bring us together in order to learn more and become more as people.”
That is all for today, thank you for reading my blog, if anyone has heard of WLC and is on the fence about attending I highly recommend that you do. For more information visit the SLI (Student Leadership Institute).
Blue, red, and green are my favorite colors. I like the hit AMC show The Walking Dead. I have a huge passion for soccer, but also like to play many other sports. Can you relate? If not, no worries because those are things that I personally like. You may agree with me that soccer is the greatest sport in the world or you may disagree, and that’s all okay. Today, I’m going to be writing about being yourself.
Many times in life, I have felt as if I had to act a certain way in order to be accepted. I thought that if I talked a certain way and wore clothes that were popular then people would like me. Yet, when I would go home and be in my room alone I knew that the person I was pretending to be was far from who I actually was. This year at DePaul has been a very explorative one for me. I have joined several clubs and have taken part in numerous activities from D.A.B. to intramural soccer. I recently told a friend of mine that I am trying to figure out what I like, the type of people I want in my life, and the way I want my life to go. Whenever anyone has asked me about this year I usually begin by listing all the clubs I am in. This is usually followed with something like “wow you’re a busy person.” I think that’s kind of funny because I think of myself as more of a confused person than a busy one. The reason I go to so many groups and am in all these clubs, aside from the fact that they’re fun, is simply because I need to figure myself out. Which is awesome because it leads to exposure to different people and different ideas, which eventually leads to me deleting or accepting new ways of thinking. Year number two at DePaul is going pretty awesome for me, so far.
So now I think about the people around me. What I see on Facebook, what my friends tell me, and what I hear people talking about with their friends leads me to a realization. No one has any sort of idea of what is going on. That may sound bad at first but allow me to elaborate.
As confused as I feel with certain things, my parents have seen it all, or at least have seen more than me. When I think that something I’ve experienced is crazy, insane, and has never happened to anyone else my parents laugh and tell me a story of their past. They offer advice to me and even understand that I have to make my own mistakes in order to grow. That’s what I mostly hear from others too. “I did (insert awesome story here) because I wanted to try it.” There should be no judgment or wagging of the finger, there should just be understanding and acceptance. That goes for mistakes as well as good experiences because we have to make mistakes in order to learn and we have fail in order to succeed. For my parents, they accept me for who I am. As for who I actually am, well that’s still being discovered little by little every single day. There is one thing that’s certain, and that is that I am just doing me. Living every day the way I want to and not allowing anything, or anyone, to prevent me from trying something new. In the end, our choices are what define us and I would rather be known as the awesome guy that went skydiving than the guy who said he was going to do it but “never had the time.”
Thanks for reading my blog, as always stay awesome!
Thank you for reading my blog and always stay awesome!
Hello everyone and happy Monday! Today I will be writing about getting involved at DePaul. “Get involved” I am sure many of you have heard this before whether it was at orientation here at DePaul, from a speaker, or someone else. I am here to let you know, it is true!
There's a fairly new app that is trending around college campuses called “Yik Yak” and on this app I see too many post about individuals not having friends, no events to go to, etc. Aside from Yik Yak, I recently looked up DePaul University on Google, because I was bored, and found that we actually have a Yelp page dedicated to us. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Yelp is a website where consumers can post reviews about a certain business, store, and now apparently schools too. While scrolling through the reviews, I saw a person post about how angry they were with the experience they had here at DePaul and I was shocked! This user gave DePaul a 1 out of 5 star rating and posted a very long and descriptive review of how DePaul let them down.
I will not go into specifics, but one thing I noticed when reading the review was that this user was a commuter and not involved. In case you didn't notice, I am a HUGE advocate of DePaul University and am enjoying my experience here greatly. So to see a review like this, I had to take a step back and really think.
The realization I came to was that if it was not for all the clubs and organizations that I am a part of my experience here would suck, and that decision to become more than just a student has to come from the individual themselves. DePaul supplies the resources but you have to supply the motivation.
