It seems like such a simple thing, but putting your health first is definitely the most important duty we have as humans. I know that a lot of people are busy when they are feeling overwhelmed by school, work, or other things, but it is important to make sure to take a minute to breathe and make sure you are giving your body the rest and nutrition it needs.
When going away to college, make sure to establish what clinics are available to you and make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible when you aren’t feeling well. There are many ways to get sick, especially in such a large city full of people – be sure you are taking care of yourself first. Many professors are understanding if you are unable to make it to class due to illness; remember, one of the best remedies is rest.
In addition, mental health is just as important. Make sure you are talking to someone if you are not feeling well. If things aren’t too major and you just need some time to relax, I have found different methods of meditation helpful in clearing my mind. It’s important to make some time for yourself everyday: find something that works for you, whether it’s going for a walk or meditating.
There can be many reasons your body can take a turn for the worse. It’s important to realize when you’re not feeling right and to take action. Whether it is mental or physical, make sure you are taking care yourself because you only have one body.
This past weekend I participated in demonTHON! For those that are unfamiliar, demonTHON is an annual 24-hour dance marathon where all of the money donated goes straight to the kids at Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. This was my first time doing demonTHON, so I was very excited to see what the event was like.
In my sorority, each member is required to participate in either demonTHON or Relay for Life. Last year I chose to do Relay for Life, so this year I decided to change it up. As of now I am graduating a quarter early next year, which would mean I would never get the chance to do demonTHON if I did not do it this year. I chose to do the first twelve hour shift from 7pm to 7am. Throughout the event, there was a lot of entertainment brought in to help us fight through all the urges to sit down and get tired. Some of the entertainment included a clown, a drag queen, djs, and more!
Many families also came to the event to share their story with us and explain all of the ways Lurie Children’s Hospital has helped them. Each story explained how the hospital helps make even the most stressful surgeries for children and families enjoyable. They told us how they have dogs for children to pet, provide games for them to play, and in some cases even fly in a child’s favorite celebrity for them to spend the day with! One child who had almost passed away about ten years ago had his band play for us, and they truly put on such a great show. I was so proud to be a part of an event that does so much good for so many children. In the end, demonTHON raised over 200,000 all for the kids!
This spring break, my roommates and I headed out West for our first road trip. We rented a car in Phoenix and spent a week driving through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Not having cars in Chicago meant we were all itching to get back behind the wheel and drive along the beautiful mountainous roads. Since we did not do a ton of planning beforehand, we were able to stop whenever we saw something interesting, and ended up taking a lot of hikes and roadside adventures we would not have otherwise.
Winter Quarter finals are here! And while I know that may be a stressful thing for a lot of us, think of positives! We are almost in Spring Quarter! And what does that mean? We’re practically in Spring! We can finally leave the winter behind and get to brighter and sunny days. I’m sure the brisk wind will pop its head out every now and then, but only a few more weeks till sunnier, longer, and hopefully happier days. While we come to dread finals, the simple fact is that once they’re here, they’ll be gone just a moment later, so don’t spend valuable time stressing/procrastinating. You have to keep going and give it all you got till it’s over, and regardless of it you got the highest grade possible you finished, and that’s all that matters.
We put a lot of academic stress on ourselves, but the simple fact is we don’t give each other enough praise for balancing classes with our extra curriculars, our jobs, our social and other daily responsibilities. We are constantly being told to keep going, do more, faster, harder, but rarely do we ever just get to feel accomplished. Well that’s something I want everyone to feel so after you’re done smashing these finals and finishing up your classes I want you to relax and be proud of yourselves, because all the hard work you put is only ever going to be appreciate it by you, so relish in it, be proud, and have a great Spring Break!
Over the weekend my friends and I saw Sam Feldt
, a tropical house DJ I’ve been listening to for years. Rather than performing at a typical music venue he played his set at PRYSM
, a nightclub in River North known for periodically hosting musical talents.
Although it is smaller than most venues in the city, this makes for an intimate and immersive set. We ended up arriving later than we planned, but were still able to shoulder our way right next to the stage. Sam Feldt pulled out all the stops for his show, including white fog, a stunning light show, and tons of confetti. His version of EDM incorporates tropical beats reminiscent of summertime, island vibes, and warm weather. Since Chicago is still stuck in a seemingly neverending winter, spending the evening dancing to tropical music was just what my friends and I needed to get through these final weeks of classes and exams before spring break.
Happy International Women’s Month! This month is a celebration of the courageous women in all of our lives, so I thought I would take today’s blog to appreciate some of the coolest women in media doing cool things. First things first shout out to Jameela Jamil. One of the leading actresses on the great NBC sitcom The Good Place
spends most of her free time advocating for body positivity in women all of races, shapes, and sizes. Just recently she called out a magazine for airbrushing her skin and making her skin look lighter. She also has an Instagram page that is a community for any and everybody to spread their body positivity. She also advocates against body dieting supplements and is very vocal against normal body standards and the mental distress it causes women.
The next women I’d like to talk about is musician Noname.
She is a rapper out of Chicago with ties to Chance the Rapper who similarly
uplifts the city with realistic and emotional songs that resonate with everyone
no matter their gender. She is a positive influence on up coming artists in the
city and someone whose music I would recommend.
And the final woman I’d like to commend is recent Oscar
winner Regina King. She won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie If Beale Street Could Talk and it is a
tremendous accolade not only for a woman of color but for someone of her
stature and career highlights. Support the women in your life and enjoy the
As someone who has been sick for weeks now, I just want to provide a friendly reminder of proper hygiene.
This is not supposed to be a scare tactic, but I know I am not the only one who will every once in a while think what I have touched. All the doorknobs, railings on the CTA, buttons in elevators; I mean, I have to touch four door handles just to get from the street to my apartment room. It kind of sounds like the mindset of germophobe, but it is reality. It’s enough to make me wash my hands before every meal, but even the way one washes their hands may be wrong. Unless the soap you’re using specifically says that it is antibacterial, then the only way you’re killing the bacteria is with hot water, but I doubt most people will wait for the water to heat up. I witness so many patrons who will throw their hands under the sink for two seconds, probably just to avoid being judged for not washing their hands, but they might as well not even do that since it’s ineffective.
I recall my freshman year where there was a stomach flu outbreak in the dorms, and I believe there were thirty or so cases alone in Seton Hall. Luckily, not one of my roommates nor I came down with the stomach flu. Nonetheless, how many people actually disinfect surfaces? People will commonly think the toilets are “dirty” and they aren’t necessarily wrong, but studies show that the screens on your smartphones carry ten times the germs than your toilet seat. Just think about it, how many times do you actually sanitize your phones, keyboards, and other electronics?
Once again, I’m not attempting to cause mass hysteria but rather make some of you rethink your habits and personal hygiene, especially during cold season.
One thing that is often overlooked in the fast-paced environment of college is a student’s mental health. It doesn’t matter how far into school you are, your mental is something you should always keep in check because sometimes we neglect in favor of other things we deem important. Stressing about whether we get this assignment done, whether we have enough time to go hang out with friends, etc.
College can be overwhelming if you’re not taking the right steps to keep yourself balanced and mentally healthy, and I can tell you from experience that when you don’t your performance in all aspects of your life will decline. School in and of itself will always be a big point of stress for us students, and that impending fear about class can be a good motivator to get work done, but it can also cause us to do things like stay up all night when we should be getting sleep to help our bodies/brains.
Sleep is something that we often take for granted at this age; we no longer are beholden to bed times, curfews, and other things from high school. But getting enough rest is a part of the self-care needed to really get you to one hundred percent and do your best at school. And of course, every situation is different for everyone so evaluate what you need specifically and make sure you keep your mental health in check. Talk to someone if need be, take a break and enjoy some time alone if necessary, just make sure to keep yourself healthy.
After nearly three years of being a student here, the number of late nights and all day study sessions I have spent in DePaul’s John T. Richardson Library (JTR) is a little excessive. Lucky for DePaul students, being in Chicago means that potential study spots beyond the library are almost endless. Here are a few of my favorites: 1. Floriole Cafe and Bakery. Being right around the corner from campus is not the only thing I love about Floriole. Even if I’m not in the mood to study, the upstairs area with its skylights and bright aesthetic usually forces me to be productive. Especially in the winter, setting yourself up with a hot drink (their oat milk latte is my favorite) and a sweet treat from the bakery makes studying just a little bit easier.
2. The top floor of Harold Washington Library. This library located downtown (adjacent to DePaul’s Loop campus) features a top floor called the Winter Garden. The glass ceiling and array of plants makes the entire space appear a serene blue-green color that creates the perfect environment for studying. It’s even rented out as a venue for weddings and other events from time to time. If you have a class downtown or simply want to check out this beautiful space, Harold Washington’s top floor is a hidden gem you must take advantage of.
3. Osmium Coffee Bar. There are a few locations for this particular spot, my favorite being the one in Lakeview a few minutes from the Belmont red line stop. It’s easily accessible from DePaul, and I find that I’m able to get a lot done sitting at the coffee bar with one of their drink specialties in hand. In the warmer months, there’s even a back patio filled with picnic tables. On a sunny winter day (they do exist!) you can usually find a few people braving the cold, pretending like it’s 72 and warm.
Even though we all know and love JTR, sometimes it can be a nice change of scenery to take your studying elsewhere for the day. With finals quickly approaching, I hope these recommendations come in handy.
I was at a party this past weekend where I knew maybe like a dozen people. However, there was upwards of maybe a couple dozen there in general. So ultimately, most of the festivity goers were unknown to me. One of things that I find so interesting about parties (especially college ones) is how people usually aren’t too friendly or willing to dive outside your social circle. So, with that in mind, I’m here to give you a list of options to make your party going experience more fulfilling (or at least fulfilling to me anyway).
First things first, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. It can seem overwhelming to walk into a packed apartment where music is blasting and try to meet new people but, in the end, it is better to at least try (even if they ignore you) than to sit it in the same corner all night wondering why no one is talking to you.
Also, you don’t have to drink! No where in the rules of partying does it state you must be under the influence of anything to have a good time. In fact, one way to keep things fun for yourself is to play drinking games (without the drinking!). “Beer Pong” will always be fun to me, doesn’t matter if there’s anything alcoholic in the cup.
Finally, dance! Dancing in fun, and never let yourself feel afraid of looking stupid. So next time you’re at a party, introduce yourself, have fun, relax, and just be yourself. Rarely is it ever like it is in the TV shows.
This past week, I attended the Fast-a-thon Dinner with the DePaul UMMA (United Muslims Moving Ahead), which is one of the biggest UMMA events of the year. It allows people to experience fasting, sometimes for the first time, and break it together. Every year, the group chooses a charity to raise money for and raise awareness about an issue. This year’s charity was Muhsen, an non-profit organization that strives to raise awareness about disabilities and establish inclusive spaces within the Muslim community. This is a really great cause that makes accommodations for disabled people in the public, implementing programs focused on educating people on disabilities, and more. There was also a featured guest speaker who touched on their personal experiences and importance of special needs inclusion in the community.
Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience that helped raise awareness about disabilities in the Muslim community. The UMMA has a very inclusive and friendly atmosphere and encourages people from all backgrounds to attend and learn more about Muslim experiences.
I definitely checking it out next year if you’ve never been before and experience something new and contribute to good cause as well. I also encourage you all to check out Muhsen and help out in any way you can!
I had absolutely no motivation to go to class today. Whether it was from a lack of sleep or not keeping track of my priorities, school fatigue is a problem that plagues us all. But fear not! It is a problem that we can conquer but only if you put forth effort.
If you have early morning classes, I’m sure you already know getting enough sleep is a necessity. For the past few years, I’ve depended on caffeine to help wake me up, when in reality I need a better sleeping schedule and a proper diet. Not only that, but proper exercise can also help your motivation and ability to stay focused on your goals.
Also: try not to procrastinate. I know it is easier said than done, but waiting until the last minute for everything will only become detrimental as time goes on. Take it from someone who at one point became a Master of Procrastination: In the end we must evolve as young adults who will eventually join the public work force. As hard as things may seem now, the real world (post-college) can be a rough place. Bosses, supervisors, superiors, etc. will not accept late work and are definitely not as swayable as professors you might encounter here. Consistently being late will get you fired. So while it may be annoying to adhere to some rules within a university, it is much better than having to keep up with a real life job. So enjoy your time but realize you must evolve with it!
This weekend, my mom and sister came into town…so I got to channel my inner tourist! They came into town early on Saturday morning and stayed in the Loop, so everything we wanted to do was close or easily accessible by the train.
The first thing we did was go to the famous Eataly and enjoyed some light food and, of course, some gelato. After this, we walked around the city and went up to some rooftops (Cindy’s Rooftop has a wonderful view and is free!). I was also forced to go to the bean, where my sister and I took a typical tourist photo. Just when you think we were not being tourist-y enough, we went to Lou Malnati’s and had some deep dish pizza for dinner. Anyone who has lived in Chicago long enough knows that one should not go out to deep dish if they are in a rush. Since getting deep dish was about a three hour ordeal, we called it a night.
On Sunday morning, we ventured out to the West Loop for brunch. The West Loop has some of my all-time favorite restaurants in the city, and it also has great views of downtown. My mom, sister and I went to the Allis for brunch and all really enjoyed our meals. The Allis had wonderful decor throughout the restaurant as well, which allowed for some great pictures. After getting brunch, we went back downtown and headed towards the art institute. I always try to get here fairly early on the weekends, because in mid-afternoon, the lines become very long. Although I had already seen a lot of this art before, I never get tired of it. My favorite part of the Art Institute is the Thorne Miniature Rooms, and I recommend everyone to check them out!
While I was forced to take a picture at the bean, I did have an amazing weekend with my mom and my sister.
Over the summer, my roommates and I adopted a sweet 14-year old cat named Dexter after seeing in a Facebook post that he needed a new home. As soon as we saw his photo, we knew we wanted him. Since we all have such busy schedules, adopting an independent older cat who would not need as much attention was key. His relaxed demeanor and laid-back lifestyle fits perfectly with ours, and (as cheesy as it sounds) we can’t imagine not having him.
Although our situation worked out perfectly, it’s important to weigh all of your options before making a big decision like adopting a pet during one of the busiest periods of our lives. Since my roommates and I like to travel, we made sure that we had multiple friends in the neighborhood who were willing and able to take care of him in our absence. When we head off to Arizona for spring break this year, we won’t be worried about him because of how well our friends take care of him. During the holidays, my roommate, whose family lives in the suburbs, is able to take him home with her so he isn’t alone.
Another important thing to note is cost. Since my roommates and I all have steady jobs apart from our studies, we’re able to not worry about this as much. Ensuring you have the means to provide a good life for an animal is a seemingly simple but often overlooked prerequisite to adopting a pet. If you’re able to do this, I highly recommend adding a sweet pet like Dexter to your household. If not, consider walking dogs for Wag! or Rover or volunteering at a local Paws shelter to be able to spend time with animals without the commitment of ownership. I did this for years until adopting my own!
As Chicago continues its bipolar weather season, rarely do we know if outside will be habitable from weekend to weekend. Luckily for you, I’m here to break down all the amazing things you can be watching should you not want to go out into freezing cold. Who needs bars and parties when you have Netflix or Hulu? Am I right?
For those interested in some good Sci-Fi comedy, Future Man on Hulu is a great half hour comedy that has an amazing spin on the whole-time travel gimmick and manages to have an entire cast full of likable characters, entertaining situations, and just generally strange comedy in a breath of fresh air. Not all science fiction or action shows need to be super serious or too campy. Future Man is able to find the right balance and so far, has two incredible seasons you can binge watch right now!
For those who have Netflix, there are numerous movies and shows I can suggest to you. Funny enough, both Hulu and Netflix are two different documentaries on the chaotic train wreck that was Fyre Festival. Despite both films being about the same festival, each is somehow completely different due to having different footage, different people interviewed, and both are just as equally entertaining.
Also, Netflix recently premiered the new show The Umbrella Academy which is based off the graphic novel of the same name. I’ve only watched the first one so far, but from what I know and have heard it’s a delight for fans of comic books, mystery, action, and family drama. Definitely some things to look out for when you’re snowed in or don’t want frostbite!
While some may go to movies to get their Halloween scares, for those of you who want a longer trick or treat, the best horror entertainment of the weekend comes in the form of the new “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch” that premiered on Netflix this weekend. I know it may seem crazy, as a lot of us may have grown up with the old Melissa Joan Hart version but as most nostalgia from our childhoods this update is very different. I’d compare this show more to “American Horror Story” than anything else but do anything but compare it to the similar “Riverdale”. Instead of glorifying the nonsensical storylines Sabrina works because it’s about magic and monsters and it is supposed to be over the top. But still features much more diversity, good acting, and even LGBT characters that aren’t just there in token roles. For anyone hoping for just a good ole scary show for the holidays fret not, because that’s exactly what the show is, it’s never preachy and has genuinely likable characters. One of the other benefits is that it’s all available now to watch. I came into the show very skeptical and by the end of the first episode I was already determined to finish half of it before going to sleep, woke up and watched even more of it. Only stopping to write this very blog post right now. For someone who doesn’t have ten dollars to waste we got to stick together and watch the best Netflix content, so get on it, Happy Halloween!
I watch a lot of Netflix. I’m a film and television major here at DePaul so it is honestly the cheapest way to immerse myself in
the art for creative purposes. One of the best things Netflix has to offer just premiered this week in the form of “Daredevil” season three. Now I’m sure there are people who are just not interested in comic book related things but to be honest this isn’t a usual comic book show. There aren’t crazy color costumes, there aren’t explosions and things of that nature. The show is more so a crime thriller with some action than anything else. The show follows a lawyer (Matt Murdoch) who despite being blind is a ninja who puts on a mask and beats up criminals at night in New York. But this specific season is great because it not only develops the incredible cast of characters wonderfully but the story is truly well-written. Twist and turns really keep you guessing till the very end and each episode transitions wonderfully into the next (allowing for maximum binging). The action scenes throughout the series are choreographed perfectly. It’s not your stereotypical comic book story, the show is dark, sometimes a bit bleak, but actually has a cool mystery the characters must solve throughout the seasons. Daredevil is entertaining and definitely a show worth your time if you’re up for a crime thriller with a lot of action. Don’t let the fact that it is based off a comic book not make you want to watch it.
Just as with any skill, you ought to practice in order to get better. As with public speaking, you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations so that they won’t be so uncomfortable anymore. I do not know how exactly my stage fright came about, but I do remember my first case of a speech gone wrong in middle school. I always dreaded the presentation assignments for school, but it was not until last spring that I saw my potential in public speaking. During the Melvoin Ethics Symposium, I was a participant in an essay competition that included a presentation component. I thought I would be able to rely on PowerPoint for a visual aid, but just minutes beforehand I learned that it was a ten-minute speech rather than a presentation. As you can imagine, someone with public speaking fears, my anxiety went through the roof. Just before it was my turn I remembered the best advice I have gotten for public speaking, “do not be yourself”. I went up there with the mentality of being a Ted Talk speaker and delivered a solid speech that landed me second place. Afterward, I received compliments on public speaking, something I never would think to hear. Since then, I vowed to put myself into more competitive environments and uncomfortable situations to further improve. I would advise to just put yourself out there - outside your comfort zone - and yes, do not be yourself at least until you find your style and become acclimated to the spotlight.
Hey everyone! My name is Sydney and I am beginning my junior year here at DePaul. I am majoring in Public Relations and Advertising (woohoo PRAD!) and am minoring in Graphic Design.
In order for you all to get to know me a little bit better, I figured I would list off some fun facts about myself:
I am so excited to write about my many interests and all the wonderful opportunities I have gained by going to DePaul. If you have any questions about living on campus, how to get more involved, or really anything pertaining to DePaul, I’m your go-to gal. :)
- I am one proud Minnesotan and talk about how amazing it is a little too often. What does Minnesota have to offer you ask? Well it has 11,842 lakes (We call ourselves the land of 10,000 lakes because we are humble.), the one of a kind Minnesota state fair with the famous Sweet Martha’s Cookies, beautiful views up north including Lake Superior and the northern lights, and lastly we are the home of the Mall of America!
- I have been vegetarian for a year, except cheating twice with chicken...but really, who can pass up Canes? I love trying all of the plant-based restaurants Chicago has to offer (I love you, Chicago Diner).
- I try to go to a concert every month. Some of the best concerts I have experienced while I have been living in Chicago are Lorde, Bastille, Miguel, Kid Cudi, and Ariana Grande. I also saw some amazing artists at Lollapalooza over the summer including but not limited to Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, BROCKHAMPTON, Allie X, Jaden Smith, TYLER, THE CREATOR and CHVRCHES.
- At DePaul I am a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, have a radio show on Radio DePaul with one of my roommates (tune in for Sounds of Cinema on Sundays from 6-7!), am the Senator of Mission and Ministry for Student Government, work as the Special Projects Assistant in DePaul Housing Services, and have gone on two service immersion trips to both Los Angeles, California and Bladensburg, Maryland.
As the fall season truly starts to set in, the weather is slowly getting colder and colder and being outside isn’t always the most reasonable option. And what better way to justify staying indoors than a good Netflix binge-watching session. So, allow me to recommend some of my current favorites and give you plenty of reasons to never leave the comfort of your television screen.
First and foremost, for anyone who is a fan of documentary crime dramas “American Vandal” is a must watch. With the second season having just premiered this past week I have never been so entertained by what might be some of the stupidest crimes in television history. “American Vandal” is a show that attempts to unravel mysteries such as “who drew male genitalia on the cars of a school parking lot” and “who is terrorizing a private school with feces”. What may seem juvenile to some is surely a hilarious watching experience for others.
Another great show you may want to give a try is “BoJack Horseman .” The adult animated series follows an anthropomorphic middle-aged celebrity horse with a drinking problem, navigating a weird subversive Hollywood. It can get very dark and surreal but don’t allow that to stop you from giving it a try. It’s really funny and when it gets serious it’s actually kind of inspiring. I think a lot of animated shows don’t get enough credit for how much meaning and heart they have when you look past the surface, but regardless, these are two of the shows I feel might be enjoyable to all, happy binging and have a great week!
I’m a big comic nerd. So, the month of May so far has been very good to me. Whether it’s the release of Avengers: Infinity War or impending superhero blockbusters like Deadpool 2 and The Incredibles sequel, I absolutely cannot wait for movies this summer. That being said, I’ve begun to notice that movies like these are beginning to receive some backlash. Not that they haven’t necessarily had them before, but now people are being more vocal about how they don’t like superhero movies; how they’re all just the same and are a waste of time. I get it, from the outside in they are, they usually include a lot of forgettable bad guys and beams of light shooting from the sky but I think it’s important to remember that while everyone and their mother is trying to copy the success of the Avengers. There are other people trying to take comic book properties in another direction. Whether it’s on TV or movies I think we should stop putting a stigma around these movies and try to enjoy them for what they are and sometimes that is just mindless entertainment. Sure, these movies don’t try to be thought-provoking but they are entertaining spectacles and the ones that do put in the effort and are quality don’t deserve the hate that the
less than quality copycats do. If you’ll never be a fan that’s fine, but if you’re even mildly interested in comic books but don’t care for blockbuster summer action look for something more your style, you’re sure to find something you like.
I’ve said it before and I’ll
say it again…being a teacher is really difficult! You think writing a 5-page
paper is exhausting? Try grading 100 of them! I wish I could go back in time
and take back all the complaints I had about slow-grading teachers. I have so
much empathy for them right about now. Though I can’t, you can!
Show some appreciation for your teachers—they
really do work hard. And the thing that makes it all worth it is hearing
students thank me on their way out of our classroom’s door each day. This shows
me that my efforts are worth it—that I really have made an impact on someone’s
learning. That is after all the main
Still, I was thinking back to
my own experience as a high school student and I could not remember one time
that I thanked my teacher on just an average school day. It is crazy to think about how something that
means so much to me now, could mean so little to me then that I did not even
pay the simplest respectful gratitude to my own teachers. That is why I ask you
to give it a try…thank your teachers!
One of the most influential
factors of your own happiness is practicing gratitude. So why not make yourself and your teacher
happier with just two simple words? It can make a world of difference, believe
Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage, and I have definitely fallen into their trap. With subscription boxes offering everything from clothes, skincare, makeup, food, and even pet toys; it’s easy to get into the habit of receiving a fun box full of goodies every month. The cost of these monthly boxes vary, but most of them are fairly affordable. However, over time, they can definitely put a dent in the budget. Here are some pros and cons I’ve found with these monthly boxes.
There is absolutely nothing better than getting unexpected mail. While subscription boxes technically aren’t unexpected, it’s still a nice surprise when they show up in the mailbox every month. Many of these boxes also allow you to customize your preferences and send you products based on what you like. Not to mention it’s a great way to try out new products that you otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Another great pro of many of these subscription boxes is that you do get a lot of bang for your buck. When I was receiving my Birchbox, a subscription box for makeup/skincare, some of the $10 boxes had $50 worth of products in them. Overall they are a fun and convenient way to try new and exciting products.
While there is really no glaring negatives to monthly subscription boxes, there are a few small downsides. One is that the more expensive boxes do put a dent in anyone’s budget when you look at how much you’re spending annually. Another big risk I discovered with these boxes is the difficulty to quit. It was easy to justify spending so little each month in turn for receiving a box full of goodies, and that fact alone kept me coming back month after month. You also risk not liking or having a use for some of the products you receive in your box, but you can always regift!
Overall subscription boxes are a good deal. Be wary that you will probably have a hard time quitting once you start, so make sure to build the monthly payments into your budget. It really comes down to putting in some research and choosing which box (or boxes) are worth it to you.
By the time you are reading this, the Oscars will have already happened. However, I am still going to tell you about some of my favorite movies and television shows I’ve watched this year. First and foremost, if you see any large superhero blockbuster it must be the wildly popular and successful “Black Panther.” Rounded out by an incredible cast and amazing director this movie is not only outstanding by Marvel movie standards but it fits my criteria as a good movie. The film has a message, it is fun, it is well acted, and now we are one step closer to having more diversity in high budget Hollywood films. In terms of television, I would recommend “The Venture Bros” to anyone who is a fan of Adult Swim (and Rick and Morty in particular). It’s basically a parody of Johnny Quest, comic books, and generally weird stuff that mixes and mashes together as a wildly sporadic but entertaining show. Good animation mixed with stellar voice acting and writing, it is a must watch for anyone who likes weird adult humor and sci-fi action.
Speaking of weird this is where I will tell you about “Black Mirror” and why it is incredible. The anthology series is surely inspired by Twilight Zone but it has created its own legacy by showing us a darker side of the technology we as humans hold dear. In each episode we see a future affected by a piece of technology that drastically changes how we interact as humans. Anybody wanting to see a creative view on the future, I would definitely check it out, as well as the other two recommendations!
Contrary to popular opinion, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Despite all of the consumerism and overall panic that surrounds the holiday, to me, it’s always been one of the best times of the year. Valentine’s Day is a whole day that we dedicate to celebrating all kinds of love: love for your family, your friends, your partner and most importantly, yourself. It’s a day to look around and realize how many people appreciate and support you. Even though it’s one of the most dreaded holidays, I for one, am a huge fan of having another excuse to thank the people I care about. This year, I made my roommate pancakes to show her how much I appreciate her. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite random acts of kindness that
you can use to spread some love next time February 14th rolls around.
- Text someone good morning and send them warm thoughts
- Write positive sticky notes and leave them around your room or apartment as friendly reminders
- Pay for someone’s CTA commute (someone did this for me and it was the sweetest gesture)
- Send some flowers to friends that you haven’t seen in a while
- Smile at a stranger on public transit, just because
- Pay for the person behind you at Starbucks
- Leave a generous tip and a thank you note at for the server at your next meal
- Write and mail a letter to a family member or close friend
- Practice gratitude by allowing yourself a few moments in your day to reflect on all of the wonderful things you have in your life
I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day, and I challenge you to spread love any way you can next February! :)
Song of the Week: Loving Is Easy- Rex Orange County
When searching Google for the best value food in Chicago, I came across Hot “G” Dogs as a recommendation. Let me first tell you that you will not find any bargains here (with sausage at the eight dollar mark) but you will walk into a restaurant that mimics the style of Hot Doug’s. The gourmet toppings for their specialty sausages are indescribable, but they surely compliment the sausage in an unimaginable way. The menu features some of the same items, even right down to the duck fat fries. I always ask people if they had the luxury of visiting Hot Doug’s in the past, but now I will have to ask if they will go to Hot “G” Dogs sometime soon.
Winter break is so close I can almost taste it. And one of my absolute favorite things about being at DePaul is the insanely long winter break we have to enjoy. So whether you’re staying in Chicago or heading home for the holidays, here are six things you can do this winter break.
Take an online class: School might be the last thing any student wants to think about over break, but taking a class during winter intercession is a great way to catch up or get ahead on your credits. DePaul even offers a lot of online classes during winter break, so you can take the class wherever you’d like!
Visit friends/family: Six weeks of break leaves you plenty of time to do some traveling. Whether you’re planning a big trip cross country or visiting friends or family nearby, winter break is the perfect time to do it.
Apply for jobs and internships: Late fall and early winter is the perfect time to start applying for spring jobs and internships. Many employers begin posting job openings during this time, and getting a head start on your resume and application process can give you a leg up on the competition!
Volunteer: Volunteering is a fulfilling and fun way to spend free time during break. Organizations and charities are always looking for extra help during the holiday season, and a few hours of your time can make a huge difference in your community.
Make some money: While classes and homework are on hold for six weeks, it’s a perfect time to make some extra cash for the future. So pick up some extra shifts at work or look for a babysitting gig over the holiday, the extra money will come in handy once school starts back again.
Sleep in: Perhaps something that is on every college student’s to-do list over break is to sleep in. Sleep is hard to come by during the school year, so take advantage of the extra time and catch up on some zzzs while you can.
This is the second concert I have attended that was sponsored by Red Bull. The first was a Soulja Boy concert freshman year. These Red Bull concerts are typically really cheap if you sign up for the mailing list. The Soulja Boy concert was five dollars, whereas the Young Thug concert was fifteen if you bought the tickets before they sold out in the primary market. Not only are the concerts really cheap, but also Red Bull will provide a lot of free commodities for those attending. Of course, there will be an ample supply of energy drinks, but you are given a token that can be redeemed for a concert tee or other merchandise branded for that night’s concert. I cashed my token in for a Young Thug concert shirt of pretty decent quality. Red Bull ambassadors also gave out slices of pizza to those of us waiting for hours in line before the show.
While it may be too late to buy tickets at fifteen dollars for artists like Migos (which I regret not buying) you can still purchase tickets in the secondary market- like StubHub. I still have one more concert in part of the 30 Days of Chicago and that is Khalid performing at the Aragon Ballroom on November 21. Check below for the full lineup of artists that will be performing throughout the month.
Let’s be real, everyone wants to study abroad. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Spending a semester in a foreign country is exciting, fun, and adventurous. In fact, many study abroad alumni often credit a semester overseas as one of the best experiences of college. As much fun as studying abroad is, it can also be scary, nerve-wracking, and a total culture shock. Study abroad often gets a good rep, but there is some controversy out there surrounding the entire experience. After studying abroad in Budapest during the fall of my junior year, I learned a lot about what the entire experience is really like. Here are some of the most common ideas out there I hear about studying abroad, and why I think they’re not entirely true.
You’ll fall behind in credits: Many students think that you can only take electives while studying abroad which will make you fall behind in course credits. While it is true that many students decided to mainly take electives, most programs have classes that will fulfill major or learning domain requirements. So even if you don’t have any elective credits to spare, studying abroad is still an option!
It’s too dangerous: In the state of our world today, spending a semester overseas can be scary as far as safety is concerned. That being said, universities are very in tune with what’s happening in the world, and would never send students off to a country they believed to be unsafe. Many study abroad programs also have a very extensive safety protocol so the university knows where all students are at any given time.
You need to be fluent in another language: Living in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language you’ve never heard before is definitely a huge culture shock. Language barriers are one of the biggest turn-offs for students when choosing a country to study in. Knowing the native language of a country is absolutely beneficial, but not necessary. English is widely spoken and understood across the globe, and many programs have a language component where you can take a beginning level class to help learn the basics of the native tongue.
This summer I visited my brother who lives in Arlington, Virginia the week before school started. This weekend I was thinking about all the places I visited when I was there so I thought I should write about my trip for my blog post. A lot of people visit the D.C area because there is so much to see around there so I narrowed it down to a few of my favorite places I visited.
The National Mall is extremely overwhelming. I thought I enjoyed museums until the National Mall but there are way too many museums to visit and it certainly gets boring after a few museums. If I had to pick my favorite building along the National Mall I would say it was the East Building of the National Gallery of Art- mostly because I’m a huge art gallery fan. This was the contemporary and modern art building and I really enjoyed it and I definitely recommend going here if you’re an art fan.
To be honest my favorite thing about the Washington Monument were all the fun pictures that I was able to take interacting with it (I didn’t upload any on this page because my brother is terrible at taking pictures.) But I suggest the classic holding the monument in your hands or casually leaning on the monument like it’s your best friend.
This art museum along the National Mall was super cool because they had a few interactive exhibits. For example, the picture on the right was an interactive outdoor exhibit by a Japanese artist, Yoko Ono, where people can write wishes on a tag and attach it to the tree. There was also one indoors called “My Mommy is Beautiful” and people could write things about their mothers.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was the first place I visited and it might have been one of my favorites because my brother kept reminding my mom and me that this is his favorite place. The memorial was very quiet and respectful which is why I enjoyed it so much.
My brother lives in Arlington and this was my favorite place we visited out of all the places I visited from the five days I was there. This was another peaceful and respectful place which made the long walk through the entire cemetery worthwhile because everyone was paying a lot of respect throughout the entire cemetery.
As for the movie itself, it is literally something I had never experienced before. Loving Vincent is the first fully painted feature film. Painted in Vincent van Gogh’s postimpressionist style, the film is a biographical drama that takes place in the weeks following Vincent’s death, with frequent flashbacks to his life. Not only is the movie composed of over 65,000 paintings that are contributed by 125 professional artists, it also features plenty of scenes from a multitude of van Gogh’s original paintings. Some are discreetly incorporated into the film while others are quite obvious such as the implementation of Starry Night as the opening scene. Honestly, the plot may be predictable and cliché, but this is a film you will assuredly appreciate. Loving Vincent is not shown in commercial theatres, but you can see the movie yourself at venues such as the Music Box, ArcLight Chicago, Landmark Renaissance Place Cinema, and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 15 & IMAX.
As I start recruitment this week, I’m excited to get to know how Greek life at DePaul differs from my initial misconceptions. Meeting each chapter and getting to know the girls who are a part of them is something I’m looking forward to, and I’m hoping that my open-mindedness going into this process helps me to find what works for me, whatever that may be.
Even if I don’t find my “Home away from home” as many sororities proudly advertise, I hope to take some lessons away from the experience of recruitment and learn more about myself as well as the countless girls I will be meeting. Although I am anxious about how the whole process will play out, I also can’t wait to start meeting all of the strong women who represent the 8 chapters at DePaul.
It was a beautiful early summer night following a late night excursion to Oberweis. Rather than take the brown line back, I decided to walk - given the warmth and stillness that is otherwise rare during the day. Making my way south down Sheffield, I walked through an empty street lined with a set-up of tents. Turns out I was amidst the aftermath of the first day of Lincoln Park’s Greek Fest.
The next day, in between apartment showings, I thought it’d be a good time to check out the fest and maybe even taste some food from a different culture. Free admission…nice. Live music and dancing…nice. However, it is the food I am most focused on. Looking at the menu I notice the familiar gyros, but many others that are exotic. I kept true to my word of venturing from the familiar and asked someone what certain items are, such as moussaka, pastitsio, and spanakopita. I decided to go with the pastitsio, which can be described as Greek lasagna made with macaroni, ground beef and béchamel sauce. I thought the twelve-dollar price was typical for a festival, but the portion was not. Served with a side of rice, this was a fulfilling portion that should have been considered my dinner.
