Articles by Zoe Krey

DePaul by the Numbers

​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.

Zoe's Final Blog
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!

Number of…

Classes taken: 45
Credit hours: 180
Professors taken: 36
Independent studies: 2
Advisors: 5
Online classes: 2
Skipped classes: 5
Free t-shirts received: 12
Research conferences: 5
DeBlogs written: 100
Internships: 6
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: $$$$$
Majors: 2
Memories: Countless
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.

Sincerely,
Zoe Krey

Fly the W

​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.

Fly the W
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!

The Most Underrated Buses in Chicago

​As if the L wasn’t intimidating, the 130 CTA bus routes are confusing enough to get you severely lost anywhere in Chicago you can imagine. Sound enticing?

Well, it should. Once you begin to master the CTA buses, your navigational prayers will be answered. I implore you to outsmart your friends this winter, and learn the bus system. Don’t trudge those extra 5 blocks through snow, sleet, and sadness to your destination; find a bus that will take you directly there.

According to the CTA’s website, the CTA has about 1,888 buses that operate 130 routes and 1,301 route miles. If that’s not dizzying enough, the buses make 18,843 trips a day and serve 10,813 bus stops. What does this mean for you? With the right planning, you can find the bus of your destination dreams.

Perhaps, my appreciation for the buses stems from the fact that I now live off three great bus routes. The #77 Belmont, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, and #151 Sheridan are my go-to routes.

However, my bus-queen status does not mean that the buses and I don’t have our differences. While I’m lucky that the buses I need come pretty regularly during the morning and day-time hours (night is a completely different story), some buses, such as #65 Grand, pretty much come every 20-25 minutes, which can make being on time difficult.

147 Bus
The buses are not a possibility for you unless you’ve downloaded a bus-tracking app. Transit Stop works particularly well and also is useful for L arrival times. You’ll need it to plan your journeys and figure out when to go outside to the bus stop at the last possible minute.

Unless you have a day to explore the bus lines and learn by trial and error, I recommend you look up bus routes online before you hop on willy-nilly. Once, when I was commuting home after work this past summer, the bus I needed (#146) was a ways away, so I decided to hop on #147. What difference could a number make?

Nope. I was very wrong. As I sat on #147 Outer Drive Express, I pressed my face and hands to the glass window as I watched my apartment, a.k.a. my destination, whiz by, eventually fading out of sight. Learn from my mistake.

Good luck with your bus adventures! And, may the bus odds be ever in your favor this winter.

25th Reunion Dinner

The Willis Tower
One of my favorite experiences I’ve had at DePaul is being a member of the Student Alumni Ambassador program. Every quarter, we don our finest business-casual wear, attend fancy alumni events, and get our mingle on! 

The Student Alumni Ambassadors were founded to strengthen the bonds and connections between alumni and the university, enlighten alumni on the current university culture, engage current students in the alumni community, and develop future alumni leaders. It’s a great way to network with DePaul alumni, but it’s also fun to learn about their experiences at DePaul. 

This past weekend was alumni weekend, and I attended the 25th Reunion Dinner, as an SAA, in the Willis Tower’s Metropolitan Club. It’s no surprise that the views were spectacular and the food was amazing. 

Tasked with saying a few words to kick off the event, I spoke about how grateful I am for my experiences at DePaul. I truly believe that DePaul’s ability to incorporate Chicago and its resources into the classroom is unparalleled. 

Salmon
On the menu for the night were passed hors d’oeuvers including quatro formaggi arranchini, three-hour short rib on a crostini finished with a blue cheese crown, and jumbo shrimp with horseradish spiked cocktail sauce. Beyond that delicious spread came the main courses, which included salad, pan-seared salmon with a smoked paprika crust, and crème brulee with fresh berries and a traditional caramelized candied crust. 

Did I mention being an SAA was pretty awesome? 

It was great to connect with former DePaul students from the graduating class of 1991 over a delicious meal 66 floors above the ground. Their passion for their alma mater has not faltered, making me excited about my future as a DePaul alumni. 

Crème Brulee
If you have the chance to become an SAA during your time at DePaul, I could not recommend it enough! Plus, you get to work with the amazing John Palmares, the associate director of the Office of Alumni Relations​ (also a DePaul grad).

160,000 members strong, the University Alumni Association is something I look forward to joining in 2017. 


DePaul Student Discounts

This round of midterms is a little bit sweeter since I know they are my last. 

That’s not to suggest that I’m acting calm, cool, and collected by any means. I’m still stressed as ever, and I ate four Oreos today as an appetizer for my dinner to prove it. #NoRegrets.

Regardless, it feels good to be halfway done with my last quarter! The job search is going better than ever (stay tuned, details are to come), and my grades for the quarter are pretty solid going into this round of midterms. 

As I begin my last few weeks at DePaul EVER, I’ve been making an attempt to enjoy my awesome DePaul discounts that I’ll be missing. For the past 3 years, Demon Discounts have been my saving grace when it comes to going to the movies, eating out, and even shopping for new clothes. 

To honor all of the money-saving memories student discounts have given me, here is a list of some of my favorites. If you want the full rundown, check out the website Demon Discounts

Happy savings!    

Arts & Entertainment          

AMC Theaters: Movies everywhere are quite expensive, but Chicago’s prices are through the roof! Don’t pay $15 to go see a movie that you’ll eventually rent on Redbox. DePaul offers discounted movie tickets for $9 in the student involvement office. 

Art Institute of Chicago: DePaul students are admitted free to the museum every day, and Chicago residents are admitted free on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Students also enjoy ½ priced yearly memberships if you’re looking to skip lines, see exhibits early, and of course, gain access to the exclusive member lounge featuring free coffee and tea (highly recommend the membership option).               

Art Institute
She woke up like this. As seen at The Art Institute.
DePaul Theater School: Students receive discounted tickets (ranging from $5 to $15) to DePaul theater productions, depending on the type of production. I’ve even scored free tickets to DePaul productions through the Honors Program.

Divvy Bikes: Are you a biker that doesn’t have a bike? Turn that irony into a reality with Divvy’s yearly student membership. It’s $75 a year and with over 3,000 bikes in the city, it’s quite a bargain.

Spotify: As you might have noticed by the millions of advertisements on Spotify, students get 50% off Spotify memberships. Not a bad deal considering Spotify got me through every single class I’ve ever taken. 

The Second City: Need a laugh? How about one for 15% off? Students get discounted tickets on performances on Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday.

Food & Beverage

Berghoff: Home of the first liquor license in Chicago, DePaul students can enjoy 10% off delicious German food.
 
Zoe's Food
A beer flight, lamb burger, and sweet potato fries (for 10% off). 
Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Did you actually go to DePaul if you didn’t go to the Pig? Get a cup of joe and more for 10% off while studying on the homey second floor.

Cafe Ba-Ba Reeba: Spanish tapas for 20% off is music to my ears. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba has delicious food and late hours, making it the perfect spot for late night bites in Lincoln Park. 

Dunkin’ Donuts: Never pay full price for a bagel to go while rushing to your 8:00 a.m. class in the loop again! DePaul students get 10% off.

Home Run Inn: Right off the Belmont station, you can get 20% off any size pizza. 

Jimmy Johns: 10% off makes the sandwiches taste that much better.

Nandos: Obsessed with Nandos right now, and how could I not be with 20% off?

Papa John’s: Once I ordered Papa John’s two times in one week (it was finals). And each time I used the discount and got 30% off. 

Stella Barra Pizzeria: One of Lincoln Park’s best restaurants, who knew that DePaul students get 20% off? Get here as soon as you can to enjoy my favorite pizza, the prosciutto and egg with a white cream sauce. Yum! 

Retail  

American Apparel: Get 15% off your purchase at the Belmont location off the Red/Purple/Brown line.

H&M: As if you needed another reason to shop here, your student ID can get you 15% off your purchase.

Topshop: 10% off all year round. Ivy Park here I come. 

On Tour Brewing Company

On Tour
Photo taken by Vanessa Buholzer
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. 
 
On Tour
Photo taken by Vanessa Buholzer
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. 
 
On Tour
Photo taken by Vanessa Buholzer
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 and Instagram. Also, sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website
 
On Tour
Photo taken by Vanessa Buholzer

Prost! 
 

Political Science Watch Party

My four-year plan changed. As most of them do.

Most notably, it turned into a three-year-and-one-quarter plan. But also worth noting, it started in the realm of political science.

I began my journey at DePaul with a strong belief that my calling in life was to be a lawyer. I was going to become Elle Woods (minus all the pink), and ultimately rule the world. However, as I progressed through DePaul, I started to become more interested in public relations and advertising. 

Debate
At the end of my sophomore year at DePaul, I declared my secondary major as public relations and advertising​. The rest is history. 

Although my dreams of being a lawyer have been postponed (who knows, maybe one day I’ll go to law school), I couldn’t be happier that I gained a political science degree. Being a political science major has taught me how to be pragmatic and assess situations from all sides. It has taught me how to break up dense information, conduct research, and has strengthened my writing skills. 

Every single one of my classes was thought provoking and very useful. Despite hoping to pursue a career in public relations once I graduate this Thanksgiving, being a political science major has shaped the way I think, and I know I’m smarter because of it. Plus, it has given me the opportunity to join Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honors society. 

Last year, I had the pleasure of serving the club as Vice President, and was able to create my own initiatives and help out at the new member induction ceremony. It was an awesome way to end my year on the board. 

For the first presidential debate this week, Pi Sigma Alpha and the political science department hosted a watch party for students. It’s awesome to be a part of a community that is so interested in politics. 

Need advice on declaring your major? Let me know. But understand that adding majors or changing them isn’t as dramatic as it seems :)

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail

boats
This weekend I went on a run. TBH, it was quite awful. I’m not a big fan of running. I’ve been a swimmer my whole life, and that’s the only cardio I’ll do (when forced). So why did I feel motivated to torture myself? Because my new views are pretty sick.

chicago flag
During the summer, I moved approximately a mile away from my old apartment to East Lakeview. At first, my plan was to move to Buena Park to find a deal on some cheaper square footage, but I soon realized I couldn’t leave Lakeview. After two years here, I was ready to contractually agree to a third.

So here I am, right across from Belmont Harbor, pounding on the pavement and watching the sailboats go by. In the end, the scenery made every mile worth it (and by every mile, I mean 1.5 of them).

If running isn’t your thing like me, the Lakefront Trail functions as a great bike path as well. Across the street from Belmont Harbor is a convenient Divvy Bike Station if you don’t own a bike of your own.

As the weather starts to get cooler out, running by the lake is the perfect morning workout. And now that I live less than a block away from the lakefront, the excuses are pretty much over for sleeping in.

boats
See you on the trail!

Food for Thought

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. 

Nandos
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)!

Stella Barra
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. 

Dryhop
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. 

Happy eating!

Keep Calm and Senior Year

Ten weeks. That’s it. 

As I begin my fall quarter this year, I also begin my last quarter at DePaul...ever. On the one hand, no more late night trips to the library, finals week, or homework. On the other hand, no more “free” gym membership, L pass, or summer break either. 

I have mixed feelings about the end of my journey at DePaul. I’m excited to enter the real world and use my degree, but I’m sad to leave the routine of school and my campus community. While it’ll be nice to never have to attend a class again, it’s also new territory. The last time I wasn’t in school was a good sixteen years ago, which is crazy.

What is life without school? I’m not sure. I think I’ll have to pick up a new skill like piano ​or a language to fill the void of class and homework. 

St. Vincent Circle
Until then, I’m dedicated to the job search. (Shameless plug: If you know of anyone in need of an aspiring public relations professional, please let me know.) This summer I sharpened up my resume, did some job market research, and finished up an amazing internship with Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. I’m optimistic about finding a job, but let’s see if I feel the same way in five weeks…

My classes this quarter are ideal, but my schedule, not so much. It figures that my worst schedule would occur when I had the earliest registration time. I’m taking two political science classes and my final public relations requirement. A mere 12 credit hours stand between me and graduation. That’s a hurdle I know I can jump.

So here we go! The ten-week stretch. What’s life got in store for me as a DePaul grad? We all will just have to wait and see.


And That's a Wrap!

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!
​​​

Chicago Rock Spot

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!


Lakeview Food Obsessions

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 BarArtisan 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 BarSelf-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.


HutchThis 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.


Go Cubs Go!

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.


The Misanthrope

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.



Let's Go Hawks!

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!


Bogdan the Carwasher

Another quarter, another nerd fest. Earlier this month, I packed up my poster, thumb tacks and blazer, and headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry to attend this year’s Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Bringing together hundreds of college students in the Chicagoland area, participants present their posters and speeches to a group of judges from the Chicago universities. I created a poster based on my honors thesis paper from last quarter because who wouldn’t want to translate 60 pages into a four-foot by three-foot space?

