This past Summer, Starbucks announced they are planning to get rid of their use of straws by 2020. Although they project to have this done by 2020, they have already been starting to cut down on straws with their new cold cup lids and some stores only giving straws out when asked to. Starbucks was the first large company to take this initiative and it has sprung into a great thing.
Ever since their announcement, I have noticed some changes. I realized a few people in my classes have aluminum straws, I notice people in coffee shops with iced drinks not using lids and straws and see them drinking their iced coffee by sipping it. I really noticed it when I ordered an iced coffee in the loop on the 11th floor and the lady making it said they don’t give out straws unless asked for and that they only use biodegradable ones. It seems that DePaul is trying to go greener and use fewer straws also.
I am a frequent coffee buyer, Starbucks especially, because of its many perks. Ever since their straw announcement I have bought more reusable products, I bought a reusable Starbucks cup and straw which I use all the time. I have been a lot more self-conscious lately and with the way, the climate is changing and I am trying to figure out the little things I do every day that can be improved and not hurt the earth. It’s our job to take care of the earth and starting with small things is better than nothing.
The only way it truly feels like fall is when the leaves are changing colors. You might think it’s almost impossible to see good foliage in the city but there are still great spots to see the beautiful reds oranges and yellows. Here are some places you can enjoy before it gets too cold and all the leaves are gone:
The trees that are scattered and trails in Millennium Park turn bright red when fall begins. The trees in the gardens, surrounding the bean, and the ones close by at Grant Park make you feel like you’re not even in a city when it’s fall time.
If you want to see the fall colors of Millennium Park for a view, walk a block over on Michigan Avenue to see them from Cindy’s Rooftop. This beautiful rooftop bar/restaurant has the perfect view of the park from Michigan to the Lakefront. When it’s cold out they still have outdoor seating with their lit up fire pits.
The 606 Trail:
The 606 is an elevated trail which is still Chicago but far enough from the city where it feels suburban. The trail goes out west and the residential streets along the trail are in mass amounts and they all change colors at around the same time.
Garfield Park Conservatory:
The Garfield Park Conservatory in Garfield Park is one of the largest Conservatories in the world. It encloses many beautiful plants which makes it a great place to visit in the fall time.
The best place, in my opinion, is Lincoln Park. With the large parks closer to the lake, Lincoln Park turns even more beautiful in the fall. The Lincoln Park Conservatory and Zoo turn great oranges with a great backdrop of the city.
It’s amazing how DePaul’s loop campus is so close to such a wide range of things where I constantly find myself discovering and trying out new places and things to do. The other night my roommates and I decided to go to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). It was the first time all of us had been and definitely see myself going back. Many places in the city offer student rate tickets and the CSO is one of them where they only charge $15 for students. It’s a great place to go if you want to dress up and be fancy and not spend a lot of money on tickets.
The Symphony Center is absolutely beautiful from the minute you walk through the doors. First of all this center is right across from the Art Institute of Chicago
(another beautiful Chicago building).
Some people may think this kind of thing is boring but I found it very relaxing. The crowd is extremely quiet (scary quiet), but it really makes you only focus on the music. This concert was a very different feel than from the rowdy concerts I sometimes choose to go to where I have to stand for hours and am prone to get trampled in a mosh pit.
There are so many shows at CSO each month so there is always an opportunity to go see a concert. There are also university nights where they give students additional deals with their $15 tickets. Also, in the Springtime, the DePaul Symphony Orchestra plays at the Symphony Center which is also a great time to go with all your friends.
It’s finally officially fall which means a lot of cold weather festivities will begin. Fall is my favorite season and hopefully, it’s yours too. It’s the only time Chicago is the perfect temperature where you can go outside and enjoy the festivities and not freeze. A lot of things are “in season” like fall flavors, pumpkin, spice, sunflowers, squash, and all the pretty earth-tone colors like oranges, reds, and browns.
The best thing about all of this is that you can find all these things at one of the many farmers' markets around the city in the Fall Time. Here are a few of my favorite farmers’ markets locations.