I was glad to have popped into Greek Fest, even if it was just for a quick meal. I made sure to visit at least one cultural fest this academic year since I missed Pilsen’s Mole De Mayo for the second year in a row. Word of advice, give up the burger and fries for a day, look for a festival in your area, find something on the menu you cannot pronounce, and order it.
It’s summer! Is it just me, or did this school year fly by? Three quarters
, forty-eight credits, thirty weeks of classes, six weeks of winter break, and three weeks of finals, finished off with three months of summer break!
As I have already mentioned, I am moving to Washington, D.C. at the end of July for graduate school, so I only have five or six weeks left in Chicago! That part makes me really sad, but I am getting really excited to move, explore a new city, and have a new adventure.
Before I move, I want to do as much in Chicago as I can! Some of the items on my bucket list are kayaking on the Chicago River, ordering the 25 scoop sundae at Margie’s Candies, and having one more beach day with my friends. I also want to work as much as possible. I can’t get a full-time job because I’ll only be here for a few weeks, but I hope to get as many random babysitting jobs as I can. You think Chicago is expensive? Somehow, D.C. is even pricier!
The highlight of my summer, however, will be the 10-day trip to Israel I am going on. It is through a program called Passages and is aimed at college students. We will get to tour a lot of historic Biblical sites and learn a lot about the past and present political state of Israel. Two of my best friends are going, too, and I am so excited to spend that time with them, explore Israel, and grow in my relationship with the Lord.
What are you guys up to this summer? I hope you have a relaxing, exciting summer!
Over the course of two years, I’ve written about 70 blogs for DeBlogs. As I went through and counted the blogs that I’ve written, I realized that this will be my last blog that I write for DeBlogs! So, in honor of my last blog, I thought it might be fun to compare where I was in my life when I started to where I am in my life now.
When I first started at DeBlogs, I was a junior at DePaul, majoring in Spanish and International Studies, who had just found out he had been accepted to the BA/MA program in
Now, all I have left to do for my master’s is to finish my thesis, which I’ll do over the summer. I’ll (hopefully successfully) defend my completed thesis when school starts back up in the fall, and then I will officially be a master’s graduate!
When I applied to work at DeBlogs back in Spring 2015, I had to submit a sample blog to show that I was a decent writer,
and that I could come up with something interesting to say. I had returned from studying abroad in Madrid just a few months prior to applying to DeBlogs, so I chose to write my sample blog about my time in Madrid.
This year, I suddenly found myself returning to Madrid in
order to do research for my thesis (thank you for funding my trip, DePaul!). While the last minute trip meant that I had to push back my timeline for finishing my thesis by a few months, it was absolutely worth it. Not only did I get to return to my favorite city in the world, but I also got tons of information for my thesis.
I’d like to end my final DeBlog with my last-ever food suggestion. During my time at DeBlogs, I’ve recommended countless restaurants and bakeries. As my parting gift, I urge you to visit Annette’s Italian Ice
at some point during the summer. Of course, despite the name, I go just for the ice cream. If you go once, you’ll go again: I’ve gone like four times this month to satisfy my need to stress eat.
Since I saw it on television years ago, I always wanted to visit Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen
in the Ravenswood
Community, so I finally made the effort up there since I now live not too far from there.
If you’re familiar with the Denver-based Casa Bonita, the one from South Park, this is pretty much its deli-sister. This place has it all; pierogis, cheeses, and you know there is an ample supply of sausage. However, the main attraction is the rooftop restaurant. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, it was closed.
But, what I did not expect was running into another as seen on TV restaurant right across the street. Jerry’s is a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches, and I love me a good sandwich. From a college student budget, it can get a tad bit pricey, but you won’t be disappointed with whatever you decide on because these aren’t your brown sack lunch sandwiches your mom packed you for school.
Besides the food, the area is unlike anything I’ve seen in Chicago yet. The restaurants are nestled on a cozy, narrow street with a small-town atmosphere that brought me back to my hometown, except there is no fountain back home. If you want pure and good food, Gene’s and Jerry’s will satisfy a sandwich craving.
Living in University Hall definitely
has its perks. One of my personal favorites is that FEST, DePaul’s annual end of the year concert, is hosted on the Quad just steps away from my front door. While the concert was happening, some people even watched from their windows instead of paying for a ticket. It was cool to be able to say that this year’s artists performed in my front yard.
On Friday night, my friends and I attended FEST. Even though it was raining, that didn’t put a damper on the concert. This year’s lineup was Jesse McCartney and Logic, and the pair did not disappoint! I have been obsessed with Jesse McCartney ever
since I was a little girl jamming out to Beautiful Soul with my sisters, which made seeing him live that much better of an experience. The entire crowd was singing all of the lyrics along with him, and when Beautiful Soul came on I’m pretty sure half of the girls cried.
When Logic came on stage, I was unsure how it was going to go because I had not heard much of his music. As soon as he started his set, I knew it was going to be a good time. He was extremely high energy and really amped up the crowd. After Jesse had us all in our feels, Logic was able to get us dancing and unable to stand still.
One of the best parts of Logic
’s set was that he played songs off of his new album for the first time live. We were the first audience to ever hear them! It was really cool to be able to hear his music like this, and I was really glad that he picked DePaul to be his first live audience.
FEST was such a cool event to be a part of! I am so glad that my friends and I decided to go, and we will definitely be attending next year as well. It’s so awesome that DePaul offers an event like this right before finals for students to let loose and destress for a couple hours.
I’ll be the first to admit that needles aren’t my favorite thing in the world. I have no real irrational fear of them, but I tend to psyche myself out every time I get a shot at the doctors
. That being said, giving blood is pretty much the only time I voluntarily allow someone to stick me with a needle. We’re all familiar with the American Red Cross, an organization set on increasing the availability of blood nationwide. The organization hosts hundreds of blood drives across the country on a daily basis and is set to host a two-day blood drive right at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center
on DePaul’s campus.
Giving blood is a quick and easy way to help save lives. Nationwide someone is in need of blood every two seconds, and one blood donation can help save up to three lives. According to Red Cross’ website, an estimated 38% of people nationwide are eligible to give blood, but less than 10% actually do. Check out the eligibility requirements on
their website to see if you can become a donor.
Blood donation can definitely be a little scary, especially for a first timer. So here’s what to expect if you do decide to donate. On the actual day of your donation, make sure you stay hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink an extra 16 ounces of water on donation day to make the process go as smooth as possible. The actual blood withdrawal only takes about 10 minutes, but plan on the entire donation taking around an hour from start to finish. You must first go through the registration process, a mini physical to check blood pressure, pulse, and iron levels, and you finish with the actual donation and refreshments afterwards.
I promise you, donating blood is a great way to help make a difference and literally only takes one hour of your time. The Red Cross says you can donate blood every 56 days, and with tons of times and locations to donate across the city, making a difference is easier than ever. The donation at The Rey Meyer Fitness Center is set to be June 27 & 28 from 3-7 p.m. Make a difference and sign up to save lives!
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!
In case you didn’t know, for the past two years, I’ve been in a long(ish)-distance relationship. Even though a long-distance relationship is never ideal, we’ve made it work. To be honest, it definitely helps that my boyfriend lives just a few minutes away from my parents. While he always offers to travel to Chicago to see me, I nearly always choose to travel back home to Wisconsin since it means I can kill two birds with one stone. So roughly every other weekend, I pack my bags and head home to Wisconsin to spend time with my parents and hang out with my boyfriend.
However, last weekend, my boyfriend knew I had way too much to do to spend the whole weekend back in Wisconsin (it’s so hard for me to get anything done at home), so he decided to drive down to Chicago on Sunday to spend the day with me. Since we don’t get to spend a ton of time together in Chicago, I immediately started wracking my brain for something special to do. Then, the idea hit me.
I’ve written before (here
) about how much I love rush tickets for
musicals. Rush tickets allow you to get up to two last minute tickets for popular musicals at super discounted prices on the day of the show. The catch is that the tickets are first-come
and generally pretty competitive, so you might have to get in line an hour or two before the box office opens. So, at 9:30am
on Sunday, I got in line for rush tickets for Aladdin .
Just an hour and a half later, the box office opened, and after a few minutes, I walked out with two tickets in the twelfth row for just $25 each.
The show is worth seeing if for no other reason than to see Aladdin and Jasmine fly around the stage on the magic carpet during “A Whole New World
.” Like, seriously, consider seeing it just for that reason. If you need even more reasons, the sets and special effects are stunning (I never knew that indoor fireworks existed). The show is seriously one of the most beautiful shows that I’ve ever seen. Plus, the actor playing Aladdin originated the role on Broadway, so you know the cast is insanely talented.
Aladdin is in Chicago until September 10th, so if you have a couple free hours and $25 burning a hole in your pocket, definitely head on over to Agrabah!
This weekend nearly all of my friends graduated from college. For months I was dreading this, knowing that I’m taking a fifth year of school due to transferring, changing majors, and a brief medical leave. I’ve felt so much shame about it, telling myself I’m not smart enough, good enough, motivated enough. That I wasn’t enough. Until I came across this quote and shared it around the Instagram
community, and connected with dozens of other people who commented saying they related to being on a different path than all of their friends.
Sometimes, life comes up but that doesn’t mean it’s a setback, or that I’m not ___ enough. In fact, if I hadn’t transferred schools I’d still be in Canada, if I hadn’t stop enjoying film I wouldn't have found Journalism
, if I hadn’t been living back in Chicago I wouldn’t have met my best friends. I wouldn’t be writing for the DeBlogs.
Everyone has a different path, and sometimes yours turns out the exact opposite of how you imagined. Freshman year I planned to study abroad my junior year, graduate in 4 years, and then move to Toronto to work in television…
Things aren’t perfect, but I’m grateful I found DePaul and changed paths. Even if it means graduating a year later.
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!
When I walk around campus during midterms and finals seasons, especially in spring quarter when we’re all antsy to join our semester-school friends on summer break, anxiety fills the empty spaces. And it’s my own anxiety too. So, this time I decided to utilize my biggest de-stressors - art, and spreading positivity and hope around to other students.
In times between classes or at work, I made little reminders to keep going, and have been leaving them around the
and Loop campuses. I also left my Instagram name on the back of them, and a lot of the students that found them hav
e reached out to me expressing how it made their day, and they just needed a reminder, even anonymously, that they’re not alone.
Doing a random act of kindness for someone else made me smile and lessened my anxiety, even if just for a moment. So if you’re feeling stressed, join in on spreading around the positivity, because we’re all in this together.
Washington, D.C.: our nation’s capital; the home to monuments, the (free) Smithsonian museum, cherry blossom trees, and George Washington University, where I will be spending my next two years receiving my Master’s degree!
I went to Washington, D.C
. over spring break, and I had such a fun time. I flew in early on a Friday morning and got to my hotel room with enough time to spare to take a quick nap. I then met with someone who
works for the United States Agency for International Development and we talked about global health opportunities in D.C. It was great to meet with him and get advice about the career pathway I want to pursue. By that point, it was late afternoon and I had the rest of the day to myself! I took the Metro over to Capitol Hill
and saw the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress
and walked around the neighborhood for a while. I then went back to my hotel, read a good book, took a bath, and was in bed by 9pm – the perfect evening.
The next day was Admitted Students Day for GWU, so I spent the day doing that. It was exhausting, but informative. I then took the Metra out to Maryland and spent a day with one of my best friends who recently moved to that area. It was a whirlwind weekend visit, but really fun, and I can’t wait to live there permanently in a few months!
Although we’re all in college for an education, some of the perks that come with being a student are hard to beat. These perks vary by school, but nonetheless should definitely be take advantage of throughout your college career. DePaul offers students some of the best benefits out there, from free food and events, to more grown up and serious perks, like career services. So don’t miss out, here are some of the perks every DePaul student should be taking advantage of.
The Ray: This is one I continuously need to remind myself of. Though the thought of going to the gym might not seem like a “perk” per say, it’s definitely a blessing in disguise. If you have ever had a gym membership outside of DePaul, the prices can run pretty steep. If the treadmills not your thing (and I speak from experience) try one of the group fitness classes that are included with the free student membership. P.S. The Ray also has the best food on campus, so it’s a win-win.
Student Discounts: This is a perk almost every college student knows about, but might be the most underused. Tons of different restaurants and shops around Lincoln Park offer student discounts specifically for DePaul students. Not only that, but any college student in America can get discounts on some of the biggest retails in the country. Discounts range from Ray-Ban and Apple, to Panasonic and TOMS. Head over to UNiDAYS website and sign up with you school email to receive your personalized discount code. DePaul also offers it’s own Demon Discounts for students with amazing deals across the city.
Electives: Elective might be the single best thing about taking college classes. Not only are they super fun and interesting to take, but they’re required to graduate. Tons of students leave electives for their last two years of college, which means these classes may be some of the last times you are actually enrolled as a student. DePaul offers some of the best classes out there with awesome teachers who are serious experts in their field. Some of the must take electives at DePaul include Issues in Sex and Gender and International Wine Education and Management.
Career Services: This might be the most beneficial perk that students are provided throughout college. DePaul’s career center offers tons of amazing benefits to students. They host resume workshops, job and internship fairs, provide interview tips and tricks, and can even set students up with career advisors. This service should definitely be taken advantage of no matter where you are in your college career.
Public health is kind of my thing. I’m studying it at DePaul, I’m getting my Masters in it next year… I am super interested by all of it. Particularly, though, I am interested in global health, and what can be implemented around the world to alleviate health disparities and gaps that cause highly preventable diseases and circumstances to prevail. For example, no one should have to live without clean water, or without access to a doctor, or in fear of contracting cholera or tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS. Science and medical technology are advanced enough that many of these worldwide problems could be eliminated, but unfortunately, resources and funds are not allocated and international politics gets in the way.
Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations and international agencies working to eliminate a lot of these disparities, and one organization that is working hard is the United Nations. From 2000-2015, the United Nations implemented the Millennium Development Goals, which were eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. Some goals were to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health. While the Millennium Development Goals produced significant results, they were not successful in addressing and ending poverty and its root causes. The United Nations
then implemented the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development program, which lays out seventeen goals that “address the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.”
I personally geek out over programs like this because they are making such a difference to the health and lives of people all over the world. I am excited to see what the year 2030 holds for the people of this world – and you should be, too!
On Earth Day this year, I attended an event in Grant Park called the March for Science. It was a nonpartisan gathering for the purpose of calling on the current administration to enact science-based policies, respect scientists and the facts they offer, and refrain from cutting funding for important scientific research. Also, the march served to unite people all around the world in their dedication to protecting the planet. Along with the march, the event included a rally and a science expo which took place on the steps of the Field Museum and offered discounted tickets into the museum to encourage scientific curiosity and education.
Since none of my friends were able to attend the March for Science with me, I went with a group of DePaul students who had organized a meet-up beforehand. This group helped me to feel even more excited about the march, and I made some lasting connections with other students.
Being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals was inspiring and empowering. Many of those who attended the March for Science were young, which gave me hope for the future. Everyone was in good spirits and excited about the huge turnout. Around midday, Chicago PD even asked that people who were still planning to attend the march refrain from coming because of how large the gathering had become. According to local news, around 40,000 people attended the march even though only 16,000 were expected.
One of the reasons I love going to school in Chicago is how vibrant the activist scene is throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. Being able to be a part of such important movements is something that I value, and I’m grateful that Chicago offers so much for me to get involved with. Whether it’s the March for Science, the Women's March, or informative events throughout the year that teach me about how I can get involved in what I’m passionate about, there is no shortage of opportunities if activism is something you’re interested in.
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.
Hola! I’m writing to you all the way from Madrid, Spain, where the weather has been so perfect, I ended up walking around for 8 hours yesterday. As a result, I now blend in when I stand in front of a stop sign.
Despite the sunburn, it probably goes without saying that I’m having the time of my life right now. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I have a lot of free time to enjoy Madrid because I messed everything up. When I booked the trip, my one goal was to travel as early in the quarter as possible, so that I could keep up with my classes and still have a chance at finishing my thesis on time. Logical, right? Nevertheless, somehow, despite my intense research on air fares and hotels, I seemingly missed the fact that my trip coincided with Easter.
So while I’m here to do research for my thesis, most of the places where I’m trying to do research are closed a few days for Easter weekend. As a person who wants to get work done, it’s slightly frustrating, but as a human being, I’ll happily take any free time in Madrid. So far, in my free time, I’ve discovered that one of the traditional Spanish Easter pastries, the torrija
, is actually a modified version of French toast, but somehow way creamier. I mean, the center is almost like a custard. I thought it was going to be terrible, but now I’m craving it and I think I’ll get another tomorrow.
In case you didn’t know, DePaul is funding my research here in Madrid through the Graduate Research Funding program
. This trip is really all about working on my thesis. I spent a few days last week at the Biblioteca Nacional
(National Library) going through newspaper archives, and I’m hoping to spend as much time as possible going through transcripts of interviews at a different archive this week. Until then, I’ll be eating as much torrija as possible!
It’s internship application season!!! The best time of year!!! I spent some of my spring break sending out applications and emails. It wasn’t until last night as I was trying to fall asleep that I fully panicked about how behind I am, how I’m not qualified enough, how it’s not even worth applying, how people will judge me for not getting an internship, literally the list of self-deprecating statements went on and on until I finally told myself “Emily, it’s 1am, you can’t do anything about it now, splash cold water on your face to calm down and go to bed!”
Luckily today I had extra time at work to go all out on internship apps, and found out some really helpful stuff along the way. This goes especially for journalism/writing students, but works for everyone! Here are my top 3 tips
- DePaul has given you access to a site called Handshake where employers post job and internship openings. There are literally thousands, and you can apply straight from there. I hadn’t set up my site before (because let’s be real, I was far too lazy), but it works similarly to LinkedIn where your profile has your education, skills, and work experience, so employers can view that! You can also upload your resume and cover letters to be saved on there, so all I had to do was click on my already uploaded resume, write a cover letter for the specific job, and hit apply!
a. With that comes the reminder that sometimes your resume needs to be shifted around/changed depending on the target audience! Same obviously goes for cover letters, and that’s why you should ALWAYS write a new one for each application!
2. Have a website, blog, or link you can provide of additional writing samples.
My work that’s been published is all over the place - the school newspaper, on here, random blogs that published it, but I’m creating a blog right now for one of my classes that I’m going to start using professionally, and I also have a lot of the articles I’ve written published on a medium.com account. If you’re interested in a writing position, chances are they’re going to request some writing, so have it all organized! The same goes for photography, graphic design, film, etc. Better yet, start creating your own website now where you can have all of these things in one, because if you’re like me, I produce work on all sorts of mediums, from film to art to written articles!
Main idea: just write! The more work you have to showcase the better, and the more choices you’ll have to pick from when trying to display your best work! It’s also just great practice :)
3. Check out the Career Center!
DePaul’s Career Center has employees who can do anything from looking over your resume or reel, to helping you prepare for an interview! You can go in and meet with a career advisor, or just go on their website
where they give examples of resumes and cover letters.
Oh and I’m sneaking in a 4th: take breaks. When I get anxious about getting something done I get in crazy anxiety mode and don’t realize how much time has gone by. Eat lunch. Eat snacks. Check Instagram. Take a walk. Anything to put your brain on pause for a minute and refuel it :) Happy applying!
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!
Over here in The Theatre School
, members of the graduating class are focusing on preparing themselves for the professional world. This means securing jobs and internships, preparing portfolios, and for the actors in the house, getting professional headshots.
In many of our exit classes (those that help us prepare for the real world), we’ve had many discussions about the importance of good professional headshots. For those who need a little clarification, this is the image of your face that will be stapled to your resume and submitted at every audition, casting call, or agent meeting you have as an actor. But there is more to it than just a pretty picture, or whatever you use as your latest FB profile pic.
There are a few key qualities in a good professional actor headshot:
1. It looks like YOU. This is where we steer away from glamour shots or anything that takes us too far away from the real, everyday you. The picture should look how you look on your best day, and should look how you would appear when you walk into an audition.
2. It tells a STORY. There are plenty of great pictures one could take. You look fabulous, you’re smiling wide, the lighting is great….but what else? What are you saying in this picture? What glimmers of personality are we seeing? Where might I see you in the world I know and the world I am imagining? It is crucial that your shot not only say “I’m cute” but also says more about you and what you bring to the table. If you are known for your fire, confidence and sass, and can play lots of characters like that – I should see a glimmer of that in your eyes and in what you chose to wear. If you play more of the shy or goofy person, then I should see a bit of that humor behind your eyes as well. It’s about telling people what you want them to know about you before they get to meet you.
3. There is versatility and variety in your shots. Different shots can be used for different things. For instance, on one hand I can play a lot of commanding roles – people who are in charge and know what’s going on, but I can also the shyer, sweeter, offset-of-ingénue type. Now, when I am auditioning for different roles, I want different photos that showcase those qualities. You only need a couple great shots when you are starting out. They should capture the couple sides of your “type”, and when you nail those down, you’ll be able to use your shots for a variety of roles, projects, and companies. Realize that styles are a bit different in each city, so knowing what you need ahead of time and planning is the best way to go.
I recently got my headshots done in preparation for showcase and I can say I am quite pleased! There are a ton of different headshot photographers in Chicago, and each one has a little bit different style, energy, and way of doing things – there is no one way! When choosing a photographer it is important to go with someone whose work you like, and who makes you feel comfortable. You will take your best shots when you feel the most yourself. Everyone prefers a different vibe, so go with your gut. It should be a helpful experience and most importantly FUN.
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!
Rather than go to the conventional spring break scene where there is beaches and swimsuits, I decided to use my week off after a stressful winter quarter to take the time to unwind with beautiful scenery in Colorado
. With my sister living just outside Denver, this would be the first time visiting her since she moved out there last summer. It was also my first time going to a travel destination such as Colorado. The traditional vacation spots I’d travel to would be Wisconsin to visit family or Florida to escape the winter. I can become awestruck when viewing the Chicago skyline at moments, but my apologies to the city because there is no beauty quite like that of nature.Boulder
The day after I arrived my sister took my friend Miguel and I to our first hiking destination at the Flatirons rock
formations in Boulder, Colorado
. This was my first time hiking and since I like to think I am in decent shape I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult. All I have to say now is be sure to bring a hydration pack because hiking is essentially the same as a stair climber at your gym. Depending on the trail the difficulty can vary, but nevertheless is it vital to pack water and snacks. After the sweat, the inevitable scrapes on your legs, and twisted ankles, the views are truly mesmerizing and indescribable. I don’t think I am afraid of heights but there were times when I was climbing rock formations off the path that I would realize that if I was to lose my grip and fall I would probably die, and that would make me a little light-headed and shaky.Colorado Springs
Despite a seven-hour hike, we figured it was best to do even more hiking the next day while the soreness in our legs that was bound to happen hadn’t kicked in yet. So, we went to the Garden of the Gods Park
, which was a strikingly different landscape from the Flatirons. Rather than green with pines and higher altitudes, there were rolling hills of red dust and rock. The hiking here wasn’t too challenging, but rather a scenic hike. There are plenty of sights to take in and smaller rock formations to climb on. The prime tourist attraction is the few towering rock formations that erect out of the overall flat landscape.
However, our time at Garden of the Gods was just a warm-up for the daunting task that was ahead. With a tentative group consensus, we decided to hike the Manitou Incline
, a .88 of a mile stair climb that elevates from approximately 2,000 feet to its highest peak of 8,590 feet. Hiking this in an hour and five minutes was honestly one of the greatest challenges in my life. Not only is it a massive stair climb, the sudden increase in elevation will get to you. While climbing, we would have to take a short minute breaks every fifty steps or so just when we were a quarter done with it. Once again, the effort pays off when you see the view at the top, and feel the sense of accomplishment.
And these were only the hikes, I did plenty of other less strenuous activities than I could never do in Chicago. I definitely plan on visiting Colorado again to try new trails, and yes, attempt the Incline again to see if I can beat my time.
The start of a new quarter often goes two ways: it’s either a refreshing new start, or it’s a mix of chaos, frustration, and tears. This quarter I’m hoping for the first one, and so far we’re on the right track (knock on wood).
While it’s not as refreshing as coming back from summer or winter break, spring break is a much needed pause in the academic work. My whole life I grew up going somewhere on vacation, and I always returned to school refreshed (and usually severely burnt) from the island sun. This year, however, my break was a little different. Rather than jetting off to the beach, I stayed home.
For the first few days I was totally bummed at how the week felt like any other week - I still worked at my on-campus job, and was actually working a few more hours than usual, and still found myself commuting around the city all day to doctor’s appointments, and when I finally got home at the end of the day, I was just as exhausted as if I had spent the whole day in class. In fact, I even had homework to do because I wanted to finish up the work I had left in a class I took an incomplete in. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a break.
However, as the end of the week approached, I was much more mindful of this. I was aware that school actually only took up a small portion of my time compared to dealing with health problems and working. Unfortunately, there’s no spring break from your illnesses, and that was something that hit hard last week.
When the weekend hit, I had my thoughts more sorted out. I had finished the work for my class and don’t work on the weekends, so spent Saturday doing art in a bookstore with a friend all afternoon, and spent Sunday with my mom getting manicures, shopping, and cooking dinner together. I was finally able to get that much needed break.
If you would look at a calendar, you would see that it is now technically springtime. If you would look outside however, you might not get the same idea. As soon as spring hit, Chicagoland took a dip in temperature, forcing us to break out our winter coats once again. The stereotypical sunny and bright springtime is nowhere to be found at the moment. Yearning for the flowery springtime I love, I looked for a way to find spring in the city. Lucky for me, the Chicago Flower and Garden Show
came to Navy Pier the other weekend.
Finding a deal on my favorite site, Groupon
, I was able to get a cheap deal for tickets to the event. Using my handy dandy UPass
, I took the red line and the bus out to Navy Pier, making the whole trip easy on my wallet. As a flower and garden lover, arriving at this event had me like a kid in a candy store! I got my stamp, walked in, and was greeted with the fresh aroma of flowers, and a wide array of exhibits. There were a dozen different gardens set up in the exhibit hall, each showcasing different kinds of plants, flowers, furniture arrangements and more. After spending so much time in apartment buildings in the city, it was quite refreshing to see the layouts of these bright and fresh displays.
Further into the hall there was a flower market showcasing deals on tons of potted and fresh cut beauties. Beyond that, there was a large marketplace with dozens of vendors, selling garden supplies, small fresh plants, food and treats, home goods and more. I ended up spending nearly four hours on the Pier, walking around, eating and enjoying the gardens and perusing the market. I walked away with some delightful springtime goodies fit for my college budget. I picked up a bouquet of roses for $4, two tulip plants for $4, as well as two small succulents and ceramic pots for my apartment, also for a great deal. My goal was to find small and practical pieces to liven up the gray and gloomy days, and bring some freshness to my city apartment. I would say it was a rather successful day!
Living in the city affords residents a wide array of activities and things to enjoy, but sometimes I miss small things about the more suburban life or different climate I had at home growing up in Portland, OR. The plant life is one small piece of that. As always I love finding new and different ways to spend my free time exploring Chicago while sticking to my student budget. The Chicago Flower and Garden Show was the perfect way to get my springtime fix, without leaving the city or breaking the bank, allowing me to bring a little life back to my apartment to hold me over until the weather warms up. It is the simple things that really make a difference. For me it’s flowers, but whatever your interests may be, I think it is always important to bring little bits of joy and fun to balance out a busy and stressful life in college.
As a college student, there are many different organizations that can become an active part of your 4-year experience. Over the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to be a part of a scholarship organization called The Jackie Robinson Foundation. This is a foundation comprised of young students of color at colleges across the country, dedicated to academic excellence and carrying on the legacy of Civil Rights Activist, Jackie Robinson
Each year of the program, the scholars make a trip to New York City for a mentoring and leadership conference. For one weekend we are immersed in workshops, panels, and networking opportunities related to career success. This is supplemented by cultural outings a fun events that make it truly memorable. This year the theme of the conference was Financial Savvy. There were career panels, off the record sessions with industry leaders, a scholar debate, guest speakers and more, and I spent the weekend overwhelmed with information and trying to soak up as much as I could. Being in my last few months of college, it is important to me to be able to best prepare myself for life after school, so I appreciated this conference even more than I did last year, knowing that everything I was learning would be applicable sooner than I think.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included cultural outings. Each class (freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors) goes to a cultural outing in the city, to appreciate another aspect of a well rounded education and life: art. For those who know me, as a theatre maker, this is my jam and therefore one of my favorite parts. I was able to attend a performance of Jitney on Broadway. This is a play written by one of my favorite playwrights, August Wilson. The play was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
, an acclaimed director of Wilson’s work, who I met in my time as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival two summers ago. Two actors in the show I also met and worked with in my time at WTF, including Andre Holland
, who was recently a part of the academy award winning film Moonlight
(starring previous DePaul student Ashton Sanders). It can be such a small world sometimes, and you are reminded that you are only a few degrees of separation away from your dreams. The play was fabulous and I was so glad I got to see it.
After soaking in the knowledge about Financial Savvy over the weekend, on Monday night came the chance to dance the night away at the Annual Awards Dinner. Andre Holland, above mentioned actor, was the emcee of the night and hosted the award ceremony. We all got dressed in our best black tie attire, and shared in recognizing industry leaders and game changers in their accomplishments both in business and in philanthropy. After a delicious dinner, and some musical entertainment, the scholars were able to dance it up at the scholar after-party.
It truly was a fun filled and informative weekend, and I left with bittersweet feelings. As graduation approaches, I remember that this was my last conference with JRF, and my last year as a scholar. It is a strange feeling to note something that has had such a profound impact on your college experience in coming to a close. I have very fond memories, and will use the knowledge and inspiration I’ve been given here as I move forward and tackle the world post-grad.
Hey there! My name is Aggie and I am a freshman majoring in Political Science with a double minor in Community Service and Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies. I’m currently interning with an organization called La Casa Norte
in Logan Square that focuses on alleviating youth homelessness. I’m also working as a community organizing assistant for Pilsen Alliance, a nonprofit working toward immigrant justice. I love being involved in the social justice scene in Chicago, and hope that my experiences will inspire others to get involved as well!
When I’m not in class or at work, you can usually find me binge-watching Friends in my dorm room in University Hall, playing piano, refreshing Skyscanner
to find cheap flights, or eating at one of the many out-of-this-world vegan restaurants in Chicago (moving to this city has really opened my eyes to the vegan food scene, and my bank account has been suffering).
A few fun facts about me:
I was born in Cyprus
, which is an island in the Mediterranean.
2. My siblings are quadruplets.
3. I’ve been vegan for a year.
4. I’m planning on studying abroad in Budapest in the fall of 2018.
5. I’ve been to 6 countries (& it’ll be 10 after this summer).
Writing has always been an important part of my life, from competing in Power of the Pen
competitions in 8th grade to writing for Fresh U, a website for college freshmen. It has been a great way for me to use my skills to benefit the people and community around me. As a senior in high school, DeBlogs was an invaluable resource for me and helped me to really get a feel for life at DePaul. I hope to be able to do the same for those who may be in the same situation as well as current students looking for more information.
If you have any comments/questions about my articles, feel free to reach out!
Hey there! My name is Brooke and I’m currently a junior here at DePaul studying Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design. I grew up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire
(no, I did not live on a farm as many have asked in the past) but made the journey halfway across the country for school here in Chicago.
Though life here in the city is just a wee bit different than back in New Hampshire, I quickly found myself feeling right at home here in Chicago and can’t wait to share all my past and future DePaul experiences with you all.
After moving 1,000 miles away for college, I decided that just wasn’t far enough. During fall quarter of my junior year I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary (not Hungry) where I was totally culture shocked into the lifestyle of Eastern Europe. During my time abroad I traveled to 10 other countries, consumed approximately a pound of gelato a week, and took a class on Hungarian language. After 16 weeks in Budapest, I can say with great honor that I could successfully speak just about three phrases in the native language.
When I’m not in class you can find me scooping (or eating) ice cream at work, exploring the city’s best coffee shops, or paying $1 extra to add avocado to every meal I eat. Stick around to hear all about my life here at DePaul, and follow me as I journey to find the best (thin crust) pizza in the city.
Spring break just ended! If you were on DePaul’s campus you probably simultaneously saw stressed out students cramming for exams and writing papers and students celebrating because they just finished their last final. It is a strange dynamic.
Spring break is a lot different than winter break, solely because of how much shorter it is. Winter break is 6 weeks long, while spring break is about 10 days long. That makes spring quarter a little harder - it is easier to get burned out because you did not have as long of a break in between quarters. So, that is why it is important to make as much of spring quarter as you can!
I mostly stayed in Chicago, working and relaxing as much as I could. It was weird to watch Netflix with no guilt attached to it! However, I wanted to limit my Netflix intake and instead, read books or explore Chicago as much as I could. Breaks are the time to do things you never have time for during the quarter! You could go to the Art Institute
for an afternoon, or go explore some Chicago neighborhoods that you have never explored before.
The last weekend of break, I am went to Washington, D.C. to go to the Admitted Students Day for George Washington University. I was really excited about that trip - it was short, but Washington D.C. is really fun to explore and I was looking forward to learning more about GWU. I was also going during Cherry Blossom Festival
, so it was exciting to see all of the trees in bloom.
What were your plans for spring break? I hope you had something fun planned!
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!
The most dreaded time of year is upon us, and we’re getting ready to pull the all-nighters to study for finals. This finals week I’m trying to make my habits and routine look a bit different in an effort to decrease stress and sleep deprivation, so I’m going to share my tips!
1. I’ve been living at my yoga
studio this week. It’s been the perfect way to clear my mind of the essays I still have to write and connect with my body and mind. If you don’t have a yoga studio you go to, The Ray also offers classes multiple times a week, so hit those up! Even if you’ve never done yoga before, I started my practice going to those classes, they’re great for beginners!
2. Doing something positive for others
always puts me in a better mood. Last weekend I was stressed out studying at a coffee shop with my friend, and we took a break to spread some positivity in the city, which made us feel SO happy after. We literally couldn’t stop smiling. We decided to take an all-time favorite book of mine, 300 Things I Hope
by Iain Thomas, and wrote the different hopeful statements on post-it notes, then we put them all up on a wall in the Jackson red line train station spelling out HOPE. It was so fun and so many people stopped by asking what we were doing and looking at them, adding to it, taking a hopeful statement, etc. Sometimes it’s the little things, and for me, seeing someone else see our message and smile makes me smile!
3. Get out of your house
. I usually don’t end up getting much work done when I have “study parties” with friends, but I also find that staying in my house leaves me anxious and distracted. I’ve been spending my Saturdays and Sundays at the Starbucks near my house, and it’s been SO helpful. I bring all my stuff, order a venti Strawberry Acai refresher (light ice - gotta get my money’s worth), and power through my work. That environment of having some background noise has been really helpful for me!
4. Two words: Google Docs
. Ever since I wrote an essay late one night in the fall and then my computer froze and lost it all, I’ve been writing everything (including this article!) on Google Docs. It’s come in handy especially during finals week when I can access the study guides I’ve typed up or the article I started writing from any computer. I hate lugging my computer around, and now I can still get work done in the hour break between my classes at the computers at Brownstones, or right now, while I’m at work in the CDM building!
I hope some of these are helpful tips during your finals week! Happy studying!