After various rounds of edits, my poster was finally ready to print. I admittedly almost forgot to print the poster, and I blame this on the fact that creating it was just so much effort.

Being the truly resourceful college student that I am, I also scored myself some free thumb tacks from the SAC Pit by volunteering to clean up our campus message boards. Ingenious.

When I got to the conference, I checked in, received a name tag and headed over to the West Pavilion to hear the welcome remarks from the event’s keynote speaker. Much to my surprise, the keynote speaker was renowned scientist Dr. Marius Stan.  While I honestly had no idea who Dr. Stan was, I did recognize him from his role in "Breaking Bad" as Bogdan the carwash owner.

The U-505 Submarine!

While Dr. Stan researches intelligence software to understand and predict the physics and chemistry of materials, he also has made a name for himself in acting. 

While being an extra one day on the set of “Breaking Bad,” the director asked him to say a line for him, and Bogdan the carwasher was born! Back for consecutive seasons, Dr. Stan became an integral part of “Breaking Bad.”

Dr. Stan’s speech was amazing. His double life was fascinating to hear about, and I hope that I am as fortunate to find two careers that I am passionate about, rather than just one.

Compared to the opening remarks, the rest of conference was definitely anti-climactic. Research on research on research, I escaped to explore the rest of the museum and was not disappointed. The coolest part was seeing the U-505 submarine ​from World War II. It was huge and very well preserved.

And with that, the research conference came to a close for me. I dipped out early, but not before getting my free t-shirt. Now that’s how you attend a research conference.​

DePaul Internship Credit

​​​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.​​​

America the Beautiful

​​​​​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.




Losing Wisdom, Gaining Strength

​​​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.

​​

Winter Quarter Wrap-Up

​​​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 is what doing a thesis looks like.

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.  ​​​

Event Planning at 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. ​​​

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company

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. 


The Fashion Outlets of Chicago

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.

My spirit animal Robin Sparkles.

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!


Crock Pot Diaries

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.​

Mixing some of the ingredients

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.

The finished product (minus the biscuits)

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.”


The 50th Annual NCHC Conference

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.

My poster!

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. 



The Art of a Good Deal

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! 


December Intercession

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.

Our COP21 Tumblr blog.
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.)


The Return: Back at It Again

The thought of beginning my eighth quarter at DePaul University fills me with nostalgia, a dash of anxiety, and a whole lot of excitement. With three quarters until I graduate, senioritis looms large on the horizon, but just far enough away to be ignored. So while I wait for the inevitable, I might as well suit up and give another quarter everything I’ve got.

This quarter, my class load is a tad bit unusual. It’s like having eggs benedict for dinner, or eating ice cream in the winter -- while it is refreshingly different, it is different nonetheless. Excuse my food references, as one of my new year’s resolutions is to become a master chef by the end of 2016. I’ll keep you updated on my progress, which I’m assuming will be noticed through a surplus of extravagant and delicious food metaphors sprinkled across my blogs.

I’ve decided to take two night classes, a half-credit Friday morning class at 9:00 a.m., and to complete my senior thesis. This, combined with interning three full days a week, nannying on weekends, and dedicating myself to the culinary arts, is sure to keep me busy and on the verge of insanity, which is perhaps my favorite state of being.

In the next ten weeks, I hope to accomplish a few tasks that will help me to set up the future (fingers crossed) success of the rest of my 2016. I’ll share them with you for accountability and potential inspiration:

  • Complete my senior thesis. While a 50 page research paper seems daunting, I’ve got two professors by my side, an amazing library, two years of research experience, and 70 days...how hard can it be?

  • Apartment hunting 2.0. As my lease expires this August, it’s never too early to start the apartment hunt. While I love the Lakeview area, I’m open to moving somewhere else for more space and a better price. Is this possible? I’ll let you know.

  • Obtain a summer internship. Coveted summer internships go on the market now. Look in Spring and you might just be too late. I suggest you visit our career center for guidance, resume help, and free pens. I know I will!

  • Reconnect with friends. Sometimes it can be hard to balance it all, and this quarter, I won’t let my busy schedule get the best of me. Resigning from the DePaulia has given me my Fridays back, and it is about time that I use Fridays to re-energize and reconnect with the people who matter most.

  • Write and read more. I used to be an avid reader and writer, but now I have reserved my two former obsessions for school and work. But no longer! It’s time to take reading and writing back!

So here are my hopes and dreams for the next ten weeks. I hope the new year brings you good fortune!


Generation Next: #Activism

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. 

Photo courtesy of Politico.
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.

Skydeck Views

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. 

Open House Chicago

The Old Chicago Inn
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​ location. ​

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!

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Money Museum
​​
Me at the Continental Illinois Bank Building
​​
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture


MAP Grants

It is no secret that the cost of higher education is absurd. Luckily, there are many scholarship programs and grants at DePaul that can help students cover the costs. Education is truly an investment and it’s promising to see that our university is dedicated to helping students attend DePaul.

Outside of DePaul, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grants to Illinois students that demonstrate financial need. These grants do not need to be repaid and many DePaul students rely on them to attend our university.


DePaul Computer Screens

Unfortunately, the state of Illinois has not passed an annual budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, meaning that MAP grants are up in the air. 


While this situation is scary for many students who rely on the MAP grant, we as students can have our voices heard. Student Government Association and our school’s president Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider have been encouraging students to contact our state representatives and governor’s office to urge them to fund MAP now. 


If you believe in giving students financial help to attend college, I also encourage you to call.

​• Governor Bruce Rauner’s office may be reached by calling: (312) 814-2121 or (217) 782-0244. You may also leave a comment on his website here​.

• Using your zip code, you may find your state representative and his or her office phone number h​ere​.

I have already made some calls and plan to continue to do so. Every call counts and it’s important to have your voice heard. 


Spread the word and make a difference! 


A Kid in a Candy Store

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


Dylan's Candy Bar

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


Lolli and Pops

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. ​


Molly’s Cupcakes:

2536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614


Molly's Cupcake
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. 


Losing my Wallet

Last week I lost my wallet. 

All of my school IDs, work IDs, driver’s license, Ventra card, punch cards, Walgreens card, dignity, etc were gone. 

“The incident” happened on a Saturday. With an influx of nice weather in Chicago, my roommate and I decided to go for a cool lakefront walk. Enjoying the last few days of nice weather is a necessity. 

Our lakefront stroll included picturesque skies, sailboats, and sun. Taking in the beauty of the day, I became inspired and naturally, decided to finally create an Instagram account. 

Up until last week, my Instagram game was nonexistent. I didn’t find the platform to be that much different from Facebook and I didn’t understand what all the hype was. Plus, I’ve never thought of myself as much of photographer. Maybe the endless photos I’ve taken with my thumb in the corner of the shot gave me the hint that the photography industry wasn’t for me, but whatever it is, taking photos is not my strong point.

So on Saturday at the lakefront I decided it was time to move into the 21st century and get an Insta account. My roommate and I snapped silly photos to get the perfect first shot to upload. 

​If I was going to make an Instagram, I was going to do it right.

On the 151 Sheridan bus on our way back from our impromptu lakefront photoshoot, I lost my wallet. Maybe I was caught up in the world of Instagram and my head was in the perfectly filtered clouds. Whatever was going on in my mind, I left my wallet on the bus.

When I got home and realized what I had done, I was in pure denial. I would never be so irresponsible as to lose my wallet on a bus. After reality suck in, I had a panic attack. Not one of my proudest moments, but it happened. I spent my weekend miserable and worried sick. 

After harassing the CTA via nervous-panic phone calls (I’m sorry Rhonda from CTA’s North Park Garage), littering Twitter with my despair, and worrying my parents and roommates about my sanity all weekend long, I received what I am calling “the miracle call” on Monday afternoon. 

DePaul Public Safety informed me that some amazing, anonymous angel turned in my wallet to them with everything in it. I was truly speechless when I got the call. Whoever turned in my wallet, I owe you my life and a homemade batch of cookies or something.

I still am at a loss for words for the whole experience. I felt a sense of guilt when I found out my wallet had been found. I had made such a fuss over the loss of my IDs, and it was all for nothing. My wallet was found by some sort of miracle act of kindness.

Looking back on the experience, I have a few take aways. Even if my wallet hadn’t been found, I was going to be okay. I didn’t need the drama that came along with losing some plastic cards and my Wetzel’s Pretzels punch card that were in the end easily replaceable. More importantly, I didn’t need to throw my whole weekend away once losing my wallet. 

Long story short, my Instagram account is up and running (follow me @simplykreykrey) and my wallet and I are never leaving each other’s sides again. Sometimes, instead of panicking, it’s important to put things in perspective and take a step back. 

Even if your Red Mango frozen yogurt frequent member card is gone for good, just remember that it will all be okay with the right attitude, patience, and a sprinkling of luck and kindness. 

FALLing for DePaul

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” --Yogi Berra

As an indecisive person who has trouble simply getting dressed in the morning and choosing between waffles and cereal for breakfast, picking a college was the ultimate stressor. With thousands of choices in thousands of places, it’s insane that high school students are expected to choose their home and possible career path for the next four(ish) years of their lives.

Choosing DePaul for me has been one of the best life decisions I’ve made thus far, but I didn’t fall for DePaul during my first visit. Taking your typical college road trip, my family and I packed up our lives during Spring Break of my junior year and rode on down to the good ol’ South.

Yes, the South. Visiting North Carolina State, University of South Carolina, Clemson, and University of Georgia, I thought that destiny was calling my name where the weather was warm and I could always get a tan.
But I was so wrong.

I spent the summer researching schools and applying to colleges. If you’re at this point of life, best of luck to you. The process is more than daunting. With personal essays and ACT or SAT scores, the second-guessing can be overwhelming.

As the summer sun turned to shorter fall days, the admissions process progressed and I started to hear back from schools. I flipped coins and begged my advisors and teachers to tell me what school I should go to, keeping DePaul in the back of my mind and the Southern schools in the forefront.

I let my senior year progress without thinking about college until about April when the deadline to commit was fast approaching. At this point in my decision-making process, it came down to DePaul and University of South Carolina.

South Carolina was a beautiful campus. The tour I had went on a year ago was still very memorable, the traditions and school spirit at the college were very apparent, and the scholarships I had received topped DePaul by a significant amount.

DePaul was beautiful, but in a different way. The city landscape was unique to every other college I had seen and the lack of football team gave the campus an independent vibe. I liked how close to home I would be in Chicago and how accessible the city was.

I decided to give DePaul one last visit before I made up my mind. I met with one of the Honors Program​ Directors who gave me a personal, inside perspective on the university. She taught me about DePaul’s offerings, culture, and community, and suddenly, I was sold.

I knew in that instant DePaul was where I was meant to be.

The city will always be my home and I can’t imagine being on any other type of campus. I like the independence and the anonymity that Chicago provides.

If you’re stuck choosing a college, I encourage you to get in contact with a staff member at your prospective university. This eye opening experience allows you to ask questions to an expert in a private environment, rather than asking questions awkwardly to a student tour guide in front of other prospective students.

With student visit day coming up, maybe you’ll FALL for DePaul?


Chicago Nanny Diaries

Living in the big city comes with a price … quite literally. While DePaul offers great grants and scholarships to alleviate high tuition costs, in today’s higher education market, it’s hard to come out on top financially. 


As I’ve mentioned before, I truly believe that being a poor college student is a rite of passage on the road to adulthood. But after about the fourth cup of Ramen in four days, I seriously am thinking about retracting that statement. 


Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with many money earning opportunities throughout my years at DePaul. From being an EDGE Program participant to working paid internships, I’ve had the ability to grow professionally, while earning some nice cheddar. 


One job that I am extremely proud of is being a child care provider to various families throughout Chicago. I currently work for a Child Care Agency called K. Grace Childcare, Inc. and couldn’t be happier with the experience that I’ve had here.

Working with my busy schedule, I babysit only when I can find the time to. Sometimes this means I work once a week and other times it means I’ll work three times a week. K. Grace matches you with families on an availability basis, and also if you fit any special needs that the family may require.


I can say with 100 percent confidence that being a child care provider has helped my professional development. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great families throughout the city and am able to adjust to new surroundings and adapt to any situation quite quickly. Whether I am babysitting for a group of young 5-year-olds having a sleepover, dealing with a crying toddler in a public place or cooking for kids with severe food allergies, I am forced to think quickly and act accordingly. 