Federal Plaza Farmer’s Market
This farmers market is right off the Jackson Blue Line Stop and just a block from the Jackson Red Line stop. It runs on Tuesdays from 7am-3pm so it’s a good place to stop by between your Tuesday Loop classes.
This market is located under the Southport Brown Line and although it’s very tiny, it has a lot of unique vendors. They have a build your own bouquet vendor, flower truck, Michigan vendors and a lot of other unique products for sale. This market runs on Thursdays from 3-7:30 pm
Green City Market Lincoln Park
This farmers market is located at the south end of Lincoln Park. You can buy locally grown produce and all things fall for great prices here. It is huge and so much fun! This market runs through October every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am-1pm.
Even if you miss these, don’t worry because the Christmas markets will be here before you know it!
What I look forward to at the end of the school year are all the summer concerts Chicago has to offer. Here are some exciting concerts and music festivals I’m especially excited for.
Millenium Park Summer Music Series
Free music outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy summer. Millenium Park always hosts many things in the summer along with movies, festivals and concerts. I’m looking forward to enjoying the series this summer especially for a performance by the Bahamas in August.
This is a popular music festival during the first week of August in Chicago as everyone knows, and although I’ve never been there are a lot of great artists coming this summer such as Bruno Mars, Khalid, Post Malone, Tyler the Creator and many more. I usually avoid Lolla because of the long days and large crowds. I will probably go eventually, but if you want more intimate concerts with the festival artists, I suggest buying aftershow tickets which are cheaper and in my opinion, more worth it.
Summerfest is an 11-day music festival in Milwaukee during the end of June and beginning of July. It’s an easy drive up to Milwaukee from Chicago and the festival is very affordable and has some great headliners this summer, such as the Weeknd, Florida Georgia Line, James Taylor, Halsey and many more artists.
Northcoast is another music festival that takes place in Union Park at the end of August and beginning of September over Labor Day weekend. I’ve never really considered going to North Coast but with the lineup this Summer I’m most likely going to go because Miguel is headlining one of the days.
There is definitely a good amount of food to eat around the city, but what’s even better are the dessert places. I always think ice cream is the best sweet and a fun food to get with friends. I enjoy trying new places because there are so many to try in Chicago and with the weather getting warmer, ice cream is always the best option. Here are some of my favorite places to get a cold sweet treat in Chicago:
Original Rainbow Cone
This ice cream originated in the southwest side but a smaller shop has opened up at Navy Pier. The cool thing about this ice cream is that there aren’t scoops of ice cream but slabs of ice cream on a cone!
I will have to say this is my favorite ice cream place as of right now. They have super large scoops and the inside of this place is very old school and very cozy. They also serve the world largest sundae which is on my bucket list to conquer.
Mario’s Italian Ice
This local Italian Ice shop is only open seasonally in the summer so I would make sure to take advantage of it. They are a mom and pop shop in Italian Village and serve my favorite Italian Ice in the city. They have hints of lemon peel in their cups which really makes them different. Make sure to bring cash when you go because they don’t accept cards and also be prepared for long lines.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Jeni’s is really popular and although it isn’t my all-time favorite it’s close to campus right off the Armitage stop and always has unique flavors with their Wildberry Lavender flavor being my favorite.
Bobtail Ice Cream
Bobtail is on the lists for being one of Chicago’s best ice cream shops. They have a large variety of flavors along with unique floats, coffee, and shakes.
Windy City Sweets
This shop is a wonderland for those with a sweet tooth. Half the shop is full of every type of candy you can imagine, while the other half is an ice cream shop of everyone's favorite ice cream flavors- including mine Superman ice cream.
Happy May! And last full month of school...which means formal season! If you’re in a club or in greek life or have a friend in either of those, it is likely that you are going to a formal. Formal’s are a fun way to meet new people or just hang with your friends. It’s also a great excuse to dress up and have a formal outing.
Formal’s from DePaul organizations are a lot of fun especially since we have access to the city and all its venues. I had a lot of fun last year since it was my first year at DePaul and going to formal. If you enjoyed homecoming and dances in high school, you would really enjoy formals. They are a lot more relaxed than the high school dance atmospheres, and smaller which is what I prefer.