As a part-time job I serve as a brand ambassador for different companies when given the opportunity. The most memorable event I worked was the Mountain Dew and NBA three-on-three basketball tournament that took place last summer. This was a nationwide tour, but it had a stop in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. For three days I worked on the courts facilitating events such as skills challenges, three-point contests for the fans, and distributing prizes. Every now and then I would promote involvement and work alongside with NBA stars such as Gary Payton
and Frank Kaminsky
Given that the contests would only occur intermittently between basketball games, I was pretty much being paid to stand around and watch good basketball games while receiving some free Mountain Dew
along the way. I had a great time working with the NBA and Mountain Dew brand and look forward to working, or even just attending, any more Chicago promotions that are to come.
I think the movie theater is overpriced, kind of grody, and always too crowded. I am patient enough to wait until the movies come out on DVD or Netflix. I rarely go to the movie theater…except for this quarter.
My friends and I have seen four separate movies this quarter in theaters! That’s almost one every other week. For some people, that may be normal, but for me and my friends, it is not. Through this, I actually am learning to love the movie theaters.
First, movies are overpriced. However, the theater near DePaul (Regal Webster Place 11) offers $6.50 Tuesdays, where, as you can probably guess, tickets are only $6.50. That’s almost half price! My friends and I have also become experts in sneaking in snacks in our coats...I know that’s not really allowed, but $9 for popcorn? Really?
Second of all, you can buy tickets ahead at most movie theaters, which is especially handy when the movie you want to go see is a new release or a popular one. The theater on Webster also allows you to reserve your seat ahead of time. So, while the theater may be crowded, you don’t have to worry about not getting a seat next to the people you came with.
Finally, there is something pretty cool about seeing a movie on such a large screen. Plus, reacting along with the crowd adds a whole other level of experience. I still am totally happy renting or streaming a movie in my apartment, but going to the movie theater is growing on me (even with all its grodiness).
Oh, and what movies have I seen? Passengers
, Get Out
, and Hidden Figures
. I recommend all four, especially Hidden Figures
and Get Out
This week is dedicated to a cause near and dear to my heart: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As a psych minor and person in recovery, I’ve learned a lot about this illness in and out of the classroom, and especially their prevalence on college campuses.
So, I want to use this week to talk about DePaul’s resources and also what the school has been doing in honor of spreading awareness!
DePaul’s own counseling services (UCS
) is made up of a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, externs and an urgent care specialist. In addition to one-on-one counseling, they offer a few group therapies, like an anxiety and depression group, a relationship group, and a women's group.
Additionally, the campus gym, The Ray, has classes dedicated to promoting self-care and mindfulness, like their weekly meditation every Wednesday from 12:30-1pm, and the multiple yoga classes they offer each week.
Specifically this week, DePaul showed their care by holding a Love Your Body Yoga class Tuesday, February 28th at The Ray
, and right now the student center has pieces of paper taped to the walls with positive encouragements about self-love (picture below).
NEDA week is a super important time to show love for yourselves and your peers in honor of the disorder with the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It’s one that comes with a lot of stigma, misunderstandings, and lack of treatment, and that’s exactly why this week happens!
The store Aerie also showed a lot of support, selling shirts that said “strong beautiful me” that went to supporting NEDA.
If you or someone you know needs support, check out DePaul’s resources, or take this screening online
Happy NEDA week! :)
Being an acting major in a wonderful theatre city like Chicago gives me endless opportunities to explore the art scene. I love to visit the local theatres, watch plays, and attend events. This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend an event that combined many of my interests of theatre, identity, empowerment of minorities, and beauty. Victory Gardens Theater
, conveniently located within a short walking distance from the DePaul Lincoln Park campus, held an event this weekend that they called the Black Beauty Festival
, which accompanied their production that took place in a black beauty shop in Chicago. When I received an email inviting me to purchase tickets to the event, I was intrigued. When I read further I found out that the event included vendors from local black owned beauty businesses, a champagne cocktail to sip while you peruse the event (hey, I’m 21, it’s okay), a Victory Gardens swag bag (with offers from local businesses and a couple of sample products), as well as a ticket to the performance of A Wonder In My Soul, the latest show on the mainstage. I was SOLD. An evening of supporting black beauty, local black owned businesses, and theatre all at once – now that’s my jam!
When I showed up to the event, I was excited. In my own experience it isn’t very common that there is a celebration of this type in Lincoln Park, let alone on my radar at all. Additionally, it can sometimes be tough to support local black owned businesses, as there aren’t as many apparent ones in this area. When I walked in, I picked up my ticket to the show, and was given a bag with flyers and a sample hair product inside. I went upstairs into a separate space where most of the vendors were located. Several booths were set up, manned by black business owners, selling their products to visitors. There were items such as handbags, jewelry, clothing items, makeup, and skin care items for sale. It was kind of small, which I suppose is to be expected, but enjoyable nevertheless. I cashed in my ticket for a mimosa to sip while I walked around and chatted with the business owners, enjoyed the fruit and sweet treats that were out, and tried the different products. After a short spin around the room, I walked away with some pretty handmade earrings, and a jar of delicious all natural and handmade rose scented body butter. It was nice to walk away with some nice products, but even better to support a small, local, black-owned business in the process.
Following my walk around the festival I saw the evening performance of A Wonder in my Soul
, starring an all-black cast of awesome local actors. The play took place in a beauty shop, owned by two of the main characters, and revolved around the themes of community, following your dreams, the cultural significance of a place like this beauty shop, and the empowerment of black women to love their own unique beauty. At times I was moved, not fully realizing that I needed to hear some of these messages myself.
I consider myself lucky to be in a place where I can take advantage of opportunities like this, both to be in a city where that can happen, but also to have the means to engage in them myself. I was also inspired to create environments like this in the future, combine my interests and the power of art to bring people together, celebrate culture, and inspire others.
I’m heading to my family reunion as I’m writing this blog, and I’m so pumped. I look forward to my family reunion every year. Well, technically, my family has two family reunions every year: one in February, where we spend the weekend at a hotel, and one in August, where we throw a big summer party. In case you’re wondering, I’m going to the February one.
Fun fact: one of the main reasons I chose to go to college in Chicago is because I wanted to be closer to my extended family. My dad’s side of the family is incredibly tight-knit. My dad was the youngest of ten children, eight of whom ended up living in the suburbs. I ended up with fifteen cousins and, of course, I’m the youngest. Growing up as an only child, my cousins were the closest thing I ever had to siblings, so it felt natural for me to move closer to them when I went to college.
Six months into my freshman year, living close to family came in very handy for me. Heed my warning: when you get a really bad sore throat, go get it checked out. I did not, I thought it went away, a month later I woke up, thought I saw a balloon in the back of my throat because it was so swollen, and knew I had to go to the ER. At that moment in my life, the last thing I felt like doing was taking public transit to the hospital. But just ten minutes after calling my dad, I got a call from my cousin, asking me where I lived. Of course, my response was, “I don’t know,” because I really didn’t know my address. She somehow found me and we eventually ended up at the ER. It turned out that my airway was partially obstructed, so I’m pretty lucky that she figured out where I live.
In summary, I’m looking forward to my family reunion. Not just because my airway is no longer partially obstructed, but also because I get to relax after writing my first thesis chapter!
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!
As a commuter student, I’ve found this quarter to be especially difficult since my schedule isn’t the most helpful for when I’m in Lincoln Park vs. The Loop.
A lot of times I find myself driving in more often than not, so here are the two greatest apps
App. Download it. Now. It’ll change your life I promise!!! You put in your location and time you’ll be parking and it shows you all the parking garages near there. AND, best of all, IT’S INSANELY CHEAP. A lot of the time I park for $13 on Adams and Wabash. Now that’s a deal. In fact, my car is there right now :)
They also regularly will extend your time for free as well! There’s a garage on Rush and Ohio that I park in multiple times a week for $10 for the day!
App. This one’s for street parking in the city, and once again, it’s so much easier than going to the little boxes and pushing the $ signs for how long you’ll need to park. Instead, you can do it right from your car, and extend it whenever you need! The other day I was in class in Lincoln Park and as I was leaving class decided to go straight to the gym, so just whipped out my phone and extended my parking for a bit instead having to go back and move my car
So, next time you’re driving into the city or to the Lincoln Park campus, check out these two great apps, they literally have saved my life (and my paycheck)!
In my history of TV and Radio class the other week, we had to write an essay interviewing someone over 50 and under 25 about their TV watching habits growing up. It seemed like fitting timing also with the Oscars coming up at the end of the month (and the fact that my friend and I discovered a Spotify playlist called “Lizzie McGuire Comes On At 4pm” and it’s life changing.
SO, with those two things in mind, I thought I’d share my finding on interviewing my mom (born in the early 1960s), and my younger sister to compare their TV watching habits and show the contrast of the millennials.
For starters, my mom talked about how watching TV was a family event. She said that certain movies were on once a year around the same time so annually her and my grandparents and uncle would watch the Wizard of Oz
when it came on.
That literally blew my mind when you compared it to my sister saying she remembers watching Full House and Lizzie McGuire before bed with me, and then starting talking about Shonda Rhimes
“TGIT” lineup, saying “I’ve never watched it then though I always record it and watch it on the weekends because I HATE COMMERCIALS but I liked having Grey’s Anatomy
back to back.”
Later on I asked my mom about “guilty pleasure” shows, and she said they were nothing like they were today, because shows were pretty innocent. Her “guilty pleasure” was watching M.A.S.H in high school.
My sister on the other hand went on about how when she was younger she loved watching SpongeBob every morning, and in high school she secretly was obsessed with (of course) Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Obviously TV has come a long way since the 1960s and 1970s, but the shift into it being a very isolating ‘in my room alone watching Netflix’ experience is what really caught my eye and I think shows the greatest shift from the family time it was back then. Next time you catch yourself isolating in your room watching endless hours of 30 Rock
(or whatever show you never get sick of!) just be mindful of that!
Oh, I am so looking forward to warmer weather. We have been super blessed this winter (this weekend is supposed to be 60 degrees!!!), but I miss being outside in the sun and wearing shorts and Birkenstocks
and sleeping with my window open. My best friend Steph is just as antsy for warm spring weather, and we have a bucket list going of all of the things we want to do this summer to take advantage of the weather!
Hammocking is at the top of the list. We both have hammocks (think ENO brand) and we cannot wait to hang them up at Oz Park
, by the lake, at the beach, on the quad, or really anywhere we can take advantage of.
We also want to go camping somewhere for a weekend! Starved Rock is about an hour and a half southwest of the city, and it would be so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a little bit. I really want to see the stars!
Ice cream of course is on the list. Annette's
, Jeni’s, Oberweis, Bobtail, Margie’s...so many delicious places. Of course, we still get ice cream in the winter, but it is so much better in the summer. Steph’s favorite flavor is Superman and I am a fan of anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!
We also want to explore the beaches more. The Fullerton one is the closest to campus, and Oak Street Beach is fun because it’s right downtown, but I’m sure there are less crowded and more peaceful ones more north and south of us. On Labor Day some friends and I went to the Foster Avenue beach, and it was so nice. It wasn’t touristy and was so much more relaxing. We want to find more like those!
This is just the beginning of our list! I know we still have a few more months of winter, but I am counting down the days until summer. I’m sure you guys are, too!
If you’ve read my blogs so far, you’ll know I’m a big self-acceptance advocate. I think body image is talked about way too much, and almost always it’s in a negative light.
After the Super Bowl this weekend, my social media feeds were blown up, but not with anything about football. Not even with anything about Lady Gaga
’s performance. But rather, body shaming her. There were tweets sent out about how distracted people were by looking at her stomach, and that she needed to hit the gym.
As a college student, so many people I know, myself included, struggle with their bodies and hey, guess what? EVERYONE has rolls on their stomach. It’s literally impossible not to. It’s really discouraging to see how Lady Gaga is treated because of her body, especially after she has been so public about struggling with eating disorders in her past. This is the exact type of treatment that fuels eating disorders, fuels negative self-talk, and thoughts of not being good enough.
Project Heal wrote a great blog post about this that you should definitely all read here
It’s blogs and people like the ones at Project Heal who have been coming back at all this Lady Gaga body hate and making me feel a little bit better. A relatively unknown social media community is the BOPO, or body positive community, and they are all about embracing their bodies as they are.
Aerie is a part of this community, as they don’t brush up or photoshop any of their models, and hire models of all shapes and sizes. Iskra Lawrence is one of them and has been extremely influential on me, and I was lucky enough to hear her speak at the 2016 Chicago NEDA walk
So, my fellow college students, don’t fall into the traps of the body shamers and haters and people who spend their days purposely seeking out people to destroy. Engage in the BOPO community, the people full of acceptance and self-love, not denial and self-hate, because truly everyBODY is beautiful. Lady Gaga, you’re beautiful.
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.
It’s that dreaded time of year again. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. For people not currently dating anyone, it has the potential to be super depressing, but it can also be the perfect opportunity to show appreciation for friends (don’t forget, February 13th is Galentine’s Day
). For people in a relationship, it can be a time of great financial expenditures. Luckily for me, I live far away from my significant other and have no friends, so my only concern is which flavor ice cream to buy. But for people who are trying to figure out plans, I’ve come up with a few flexible ideas that can fit into any schedule, but will still make this year’s celebration extra special:
Chicago Theatre Week
is a total misnomer because it actually runs for ten days: February 9-19. Over those ten days, you have the chance to go see tons of discounted plays, improv shows, and musicals. This is your opportunity to act super cultured. Tickets for shows participating in Chicago Theatre Week are typically $15-$30, but some are even cheaper than that.
If you want to do something really romcom
-like, head over to Eataly
for some fun classes and cooking demonstrations. Seriously, there’s something for every budget level. For those of us with the least resources, for $10, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 11th by watching someone make mozzarella
by hand and then sampling the fresh cheese. If you’re looking for something a little more fancy (and filling), you can learn how to make lasagna
from a real chef for just $25 on February 15th. And, of course, you get to eat the lasagna afterwards! Take note: these classes fill up quick, so sign up soon!
If you’re looking for something a little more active, try Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo
. The rink is only open until February 26, so this could be your last chance to live your Olympic fantasy! As far as Valentine’s Day dates go, this one is pretty affordable: just a $5 admission, $5 to rent a pair of skates, and probably a few more dollars for ice packs after you fall.
This is a very divisive time for our country. Many people are feeling hurt, scared, angry, and disbelief at all that has happened this past week since President Drumpf’s inauguration, and to be very honest, I feel very similarly. One of the most important things that those feeling discontent can do is to take some sort of action – volunteer, donate, let your voice be heard. My goal for this post is to not get in a deep political discussion, but to provide a resource to those who are curious about how to help.
● Write to your senator. If there is an issue you are super passionate about, write to your state’s senator about it! As citizens of the United States, a democracy, we have a powerful voice that can be used to make a big difference.
● Volunteer your time.
There are so many organizations that would value your donated time. For example, places like World Vision
are great organizations that provide aid and assistance refugees entering the United States, if that is where your heart is being led.
● Educate yourself. Stay up-to-date on what is happening in our country, whether you support or disagree with it. Read reputable news sources. Come to your own conclusions. Do not just jump on the bandwagon and believe whatever your roommate, friend, professor, boss, or parents believe. You have your own thoughts and opinions and there is power in developing them.
● Stand up for what you believe in. Now, I am not saying argue with every single person who you disagree with (especially not on Facebook!). But, if you see something that really bothers you, I think there is power in healthy political discourse. It is okay to have a peaceful conversation with someone who believes something different than you – you two may not have your minds changed at the end of the conversation, but you can learn to respect each other and how to voice your opinions civilly and clearly.
Above all, I urge you to love and respect others well. Many people do not currently feel that. There is power in using your voice, and whatever side you may be on, I hope you use your voice to help those in need.
When it comes to getting around the city, the CTA system is my go-to means of transportation around ninety percent of the time. In fact, even if I want to go home in the suburbs I still rely on my Ventra Pass in order to get to Union Station. With that being said, although your Ventra plays an essential role to your education at DePaul, it does come with risk and responsibility as I have learned through personal experience.
The first caution to consider is one that concerns nearly every college student and this money. Of course, your Ventra provides unlimited accessibility to the CTA train and bus routes, but once you lose that pass it will cost you to replace it. There was a night when I went to a concert and decided not to take my wallet and just put my id’s and pass in my pocket. On the way back I used my pass to get onto the blue line, but ironically managed to lose it in the time I got on the blue line and transferred to the red line. A replacement Ventra costs fifty dollars and it takes a week to receive a new one, so I had to spend an additional thirty in temporary passes until I received my new Ventra card. Therefore, I recommend always using your wallet, and if you have it on you, securing your wallet in a backpack or bag.
Another risk of riding the train or bus is the rare occurrences like assault and robbery. Yet, there are simple and obvious precautions to take to lower the chances of such misfortunes. Most effective is to not venture out late at night alone. Even on campus where there is Public Safety there have been reports of students being victim to crimes. When it comes to traveling somewhere unfamiliar or at a risky time of day, there is strength in numbers. Of course, if you are feeling uncomfortable in a certain situation and don’t feel safe taking a train or bus, just pay for a taxi. Yes it’ll be costly, but there is no cost too high for your safety.
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!
Yes, you read that title right. I finally saw Hamilton
. I’m just as shocked as you are. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Hamilton is the musical phenomenon of the decade. An R&B/rap musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton
, one of the Founding Fathers and the first U.S. Secretary of State, Hamilton is easily the hottest ticket on Broadway. Ever since it premiered in February of 2015, virtually every performance has sold out. It has won 11 Tony awards, a Grammy, and a Pulitzer Prize. Last October, Hamilton officially opened in Chicago.
For the past six months, I was lucky enough to intern at a fantastic non-profit organization where I was able to work with some unbelievably smart and kind people. I always felt valued and appreciated, which isn’t something everyone can say. Still, my mind was blown when, as a (very big) token of appreciation, my supervisor gave me and my boyfriend tickets to go see Hamilton. We’ve been waiting for months, and last Wednesday, it was finally time for the show.
It was so worth the wait. It’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. And best of all, Wayne Brady had just joined the cast the day before. The cast was phenomenal, and the music is so catchy. However, I’m not going to lie: I feel like I barely watched the actual actors. Since some of the raps go so fast, there’s a little prompter on the side of the stage that displays the lyrics for the audience. I swear, my eyes were glued to the prompter. But when I did glance over, it was a beautiful thing to witness. I can’t tell you how badly I want to see it again. Ever since I came home from the show, I’ve just been watching the PBS documentary on Hamilton
on a constant loop. I’m addicted. Trust me, you need to see it. However, it’s pretty much sold out, so your best bet is the lottery (and if you win, tickets are only $10!). Luckily for you, I’ve already written a blog all about the Hamilton
lottery, so you have no excuse not to try!
“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!
I’m always grateful that I go to a school where there is so much to do. Not that I have a ton of free time, but I like to venture outside of my bedroom occasionally. When I do finally go outside, I want to make the most of my time. These are the events that I’m looking at this quarter:
January 23rd: Are Ya Smarter than Your Professor
February 22nd: The Scholar’s Improv 2: Academic Boogaloo
I love the DePaul Humanities Center
. This quarter, they’re reprising a popular improv event starring comedians and
professors. In between improv sketches performed by the comics, professors improvise a lecture as they present a PowerPoint that they’ve never seen before. Not only is it hilarious, but it gives you an appreciation for what professors actually do on the daily.
February 23rd: Polarpalooza
Every year, DAB hosts a big, free winter concert, just for DePaul students: Polarpalooza. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall
for a private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your game if you want to snap up some tickets. DAB has a knack for picking acts that get way bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun.
, Walk the Moon
, Chance the Rapper
). Be sure to check out their website
at the beginning of February when they announce the performer!
February 25th: Blue Demon Dance
Every year, DAB also hosts a dance for DePaul students. It’s held somewhere fancy off-campus (last year it was held at Navy Pier!) and there’s food and music, and dancing, I assume. Keep an eye on DAB’s website
to see where the Blue Demon Dance will be held this year!
A phrase that often gets on my nerve is “new year, new you” As I scrolled through social media and talked with people, people always want to “reinvent themselves” and “start over.” I get it, I’ve been there too, but I hate how much emphasis we put on starting over on January 1st, because more often than not, it doesn’t work like that.
Something I’ve been advocating for and focusing on instead this week and this year, is making a commitment instead of a resolution. It probably sounds hypocritical seeing that my last post was about alternative resolutions, but this piggybacks off of that and sheds a new light on the word “resolution.”
By definition, resolution means problem solving. It means something is wrong and we must fix it. The strict deadline of starting on January 1st also leaves no room for fluidity and error, because so often we get in the mindset that if we slip up or act in opposition to our resolution, it’s over, we have failed, and now we have to wait for next year. In reality, every day, every hour, every minute is a new chance for you to make decisions in line with your values and every action you take is a fresh start for you - it doesn’t have to begin at midnight of the New Year.
Research has proven that these focuses are more beneficial and long lasting than a New Year's Resolution to diet or work harder. Those are such ambiguous and unattainable goals, and without recognition of achievement within those goals, you don’t get any gratification or reward from it, which is what inspires you to keep going.
So, this year, I’m committing to working on self-acceptance, which includes challenging perfectionism and being okay with upsets or bumps in the road. It’s striving to live a life in line with my values, which can be broken down into small things like trying to meditate for 20 minutes each day, and allowing myself to take breaks from my homework and recharge. It’s feeding and nourishing my body in a healthy way, and challenging the rigid structure I often find myself bound to, especially when school starts. It’s practicing flexibility, because that helps manage my stress levels and overall productivity.
And while some of these are just as ambiguous as resolutions, it allows me to work on different things everyday instead of getting obsessive about calorie counting on My Fitness Pal, which ultimately just sucks you into your phone and mental calculations and takes you away from everything else going on in your life. It’s only been 5 days and already one night I didn’t meditate, but instead of saying “oh well, nice try at this one, Em” I said “I’m going to do it tomorrow morning instead!”
This isn’t a “new me.” I’m still my same self, just making a commitment to challenge the aspects of my life that aren’t working well right now :)
Here is some art I’ve done of some of my favorite quotes to inspire you in the new year:
With the start of a new quarter, comes the start of a new round of shows here at The Theatre School. The first to open on the Main Stage in 2017 is an exciting new play, NIGHT RUNNER. This action packed show has generated a lot of buzz for being a brand new play by hot Chicago Playwright Ike Holter. Part of our Playworks series for young audiences, this show is performed for Chicago public school and families downtown at our Merle Reskin Theatre, a space with a history of its own. This play takes place in South in the mid 1800’s, and revolves around a huge part of our nation’s history at that point - slavery. Essentially a thriller about the heroism of Harriet Tubman, the underground railroad, and the path to freedom, this play takes a look at history through the unique lens of a comic book superhero. The Theatre School website describes this impactful tale:
“Join us for the story of Cora, an enslaved 12-year-old, and the Night Runner, the mythic but dark figure who shows her the way. When a cruel slave owner arrives and snatches Cora's brother Marcus in exchange for debt, Cora flees to find him. In steps the legendary Night Runner, a fierce, fast-talking female superhero, who helps Cora escape to freedom and discover her own inner strength.”
This play opens this week, and I will admit I am more than excited to see it. The Theatre School’s program with Chicago Playworks
brings a different children’s show to the students and families of Chicago each season. Hundreds of kids from across the city come and are exposed to the magical world of theatre, and are immersed in a story that asks them to use their imaginations and learn new things. Frequently these students don’t get to go on many field trips, or are new to learning about plays and theatre, and this is what makes it so special to share with them. This is a unique and special moment in their week, and in their lives.
Personally, as a young woman of color, I know how important it is to see yourself represented in the art, literature, and entertainment that surrounds you. Having been in a kids show myself, I have seen the large and diverse audiences with children of many different backgrounds. Many of these students are young people of color, and I see myself in them, 10 years ago. Wide eyed and expectant, they are taking in everything around them, which makes it extremely important to consider what kind of stories you share with these young people. As a young black woman, the reason I am so excited for this show is that it shows my history. OUR history as Americans, in a way that empowers and celebrates the strength of my community. It is important that those hundreds of kids of all colors and backgrounds learn about the horrors of American Slavery, the heroism of Harriet Tubman, and the strength that all people have inside them. By seeing people like them on stage, or seeing their history in this light, we can have a profound impact on the learning, and the empowerment of these young kids. With the incorporation of beautiful new music, and exciting rhythm and dance, a scary and uncomfortable topic transforms throughout the story that will leave audiences cheering as our young heroine makes her way to freedom.
Due to this serious subject matter this play is recommended for audiences 9 years of age and older. To find out more about our shows at TTS, or ticketing ( only $5 for students- yay!) visit our website
Welcome back and here’s to a passionate, and meaningful new year!
Welcome back to winter quarter! I don’t know if it was just me, but for whatever reason, winter break seemed to go by faster than ever this year. I’m guessing it just seems that way because I stayed in Chicago for most of the break and only went home for a few weeks at the end. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love going home. It’s relaxing, I get to see my parents, I get to sleep in my real bed… But let me tell you about the last few weeks that I spent at home: there’s a rooster in my basement.
Yes, you read that right. Let me paint the picture for you. So, after finishing up my last day at my internship and traveling several hours back to Wisconsin, I get home pretty late at night. I’m excited to be home, but I’m ready to relax and recover from the stress of school. I go into my room and see a tidy stack of freshly washed and folded sheets and pillowcases laying on my bed. My parents are so nice to me. Resting on top of my still-warm sheets, however, is a small box of ear plugs. I ask my parents why there’s a box of ear plugs on top of my bed. In response, I’m told that it’s “so the rooster won’t wake me.” Yes, this is how I was informed there was a rooster in my house. Apparently, it somehow slipped their mind to inform me of the new resident.
“Don’t worry,” my dad reassures me, “he only crows from 6am to about noon.”
“He’s never done that before,” my dad also says to me when I call at 4pm the next day to ask why the rooster is still crowing.
While my sleep was indeed severely negatively impacted (I lost the entire box of ear plugs before even falling asleep on the first night), I can’t be that mad. My mom volunteers at an animal sanctuary every week. She loves it and says that volunteering there has been the best decision of her life. However, my mom has also always been a bleeding heart with animals, which can cause some problems. Apparently, the barn at the animal sanctuary isn’t heated, so every winter, the sanctuary has to find temporary homes for all of the chickens. Of course, in comes my mother, eagerly volunteering to host a loud, flying, barnyard animal in our basement for the winter. And that is why I’m happy to be back in Chicago.
Hi, readers! It is hard to believe that the Christmas season has passed, that it is 2017, and that we are already almost a week into winter quarter. I had a really nice break, and even though it was six weeks long, it still flew by. I went home to Ohio for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the rest of the time was spent in Chicago. I had the dream job of being a full-time nanny for a three-month old baby girl named Cecilia and did a lot of other babysitting on the side. I applied to graduate school, took the GRE
, celebrated my 22nd birthday, went to one of my oldest/best friend’s wedding, and caught up on all of the TV shows that I follow (Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order SVU
, anybody?). It was a busy, but fruitful, break!
Now that we are on the other side of winter break, the end of my senior year seems so much closer! I graduate in six months! It is exciting and a huge accomplishment, but scary nonetheless. I do not have a lot of control over where I will be post-graduation - it really is dependent upon what graduate school(s) accept me and how much money they give me. Currently, I would love to stay at DePaul or move to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University. Stay tuned for more updates on my post-grad life!
I hope everyone is off to a great quarter! Per usual, I have a crazy schedule, but at this point that is what I am used to. I would not be productive if I had an overabundance of free time! I am excited to keep you all updated on my life here in Chicago, through school and nannying and the bitter winter weather!
With the transition into college comes the responsibility of making your own decisions, especially when it comes to your health. Through the power of a meal plan at your hands, it is easy to get carried away and find yourself buying a carton of Ben and Jerry’s and frozen Chinese food at eleven at night. Nevertheless, there are plenty of commodities available to combat the freshman fifteen.
Just as students are given the unlimited access to the CTA system, the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center offers all it can to DePaul students. Although I have a tendency to lack in my routine as the quarter progresses, this is where I primarily go to work out. The first floor hosts the racquetball courts that can be utilized for other activities such as golf or wallyball.
What tends to be forgotten is the pool that I have yet to swim in, the only recollection I have of seeing it was my orientation. Up the stairs to the second floor is where you’ll get most of your workouts in. There is plenty of cardio equipment, studios hosting multiple group fitness classes, machines, and free weights that are all-inclusive to the DePaul student. The third floor is where the basketball courts as well as another studio are. I use this part of the Ray as much as the second floor - this is where you can have fun while working out by getting involved in an intramural sport or simple pick-up games. So far, I have participated in intramural soccer and volleyball, and often shoot around or play pickup games of basketball. Above the courts there is a track and more exercise equipment that include more cardio machines, bars, ropes, and mats. If you don’t feel like running the track or core work, then at least visit the fourth floor for it view of the skyline.
The Ray is great and all, but there is plenty to do off campus as well. Perhaps the most popular destination is none other than the coast of Lake Michigan. When the weather permits it, this is an excellent area to stay active while soaking up the sun. If I was more of an athlete I too would probably be running along the lakeshore shirtless like so many do, but I prefer subtle beach activities. It can be beach volleyball, sand soccer, throwing a football or Frisbee; it beats staying in your dorm doing nothing. To those that are courageous and think they can handle it, Chicago offers plenty of marathons and events to push yourself physically and for a good cause. I cannot run long distances but I have participated in the Aon Step Up for Kids
a few times where the challenge is climbing eighty floors to the top of the Aon Center, one of Chicago’s tallest buildings, while raising money to help the children and families at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Once you’re able to get into a routine and push yourself, getting yourself to stay active can be pretty simple. With all the events and opportunities there are available in the city, you can propel your health to newfound heights while perhaps also having fun.
The other day I was at the Apple Store getting my phone fixed, and they had to restore it and set it up as a new phone. This meant that everything got erased off of my phone - apps, texts, contacts, pictures, and it got completely reset. Afterwards, as I started redownloading apps, I decided I wasn’t going to redownload social media right away and have a little detox from it.
Now 2 days later, I still have not downloaded Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and it has actually felt pretty good, but not until now have noticed a few things.
On several occasions, I have found myself going on my phone without even thinking to scroll through Instagram, only to realize I don’t have it. I’m noticing that it is such a habit, and that whenever I’m bored, it’s how I fill my time. I have also found myself on multiple occasions thinking “I need to make this my snapchat story” and turn on my phone to do so.
It’s crazy how addicted our society is to social media. And while it’s a great communication style and news outlet, it’s also a huge time-sucker. In only two days, I’ve noticed some perks, such as...
I got to the train early this morning. Every morning after my alarm goes off I find myself scrolling through what I missed on Instagram and Twitter and checking Snapchat, and never realized how much time that takes away. No wonder I’m always in a rush in the morning…
Another perk was that I had to write an essay for my December Intercession Class that’s due today, and I got to work at 9 and finished the essay by 11am. Normally I would’ve been sitting at my desk at work my entire shifting writing this essay, getting distracted on social media, killing time, etc.
Buuuut there were also some downsides….like I forgot I didn’t have the Starbucks app redownloaded when I was in line this morning, so no stars for me! The same thing happened on the Metra this morning because I didn’t have the Ventra
app redownloaded, but I think the conductor felt bad for me in a frenzy trying to log back in and it failing, so he just let me ride for free. Shoutout to that guy.
Really there’s no right or wrong that came out of this, it was more just interesting to observe the different habits I’m in that I didn’t realize before. And tomorrow I’m off to Mexico for a week so will probably take more of a pause from social media as well to just enjoy the time with my family, but of course will have to post a picture or two on Instagram :)
In a previous post I’ve shared that I’m taking a mindfulness class right now (SNC198...aka the best class ever that everyone should take), and how we went on a 4 day retreat to Starved Rock
back in September.
Since that retreat, the rest of the class has been online, but we’ve had some cool assignments to do, which always keeps the class really interesting. Since it’s in the School of New Learning, those students take the course as a pass/fail, but if you’re enrolled in it to fill your junior year experiential learning domain, like myself, you receive a letter grade for it. Thus, you have some extra assignments to do. Luckily, they’re fun and engaging.
One of them is an essay where we had to try out an alternative form of meditation and compare it to the meditations and mindfulness practice we did on the retreat. Something I had always wanted to try but never got around to doing, was floating in a sensory deprivation tank. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity (and justified spending money on it).
A place called Oto Float
had opened up right by my house in late August, so I went in there one afternoon. To kill two birds with one stone, I thought I’d also write an article about it for my journalism class. After talking to one of the owners for a while and checking out the place, he said I could interview him, and gave me my first float for free!
The tank contains 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, which makes you effortlessly float to the top/ You have the option to keep the tank open or closed, have the lights in there on or off, and have music or a guided meditation playing.
Floating causes a feeling of weightlessness, and the reduction of external stimuli allows for a deep state of relaxation. In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which reduces anxiety.
In an interview with Jen Stutler, an employee at Oto Float and girlfriend of the founder, she says “I find that it seriously reduces my anxiety. My first float amplified it, my heart was beating fast, but now I can’t wait to get in the tank. It’s safe in there. And I find I have a better outlook when I’m done. I feel better for days.”
I had a similar experience, where I was super anxious for the first 20-30 minutes, but after that time flew by, and it was really on my way home that I felt the effects and felt so much calmer and at peace.
I haven’t been back since, but I hope to soon and everyone should try it out, especially in the midst of finals!
If you’re anything like me and love to write, or even if you don’t know if you like it, hate writing essays, or just want to improve your writing skills, there are many ways to write outside of essays assigned in your classes. Because obviously those are required and often aren’t about things you’re actually interested AND you’re being graded, so of course you wouldn’t enjoy that feeling of stress put onto you!
Luckily, there are opportunities outside of that, and who knows, it could even advance your essay writing skills! As a Journalism major, I want to practice getting my work out there, writing about things I enjoy, and using writing as a form of distraction from real life, self-care, and a way to calm myself down (which I never thought was possible until I tried it!)
With that, there are many ways even on campus to take this approach. Obviously, that’s what I’m doing here writing for the DeBlogs, but there are additional opportunities on campus as well! The major one is the student newspaper, The DePaulia
. My sophomore year I was intimidated by them and went to one meeting at the beginning of the school year, put my email down for weekly article opportunities from the Arts & Life section, and every single one went into the trash without a second glance. I had this false idea that you had to have lots of experience, the editors would judge you and then not publish your work, and it would just prove that I’m not a great writer.
While all those fears are technically valid, I learned they’re far from true! In fact, they are always looking for new contributors, and you don’t need to write for them weekly if your schedule is super busy. You can just pick up pieces when one of the emails interests you.
Finally, I thought to myself this year, what’s the worst that could happen if I picked up a story? So, I did exactly that. The first week of school I wrote an article about the new Netflix Original shows coming out this fall. They published it, and when I picked up the DePaulia the following week on my way to class, I smiled upon seeing my piece.
If you’re interested, here is the piece
! (Don’t judge the headline, they changed mine and it’s less generic and boring in the print version so I don’t get it either…)
The DePaulia is a great way to get involved on campus, and is definitely worth trying out! Worst case scenario, you discover it’s not your thing so you head in a different direction
Last week I detailed which ways one can stay active and physically fit amongst the freedom of doing (or not doing) what you want and eating what you please. This week I want to focus precisely on the eating component. Like I said before, I could eat Chinese food just about everyday, however, considering sweet and sour chicken is not the healthiest choice I took it upon myself to seek foods that are tasty yet nourishing. For simplicity, I am going to divide these foods between on and off campus.
Being a freshman or even an upper classmen living on-campus such as myself, the Student Center offers an abundant variety of food at almost anytime of the day. There are times when I was guilty of eating mozzarella sticks and burgers at midnight or ice cream for sup
per, but there are healthier options available to those stuck within the limitations of a meal plan. Both the Student Center in Lincoln Park and the DePaul Center cafeteria in the Loop offer a “garden bar” with options such as vegetables, tuna, or low-carb pastas. If you’re like me then you’ll get tired of the usual offerings provided by DePaul, but not to worry, there are limited time platters that change on a weekly basis.