I have had some great memories with lots of the kids that I babysit, including going to countless parks throughout the city, getting schooled in soccer and also learning how out of shape I am, seeing critically acclaimed films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and knowing far too much about the lyrics to Frozen and the origin of the Minions. 


And of course, the pay is great too. I’m always paid directly after my shift, mainly in cold, hard cash. No wait, no taxes, no problems. 


If you’re looking for a job this quarter and you like kids, exploring parks and different neighborhoods, Disney channel, Minecraft and/or all of the above, consider child care providing and making some serious dough. 


Rita Ora Comes to Chicago

Every Thursday night I hunker down in the basement of University Hall to crank out my two-page section for the DePaulia, our student-run award winning newspaper. The windowless dungeon gives you no sense of time, making two hours feel like ten, and sometimes vice versa.​

However, this Thursday night I was in for a treat. The Arts & Life Editor called me around 8 p.m. to let me know that she had an extra ticket to cover Rita Ora. I stopped everything I was doing and on my way I went to Lincoln Hall.

Working on the DePaulia has its perks, especially if you have the coveted position of Arts & Life.  Our Arts & Life section covers popular culture and artsy topics ranging from new art exhibits to neighborhood events in Chicago.

What makes people especially envy of the position is that the job entails covering concerts and music festivals. This year, our Arts & Life Editor attended Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest…for free! Gaining press access allows select members of our staff to go to the events and cover them for the paper. We live tweet the events, photograph them and review them all on our website depauliaonline.com. I highly suggest you check it out.

So this Thursday when I was informed there was an extra press ticket for the DePaulia, I ran out of the basement and into freedom.

Not prepared for the concert what so ever, I was dressed in jeans and a cropped gray t-shirt. My makeup had melted off my face throughout the day and with no time for fix-ups I looked like a hot mess. My hair was in a messy bun that I tried to unknot but couldn’t and my necklace was missing four beads, which I had found out during my first class of the day but decided to keep the necklace on because I am classy like that.

​Looking around Lincoln Hall at everyone who had bought tickets months ago and had subsequently marked this date down on their calendar with a countdown, I wasn’t surprised to be very “underdressed.” Not that people were dressed to the nines, but people there were definitely dressed to impress.
Before the concert, I actually did not know one thing about Rita, but now I would consider myself a huge fan. She is immensely talented and is from London, so even when she was talking I was impressed. Her backup crew was small but also had some serious vocals.

​Despite arriving an hour late due to her flight being delayed, she was extremely apologetic and even tweeted updates to her followers where she was once she landed at O’Hare. Her set list was small given that she doesn’t have a ton of produced songs available, but she did perform three new songs that will be coming out this year.
Extremely interactive, Rita even pulled a fan up on stage to dance with her. While I know that this trick can be corny at concerts and oftentimes seems really staged, this instance was extremely genuine. Rita is truly someone who is appreciative of her fans and had various side conversations with them during her concert. I tried, but my back row spot couldn’t quite project my voice far enough.

​Rita’s raw talent isn’t apparent through her featured position on many artists’ tracks in pop music, but after seeing her headline her own show live, that really is a shame. I have no doubt that in a few years Rita will be selling out much larger venues than Lincoln Hall.

Was I star struck when she came on stage? If you know me, you’ll know that the answer was an astounding yes. My fellow editor and I stood in the back row of Lincoln Hall. She had to take notes throughout the concert for the DePaulia so we didn’t want to be body slammed in the middle or front rows.

Our presence at the concert is another story in itself. As the audience double fisted beers and shots, we double fisted a pen and paper. We got many curious stares as we took in the atmosphere and wrote down what she said. We clearly weren’t concert dressed and were 110% sober, unlike the rest of the crowd. We stood out like a chipped nail on a perfectly manicured hand. 

I’ve always been an extremely star struck person. When I am around anyone remotely famous I completely lose it. So when Rita came on stage after her delay, I immediately became her number one fan as I shouted, “I love you Rita!” on a continuous loop. Bringing even more attention to our sad presence at the concert, I eventually stopped.

The concert was a great way to end to a hard first week back at school. Make sure to check out DePaulia online for an official review of the concert. Also, listen to the DePaulia’s Podcast “Culture Shock” on iTunes for our hilarious commentary on the concert and more. ​

A 20-Year-Old Senior Citizen

This year, I’m in limbo.

While it might appear that I’ve got all my ducks in a row – perhaps due to the new back to school watch on my left wrist, signaling that I always know the time – this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth.

To break it down for you, my watch is a “fashion watch.” Don’t fret if you don’t know the terminology because I just made it up to justify the fact that my watch, an object generally used for a utilitarian purpose, doesn’t tell time correctly. I learned this the hard way as I ran to class realizing that being early in fashion watch time meant being late in the time zone known as reality. Discount shopping is always hit or miss. 

Beyond my inability to tell time despite my new (fashion) watch, I have found myself already stumped by two questions presented to me in my classes. No, I wasn’t being asked the quadratic formula or in what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Nor was I asked who wrote “The Great Transformation” or what the scientific method is. The two daunting questions were as follows:

 1.)   What year in school are you?
 2.)   What do you want to do once you graduate? 

Clearly off to a great start in my classes, I “errr”ed and “umm”ed my way through my responses with the grace only a 20 year old millennial with a fashion watch that falsifies time can exhibit.

I acquiesce when professors make you introduce yourself to the class. It’s awkward as everyone digs around in the back of their minds for something remotely interesting about themselves. When put on the spot like that, I usually lie. Not on purpose, of course. But before I know it, my nonexistent skydiving experience leaves my mouth like hot lava spewing out of a volcano; unstoppable, unforgivable and dangerous.

As college credit from high school has saved me money, which I am very thankful for, I question if I am appreciative of the time it’s saving me. I’m a third year student at DePaul, but am set to graduate after next fall quarter (or possibly sooner). An odd time to enter the workforce and an odd situation to explain to a classroom full of people whom I’ve just met; hence, my confusion at the question, “What year in school are you?” As I debated being a junior or senior out loud to all of my peers and professor, I realized that I so don’t have it all together.

And then comes the second question, aka THE question that parents, coworkers, aunts, uncles and everyone else under the sun loves to ask young college students. I envy the people who explain detail for detail what they will do with the rest of their lives with a sense of precision and confidence that is reserved for talk show hosts like Oprah and Katie Couric.

Unfortunately, for me, my class was full of Oprahs and included a sprinkling of Courics. As my classmates described their aspirations to become lawyers and campaign organizers, policy makers and non-profit leaders, my fashion watch and I didn’t stand a chance. So we searched around for something exciting that might have been a stretch of the truth.

Instead, under the immense pressure of the question and the embarrassment of the preceding one, we said, “I’m just taking it day by day really. Trying to survive.” As I described my future as if I had a terminal illness, my professor gave me a half smile, pitying me and saying, “It’s okay. You’ll figure it out.” It was clear that school was back in session.

So here I am, buckling up for the long journey ahead and knowing that each step forward, or backward, at least means I’m moving.

Excited for the year ahead yet? I know I am. Just don’t ask me my year in school or what my future career is. Especially, don’t ask me the time.


Another Year for the Books

Another year for the books! It flew by once again. As many of my senior friends prepare for graduation, it’s surreal to think that this time of their life is over. Off they go to seek real world jobs with real world people…yikes. That sounds equally exciting and daunting.​

But for those of us who have only made a small dent in our collegiate careers, this upcoming summer will be filled with internships and free time. While I definitely will be on Netflix and getting my tan on — not at the same time however — I plan to spend my summer with some good books by my side.

Chicago has a plethora of bookstores to peruse and spend all your money at. From Myopic ​in Wicker Park to Bookworks ​in Lakeview, there are endless choices.

If you’ve never been to independent bookstores such as these, they are quite unconventional compared to your average Barnes and Noble​. Highly randomized, somewhat unorganized, and most likely used, the selection of books isn’t meant to appeal to those who are only looking for new releases. You’ll find more hidden treasure titles and authors than any mainstream content.

I think it’s important to support independent bookstores. In an age where Amazon rules all, it’s nice to be able to talk with a bookseller and get a personal recommendation, or simply just browse shelves of physical books. 

Hopefully, this summer, your reading list will be comprised of random finds from adventures at independent bookstores. See the graphic, courtesy of the DePaulia​, to find out where my favorite independent bookstores are.

Until next year! 


Ethiopian Food for the Win

After eating, sleeping, and breathing tacos for a few months, I thought it was time to venture out into the world and find a new food group to indulge in. Since moving to Chicago, I’ve heard the buzz about Ethiopian food, but have always stuck to what I’ve known when it comes to food (hence the tacos on tacos diet that I have). But last weekend I was feeling extra adventurous— perhaps due to the warm weather or maybe due to the fact that I’m in denial that I’m still in school.

So off I went with my roommate to Loyola ​territory to seek out an Ethiopian restaurant called Ras Dashen​. The restaurant is named after the tallest mountain in Ethiopia​, which Zenash Beyene, the chef and owner, used to live by back in her Ethiopian days. Ras Dashen has won many titles and awards by Zagat and Check Please, and is recommended by the Michelin guide.

If you don’t know much about Ethiopian food, one thing to note is that it’s spicy. Like burn-your-mouth-should-I-go-to-the-ER spicy. But then again that’s coming from me who once cried while eating the mild wings at Buffalo Wild Wings​ and then begged my waiter for milk, water and ice cubes because I thought my tongue was going to fall off. For a better point of reference, my roommate who can eat the mild wings without a problem and frequently has spicy salsa verde as a midnight snack, said that the food was spicy but in a flavorful, delicious way and was certainly not enough to deter him from eating it.

If you’re a wimp like me though, don’t worry! Ras Dashen​ had spicy options and regular items so everyone can be accommodated. Another thing to note about Ethiopian foods is that there are no utensils. You eat with your hands. Not exactly an ideal first date type of situation I would say. By the time I finished dinner I had basically put my hands all over the food…sorry roomie.

As the Ras Dashen menu explains, “A traditional Ethiopian meal is served on a round of injera ​and shared by everyone at the table. Each entree comes with a roll of injera to be used as your eating utensil. Injera is a sour, spongy bread made with teff, the indigenous Ethiopian grain.” Eating became an activity in itself. Trying to scoop up the food in the bread was not easy. We spied on other tables with seasoned professionals to help us get the technique down.

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at Ras Dashen and will definitely be going back. Ethiopian food isn’t just delicious, but it’s fun. If you like spice order anything on the menu, but if you’re like me, ask the waiter for some more mild options.

The DePaulia: Best Non-Daily Newspaper in the State

I secretly live in the basement of University Hall​. The office of DePaul’s student-run newspaper, The DePaulia​, is located in this lovely dungeon of a space and my job as the Opinions Editor means I spend many a night cooped up inside of here.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working for The DePaulia for a multitude of reasons. While I’m not a journalism major, I find the art of crafting news to be quite fascinating. I enjoy being informed about the latest developments at DePaul, and appreciate having an outlet that allows me to be critical of DePaul's administration.

I’ve had a lot of cool opportunities to cover DePaul events and get involved in the world of journalism this year. My job as Opinions Editor entails assigning stories every week to my writers, editing these stories, and then using Adobe InDesign to format my two-page section layout. There was definitely a learning curve at the beginning and deadlines were tough to make, but with each issue I learn something new and it gets easier and easier to do my job.

I’ve covered a variety of topics this year, not only for my section but also for News, Focus, and Nation & World. One of my longer opinion pieces about sexual assault awareness on campus won First Place Non-Sports Column at a Non-Daily Newspaper by the Illinois College Press Association​ — a title I am very proud of and grateful to have earned.

​I’ve also written about hackers, bookstores, Valentine’s Day​, debates, climate change, and tons of other topics. Writing is something that I am very passionate about, but it doesn’t always come easy to me. There have been plenty of times where I’ve stared at a blank screen for what seems like days on end. But suddenly, an idea comes to mind and I just have to run with it.

I have made some of my best friends at the DePaulia and learn something from them every day. We all bring something unique to the table and our collaborations over the past year have earned The DePaulia Best Non-Daily Newspaper in the state by the Illinois College Press Association. 
 
A few Friday's ago, The DePaulia hosted debates for the Student Government Association (SGA) candidates. We used the #dpelect to send receive any questions that students had for the candidates. We livestreamed the debates on our website at www.depauliaonline.com​.

I encourage everyone to not only read The DePaulia to find out what the latest and greatest news is around campus, but to also become involved in creating news. It’s easy to join and all of our editors will work with writers to develop their journalism skills. It doesn’t hurt to have a few news clips for your resume as well.