So to those who feel as though they have no friends, no plans, and nothing to do I challenge you to look on OrgSync and join random clubs. Cause the only way your experience will become better is if you take that extra step. If you are the type of person who needs an invitation to something or else you won't go, then consider this my invitation to you! I will be including a list of a few events going on that I will be at. If you see me do not hesitate to walk up and say “hi,” I love people and even more than that I love making new friends!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome.
Thanksgiving Tick Tock Clock Countdown: T-minus 16 days, 8 hours,
45 minutes, and 42 seconds
Jingle bells, snow, reindeer, and more! Christmas is almost here! Wait, let's not forget Thanksgiving.
If you're like me or most of the people I know, then you are probably used to everyone jumping from Halloween straight to Christmas. I remember when I was younger, I would always tell my mom that it wasn't fair and that people were “bullying” Thanksgiving. To this day I stick to my pro-Thanksgiving mindset because it is not fair to skip the one holiday that is all about eating.
Maybe there's more to it, but all in all I know I look forward to having a giant turkey on my table surrounded by a variety of side dishes. This is including, but in no way limited to, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac and cheese. Aside from the main feasting day, there's always so much food left over that it practically lasts all the way to Christmas. The way I look at Thanksgiving is this: most other mammals hunt for food and store it for the long winter (ex. squirrels and their acorns) so I think Thanksgiving is the human way of storing food, at least long enough till Christmas arrives.
To conclude this Thanksgiving spiel I introduce an addition to my weekly blog. I call it “Thanksgiving Tick Tock Count Down”, in which every week I will give the exact time left until Thanksgiving!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always stay awesome,
Thanksgiving Tick Tock Countdown: T-minus 21 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes, and 39 seconds.
The shadowy figure in the corner of your eye, the giggle you hear at night, or the monster under your bed. Welcome to my blog everyone and happy Halloween!
Oh ‘tis the season to be scared (for fun of course). Halloween is an interesting holiday with quite the history. The origin of dressing up and getting candy actually stems from people wanting to be “mistaken” for a ghost or ghoul so the dead would not hurt them. The sweets came from people offering goods as a trade for safety from the ghouls.
However, fast forward 2000 years and it is now a goofy holiday were children get a little spooked and hopped up on sugar rushes. Yet little do they know about the true origins of it. So, while you're out this Halloween dressed up in whatever spooky costume you have, remember that the dead might be out with you.
Thanks for reading my blog, stay awesome, and stay spooky.
Music, beaches, dancing, barbecues, fun in the sun, and more! Sound familiar? It is summertime everyone and I could not be more excited.
To begin this summer of 2014 I must first say goodbye to my first year at DePaul. There have been many great memories this first year for me such as my spring trip to St. Louis with my Mazza group, filming with my CDM friends, and just plain old hanging out on the quad. I remember my first day on campus for orientation and how nervous I was. So many people were walking around, talking, trying to figure out what was going on and where to go next. The rush of it all was a memory I will never forget.
Fast forward a few months to meeting people in my classes and hanging out with them in and out of class. One of the greatest decisions I made my first year was getting involved with as many things as I could. I was involved with DeBlogs, OMSS, STARS, I shot short films with friends, and just spent time on campus. I've heard many things about the future of my college career and what to expect, such as harder classes, but I am excited to continue my education at DePaul and I could not have asked for a better intro year.
I'm Josue Angel Ortiz, sophomore at DePaul University, stay awesome my friends!
You might have seen them on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook - #Bring Back Our Girls or #Real Men Don't Buy Girls. If you are like me, earlier this week you might have been looking to find out what this is all about and why it has caused such an uproar. I will explain the situation to the best of my abilities in this blog. This recent viral hashtag is a result of the kidnapping of 300 girls from a school in Chilbok, Borno Nigeria. The group that has claimed to have committed this act of terror calls themselves Boko Haram. This phrase is from the local Huasa language of North Central Africa and loosely translates into Western education is a sin.