Additionally, since I have the luxury of an apartment with a full kitchen, I like to take some vegetables and other ingredients from the garden bar and use them to cook a little something of my own at my place. I often use the chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach for omelets, burgers, or pasta.
Of course, DePaul’s on-campus dining does provide a limited amount of offerings. Being in Chicago, you can just walk a block and surely find a refreshing alternative. Living in Centennial, there is literally a Whole Foods beneath my feet. I’ve only eaten there twice now, however there is a wide assortment of healthy foods available there. What makes Whole Foods unique is that it serves as a grocery store with an on-campus-style of eating as well. There are buffet counters in the center of the store where one can simply fill up a plate or to-go box just as you would at the Student Center. But besides Whole Foods, the city is bountiful of restaurants for the occasions when you want to treat yourself or not put up with having to cook or do the dishes afterwards. Going to a Walmart, Costco, or Target is also always a safe way to go for a greater assortment of ingredients and other packaged snacks.
I’m sure many of you can relate, but my midterms week consisted of many hours in the library, study groups, venti coffees, little sleep, and my hand
cramping from writing study guides. I’m often told I’m a perfectionist and need to “chill” about studying endlessly, so for the first time ever, I tried to follow that advice. What I set up was that I would study until 10-11pm, and then had to do an hour of “self-care.” So, I got out all my art material (I’m really into watercolor and calligraphy right now), lit candles, played relaxing music, and sat on my yoga mat with my dog.
Of course, it gave me anxiety. I needed to study more, I wasn’t prepared, and I couldn't focus. The more I challenged those thoughts though, the easier it got. I was given the advice to make an art piece that got out all the thoughts in my head. And guess what? It worked! This is a technique called cognitive defusion, where you defuse from being stuck in your head by expressing them through art, writing, or by saying “I notice I’m having the thought that…” Suddenly I wasn’t obsessing over the midterm I had the next morning, and just let myself relax.
Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been trying to do this occasionally, and have also been posting my art on an Instagram account I have and surprising my friends by mailing them art with some of my favorite quotes. This week especially though, this outlet helped me the most! So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should totally try this! Or if you’re not into art, participate in one of your favorite hobbies mindfully! I promise it helps :)
Last weekend was my birthday, and my family decided to treat me to a meal I’ll never forget. Of course, going back home away from the bustle of the city to just relax by a bonfire and being able to appreciate the fall weather was great in itself, but it was where I ate that is the real highlight of my weekend. Here are two restaurants that are located in Chicago that I highly recommend trying out. Flat Top Grill
– 30 South Wabash Avenue
Flat Top Grill is a create-your-own stir fry, meaning that you ultimately have control what ingredients are going into your bowl. Now, considering you are given a relatively small bowl to fill with vegetables, rice, noodles, sauces, and many other options, you can strategically stack your ingredients in order to get the most of your money. Additionally, you are given the opportunity to choose two meats, as well as other add-ons such as eggs, cheese, tofu, and roti bread. Once all thrown together and cooked by the chef, you are presented with your unique dish (such as the one shown above) in a surprisingly big portion. What I like about Flat Top Grill is that it can be worth the money. For lunch, one bowl is $10 and $13 for dinner. For an additional $4, you can go up to put together as many bowls as you wish, but I have never been able to create more than two. Fogo de Chão
– 661 North Lasalle Street
This restaurant is a Brazilian steakhouse, or churrasco. Granted that I went to the one in Naperville, there is also one in Chicago. One of the best meals of my life, Fogo de Chão is an endless buffet of meats. You are given these coasters that have a green side and a red side. The green side is a cue for the waiters who are walking around with meats such as filet mignon, top sirloin, rib eye, sausage, chicken, and lamb and offer if you would like to try whichever they have at the time. You can refuse any particular item, but when you are full or want to take a break, turn the coaster to its red side so that you’ll no longer be approached. There is no possible way you will leave hungry, for you’ll still be eating even when you are full. Yeah, the food is that good. WARNING. This place will break your bank, for just between two people the cost was around $120. If it weren’t for a gift card, I most likely would have never tried this place. However, the food was so delicious I think I have devoted myself to come back at least once a year for a special occasion. Therefore, I recommend only going here if you are comfortable paying big money or simply wanting to treat yourself.
It has now been over 2 weeks since the United States elected their next president, Donald J. Trump. As with all changes in power and administration, it can be a hard adjustment. As college students we are of an age where our political opinion matters more than ever before in our lives, many of us exercising our right to vote for the first time in an election of this nature. After the crazy campaign season, the election early this November took many by surprise, and no matter where they stood on the matter, caused a great deal of emotion to stir up amongst the student body - only a microcosm of the nation itself. There seemed to be a mix of fear, anger, excitement, sense of empowerment and a sense of powerlessness in various forms spread among citizens, including the students at DePaul, and in The Theatre School.
The days to follow the election were raw at TTS, many students having various conflicting feelings about the results. Never minding which candidate students voted for, either way it was evident the student body needed, and still needs, a way to process this event, to acknowledge their feelings positive or negative. They need a way to talk about the ways their own lives have been and will be impacted. Most importantly they need a space to do these things. At The Theatre School, specific classrooms were designated as spaces open spaces for students to come and express their feelings, to be heard, or simply to feel safe to process. Faculty opened up office hours to students who needed support, allowing them to have resources in a turbulent time.
They need a way to talk about the ways their own lives have been and will be impacted. Most importantly they need a space to do these things. They need a way to talk about the ways their own lives have been and will be impacted. Most importantly they need a space to do these things.
In many ways a time like election season can really seem to divide people. And in this divide, we as a community can be pulled farther apart, and truly give in to the fears and sadness, or other overwhelming feelings we have. For the students at TTS involved in politically charged plays, it was quite a trying time, and left many students feeling emotional about what this material means now that the election is over, and a decision has been made. Many students did not want to come to class, to complete their shows, to keep on working. But in this time of uncertainty, this is the time when we go to work. This is the time we come together, and build each other. This is the time when we as artists are needed most, to reflect on the climate, to imagine a future, create light where there is darkness. This is when we have to answer the call to action to protect all of our students, to encourage them to find their voices, and to respect others in that process as well.
In this call to action this past week, a few events have happened signifying this transformation of alarm, into art, into action in the face of adversity. First and foremost, we carried on. Two casts closed shows that focused on elections and political themes, we went to class and completed our finals, allowing ourselves to be empowered and not diminished. On walls of the school questions have been posted, and students have posted notes beneath them describing how they feel, what they think and want, and what comes next. Additionally, lighting design students set up a final project exhibit called the Unity Wall in the lobby of the Theatre School using student responses to the election and thoughts of inspiration and good will and displayed them, suspended and lit for all to see on a wall labeled “democracy”. After the showing these messages will be sent to our state senators. Students have left saying they feel as if it is more important than ever for them to get involved in the causes they believe in. They feel the change that this makes to the drive behind their art, and their activism. From putting up political work that highlights our differences and histories, to taking a step back to work that focuses more on common humanity and love across culture, we are feeling the pulse of the people come alive.
In these small ways, we as a student body are able to come together in a time of divide, confusion, and change. As a community we do benefit from a variety of differences in identity and opinion, but we do not benefit from these being used to diminish others, or segregate ourselves entirely from those that are different from us. Seeing these small steps in action, and making attempts to bring us all together for collective growth lightens my spirits in an uncertain time.
I know that this is only foreshadowing for greater things to come.
Finals week is finally a wrap, and we are headed into the long winter vacation, before returning for classes in January. It is time my annual rant about the importance of self-care, especially during the harsh winter months. I want to share some things I plan to do personally to prepare for winter quarter, and why I find it important.
I want to keep things honest. Last year was really hard for me. I made it through, I got good grades, I learned a lot, but there were many times during my junior year when I felt overwhelmed, and helpless. It can be hard for me to admit that I had a hard time getting through it and that I don’t always have everything figured out. I can be the type of person that doesn’t admit they need help, because of my independence and need to figure things out for myself. It can be embarrassing, but I have learned over the past year, to admit this about myself. I share this personal information because I know I am not alone in this.
Many college students over the course of their 4 or so years encounter hard times. Yes, sometimes college can be Frisbee on the quad, great friends, loving your classes, living care free, but in control of your destiny. I have had countless great memories and moments like those we hope for in a college experience. But sometimes college is overwhelming, hard, and lonely. Especially in the harsh Chicago winters. Everything seems a little bit harder in winter. When it is so cold outside, it can be hard to want to go walk to train to get to class, go outside to run errands and more. When it is darker, colder, harsher it can really effect on us in various ways. Winter quarter of my junior year, I was overwhelmed by the role I was playing on stage, my coursework, and personal life. It took a toll on my physical and mental well being, as well as my personal relationships. I didn’t know exactly how to express how I was feeling, or how to ask for help. I made poor health decisions by eating my feelings and skipping exercise. It took me a few months, and some distance from those situations to finally feel like my awesome self again, but I know that it was rough for a while. Thinking back on this, I know that I do not want to let myself fall into an unfortunate place like that again this year. I have too many things to do, and want to get through my last year of school loving life. So I have decided to draft a game-plan of sorts, to make sure I make it through winter not only surviving, but thriving.
When speaking to a dear friend, I mentioned that I was creating a game plan for myself, and asked for any input or suggestions on how to craft this. While everyone should think of their plan as highly personal and specific to oneself, he gave me a couple things to think on. He suggested I focus on 3 main goals: something physical, mental and personal. I take Barre
classes, so focusing on fitness goals there is something substantial to focus on, where I can see tangible progress. Also, learning something new, with some books of choice, practicing my Spanish or teaching myself to cook new recipes. That way I can feel that I am working toward something real, and enjoyable. And personal things are leaving room in your life for things that personally bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. For me this might be trying new food, new music, creative tasks and writing that bring me a sense of peace, but also push me forward.
Of course, when coming up with these tasks, they are to supplement and fill out my life, so I can still balance schoolwork, plays, and more. These are things that can give me a well rounded sense of self. I would recommend to anyone thinking about the upcoming quarter and winter season, to take a few moment to think about what they can do as preventative care and planning to make it that much easier and more enjoyable. Winter is hard but I am determined to make it through, and you can too!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past month, you know that the Chicago Cubs are the new World Series champs. It is incredible that the city is still standing!
As you may know, I am from Cleveland
, so I did not get the outcome that I wanted. It was such an exciting and close series, though, that I cannot be too upset about Chicago winning. I mean, it had been SO LONG since they had won and Cleveland just won the NBA title so we’ve had enough winning for the year. We can share the love a little bit - ha!
I watched Game 7 with my roommate, who is a bandwagon Cubs fan. I did not dare go out to watch the game- I think I would have been attacked if all of the Cubs fan heard me cheering for the Tribe! We stayed in and ordered Chinese food and watched the stressful, nail-biting game. I am pretty sure we were both hyperventilating at some points in time.
I have never seen the city so excited after the Cubs won. People were speeding down the streets, honking their horns and waving flags and signs out the windows. Fireworks were going off and the Cubs song was playing everywhere. I have had that gosh darn song stuck in my head for WEEKS and I was not even rooting for the Cubs!
The city is finally starting to calm down after the big win. It has been an exciting few weeks and now it is time for my favorite season: basketball season. Maybe the Cavs
will pull through for us again!
It honestly feels like just yesterday I was interviewing at the DePaul Welcome Center to become a DeBlogger. I remember I had to borrow a dress from a girl a few rooms down from me. My preliminary wardrobe I brought to Seton for my first month at college didn’t include a professional interview outfit.
I grabbed my fanciest purse and a printed copy of my resume that barely had any job experience, and off I went. Now, as a fourth year DeBlogger and student, I couldn’t be happier that I got to share my journey with so many others.
As I graduate this fall, I’m excited to say that I’ve already started my job! I’ll be working as a Marketing Assistant for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, a dream job for someone in love with food as much as I am. I’m excited to immerse myself in my passion, continue to write, and still be located in the Lincoln Park area.
One 10-page research paper and a presentation stand between myself and my future diploma. It’s surreal and so bittersweet, but I wouldn’t classify this moment as the end of my scholastic journey. I have a feeling I’ll be back at it in the world of academia a few years down the road :) Who Knows what life has in store.
For my final DeBlog ever, I’ve decided to take a look back at my experience…by the numbers. Here’s a breakdown of my DePaul journey quantified!
Classes taken: 45
Credit hours: 180
Professors taken: 36
Independent studies: 2
Online classes: 2
Skipped classes: 5
Free t-shirts received: 12
Research conferences: 5
DeBlogs written: 100
Families I’ve babysat for: 33
DePaulia issues as an editor: 38
Places lived: 3
Musicals seen: 6
Years on the meal plan: 1
Student debt: $$$$$
If you’re interested in following my last week at DePaul, follow @IAmDePaul
on Instagram for my takeover beginning November 21! Good luck Blue Demons on the rest of your DePaul journeys, and thank you for reading about mine.
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!
What a time to be a Cubs
fan! The World Series kept Chicago on its toes as they played all seven games against the Cleveland Indians.
Although Game 7 was away from home, that didn’t stop Chicago from celebrating. With thousands of people roaming streets around Wrigley at the conclusion of the game, it is surprising that the neighborhood is still standing.
I really thought that Cubs were going to lose in the last inning, but I should have known that the magic always happens in overtime. As “Go Cubs Go”
rang through every neighborhood across the city, cars began to honk their horns and sirens and fireworks went off to celebrate the historic moment.
It’s a been a long journey to the World Series, and I couldn’t help but be thankful that I no longer live on the corner of Roscoe and Sheffield, a.k.a. a street corner flooded with way too many people last night. Although not traditionally a Cubs fan, I was so proud to Fly the W last night as a lover of all things Chicago.
I don’t consider myself simply a bandwagon fan though. Saturday’s Game 4 proved my dedication to the Cubs as I camped out in Prost in Lincoln Park for 8 hours in order to get a seat in the restaurant and watch the game. Arriving at 2 p.m., I then left around 10 p.m. It was a marathon event as my party and I ordered food and drinks on the hour, every hour.
After 108 years, this win has been long overdue. Congratulations to the Cubs and the city of Chicago!
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!
After looking at weather forecasts that call for temperatures ranging from high 50’s to low 70’s, the trees losing their green colors, and noticing that I have to wear a sweatshirt everywhere I go now, it dawned on me that summer is officially over. Sadly, that means no more beach days until another eight months or so for me. Despite the days getting shorter and snow just around the corner, there are many things to look forward to until the next summer comes around.
As much as I do enjoy the summer, the fall is ultimately my favorite season. In October, there is so much to look forward to. I may be biased in saying that October is the best month because my birthday is in it, but there is much more to it than that. Yeah, all the leaves changing color is pretty and that, but it is the haunted houses and decorations for Halloween I find most comforting.
After signing up through OrgSync
, I am going to Statesville Haunted Prison
with a few friends. The event is being put together by the University Apartment Communities and we’ll be bused to and from the haunted house all for free. Another thing I want to check off my list before the month is over is going to Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America. Mix rollercoasters, haunted houses, and cool autumn weather, it ought to be a good time.
Perhaps even more exciting for a lot of people is the start of the basketball and hockey season. Whether it’s college or professional, both are right at your doorstep in Chicago.
Personally, I like to watch most Bulls and Blackhawks games in the comfort of my room with my big HD television, but if I do ever want to go to a game I always have the luxury of getting discount tickets through DePaul at the Student Center and just hopping on the train. If I stick around long enough into December, I can experience the CTA Holiday Train
this year or even the Christkindlmarket
, both of which I’ve never done even though I’ve lived in the Chicago suburbs my whole life.
Although I am sure I missed plenty of seasonal activities available during the winter season ahead, it is always helpful to look on OrgSync for event postings. I mean, if there is something free, why not try it!?
Who I Am
: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Driehaus College of Business
ring in Accounting and Management Information Systems
. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping.
Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!
Who else is enjoying this glorious fall weather? We are entering into my favorite time of the year. It is cold, but not cold enough that it is miserable out and we are getting close to Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Last weekend, I headed up to Lake Geneva, WI
with about thirty other DePaul students and another couple hundred students from other Chicago schools on our annual Cru
Fall Retreat. We definitely took advantage of this awesome fall season.
At Fall Retreat, we stay at Conference Point Center, which is right on Lake Geneva. We stay in cabins, snuggle in sleeping bags, and explore the lake front trails. A speaker and worship band come every year to Fall Retreat and most of our time is spent in sessions with them, learning, worshiping, playing games, and growing in community. However, they always provide time for us to explore the lake, play a mega-tournament of ultimate frisbee, and relax in nature away from the city.
Oh, it was so nice to be away from the city for the weekend. I love Chicago, but it can be so exhausting and energy-draining. I felt so at peace spending the weekend at the lake and definitely felt rested when coming back to the city to start another week. We only have a couple more weeks until finals begin - yikes! I hope that you can find some rest and rejuvenation in these next weeks - remember, our reward is a big turkey dinner!
Oh hey there!
I’m Emily and I’m a senior studying Journalism with a minor in Psychology. I’m originally from the northern suburbs, Wilmette
, where I frequently go to visit my dog Piper.
Some (fun) facts about me:
1. I went to school in Canada my freshman year
2. I’m a dual citizen with Canada and the US
3. I have an obsession with elephants (and rode one once in Thailand...best day of my life)
4. I’ve been making movies with my friends since I was 10
5. I tap danced for 10 years
6. I can quote pretty much every line of Friends
7. I could eat a PB&J for almost every meal
8. I’m obsessed with yoga (and am getting into meditation)
9. I played badminton in high school (it’s a real sport...we went to State)
10. I just went on a 4 day meditation retreat for one of my classes (and I get credit for it!)
At DePaul I have experience transferring, taking classes part time (and taking a medical leave), commuting for a quarter, living in on campus apartments, writing for the DePaulia, changing majors and being a student worker in the CDM graduate admission office!
When I’m not in classes or working, I enjoy writing in coffee shops, taking my dog to the beach, rewatching 30 Rock
(but my latest obsession is The Newsroom
and Broad City), watching movies and being a film snob about them, practicing yoga (obviously), and making breakfast for dinner.
The students behind Support Tomorrow’s Rising Stars (STR*S), are back at it again with another ridiculously fun event, the Drag Show! This is a quarterly event, that STR*S has been holding the last couple of years that is fun for all involved. Hosted by the BFA 4 class, the Drag Show is an event where theatre school students of any year and discipline can sign up to perform in front of guests in the The Theatre School's main Lobby. Students create their own Drag characters, complete with costumes, makeup, wigs, a stage name, and killer confidence.
A few Fridays ago, we kicked off our first of 3 Drag Shows of this year, but this time, it had a little twist - competition. Traditionally it has been a show for all to participate and enjoy, but this time, all participants were competing to be crowned winner of the Fall 2016 TTS Drag Show. There were 8 competitors in total, both men and women creating a complete cast of fabulous characters. First each competitor in the line up was introduced by a fierce host “Ayabria”, STR*S member and 4th year actor Ayanna Bakari. When each performer took the stage, they were illuminated by the glow of gorgeous pink lighting and bright spot lights. The music was bumping as each performer went on to Lip Sync to a self chosen track, dancing for their lives, while the audience cheered, clapped and danced along in their seats. The energy in the room was alive as the hour long show went from serious to sexy to surprising, the audience and participants as equally invested in the moment. It was a-ma-zing.
The event was truly a success, creating a decent turnout, and even better turn UP, supporting STR*S fundraising goals, but also supporting each student’s ability to express themselves in a way we often don’t get to see in our day to day lives at school. Some guests were skeptical, as some of the most noted performers from past years have graduated, and they wondered what would happen with this new generation of the Drag Show and its participants. However, guests walked out singing the songs they heard throughout the night, and talking about their ideas for ways they could be a part of it next quarter. This is exactly the goal in mind when STR*S host an event of this nature. To bring the school together to have fun and let loose, with events that get the student body excited about ways they can also be a part of the action, and look forward to what’s to come.
I have a homework assignment for you guys. Stop whatever you are currently doing
and go watch the documentary “We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World.” You can find it at this link
I know, I know, you already have a ton of homework and cannot possibly take an hour out of your day to watch this. I promise, you will not regret staying up a little later or skipping the next episode of Stranger Things to watch this.
I have to give a final presentation in one of my classes and I am presenting on the education inequality that girls around the world face. I stumbled across this CNN film that names girls’ education a global crisis. There are still 62 million girls worldwide who do not have the opportunity to receive an education. Doesn’t that break your heart? Gender stereotypes, money, safety, and basic health needs prevent girls from going to school.
This film will open your eyes to the privilege we have here in the United States. All of those barriers that I listed above are things we take for granted here. Public school does not cost money here in the States, but that is not the case in other countries. If a family has to choose between sending their son to school or their daughter to school, they will most likely send the son. Also, girls do not have as good of access to sex education in a lot of developing countries, which affects their schooling experience. Girls are not allowed to go to school when they have their periods, which means they miss one week of school every month. I cannot imagine that happening here in the States.
I am glad that I was able to watch this film because I am more educated on the lack of education equality in the world, a very important topic that needs to be faced. I am thankful that there are initiatives to shrink the education gap, like the Let Girls Learn campaign started by President Obama and the First Lady, USAID
, the Peace Corps
, and other agencies and programs. I pray that someday girls everywhere are given equal opportunity to learn.
So, go watch it! Learn how to help and empower these girls! Do not take your education for granted - we can help be the change.
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’m an only child, so it’s been just me and my parents my whole life. As a result, I’m super close with my parents. From the moment that I started my college search back in high school, I knew that I wanted to go to college in a city that would allow me to visit home as frequently as I wanted. Not only is Chicago relatively close to my hometown of Oregon, Wisconsin
(located just outside of Madison), but Chicago offers so many transportation options. Between two airports
, and Amtrak
, you never have to be that far away from home. And ever since I got into a long-distance relationship with someone living back in Madison a year and a half ago, I’ve become even more grateful that I live somewhere where I can buy a Megabus ticket home for just $1.
let me tell you why I went home this weekend. First off, I love Chicago. I may have grown up in a town of under 10,000 people, but I’m definitely meant to live in a city. If nothing else, I love how late restaurants are open. That’s reason enough for me to stay in Chicago after graduation. Having said that, there are no corn fields in Chicago. As both a fall enthusiast
and a transplant from Wisconsin, corn mazes are extremely important to me (see picture for proof). Fall is incomplete without a corn maze. Over my 22 years of life, I think there’s only been one or two years where I haven’t been able to make it to a corn maze (and I don’t like to talk about those years). So this year, I blocked out some time so that I could head home and get my corn maze fix on. After picking pumpkins, feeding a goat, running through the corn maze, and drinking a life-endangering amount of apple cider, I realized that my $1 ticket home was totally worth it.
Who I Am: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Drihaus College of Business double majoring in Accounting and Management Information Systems. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping.
Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!
I’ve gotten to do some really cool things during my time at DePaul, but I would argue that this quarter has included one of the coolest.
This past summer, my social media professor Ben Foster reached out to some of his former students. His question? Would any of us be interested in doing some communications and public relations work with a brewery opening up in West Town. A craft-beer lover, I could think of no better way to spend my last quarter as a 21+ student.
I met On Tour Brewing Company’s founder Mark Legenza, and was instantly inspired by the world of craft brew. Since joining the On Tour team, which currently consists of me, Mark, and our head brewer who is also named Mark, I’ve done a little bit of everything.
From community outreach to social media to graphic design to attending the West Town Food Truck Festival on behalf of On Tour, my new job as Communications Coordinator has allowed me to explore so many avenues of communication. I enjoy the independence that comes with not having an office or set hours, and I’ve even learned a little bit about construction from being on site.
Taking on a position like this one really makes me reflect on the all of the experiences I’ve had while living in Chicago and attending DePaul. My various classes and internships, but also personal interests in craft beer and the restaurant industry have all contributed to my ability to help open up a brewery in Chicago.
As of now, we’re set to open the week of November 14, and will begin brewing this October. I could not be more excited for what’s in store for On Tour Brewing. If you want to stay updates on our progress, follow us on Facebook
. Also, sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website
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!
Who doesn’t love the Harry Potter
movies (and books)!? Some of the best memories from my childhood are the times when my mom would take me out of school early so that we could go see a new Harry Potter movie that had come out that day. The Harry Potter movies are amazing no matter what, but there’s something special about watching them in a movie theater. If you never got that chance, NOW IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
Starting on Wednesday, October 13, the entire Harry Potter series is coming back to IMAX
screens for just ONE WEEK. Luckily for us, there’s a participating IMAX movie theater just a twenty-minute bus ride away from DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. Regal Cinemas City North
will be showing each movie multiple times over the week (you can see the schedule of Harry Potter screenings here
). And I haven’t even told you the best part: it’s actually pretty affordable. Going to a single movie (on IMAX, nonetheless) only costs $6, but the real deal is the $30 event pass that lets you go to as many showings as you want over the week. That means that you could potentially go to 42 screenings for just $30. THAT IS A STEAL.
This week-long event is a big promotion for the upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
, a spin-off of Harry Potter set to be released on November 18. If this week-long Harry Potter overload has you amped up for Fantastic Beasts, be sure to keep up with DePaul Activities Board
(DAB). Every year, DAB does some kind of big ticket giveaway for the premiere screening of huge movie. A few years ago, my friends and I got tickets to go see Maleficent
and we had the best time (especially because the movie theater that hosts the premieres has super comfy reclining seats). This fall, DAB will be at the Lincoln Park Student Center on November 17th to hand out tickets to the premiere of Fantastic Beasts. SO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MAGICAL AUTUMN.
Today I want to talk about something sort of unrelated to life in The Theatre School, but connected to college life in general. You my have guessed it by the title of my post -- it’s Health and Fitness in college. I’d like to be open and honest about this subject, in hopes that it may help other current or prospective students.
Personally, health and fitness have not always come easily to me growing up. Before college I never really played sports regularly, or learned great nutritional habits. Even when I arrived as a freshman, I was intimidated by the Gym - a place I’d never been before - and unsure how to navigate the dining areas in the healthiest ways. In fact, when I came to college I encountered the infamous “Freshman 15”. Before college I had always heard this phrase, a colloquialism for the time when many new college students gain weight (in this case a theoretical 15lbs), due to poor food options, choices and more. After a few months of college, and hibernating through the harsh Chicago Winter, I found that my clothes didn’t fit anymore, and I wasn’t feeling good in various ways. While it is embarrassing to me to admit that I have dealt with this, I know that at colleges all over the country, many students deal with the challenge of staying healthy and fit in college. Here at DePaul, the Student Center - where campus dining is located is open very late, and with your meal plan only a swipe away - food, snacks, and sweet treats seemed always available. While I had access to the gym, I had never had a regular fitness regimen, and was intimidated to go in the first place. For many students starting college, added to lack of sleep, and more, it can be easy to put on a few pounds. Or, at least it was for me. Now that I am a senior, I have a more consistent health and fitness regimen that helps me stay feeling my best - although it hasn’t been easy to get here. Here I want to share some resources that DePaulians can take advantage of to make healthy choices that are right for them.
The first resource to take advantage of is the Ray Meyer Fitness Center
on the DePaul Lincoln Park Campus. While I was quite intimidated to go to “the Ray” my first year, I encourage any student to go (your student fees get you all access with your student ID)! For those who are already fitness experts, and those who are new to it like I was, the Ray is the place to be, I swear. With rows and rows of fitness equipment and machines, students and members can find almost anything to add to their workout. The Ray also holds scheduled daily group fitness classes from dance to interval training to cycling, as well as opportunities to connect with personal trainers staffed right here at the Gym. The Ray had endless resources for fitness and fun, with intramural sports, camping equipment rentals, special events and classes and more all designed to help students and members stay active, healthy and happy.
The second place to keep an eye out for is the Student Center, affectionately called “The Stu”. This is where dining services is held, with all the food options for students who live on campus. There are many different options available, from salad bar to burgers and fries. Having so much available was not so great for me my first year, but I admit as someone who knowingly struggles with nutrition and weight, I should have gone in with a plan. Getting pints of Ben and Jerry’s and late night curly fries are undoubtedly part of anyone’s college experience, but finding balance and making healthier choices on the regular can sometimes be a challenge. I advise anyone new to their dining hall, who wants to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15, to go in with a plan, do what makes you feel your best, and enjoy all things in life and college in moderation.
It took me well into my college years to really figure out how to make choices to be my healthiest and best self, and is something that still takes a lot of work. For others it may come easier, but for any students current and future who wonder or worry- know that the struggle is real, you are not alone, and DePaul has some awesome resources to help you enjoy college in the healthiest and happiest way.
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!
So. You may have heard about a little musical named Hamilton
. In the super unlikely event that you haven’t heard about it, let me just say that Hamilton
is the musical phenomenon of the decade. An R&B/rap musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton
is easily the hottest ticket on Broadway. Ever since it premiered in February of 2015, virtually every performance has sold out. It has won 11 Tony awards, a Grammy, and a Pulitzer Prize. The music is so popular that the Original Cast Recording hit #1 on the Billboard Rap Albums chart. On top of all of that, Hamilton
has made such a huge impact that the U.S. Department of the Treasury reversed its previously-announced plan to replace Alexander Hamilton with a historically significant woman on the $10 bill (instead, Harriet Tubman
will replace Andrew Jackson
on the $20 bill). And now, as of last week, Chicago has its own sit-down production
Now, it’s no secret that I like musicals. Nor is it a secret that I’m super cheap. I’ve written at length (here
) about how much I love doing student rush or trying the lottery in order to see shows in Chicago for cheap. For the uninitiated, most musicals have some sort of promotion that allows a few people to get cheap (but good) tickets on the day of the show. Hamilton
has one of the best lottery systems. Just for comparison, when I was trying to win the lottery to see Wicked
, I had to run downtown every day to put my name in the drawing, and then I would have to wait around for hours just to find out that I lost. For Hamilton
, it’s way easier. On the day of the show, you go to this website
to enter your name in the lottery for up to two tickets. Four hours before the show, you’ll get an email letting you know if you won. If you did win, I’ll be jealous, and you’ll have an hour to buy your tickets online. They give out at least 44 tickets for each show, and each ticket is just TEN DOLLARS. And then you just pick up your tickets at the theatre right before show time. IT’S THAT EASY.
Let me know if you have plans to see Hamilton. And definitely let me know if you win the lottery!
*Most productions that come to Chicago are tours, meaning that the production will perform in Chicago for a limited, pre-determined period of time before moving on to another city. A sit-down production is open-ended, meaning that it will stay in the city as long as tickets continue to sell. Hamilton is already selling tickets through September 2017.
I ventured on the Megabus
this past weekend and made a long overdue visit back to my hometown, Chardon, Ohio.
I hadn’t been home since May, so I was really looking forward to seeing my family, my dogs, and enjoying the nice fall weather in a small town setting. My best friend Stephanie joined me for the weekend, and it was really fun getting to show her where I grew up and for her to be a part of my Ohio life.
Every year, my family hosts a huge Fish Fry (no, not a pun on our last name). My dad goes on a few fishing trips every year with his friends and they collectively catch enough fish to feed over 100 people, meaning our house was the place to be on Saturday night. I hadn’t seen a lot of the people who came in a really long time, so it was nice to catch up.
Oh, it was so nice to be out of the city for a long weekend. I absolutely love Chicago, but the craziness and energy of the city can be tiring sometimes. It was a joy to be in a slow, quiet town for a while and cuddle with my dogs. Stephanie and I went to a pumpkin patch one afternoon and it was glorious. When I sniffed the air outside, it smelled like leaves, which was awesome. I’m back in reality now, but a weekend back in Chardon was the perfect treat and made me really excited for this fall season.
Is anyone as obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy as I am? I JUST finished watching the series on Netflix and goodness, I am going through some serious PBD (post-binge depression).
I started watching Grey’s Anatomy this past May when my best friend got me hooked. I had sworn to myself that I would never watch it: I knew I would like it and get sucked in immediately and I did not have time to watch twelve emotional, dramatic seasons. However, I obviously failed and went through twelve seasons, which is 269 episodes or 188.3 hours, in three and a half months. At this point, I can’t decide if I am appreciative or mad at this friend who got me hooked.
For those who are unfamiliar with Grey’s Anatomy, it is a show centered around a surgeon named Meredith Grey, the daughter of a world-famous general surgeon. The show follows Meredith and her friends as they go from interns to residents to attendings, with lots of drama, relationships, and mass tragedies in between. How Meredith Grey has survived a bomb explosion, near-drowning experience, a mass shooter, a plane crash, the deaths of many friends and family members, and a vicious attack from a patient is beyond me, but hey, all the more power to her. I am not an emotional person and this show had me sobbing multiple times. If you haven’t seen it yet, prepare yourself for an emotional journey.
The season premiere for season 13 just aired on Thursday and Shonda Rhimes did not fail to bring in the drama and emotions. I was digging my fingernails into my face and my roommate was weeping - the typical responses to watching Grey’s Anatomy. I am looking forward to seeing how the show continues on and let’s hope Meredith Grey will catch a break sometime soon.
This summer, I had to take a graduate thesis research course. One day, while I was diligently researching the Spanish Transition to Democracy, I stumbled across this video
. In case you’re like me and you actively avoid clicking video links, let me summarize the video for you (but I highly recommend that you watch it because I guarantee you will fall out of your chair).
There’s a show on Food Network called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate
,” which features Food Network chefs talking about the best [insert name of food here] that they had ever eaten. During the episode entitled “Road Trip,” Marc Murphy profiled the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company
, a small restaurant in Lincoln Park. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. is famous for a little thing called the Pizza Pot Pie.
The Pizza Pot Pie is made by brushing a ceramic bowl with butter and then filling it full of cheese. Like, real full. Like, comically full. And then once that bowl is full of cheese, then they pour the sauce on and add some mushrooms (if you’re into that kind of thing, which I am most definitely not). They throw a slab of dough on the top and bake it. When it’s all done, they bring the bowl to your table and flip it upside down onto your plate so that you can see all the cheese.
As I watched this video, I went through so many emotions. At first, I was upset. How had no one told me about this before? How had I lived here for four years and never heard about it? I figured that no one else must know about it either, so I went around and starting telling everyone about it. To my surprise, everyone else apparently already knew about it. Despite my obsession with all things cheesy, somehow I dropped the ball on this one.
So you know I had to go as soon as I possibly could. I cleared my schedule and made plans to go the next weekend. So I show up at 12:30pm, and there’s already a line out the door. I literally must have been the only person in the tri-county area that was unaware of this restaurant. I ended up having to wait an hour and a half for a table. Why? They don’t take reservations. And when you get to the restaurant, they don’t even take down your name. The host just stares at your face for a few seconds and then somehow apparently just remembers what order people came in. The whole set-up was simultaneously impressive and questionable.
At the end of the day, it was actually the best pizza item I’ve eaten in my entire life. I could not recommend it more. Get there ASAP.
Eating is more than just sustenance for me. It’s definitely a favorite pastime.
Last week in my PR campaigns class, I was asked to fill out a get-to-know-you survey, which included a question about hobbies and interests outside of class. I shamelessly wrote “eating” down for number 1 because at this point in my college career, there is #noshame.
So where am I eating this quarter? I thought I’d point out my top three spots to chow down as a student this month.
Who knew Portuguese food was THIS good? Nando’s is famous for their flame-grilled chicken, which is basted and cooked in the sauce of your choosing. Don’t like chicken on the bone? Not a problem. Try one of Nando’s sandwiches, wraps or salads. My favorite dish at Nando’s is actually a side. The Red Skin Mashed Potatoes are too good to be true. When I’m feeling extra indulgent I order two sides (the mashers + Peri Chips a.k.a. fries). Yes, I realize that combo = potatoes X2, but sometimes life is just too short. DePaul Tip: Bring your student ID to the Clybourne or Lakeview locations to get 20% off your entire meal (minus alcohol)!