I hope you tuned in last Thursday night and Friday to watch the DePaulia’s SGA Debates! Whether you are a potential or current student, SGA and its members are important for the functioning of our student organizations and the budgets that are allocated to them. Choosing candidates wisely can only work to your benefit in the future.

Maggie Daley Park

Despite being 20 years old, I am still a huge fan of parks. Maybe I’ve been babysitting too much, but I highly enjoy the springtime atmosphere of places with slides, swings, and seesaws.

In Chicago, there is one park to end all parks — the 20-acre beauty known as Maggie Daley Park​. Located right next to Millennium Park​, the Art Institute​, and Lake Michigan​, this park cost an estimated $60 million to build and is complete with rock climbing walls, intense playground equipment, open lawn space, and benches. Additionally, around 1000 new trees were planted in the park to make up for the 900 trees that were displaced.

While some of the park is still under construction, what currently stands is quite impressive. The sprawling park even had suggested ages for parents to find out which layout and equipment would be best for their child. For example, there were multiple swing sets, but the more hands on swing sets had a suggested age of 3-5 while another swing set had a suggested age of 5-12. The same type of signs served as recommendations for slides and other equipment, which is something I’ve never seen before at a park.

Maggie Daley Park is extremely family friendly and I think I even saw a few parents having more fun than their own children. Not going to lie, I went down the slide and it was probably the highlight of my week. But don’t worry, I didn’t push any 5 year olds out of the way. I patiently waited my turn.

When I visited Maggie Daley Park, I was leaving the Art Institute, exiting through the Modern Wing entrance, and could see the park in the distance. I dragged my roommate along to come check it out with me. With the weather a cool but humid 70 degrees, it was a beautiful day to be introduced to the new park.

 Even if you no longer classify yourself as a child, you should definitely check out Maggie Daley Park and reminisce on the days when parks were the reason for your existence. And if you’re like me, you might even go down a slide…or two. 



Chi-Town is Draft Town

​​​This past weekend I was lucky enough to live in the right city at the right time, as per usual. The 2015 NFL Draft​ left New York this year for the Windy City, and the streets of Chicago were revamped into what was dubbed Draft Town.

​​While I can’t exactly call myself a football fan, I went partly so my dad could live vicariously through me and experience the draft.

Raised as a Chicago Bears​ fan, I donned my Chicago Coach Ditka​ shirt and went to go check it out.

Having no expectations for Draft Town, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I went on Saturday, which was the last day of the draft. While people wearing various teams’ jerseys beside me hooted and hollered, I observed from afar, not having a clue as to what was going on. Despite not understanding anything around me, the atmosphere was upbeat and the weather outside was flawless. I found myself enjoying the how happy the crowd was.

​Sports fans galore were in their element as they walked from apparel tent to beer tent to Hall of Fame tribute. ESPN had its own station and were live broadcasting straight from the event. Select players were signing autographs and a music concert was scheduled to end the event later that night.

Grant Park was the perfect location for Draft Town. It was amazing to see what the NFL Draft did with the space they had. The sprawling arrangement included all sorts of different tents and even participatory games for visitors to play. Draft Town was extremely family friendly, and it was entertaining to see all the kids walk around in amazement, many of them die hard football fans.

 

At times I felt like I was taking up space that the true football fans of the world could have used. Not that it was overly crowded or packed, but I felt guilty that many people who had the ability to look at the Hall of Fame display and identify all the players weren’t there and I was. But then I would remind myself that I was there for my dad and that seemed to justify my presence at the NFL Draft.

While I’m not completely sport inept, when it comes to football, I’m pretty clueless. It’s ironic because my parents are huge football fans and we used to spend every Sunday with half the neighborhood at my house watching the game. You would think I would’ve at least retained something…

I did observe something quite spectacular at Draft Town however. The casual, subtle nod given to anyone that was representing the same team as you was exchanged over and over again between strangers. In order to blend in with my fellow football fans, I decided to give “the nod” the ol’ college try. As I saw a man passing by with a Bears jersey on approaching my general area, I cocked my head back and pulled it forward ever so subtly. At this point, my sunglasses on my head fell off and I shot to the ground trying to save them because they’re my favorite pair. Well I didn’t get a chance to see if he exchanged my nod, I did save my sunglasses. If that doesn’t sum up my feelings towards football, I don’t know what does. 


What To Do This Summer

As midterms wind down, I can’t wait for the summer to finally be here. As this will be my first summer in Chicago, the possibilities seem quite endless for me during the next upcoming months.


This summer will also be my first summer working an “adult job.” Not to put the lifeguard profession down or anything — I have mad respect for anyone who is willing to save lives — but my new internship makes me feel as if I am going places in life. 


Starting in June, I will be a copywriter creative intern at Potbelly Sandwich Works.​ I am very excited to apply the skills I’ve learned at DePaul to an internship in which I will be dealing with real world issues. 


But on top of working a full time job, I’m in the process of compiling a bit of a “Summer To Do List” full of things I plan on learning this summer. Every summer I convince myself that I will dedicate the threeish months I have off to learning how to do new things or becoming an expert at something. And every summer I commit to about three or four… about one about half of a goal. 


However, this summer will be different! I can already feel it! 

Here’s my list and goals for summer 2015:

• WordPress. I’ve always wanted to start my own blog, and with websites like WordPress​, this is more than a possibility. Luckily, DePaul students have free, unlimited access to Lynda.com, a website that has an online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. I plan to fully utilize Lynda.com over the summer in my WordPress learning journey.

• Knitting. This is on my list every summer. Knitting ​just doesn’t sound as fun in the summer months as it does in the winter, but I need three months to practice, practice, practice so I won’t be knitting scarves with holes in them come January.

• LinkedIn etiquette. I recently have been on LinkedIn ​a lot more lately. Perhaps, my frantic search for a summer internship fueled my fire to update my profile. However, I plan to keep updating it and expanding my network. The verdict is mixed for me as to whether LinkedIn is necessary or not, however I plan to play around with this social networking site more this summer.

• Calligraphy. Maybe it’s my constant perusing on Pinterest, but I am totally convinced that calligraphy ​is one of the most beautiful forms of art. I would love to learn how to do this kind of lettering this summer.

• Cooking. I feel like learning how to cook more than pasta is necessary at this point ... this “learning” goal is more of a quality of life thing more than anything else. 

• Tan. This isn't really a learning goal. I just really need to work on my tan. Pale is so not my color. Don't forget to use sunscreen though : )

• Astronomy​. Mostly for when I get lost. But also because the movie Interstellar inspired me to become more knowledgeable about space, the stars, and the galaxy in preparation for when we must find a new planet.

What are you up to this summer? While I certainly am all about some high quality goal setting, sometimes just relaxing and enjoying life is the best thing to accomplish during break. 


Come One, Come All: The Honors Ball 2015

Springtime at DePaul alludes itself to many picturesque images of flowers, chirping birds, and kids running around at the surprising multitude of public parks tucked in between neighborhoods scattered throughout
the city. And, of course there is the not-so-picturesque sense of spring fever that makes it more challenging than usual to hit the books.

But for me, springtime also means the Honors Ball.

The Honors Ball is a formal event that Honors Student Government hosts every year during spring quarter. While our social committee heads up the planning of the events, all board members help with its execution.

Every year the dance is held in the charming location of Cortelyou Commons​. This special space was originally built in 1929 and remodeled in 2006. Some people on campus equate it to a medieval castle, and I would have to agree. With two upper side balconies, chandeliers, and our former university presidents on the walls (which can get creepy at times because they all are just kind of staring at you), this “party” space is definitely unique and memorable.

Events are constantly happening in Cortelyou Commons. However, I feel like the springtime contains the most notable events to occur in the space: the College Democrats of Illinois Convention, the amateur drag show, various weddings and receptions — is it just me, or is springtime party time at DePaul?​

I’m looking forward to revisiting Cortelyou Commons in the future, and of course, I’m planning on going to some neighborhood parks this quarter because who doesn’t love a good ride down the slide?​


Why I Chose DePaul

Choosing a college is arguably the hardest decision a young person ever has to make. ​How can you choose a home based on an hour visit, a subpar student tour guide, and thousands of brochures screaming at you that [insert college here] could be your new home?

It’s definitely quite close to impossible.

I decided I wanted to go to DePaul a few days before the decision date, so I’m no stranger to the big decision.

Luckily for me, DePaul was the perfect fit. I love city life and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. I’m close to home, but at the same time, far enough away to establish a name for myself from the ground up. This is exactly what I wanted.

Last weekend I spoke as a panelist at DePaul’s Honors​ Reception, an event for admitted Honors students, and I was reminded why I chose DePaul in the first place.

I chose DePaul because I wanted an adventure. The sprawling cornfields of the Midwest and the sweltering heat of the south didn’t do the trick for me. I felt stagnant — I couldn’t see myself exploring the location and in the process, finding myself. College is a time to grow, and while academics are important, environment is equally so.

The deciding factor came down to a scheduled visit with a potential advisor. Being able to ask questions about DePaul and student life in a personal, one-on-one setting helped me feel that faculty was approachable. And the truth is at DePaul they are more than approachable. I consider some of my advisors and professors my friends.

Last week I found myself sitting next to my political science professor at a Mexican restaurant eating chips and salsa and chatting about bubble baths— if that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.

I encourage you to contact a DePaul student or advisor if you are curious as to what student life and academics look like beyond a brief tour. This helped me choose the right college, and I can say that the advisor I initially met during one of my visits to DePaul is someone that I am very close with now.

I always thought DePaul’s phrase, “The city is your campus,” was cheesy and simply a public relations ploy, but being a second-year student at DePaul, I can say that I live by that mantra. The city truly is my campus. I learn something every day from walking the streets of Chicago, and exploring the different neighborhoods and cultural environments. 

Additionally, the opportunities this city has are endless – I’ve seen Broadway shows, went to some really intimate concert venues, had access to the mayoral candidates election parties, seen drag shows, been to famous restaurants, walk Michigan Avenue​ and State Street on a daily basis, been to Chicago sports games, and I currently live right next to Wrigley Field​.

Beyond that, I’ve had the opportunity to become an editor at our student newspaper, write this blog, nailed some pretty sweet internships, started a blog, volunteered with CPS ​students, helped start a Super PAC, became a research assistant, and so much more.

I think it’s safe to say that not everyone has been as privileged as I have in their college experiences.

Wherever you’re at in the decision making process, I wish you the best of luck and know that at the end of the day college isn’t always about where you go, but about what you do once you’re there.​ ​


Queer Daily News

One of the best parts of my experience at DePaul has been having the opportunity to meet some very passionate individuals who are dedicated to creating change in our world. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by people who are able to step outside of themselves to address issues that are relevant to others.

I previously blogged about my efforts with the Student Debt Reform Super PAC and the great opportunity for collaboration with one of my previous professors and fellow classmates that it presents, and the current project I’m working on is no different. My friend Sam has started his own blog called Queer Daily. Queer Daily is dedicated to being a space for members of the LGBTQA community to share their ideas, opinions and stories.

The blog was started in late January of this year and has already generated about 20,000 views in the first three months. The blog features poems, comics, personal stories and opinions pertaining to LGBTQA related issues from writers across the country.

This quarter, I am acting as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of this grassroots writing effort in order to bring awareness to the issues of the LGBTQA community. Sam and I are currently trying to gain more writers as well as generate more views for Queer Daily.

Queer Daily publishes five stories per week on Mondays thru Fridays. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from readers of the blog as well. So far I have written four times for Queer Daily, and it’s really rewarding to know that my blog posts are being read and are hopefully making a difference for members of the LGBTQA community.

With the recent controversy surrounding the state of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its ability to potentially allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers, it is clear that the LGBTQA community is a force to be reckon with.

Since grassroots efforts were largely behind causing change to the law, perhaps the LGBTQA community is stronger today than it has ever been before.


If you’re interested in writing for Queer Daily, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Sam or I to join our writers’ list. We work with our writers to improve their writing techniques, and writing for this positive blog is a really rewarding experience. I also used some of my posts as a writing sample for an internship I am applying for during the summer. Being able to write down that I am a Co-Editor-in-Chief of a successful startup blog is a great thing to be able to put on my resume.

Sam can be reached at sschwindt@queerdailynews.com, and please check out our blog at queerdailynews.com​.



Spring Quarter 2015 Has Finally Sprung

One week into the quarter and we’ve already experienced everything from sunshine and 60 degree weather to rainy, cold madness. Chicago has never been known for its consistent weather…

But I do see some buds on plants and trees and couldn’t be more excited for spring.

One week into the quarter and I can tell that I won’t have any trouble keeping busy. I’ve already had reading and writing assignments in every class, and I did shed a tear when I realized the total dollar amount of my textbooks. That’s never a good sign. But regardless of the future stresses that this quarter will inevitably hold, the weather taking a turn for the best will surely nurse my worries away.