To understand the story better, it is important to know some background information on the Boko Haram. They were established in 2002 by Mohammad Yusuf, an Islamist. They were at first focused on social change and blamed the poverty of the north on government neglect. The group believed itself to be discriminated against because of its Muslim beliefs as opposed to the southern region of Nigeria that is predominately Christian. In 2009, Yusuf was taken by authorities and was executed on video; this footage would later go viral and cause the Boko Haram group to step up their campaign.
The now more aggressive Boko Haram group went on to commit extreme acts of terrorism in Nigeria. These acts ranged from an explosion at a bus terminal in Abuja, Nigeria that killed 71 people and injured 124 to the most recent kidnapping of 300 female students. Though the group has a strong hatred against the Christian south, most of its victims have been Muslims from the north. The reason for this is that the group believes the traditional Muslim leadership is corrupt and therefore wants to replace it. The main goal of the group is to establish an Islamic state in the north under Shariah Law.
Shariah Law is the extreme, conservative law of Islam. Examples of these laws include: theft being punishable by amputation, women not being allowed to drive, a woman who has been raped cannot testify against her rapist in court, and so on.
Back to the kidnapping of 300 female students, we can see how the Boko Haram group would commit such an act as this. They are extremists rebelling against the ways of the west and trying to keep their religious ideals alive. In fact, a saying of theirs is Government of the people by the people and for the people will be destroyed and replaced by government of Allah by Allah and for Allah. One of the issues with the Nigerian government addressing the Boko Haram group is that whenever they have a lead witness that can help, the witness will often turn up dead the next day. This has led to the government attacking and killing many innocent people in an attempt to stop the group, leading to an increase of participation by citizens in the Boko Haram.
The girls that were kidnapped ranged from the ages of 16 19 years old and were studying science courses, law courses, and more. The students all gathered at a school in Chibok, Borno to take their final exams and it was then they were attacked. It is said that 53 girls have escaped the group but 276 still remain hostages. The Boko Haram group has said that the girls will be sold into the marketplace and as wives to the jihadist members in their group.
As a result, the United States, Great Britain, and other countries have begun discussion on how to aid the Nigerian government to bring back these girls. People all over the world have begun to post pictures, tweets, and more on social websites to get the word out about this terrible incident. Celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher are using their fame to help get the word out too. It is important at this time that we all come together no matter who we are or where we are from, to help this cause in any way possible. Every effort no matter how small makes a difference, I am just a college student at DePaul University writing a blog, but I am giving what I can to this cause and I ask for everyone who reads this to please keep the word going and keep the spirit of #BringBackOurGirls alive during this difficult time.
My thoughts and prayers are out there for these victims and there families. I look forward to the day our girls come back and to the day the Boko Haram is just a history lesson. Thank you for reading my blog and please spread the word.
Josue A. Ortiz
Eggs, candy, days off from school, and of course the bunny! Easter is a great holiday that I personally enjoy especially when the weather is as awesome as the holiday itself. Like this Easter, I went out with family, enjoyed the sun, and had some food. Though all these things themselves are great let us not forget the real reason Easter is celebrated and that is the resurrection of Christ.
On previous Easters I had done church, basket giving, eggs, the whole bunch, but this Easter I experienced something really cool and worth knowing about. What I am talking about is The Shrine of Christ's Passion in ST. John, Indiana. At our arrival we were greeted by a giant statue of the Virgin Mary and a fountain that gave a cool, relaxed feeling to the place. I immediately took out my phone and started taking pictures everywhere of everything. We proceeded into the gift shop of the shrine, which was also the entrance to the walkway, and went to the back to exit. There were a few tables set up for people to eat lunch and enjoy themselves on an outdoor patio. We continued and the first thing we saw was Jesus sitting in the middle of a table holding bread and wine with seats surrounding him. It represented the last supper.