Pizza is life, and Stella Barra helps drive home this core principle of mine. Its handcrafted dough and delicious toppings make this pizza taste so fresh and flavorful. If you’re loving the sunny-side up egg trend right now, I highly recommend you order the Prosciutto and Egg Pizza. An egg is baked into the center of the ‘za, meaning that each slice will be lightly coated in yolk. The Crispy Calamari and Fresh Burrata are equally scrumptious, but if you want to splurge on your pizza, try opting for the House Bread as a starter instead, which is a great bargain for only $1.95.
Located right down the street from me, this brewpub is quite delicious (and now open for brunch). The perfect spot for catching up with friends or even dining with the parents, the simple menu does not disappoint. My former favorite item on the menu is the Skillet Mac ‘N Cheese, topped with smoked cheddar, a sunny-side up egg (yet again), toasted breadcrumbs, peas, and applewood smoked bacon. I say “former” because I’ve mustered up a great copycat recipe for this one, which I’m quite proud of. My new favorite is a tie between The Burger and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. Both are served with a heaping pile of fries. Plus, their craft brews are pretty mean, too (for the 21+ crowd, of course).
So what are you eating this quarter? I obviously could talk about food for a lifetime, but I promise to not talk your ear off if you want to inform me of a new recommendation.
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!
Welcome back! Wow, I cannot believe that school is starting again. I feel like I just turned in my last final from this past year!
I had an amazing summer and am feeling refreshed and excited to start another school year. As a reminder, I spent the summer in Ocean City, NJ
with 100 other college students on a mission trip with Cru, a Christian organization on DePaul’s campus and on campuses around the country.
While in Ocean City, we all got jobs at different places around the island, learned a lot about the
Lord and about ministry, and did a lot of outreach on the boardwalk. I made lifelong friendships and grew a lot - it was an awesome summer!
However, I am now back to reality as school started on Wednesday. It’s my senior year I cannot believe I am almost done with my undergraduate degree! These past three years have gone by so quickly and have been some of the most impactful and fruitful years of my life, and I expect nothing less from my fourth and final year.
This quarter is turning out to be a really busy one18 credits, a paid research position, leadership with Cru
, applications for grad school and STINT (yearlong international ministry program with Cru). It’s going to be crazy, but I’m really excited to see all that this year will bring me and what my life will end up looking like. I graduate in 9 months - eek!!
I hope you will continue to read my blog as I write about school, my experiences, and my adventures around Chicago!
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.
The end of the year marked the closing of a very long run of Peter Pan and Wendy, the show I was in during Spring Quarter of this year. This was the closing of my last show of junior year, and it has left me feeling very reflective of my experiences this year, all the things that I have learned, and facing Senior Year (whoa). At TTS only junior and senior actors (as well as 2nd and 3rd year MFA actors) can audition and perform in the many official productions. This time last year I was just thinking about how crazy it felt to finally be facing junior year, and finally be in the casting pool for the MainStage shows. There was so much uncertainty and nervousness and excitement around what it would be like to be an upperclassman, and be in a real show. Now, a year later, I have just finished my third MainStage show, and looking straight in the face of my last year of undergrad, and my last 3 shows. It is an equally exciting and nervous place to be, but for different reasons. I now have an understanding of how the process works and of the work I need to do to be successful.
Here are some things I've learned from the three shows I was in this year, and greatest memories.
Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson-on
the Fullerton Stage:
What I learned: This was my favorite show experience this year, and will always remain very special to me. A lot of this is due to the fact that it was my very first real production in college, and my first MainStage show. During this process and in exploring the role of Zonia Loomis, an 11 year old living in 1910, I learned to follow my instincts and really have fun in the work. They call it a play for a reason! This show taught me that I can have a truly safe, collaborative, fun, and wonderful experience creating a piece of theatre, when all involved truly love and care about the work in the same way.
My favorite memory: The connections I made with the entire team are so special to me. Also, in the rehearsal process we explored rhythm, singing, and dancing in a way that was improvisational and came from the heart.
In the Blood by Susan-Lori Parks- in the Healy Theatre:
What I learned: In this process I played a young homeless mother of five, struggling to beat the odds and create a better life for her family-but is ultimately destroyed by the forces around her. This role was very challenging to work on, given the size of the role and circumstances of the story. I will admit that I was very scared to work on this role. But after the process I learned that while it is okay to be scared, the only way to get the work done is to face it head on, and proceed step by step. I learned to be an advocate for myself and that I need to work on communicating my needs as an actor in the process. I learned that I can do things I didn't know I was capable of.
Greatest memory: The bond I created with some of the cast members of this show. Also, on opening and closing night, sharing with each other the ways in which we were proud of each other.
Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie - in the Merle Reskin Theatre:
What I learned: In this play I had two ensemble roles of the Neverbird and one of Captain Hook's pirates. During this process I was able to apply some of the things that I had been learning in the classroom over the last couple of years in some different ways. The Merle Reskin Theatre, located in The Loop, is the largest stage and theatre that we perform on at TTS. Such a large space and large audience demands you fill it up and send the story up and out so everyone in the audience can receive it. I got to play with my voice work to be heard in such a large space, and play with different voices for a bird, and for a pirate. I got to explore my movement work also in exploring bird-like movement, and playing a scruffy male pirate. Also, I took the acting lesson "Never let yourself get bored" into account and always switched up my point of view or actions on stage as a pirate. Because I was in the background and still serving the story, it was fun to play around with different things, just for myself.
Greatest memory: Wearing awesome costumes made by the students at TTS!
I have learned all of this in process, even more in the classroom and even more outside of the classroom. Being a part of these has taught me about acting, about life, and about myself. I look forward to many new learning experiences in the shows next year!
Honestly, the Chicago theater scene never ceases to amaze me.
An original score for a musical was created by the famous David Bowie
, and more. Which musical you ask? Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants
. I seriously have never thought of ever seeing Bowie and SpongeBob musically intertwine, but why not? Although I have yet to actually see the musical the word on the street is that it is truly entertaining. Bands like Panic! At the Disco and Plain White T’s also composed songs for the musical which makes the middle school version of myself scream.
The first thing I wondered was what the musical was going to be about? I feel like SpongeBob has short plot points, but making a two hours long musical sounds daunting. The co-director, and member of Chicago’s very own Steppenwolf Theater
, Tina Landau said “The SpongeBob Musical. One of our challenges has been to take an episodic art form, remain true to its spirit of non-sequiturs and outrageousness and then create a really strong storyline that will not only get people involved but pay off emotionally. So we have a story and a subplot, but it's all spiced with the particular flavorings of the SpongeBob universe." So in essence, it is still going to keep its place of having a broad appeal to many demographics.
I hope no one thinks I’m silly for being so intrigued with SpongeBob at 21, but I really think theater is sophisticated enough to bring out the childish and story-telling nature we used to have before we grew up. I think theater has the power to transcend reality and bring us to a lace we once knew, and for me that is being a kid and watching cartoons without a care in the world. I hope you all find this perspective interesting as well!
I always love when my friends from the suburbs come to visit me in Chicago at the end of spring quarter. It gives me an excuse to walk to The Bean and take silly pictures, and to ignore the fact that I’m still in school.
The only time I curse the quarter system with all my might is inevitably when all my friends get out of school a month earlier than I do. Their freedom rubs off on me, and I get dazed and confused about the fact that I still have to go to a week of classes and finals.
But, it’s hard to be sad when the weather is this beautiful in the city. My friends visited me last weekend, and we spent the sunny afternoon sitting along the lakeshore, attending Chicago street festivals, and eating way too much.
After coming to the sad realization that it’s beach season, and my nonexistent exercise routine that I worked so hard at during the winter has not prepared me for swimsuit shopping, I’ve decided it’s time to make a lifestyle change. No more nightly Kit Kat to reward myself for making it through the day. No more eating out everyday. And, for the first time all year, I even stepped foot into the Ray.
Yikes...it took me 2.8 quarters (a.k.a. 28 weeks) to walk into the gym. But, I’m slowly getting back into the habit. With no school work this summer and a part-time internship, it’s time to spend my energy elsewhere. I’ve also found out that a summer membership to the Ray only costs $42, which is a steal considering you get to attend fitness classes as well.
Like always, I can’t believe that this school year has come to a close. Thinking that I’ll only be at DePaul for 10 more weeks next year is something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. It won’t be reality until I walk out of my last class next quarter, and realize that I’ll never have to do that again (until graduate school, that is).
With entirely no plans for post-graduation this November, who knows where I’ll be at this time next year. I could uproot and move to a different city after landing a dream job. Or, I could stay in the city that I now call home — Chicago. Hopefully, this summer I’ll start figuring it all out. But, until then, good luck on finals!
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.
Over the past four years, I have had countless experiences
at DePaul that I will remember for the rest of my life. Aside from making great
friends and getting a high quality education, the city of Chicago has given me
some of the best memories. Here are five of the most memorable things I’ve done
while at DePaul over the past four years:
1. Chicago Jazz Festival
At the beginning of September, Chicago hosts a jazz festival
downtown in Millennium Park. I loved bringing a blanket and a picnic with a
couple of friends, sharing a view stories and laughs and listening to
world-class jazz performances (all for free!) Usually the discover Chicago
class for music students ends with attending a jazz concert – I will miss
laying on the grass, watching sunsets over lake Michigan and being a train ride
away from one of the best and biggest outdoor venues in our country.
2. Student Leadership Institute, Winter Leadership
During the winter of my freshman year, I had the opportunity
to attend the winter leadership conference in Zion, Illinois. At no expense to
me, I got to stay in a hotel on Lake Michigan, eat delicious meals and
participate in group discussions and activities about how to be a good leader
and be a positive role model on campus and beyond. I learned so much about
myself and met some great people along the way.
If you’ve been reading my blog this year, you know I am
obsessed with bakeries. I have loved trying new places – cupcakes, pies,
cookies, doughnuts – I love it all! I will miss having adventures to new sweet
spots, but I know where I will be stopping first when I come for a visit… check
out my favorites: Dinkel’s, West Town Bakery, Stan’s Donuts, Sweet Mandy B’s,
Molly’s Cupcakes, Bake, Swirlz, Twisted Baker
4. Bowling nights and attending ILMEA
I had the privilege of being the president of the DePaul
chapter of NAfME, or the National Association for Music Educators. I had a
great time road tripping down to Peoria for the Illinois Music Education Conference – not only did I grow as an educator, but it was a full weekend of
spending time with my peers, networking with professionals and purchasing new
music and equipment. We also started a new tradition of going bowling at the
end of the school year at Diversey River bowl – a great celebration of all the
hard work we do each year!
5. All of these things:
Eating Chicago-style pizza, going to Cubs games, seeing the
Chicago Symphony, sitting on the beach, running races downtown, performing in
different venues, teaching in local schools, singing in the church choir at St.Paul’s, traveling to Africa and collaborating with my awesome peers!
Memories at DePaul go way beyond the classroom – Chicago is
“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!”
Nothing makes me happier than going home and seeing my dogs. My family has three dogs: Oreo and Frisco are Boston Terriers, and Abigail is a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix. Dogs are just the best. They are friendly, always happy to see you, loving, and comforting. I went home a couple of weeks ago and got prime cuddling opportunities with my dogs. We have had Oreo since I was eight years old and I definitely am the closest to him. I almost smuggled him back to Chicago in my suitcase.
Now that summer has come upon us so quickly, all of the dogs seem to be around Lincoln Park. I swear there is one being walked on every city block- which is great for dog lovers like me. I remember one time during my freshman year I ran into a family walking a Boston Terrier and they let me pet it. I felt so much better afterwards – something about dogs just lifts my mood so much.
If you walk a few blocks south of campus, you’ll find this awesome organization called PAWS
, which is committed to building no-kill communities for stray or unwanted dogs and cats. They help spay and neuter cats and dogs and help get them adopted into permanent homes. They even have a giant team each year that runs the Chicago Marathon to raise awareness and funds for their efforts.
Animal lovers rejoice, because PAWS welcomes volunteers! I know a few people who have volunteered at PAWS and love it. Is there a better way to spend time then playing with dogs? I don’t think so.
In the words of the profoundly philosophical and reflective Nicki Minaj, “Let’s go to the beach, each, let’s go get a wave.”
Nicki couldn’t have summed up the goal of my summer any better. If you can’t find me and it’s blazing outside, I’ll be laying out by Belmont Harbor. A quick, Bus 77 ride away from my apartment, the walkway along Belmont Harbor doesn’t get as crowded as Fullerton Beach or North Avenue Beach.
While this part of the lakefront doesn’t have any sand, if you don’t mind laying on a towel on concrete, it’s the perfect spot. There are even a lot of rocks along the lake, making some nice, natural, sit-in-the-water seats. My friends and I have titled this place, the Rock Spot.
The Rock Spot is an ideal location to soak up the summer sun and skip all the hot sand. I’ve never been a fan of coming home from the lake and having to dump out the sand in my bag. My inner neat freak is not okay with the residual graininess and stickiness that undoubtedly comes from a day at the beach.
Dipping my pinky toe into the water this Monday morning, I thought I had mentally prepared myself for how cold the lake would be, but I definitely didn’t prepare enough. According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, the temperature of Lake Michigan at the Chicago shore is currently 58 degrees. It was a glacial temperature to say the least.
I’m still waiting for the water to warm up, but until then, I’ll be lounging by the Rock Spot. Hope to see you there!
Sweets and Snacks Expo is a 3 day event filled with….. well, snacks. A new hall was added to the convention center which made the event a whopping 4 acres long. I repeat. FOUR ACRES OF CANDY. Although I do not have the biggest sweet tooth, I am intrigued by the hardier snack freebies.
One of the coolest, and most technologically advanced things I have experienced lately was the fact that this event had a “plan my show” app available. This App was created for show-goers to maximize their time at the expo by creating a personal action plan! As someone who LOVES planning and sticking to a schedule I thought this was helpful, especially because going through 4 acres of product sounds daunting. Basically, the app allows you to compile a list of must-sees for you. You can search through companies by category and easily add them to your agenda. This made it possible for me to make the most of my time at the expo!
The thing that interested me the most at the event was the chance to gain insight into the more educational part of consuming snacks. 700+ exhibits were showcased and displayed their products for all of Chicago to see. Once this comes around again next year, I suggest taking a look!
I like people, I like school, I like shoes, but I LOVE food.
I was once asked three words to describe myself at a networking event, and faltered because the only word to come to mind was foodie. While not exactly the results-driven adjective employers were looking for, it is a word that is important to me anyways.
In my effort to save money — emphasis on the effort — eating at restaurants has become a special treat that I count down the days of the week for. I pick my restaurants carefully, and my company even more so.
Since spring quarter began, I’ve been sticking to Lakeview restaurants. While mostly to avoid the crazy weather we’ve had, I’m also never disappointed by my Lakeview restaurant choices.
So as of May 2016, here are my top three recommendations for you and your cravings:
DMK Burger Bar: Artisan burgers with truffle fries and thick milkshakes? What’s not to love. I dream of DMK at least twice a day. I went there so many times fall quarter that my server knew when I was ready for my shake. I’ve ordered various burgers from DMK, and have never been disappointed. My favorite is #8. The #8 consists of iceberg lettuce, marinated tomato, pickled red onion, bread and butter pickles, mayo and your choice of cheese. A classic option. But don’t stop there! Order hand-cut russet potato fries with parmesan and truffle cream. Get it for the table, but be ambitious once the plate comes because they’ll go fast. I also always get a peanut butter shake, but ask about DMK’s rotating shake of the month because there might be a better option. Vegetarian? Surprisingly, no problem at DMK. Order #13, a crispy portobello with fontina cheese, arugula, marinated tomato and horseradish sauce.
Dive Bar: Self-described as nautical delights, the items on Dive Bar’s menu allow you to feast like a captain. Fried fish, boilers, raw oysters, and Cajun mac n’ cheese will transport you to a coast far, far away. I would recommend the BOTTOMLESS fish and chips, available on Friday. As the description promises, beer battered and fried to perfection, the fried fish is served with house-made tartar sauce and curly sea salt fries. I’ve only been able to get through three rounds of the fish and chips, which I think is pretty impressive. My goal is four so we’ll see what I can accomplish this quarter. Dive Bar has a special every night, so be sure to check the website to see what delicious discounts you can score.
Hutch: This American bistro is a Chicago favorite that I happen to live a half block away from. It tempts me all day, every day, and has taught me restraint. But when I do save enough money to venture on over to Hutch, every dime is worth it. On the off chance that I have a weekday off of work, I’ll go to Hutch during its Happy Hour. A great deal, Hutch offers 1/2 priced appetizers and flatbreads Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. The lobster nachos, warm skillet nachos, charred onion dip, and meatballs + pork belly are enough to fill you up. If shared appetizers isn’t your thing, try Hutch on Tuesday nights for the $12 steak and fries special.
Next time you’re in Lakeview, hit up my favorite places! All are easy to get to by public transportation and are somewhat affordable for resourceful college students. Plus, these restaurants are great places to bring visiting friends and family, especially when they offer to foot the bill.
Though I’m looking forward to moving out of the city and starting my new job, there are a few things that I will really miss about being a college student in Chicago. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to see The King and I at the Lyric Opera – I hadn’t been since I saw Cinderella in the fall! I grabbed a couple $20 student tickets for Will and I attended a 7pm show.
The Lyric Opera House started a new annual tradition of bringing a musical to their stage every spring – seeing Oklahoma! In 2013 was one of the best moments of my life! Seeing professional operas is always a great experience, but I find musicals to be really fun and easy to understand (generally pretty uplifting and light – perfect for a date night!) The King and I is the story of a teacher who travels to Siam to teach the children in the king’s palace, but in the end her influence goes beyond English and arithmetic. It was a beautiful story about learning to respect others and how to experience love. The costumes, sets and songs were breath-taking and I would recommend the show to everyone.
Just a few days later I attended the annual DePaul symphony concert at Symphony Center. Every spring DePaul’s symphony (the top orchestra) has the opportunity to perform downtown on the same stage as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – too cool if you ask me! All DePaul students are able to get free tickets to the event, which was an added bonus. It was bittersweet – I loved seeing my best friend, Kelsey, performing in such an amazing venue, but it was also sad in that it could be a while until I see Kelsey perform again or see a symphony concert at all. I’m glad that I will be living close enough to the city that I can get to a CSO concert when I need to be re-inspired to practice…
With only three weeks of college remaining, I’ve started a bucket list of things I want to do before I move away – going to the Lyric and the DePaul symphony concert were two of them! I’m still hoping to find the best Chicago hot dog, attend a couple of shows and go back to all of my favorite places one last time. Trying to stay motivated to get my school work done as best I can!
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!
Now that spring quarter is in its final few weeks, most of the productions at The Theatre School have closed, but the hard work and creativity is still full steam ahead.
It is now the time of year for Wrights of Spring, a special event showcasing new work created by students here at TTS. Playwriting students have been working hard writing and revising new work throughout the year. Wrights of Spring is the moment these writer get to share their work with a larger audience of students, faculty, and guests.
These pieces range from shorter one-acts, to full length plays that are presented in staged readings. The playwrights cast other students from across disciplines in the roles they have created and often team up with student directors to come together to share their stories.
For nearly two weeks there are daily showings of these brand new works. At any of these readings you will see dozens of audience members crowding into classrooms and theatre spaces. Each playwright sets up the space differently, perhaps with suggestive set elements, some with a bare stage, with fully staged action or actors standing behind music stands delivering the playwrights words. However it may be, audiences witness the actors, scripts in hand, present these new works. Often it is the first time the playwright gets to hear their piece outside of their classes. They have been working tirelessly to craft their plays throughout the year, and finally get to see how their play is received by a wider audience. This is a chance to hear what is working, and what is not, so they can continue improve and sharpen their writing. It is also a celebration of the talent we have among us here at TTS. This is a fun, supportive and amazingly creative event, with dozens of new plays showcased during these two weeks.
The culmination of this event is the opening of the New Playwrights Series showcase production. This is when a student playwright’s work is chosen to be fully produced on the MainStage. This season that show is "The Women Eat Chocolate" written by 4th year Caroline Macon, starring BFA III and IV actors, and directed by Heidi Stillman, who among many things is known for her work at Lookingglass Theatre
here in Chicago.
On the TTS website there is a description of this World Premiere play:
"At age 13 Alexandra Appleton is certain she's a poet. Her life spirals out of control when her younger sister, Dot, passes her in the race to womanhood. After a psychedelic trip, Alex struggles to distinguish fantasy from reality. Are the adults in Alex's life out to get her? Is her poetry teacher more than just a friendly mentor? And most importantly, will Alex's body catch up to her brains?"
This is a beautiful written play that I am truly excited to see it on stage.
Spring is undoubtedly the season of growth and here we are see some budding new work!
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!
you’re going on your first date or your hundredth date, it can be hard to
brainstorm ideas. Nine times out of ten, you end up just watching Netflix and
eating pizza. Here are a few ideas for that other 10% of the time!
The Vic is a popular concert venue located close enough to campus that I routinely
pass it while I walk to get ice cream. When The Vic isn’t hosting a concert,
The Vic becomes The Brew and View, one of the most underrated and
underappreciated institutions in the area. In a pinch, The Brew and View can be
the quintessential cheap date; most nights, you can go watch a double- or
triple-feature for only $5. Where it can become pricey (for me, at least) is food and beverages (shocker).
For whatever reason, The Brew and View sells White Castle hamburger sliders and I can
never say no.
you and your special someone have eaten too many White Castle sliders
yourselves (or you just want to enjoy a nice day), it might be time to finally
try out those blue bikes you always see everyone riding. Divvy Bikes offers a 24-hour pass
for just $10, allowing you to take an unlimited amount of trips for a whole day. The caveat to
this deal is that you can only take a bike out for up to 30 minutes at a time
before you have to return it to any Divvy station (but once you return your bike, you're free to immediately take out another bike!). Divvy bike stations can literally be found all over
the city (as evidenced by the map of Divvy bike stations), so finding a station
is never too much of a hassle.
already written plenty
about Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
, so I won’t repeat myself. But
let me just say that Spanish tapas
are the absolute best first date food.
They’re small plates and you naturally order several rounds (or at least I
always do). What this means is that if you’re totally not feeling it, you could
finish the first round in ten minutes and be like, “Wow, I’m so full. I had a
great time and it was nice meeting you,” and just run out the door. On the
other hand, if it’s going fantastic, you can be like, “Oh my, I’m just so
hungry today. I think I could go for a seventh round of croquetas
,” and just
have the date that never ends. If you’re to the point in the relationship where
you feel confident enough to use a coupon, sign up for Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!’s text
messages while you're there and enjoy the frequent free food.
you and your not-so-secret admirer are both DePaul students, why not spend a
few hours becoming cultured at the Art Institute of Chicago? While tickets for
the Art Institute can usually be a little expensive (especially on a student’s
budget), you can get free tickets just by showing your DePaul ID at the ticket
desk! The Art Institute is home to some of the most famous paintings,
sculptures, and installations in the world. Suggesting the Art Institute is a
surefire way to impress your significant other.
The first week of May commemorates the anniversary of the death of an amazing literary figure: William Shakespeare
. I recently attended an event to celebrate this anniversary out on Navy Pier. Navy Pier, a common tourist location in Chicago, is home to the renowned Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
. Year round, CST honors the legacy of the most famous writer in the English language, by producing his classic plays. This year, however, is something special. 2016 marks 400 years since the death of this amazing poet and playwright. When you think about it, it has been 400 years since Shakespeare has last written anything, and yet, four centuries later, the English speaking world still studies, performs, and cherishes his work as some of the best ever created! Now that’s a legacy.
On the anniversary of his death, and in celebration of his April birthday as well, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre set up a large fireworks display in his honor. Of course, when my friends and I heard this, we knew we had to be there. Shakespeare? Fireworks? FREE? I’m there. We took advantage of our handy dandy UPasses, and took the CTA
directly to Navy Pier. When we arrived we saw hundreds of people, families, groups and individuals of all ages, congregated outside on the steps of the pier overlooking the water. Employees of CST handed out masks with Shakespeare’s face on it, we each took one, and entertained ourselves as we practiced reciting out Shakespeare monologues and sonnets disguised as the Bard himself.
At 10:15 sharp, the pyrotechnic display commenced, to the awe of everyone there. The fireworks were exciting and beautiful, and over the loud speakers they played music from movies inspired by Shakespeare stories. It truly was dramatic. I was surprised so many people were in attendance, and wasn’t sure if everyone there even really knew Shakespeare’s work. However, it was a fun way to spend a windy, late-April night in the city, celebrating beautiful art, watching beautiful fireworks, and taking enjoying the cultural events Chicago has to offer.
After living five blocks from Wrigley Field for the past two years, I finally got a chance to experience this iconic ballpark.
Last week, I was blessed with a cancelled class on Thursday night. As if that wasn’t lucky enough, my friend had an extra ticket to the Cubs game. Fate wanted me to go to that game and enjoy a Cubs win over the Washington Nationals!
Around 7:00 p.m. we walked the four blocks from my apartment to Wrigley. I embarrassingly did not have any Cubs apparel to wear to the game. I once owned a W shirt, but lost it in the wild, wild west, also known as my closet. I wore a dark blue coat instead, trying to blend in with the Cubs crowd. It worked!
I was ultimately surprised at the size of the ballpark. The only ballpark I had been to previously was U.S. Cellular, which seems so much bigger than Wrigley. But perhaps, my memories of U.S. Cellular deceive me as the last game I went to was in middle school I believe.
The Cubs and Sox rivalry is one I am very familiar with. My parents are die-hard Sox fans and have raised me to follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately, my move to Wrigleyville has changed my loyalty, as I found myself sitting in Wrigley Field shouting “Go Cubs go,” on Thursday.
I’ve told my family that my switch from rooting for the Sox to the Cubs is a matter of safety; imagine if I was walking down Addison after a Cubs game let out and I had on Sox shirt. I’m sure that an excited Cubs fan might punch me in the face. It’s easier if I assimilate into my neighborhood and cheer for the Cubbies.
But, ask me to cheer for the Green Bay Packers? Never would I ever.
“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!
One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is explore the different neighborhoods around the city. Did you know there are 77 total neighborhoods? That is a whole lot of places to visit!
Thething I like most about the different neighborhoods is that each neighborhood has its own unique identity and culture. You would get an entirely different experience visiting River North (right near downtown) than you would visiting Lincoln Square (way northwest of the city). Each neighborhood has its own collection of stores, restaurants, and cool places to visit.
Recently, my good friend Jasmine and I drove to Gold Coast, a very affluent and historic neighborhood right near downtown. We wanted to celebrate the end of the quarter and her graduation (she graduated a quarter early!) and she wanted to go the cafe located inside the Restoration Hardware store. I know what you are thinking. A cafe in a Restoration Hardware? That sounds crazy.
You guys, this was one of the most amazing places I have ever been in Chicago. It is four floors of beautifully designed rooms and spaces with an exquisite cafe in the center that has glass ceiling. It was STUNNING. While Jasmine and I waited for our table, we explored the different floors. I had a strong desire to marry someone rich and buy a house and start having babies just so I could afford/buy all of the beautiful furniture in this store. Once we got our table, the food was delicious (unsurprisingly). If you ever get the chance to walk through this store, I highly recommend it. You will never feel so simultaneously amazed and poor in your life, but it is an unforgettable experience. Continue to take advantage of all the cool places this city has to offer!
Besides baseball and FINALLY seeing the sun come out, the main reason I love this spring is….garage sales. Well, typically the sales are not actually out of a garage as Chicago apartments usually do not come with one of those unless you pay extra. What I am talking about is the vast array of vintage and plant sales around Chicago when the beautiful spring season arrives. Nothing gets a college kid who is already in crippling debt more excited than the word “bargain.”
A place I have yet to visit is an event called Vintage Garage Chicago
. These events start in the middle of April and continue until mid-fall. From what I have gathered, each month there is a theme which is just a fun added bonus. There is always merchandise from antiques to vintage from 1880’s to the late 90’s in many categories like home goods and lawn decorations.
I truly love benefiting from the wastefulness of others, which reminds me tell you all to not be afraid of a little alley hunting. You’d be surprised what amazing furniture and decorations people throw out (especially in the more ritzy areas of town). For example, my buddy just found a vintage Guinness poster and a book shelf that they restained a nice dark brown. Another reason I really love the bargain hunt is because guilt free shopping feels better than paying full retail price. Once you’ve done the majority of your shopping in a stranger’s front yards, a $25 shirt from Target begins to look absurd, which really puts into perspective how much things are worth.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE DePaul, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day away from campus to regroup. Below you’ll find four places within a three-hour drive of campus. Don’t have a car? Check out the student car share program through Zipcar
You’ll be impressed by how awesome this town really is. With skyscrapers, an art museum, and a zoo, Milwaukee has the big city amenities with the small town feel. You’ll be astonished how reasonable the prices are in Milwaukee are compared to Chicago, so go all out! In the few short hours I spent in Milwaukee I was able to try the legendary Kopp's Custard, go on the Sprecher Brewery tour (and pick out four bottles of their soda), and experience the Milwaukee Public market with awesome tilapia tacos and fresh made cheese curds for all under $20!
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. I’m sure this was a favorite spot among many of us as kids. If you’ve already done the classics – Mt. Olympus Waterpark, the Ducks boat ride, and the upside down museum – I’d encourage you to dig a little deeper. Have you ever tried kayaking, photography, or Geocaching? The Dells are a great area for outdoor exploration. If you’re looking for a less touristy area, check out Mirror Lake, just make sure to bring your gym shoes and sunscreen!
At the Indiana Dunes there are 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 70 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. A short drive away you’ll find the Seven Peaks Waterpark with a quarter mile lazy river, as well as one of the last 350 drive-in movie theatres in the United States. You’ll want to pack a lunch to eat along the beach or explore dining options in one of the neighboring towns such as Porter or Valparaiso.
Monticello, Indiana. Home of the Indiana Beach Amusement Park for the last 90 years! For $36.99 (cheaper than Six Flags!) you get all day access to 9 roller coasters, 22 classic amusement rides, and the water park. There’s even an arcade, beach swimming area, and a boat tour for those looking for extra attractions. Thinking about making your day trip into a full weekend? Indiana Beach has plenty of cottages, cabins, and camping options.
I have been getting in the habit of taking at least one online class at DePaul. This habit started late sophomore year. At first I was extremely apprehensive because I learn better with an in person instructor and am also motivated by their teaching to get my work done. With online classes, there needs to be some control within yourself to keep on track, since there is no human you see weekly reminding you about homework or projects. As I get deeper into finishing all my requirements before graduating, I am finding it hard to find domain requirements that are online (and interesting to me).
With that in mind, this quarter I took a shot in the dark and enrolled in an online class that didn’t seem super stimulating, but was the only one open when it was my time to enroll. The course is called Leisure, Recreation, and Health. I thought to myself “what is so scholarly about leisure....? Like riding a bike and reading on days off? How can this simple thing be an area of study?”
I was soon hit with the harsh reality that I have underestimated the world of academia, and also that of the human experience. Leisure is described as an elemental experience, essential to the total well-being of every person; it is a reflection and expression of the cultural values of a society, and it is an important vehicle for medical treatment. Also, leisure can be essential for a healthy community I terms of social climate and stability.
DePaul has many outlets for leisure and I am honored to have the privilege to choose to participate in them. DePaul has the Ray Meyer Fitness Center which provides everything from swimming to ping pong. DePaul also offers their students an amazing opportunity to participate in DemonTHON which is a 24-hour dance party to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. These activities make for a really connected community that have people who hold the same values. The sense of togetherness is something that leisure provides for people.
Although we are at DePaul to get a degree and a career, we also learn the importance of the binary of work and leisure and how the balance of each makes for a happy life J
I love spring when Chicago seems to blossom again. People are less tentative to wear winter coats and wince when going outside, and are more likely to spend time outdoors and enjoy the wonderful spring weather. Not only are the people blossoming in Chicago, but the flowers and trees are, too. Lincoln Park is beautiful during this time of year. I was lucky enough to have my parents come and visit this past weekend and we certainly enjoyed the great weather.
One of my favorite things to do is head east to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. Both are free and make for a very fun afternoon. My parents and I first went to the zoo and headed straight to our favorite exhibit: the gorillas. They were super active this past weekend and were really entertaining to watch. There was a baby gorilla, too!
Our other favorite animal to see is the giraffe, which we got a really good view of, as you can see in the picture on the side. It was the perfect day to visit the zoo and now that the weather is steadily improving, you can visit, too!
After the zoo, my mom and I headed over to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It does not take that long to walk through, but is absolutely beautiful. It is filled with any type of plant, fern, or flower you could imagine. I have friends who will bring homework to the conservatory and sit in the midst of the flowers and study. It is so peaceful.
These are only a minuscule amount of the crazy cool and beautiful things we can do in Chicago now that the weather is warming. Make this the time to pack away your winter coat and start exploring the city again!
A local organization that is near and dear to my heart is
the Greater Illinois Multiple Sclerosis Society.
My boyfriend of three years was diagnosed with MS the year before he started attending DePaul, and over the course of our relationship I have learned a lot about the disease and how it affects those who have it. For the 3rd time, both Will’s family and my family participated in the annual 3-mile walk to support the MS society over
the weekend regardless of the cold, overcast weather!
Multiple Sclerosis involves the central nervous system of
the body. Basically, the immune system attacks the myelin that surrounds nerve
fibers – myelin is a fatty, protective coating around nerves in the central
nervous system. When the myelin is damaged, signals going to the brain are
interrupted, causing symptoms like dizziness, difficulty walking and memory
loss. People with MS often have grey legions on their brains and spines, which
are scars from the damaged myelin. There is currently no cure for MS, which is
why the organization holds fundraisers to help with research, clinic trials and
support programs to help those affected. If you’d like to know more about Will’s
story, you can check out his fundraising page!
Walking 3-miles is not an easy feat for many who have
Multiple Sclerosis, so I’m always unbelievable proud of Will after this event.
He fundraised almost $900 for the organization and was ready to walk more once
we were finished – though not the best conditions, I think the cooler weather
was helpful in keeping us moving. We scored a ton of free bags, tee shirts,
umbrellas and towels… plus I won $10 on a scratch ticket! It was truly a great
day for all.
I’m really glad that I’ll be moving within driving distance
of the city so I can make it to the Walk MS for the 4th time next
I’m always on the search for great food. In a city as
big as Chicago, it’s not hard to find great food. Whenever friends from home
come to visit me, I know they’re only coming to visit because they know that
I’ll lead them to the best food. Still, everyone always wants to get those
iconic Chicago foods: popcorn, pizza, and hot dogs. The truth is that,
sometimes, eating like a tourist is the best way to experience Chicago and to enjoy
those famous foods. If have you haven’t been before, or if you have an
out-of-state friend coming to visit, you have to visit these restaurants.
You can never get enough of Garrett Popcorn (but
really everyone calls it Garrett’s and I just learned it’s actually Garrett).
There's a reason that there's often a line out the door for it. Garrett Popcorn
is best known for their Garrett Mix (formerly, and more popularly, known as the
Chicago Mix until a trademark kerfuffle forced them to change the name), a mix
of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn. No one does cheese popcorn like
Garrett’s. Note: ask for extra napkins. If you thought Cheeto dust was hard to
get off your fingers, just wait until you try Garrett’s cheese popcorn.
Embarrassing story: throughout my first year in
Chicago, because I’m stupid, I always heard Illuminati whenever people said Lou Malnati’s and I would wonder why they’re talking about the Illuminati and
pizza. Luckily, Lou Malnati’s has no known affiliation with the Illuminati.