Last weekend before classes started, I took a trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory ​to see some tropical palms and ancient ferns. I forgot how relaxing and inviting this space can be. If you’re ever cold in the winter, or at all for that matter, make sure to make a stop to the LP Conservatory. It’s about 1000 degrees in there.


The LP Conservatory must mimic the environment of which their plants are originally from. This means heat, damp soil, and lots of light, which is one of my ideal environments. I must have been a fern in another life. 


Something I like to do at the LP Conservatory besides admire the beautiful foliage is to stare at the fish and turtles in the various ponds. Koi fish fill one of the ponds, and if you’ve never seen a koi fish before they are bigger than you would expect. They can grow to be 2-3 feet long and weigh up to 35 pounds. That’s probably bigger than your average Chihuahua​​. When they are well cared for, their life expectancy can be about 50-70 years long. Basically, koi fish are filled with lots of wisdom so you if you have any problems in life, I suggest talking to one of them. They’re great listeners.​


I would highly recommend a visit to the LP Conservatory if you ever feel like going on a fun, free, fast topical vacation to a faraway land that is actually located right in the heart of Lincoln Park. 


On another note, I hope to have many interesting things and events to share with you all this quarter. 


My life is getting more and more hectic, and subsequently tragic and/or laughable, so get ready to rumble this quarter for the journey of a lifetime...well maybe not a lifetime, but anything else just didn’t sound as exciting. 


3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to DePaul

In the midst of finals, it’s weird to think that this is my fifth quarter at DePaul. While studying at DePaul has certainly taught me a lot, there are still some things I wish I had known my freshman year.

1.) The DePaul Meal Plan: I really wish I had known more about the meal plan​ before starting at DePaul. While all freshman pretty much get this plan, it’s important that you budget your quarterly funds accordingly. While I ended up having a surplus of funds at the end of the year (funds don’t carry on from year to year,) some of my friends ended up having a shortage. I enjoyed my surplus of funds as I got to bulk buy some Starbucks Frappuccino bottles at the end of the quarter. I think I ended up getting slightly addicted because I drank one bottle every day for about a month...It was hard to cope when I ran out of them. DePaul’s meal plan is unique compared to other schools because there is no point system or buffet style option. Everything is accorded its own dollar value. This means that if you want to buy a sub and cup of soup and it says this will cost $6.80, then it actually costs $6.80.

My fellow floormates and I outside of Seton Hall our first week at DePaul

2.) The Quarter System and the Long Winter Break: While the quarter system​ was at first hard to adjust to, as someone who came from semesters, I wouldn’t choose anything else. I like having three quarters for a multitude of reasons: it allows you to take more classes and professors, finals are easier because they only cover 10 weeks of content versus a standard 15 for semesters, and you get to enjoy the summer months a little bit longer than everyone else. While other schools get out in May when it’s too cold to enjoy the summer sun, DePaul gets out in June and doesn’t resume until the first week of September. However, the one thing that can be rough about the quarter system is the month and a half long break during the end of November and all of December. It might seem nice that you get a month and a half off from school, but if you live in the dorms your freshman year, they close for winter break and it’s mandatory that you move out for this period. I wish I had prepared for this break, because like many of my friends at DePaul, I was stuck back in the suburbs with nothing to do. My sister was at school, my parents were at work, and my DePaul friends were too scattered to hang out. I wish I had looked for a job or something to make some extra cash. However, this year’s break was a lot better! I stayed in my apartment and worked at my internship for a few weeks before going back to the suburbs to celebrate the holidays. 


3.) Free Classes at the Ray: One of the reasons I love going to DePaul is because we have awesome free classes​ at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center. While I admit I haven’t been working on my fitness this quarter (to quote philosopher Fergie), last year when I was right on campus I took advantage of many free classes. They range from yoga to cycling to strength training​. While some are easy and fun, others can get quite hard. I typically went to Wednesday morning cycling and Friday morning strength and conditioning. The Ray is really good about varying their fitness classes quarter to quarter, so if you can’t make a specific class one quarter, it will probably be offered at a different time the next quarter. Working out is a great stress reliever and it’s nice to know DePaul has people ready to yell at you to move. I didn’t discover these classes until a few weeks after my start at DePaul, so I wish I had known much sooner. I’ll miss these classes once I 

graduate! 
Shout out to the Honors Student Government ladies for supporting Blue Demon Week and wearing blue!

​​So there you have it! DePaul has a lot to offer, so if you’re coming here next year I encourage you to explore the city and our campus as much as you can before classes start picking up. What are you most looking forward to at DePaul? 


Whole Foods: The Grand Grand Opening

I know I recently blogged about the anticipation of the DePaul Whole Foods​ opening on the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton, but I believe that the grand opening morning warrants its own blog post, since the opening was exactly that – grand.​

I am in love with a grocery store. This Whole Foods is purely amazing. It knocked my socks off. Although I can’t afford a sole pack of gum or a singular apple from this organic, expensive and totally delicious store, I highly enjoyed checking it out. 


Let me give you the rundown. Whole Foods opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday the 25th. It was a chilly morning; one of those mornings where it’s particularly hard to get out of your nice, warm bed and start your day. However, I felt I had to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep to attend the hottest event of the month (just kidding, but not really) the much anticipated opening of Whole Foods. I woke up my roommate at an ungodly hour, forcing him to come with me, and off we went! 



Additionally, Whole Foods was giving away gift cards ranging from $5-$50 to the first 500 people to enter the store, with one big gift card with a $500 value. Well that was enough to get me out of bed, and just about the whole DePaul and Lincoln Park community as well. When we got to the store, there was a line crawling down North Sheffield that looked pretty discouraging in terms of obtaining a gift card. With people already packed into the store, Whole Foods was only letting in certain numbers of people at a time. Talk about a VIP event.


My roommate and I got in line with all the other eager customers and waited patiently. Whole Foods, being the amazing innovators that they are, even had heating lamps lining the sidewalk so that the people in line wouldn’t freeze to death.



The wait was worth it. As my roommate and I finally entered through the doors of Whole Foods, we were greeted with free samples of coffee and of course the coveted gift cards. Despite winning the lowest amount possible ($5), I couldn't’ have been happier. My lucky roommate won $25, but the way I see it, I basically won $30 because he wouldn't have come without me forcing him to, hence both the gift cards are mine now. Right?


The produce section of Whole Foods was completely mesmerizing. Who color coordinates their vegetables like that? Purely amazing. 


The grab and go items also didn’t disappoint. With fresh soup, sandwiches, salads, pasta salads and a pizza station along the back wall, everything was mouthwatering.


I talked so much about this store to people on Wednesday that my friends kept asking me if I worked there, or if I was some sort of student ambassador. Alas, I am merely an admirer of the grocery store, and they haven’t hired me as a celebrity endorser...yet. 


Whole Foods, if you need a student ambassador to promote and brag about the quality of your products and encourage others to venture into your stores with all its color-coded glory, you can pay me in organic food.



The 3rd Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel

After a month of incessant e-mailing, scheduling on scheduling, and a mini social media campaign, the Third Annual Honors Student Government Alumni Panel was a go. 

The planning of this event had literally consumed my life for a good month, however, the success of the event was totally rewarding. 

​With the help of my fellow Academic Committee Co-Chair, the Honors Program staff, and the Alumni Office, I was able to put together a nice gathering of Honors students, former Honors students, meatballs, and cheesecake bites. Yes, of course there was free food. We scheduled DePaul catering which meant bruschetta, coffee, and lemon ice water. If that wasn't reason enough to come to the event, then I don’t know what was.


We had a diverse panel of four alumni come to share their knowledge of the job market and their respective industries with Honors students. This event was extremely helpful in gaining some affirmation that recent DePaul grads are doing some pretty cool things. For example, one of our panelists was the founder of his own startup company, while another was adjunct faculty in DePaul’s CDM College. All of the panelists brought great insight and were able to shed light on how the Honors program helped them prepare for their current jobs. 

They all recommended seeking out internships early on during your college career. This is important for gaining experience, and even if you hate your internship, it gives you information about what you don’t want to do. In the world of endless opportunities, every chance you can get to narrow your possibilities is helpful.


DePaul makes our alumni network super accessible to reach out to for advice. Through our College and Career Center’s ASK program (short for Alumni Sharing Knowledge), it’s possible to find a mentor to help guide you through your potential job field. They also can you help to prepare you for job interviews and look over your resume. The ASK program is a great networking source because you automatically have something in common: Once a Blue Demon, always a Blue Demon. 


Our event took place directly after our general body meeting for Honors Student Government and went as follows:

  1. 4:30-5:00 Set up and greet alumni
  2. 5:00-5:15 Head shots
  3. 5:15-6:15 Alumni Panel
  4. 6:15-6:30 Raffle and closing announcements

Overall, all the hard work paid off! The event went very smoothly, the alumni and students had fun, and there were those cheesecake bites...I had so many I lost track. It’s nice to know the DePaul community doesn’t end when you graduate. Through ASK and Alumni Panels, the fun is just beginning. 


Whole Foods is Coming to DePaul

On Feb. 25 Whole Foods will open its doors to the Lincoln Park and DePaul community for the first time ever! Located on the corner of Fullerton Ave. and North Sheffield Ave., this is a prime location for shoppers. Directly accessible from the Fullerton Red/Brown/Purple lines, I’m sure that people from all over Lincoln Park and Lakeview will be shopping at this new store.

Although I probably will never purchase anything from this Whole Foods because I am a poor college student that shops at Aldi, I am still excited for the opening. This grocery store space has been vacant and shuttered for a little over a year now. Formerly a Dominick's (RIP Dominick’s grocery stores), it’s been quite a while since the public was allowed in this DePaul building.​ 

The renovations for this Whole Foods have been pretty intense. Located in Centennial Hall​, this building’s past year has been marked with jack hammers, sawdust, and lots of paint cans. The new Whole Foods floor plan has completely revamped the space, even moving the stairs to the second level to a different location.

Despite Whole Foods extremely high prices, this specific location is trying to cater to students and commuters on-the-go. With a walk up coffee window and a salad and sandwich bar, it will be easy for anyone to grab a quick meal between classes or on the way to work.

Currently, there are always tons of people in Whole Foods setting up supplies and objects throughout the day. It’s interesting to see the store slowly come together. Earlier this month I would have never guessed that the space would be ready to open come Feb. 25, but a lot of progress has been made in these last few weeks. 

Whole Foods is now a staple of the DePaul community. If you happen to be on the Lincoln Park campus on Wednesday, stop by and check it out. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I bet there will be some free samples there :)


Pick Me Up Cafe

This quarter I have been eating out more than I probably should. Living off the Belmont Red Line stop makes it hard to walk home without smelling the sweet scent of pizza from Blaze Pizza, bagel sandwiches from Chicago Bagel Authority, gourmet grilled cheeses and tomato soup from Cheesies, fresh falafel from I Dream of Falafel, fish tacos from Big and Little's, lemongrass chicken sandwiches from Banh Mi, gyros from Gryo-mena, -well you get the picture.

I could seriously go on for hours talking about the great places to eat, all within a mile of my apartment. I like to do this thing where I convince myself that going out to eat is a smart decision and totally economical. Case in point, I’ll be walking home from work around 4pm and my night class begins at 6pm, so I only have a limited amount of time to eat (approximately an hour and half). So if I factor in cooking, cleaning my cooking supplies, and of course, finishing up some last minute homework before my night class begins, then an hour and a half isn’t that much time.

However, I can save time by getting something to go at one of the various aforementioned restaurants! Genius, I know. Plus, I just came from work, which means I just made money, which means I can probably afford a meal. In fact, I deserve this meal! I just had a taxing day going to class, then going straight to work, and now I have more class. This meal is totally justified. Yeah, maybe I did just go grocery shopping yesterday where I bought some fast TV dinners and some pasta, but we just won’t talk about those…



That line of thinking only happens to me about 3 times a week, totally not a big deal. Just kidding, I’m really going to try and cut back on eating out for the month of February. It’s a goal of mine, so I’ll try and keep everyone updated on my success, or lack of success.

Regardless, last week I had a great meal at one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago. It happens to be in a very convenient location, and by that, I mean it’s 20 ft. away from my apartment.

Pick Me Up Cafe is a staple of DePaul student life. It has a 50's diner feel and has late hours for when you’re craving a mocha Oreo shake at 3am (that's my favorite flavor). My roommate and I went for a nice brunch the other day. Gluten and vegan friendly, the menu has a little bit of everything. My personal favorite would have to be the falafel wrap with fries. But a close second is an omelette with potatoes on the side.