Also, formal’s allow you to see great venues in Chicago. For example some common places, organizations hold formal is the 95th floor in the John Hancock, the 99th floor of the Sears Tower, Rivers Restaurant, 7 Lions Chicago and many more great venues along the river or rooftops.
If you are stressed about bringing a date, I wouldn’t worry. It’s great to go with one of your best friends to make the most out of your night. Even asking friends from outside of school, to allow them to experience some time with you at DePaul.
Also, if you are looking for a fun dress on a last-minute budget, I always try the Akira Outlet off Diversey, but if I really need more options, there’s always a lot to choose from off State Street near the loop campus like Forever 21, H&M and Nordstrom.
As a DePaul student, we get many perks and one of them is free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago! And not on just certain days, but at all times! I did not know this as I was applying to DePaul but I am so glad I found out shortly after because this museum is my favorite in the entire city.
Even if you are not a big fan of art, the Art Institute is a great pass-time place to go to especially when the weather isn’t great. I usually choose to go on rainy days or when there are new exhibits. It also has a great variation of art from different time periods, contemporary, modern, photography and even more. If you want to explore all the wings of the museums I recommend you put off a minimum of 2 hours of your day.
The museum always puts in new temporary exhibits every few months which makes it fun to go back as every time a new one is in. But there are also permanent exhibits and pieces that I can look at over and over again. Making a good relaxing playlist and looking at some of my favorite pieces is one of my favorite things to do.
There’s currently a temporary exhibit (closing in a few days) named “My Room is Another Fish Bowl” Philippe Parreno. This exhibit is just a room filled with helium fish balloons that visitors can interact with. You can see from the picture, that the kids really enjoyed this exhibit.
One of my favorite permanent installations are the Chagall windows. I love these windows because first of all, they remind me of Ferris Bueller’s Day off and also because there are benches right in front of the piece where you can sit and really see the detail that went into the stained glass. I always notice new details every time I see this piece.
I did not have a normal freshman year experience in Lincoln Park as many other students did. I was one of the few handfuls of people who chose to dorm in the loop at the University Center (UC). Not many people know that there is housing in the loop for DePaul students but I saw it as an option and finding out it was so close to the business school made me want to live there my freshman year. The University Center also houses Robert Morris University, Columbia College University and Roosevelt University students, so it’s an interesting way to dorm your first year of college.
The UC is very different from any Lincoln Park residence hall. It is a skyscraper, has laundry, a small gym, and good food all within the building. Also living in the heart of the city made it so much easier for me to explore Chicago. There are so many cool places around the UC and there is such easy access to all the train lines.
Also with the UC being a skyscraper, you can possibly have a great view depending on your floor. My roommate and I had a great view of the lake if you peaked your head out of the window enough. Living so close to the lake was also one of my favorite things about living there. The lakefront trail was less than a mile away and I could go for a short run to the museum campus with a beautiful view.
Although it sometimes feels like I missed out on the “normal” freshman year of a DePaul student I’m glad I got a different experience because I was able to see a lot of different things being in the loop that others didn’t. I’m more familiar with downtown than I thought I would be.
March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year! I always make a bracket, even though I never get anywhere close to a perfect bracket. I had Michigan State going all the way (yes go ahead and laugh at me, but Obama had them winning too so there’s that). Once they were knocked out I was able to just enjoy the games and root for teams as the tournament went on.
I only had Loyola winning the first round, but once they won beyond that, I was rooting for them. I was so excited to have a Chicago team finally get into the final four. I really thought Loyola was going to the final game until a few minutes into the second half on Saturday. Although I’m really upset about the large number of turnovers and sad shooting percentage, I’m glad they got so far in the tournament.
They definitely united Chicago and made this city proud, especially being an 11th seed team. I loved being out in public during some of the games and seeing people of all ages representing Loyola with their colors or watching the game on their phones in a park or at a restaurant.