But, they are known for having some of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza
in all of Chicago. And since Chicago is obviously going to have the best
Chicago-style pizza, that means that Lou Malnati’s probably has some of the
best Chicago-style pizza in the world. Even better, there’s a Lou Malnati’s a couple blocks off of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, so it’s convenient as well!
While people will always argue over the authenticity
of different Chicago-style hot dogs, Portillo’s is definitely one of the more
popular and more common places to get a hot dog. Or if you're brave, try out
The Wiener’s Circle, which is right in Lincoln Park. The Wiener’s Circle is
legendary not just for its food, but also for its “feisty” late night interactions
between staff and customers on the weekends.
I'm not totally sure if Chicago has any claim to a
famous dessert, but if it does, it might be the chocolate cake shake at
Portillo's. Hypothetically, that means you can kill two birds with one stone if
you get a hot dog and a chocolate cake shake at Portillo’s. The chocolate cake
shake is exactly what you’d think it would be. It’s literally ice cream and
chocolate cake blended together. What could be better than that? Now Portillo's
is a chain with restaurants all around Illinois, so it may not be a big deal to
people from Illinois, but to this Wisconsinite, it's the biggest deal.
This quarter I’ve been spending a lot more time on campus. With my Mondays now free, I typically spend my whole day in Lincoln Park. Besides spending too much money at the DePaul Whole Foods, I have been regularly reading our campus message boards and have found out about some pretty cool activities on campus.
While I admittedly jot down most of these activities in my planner, never to be revisited again, last week I actually followed through on something. Buying a ticket with my roommate to see The Misanthrope by Moliere
, I decided to take a trip to the DePaul Theater School on the corner of Racine and Fullerton.
Arriving to the theater just before the show started, I was a bit flustered as I sat down and took in my surroundings. The Fullerton stage is small and intimate; the glow of the lighting reaches all audience members, leaving no one completely in the dark.
The stage set a beautiful scene, highlighting a fancy foyer with large bay windows. Two double doors on each side of the stage acted as the entrance and exit points for the characters during the play.
The play itself was smart and quick. The characters were outspoken and comical, and all of the play’s lines rhymed, which is automatically very impressive. While I won’t spoil anything from the play, DePaul’s interpretation was marvelous, not that I’ve ever read the original or seen a different version.
I always appreciate DePaul Theater School plays. For only $5, not enough students take advantage of this opportunity. Plus, who knows which future famous actor or actress you might see on stage at DePaul.
Through a twist of fate and luck, my dad and I scored tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks game against the St. Louis Blues. We had great seats on the first row of the third floor, right behind the goal.
Getting lost on our way to the United Center, it was overwhelming when we first arrived into the stadium. The sheer number of people in red jerseys (myself and my dad included) confused us and comforted us at the same time.
I had never been to Hawks game before, but now that I’ve experienced the madness I can think of no other professional sport that is as exciting to watch live. The crowd is rowdy as can be, and the swiftness with which the puck moves leaves no moment of the game unhurried.
The finals score of Game 6 was 6 to 3, with the Hawks advancing to Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. I scored a win myself as I got a free rally rag imprinted with the iconic words “One Goal” when I arrived at the stadium. (Everyone did, but still…)
Let’s go Hawks!
Like I’ve said dozens and dozens of times, I love walking
around Chicago. Walking relaxes me. I’m a very high-strung person, so I need
all the relaxation I can get. Even though every full-time student gets a
U-Pass, I try to avoid taking the L and try to walk everywhere instead. My
favorite place to walk though is easily Lakefront Trail and I have one
particular route that I take all the time.
Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile-long biking/running/walking
path that runs right alongside, you guessed it, Lake Michigan. Lakefront Trail
(and Lake Michigan) is only a 15-20 minute walk directly east from DePaul, so
it really couldn’t be easier to get to. When I go walking though, I usually
walk north first and enter Lakefront Trail at Belmont Harbor. I do this for three
logical reasons: 1. I can stop at Wow Bao on the way and get a chocolate filled
bao to eat, 2. After I finish my bao, I can stop at Ann Sather and get some
cinnamon rolls, and 3. There’s a dog beach near Belmont Harbor and it makes me
happy to watch the dogs swim around. I highly recommend all of these pit stops,
especially the dog beach.
When it’s nice out, I’ve been known to walk from Lincoln
Park to Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier (but I usually take the L back because,
let’s face it, I’m not a professional athlete). It’s pretty motivating to get
on Lakefront Trail and see the skyline in front of you, so I usually just keep
walking and walking and walking. When I’m lazy though (which is more common
than I’d like to admit) I usually will just cross over Lake Shore Drive
bridge that connects Lakefront Trail to Lincoln Park
(the actual park, not the
When I’m lucky, Forever Yogurt, a frozen yogurt shop, will
have a pop-up trailer at the other end of the bridge inside of Lincoln Park.
It’s super convenient because by the time I cross the bridge, I’m usually just
starting to feel healthy and that frozen yogurt stand ensures that I never have
to feel healthy. I usually walk north in Lincoln Park towards the Lincoln Park Zoo. It is important to note that the path in Lincoln Park that borders Lincoln
Park Zoo has maybe the best view of the Chicago skyline that you can imagine.
I’ve probably walked this path 100 times, yet I still take a picture of the
skyline almost every time. And from here, it’s only a twenty-minute walk back
This is totally my favorite path to walk in Chicago. Let me
know if you have anywhere you love to walk!
Have you ever noticed that the food you tend to eat in the winter is a whole lot different than the food you tend to eat in the spring and summer? I definitely have. The frigidness of the winter seems to permeate my entire body and that makes me crave heavy, rich foods. I made many pots of chicken soup and pans or casseroles this winter because they were filling and warmed me up from the inside. My friends and I always seem notice a little extra padding on our bodies once the winter is over because warm, comforting foods usually tend to mean unhealthy foods.
Once spring and summer hit, I no longer crave these comfort foods, but am excited to go to the store and buy lighter, healthier, more sustaining food. One of my favorite things to make is called a Buddha Bowl, which is described as a “grain-, protein- and vegetable-rich dish.” They are super customizable, meaning you can put almost anything into it and it will most likely turn out delicious! My favorite combo is quinoa
, broccoli, avocado, sweet potato, and spinach. Yum!
Now that we are (hopefully) nearing summer in Chicago, fresh fruits and vegetables will be available in abundance. There are many Farmers Markets around Chicago, and quite a few in Lincoln Park. The produce and goods at these markets is a bit more expensive than at your typical grocery store, but the freshness and quality is so much better and plus, you are supporting a small business. Let’s hope for a fast-approaching summer!
One of my best friends, Clay, recently celebrated his 22nd birthday. I was in charge of helping plan his party and when I asked him what he wanted to do, he replied with one word: Chinatown
Even though I am nearing the final quarter of my third year at DePaul and in Chicago, I had yet to visit Chinatown. It was always a fact that perplexed me because I love visiting those kinds of neighborhoods and my favorite food is Chinese food. Somehow, though, I had never been given the opportunity to make the trip down. I was so happy that Clay decided he wanted to go to Chinatown for his birthday. Celebrating Clay was the perfect excuse to venture to Chinatown!
If you have never been to Chinatown, I really recommend you go experience it! It was super authentic and beautiful. One of my good friends recently went to China and she said that walking along the main street of Chinatown really made her feel like she was back in China. The food was great, too, which was another perk. We ate at Seven Treasures, which was delicious. I ordered pork chow mein and ate the whole thing - it was so delicious. We ended up having a huge group with us - there was about 25 of us total! Luckily, we could make a reservation and all eat at one place. It was a great night.
My first visit to Chinatown was definitely a success and I look forward to heading back there soon to try a different restaurant. It was certainly a memorable evening and a great way to celebrate Clay.
As someone who has juggled a full-time class load with a full-time internship, it can be overwhelming. Last quarter I learned my lesson, and this quarter I tweaked my game plan.
Enrolling in an advanced internship course through DePaul’s College of Communication, I am now receiving college credit for my marketing internship. Classified as a communication elective and a fulfillment for my junior year experiential learning requirement, I go to my internship as normal and also complete career development assignments for class on the side.
I decided to enroll in an online course with DePaul career specialist and instructor Michael Elias. At first, I was skeptical of the course's assignments. Would setting goals and having my supervisor sign them actually change my work habits? Did I really need to upload a recording of my elevator pitch and receive critiques from classmates?
The answers? Yes, yes and yes.
Michael’s class has helped me not only in my internship, but also in my personal career development. I feel confident about going into my next networking event and introducing myself and my career goals to complete strangers.
Our final assignment consists of making our own online portfolio, in which we showcase our accomplishments and essentially, our personal brand. While the final project is somewhat intensive, the course load itself is very light, not causing students to be overworked with the balance of class and their internship.
Be sure to check out internship courses at DePaul for a great way to earn class credit and gain real-world experience, while also making a buck or two.
Who needs Miami or Cancun?
Usually I spend my spring break catching up on my reading list and sleep. For many college kids, spring break is a time to lean into freedom and lack of academic responsibility. Many people travel to far away beaches, but for me that has never been finically feasible. I would much rather spend my time doing very little, or traveling to a place most people do not go to for spring break. This year, instead of lying in bed I decided to take a trip to Boston to see what the East Coast had to offer. Sadly, it was rainy and gloomy most of the time, but luckily they have a lot of free things to do and clam chowder to eat (not free, but a girl can dream).
I spent the first day in Boston walking the freedom trail and learning about all of the historical site. It is also the home of the first public park in the US so I spent some time people watching and eating a REAL Boston Crème Pie
. Definitely better than the Boston Crème donuts at Dunkin, but I know they are trying their best. I visited some museums and pastry shops, but what I enjoyed most is the realization that I do not need to go anywhere warm to have a pleasant time during my spring break. Yes, a little sun would have been nice, but downtime to me has nothing to do with the weather. I find that spring break is a time to recharge and doing it in an environment that is not packed with party people is the best for me.
Is it really spring if you didn’t visit the annual Macy’s Flower Show? I don’t think so.
Or at least that’s what I told my roommate as I strung him along to look at flowers with me on the ninth floor of Macy’s on State Street.
Of course, the annual show did not disappoint. With the theme, “America the Beautiful,” this year’s flower show took on the task of trying to represent the flowers of America in a space the size of a large apartment.
Did it do our nation’s flowers justice? I have no idea. The flowers I recognized at the show were few and far between. However, Macy’s did identify all the flowers for patrons through signage placed in flower beds and attached to decorated walls. They even labeled grass in case you got confused by the green stringy things growing out of the soil. How nice.
The show celebrated not only flowers, but also recreated various iconic destinations out of flowers. The Washington Monument was replicated from a structure of white flowers, with cherry blossoms lining the pathway. The Statue of Liberty’s fire torch — is that what you call it, I really have no idea — was also replicated using a multitude of colorful flowers.
In case you are wondering, you are not allowed to purchase any flowers at the flower show. Macy’s lists that fact as the answer to a frequently asked flower show question online. Quite ironic considering you can buy anything else under the sun at Macy's.
Perusing the pathways of the flower show gave me the spring break I didn’t have this year. Plus, armed with my Zyrtec, Kleenex, and memories of the flower show, I am now officially ready for spring. Bring on the allergies.
“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!
Another race in the books! Over the weekend my gal pal,
Kelsey, and I ran the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k for the 3rd
time. I’ve been able to do several races during my time in Chicago – and this
one is by far my favorite! 8 kilometers translates roughly to 4.97 miles,
making it a quick, accessible run for people of all ability levels!
What I love most about the Shamrock Shuffle is the course –
with several major streets shut down, over 23,000 runners took over the city.
There is nothing cooler than running in the middle of the Michigan Avenue and
seeing the Chicago skyline. Even better, regardless of 23,000 people, I had no
issue keeping my own pace and having my own space! There were quite a few
“hills” on the course, which are never easy, but the adrenaline pumping through
my veins made it all seem like a piece of cake.
It wasn’t my best time ever, but I kept my goal of finishing
in less than an hour. I finished the 4.97 miles in 59 minutes and 40 seconds –
putting me roughly at 12:00 minutes per mile. Out of 23,435 runners, I placed
18,215th… but who’s counting!
Following the race, we treated ourselves to a well-deserved
breakfast at Sam & George’s, a restaurant near our apartments. There is
nothing better than a big skillet and coffee to replace those burned calories!
I was so grateful for a day full of my favorite things: running, eating and
spending time with my friends.
One of the things I will definitely miss the most about
Chicago, assuming I’m not living here post-graduation, is running by the lake
and through the city. In the last four years I’ve run several races: The Hot Chocolate 15k, Grant Park Turkey Trot 5k, Crosstown Classic 10k, Shamrock Shuffle 8k, the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and a few other small races that I
just can’t remember! I’ll also be doing the Walk MS 5k for the 3rd
time in a few weeks – I just can’t get enough of all Chicago has to offer for
helping me stay active.
I will miss our tradition of running the Shamrock Shuffle,
but I’ll always keep with me the memories that Kelsey and I shared in all of
our running adventures over the past few years.
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!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love new experiences and learning new things. But anyone who knows me even better knows what I love more than that: Free Things. One of the great things about being a DePaul student is being able to take advantage of the connections throughout the city. One great opportunity for students right now is free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago History Museum. These two great places offer free admission to DePaul students with your student ID. You better believe I have taken advantage of the opportunity! I have already gotten in to The Art Institute a couple of times, and have yet to scope out the Chicago History Museum - that is next on my list.
The Art Institute of Chicago
is an art museum and school located downtown on Michigan Avenue. It is the second largest art museum in the United States, in fact. Walking through the museum, there are a countless exhibits and galleries displaying art from all over the world, ancient to contemporary. A friend and I went, taking advantage of our DePaul hook-up, and couldn't even make it through most of the exhibits in the hours we spent there. Our plan is to keep going back and tackling one section at a time, so we can really take it all in. There is so much about art, and the history of the world to learn by walking through the halls. Art, of course, is an expression of life, and it is always so interesting to me to see what is shaping or influencing the creation of these works. With free admission until this Fall (to my knowledge) any DePaul student should stop by and take a look at some of their favorite works, and learn something new as well.
The Chicago History Museum
is located in Lincoln Park - also home to DePaul! This museum, as you may have guessed, was erected to study and interpret the history of the city of Chicago itself. The museum houses many exhibits that hold an extensive collection of objects and documents detailing the history of Chicago over the last couple hundred years. Permanent displays such as one dedicated Abraham Lincoln's leadership and American conflict during the civil war, are balanced out with temporary exhibits that detail Chicago's LBGTQIA population or Chicago Fashion. This is a great way for students to learn more about this city's rich and complicated history.
DePaul University always uses the City as our Classroom. And this is a great way to do just that. Whether you are from Chicago originally, and want to learn more about its history, or whether you are new to the city and just now putting the pieces together, the Chicago History museum is a great place to visit. Of course, I recently learned that DePaul students can get free admission with their student ID
so this is definitely an opportunity to take advantage of.
These two locations are great ways to learn more about the city we are in and the world around us, past and present. I am a believer in spending your time and money on new, enriching experiences. Being a busy and broke college student can sometimes make it hard to get out and do new things. However these two locations within easy reach of campus are great places to start. And lucky for us, and our DePaul connections, students can visit for free. What is better than that?
Before spring break I experienced a milestone of my college years - my 21st Birthday. Shout out to any other Pisces
This was the first time I got to celebrate a birthday with my friends and classmates in the city. Birthdays are always a great time to celebrate another year, and the possibilities that lie ahead, while spending time with special people.
This year, turning 21, was a milestone that brings with it a sense of freedom and possibility. For me, the most exciting thing about turning 21 in Chicago was the new place I could now go and experience. This city has endless cool things to do, and see, and experience. But some happen to be limited to a 21 and over crowd. Some things I have been looking forward to is visiting venues for music and comedy.
Personally, music and comedy are two things I really love to hear, and in a way related to my interest in theatre and storytelling. However, many comedy clubs, locations with open-mics, jazz clubs, and other music venues, happen to be limited to the 21 and over population because of the beverages they sell at such venues. Now that I am 21, I have the ability to check out such places, and be exposed to a whole new scene of music and comedy that I had not seen before. There are often different small store-fronts that advertise comedy shows, open-mics, music shows, or poetry slams that I am interested in attending but did not have access to.
This past Wednesday, I was able to go catch a comedy club open-mic night, at a club called Jokes and Notes. My friend-who is trying to break into the comedy scene in Chicago, and I paid our $5 admission, grabbed a Hershey bar and some Sprite and sat in the front row. Some of Chicago's great comedians, or people who have found career success all over the US have started in this club. Because anyone could sign up to perform we saw quite a mix of different men and women performing. Some were quite good, very funny and seemed to have experience, and some were just learning the game, were a bit awkward or had jokes that didn't quite land with the crowd. Both ways we had a great time. As theatre majors, we know that there is just as much to learn by watching as performing. By observing what works, and what doesn't work, we were able to learn more about the delicate art and timing of effective stand-up comedy. I am looking forward to attending more locations to hear new and interesting comedians, musicians, poets and more as I get to explore Chicago in a whole new way.
*DISCLAIMER- I, and those at DePaul University, do not condone or encourage the consumption of adult beverages or content that may be present at the kind of venues mentioned. However, I personally do encourage knowing what interests you, what your city has to offer, and how you can go out and take advantage of them, while learning along the way! For me, turning 21 just opened up a new way to do just that.
As a college student, it is important to create networks of people to support you. While I have a wonderful community of people here at DePaul, I also believe in expanding your network.
I currently am a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. This is a scholarship foundation created in the legacy of the legendary black baseball player and civil rights activist, Jackie Robinson.
I have been a part of this foundation since I applied for this award before entering college. The Foundation is made up of college students across the country studying various things. Each spring, the scholars attend a Mentoring and Leadership Conference.
This is a four day event in New York City where all the scholars come together with professionals to learn about career readiness, professional skills, networking and more. The weekend is full of guest speakers, workshops and seminars where students get to interact with other students and industry professionals. This conference takes place the first week of March each year, and I have just gotten back from attending my third conference of my college career.
While I was there I attended social justice panels, sessions on interviewing skills, financial planning, networking, being a career focused woman (the men attended a session of their own) and more. These were all so informative and I learned a great deal from listening and practicing these skills.
While I was there I entered the JRF's Got Talent competition with a monologue I had prepared at school, and won 2nd place! I had a great balance of business and pleasure, also getting to attend a black tie formal gala and the ballet during my stay.
While I learned a lot and had great fun, one of my favorite things about attending is simply the people I get to be around. As an ambitious college student of color, it was great to spend time with so many other smart successful and talented students of color. The group of students involved in the Jackie Robinson Foundation are some of the best and brightest young minds in our society, and I am always so grateful for the opportunity to be in their presence and learn from them. What is especially amazing is just how supportive, encouraging, curious, and uplifting they all are. They are all individuals destined for greatness, who want everyone else to be successful in their prospective fields as well. That is the key. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. This is what JRF gives me.
It is essential to your own well-being and your success in whatever you do to have people around who will lift you up, encourage you to strive for more, and inspire you along your journey. As I move closer to the professional world and my adult life, I am learning that there will be some people and places that do not foster the kind of growth you might want. So I am learning to create a network of people near and far that I can learn from, be supported by, and will be interested in my goals regardless of their own success. And I can do this for them.
This past weekend in New York really has given me a breath of new inspiration to keep working toward my goals. I think everyone should create that network, and maintain relationships with people who help you to grow.
My spring break left much to be desired.
As fun as getting all four of my impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed was, I just felt like my time could have been spent more usefully. Laughing gas, pain pills, and Netflix helped to numb the effects of the extraction, but nothing could have prepared me for recovery road.
I’m a worry wort. I worry over things I can and cannot control. So naturally, I worried about my healing mouth for a majority of my recovery. As the words “dry sockets” haunted my nightmares and daydreams, I sought WebMD and the always reliable Yahoo Answers to help me sort through my potential problems. In reality, they just created more things for me to worry about.
However, after days of applesauce, milkshakes, and swollen cheeks, I finally started to feel better. Currently, I am continuing my saltwater rinses, but the pain has subsided. I think I’m going to make it through.
All that time spent resting actually made me feel reenergized for spring quarter. My first class of the quarter went extremely well. With only 11 people in my writing class, the class will give us a chance to really hone in on our writing skills. I hope my next three classes go just as swimmingly.
This quarter is sure to be a busy one. Between school, my internship, nannying, friends, and nursing the newfound holes in my mouth, I’m wondering how many hours of sleep I’ll average this spring. Plus, as the weather starts to get warmer, it will undoubtedly become harder and harder to focus on school. But, like every other quarter, I’m always up for a challenge.
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!
Ok so, I was not born an organized person. The four corners of my room are usually filled with half folded clothes and books I’ve never read. Color coding and shaping deadlines does not come naturally, but over time (and after a lot of mistakes and missed events) I have learned that getting things done comes easier when I actually KNOW what I need to do and when. Obvious, right? I wish it was that easy to actually implement though. I have curated a little list that’ll hopefully help all of those people like me that were not born with an organizational bone in their body.
1. Write things down: You know that family member that always remembers every significant birthday and holiday? It is not magic they are using….it’s a pen and paper. We have all been at the point where we go “oh pshhh I’ll remember that” and then 2 weeks pass and you forget your mother's birthday. You’re only going to complicate your life more if you try to pack your brain with reminders. This is also helpful around midterms and finals time. When deadlines come quick and assignments pile up, the best way for me to get started is to write it out and see what needs to be done first.
2. Only keep what you really need: More things means less space. This can create too much clutter. I am quite the packrat and I realize that it sometimes hinders my ability to feel organized and put together. When I started to down size I did it with the “3 day rule” in mind. If I do not use it or think about it for 3 days straight than get rid of it or find it a new home. Decorations are nice and all but sometimes it comes to the point where it overloads your space and inevitably you mind.
3. Stay away from bargains: if u have recently downsized, will you just replace the things you’ve left behind with something new you see on sale? NO. Do you really need 4 pairs of bookends? Probably not. Sometimes sales just create new clutter that is unnecessary.
4. Work hard: put some elbow grease up in there. Things are not naturally going to get organized, unless you are privileged enough to have a personal assistant. It does require real work to be and stay organized. If you put in the effort and time, than you will enjoy a clutter-free life.
. When I was in seventh grade, I took my first Spanish class. On
my first quiz ever, I forgot the word for ‘angry’ so I made up my own
Spanish-sounding word (“angrioso,” in case you were wondering). When I was a
sophomore in high school, my entire Spanish class became so obsessed with
Rebelde, a Mexican telenovela about some teenagers at a boarding school who
form a band named RBD, that we had a viewing party and each dressed up as a
different character. When I was a junior in high school, we had to share our
talent for Spanish class, so I performed “Genio Atrapado,” the Spanish version
of “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. When I was a junior in college, I studied abroad in Madrid for three months.
Almost nine years after my first Spanish class, I’ve
officially completed my Spanish major. After I finished my last Spanish class
last fall, I realized that I never have to take another Spanish class again. Pretty bittersweet. Two
months later, my friend, who knows four languages and makes me feel terrible
about myself, told me about the DELE test. Let’s talk about why I’m kicking
myself for not taking a Spanish class this quarter.
The DELE test is basically a Spanish fluency exam endorsed
by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. So when my friend mentioned it, I
imagined it being like the ACT or SAT. I thought I’d casually go in and take a test and
they would tell me how fluent I am. NOPE. It’s no joke. You register to test
for one of six fluency levels and then it’s 4+ hours of writing, reading, listening,
and talking. If you pass, you’re certified at that level. If you don’t pass,
then you just end up wasting $150. That stresses me out. By the time I take
this test, it will have been five months since I was last in a Spanish class. Of
course no one told me about this test when I came back from studying abroad in
Spain and was at the top of my Spanish game. I basically sounded like a
telenovela at that point in my life. Now I can barely pronounce the menu at a
Like a geek, I bought the big study book in order to prepare
myself. A day later, I’m already realizing that I’m in over my head. You may be wondering
why I’m doing this to myself. I’m sort of wondering that, too. In all honesty, I just
think it’d be nice to have an official certificate saying that I’m fluent at a
specific level, rather than just saying that I majored in Spanish. I think it’d be something nice to have on my resume.
Furthermore, since I’m done with Spanish classes, my Spanish is only going to
get worse (unless, of course, I somehow get a Spanish-speaking job or move out
of the country or become famous for my rendition of "Genio Atrapado"). If I do move, the certificate is internationally recognized
and if I pass the level that I’m attempting to test into, I will officially be
fluent enough to enroll in Spanish universities. Since it’s permanent and I’d
never have to take the test again, I might as well take it as soon as possible.
It’s not like I have anything else going on in my life right now.
Spring break just ended and when faced with what my plans would be, I had a few options. I could have gone back to Ohio and visited family, stayed in Chicago and worked, or gone to Panama City Beach in Florida with Cru
on a spring break conference called Big Break
. From that list, I think it’s fairly obvious which one I picked. I packed my bags and went to the beach!
Big Break is one of Cru’s
major conferences throughout the year. There are speakers, a worship band, and lots of bonding with students from all over the country. There is also a big focus on outreach, meaning we get the awesome chance to go around the city and to different places on the beach and talk to people about their faith and spiritual beliefs. I am super looking forward to it and to see all the amazing ways that God will show himself to us throughout the week. I also am looking forward to some much needed sun, sand, and relaxation on a Florida beach!
We left for Big Break right after finals end and drove down to Panama City Beach. That’s about a 15-hour drive, which sounds horrible, but was actually fun because we had lots of bonding and fun times with those in the car with us, and we got to drive through so many states and I got to see parts of the country that I have never seen before. Plus, at the end of the drive, the beach awaited us! It was a fun-filled, relaxing spring break and I hope you had a great spring break, too!
As finals week comes to a close, I really wonder where the time went this quarter. With the swiftness with which wet cement sets, the quarter was over seemingly before it began.
Fresh off of New Year’s resolutions that included going to the gym and creating more time for myself, the Zoe I was ten weeks ago could have never predicted what lay ahead for me during the past three months.
A career move, a 60 page thesis and a DePaul College of Communications advising snafu (that I am still trying to sort, fingers crossed) pretty accurately sum up my quarter. Did I accomplish my goals of getting in shape and reading more? Nope. Do I feel satisfied with my quarter regardless? Heck yes.
This quarter was the most sleep deprived quarter I have ever experienced. In the midst of morning cups of coffee and 7 a.m. commutes into the loop, I had the fortunate opportunity to do some serious soul searching. At least the soul searching that comes with loopy morning thoughts sandwiched amongst total strangers on the unpredictable journey to work also know as a typical ride on the Brown Line.
While I won’t delve into my philosophical reflections that stemmed from a lack of sleep combined with the ingenuity of someone who ate free birthday cake for lunch at work today, I will say that my quarter has been a quarter of rewards. I’ve managed to work a full five days a week, attend school at night, nanny on weekends and still maintain my sanity (or at least a majority of it). While I certainly had days where giving up sounded tempting, thanks to those around me, I never did.
Something I admire about going to school in Chicago are the opportunities that students are able to pursue. With the help of the DePaul Career Center and programs like ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge), finding an internship does not have to be a shot in the dark. I have made awesome connections through DePaul that have led me to take on full time internship positions while still in school.
Busy as ever, but thankful, I am definitely looking forward to spring break. What, may you ask, am I doing on my last-ever spring break? Getting all four of my wisdom teeth out! If that isn’t a banging way to end a crazy quarter, than I don’t know what is.
One of my favorite things about DePaul is the social awareness campaigns that are spread throughout campus. Due to the diverse nature of the student body, it seems to me that many topics are covered and are ever-changing. For example, when I went to the Ray they had an area in the middle with a poster showcasing that it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The poster was about body positivity and encouraged people to add a note to the body positive board and share what they love about themselves.
I thought that the poster was perfectly placed since the Ray is a place where people go to get in shape, and it is frequently ignored that body image is something that can destroy a person’s self-esteem. Eating disorders are a huge epidemic on college campuses and I love that DePaul I taking action this week, and every other week, to educate, screen, refer and treat college students who struggle with eating disorders of all kinds.
I think that with early detection and showing students that there is a safe community of people who want to help will make all the difference.
This is an issue that not many people feel comfortable talking about even to their best friends, but it is admirable that DePaul is making it a point to create outreach to vulnerable people with these disorders.
For those who don’t know, being body positive is all about working to change the common ideas of what a body SHOULD look like. It stresses the important of self-love, regardless of size, and that body images projected through the media does not reflect the real reality of the human body and the many forms it takes.
Below is a cool picture of 10 ways to incorporate body positivity into your life!
You might ask, “What is DePlague? That sounds awful!”
Well, it is, but don’t go running away just yet.
“DePlague” has become the joking term for DePaul students who get sick. Let’s face it – it’s flu season. When you’re living with hundreds of other students, and walking around in Chicago’s less that comfortable temperatures – it’s bound to happen.
Tip #1: Be Prepared with Your Tool Kit
Try to purchase the basics - cough drops, pain reliever, cold medicine, tissues, and a replacement tooth brush before or soon after moving to campus. If you wake up sick on a cold snowy day, the last thing you’re going to want to do is get out of bed and go to the Student Center or CVS. I’d also recommend picking your own thermometer. It’s important to be able to track your own temperature and call your doctor if you see it reach above 103 F (Mayo Clinic).
Tip #2: Make a Doctors Appointment
Living in Chicago there are a variety of top notch networks of doctors such as Northwestern, Rush, University of Chicago, and Illinois Masonic to choose from. When making an appointment, first ask if the doctor will accept your form of health insurance. To be seen sooner, ask if you can come for a walk in appointment the following morning. Many offices are willing to see last minute patients first thing in the morning, because they won’t already be bogged down with patients. If you have preexisting conditions or want to be a doctor’s office pro, ask what Integrated Healthcare System the office uses. You’ll find that many doctors and hospitals use what’s called “Epic”. There’s a good chance that your doctor back home and your doctor at school will use the same software – if they do, they should be able to access your medical records electronically! For me, this is extremely helpful because I have a mild heart condition. It saves both myself and the doctor time when it comes to understanding my medical history and increases accuracy.
Tip #3: Know how to seek emergency medical attention
If your symptoms become intolerable or you get that feeling that something isn’t right, you’ll likely need to consider a trip to the emergency room. Illinois Masonic Hospital is the closest hospital to the Lincoln Park campus. In non-life threatening emergencies, DePaul’s Public Safety team will drive you to and from the hospital no matter the time of day. Unfortunately, this was a DePaul service I had to use for the first time last Monday night. The warm cheery vibe the officer gave off was something I was incredibly thankful for at 3:30am.
Tip #4: Notify your professors
If you go to the doctor or the emergency room, be sure to ask for a note for school. You can use this documentation of your illness to complete an Absence Notification through the Dean of Students Office. Although this process doesn’t excuse you from class or assignments, it notifies your professor of a personal or medical emergency, and is a good way to initiate the conversation about what work you might be able to make up.
Tip #5: Clean your space!
As soon as you’re feeling us to it, deep clean your space. Vacuum the rugs, wash your bedding (in DePaul’s FREE laundry machines and dryers), scrub your reusable water bottle, clean all surfaces, and don’t forget to sanitize all of the door handles and light switches in your room or apartment. The key to any contagious illness is to limit its ability to spread. Take Care DePaul!
In high school, often students are forced into taking the same core classes over and over and over again. In college, life could not be more different.
This quarter, I’m taking an event planning class, a film class, a social media strategy class, and am completing my senior thesis. Needless to say, my class schedule is far from boring or repetitive.
My event planning class has been one of my favorite classes at DePaul. My professor, Anne Davis, works for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and many of her lessons and homework assignments come straight from her actual job.
The insights you get from having a professor who actually works in the field that they teach about is something that is invaluable and very common at DePaul. Last quarter, I took a political communication class taught by someone who was working for U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth. I’ve also taken an honors art history course where my professor was a guest curator for an exhibit at the Art Institute.
Getting a firsthand perspective on real world, real time projects and events makes class so much more interesting. Anne has brought in some really impressive guest speakers, letting our class ask questions and learn the behind the scenes details of events like Taste of Chicago, Chicago’s Draft Town, and Chi-Town Rising.
We’ve also learned how to negotiate sponsorship for events, plan event layouts, and create production schedules. Every homework assignment was created in the hopes that the assignments could be used as work samples on job interviews. I feel confident about the work and feedback I’ve received on my assignments from Anne, and would definitely consider bringing them with me to a relevant job interview.
One of the coolest classes Anne planned was a backstage tour of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. My class and I got to see the symphony’s dressing rooms, practice rooms, instruments, and we even got to sit in the seats behind the musicians that face the audience.
Anne’s class has introduced me to the true nature of the event planning industry. I’m finding that I have a newfound interest in the industry and I hope that my future career will involve planning large scale events. Her class is definitely not easy, but the work that I am producing and the knowledge that I’m gaining makes every project and quiz worth it.
Lately, I’ve found myself feeling a little skeptical about Facebook. Have you noticed that they show “sponsored ads” based on website that are visited from your computer? How could Facebook possibly know about the dress I was Googling, or the Shamrock Shuffle
that I’ll be running in April? The Internet is a scary place – and quite honestly I’m not sure how I feel about Facebook snooping into my Internet history browser.
That being said, for the first time (and possibly only time) I was intrigued by one of the sponsored ads that popped up – “International A Cappella Semifinals! Get your tickets now!” I will be the first to admit that Pitch Perfect
is one of my favorite movies – so I clicked the link to see what it was all about.
is an organization that puts together a cappella
competitions for both high school and collegiate groups. According to their website, they bring together over 500 high school and college level a cappella groups to stages across the world – who knew a cappella was popular! The Organization brings in professional educators and performers to judge
the competitions and provide feedback to every group – fostering continuous growth is part of the mission of Varsity Vocals.
For this specific competition, there were 10 collegiate a cappella groups from the great lakes region. Some of the colleges represented were University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin and Oakland University. Each group performed a “set” of about 3 songs – no instruments, just pure vocals. The amount of talent we witnessed was astounding. I was even more amazed when I learned that each group arranged the music and choreography themselves! I loved the stories each group told through song, and it was clear that every group was excited to share their music with the crowd as much as the crowd was excited to list. (I even caught Will singing along…)
In the end, Oakland University’s a cappella group, Gold Vibrations, received 1st place for their performance, meaning they will advance to the next round of the competition. It was really cool to see how supportive all the other groups were – though I’m sure slightly disappointed after all of their hard work, there seemed to be only scared excitement for Gold Vibrations’ big win.
So, although I do not approve much of Facebook creeping into my Internet usage, I’d say Facebook got it right this time. Had I not seen the sponsored ad, I would have completely missed my opportunity to geek-out at a live a cappella competition. Music is so important in the lives of so many people – and every day I am reminded that becoming a music teacher was the right decision!
It’s finals time once again! Personally, I love the quarter
system, but the only downside is that it feels like you’re constantly in the
middle of either midterms or finals. I end up just perpetually stressed. Over
the years, I’ve had to develop different ways to handle the stress because I
can only lay in the fetal position for so long before my back starts hurting. Here are some of the ways I handle my stress on a daily basis:
Go on a Walk
Whenever I get stressed, I constantly go on walks. I don’t
know if that’s me subconsciously trying to run away from responsibility or me
trying to work off all of the food that I stress eat, but I’m always walking.
Fortunately for me, Lincoln Park is an amazing place to walk around. Who could
blame me for always walking when I get to walk on the beach and see the
Obviously, it goes without saying that going on a walk can
constitute a workout. In fact, I’d be lying to you if I told you that I’ve never
gone on a walk to an ice cream store and then called it my workout for the day
(truthfully, I did this three times last weekend). But still, for some people, walking
outside doesn’t have the same effect as going to gym and jogging on the
treadmill or hitting the weights. Working out can be especially helpful if you’re
struggling to focus or if you just can't sit still and you have to use up some energy.