If you come to DePaul, I’m pretty sure you’ll take a few midnight trips to Pick Me Up Cafe. In fact, it’s a necessity. In general, all the amazing food you can find in this city is enough of a reason to come to DePaul for school. Surrounded by amazing restaurants, your wallet might not thank you, but your stomach and taste buds will for sure.


****Pick Me Up Cafe was even featured in Time Magazine’s Travel Guide: Chicago Edition.



Course Registration Week: Yoga Breathing Necessary

This week was class registration week at DePaul. This means that students all over campus anxiously checked watches and phones for the clock to turn to their designated time and then proceeded to click the classes they wanted as fast as humanly possible, trying to get their perfect schedule. 

A stressful week for many, class registration always occurs around midterms. Yoga breathing and hot tea are definitely necessities during this part of the quarter.


Thus far in my college career I have been extremely lucky in my class registration. I haven’t had to be put on any wait lists or re-do my schedule, which is a huge relief. While this is due in part to being in the Honors Program (we register a few days before the rest of the university), it is also due to being highly prepared for registration day. Here are some expert tips from someone who knows how to get your dream schedule:


As soon as the course cart opens, be sure to start dreaming up potential schedules. Don’t wait till the day before registration to do so, especially if you work. It’s important to have time to work out scheduling conflicts.


Make multiple schedules. If you find out you’re put on the wait list for a class or a class is too full, then it’s important to have other options to register for. DO NOT BANK ON THE WAIT LIST. It’s a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. 


Talk to you advisor. It’s important to make sure that you’re fulfilling all your major requirements, your core requirements, and that your GPA is up to par with your college and scholarships. No one likes to find out that they’re behind in their schedule because they took a class they didn’t need.


On class registration day, WAKE UP! I know plenty of people who have slept through their class registration on accident. My registration time this quarter was 9 a.m. so I set multiple alarms to make sure I registered as soon as 8:59 turned to 9:00.


Make sure to find out which campus your class is on. While room numbers and buildings aren’t available at this time, information regarding which campus the class will take place is. This is imperative to know so you allow yourself time to commute from the Loop to Lincoln Park ​and vice versa. Making a mistake of which campus a class is at can be pretty devastating to your perfect schedule. 


Following my tips can help you get the professors and class times of your dreams. The key to success is being prepared in the game of class registration. If you don’t get your perfect schedule, it’s important to stay calm. Factors outside of your personal control (a class was moved to a different quarter, the professor can no longer teach it, etc) can contribute to extra difficulties in registering for classes. Just remember that as you gain more credits, your registration time becomes earlier and earlier. 


And remember yoga breathing and hot tea. Especially, the yoga breathing. 


DePaul Housing: Residence Halls vs. Apartment Life

For most likely the first time in your life, it’s time to decide where you personally want to live. Daunting? Yes. Exciting? Of course. Expensive? Sadly, yes.

I had no idea where I wanted to room my freshman year at DePaul. It’s hard to know what the dorms actually look like from raw floor plans and some dimensions. Based on a recommendation from my advisor, I ended up living on the Honors Floor in Seton Hall. Living on the Honors Floor was one of the best decisions I made my freshman year. If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program​ and are considering rooming on the floor, I would highly recommend it.

As an honors student, your classes are capped at around 20 students. You will most likely get to know your classmates very well throughout your 10 weeks in class. Because of this, it is really nice to be just around the corner from classmates for homework advice. It’s easy to collaborate on projects and be in the loop about Honors Program events.

If you’re not in the Honors Program, I would still recommend Seton Hall. Seton has the biggest rooms and the biggest closets. Last year, I didn’t have to worry about what shoes to bring or what clothes to pack; I had the luxury of being able to bring my entire closet. 


My walk in closet at Seton Hall was so large, that I would often use the space to talk on the phone. It was a dream come true. I hope that someday in my life when I’m a working professional I will have a closet like I did my freshman year of college. I never thought I’d type that sentence when I was in high school.


Additionally, having high ceilings really opens up the rooms in Seton as well. I could stand up on my lofted bed and still not be able to reach the ceiling to give you an idea of how tall my room was.


If this is your second year at DePaul, I would highly recommend that you go on the apartment search. It can save you a few thousand dollars by not living in the dorms. Grab a few close friends you can see yourself living with, and hit up websites such as Craigslist, Padmapper, and Domu. It’s important to be wary of false advertisements and always make sure to see the space in person before signing any documents or giving money. I found my current apartment via Craigslist. While this may seem super sketchy, if you’re safe and smart, there are definitely some good spaces on Craigslist.

My number one tip for apartment hunters is to respond quickly and act fast. Apartments go really fast in the city, especially around this time of year. Being on top of new postings and listings will only work to your advantage.

Living on your own in an apartment with your name on the lease teaches you a lot about living in the real world. While apartment life has been no means been a perfect experience (i.e. water heater/fireplace leaks, broken washing machines, pipes freezing, and loud neighbors), it’s been completely rewarding. 

Good luck as you search for a place to squat for the next year of your life. Remember it’s not about where you are, but what you make of it!


The Art Institute's Hidden Gem

​This weekend I went to the Art Institute for my usual monthly perusal. As a member at the Art Institute –which I might add has been voted the #1 museum in the world by Trip Advisor –I pay a student membership fee of $50 for the year. This gives me unlimited access to the museum; the ability to bring one guest for free every time I visit; discounts in the gift shop, café, special lectures and valet parking (although I don’t see myself driving to the museum anytime soon); and even free hot chocolate in the winter time in the member lounge. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth the investment. 

My shameless plug for the Art Institute is for a good reason. While I have visited the Art Institute a countless number of times since I gained my membership my freshman year, this past weekend, I discovered the Art Institute’s hidden gem…the PAPERWEIGHT COLLECTION.


Beauty and timelessness aren’t probably the first two words that come to mind when you think of paperweights. But once you visit the Art Institute’s paperweight collection extravaganza, you won’t be able to associate paperweights with any other words. Placed in the basement of this huge museum, you definitely have to actively search for this exhibit, but it’s worth the search!

The paperweights came in all sorts of colors and sizes, which was quite interesting. Most of the paperweights came from France, however there was also an American display of paperweights.

While viewing the display, I also learned some fun facts about paperweights:

  • The first dated American paperweight was produced by the New England Glass Company for the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.
  • The modern invention of the blowtorch and the propane gas furnace allowed individual artists to experiment with paperweight production.
  • American glassworker Charles Kaziun was recognized as the first notable glass studio artist.

Well I’m sure that you’d never thought you would know all that information about paperweights, but they say you learn something new everyday. Another successful trip to the Art Institute for the books! 


Looking for a challenge at DePaul? Apply to the Honors Program

​When applying to DePaul, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the Honors Program. I was used to the extra rigor of honors classes from a high school career dictated by AP tests, so the transition from high school classes to college level honors classes was pretty smooth. If you are considering applying to DePaul, I highly suggest looking into the Honors Program. If you are ready for the challenge of more difficult classes, this is definitely the route for you.​


Honors Student Government Meeting​​

Being in the Honors Program at DePaul was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my college career. Our class sizes are capped at 20 students, we register before other students, we have quarterly student-faculty dinners, and we have our own student government. I like the sense of community that the Honors Program has to offer. At a school with around 20,000 undergrads, being in the Honors Program creates some recognizable faces while walking around campus. 


The Academic Committee Chairs






This year, I am serving as the Academic Committee Co-Chair on the Honors Student Government executive board. My job is to help maintain the relationship between Honors Program faculty/staff and our club members. My fellow co-chair and I are currently working on planning for our annual Alumni Panel, so stay tuned for a post about this in February. ​


Honors Student Government provides honors students with many opportunities to become involved through and with the Honors Program. We have a Service Committee, Social Committee, Academic Committee, Newsletter Committee, an Ambassador Committee, a treasurer, vice president, and a president. Freshman can become involved too by either joining the general body, or running for a position called the honors floor representative, if they live on the Honors Floor (3rd floor of Seton). 

​​Some events that we have recently had has been ice skating, an internship tip information session, a scholarship information session, ambassador lunches, study sessions before finals, and the Service Committee is currently hosting a canned food drive. Each year we have a spring quarter dance which is always fun as well. It’s easy to become involved in any aspect of Honors Student Government and meet new people. I’ve posted a few of our event posters throughout the blog, but you can always check to see what we’re up to and what we’ve been doing at: https://dphsg​.wordpress.com/​​


While I will say that the honors curriculum can at times be very challenging (flashback to last quarter when I wrote a 25 page research paper double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and I almost broke my brain), I think that my college experience has been really enriching because of it. 




We do have a lot more reading and lengthy writing assignments for our core classes, but the academic community that I am a part of makes it all worth it. I have formed many close relations with many of my honors professors and classmates, which has played a huge part in the positivity of my college experience thus far.


For those starting to make those tough college decisions, good luck! Wherever you end up, college is truly what you make it. 




Student Debt Reform Super PAC

Two weeks of the quarter down already! Of course, I’m already as busy as ever. So typical.

This quarter, I am working on a really exciting project with some students at DePaul that I am extremely pumped about. 

My friend, Colin Mackintosh, is the founder and president of his own Super PAC, which is quite amazing. I feel very lucky to be a member of this political organization.

The Super PAC is called the Student Debt Reform PAC and works to fight for the right of current and former students to have the ability to refinance their federal student loans. This issue is such an important one for anyone pursuing a higher education. Trying to tackle the issue with my fellow students is a really refreshing project. To give you a quick snapshot of the current tuition situation in America, take a look at these facts I found while doing a quick Google search:

  • Student loans have passed credit cards and auto loans to become the second biggest source of personal debt in the U.S., trailing only mortgages
  • Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, a number that has tripled in the last decade
  • The average Class of 2014 graduate with student loan debt has to pay back some $33,000. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago
  • Only 41 percent of students graduate in four years. 
Quite honestly, these statistics are quite unsettling. People shouldn’t be punished for wanting to pursue a higher education and make a better future for themselves. With the creation of a Super PAC focused on spreading awareness about student debt reform, it should be comforting that there is an effort in the political realm trying to make a difference. 

One of the PAC’s goals is to stay as bipartisan as possible by focusing more on alerting and education people on the importance of the issue of student debt, rather than focusing on promoting individual candidates. I think that student debt reform is truly a bipartisan issue. Unfortunately, everyone can relate to the astronomical amount of debt that our country’s undergraduate and graduate students face.​

Check out the Student Debt Reform Super PAC’s website at www.studentdebtreform.com


On the website, individuals can donate to the PAC using credit or debit cards, PayPal, or by sending a check that includes the required information listed on the website. Individuals can even donate using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin. Pretty tech savvy, I must say.


Also on the website, people can buy debt reform stickers and use them to spread the word! All of the proceeds go to the Student Debt Reform PAC.


 

It’s cool to apply many of the concepts I have been learning in my classes to a real world project. Being a political science and public relations and advertising double major, I have found my education thus far to be extremely useful.


Whether you’re looking at colleges now, are a current college student, or are still paying off student loans, I hope that you consider student debt reform to be a possibility. Spread the word about the Student Debt Reform PAC!



Back in the Windy City

After six weeks off, it is quite surreal to be back in the Windy City. As I got ready for the first day of classes and put on 3 layers of clothes, my long winter coat that stretches to my toes, my gloves, scarf and hat, I honestly wasn’t too pleased to be going outside. I’m hoping and praying that this winter won’t be as harsh as this first week back was. 

In other great news, I started off the quarter on a great note last Sunday. My friends from the suburbs came to Chicago to visit me before classes started, and it was fun to show them around the city. We spent most of our day eating and shopping, so I would say the outing was a success! 

After leading a group of girls around who aren’t used to the city life, I have compiled a list of things that everyone should know when traveling in Chicago: 


1. The art of the power walk: Since we were on a strict schedule due to limited Metra train times back to Naperville, we all engaged in the art of power walking. Power walking is a must in the city. For anyone in Chicago, I would suggest sturdy, comfortable walking shoes that can allow you to walk for miles, run when you see the L approaching, and of course, shoes that are fashionable because you never know who you’ll run into.


2. Use your own judgment with walk signs: not that I am encouraging anyone to break the law, but if you wait for the walk signs, you will seriously never get anywhere in life. In some situations, it is possible to look both ways and cross. Disclaimer: DO NOT ABIDE BY THIS TIP DURING RUSH HOUR. But all the other hours are totally up for grabs. While I admit I have made a few mistakes and crossed a little bit too liberally, resulting in a mad dash across the street, for the most part, I’ve effortlessly made it across when the signs say “Don’t Walk.”