I know this tournament just ended, but I can’t wait until next year’s tournament, Loyola has a fairly young team so next season will be interesting. I also really hope our men’s team can make it into the tournament soon so I can really root for a Chicago team.
Thank you again, Loyola, for keeping Chicago excited and on their feet!
So it’s 2018 and there are so many artists announcing tour dates and I feel extremely overwhelmed with the number of potential concerts I can go to. It’s the end of January and I’ve already gone to two concerts and already have some planned for the next few months.
January 11th was Lana Del Rey’s concert at the United Center as a part of her LA to the Moon North American tour. I don’t usually go to the United Center for concerts but my best friend is a huge fan and Lana is an amazing artist so it was worth it. We had pretty bad seats, but it was nice not having to worry about being crushed against hundreds of people. We got to enjoy her beautiful voice from the comfort of our seats as we ate our overpriced fries and nachos. Pro tip: maybe have a nice dinner before you go to the United Center. Lana was a great person to see live along with Jhene Aiko, both amazing women artists. If you have never listened to them before I highly recommend if you love chill female artists.
More recently, I went to another concert but a smaller one on January 27th with my friend at Uncommon Ground. We went to see Beach Bunny, a really good local indie/power-pop band. This venue was all the way over by Loyola but worth the distance because we got off the Loyola redline stop and enjoyed a great dinner at Blaze Pizza before the show.
Uncommon Ground was also super cool, it’s a restaurant too with the music section in the back where people can enjoy the bands that are playing with a good dinner in a small intimate room. This was definitely a lot different than the Lana concert and a good relaxing setting, but both were great concerts. I can’t wait to go to more upcoming concerts in Chicago. The music scene is amazing here and I can’t wait for more artists to announce tour dates and hopefully add more shows. Make sure you follow your favorite artists so you don’t miss a chance to see them live!
This year will be the first year I will not be able to celebrate actual Christmas in Chicago and I am extremely upset about it. But Chicago starts celebrating Christmas very early; the holiday festivities start the beginning of November so I’m glad I won’t be missing too much. So for those people who play Christmas music as early as they possibly can, here are some of Chicago’s early holiday festivities you can go to and begin spreading your holiday spirit.
Chicago’s 104th Christmas Tree Lighting
When: November 17 @ 6pm
Where: Millennium Park
This year’s tree is about 62 feet tall and the ceremony is always accompanied by music and fireworks. It’s usually a really short ceremony so if you are not a fan of standing in the cold for hours, this is a good event to go to.
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
When: November 18 @ 5:30 pm
Where: Michigan Avenue- from Oak Street to Wacker Drive
During this festival along Michigan Avenue, the holiday lights are turned on for the beginning of the holiday season. The Magnificent Mile always looks like a winter wonderland in the winter with all the lights and street decorations. There is also a parade for this festival with tons of music and sometimes famous people-for example Ben Zobrist and his wife were on a float last year after the Cubs had won the world series.
When: November 17-24
Where: Daley Plaza
The famous Christkindlmarket is a must “go to” during the holiday seasons. There are vendors selling cute holiday items, along with food and the most infamous hot chocolate in their specialty mugs. If you have never been, you must go to this market!
Christkindlmarket: Park at Wrigley
When: November 24-December 31
Where: Park at Wrigley
The Christkindlmarkt is also opening up another location for their market in Wrigleyville. This market will include mostly the same things but with more activities and even an ice-skating rink. If you have already been to the Chicago Christkindlmarket I suggest you check this one out.
Week 9 for me is also known as my “get your life together” week. The fall quarter is
almost over and our first break is so close. I can barely focus because I’m too excited to be done with school for the year, go home, see my friends and family, and celebrate the holidays.
Sadly, it’s time to prepare for finals even though it feels like I was taking midterms last week. Although it’s super easy to get distracted I’m going to take my distractions and use them as motivation. It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re near the end of the quarter and want to avoid your papers, group projects and studying but there are ways to stay focused. I’m just going to share some ways on how to stay focused when you have a lot of things on your plate.