Treat Yo Self
I feel like I say this in every other blog post: I’m a
stress eater. I always joked about being one, but I recently realized I genuinely
stress eat without even noticing it. So instead of passively letting myself
stress eat everything in sight (the other week I ate a burger, a sub, a bowl of
soup, and three desserts from Sweet Mandy B’s just for lunch), I have started
taking a more active approach. If I feel myself getting super stressed or if I
know that I have a stressful day coming up, I try to stock up on my favorite
healthy snacks and buy only one dessert from Sweet Mandy B’s instead of three.
Take a Break
Duh. If you know that you’re starting to get overwhelmed,
shut it all down for a while. The other night, I was once again stressed about
a different paper that I had to write. I woke up super early (which was my
first mistake) and had been working on it all day. I was getting hangry and burnt out, it was just not a good situation. So I just shut everything down and took a break. I ordered a pizza from
Pizza Hut (they messed up my order, but that’s another story that I’m still
bitter about) and watched The Craft. An hour and a half later, I was back to
working on my essay and in a much better mood.
A lot of people unwind by cooking, baking, drawing,
painting, writing, or knitting. Taking an hour to create something or continue
working on a project can help take your mind off of schoolwork. Plus, some
people find it especially therapeutic to be able to see the finished product or
the progress they’ve made. When you return to schoolwork, you might find that
you can focus on your work much more easily.
Let me know if you have any special ways that you cope with
For many college students, the opportunity to study abroad
is a must-have when applying for schools. Like most universities, DePaul
offers a ton of options for studying abroad at several different times throughout the year! There are over 40 countries and 70 programs available, and students have the opportunity to travel with non-DePaul programs
as well. If studying abroad is something you might be interested in, DePaul is an option worth exploring.
As a music student, studying abroad does not come as easily as many of us would like. As part of our class requirements, everyone must be in a major ensemble
every quarter to complete their degree within four years – and keep any performance scholarships
you might receive. In light of this scheduling conflict with studying abroad, most students opt to travel during summer and winter break. Many vocalists at DePaul study in Italy over the summer through a program promoted through DePaul. During my sophomore year, I was extremely lucky to have been chosen to travel to Sierra Leone, West Africa for two weeks during our winter break, which helped to fill my wanderlust (aka desire to travel).
My trip to Sierra Leone was two weeks long and happened in December of my sophomore year. Instead of "studying" abroad, the purpose of traveling to Sierra Leone was to teach - which is why I like to call it "teach" abroad instead. Over the course of the trip, we visited four different schools – a music academy, an orphanage for the hearing impaired, an all-girls school and a 1st -8th grade co-ed school. We brought recorders for the children and taught them how to play short songs, danced, sang and donated paper, crayons and cases of water to each school that we visited. It was amazing how well we were able to communicate with the teachers and children even though we did not speak the same language – music is such a powerful medium for communication between cultures. We participated in drum circles, attended a soccer game, walked through major cities and engaged with local people – we also ate goat, cassava and lots and lots of rice and oranges!
Besides engaging in music during my trip, I also got a first-hand look into how lucky we are to have food, water and shelter easily accessible to us here in the U.S. Many of the children we worked with were hungry, thirsty and often extremely malnourished – at times it was very emotional for us. Even so, the children were so excited to have us there with them and seemed so happy and blessed to have loving families and a place to learn every day.
My trip to Sierra Leone was unforgettable – I’ll always remember 6-hour long drives through jungle-like conditions, hearing the prayers from mosques at 4am, bucket showers by candlelight and geckos all over the ceilings. I’ll remember the joy that came with sharing music with others, the smiles and hugs from the children and the sadness that came with leaving them. Above all, I’ll never forget how lucky I am to live in a supportive community of professors, friends and family and how powerful music can be in my life and the lives of others.
Thinking about living at home next year and using the Metra to commute to and from campus? You’re in luck! Metra has been in the news quite a bit lately regarding two new advancements: mobile tickets and new seats.
Metra runs eleven different train lines that turn driving commutes into study time and nap time. Although taking the Metra can be a bit pricey, it’s generally cheaper (and less hassle) compared to driving and parking in the city. To add to these perks, Metra recently rolled out mobile ticketing. Housed in the ‘Ventra’ app, which is available for both iPhone and Androids, you can purchase single, 10 ride, and monthly passes. When it’s time to board the train you’ll use the app again to redeem your ticket. It’s as simple as that! The AWESOME part about this app is that if you’re running late to catch a train you won’t run the risk of the additional $3 fee for purchasing a ticket on-board the train. Just simply purchase through your app on the way to the station and skip the line at the ticket counter!
Metra’s second advancement will take place in a more gradual release. A few weeks ago the Milwaukee North Line (running northwest from Union Station to Fox Lake) ran the first refurbished car. The new cars feature the following improvements:
- Better lumbar support
- Cup holders
- Electrical wall outlets in every other row of seating
In 2016, Metra will be rolling out 30 of these cars and based on customer reaction make a plan for future renovations. Dividing seats with armrests will give riders the option to define their own personal space on a crowded train, but the major buzz seems to be around the wall outlets. Finding an outlet in current Metra’s rail cars feel similar striking gold. Access to electricity in the new cars mean you can stream videos and scroll through social media during your entire commute without worrying about wrecking your battery. Look out for these new features the next time you hop on the Metra!
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.
Fueled by the desire to showcase your life, it is important to keep in mind the power that well-shot photographs hold. You do not need a fancy DSLR camera to properly immortalize the things you have been involved with or the people in your life. DePaul offers some beginner photo classes, but these tips below have been mighty helpful for me as an amateur photographer that enjoys taking photos day-to-day.
Rule of Thirds: Essentially, the photos will look better if the subject isn’t centered. That may sound counter intuitive, but it makes for a more interesting composition. Many camera phones come with grid options. Place items of interest onto the intersections of lines for a stimulating photo arrangement. Let’s take for example a horizon. Don’t place it dead center but instead align the subject along the left or right grid line. Pictured on the right is a quick example
Change Viewpoint and Watch Out for Clutter: Sometimes eye level can get boring. Try moving the camera up or down, or even tilting it downwards for a more dynamic and dimensional shot. Also, try to keep one main subject where you want the focus if you’re shooting something other than a group photo.
Resolution: Always take the time to make sure your device is set to full resolution and quality. Also, don’t zoom in with your camera, but rather zoom in with your feet. Your photo will lose heaps of quality if you manually zoom! For better lighting and contrast, make sure to tap your cell phone screen before taking the picture. This allows for your phone’s camera to adjust the lighting. If not, the subject or background might be too heavily contrasted and the photo will turn out unusable.
Shoot Multiple Times: The beauty about digital photography is it allows for multiple attempts and mistakes, you can take multiple shots of the same thing and one of them could, surprisingly, be vastly different than the rest. Try not to delete when you’re out and about because sometimes the photo could look interesting on a computer monitor as compared to a phone screen.
I know many of these tips seem pretty basic, but small adjustments in the way you photograph can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Luckily, the cost of errors on digital cameras is free!
If you really know me, you’ll know that I once had pizza seven days in a row during high school. You’ll also know that my Twitter bio once said, “All I care about is pizza and like 5 people” for an extended period of time, until I realized that while hilarious, it wasn’t exactly professional.
Pizza is a passion of mine that is as infinite and infallible as cold winters are in Chicago. While I don’t discriminate against trying different pizza styles, my favorite is of course deep dish. How can you beat a classic, thick-crusted pizza pie?
To that question, there surprisingly is a valid answer. While I could never definitively pick my favorite pizza place, as a parent can’t pick their favorite child, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company undeniably makes my top three.
Located in the basement of an unassuming brownstone, this restaurant changed my life in three words: Pizza Pot Pie.
Weighing in at half a pound, the Pizza Pot Pie is not for the faint of heart. I can proudly say that every time I’ve been here I’ve been able to eat the whole thing. I actually harbor secret disdain for those who take home leftovers. You gotta be in it to win it when you go to Oven Grinder Company.
Made from scratch with homemade sauce, a special blend of cheeses, doorknob-size, whole, fresh mushrooms, and delicious sausage, these pies can make any dream come true. For vegetarians there even is a version without meat, and for those who are hungry beyond belief, there is a daring one-pound version of the pie.
However, you can’t go to this restaurant without ordering the Mediterranean Bread as an appetizer. If you do, you didn’t truly visit Oven Grinder Company. The bread comes on a plate that is all too small, so it literally spills over onto the table. But you’ll find that that is half the fun of eating it. Simply delicious, the bread will be gone in the blink of an eye if you’re splitting it with friends, so casually make sure to eat it fast so you get the most.
A quick four blocks away from the Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Park Conservatory, Oven Grinder Company makes for the perfect afternoon lunch date. Check it out when you’ve got an empty stomach and a “can do” attitude. You’ll definitely need both components to finish your meal.
In the wise words of Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother, “Let’s go to...the mall!”
My obsession with dedication to shopping is no secret by now. Neither is my rule to never buy anything at full price.
The struggle is so real on Michigan Avenue as I look longingly at window displays full of glamorous items that cost the same as my tuition. Water Tower isn’t much help either. However, before you get too depressed, realize that the mall of your dreams is a quick hop, skip, and city away.
The Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont gives you access to designer brands for reasonable prices. As someone who is in constant need of internship clothing, the Fashion Outlets present a one-stop-shop for everything professional. By no means is everything affordable, but a surprising portion is for a poor college student.
Not to mention the Fashion Outlets has a Wetzel’s Pretzel in the food court. May I suggest you order the Dog Bites?
I admire the simplicity of the mall’s navigation. The layout makes it easy to visit every store systematically. The more expensive designer stores are on the top level, leaving the bottom level for more affordable stores.
Additionally, the mall offers a free shuttle directly from the Rosemont Blue Line to the Fashion Outlets. The shuttle comes about every 10-15 minutes, but if you’re in a rush, or find that it is too cold to wait 15 minutes at the shuttle stop, an Uber is about $6. If you’re really desperate to save your money for the mall, the mall is also possible to get to by foot from the blue line. If you’re fortunate to have your own set of wheels, the mall offers free parking in the parking garage as well.
Next time you’re in the mood to revamp your wardrobe, try shopping in Rosemont. The longer trip will be worth the wait! Happy shopping!
One thing that I have always been told about the skills I need to be successful in any career field is the skill of proper written communication. Writing is definitely one of the most primary skills that you will be judged upon in college and work. Think of writing as making all of your thoughts visible for other people to see. Some people are obviously better at putting thoughts in words, and if that weren’t the case than we would all be famous authors. Writing out ideas helps you formulate questions/answers and can demonstrate your emotional maturity. Writing also can serve the purpose of solidifying ideas down in ink so that you can come back and refine them.
In terms of memory, writing class notes with a pen and paper instead of typing with a laptop has proven to link the motor skill with processing the information. I have found that typing can lead to mindless processing because I’m too focused on typing the lecture verbatim instead of soaking in the concepts. When it comes to cognitive learning, I always chose a pen and paper before a laptop (even though having a computer makes some lecture way more bearable). But if creative writing is more your thing, DePaul has a lot of outlets for you.
You could be employed by DePaul at the Writing Center where your job will revolve around helping your peers formulate ideas or help grammar check their papers for fluidity. I have always found that by teaching others I also enhance my own skill set. You can apply to the Writing Center via email and must provide a few writing samples. Through personal experience, they rarely hire first year students, but once your writing becomes stronger and conceptual they take another look at your application. DePaul also has a creative and journalistic outlet with the DePaulia. The DePaulis is mainly student run, which gives people the opportunity to be independent with their work while also enhancing their organization and communication skills. Writing for The DePaulia is a great little test run of how newspapers work and what skill are needed to be a part of a printed paper.
DePaul has also recently started an award winning art & literary magazine called Crook and Folly. This published magazine gives students the opportunity to express their creativity in both written form and visual art. This is a great alternative to journalistic writing that the DePaulia provides. Along the same lines, The English Department has also created an outlet for students via a blog called The Underground. This blog is a newsletter type dealio that covers news, events, student writing, and alumni participation. Check the link below if you are interested!
Writing is seen to be a helpful source of therapy, expression, and skill for everyone I know! With DePaul I have learned to enhance a healthy skepticism in my own and other’s writings that has enhanced my imagination and creativity.
In my attempt to become a culinary artist this year, I did what any first time chef would do: I invested in a crock pot.
I use the term “investment” here quite loosely, as I bought my crock pot off of Amazon for $22.24. As everyone knows, the college student life is not one of luxury.
That being said, my 8-Quart Hamilton Beach 33182 A Slow Cooker
is a straight-up champ. First of all, it’s huge, allowing me to make leftovers to take to work since I’m always on the run. Secondly, it heats up pretty fast and has some nice handles for carrying.
For my first meal, I scoured Pinterest and found a recipe for slow-cooker chicken pot pie that looked pretty delicious. It took me about a week to hoard all of the ingredients — thank you Target and Tony’s Fresh Market —needed for the recipe. That’s not to suggest that the recipe called for anything extreme. I simply had nothing in my arsenal of spices.
So off I went to gather things like garlic powder, thyme, and three and a half celery stalks to begin the cooking process. I will admit I googled “how to dice an onion” before I began. As an ametuar, I’m not cutting any corners by assuming I know how to do things I don’t.
So after 25 minute of prep and about 4 and a half hours of slow-cooking (on high), my meal was complete.
How did it taste? Deliciously victorious. Or, to put it in the words of my roommate, “You definitely bought this at the store.”
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!
I have officially joined the trend of smoothie making
. First it was juicing, then eating kale and then quinoa
. BUT making smoothies has been my new favorite thing to do in the morning, even if my neighbors get mad at me about the noise. The benefits of making smoothies reside in the fact that they are easy to make and are jam packed with victims that you probably wouldn’t get anywhere else in your daily meals. They are protein filled and immune boosting, which is exactly what I need during the winter months. Honestly, blending your way to better health couldn’t be easier.
Here are some of my favorite filling recipes:
Mango & Yogurt Smoothie:
1/6 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups frozen mango
1 tablespoon honey
Everything in My Freezer Smoothie:
Frozen chocolate chips because why not
2 cups yogurt
1 cup almond milk
There is seriously no wrong way to make a smoothie, unless of course you blend some nasty combos like spinach and ginger. No thanks. The reason I am advocating so hard for smoothie making is because I have been so rushed for time in the morning because of MIDTERMS. This tactic has made both my schedule and my tummy happy. Try it out!
February is here, ya’ll. I have always loved when February rolls around, because for me that has always meant, Valentines Day, my birthday (the big 21 this year!) and of course Black History Month. February is a month full of celebration of love and culture.
Most Americans, by our age, have come to understand what Black History Month is, and why we have it. But for those needing a little refresher, as History.com describes it, “Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.”
Black History Month is a time for our country to recognize the true influence of African Americans in our country’s history and evolution. While February is Black History Month, it is important to remember that African American History is AMERICAN History, and the two do not exist separately. While I am always grateful for February to roll around, it is important for all of us to remember that History doesn’t belong in just one month, Black Americans shouldn’t have to wait until February to have their heritage honored, and Black history is happening RIGHT NOW.
Below I am sharing some simple ways busy students like us can still take the time to celebrate Black History Month, empower the black community and educate ourselves:
Things to DO:
Know your History:
Support black business:
Know The DePaul Community
Register for ABD Classes:
Spring Registration is just around the corner! I recommend taking an ABD (African and Black Diaspora) class! See the department here.
Go See some Theatre written by and about black Americans:
Here are a few of my current reads you may also find interesting involving the black history, the current state of the black community and also (in honor of Valentine’s Day) Black Love:
All About Love by bell hooks
By embracing the past and educating ourselves, we can use the present to make history, enabling a brighter future.
Happy Black History Month, friends!
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
The other day, I found out that I’m known as “the food guy” at work. I’m proud, but not surprised. I like to think that I’m deserving of such a title. I know my food and everyone knows that I know my food. Now that I know that that's my official title, I'm taking it very seriously. As such, you can only imagine how shocked I was when I realized that I have yet to write about my favorite restaurants around DePaul. I’m so sorry to everyone that I took so long to write this. I’ve wronged each and every one of you.
Barn and Company is seriously four or five blocks away from campus (not to mention pretty hard to miss), yet it seems like no one knows it exists. That’s a shame. Barn and Company has some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had. It’s worth mentioning that I once talked to the owner who casually mentioned that Dave often stops by when he’s in town. Who is Dave, you ask? The Famous Dave’s Dave. That Dave. If it’s good enough for Famous Dave, it’s good enough for you. I highly recommend going for their Friday special: the $12.99 Chicken, Pork, and Ribs Platter.
Branko’s Sandwich Shop is absolutely one of the most underappreciated restaurants I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s located directly across the street from the Quad on Fullerton. The family who runs it is comprised of the nicest, sweetest people you could imagine. I genuinely don’t have enough good things to say about them. Branko’s is the greasy diner you’re always looking for. Whenever I have a craving for cheese fries or a Pizza Puff (one of my favorite foods in the world), this is where I go. The unexpected winner on the menu: the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. If you know anything about me, you know I wouldn’t recommend a chicken sandwich if it weren’t absolutely spectacular.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is getting a mention because I have such a sentimental connection
with it. I’ve written about my experiences studying abroad in Madrid. I’ve been
back for over a year and I still miss it. One of the things I miss most is the
food. Luckily for me, DePaul is near one of the best Spanish tapas restaurants
in Chicago. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! just celebrated its 30th anniversary
and trust me, there’s a reason that it’s been around for so long. If you go,
get the croquetas. They are the food I miss most from Madrid and they’re
amazing at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
but not least, State Restaurant is literally my life. You can ask anyone who
knows me and they will tell you that my life revolves around State. It’s
located a block off of campus and I have their weekly specials memorized. Why would I memorize the weekly specials? Because the weekly specials are amazing. Every Wednesday, almost everything on the menu is $5.99. On Thursdays and Fridays, almost everything on the menu is $6.99. Where else can you get a truffle burger for $5.99!? I’m not ashamed at all to admit that I’m obsessed with State. State also apparently hosts some intense trivia contests (with cash prizes) every Tuesday night and I want to go so bad. Let me know if you’re a walking encyclopedia so I can have you on my team.
I’ve conducted a surprising amount of research during my time at DePaul. While the task of writing a research paper is always intimidating, the rewarding feeling when the paper is done and handed in makes it all worth it.
Being in the DePaul Honors Program, most of my honors classes culminate in the writing of an original research paper. Since I’m currently taking my last honors requirement (my senior thesis) I estimate that I’ve written about nine substantial research papers consisting of ten or more pages through DePaul’s Honors Program this far.
What’s great about DePaul’s Honors Program are the opportunities it offers to continue to develop research even after your class has ended. Sometimes it can be frustrating to spend 3875975 hours researching a topic only to get a grade back and never think about your paper again.
This past quarter I was fortunate enough to present my research from my Honors 201 course States, Markets, and Societies at the 2015 National Collegiate Honors Conference. The conference is an event held once a year by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and invites honors students from across the nation to participate in weekend long activities. This year, the conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago.
The DePaul Honors advising staff suggested that I apply to present in the conference. When my research was accepted, DePaul covered my registration fee, I turned my research paper into a research poster, and the rest is history.
My project was titled “What’s Wrong with the 99 Percent?: The Failure of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the United States.” In my paper, I examined how the messaging, protest tactics, and outcomes of the Occupy Wall Street movement were different from that of the women’s suffrage movement and the Civil Rights Movement. I made sure to include visual elements in my poster to illustrate the differences present within the movements.
For the poster presentations, students set up their posters in a large room within the Sheraton. We then stood by our posters as other students and faculty perused topics and mingled amongst themselves. I had some very engaging and thought provoking conversations regarding my topic with people from all over the United States. It was also fun to hear about other students’ experience in the city so far. Many of the students I talked to had never been to Chicago and wanted to know what was worth checking out.
The NCHC conference was a definitely a neat experience — but I won’t lie, I’m a total nerd so I dig these types of things. Regardless, the conference proved that you don’t have to be a graduate student to start conducting your own research. With the right resources and guidance, undergraduates can have the ability and confidence to examine and analyze any topic.
This past week was pretty bad. School was rough, life was rough. It was just one of those weeks. Something was announced this week, though, that made everything feel better.
Netflix is officially reviving Gilmore Girls!
I know that there were rumors of this back in October, but it was not officially confirmed until late this past week. I had refused to get my hopes up because Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows. I would have been so bummed if the rumors had proven false! I am convinced that the reason I talk so fast is because Lorelai and Rory also talk fast - Gilmore Girls is one of the quickest, wittiest, fast-paced shows out there. Oy with the poodles already, am I right?
I grew up watching Gilmore Girls. I grew up in Stars Hollow, following Rory through her Dean vs. Jess vs. Logan stages, figuring out if Lorelai will get together with Luke, watching Emily cycle through her many maids, witnessing the burning of the Independence Inn and the opening of the Dragonfly Inn, and experiencing so many moments and memories with the citizens of Stars Hollow. It is a show that is near and dear to my heart, one that I hope my children will watch one day, and one that I will love forever.
The release date and length of the revival of Gilmore Girls has not yet been announced, but I sincerely hope the mother/daughter duo from Stars Hollow will grace our presence again in the near future.
“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 have literally shopped until I have dropped. The phrase is not merely a cute exaggeration or charming rhyme — it is a call for those who know that shopping is not a hobby or pastime, but an art.
It has taken me years to master the art of a good deal, and I still know that I have a lot to learn. Luckily, Chicago is a great classroom. Unluckily, with malls and boutiques around every corner, my attempt to save money is almost always abandoned.
Sometimes, I like to take a “quick” trip to Anthropologie. While I am not unique in that I love to go smell the candles there just like the rest of the world, I do enjoy sitting on the couches and pretending that I live there. One day, mark my words, my home will look just like Anthropologie. My game of pretend is merely me preparing for the inevitable.
Beyond going to my home away from home, being a Maxxinista, and perusing the aisles of DSW, there is one unconventional shop were I always feel the need to open my wallet. There’s something about the gift shop at the Art Institute that convinces me to buy things like greeting cards with famous impressionist paintings on them, t-shirts with iconic lions, and art history coffee table books.
While I do get a 10% off discount for having a membership, the clearance section is reasonably priced and is usually where I do the bulk all of my shopping. I enjoy buying artsy gifts from the Art Institute for people, and by people, I mean mostly myself.
During my last trip to the gift shop, I bought four large holographic postcards that were 25 cents each. Talk about a deal! That’s a cheaper price than the actual stamps it take to mail them to their destinations.
Next time you’re taking a cultural trip to the Art Institute, make sure to stop by the gift shop for some art you can actually take home with you. But I won't lie ... I've been there many times just to visit the gift shop. Those steals and deals won't buy themselves!
As much as I loved growing up on the East Coast, I was always disappointed with the amount of bakeries that existed in the state of Maine. Finding an ice cream shop or a candy store was never an issue – but when it came to a half-way decent piece of cake or a cookie, no such luck. In terms of satisfying my sweet tooth, Chicago has gone above and beyond my expectations...which is why I’ve decided to fill you in on some of my favorite bakeries, all of which will make your time at DePaul sweet! (pun intended)
Shameless plug – one of the best bakeries in the city happens to be my place of employment. Besides the fact that I LOVE my job frosting cupcakes and making lattes, we serve up about 13 different specialty cupcakes every day of the week. Not really into cupcakes? Grab a delicious cookie or cheesecake for the sugar rush you’re craving. It’s a great place for a study break, date night or a hang with your new college friends!
Literally a 5-minute walk from the DePaul School of Music, Swirlz is a small bakery with a rotating list of amazing cupcakes. My absolute favorite cupcake is the chocolate caramel pretzel – always available on Tuesdays and Fridays! They also have a selection of vegan and gluten-free vegan cupcakes. This is a great place for an afternoon pick-me-up between classes and rehearsals.
Though not particularly close to campus, (about 10 minutes away by train), Dinkel’s is worth the commute. Not only do they serve gigantic cupcakes, they have a huge selection of cookies, pies, doughnuts and breads available every day. They make beautiful cakes, too!
This one is also really close to the DePaul campus! The Twisted Baker is new to the DePaul neighborhood, and it’s a great spot to grab breakfast and get some work done. My boyfriend and I love their egg sandwiches and coffee – they also make decadent tarts, all kinds of scones and unique mini cookies. I love the quiet atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and friendly staff.
Looking for something a little different? Café Vienna specializes in Austrian baked goods. They are currently only open on the weekends – but it’s definitely worth the wait. They have a great tea selection, and the desserts are so big I usually can’t finish them! I absolutely love the opera cake (vanilla cake with chocolate and espresso buttercream), and I always leave with a few specialty cookies, too. You can check out their unique desserts and tea selection here
As you can tell, I’m a bit of a dessert fanatic. If I had chosen to attend college elsewhere, it’s quite possible I wouldn’t have discovered my love of bakeries – and especially my love for working in one! Thank you, DePaul, for keeping my love of cupcakes alive and fueling me with all the sugar I could possibly want.
Though there are a lot of things I miss about Maine, eating lobster is definitely in the top five. For those of you who are new readers or maybe just don't remember, I lived 18 years of my life in the great state of Maine before moving to Chicago for college. About two weeks ago, my boyfriend, Will, and I were trying to brainstorm a gift for his father’s birthday…and that’s when it hit me. We decided to host a “lobster bake” at his parent's house with real Maine lobster, or “lobstahs’” as we New Englander
's would say, shipped directly from my hometown.
My dad was crucial in this whole process, and I’m so thankful for his help in making this dinner work out last week! He had eight LIVE lobsters sent in a giant box that arrived just in time. I wasn’t at Will’s house when they arrived, but he told me that the FedEx woman was beyond curious about the scratching creatures within the box! As a native of Maine, I knew exactly what to do with them – boil water in a giant pot and start throwing the lobsters in - letting them sit until they turn a bright-red color. It didn’t occur to me that Will’s family had never experienced the full sacrifice of a lobster – not that surprising since seafood doesn’t come as easily, (or cheaply!), around here. Once they broke their emotional attachments with the crustaceans, we put them in the pot, head first, and awaited that bright-red glow.
Will’s mom was extremely helpful in setting up an “authentic” lobster bake dinner. We had melted butter, shell crackers, potato salad, veggies…and plenty of napkins! The lobsters turned out to be “hard-shell”, meaning extremely difficult to crack into – but it made for some good laughs.
Having lobsters packaged, shipped, cooked and served was not an easy task, but it was worth giving Will’s dad a birthday to remember. It also reminded me of home, it’s easy to feel home sick when you’re living so far away! It was really nice to take a break from the craziness of college to celebrate and indulge in one of my childhood favorite foods and pastimes.
Whether you dropped out of high school or have a doctorate; whether you are a minority or not; whether you are making 4 or 6 figures a year, chances are that you have left the doctor’s office with less than full understanding of how to improve or maintain your health. Health literacy is SO important, especially since we live in country that does not have free health care (yet). I recently learned that health literacy is super low in this country, so I brought it upon myself to take a health communication
course. It goes towards my degree anyway and I need to learn how to NOT be human garbage, so why not.
Also, since I have been independent for 3 years now, I have realized how important it is to know your full family health history. Many college kids don’t live with their parents anymore so if you end up sick or in the hospital no one is going to answer these important health questions except you. If you have the means or the opportunity to get to know your family health history, please try and do it before you’re out of your childhood home! Independent doctor’s visits will go so much smoothly if you yourself have the answers. Take the time to take the reins of your own health. Your family’s health can say a lot about your own in terms of lifestyle factors, environments, and genetics. By taking the initiative and tracking the health of your blood relatives, doctors can better identify risk factors that could affect your future self. GET ON IT!
That being said, you won’t necessarily go on to developing the conditions your family members have. Try to strive for the healthiest life you can and, if you have the privilege, attend all the preventative screenings that your doctor recommends.
The Health Communication class I enrolled in got me thinking a lot about the topics I just mentioned. We have also been learning about the impact that differences such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation have on health care.
It is no question that health and wellness brings about a drastic improvement in the overall quality of your life, so try and make healthy habits a part of your life during college so TRUE adulthood won’t be so brutal.
While my friends’ winter breaks were filled with ski lodge visits and European travels, mine was filled with class, my internship, and the challenge of trying to Christmas shop for others, rather than myself. Needless to say, relaxation and adventure do not exactly come to mind when describing my 6 weeks off – or I guess I should say on.
Although my winter break wasn’t spent hiking through the Swiss Alps or visiting historic castles in London, it was fulfilling in its own way. I turned the big 2-1, finished four more class credits, and picked up some extra work hours.
Putting in some extra class time over the December intercession was a great decision this break. Normally, I spend the six weeks off bored out of my mind without a car stuck in the suburbs, so being able to work towards graduation kept me busy. I took a special topics journalism class with Dr. Jason Martin. Throughout the duration of the course, my class and I reported on the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also referred to as COP21. We produced original content, graphics, maps, and social media accounts to help our reporting efforts.
This being my first December intersession class, I was a little apprehensive of how much work I would be asked to complete. The idea of intercession is to complete a regular 4 credit, ten week class over a shorter amount of time. In my case, I had three weeks to immerse myself in learning new skills and producing original content.
Despite the quick three weeks, this course taught me a wealth of information. Our class set out to provide real-timecoverage of an unfolding global event and to contextualize and localize environmental issues. We successfully completed our objectives and gained a voice in the flurry of live COP21 news coverage.
My role in our class reporting project was to aid in developing a social media strategy for the three week period. I learned how to read Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and was trained on a social media analytic program called Crimson Hexagon. Additionally, I learned how to utilize a conversation storytelling tool called Storify. At the end of the class, I contributed to a final social media engagement report, in which we tracked and explained our reporting growth.
The fast-paced nature of the class could be stressful at times, but covering such an interesting topic and producing content that our audience was engaged with was definitely rewarding. With a newfound interest in global climate change, it will be interesting to see how the promises made at COP21 hold up in the years to come.
If you’ve never taken a December intersession class before, I would highly recommend looking into it. I wish I had taken advantage of this option my first two years at DePaul. Additionally, I’d recommend taking any of Dr. Martin’s classes. He is an excellent professor and I’ve had him twice at DePaul thus far.
I guess while my winter break wasn’t spent traveling, it was well-spent at home in the company of classmates and co-workers. Maybe spring break will bring me some much needed relaxation time (unlikely, but a girl can dream.)
I am excited to announce the latest show I am working on for The Theatre School. I am currently cast in a play called In the Blood
by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is the second Main Stage production I have acted in during my time in the casting pool and what an experience it has been!
In the Blood is an intense and beautiful story of family, struggle, and triumph in the face of personal and systemic adversity. On The Theatre School website there is a description:
"Hester la Negrita is a homeless single mother of five who dreams of finding beauty and love for her family despite her poverty-stricken life. As she struggles to defy the odds, she runs into a series of harsh and unexpected obstacles.
In this modern day riff on Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks asks who has the right to the American Dream. Directed by Nathan Singh, MFA Directing, Class of 2017.
Is poverty inescapable for individuals already in the cycle? "
The characters of the play include the protagonist, Hester, which is played by one actress. We also meet her five children, Jabber, Bully, Trouble, Beauty, and Baby. The play is written as such that the five actors who play the children also double as five other adults that Hester interacts with, her doctor, reverend, welfare caseworker, her best friend, and her first love. The play explores their relationships and the way these individuals may be in positions to help Hester, but may not help her the way we would hope.
I have been cast as Hester, the mother and main character that this world surrounds. It has been quite a challenging role, and the ultimate test to apply my training to performance. It is a mammoth of a role, and such a deep and important play, I am really lucky to be working on it. It is a beautiful piece of writing written by a black woman, about a black woman's experience with the powers that be, wrestling with race, class, gender, and the system that controls them. While we are getting close to the performance dates, and it is a little nerve wracking, I am excited to see how it turns out!
The show opens January 22, and runs through January 31, 2016. I encourage anyone to come see this important work of art! Student Tickets are $5, and $15 for the general public. The cast, crew, and design and technical team are all made up of current BFA, and MFA students here at DePaul, with the assistance of TTS staff.
Please come see In the Blood and support the art of students like you, and as always, be well.
Growing up, The Lion King
was my favorite Disney movie. I loved all the songs, Timon and Pumba cracked me up, and I had a major childhood crush on Simba. Imagine my joyful surprise when I learned that The Lion King
was also a Broadway musical! The Lion King
came to Cleveland the summer before I entered my freshman year at DePaul and you can guess how excited I was. As a special treat, my grandma and I bought tickets to the show. It was my first Broadway show that I had ever seen and it was absolutely amazing.
Watch the video below to see a song from The Lion King.
Early every fall, I check the Broadway shows are coming to Chicago. So far, I have been lucky enough to win lottery tickets to The Book of Mormon and Motown. Two hours before each show starts, you can enter your name into a lottery to win dirt cheap tickets. It is a great opportunity to see shows that you otherwise would not get to see because of expensive ticket prices. The only downside is that getting a ticket is not guaranteed! When I looked at what shows were coming this season to Broadway, The Lion King was one of them. I was pumped! My goal was to see it again on Broadway.
When I went and saw it the first time, my grandma and I had seats on the main floor on the aisle, which I think were the best seats to have for this specific show. During the opening number, “The Circle of Life,” a lot of the animals and characters walk down the aisle to the stage. It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I knew that if I got tickets to see The Lion King this season, I wanted similar seats. I went out on a limb and asked for The Lion King tickets for Christmas and to my immense surprise, I was blessed enough to get them! The show was this past Thursday, January 14, and it was everything that I imagined it to be. If you ever get the opportunity to see the show, I highly recommend it! You certainly will “feel the love tonight.”
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?
Welcome back, everyone! Like I said in one of my blogs at the beginning of last quarter, I start every quarter by looking for any changes
or anything new at DePaul. Yesterday, while I was perusing the campus, I made a
terrible discovery. It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the Chinese
food station at the Student Center is gone. Fortunately, they’ve now added a
wings station, a Korean-Mexican fusion station, and an ice cream station. So
things aren’t all bad.
Speaking of food, if you’re anything like me, you’re
currently broke because you spent all your money buying new clothes to disguise
the fifteen pounds you gained over winter break. If that sounds like you (or
even if you’re lucky and didn’t gain fifteen pounds over break), you’re
probably looking for some cheap stuff to do during this quarter. Luckily for
you, I’ve found a ton of stuff to do over the next two and a half months!
I love to write about the DePaul Activities Board’s event
calendar. DAB always hosts events you actually want to go to. You all know what
I mean by that. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, you will already have
missed (or maybe not, I don’t know if you went) what may have possibly been the
event of the year: DePaul After Dark: Harry Potter. Every Thursday night, DAB
hosts DePaul After Dark at the Student Center. Each week has a different theme
with new activities. It’s always free and usually includes some sort of free
food and giveaways. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve ever looking
for stuff to do on a Thursday night.
It goes without saying that DAB does way more than just
DePaul After Dark. This quarter, in addition to a ton of smaller events,
including a Superbowl Party and an Oscar Viewing Party, DAB is going to host
two of its biggest annual events: the Blue Demon Dance and Polarpalooza. The
Blue Demon Dance is the culminating event of Blue Demon Week, a week dedicated
to fostering school spirit at DePaul. This year, the Blue Demon Dance is being
held on January 29th at Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier. Tickets are
only $10 and totally worth it.
Last, but definitely not least, is Polarpalooza, DePaul’s
free winter concert! I give DAB credit for somehow always picking acts that get
way bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun., Walk the Moon,
Chance the Rapper). Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your
game if you want to go. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall for a
private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Be sure to check out their website on January 22nd when they reveal the artist who will be
When I told you that I found a ton of stuff to do this
quarter, I wasn’t exaggerating. Check back next week to find out about more free
events happening on campus this quarter!