3. Contact is a big no-no. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and can even be dangerous...well maybe not dangerous, but you get the gist. Never sit directly next to someone if there are open seats everywhere. It’s important to spread out as much as possible. Never read over someone else’s shoulder. Never get caught reading over someone else’s shoulder. And of course, give up your seat for pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone who generally looks in distress and needs to sit down (you’d be surprised how many people fit this category.)


4. Don’t buy what you can’t carry: While it may be tempting to buy everything in sight, or a singular item that weighs 50 pounds but is 75% off, be realistic. It sounds simpler than it seems. Sometimes this means walking away from the sale, and never looking back.


5. Always go for the $10 24 hour Ventra pass: Who has time to putz around at every L platform? I know I don’t. With my friends armed with 24 hour unlimited ride Ventra passes, we were able to travel anywhere at anytime. Definitely worth the $10 investment. (As a DePaul student you get a Ventra for unlimited rides during the quarter as part of your tuition!)


My friends and I were good as gold since we abided by the aforementioned tips for traveling in Chicago. To give you the quick rundown, we first made our way to Five Guys for burgers, then we ventured to the Urban Outfitters Surplus store in search of some post-holiday deals.


Next, we of course had to make a stop at Molly’s Cupcakes. While some say that Sprinkles Cupcakes are the best in Chicago, I fully endorse Molly’s. Located in Lincoln Park, it’s worth the trip if you’re coming in from the Loop. After our delicious cupcakes we took the Redline to Belmont and went shopping, and then we did some shopping, and then we did some more shopping. We ended the day eating gourmet grilled cheeses at Cheesies. 

With a great start to this quarter, I’m excited to see what else is in store for me. Be sure to stay tuned! I almost slipped on ice about 389349784 times so far, so my big wipe out is sure to be coming. Can’t wait to tell you all the juicy details. I’ll even try to take pictures when it happens :)





Getting in the Holiday Spirit: The Mag Mile Lights Festival

Not counting the polar vortex in Chiberia, the winter time is a great time to be in the city. From the comfort of a cozy chair in Starbucks, winter is certainly visually pleasing. The second you step outside, well, that’s a completely different story. I absolutely hate the cold. Although I’ve lived in Illinois all my life, every winter I am surprised by just how cold it gets. During winter quarter I make sure to plan my trips outside so I can avoid the chill of the winter air as much as possible.

Luckily, this year’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival was met with perfect weather. This past Saturday, Chicago got into the Christmas spirit with the 23rd annual tree-lighting parade. I opted not to go last year due to the extremely cold temperature, but this year I was happy to attend. Michigan Avenue was completely blocked off and swarms of people  littered the streets, anxiously waiting for the parade to commence.

The parade started on Oak Street, which is definitely an underrated spot to watch the parade. Although the beginning of the parade isn’t as exciting as the middle or the end, at least you didn’t have to fight your way through the crowd to get a good viewing spot. My friend and I watched the parade from Oak Street, glancing at the window displays of the designer stores that line the street (Harry Winston, Christian Louboutin, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, etc -if you’re ever looking to do some intense window shopping Oak Street is the perfect place.)

We eventually wove our way through the zombie apocalypse to the heart of Michigan Avenue to watch the end of the parade. It was a great way to get into the Holiday spirit. Wherever you’re at this December, I hope you stay warm!


Gobble, Gobble: Turkey Fest at DePaul

With finals now here and winter break right around the corner, I think that every DePaul student can appreciate the value of a home-cooked meal. Lucky for me, I was able to attend a free pre-Thanksgiving Day feast in our Student Center this past Sunday. It was quite delicious and definitely got me in the mood for Turkey Day.

Turkey Fest, as it was appropriately called, occurred through DePaul Catholic Campus Ministry, or UMIN for short. This free event was courtesy of SAF-B funding (Student Activity Fee). Although I’m not Catholic, UMIN always puts on fabulous events that are available for anyone to attend regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof.​​



I was a little apprehensive about attending a Catholic University after I enrolled at DePaul. Having a pretty much nonexistent religious upbringing, I wasn’t sure how “Catholic” the University would really be.

Events like the UMIN hosted Turkey Fest are a perfect example of how the University handles its religious affiliation. While there are certainly ways to get involved in Catholicism on campus, it’s also possible to go through your four years here with no interaction with Catholicism at all. Despite Turkey Fest being a UMIN event, there was really no Catholic element to the dinner besides a small prayer before we started eating.



DePaul pushes for Vincentian values, rather than Catholicism. Guaranteed you will hear the word "Vincentian" countless times while at DePaul. What this basically means is that DePaul places an emphasis on cultural, social, and ethical values in service to others. While everyone has their own reason for doing service, DePaul encourages everyone to be a socially responsible leader.

DePaul also provides many opportunities to get involved in service. From service trips abroad to the vast service sites DePaul partners with, it’s easy to give back.

Whatever you’re up to this Thanksgiving, I hope it’s filled with some good ol’ turkey and lots of stuffing! And don’t forget the pumpkin pie : )



Mr. Salsa is my Best Friend

One of the greatest friends I’ve made in Chicago thus far is Mr. Salsa.

Mr. Salsa is always there for me. I think we get along so well because we have similar interests. Whenever I introduce my friends to him, they fall in love.

Plot twist: Mr. Salsa is a restaurant; it makes the best tacos, burritos and tamales around. However, this minor fact doesn’t change our friendship one bit. This has been the only restaurant where I have openly cried tears of joy because of how delicious the food was.

I make an effort to go to Mr. Salsa whenever I have a free moment around lunch time. In between the Sheridan and Wilson red line stops, Mr. Salsa is one of those hidden treasures. With a small sitting area, Mr. Salsa always seems crowded -this is a complete fallacy because the “restaurant” literally sits like 10 people...but still.


Mr. Salsa Interior

Not to mention, Mr. Salsa has very affordable prices. This past weekend, I ordered two tacos and two tamales and paid just under $10 (fyi -they only take cash). Now that’s living on a budget. I ate everything I ordered. I may or may not had to have someone carry me out because I was so full, but no big deal. It happens to the best of us.

This past weekend, I decided to ignore my 20 page research paper and make a trip out to my best friend! My roommate and I met up with my former roommate to catch up and eat some delicious tacos. We sat at Mr. Salsa for 2 hours filling each other in what we’ve been doing this quarter. Who doesn’t love a good roommate reunion!?

 

 

My love of tacos really cannot be put into words. Just thinking about them right now is making my stomach growl and the tears start to well up in my eyeballs. Holy guacamole, I could really go for a taco right now.

Basically in short, if you haven’t met my friend Mr.Salsa, you haven’t actually had a taco. I recommend this hidden treasure to anyone who likes heavenly tamales, burritos, enchiladas and tacos, and is looking to make a new friend. I know that Mr. Salsa and I will continue to have a very strong friendship throughout my time here in Chicago.





Sheffield Scuffle

Who doesn’t love a good debate? I know I sure do. Especially a political one charmingly deemed the “Sheffield Scuffle.”

Last week I went to see the DePaul College Republicans and the DePaul College Democrats go head-to-head in this year’s political debate. The two teams debated issues pertaining to the economy, the environment, crime and education. It took place in the student center (on Sheffield Street, hence the aforementioned charming name of the debate.)

I was a little biased while sitting in the crowd because my awesome roommate was debating on the side of the Democrats. Despite my political views (I sure won’t get into them here, so don’t worry), I had to show my support for my friend.

Like the dork that I am, I decided to sport an American flag bandana. I thought, “what could be cooler than literally walking into the political debate with a fashion statement of democracy tied to my forehead?” I ended up getting a lot of laughs, but I’m pretty sure they were at me instead of with me. I stand behind it though. You’ve got to wear red, white, and blue to any political event. It’s the unwritten rule.​

While the debate was by no means perfect, it was certainly entertaining. A professor from the political science department moderated the debate and the turnout was pretty successful. The debate was structured as follows: Opening statements, questions posed from one side to the other, response, rebuttal, repeat, switch sides for the questions on the next topic, concluding statements, and question and answer portion.

Did ya get all that? I would say that there are a lot of opportunities to get involved politically on campus. Although I’m not in neither the DePaul College Republicans nor the Democrats, they both are strong clubs on campus that many students belong to.

Additionally, there are many other ways to get onto the political scene here. Through internships for aldermen and congressmen throughout the city of Chicago, these politicians are always looking for DePaul students to help volunteer. Being a political science major, it’s exciting to know that there are so many opportunities to get involved on campus and in the city. 

Of course while at the debate I had to take a selfie in the crowd. If you look on stage you’ll see my roommate debating about the minimum wage. I’m about to blow that picture up and hang it on our apartment wall. Talk about wall art…​


Green Eggs and Ham

​While taking a much needed break from midterms this past weekend, my roommate and I decided to take a trip to Water Tower. While we admired all the nice designer items we couldn’t afford and played in the Lego Store (everything is awesome!), we stumbled upon a Dr. Seuss Art Gallery and decided to wander in.

The gallery featured many adapted and reproduced Dr. Seuss artworks from his iconic books such as Horton Hears a Who, The Grinch, and the Lorax. Since authentic Dr. Seuss works of art are rarely sold, these recreations are as good as it’s going to get to the real thing. 

 
The art gallery was a nice escape from the crowded hustle and bustle of Water Tower. Since it was a Saturday, the traffic flow was quite heavy! If you’re ever looking to do some high quality people-watching, Water Tower on a Saturday is a supreme location.

 
I’m glad I got a chance to see some of these reproduced Dr. Seuss works in person. Partly because the price tags on these iconic pieces are thousands of US dollars…Needless to say, they won’t be hanging on my apartment walls anytime soon. 

 
However, I am in the process of looking for some unique and affordable wall artwork. I currently have some nice IKEA art hanging up, but it’s really not doing the job if you know what I mean. Per my roommate’s insistence, I do have a giant photo of our 35th President JFK hanging next to our couch. We call him Uncle Jack. Uncle Bobby (Robert Kennedy) is sitting upon our mantel. My roommates and I are weird like that. Any suggestions for wall art? Our apartment could use it. Let me know!

 

In Preparation for Halloween

Fall at DePaul! (Rhyme completely intended). While Chicago is a great place to live during any season, Fall is especially special. You would think that in the city you wouldn’t necessarily notice the leaves start to change or see pumpkins on doorsteps, but this isn’t the case. Fall is completely out and about, and I couldn’t be more excited.

For this upcoming Halloween, my roommate and I have decided to attend the Boystown Halloween Parade on Halsted. If you’ll be in Chicago this Friday, you should totally check it out.

The theme this year is “Freak Show.” While I’m not entirely sure what this means, I’m sure that it will be pretty spectacular. The parade kicks off at 8pm on the corner of Halsted and Belmont. It’s known for its fun music, crazy costumes and the huge crowd that attends. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to get into the low 30s tomorrow night, so dressing warm will be a necessity.

The other day while walking down Belmont I saw this interesting mannequin at a costume store (seen below) that I thought was quite funny. I really wish I had a horse head mask to sport this holiday. Despite Halloween being tomorrow, I still have no idea what to dress up as. I’m hoping I can find something in my closet that I can turn into a really rad costume. Fingers crossed.

Fall is a great time to be in Chicago. I love when the leaves turn sunset orange and red, the wind starts to pick up, and Trader Joe’s adds the word “pumpkin” to all their products. Wherever you’re at this Fall, I hope it treats you well!

Mid-term Week and the Advantages of the Quarter System

​I can’t believe it’s that time already?! Mid-terms… oh joy. Despite the stress building up and the lack of sleep, I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoy the quarter system. DePaul has three quarters for the academic year: Fall, Winter, and Spring. While taking three classes classifies you as a full time student, most students take four. 

The biggest downfall of the quarter system is that it does feel like you’re always testing at times. While the semester school experience has two sets of mid-terms and two sets of finals, those on the quarter system experience three sets of mid-terms and three sets of finals. Although at first glance this may seem very unfortunate, keep in mind that our finals and mid-terms cover a reasonable amount of material. Rather than cramming for a final that includes fifteen weeks of material, with the quarter system your final only covers 10 weeks. That five week difference is HUGE. 

 
I think that the quarter system really allows you to focus on your subject at hand. Although you don’t stay with the same classes for half the year, it forces you to be fully immersed in the topic for a mere ten weeks. Think of it this way: ten weeks with four classes or fifteen weeks with five? With that math, I’d chose the quarter system any day!