The walkway continued to show different moments of the stages of the cross from when Jesus fell to his crucifixion. Not sure if this is true, but I was told that the walkway was measured to the actual distance Jesus had to walk. For whatever it is worth let me just say that my family and I were pretty tired after walked it. The overall experience was great and the shop had a lot of great things to get from cheap key chains, to fancy little models of the last supper. All profits go to helping the area remain open and continue providing its free services to people. If you ever get the chance to go to the Shrine of Christ's Passion, I HIGHLY recommend you do, preferably on a day with nice weather.
Hope you all had a good Easter, stay classy, stay awesome.
Josue Angel Ortiz
On Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, there are often posts that make me laugh, inspire me, or make me sad. A post I just recently saw talks about friends and being normal. The picture features Daffy Duck from the Looney Tunes and he says: “I couldn't ask for better friends...More normal ones maybe!!! But, what fun would that be?
Aside from the awesome awesomeness of Daffy Duck in the picture, I was interested by the quote. The reason being is that from childhood to high school, I was always told things like “reach for the stars,” “be unique,” etc.,giving me the awesome spirit that I have to this day. Yet, as much as I was told this, I find it hard to believe in some ways. My senior year, I asked peers of mine why exactly they wanted to go to college. The answers were a variety of “better opportunities,” “more money in a job,” and “to learn more.”
So, this made me think: Am I just going with the crowd? The answer I have come up with is, yeah, I am. At least now I am, in a way, because when the opportunity arises for me to be more than normal, I take it. Something I have heard quite a few people say is that they believe they are nothing special, and that out of 7 billion people in the world, what difference can they really make?
Well, as much as I wish I could make everyone believe they are special, I can't, and so I turn to my blog for help. I want everyone to realize that we do make a difference and our presence in this world has a meaning. If you don't believe your existence is valuable, then I challenge you to look around your world, your life, and the people you know. Think about how they interact with you and how a portion of their life is you. Everyone is special and everyone is awesome-don't ever forget that.
Bringing this blog back to Daffy, I always think about what my perception of “normal” is.I have come to the idea that normal is something kind of like me. Since I think I'm awesome if someone else is similar to me, I would be drawn to them because I think that they act normally. But, if they are not like me, and they do things I'm not used to, then that makes them cool and not normal, in my opinion, because it shakes things up.
So, my friends, I hope that you always remember that you're awesome, you're unique, and don't be normal because, like Daffy says, “What fun would that be?”
Perspective is quite an interesting topic. For example, one person is being robbed and another person intervenes by attacking the robber. However, the victim runs away and now a random citizen walks by only to see a man beating up another man for no reason. That man might intervene to save the robber not knowing the incident that occurred five seconds before. As much as we think that we know what is going on, the truth is we don't. We only know what people tell us or what we can identify for sure. I can walk down the street in baggy clothes with my pants sagging and my laces undone and people will observe me a certain way, but then I can change into super tight clothing and put on makeup and now I am something else. Perspective creates issues but it is essential in creating order.
During times of elections there is always tons of propaganda; this guy said this and that lady said that so on. Yet, with all these commercials, flyers, and buttons going around, do we even really know anything about our candidates? I would say no, not at all. In fact, this candidate could say one thing and actually feel completely differently. We do not see these people wake up in the morning or hang out in their house, so our perspective of them is only what they want us to know. Now this isn't a bad thing either because I wouldn't exactly feel comfortable knowing what pajamas Obama wears to bed.
The reason I decided to write about perspective today is because I have been getting bombarded with flyers, junk mail, and candidate supporters lately due to the campaigns for state representative. I appreciate the work from all the candidates to campaign their name as much as possible, but some of the stuff can get a bit silly sometimes. To conclude this blog I just want to say to anyone interested in politics, law, or really just in life, that you should always remember that your perspective is one of many. Be critical in this information sharing age of ours and remember that everyone and everything has something about them that you may not know.
Thanks again, stay awesome!