The term “millennials” is a hot buzzword in the public relations and advertising world. I hear the word thrown this way and that in my internship, in my classes, and even amongst friends.
To me, being a part of the millennial generation means more than just having the ability to take a perfect selfie or making goals for your squad. Being a millennial is an exciting generation to be a part of.
A few weeks ago I attended a Politico event presented by Deloitte called Generation Next: Future of Social Action. The event took place at Chez, which is a contemporary loft space for urban events located on Ontario Street by Michigan Avenue.
The event consisted of two panels that spoke about social media as a form of activism. The first panel was extremely informative and consisted of four social media activists: Erika Andiola, the co-director of the DREAM Action Coalition; Andrew Clark, the executive director of Generation Opportunity; Anastasia Khoo, the chief marketing officer of Human Rights Campaign; and DeRay McKesson, a leader in Black Lives Matter.
The panel spoke about the concept of hashtag activism, which is the use of hashtags to draw awareness to an issue. They agreed that hashtag activism is not a cop-out and can be a powerful tool for drawing awareness and starting conversations. Their discussion on the future of social action was insightful and made me think about how I participate in hashtag activism.
Do you think hashtag activism is an effective form of activism? Definitely some millennial food for thought. See the full panel discussion here
if you’re interested in what some social media leaders are doing today.
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.
8 am. Wake up. Go to class. What’s that smell? Oh baby, it’s Dimo’s Pizza
I am fortunate enough to live near the best thin crust pizza in Chicago. Granted, I usually eat there after a long night since it is open until 3 am! If you are intrigued by the idea of mac n cheese ON TOP OF PIZZA….this is the place for you.
Dimo’s views pizza as a crispy platform for culinary ambitions. Yes, you could just order a cheese pizza here if you are one of those people. But why not try their thanksgiving style pizza? It has the works. Stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes make for a killer flavor explosion that blows away plain cheese pizza. If that seem too adventurous for you there is always s’mores pizza. This is for people with a sweet tooth only. It is a chocolate pizza with graham cracker bears on tops with gooey marshmallows. Instant cavity.
Their pizza toppings are second best to their business mission. Although they are a for-profit entity, they partner with non-profits to focus on societal improvement. They work on a hyper-local level which connects them more to customers. They were serving food at every concert event I was at this summer, and also have a very cool motivation inspired employees. Their missions states that they never micromanage their employees, but instead lets them work passionately and learn from their past mistakes to find new solution to problems. I know it is just a pizza place, but as a part time worker myself it is obvious how much your work environment affects your daily moods. What better way to feel appreciated at your work than to have obvious trust with your manager. They also sell local art every now and then which adds to the unique décor of the place.
Back to pizza time. Dimo’s is open every single day until very very late. If you want to step outside the world of deep dish head to Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, or just stay in bed and get it delivered.
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!
Regardless of how busy I’ve been as a music major these past few years, I’ve managed to pick up a new hobby in college: running! I did a little bit of running in high school, but it was mostly just a 5k (3.1 miles) here and there. I came to college with a mission to be healthy and active, and though I definitely eat more pizza and burgers now than I did my first two years of college, I’ve done a pretty good job sticking to my goal.
Though I’ve never been a fast runner - clocking in at about
11:30 per mile - I’ve accomplished some pretty neat things during college thus
far. I started off slow with a few 5k races around DePaul…for any runners out
there; you should know that the city of Chicago has a TON of races. In January
of my freshman year, I decided to take the plunge and sign up to complete a
triathlon during the following summer. I had never really been a swimmer or
biker, but I was up for the challenge. I did all my training at the Ray Meyer Fitness center, which is DePaul’s gym. (You get a membership as part of your
student fees – it’s worth it!) I completed the triathlon that summer, and then
my first ½ marathon the next summer…my mom even came out to run it with me!
Over the past three years, my best friend Kelsey and I have
run some of Chicago’s best races (in our opinion, of course.) We did the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k (about 5 miles) two years in a row, the
Crosstown Classic 10k (6.2 miles) and just last weekend we ran the Hot Chocolate 15k (9.3 miles – Kelsey’s longest race yet!). All of these races took
place down town in the heart of the city – and I don’t know many people who get
the opportunity to run on the streets of Chicago. Though a challenging race for
two people who hadn’t been doing much training, the Hot Chocolate race was
sweet – literally! At the end of the race we were given hot chocolate,
chocolate fondue and a variety of small snacks to dip in the chocolate. I also
ate m&ms and marshmallows along the route of the race…bad decision? Nope!
It was worth the running cramp.
Though my education has been the most important aspect of my
life for the last few years, I’ve found it’s equally important to have hobbies
outside of music to keep me sane! Running became my hobby because it’s on my
own schedule, it’s keeping me active AND I get to unleash my competitive side
(though I’ve never run fast enough to win any prizes…It’s still competition-like!).
My ultimate goal is to run a marathon sometime in the next ten years – and I
have no doubt I’ll be checking this off my list.
You can check out a list of races in Chicago here!
Finals were crushing me and, as you can imagine, I was stress eating like it’s an Olympic event and I’m going for gold. Whenever I’m stressed, I invariably seek out baked goods and Chinese food. I am currently typing this up while eating a double doozy (it’s like a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, but instead of ice cream in the middle, it’s buttercream frosting) from Sweet Mandy B’s
. And in case you were
wondering, I’ve become a regular customer of the Chinese food station in the
Student Center this week (it’s actually pretty bomb and watching the flaming
wok soothes me).
besides the copious amounts of food, there’s only one thing getting me through
finals right now: winter break. While I’m going back home to Wisconsin for
break, if you’re staying in Chicago, consider yourself lucky. There are tons of
amazing things to do in Chicago during break.
lot of families, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition on
Thanksgiving Morning. But if you’re not from Chicago, you may not know that
Chicago also has its own Thanksgiving Day Parade. The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held on State Street and runs from Congress to Randolph at 8am on
Thanksgiving morning. It’s huge. The route is a mile long and the projected
attendance is 400,000 people. And to top it all off, David Arquette is the
Grand Marshal of the parade. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what
long as you’re on State Street, I don’t know why you wouldn’t go see the famous window displays at Macy’s (R.I.P. Marshall Field’s). This year, the
story is “Santa’s Journey to the Stars,” everyone’s favorite Christmas tale of
the child who uses a magic telescope to celebrate Christmas on different
planets before ending up back at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While I
was skeptical of the story at first (I’m still unsure if it will enter into the
holiday canon), the windows are actually beautiful and absolutely worth going
to see. The windows will be up until January 10th, so you have
plenty of time to check it out.
Christkindlmarket is a Chicago (but really German) tradition that has to
be experienced. In the middle of Daley Plaza, a little German Christmas market
pops up from November 20th-December 24th. It’s a very big
deal. If we’re all being honest with ourselves, everything is a little
overpriced, but just the experience of walking around is worth it. Actually, in
reflecting on that point, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased something from the
market. It just makes me feel good.
year I say I'm going to go ice skating at the rink at Millennium Park.
Literally, every single year. I have yet to go. But I swear this year is the
one. Or next year. But I'm feeling good about this year. I get bitter every
time I see pictures of people ice skating in front of the Bean while I’m
sitting at home watching Elf for the 74th time. For the record, I’m
not complaining about watching Elf, that’s just what I’m usually doing when I see
the pictures and become bitter. This year (or next year) will be mine, though,
and I will have that picture for myself. I have plenty of time to try to
squeeze it in this year: it runs all the way until March 6th.
have any favorite things to do in Chicago during the holiday season, let me
Recently someone close to me was a victim of domestic violence. They are not a DePaul student, and for their confidentiality will remain anonymous. Through working in various job and leadership capacities at DePaul we’ve been taught what to do when someone discloses a violent or abusive situation to us. Specifically when working for the Dean of Students Office my fellow Office Assistants and I served as a first point of contact for students and supporters interfacing with our department. I always felt safe knowing that, although my job was important and needed to be done well, in a crisis situation I could rely on our Deans and counseling staff to take the reins. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that the bystander intervention and mandated reporter trainings I’ve been required to participate in have provided me with some of the most significant knowledge I’ve learned since coming to DePaul. When you choose DePaul, you're not just choosing academics, you're choosing life. I'm incredibly thankful that I attend a university that doesn't keep difficult topics hush hush. Instead, DePaul opens up a dialogue about them and teaches its student to be better informed and more compassionate human beings.
An Open Letter to My Friend, Who Was the Victim of Domestic Violence,
The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair. Nothing you’ve ever done, said, or even subconsciously thought means that you, or anyone else for that matter, deserves to be hit, bit, and threatened by someone you’ve known since the day you were born. I’m thankful that you had the courage to come to me when you did. It caused me emotional and physical pain to know that I couldn’t keep you safe, so I went to the police that night to report this crime that someone had inflicted on you. In the past I had kept your secrets, when there was a new boy you liked and when you accidentally told me who you had for Secret Santa, but this was a secret that I just couldn’t keep. I’m proud of you for going to the station and talking the police after they called you. Selfishly, I’m glad that you weren’t mad at me for not keeping your secret too.
I wish that I could erase that scar from under your eye and the bruises from your body. I wish I could make those bad memories and your pain go away. I wish I could pay for all of your bills and living expenses, so you didn’t have to work so much while you try to heal. I wish I could build you a house of your own with the most advanced security measures, so you could have your own space and feel safe. I wish I could make any judicial process you might decide to go through simple. And I wish that I could give your aggressor the help that they need too.
But right now, all I can do is tell you that I love you. I’ll always be here to listen, no matter the time of day. I’ll keep sending you Snapchats, hoping to make you laugh. I’ll keep reading up on resources for victims, so if there’s an option you want to explore you won’t have to do it alone. And most of all, I promise you that for the rest of our lives no matter how many miles are between us you will always be my friend. I feel like God has brought you into my life to help him watch over you. The cards you were dealt certainly aren’t fair, but these cards won’t stop you from accomplishing great things. Despite everything you’ve been through, I know that you’re going to change the world for the better.
Sometimes, it is okay to indulge in tourist activities. Or, at least that’s what I told myself when I walked up the steps to visit the Sears Willis Tower
I visited new heights on a Monday night at 5:30 p.m. I chose to go after work because I thought the lines would have died down after the morning rush and before the night rush. To my surprise, the relaxed lull in patrons that I expected turned out to be a hot and sweaty line of chaos, confusion, and strollers upon strollers.
The Willis Tower was absolutely hopping for a mere Monday night, leading me to conclude that the Willis Tower experiences no “lull” in lines.
Hence, my tourism experience began on a sour note. As an impatient, Type A person, long lines are the bane of my existence.
Luckily, as I was standing in the line, I saw a classmate who happened to be working at the Skydeck...and for the first time in life, I was given the VIP treatment.
Okay, well maybe not the first time, but still. I felt like a celebrity as my classmate pulled my roommate and me out of the line and sent us straight to the front. We made it up to the Skydeck in less than 30 minutes, when the actual wait would have taken us over an hour.
Seeing Chicago from up high puts things into perspective. People walking in the streets are no longer visible and cars are faint blimps on a strip of pavement the size of my toe. Boats in the river chug along but, compared to the towering skyscrapers, are unnoticed like the fine print text at the bottom of a pharmaceutical commercial.
I’ve never been one to shy away from heights, and this experience was no different. Standing on the ledge of the Skydeck didn’t faze me one bit. I even took a picture of my feet and my view.
As for my roommate, he stood clear of the ledge and looked out the windows, rather than down. In fact, his acrophobia caused him to remain five feet away from all windows for the duration of the visit.
While the view was simply indescribable, the Skydeck experience itself felt so commercialized. The constant waiting and lines combined with the over-accessible gift shop lessened the experience of taking in the view. The Skydeck was crowded and hard to move around in and the trip felt like a process rather than an authentic experience. We were funneled up the elevator to the crowded, top floor, only to have to stand in line again at the end to go back down.
While I do believe that the view is par excellence and that standing on the ledge gives you a small but sweet adrenaline rush, keep in mind that the Willis Tower experience is geared towards the tourist.
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!
Last weekend reaffirmed my love of the city of Chicago. I happened to be walking down the street when I saw a sign outside the Old Chicago Inn on Sheffield Avenue stating that the Inn was an Open House Chicago
Chicago is many things, but it is never boring. I must sound like a broken record saying that there is always something to do in the city, but it’s true.
Open House Chicago is a free public festival put on by the Chicago Architecture Foundation that offers behind the scenes access to 200 buildings across Chicago. This year the festival took place on October 17 and 18.
My roommate and I walked down the block to take a short tour of the infamous Old Chicago Inn we must have passed right by 1,000 times since moving to our apartment. It was amazing to see the inside and experience the 1920s themed speakeasy we had heard about. Located in the basement, patrons could even order drinks at the bar while walking around the Inn.
We next ventured off to the loop where we made three stops: the Continental Illinois Bank Building, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Money Museum, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Each of these buildings was extravagant for its decor and amenities.
The Continental Illinois Bank building
featured an old basement vault that attendees could walk through and the Architecture office housed models of buildings from around the world. It was great to be able to see these places that are normally off limits.
If you can plan a visit to Chicago during Open House Chicago, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Enjoy my pictures!
DePaul is one of those schools that uses the unique quarter system
. This means the year is sectioned into ten-week quarters, fall, winter, spring (and then optional summer). This makes time in class really fly by, and within a moment, midterms and then finals are approaching rapidly. Many students bear a full course load, work, involvement in student organizations or volunteering, or rehearsal and performance stacked on top of social and personal time as well. Most of us are crazy busy, and keep it that way, whether we handle it well or not. While this can be a productive and exciting thing, it can sometimes prove difficult to keep up with all of the demands of busy student life, and take care of yourself.
There are many times I have experienced, or seen students around me let their personal well-being go by the wayside in order to accomplish all they had to do. While it is very admirable to get those things done, it is always important to practice good self-care. I couldn’t tell you the number of times my fellow classmates and I have had to skip meals, skip sleep, let laundry go untouched in the hamper for far too long, buckle down and get to “the grind” in order to turn out finished products and meet deadlines. While everything gets done (or maybe not), all we do is wear ourselves down! There is one thing that I really believe in, and that is self-care. With a crazy schedule, I too have trouble practicing good self-care. However, I want to share one simple but important thing that we often discuss in my Acting classes. As actors, we put our minds and bodies through so much, and while the work is so important we have to remember to take care of the person doing it! This applies to any person accomplishing any feat. You cannot do your best if you cannot take care of your best self.
By my third year of college, I know that if I do not get a reasonable amount of sleep I will get sick, and if I do not eat I will not be able to make it through rehearsal, and many other things. I really do recommend listening to your body, and your mind and spirit to know what it is you need. While many people learn the hard way, there are also ways to be preventative and proactive in this pursuit. Time management and planning are key. Just asking yourself what small thing can I do to feel better about everything I have to do? Is it taking a short nap? Is it carrying more healthy snacks? It is taking time to meditate? Creating a cleaner/more peaceful environment to work? Asking for help? While I cannot tell another individual how best to go about this, I can only recommend giving yourself permission to think about these things, and realizing how important it is to take care of YOU.
DePaul has some resources to take advantage of, to help with a variety of problems that may be preventing students from finding and taking care of their best selves:
Some of these include Academic Support and Tutoring, University Counseling Services, Health and Wellness, Economic Distress and more. You can check these out on the DePaul Support Services site.
The Career Center offers help with resumes, job seeking
skills, and more!
I also found this really neat Time Management Planner on the
Continue to do great things DePaulians, and take care of
yourself in the process!
Since I’m in the school of Communication, I am required to take one science lab for my general education requirements. I have waited 3 years to get it out of the way because I assumed doing anything science related was going to destroy my GPA…boy, was I wrong.
I enrolled in Women’s Health this year for my science lab and it takes the cake for my favorite class I’ve ever taken. Sadly, it takes up my ENTIRE Monday with class from 1-3 AND 6-9, but that is a small price to pay in exchange for how much I’ve learned about my biological self.
During this course I have been able to look at the health care industry through a feminist lens and recognize that women’s health is much more than having different reproductive organs. In fact, it was only in the last 15 years that the medical world starting researching about the vast differences in health outcomes between men and women.
Woman listen to both sides of their brain! Most men show brain activity exclusively on the left side (typically associated with listening and speech), while most women show activity on the right side as well (associated with creativity and expressiveness).
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the US. Women are usually under-diagnosed to the point where it is too late to help them when the condition worsens.
There are customary stages of experiencing heart pain— uncertainty, denial, seeking help from a friend or family member, recognition of the severity of symptoms, seeking medical attention, and finally, acceptance—but the difference for women was they spent more time in the denial period and were more likely to wait for friends or family to notice they were unwell, instead of approaching them with the problem.
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her life-time
This course has made it obvious that I need to practice effective health-seeking/prevention behavior. I have started taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements to avoid osteoporosis because I do NOT need to be any frailer than I already am. Seriously, the wind pushes me to the ground. I have also taken up yoga as a form of exercise.
Not all general education requirements are a drag and this class proved it me because now I have a positive attitude towards science, technology, and math. Who would’ve known?
Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, but I think I am finally over the allure of Halloween. Dark colored lipstick and spooky clothes is my all year around thing so you’d think Halloween would be my most coveted of holidays, but you would be wrong. Things in everyday life are WAYYY scarier than those giant spider webs people decorate their yards with. Student loans, anyone? Ebola? That’s scary AND real.
Honestly, Halloween welcomes (the best season ever) fall, I am just not one for cramped and sweaty house shows anymore. Wow I sound like an old person and I’m not even 21 yet.
As you can tell, I’m kind of a sour about Halloween, but this year Chicago reminded me of how fun of a holiday it could be outside of a college campus. I had an old professor from California tell me that no city does Halloween quite like Chicago does. In Chicago, the fun is for adults and children alike.
This is evident in the Franken Plaza
downtown! I usually go to Daley Plaza for Christmas activities but this year the fountains ran orange in celebration of “Chicagoween”. There were events like hayrides, trick-or-treating, and give away items. What I love most about the Franken Plaza is that once every year The Midnight Circus comes to perform. Sadly, I missed it this time around but last year there were acrobats and jugglers.
An event that really put me in the Halloween spirit was The Halloween Gathering on the Chicago Cultural Mile. This event brought together a really diverse and creative community for a really powerful parade. These people went ALL. OUT. Half of the day was dedicated to art featuring things like mask-making booths and performance artists. The rest of the day was the parade. It started at dusk which is by far the spookiest of hours. This year the Thriller Dance Mob performed in the parade and I’ve had Michael Jackson stuck in my head for a week now.
Ok, so I might still be a bit of a bum about Halloween but it’s safe to say that Chicago does a great job getting everyone involved.
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!
The other night was the first Cavs
game of the season. For those who don’t know, I am from Cleveland, Ohio and am a HUGE basketball fan. Sadly, the NBA championship last year did not end in our favor, but I am so excited to watch the Cavs dominate this year. They better do well - I’ve talked enough trash talk to my friends who root for the Bulls. I am too competitive for my own good!
I am not just a fan of basketball, but have played it since I was in first grade. It was something my father was passionate about and those genes seem to have passed on to me. Basketball is such a fun, exhilarating sport to watch and to play. It is fast-paced, physical, never boring, and something amazing always happens.
I’ll never forget the games in high school that went into double overtime or games that were won by a lucky half-court shot. I’ve made life-long friends through playing basketball and I am so glad it was such a big part of my life. I don’t play for DePaul, but sometimes will still shoot around or scrimmage with some of my friends, which I think is sometimes more fun than playing super competitively.
Speaking of competitive basketball, DePaul basketball will be starting soon! The men’s
first game is on November 7 and is at home, and the women’s
first game was on November 2 at home, as well. I actually have never seen the men play because the Allstate Arena, where they play, is a hike for a car-less girl like me. The women are super fun to watch and are really talented. If you are on campus during one of their games, I encourage you to get tickets! It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Go DePaul, go Cavs, and go Chardon High School!
I recently hit the half-way point in my student teaching! Just to provide you with a little more information, music education students teach for 16 weeks – which is divided into two 8-week long sessions. For all other education majors, student teaching only lasts 10 weeks (which is exactly one quarter at DePaul). The reason why music students have longer teaching experiences is because our certification is grades K-12, while others are certified to teach specific age groups. I began teaching 4th-8th grade band August, and although I had a great experience, I’m excited to be heading to a high school to complete my next 8 weeks of teaching.
Also this past week, I submitted my edTPA portfolio to the state of Illinois. edTPA is a newly mandated teacher assessment tool that is now required for all teacher candidates who are applying for a teaching license in Illinois (there are quite a few other states doing this, too!). If you might be interested in becoming a teacher, edTPA will become a very familiar term to you! The portfolio is made up of three major “tasks” that prompt the teacher candidate to explain their processes of planning lessons, teaching the lessons and assessing the students. For example, my portfolio was based on an 8th grade saxophone sectional, where I planned all the lessons, taught all the lessons and then assessed the students on the material we covered. Though the process of edTPA can seem daunting, its purpose is to help us plan, teach and assess with greater attention to details so we can be the best teachers possible! The DePaul College of Education has done a great job providing students with the tools and resources we need to pass the edTPA. I should know what my score is in the next two weeks, and as long as I score a 35 out of 75 points, I will be applying to be a real-life teacher in no time!
In the past 8 weeks, I have learned the following things
about middle school students:
- Most of them have at least one shoe lace untied, and they
like it that way.
- They talk using their "outdoor" voice 95% of the time.
- They ask questions that they already know the answer to,
such as, “Do I have band today?” when they have band every day of the week
- They are insanely creative, and need more opportunities to
express themselves at school.
In the program I was teaching, all students used Noteflight at least three days a week. Noteflight is a web-based composing
program that offers school memberships that allow students to create their
own work, review the work of others and submit assignments to the teacher.
Students in my classes were composing melodies and pieces that even I would
struggle to write – and I’ve studied music theory! I loved seeing the students
fully engaged in writing their own music, and their creativity was truly
Though I know high school will be different in many ways,
(they most likely won’t give me as many hugs on my last day), I’m looking
forward to the new challenges I will face.
If you want a true glimpse into the kinds of things middle
school band students say, watch the video below. It is the most accurate I’ve
ever seen and describes my experience perfectly.
My family has never been big on Halloween.
I don’t think it is for any particular reason, but my parents never celebrated Halloween that much. Sure, when my sister and I were little we wore costumes and went trick-or-treating, but that stopped as soon as we got a “little too old” for it. We never decorated, never gave out candy, and never viewed it as a big holiday.
I did love dressing up, though. The two big costumes I remember were Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz
(I LOVED the red ruby slippers) and Buttercup from PowerPuff Girls
. I took a hiatus through the end of elementary school and middle school, but in high school, my school had costume contests. My favorite costume that I wore in high school was a pun more than a costume. I unwrapped a bunch of Smarties packets and glued the individual candies to an old pair of jeans. I was Smarty Pants! It was the nerdiest, best costume ever. This year, I am dressing up with one of my best friends. We are doing the Mom Jeans sketch from Saturday Night Live
- again, super punny, super dorky, super awesome.
As you can tell, I think clever costumes are much more fun than buying premade ones from a costume store. They’re so much more comfortable, too! I would much rather wear a pair of worn-in thrift store jeans than an itchy, packaged costume. Halloween in Chicago can be celebrated without the stress and pressure of going out. One of my friends is hosting a low-key costume party and I personally am excited to eat some Twix and pose in the classic Mom Jeans position.
The Vincentian mission is stressed from day one at DePaul. Giving back and continuing a mission of service are both very big characteristics that define the DePaul community. Unfortunately, I am such a busy bee that I find it difficult to go on mission trips or volunteering excursions during the school year. Thankfully, the DePaul students and faculty make it easy to be a part of charitable efforts by organizing on-campus events.
The one event that I really loved so far this school year was conveniently held in the Student Center.
In collaboration with RefugeeOne, the Arabic Language and Culture Club, and Students Organize for Syria at DePaul University, DePaul was hosting a winter clothing drive to collect warm clothes for new refugee families! They collected clothing items for weeks!
Collection Box locations:
- Lincoln Park Student Center - Under the stairs on the west side of the building
- Loop campus on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center
What we are asking for:
- Winter coats
- Gloves, hats, scarves, mittens
Through this event I became curious about what RefugeeOne is and how the work their organization does effect the city I live in. Every year, RefugeeOne assists approximately 2,500 refugees and immigrants of all ages, ethnic groups, faiths and backgrounds to find housing, learn the English language, acclimate to American culture, develop computer and job readiness skills, secure employment, obtain medical care, apply for citizenship, and develop overall family strengthening skills.
I feel honored to be a part of a student body that takes time to give back. With RefugeeOne guiding the way we create opportunity for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.
A few Fridays ago, I was laying in bed (shocker).
Surprisingly, I was actually doing homework. Actually, if I remember right, I
was eating avocados and Mickey’s House of Villains was playing in the
background (for the record, if you haven’t seen Mickey’s House of Villains, I
highly recommend it for no other reason than the vintage Halloween cartoons).
In that case, I probably wasn’t doing homework, but rather homework was
probably somewhere on my bed, laying untouched. I can’t resist Mickey. Either
way, my friend Olivia texted me, reminding me that she also lives in Chicago
and that I hadn’t seen her for a year.
Olivia and I go way back. We first met while doing community theatre together when I was in fourth grade. That’s eleven years ago (that realization was brutal for me)! I had no plans for the weekend and neither did she, so we had a quick brainstorm of things we could do. Twelve hours later, Olivia and I were standing in line at the Bank of America Theatre, waiting to buy tickets for the musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Now, if you’ve never done student rush for a musical, you’re missing out. Almost every popular musical does some sort of student rush (or lottery) nowadays. Each show does student rush a little bit differently, but for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the tickets went on sale when the box office opened at 10am (but Olivia and I got there around 9am so we could be close to the front of the line because I stress about these kinds of things). The show sells whatever seats were still open for $25 to any student/senior/veteran. Other shows (like Wicked) use a lottery system where you can put your name into a drawing, and then two hours before the show, box office agents will pull 10-12 names. Each chosen person can buy up to two tickets for $20-$30 (it depends on the show – for Wicked, the seats are usually $25 and in the front row).
With four hours between buying the tickets and the show,
Olivia and I went on a walking tour of downtown. We stopped at my new favorite
chain restaurant, Wow Bao
, where I shared with Olivia the glory of bao
consumption of bao gave us the energy to walk to Eataly
(you know I needed my free piece of chocolate), and
through the beautiful Maggie Daley Park
. I can’t stress enough how important it
is that you run to Maggie Daley Park as fast as you can and walk through the
Enchanted Forest. If only you could have seen me running on those logs and spinning the boulder... you would have been embarrassed.
The show itself was great and we had amazing tickets. I can’t lie though: the highlight of the evening was the woman sitting behind us that was just absolutely confused by everything that was happening in the show. She spent the entire 15-minute intermission trying to talk through who had died (one man plays eight parts and she could not tell them apart at all) while I tried to discretely wipe my tears away from laughing so hard.
All in all, it is days like these that I’m grateful that I live in Chicago. Ten-year-old me would be very proud that I chose to live somewhere where going to see a Broadway tour is something I casually decide to do with a friend on my free time.
Fall is upon us! I find it really hard to pick a favorite season because there are wonderful and beautiful parts of every one, but I think that fall is the only season where I love it in its entirety. The weather is wonderful, the trees are beautiful, lazy football-watching Sundays are acceptable, apple and pumpkin-flavored items are in surplus, and sweaters are extra cozy. My friends and I took full advantage of this wonderful season a few weekends ago and drove to an apple orchard in Indiana.
It was such a fun day! The weather perfect: there was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was not too cold or hot. We went to County Line Orchards, which is only an hour outside the city but it could not have felt more far away. The orchard had apple trees, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and a big barn that housed all of the food and fall items. The first thing we did when we got there was buy apple cider and apple cinnamon donuts. Yum! We then took a hay ride out to the apple trees where we were able to pick apples fresh off the branches. They were delicious! I am ready to make my apple pie.
It was so nice to take a trip out of the city for the afternoon. I love Chicago, but I need my nature fix every so often. It was also great to spend some time with my close friends. With the busyness of the quarter, our social lives are often not the top priority, and this time spent with friends in such a beautiful place was much needed. Fall is a wonderful time of the year and I am thankful that I was able to take advantage of the season.
As a Theatre major, life can prove to be extremely busy. While all college students have a lot on their plates, juggling classes and work and enjoying the social life of college, theatre students at DePaul seem to have a unique kind of schedule and academic experience. Lately I have been running from classes to rehearsals to study sessions, not really finding a moment to take a breath. However I have really been loving the projects I am working on at the moment. I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you all about the show I am currently working on here at The Theatre School.
As an acting major, you are required to perform in various productions during your time here, and are even evaluated for a grade. The goal is to gain experience performing, learn from these experiences, and also apply what we have been learning in acting classes to actual performance. Junior year is the first time that we have the opportunity to audition for the mainstage productions. I am so excited to be working on my first Mainstage here at TTS, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone!
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson is an American drama set in 1911 Pittsburgh. Written by legendary African American playwright, August Wilson, this story is one of a cycle of plays Wilson wrote to catalog the black experience in America in each decade of the 20th century. The action takes place in a boarding house in Pittsburgh, and we see the interactions of the various characters who meet there, on their journey through life in America post-slavery. It is an intense story about finding each other, and finding ourselves as a culture and as individuals.
This show has been so fun to work on, and not to mention so rewarding and inspiring. The production is a rarity for The Theatre School, as there is a nearly all black cast, performing in a show written by an amazing black playwright, directed by the only black female performance faculty member, with stage management and design teams who also include POC. Diversity and representation in schools and in the arts is so important, and as a woman of color, it is such a gift to me to be able to be a part of a show that is exploring, celebrating and showcasing my own culture and the complexity of human life. I am currently sharing the stage with many MFA (graduate student) actors, as well as other BFA (undergraduate) actors as well. And it has been such a learning experience just watching my peers work as well.
This show opens November 6th and runs until November 15th. Student tickets are only $5 for any show. If you’re already a student at DePaul, or are in the area I highly recommend seeing this show! For more information about this show, tickets, or our 2 other mainstages currently in performance, Esperanza Rising in the Merle Reskin Theatre downtown, and The Lady from the Sea in the Healy Theatre on campus, please visit The Theatre School website.
Chocolate is very important to me.
Is it a priority? Yes. Do I need it on a daily basis? Yes. Could I live without it? No.
Luckily for me and other chocoholics out there, Chicago’s chocolate scene is on point. It’s easy to find delicious, decadent desserts that will leave you wanting more all throughout the city. Even if you don’t like chocolate, the following dessert and candy places will help any sweet tooth stay satisfied.
Dylan’s Candy Bar:
445 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
This candy shop is located at the heart of Michigan Avenue and was created by designer Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan Lauren. Her fusion of pop culture, candy, art, and fashion has created a brand that is fun and delicious. The Chicago store features a life size lollipop display and carries novelty and nostalgia candies such as Candy Buttons, Big League Chew, Razzles, Slo Poke Bars, and so much more. Dylan’s chocolate selection includes items such as chocolate covered popcorn, various flavors of fudge, chocolate bars, and chocolate bark. Her store also features a plethora of lifestyle and apparel gifts like jewelry and plush pillows -- because who doesn’t need a furry, huggable doughnut? While the Chicago store isn’t as big as its original New York location, Dylan’s does have a party room that can be reserved and a cafe where you can order frozen delicacies.
Lolli and Pops:
Fashion Outlets of Chicago, 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont, IL 60018
While this candy shop is a tad bit out of the way, the Rosemont location is easy to get to via the blue line and then free shuttle to the Chicago Fashion Outlets location. Lolli and Pops is a tiny collection of candy stores that opened in 2012. I like this shop because it is organized by type of candy in each room: the gumball room, the chocolate room, the gummy room, and the jelly bean room. Additionally, Lolli and Pops has an assortment of old fashioned sodas to quench your thirst. When you’re done exploring and eating, there are so many stores to visit in the mall as well. If you’re going to venture to the outlet mall, make sure you give yourself ample time to make the journey and to get lost in the gazillions of stores there.
The Grand Luxe Cafe:
Ontario, 600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
While The Grand Luxe Cafe is the ultimate tourist destination that native Chicagoans tend to scoff at, the food is hard to beat. With the expansive menu that includes everything from duck to flatbread pizzas to morning cocktails, and the prime view that overlooks Michigan Avenue, this restaurant’s immense popularity is no surprise. While everything always tastes scrumptious, there is one dessert here that stands out amongst the rest. I will even admit that I have visited this exquisite restaurant with friends just to order this singular item. I’m sure the waiters love when patrons do that. The Grand Luxe Cafe’s New Orleans Beignets are seriously to die for. They are baked to order and take about 30 minutes to prepare so order them when you order your entree. These fluffy, round, fried pieces of dough are covered in powdered sugar and are accompanied by three dipping sauces. They are perfect to share with a friend, however splitting this dessert amongst three or four people may cause a friendship fight over beignet rations.
2536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
I’ve blogged about Molly’s Cupcakes before, but I just couldn’t leave them out of this dessert list. Located in Lincoln Park, Molly’s Cupcakes is a sweet treat that every DePaul student has indulged in at one point in their collegiate lives. Molly’s center filled cupcakes are perfect for chocolate lovers. I’ve eaten countless cupcakes here and my favorite would have to be the Cookie Monster, which includes vanilla chocolate chip cake, a raw cookie dough center, buttercream, and mini chocolate chip cookies. The Flourless Molten Chocolate cupcake comes at a close second and a close third is the Crème Brulee cupcake. The shop itself is complete with swinging seats and a sprinkle station to add the finishing touches to your cupcakes. The seating area is very tiny however and the shop can get crowded quickly. Sometimes it’s best to take your cupcakes elsewhere to enjoy your mini treat.
West Town Bakery and Diner:
15 East Ohio, Chicago, IL 60611
This unique bakery and diner is attached to the ACME Hotel and Berkshire Room Bar. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but in accordance with my dessert theme, it’s necessary to direct your attention to this bakery’s cakeballs. Cake is ultimately delicious in any form, but in my opinion, cakeballs pack more of a flavorful punch.
Before eating West Town’s cakeballs, I had only tried Starbucks’s cake pops. I thought that balls of cake were just dainty little treats that you could eat in one bite on a stick. I thought they were perfectly shaped and decorated with some sprinkles sparsely spread on the thin sheet of icing covering the light vanilla cake. West Town Bakery changed my standards for cakeballs. They should be coated in sprinkles, unable to be digested in one bite, and messy. West Town’s cakeballs are massive and unapologetic. With flavors such as French Toast, Blueberry Lemon, Triple Chocolate, Mexican Spice, Red Velvet and Mint Chocolate, these cakeballs appeal to any one’s palette. While one is still not enough, these cakeballs change the game.
Since I have been waking up at 4:45am to be at school on time over the last eight weeks, having a social life on weeknights has faded into a memory of the past. Don’t get me wrong, student teaching thus far has been a great experience and I’m learning so much...but if sleep wasn’t a top priority before, it certainly is now (and generally before 9pm these days!) However, because I had to submit a massive teaching portfolio on Friday, I was released from school on Thursday to work on it. In honor of being able to sleep in until 8am that day, I decided to head to the Lyric Opera of Chicago
to see Rossini’s Cinderella
on Wednesday night while I had the chance.
The Lyric Opera of Chicago has an awesome program for college students called NEXT
. Through this program, you can register to receive emails about $20 dollar tickets to most of the operas that are performed throughout the year. There are even dedicated “college nights”, where students can arrive early to a show for Q&A and pre-show talk sessions with different Lyric employees and performers. Watch out though: there are specific show dates for student tickets – you’ll want to make sure to check when they’re available so you don’t miss your chance!
Luckily for me, there were student tickets available for the Wednesday night performance of