My favorite way to keep organized and get things done is to make lists. Daily lists are the best. Where you can list all the things you need to get done for the day, and checking those things off as you go through your day is such a relieving feeling. Setting reminders is also very helpful, whether it be a reminder to do your laundry at 2 pm or finish your paper at 11:59 pm. This is a great thing to do if you’re very forgetful like me. Also, putting things on a calendar can help you see how available you are and how you can manage your time best. These are just a few ways I get my life together when I’m stressed, but stress is normal - especially when finals are approaching. It’s important to keep yourself motivated and not be too hard on yourself. Make sure to take breaks and make time for yourself.
I was never a big fan of any food that is soup-like but pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has changed my hatred for soup. The first time I tried this soup was with my roommate on a typical freezing cold day. This place is essentially a Chipotle for your soup. You pick the type of base you want, the type of protein, vegetables, and broth. The best part about this place is that they have student discounts, so your large bowl of noodle soup comes out to less than $7.
The employees are incredibly nice and every time I go here I have had a good conversation with the server which always makes me feel more welcome. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the red stools are my favorite because they imitate the stools they have in Vietnam which you can see in the pictures they have hanging up. This place is a great sit down restaurant and I love taking my friends from out of town here so they can enjoy it too.
Midterms are brutal, but being done with them is relieving. My biggest motivation during midterms is thinking about all the ways I’m going to treat myself after. The minute I left my last exam I was out running errands and finding ways to recover from the excessive studying I did. I believe everyone should do a little something (or nothing) after a few tough exams. Spoiling yourself is one of the easiest things to do but if you can’t think of anything here are some ways to treat yourself .
Shopping: Retail therapy is real. Who cares if you failed your finance midterm if you look cute in your brand new shoes? It’s hard not to splurge when shopping , but it still is relaxing buying some new clothes or just window shopping after staring at textbooks for 2 weeks straight. I try to avoid shopping for clothes and usually buy myself flowers and some books because I finally have the chance to read something for fun.
Food: Order your favorite food! The best way to spend money is on food. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite snack foods which includes Jewel cookies, Reese’s, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The best way to treat yourself is to literally treat yourself- too bad it never involves anything healthy.
Shut Off Your Brain: Do nothing. After exams is the best time to start a new show to binge watch or stay in the night and watch one of your favorite movies (as you eat your favorite pint of ice cream). Being curled up in bed and not having to use your brain for something intellectual is so relaxing and rewarding.
Friends: After putting off hanging out with your friends to study you need to go out and socialize. Hang out with your friends and try to avoid talking about school. Get away from campus and enjoy some of the cool places Chicago has to offer.
I know a lot of people say they don’t have time to read, but reading is a great stress reliever. There are so many places to fuel your need to read and here are a few of my favorite places.
There is so much to do off the Damen Blue Line stop, but this bookstore is one of the many attractions you have to check out in Wicker Park. The books can be a little pricey, but this store has multiple floors of books and a creepy (but cool) basement filled with even more books. In addition to the books, Myopic holds Live-Music Mondays and a Poetry Series on Saturdays.
This bookstore is located in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue. The Fine Arts Building is beautiful on the inside and in order to get to the bookstore on the second floor you have to take the vintage caged elevators. These books can be a little much but there is always a pile of discount books for $1 outside the actual store you can explore. This store is the only bookstore I know to have a pet cat- watch out for him as you walk around.
Pop-up shops have become a very popular thing within the last year and Carpe Librum is a pop-up bookstore in the heart of the loop just a few blocks from campus. This shop is only going to be at this location for the fall so I highly recommend going to this one out of all the ones on this list. The prices only range from $1-$4 and they restock with new books daily!
Thrift shops- Goodwill, Salvation Army, Village Discount etc.
If you’re looking for cheap books and a quick trip, thrift shops are always a great place to go. They usually carry the classics if you are looking for one of those and there even certain days where everything is half off at some thrift shops.
This bookstore is simple, they carry the newest books and it’s a great place to check out if you’re in the south loop.
This bookstore is way off campus. It’s right off the Loyola Red Line stop and is a must -see bookstore. This store is very unique and quirky and is a must see for yourself bookstore.
Getting your own apartment is one of the most grown-up things that happen during your college years. I know everyone wants to grow up, get away from their parents and do things themselves, but having your own place is a lot more responsibility than I ever thought I could handle.
If you thought you missed your mom’s home cooked meals when you were in the dorms, you were very wrong. Coming home after a long day of classes and having to figure out what you want to eat is one of the most stressful things. Of course, the possibilities are endless compared to the stu food, but who has the time to make food? You’ll most likely end up popping some frozen food in the oven or make some pasta. Also, don’t forget you have to go grocery shopping about every week. Where’s the best place to buy groceries ? What groceries do you need? What won’t go bad fast? Which brand is the best? Is $2.49 too much for strawberries?
I usually don’t mind cleaning, but there is so much more to clean and so many other housekeeping things that need to be done than I thought. Dust accumulates dramatically in my apartment and sweeping and mopping have become an everyday ritual. There are always dishes to be washed and put away, bathrooms that need cleaning, and tons of laundry to be done. I finally understand how much my mom does to keep our house put together.
The good thing is that I have finally become super aware of the value of a dollar (my parents have waited 20 years for this day). Having the amount of rent in mind along with having to pay bills for utilities has made well aware of the amount of money I have to put away for necessities.
Although an apartment is an absurd amount of work, it becomes a place that you can make your (and your roommates’) own. You can add the little things that make it cozy enough for a place you and your friends can kick it. My first apartment is making me realize how fast I’m growing up and is definitely preparing me for more adult responsibilities I will have in the future.
From only one year at college, I have learned more than I ever did in my four years of high school. There are an endless amount of things I have learned but I’m going to highlight some of the most important things I learned my freshman year.
1. Don't stress about keeping up with friends.
You will go days or weeks without texting/snapchatting/ calling or just plain talking to your friends from home sometimes. THAT IS TOTALLY FINE. Actually, it is a good thing. When you and your friends get together the next time you all will have so much to say your conversations will never end.
2. Capture it. Write it.
You’re going to experience some cool things, document them somehow.
3. Do more of what you love.
You’re beginning a new life in a way; more of a life you’ve always wanted. You can be 100% in college. There are no cliques and everyone is who they want to be, so do the things that make you happy because there are no restrictions.
4. Keep an open mind.
This one is simple.
5. Adventure/ Explore!
There is so much to do! Especially being in the city. So go out, get lost and find some cool places. If you don’t know what to do, ask friends about their favorite places to go and check them out yourself.
6. You are more than a grade.
I know that school can be stressful and you will most likely spot me vigorously doing my homework in the library on a Thursday night but don’t stress too much about grades. If you make an effort in class, talk to professors and find study groups you can work with, you will feel a lot more relaxed. It is not healthy to overstress about school- there is more to you than your grades.
I believe that we are always learning which is why my favorite phrase is an Italian saying: “Ancora imparo” which translates to “I am still learning.” Michelangelo proclaimed this when he was 87 years old which is usually a time where a lot of people think they have seen it all and know everything with all the wisdom they have attained. These two words remind me how I can take any experience as an opportunity to learn. College is one great experience and I am still learning things about college and myself and continuously adding to this list.
My name is Richa (pronounced Reach-ah). I’m currently a sophomore at DePaul University double majoring in Accounting and Finance. I was born, but not raised, in Chicago. I’m from a close suburb called Des Plaines- known for being the home of the first-ever McDonald's and an absurd amount of trains. I am more than grateful to be going to DePaul and being able to take advantage of all it has to offer.
I enjoy a vast amount of things but my favorites would include playing basketball, taking pictures, reading (especially poetry ), going to the beach, visiting art museums and galleries, and exploring Chicago. Chicago has been my classroom and in my free time, I always explore the city for its never-ending adventures. The two distinct campuses allow me to grow, mature, and prepare more for the future. I’ll be sharing a lot of these adventures with you through my blog.
I also think music is very important. I have a wide range of preferences and can’t wait to share my love for music with you on this blog.