Just to give you some background on what mid-terms are looking like for me (a double major- Political Science and PR and Advertising), I’ll give a quick synopsis of my fun week: 

Creative Writing (English 201): For my fine arts elective I chose to take creative writing. I felt that if I were to take painting, sculpting, or acting, I would probably fail out… Needless to say, I’m really enjoying creative writing right now. It’s a nice creative break in my schedule. I am thanking my lucky stars that we do not have a mid-term in class! Although, I am working on a 500 word story that’s due Thursday…

States, Markets and Societies (Honors 201): Being an Honors Program student, all of my general education requirements are honors classes. While I enjoy the challenge, it certainly is a bit more rigorous than my other classes. While we don’t have a formal mid-term, I do have an annotated bibliography due this Wednesday for my research topic. This is eventually going to help me write my 15-20 page paper on capitalism and democracy (wish me luck!)

Introduction to Communication (Communication 101): I had my mid-term paper due on Monday (I wrote it on normative relationships in the NBC show The Office) and I have my multiple choice exam on Wednesday! Pretty straight forward! Lots of vocab terms and memorization. 

World Ethics in Politics (Political Science 347): This quarter I decided to take an advanced political science course. Man, is it hard and also depressing at times (we’re watching Hotel Rwanda…), but it’s very interesting and thought provoking! We have our mid-term paper due on Thursday. Kind of nervous for this one! 

So there you have it! That’s mid-terms in a nutshell! Of course it varies depending on your schedule, but for me, papers are pretty typical. If you’re experiencing mid-terms I wish you the best of luck!



The Secret Lecture

​Last Thursday I had the opportunity to see Veronica Gerber Bicecci, a Mexican writer and visual artist, speak at DePaul. Veronica gave a short lecture and then read some of her writings. Her lecture was titled “The Secret Lecture,” and was about the nature of secrets. As a creative writer, she linked the concept of secrets to storytelling. She shared how the narrator and the reader keep a secret together, as they both know something that the other characters in a story do not. 

 
I thought her lecture was very interesting because of her comparison of literature to cryptography. This year I am a taking a creative writing class to fulfill my fine arts requirement, and it’s really interesting to learn about how creative writing is constructed. Veronica understands the process well and because of this she has earned many literary awards.

She talked about how secrets are mute; they are invisible, inaudible, and indecipherable. Showing us hieroglyphics and classified documents, she created a visual for the concept of a secret. 

 
Overall, I thought her lecture was extremely timely due to the technological era we currently live in. With social media, it almost becomes impossible to keep a secret. 

At the end of the lecture she handed out slips of paper with her own secret written on them. The catch? It’s written in sign language which then translates to Spanish. The ultimate cryptography. 

If you’re interested in checking out any of her writings, -which you should be because she is really talented- check out her website: http://www.veronicagerberbicecci.net/​





Year 2 and Independent Living

​​Year two already?! Seriously, where did the time go? Now that I’m a big, bad sophomore, I’ve got A LOT more on my plate this year. Despite the stress and the difficulty of finding time to sleep, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Well I’ll probably spend my next few blog posts shamelessly plugging various DePaul student groups, I think it’s important to give a shout out to all the high schoolers out there! Whether you’re itching to get out of high school or you’re already feeling nostalgic, remember to take a few moments of the year to appreciate where you’re at. 

A lot of things in high school prepared me for life in college, and I think it’s important to not take this time of your life for granted. I mean, your textbooks are free...I didn’t understand how beautiful this concept was until it was too late. Cherish your free textbooks, hold them close at night.

That being said, college is of course, quite awesome. This year I have embarked on a new journey: independent living. And man, is it an interesting one. I’m currently living off the Belmont Red Line stop on the edge of Lakeview and Wriglyville with my two roommates (S/O to Emily and Marcus!)

 
​​With a monthly rent payment and bills with my name on it, I think it’s safe to say that I am officially living the life of a poor college student. Although I’ve eaten my fair share of Ramen in the past month, I do have to say that my new status doesn’t upset me. I think that being a poor college student is a right of passage as a young adult. And being able to say that I am renting my own apartment in Chicago makes every night of Ramen worth it. 

Independent living forces you to learn a lot of life lessons in a short period of time. But for the life lessons you need advice on, it’s great to call up the parental units. I’ve called my parents at any odd hour to ask them any questions regarding: when mushrooms go bad, what temperature is appropriate to turn the heat on, advice for heckling a landlord, how to get rid of bacon grease, thawing meat in a jiff, ya know, typical subjects that parents have a wealth of knowledge on.

I’m sure I’ll have some great blogs about independent living this upcoming year. Be sure to stay tuned for the mishaps, successes, laughs, and more life lessons! I can guarantee you that there will be all of the above.

Stay gold! ​

Preparing for DePaul!

As you soak in the rays and enjoy your last summer before the beginning of your new life, your parents may or may not start to nag you about finding out what books you need. Or perhaps who your roommate is. And also the date you should move in. And if you need to increase your meal plan. And if you should get the towel hook with three hooks or four. And how many picture frames should you buy. And do you want to bring that chair in the basement that no one uses…you get the point.

While the summer before college can be very fun and somewhat nostalgic, there are some things to plan out before coming to DePaul in the fall!

Roommate decisions are mailed out with plenty of time to contact your roommate and make the necessary living arrangements. Pretty standard questions to ask are questions like:

  1.     What appliances should we bring? (I.e. fridge, microwave, etc.)
  2.     Shall we have a futon or chairs to accommodate our guests
  3.     T.V.?
  4.     The carpets are very bland so do we want a rug?
  5.     Should we color coordinate or just let fate decide?

Don’t worry about setting room rules with your future roomie or anything like that. RAs take care of all that fun stuff the week you move in. Getting to know your roommate through casual conversation before you move in can also be helpful in making your first encounter a little less awkward. My roommate and I met before we moved in and planned everything out so moving in was a cinch! I’m going to miss her this summer!

As for getting books and scheduling your classes, tell your parents that this cannot be done until orientation. At orientation this summer, you will play thousands of ice breakers. Regardless of the activity at orientation, you will more importantly register for classes. The earlier your summer orientation the better; classes fill up on a first come, first serve basis. If your orientation is later in the summer, don’t panic however! You have so many options your first quarter at DePaul that there isn’t even a chance that you won’t get some classes that you want.

When school is a few weeks in the distant future, normally professors will e-mail you a syllabus or a quick introduction to the class and themselves. On the syllabus the necessary books will be listed. I like to buy my books before class starts just so I don’t have to worry about the bookstore running out or shipping nightmares, but that’s just kind of a personal preference type thing. Make sure that your campus connect e-mail is up to date in order to receive this very important information!!!

Overall, just enjoy your summer! Odds are your parents are worried more than you are. Or, if they are like my parents, they will not acknowledge the fact that you are moving out because of the denial they feel. Regardless, just realize that everything will work out in the end! Be patient and figure everything out as it comes up!


Did the Fourth of July Come Early?!

This past Saturday I took the classic tourist trip to Navy Pier! Although I scoff at the word tourist, as I am now a full-blown Chicagoan, I did act a bit touristy when seeing the fireworks at Navy Pier. Saturday marked the start of Navy Pier’s summer fireworks, which from here to the end of the summer occurs every Wednesday night at 9:30 and Saturday night at 10:15.

Despite fireworks being the main reason we ventured to Navy Pier, my friends and I explored the Pier and even enjoyed some hot funnel cakes. A majority of the Pier is under construction so many areas were blocked off, however there was still plenty things to do inside and outside. Inside, we walked through the stained glass window exhibit (bet ya didn’t know that was a thing), the overpriced gift shop, and explored upstairs. Outside, we danced to the live music coming from the beer garden, watched people ride the Ferris Wheel and merry-go-round, and observed the glowing skyline from the Pier.
The fireworks show was pretty spectacular and well worth the wait till 10:15. With the sun down the weather was the perfect mixture of not too hot and not too cool. The Pier was crowded with families, couples on dates, groups of friend, and I think a prom might have been going on at Navy Pier because fancy ball gowns and rented tuxes littered the Pier as well.
Overall, it was a glorious night of dancing, fireworks, and fun with great friends. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, be sure to check out fireworks at Navy Pier! They also have boats available for going out to the middle of the lake for a better view.

The FIRST Annual Honors Student Conference

So many decisions to make when you come to DePaul! As my freshman year comes to an end, I can honestly say that joining the Honors Program at DePaul was one of the best decisions I made this year. The Honors Program provides so many opportunities to get involved at DePaul and the advisors of the program are absolutely fabulous! Nancy and Jennifer make sorting out which classes to take a cinch!

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever Honors Program Student Conference: Spotlight on Research and Creativity. This conference featured undergrad projects including senior thesis presentations, non-thesis posters, and student paper presentations. I fell into the middle category as I made a poster based off a paper I had done for a class I took fall quarter.

My project was titled Your New Miss America is: The Politics of Beauty and Empowerment. While I won't bore you with the details of my project, I gained some valuable experience about presenting research to an audience as I explained my research questions and final argument to countless professors, other students, and the Honors Program Advisors.

I highly suggest to everyone next year to attend DePaul's Honors Student Conference. It was cool to see what other students were up to academically within the past year.

Regardless if you are participating in the Honors Program here at DePaul or not, there are many departmental conferences where students can apply to present their research on various topics. After putting so much work into a project, a lot of students feel passionate about their topic, and it's nice to have many outlets to share your hard work, rather than just turning in papers and forgetting about them.

By the time you graduate, you will definitely have gained some valuable academic experience; as a first year student I have already presented research in a conference. Get excited future Blue Demons!


Mother's Day and the Quarter System

Happy belated Mother's Day!!!! This past Mother's Day I planned the ultimate surprise: an unanticipated visit home to mi madre! I planned this exciting, undercover visit home with my sister and dad the week before Mother's Day and my mom was totally surprised. We got lots of pictures but since my mom started crying and I know that she reads my blog posts (HI MOM!), I thought that I should keep those photos to myself (or save for later blackmail).

Living in Naperville, I'm about a forty-five minute drive away from home or an hour Metra ride. I'm lucky to live so close to my family but for many this isn't a reality. Emergency situations do come up every once and awhile and I think that it is important to have a just-in-case plan should that ever come to be. As unfortunate as planning for these types of things are, it is definitely necessary. Many of my friends from Naperville go to various schools around the country where coming home isn't a reality for them. I also have made many California friends at DePaul which for them means only coming home for Winter Break.

Regardless of how easy it is to get home or not, DePaul's quarter system allows for plenty of family time to be spent during Winter Break. DePaul's Winter Break is six weeks long which is probably double the amount of time your friends will be on break. When they come home for Thanksgiving weekend, your winter break has just started. As you laugh at them for still having to go through finals before coming home for Christmas (or other winter holidays that are celebrated such as Kwanza, Hanukah, etc.) just remember that come Spring/Summer time, they will be laughing at you.

Being home for Mother's Day was quite awesome but as I worked on a religion mid-term paper and Spanish mid-term, they were working on their tans and celebrating the end of freshman year. That being said, there are definitely many pros and cons to being on the quarter system. Lucky for you, I will hash them out right here and now.

CONS: Staying in school until the second week in June can be a little rough. With the nice weather, all you'll want to do is go for a dip in the lake, take late night rips to Navy Pier, shopping, eating, walking, climb a tree, roll in the grass, smell the flowers, and such and such. Additionally, many of your breaks wont match up with your high school friends since DePaul's quarter schedule is so unique.

But not to worry! Because in my mind, the pros totally outweigh the cons.

PROS: I was on semesters in high school so adjusting to the quarter system was not easy at first. However, I have come to like it much more than semesters. So the quarter system at DePaul is broken down into three quarters (kind of confusing since quarter typically means four in the language of math). Each quarter is ten weeks. Essentially this means that you have three sets of midterms and three sets of finals. Although at first glance this may seem like a con, I digress. Having midterms means that the test is based off of five weeks of material and having a final means that the test is based off of ten weeks of material. Compared to semesters which translates to fifteen weeks of material covered in a final, quarter finals and midterms are much more doable. Additionally, every college has those unappealing requirements that must be taken. For me, I'm currently taking marine biology. Fascinating? Yes. Does it have anything to do with my political science major? No. (The mud-fiddler crab is closely related to the barnacle! I got that wrong on my last test and I will never forget it!) Hence, having a ten week class is much more preferable to a fifteen week class. Ten is manageable, fifteen is quite impossible. Also, you have the opportunity to take lots of classes! While in semesters, students may take anywhere from eight to ten different classes per year while those on the quarter system usually take about twelve.

Overall, I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and treated your mothers like queens. Hopefully you remembered to do the yard work and breakfast in bed and yadda yadda yadda. I hope my tips on the quarter system and being far from home help you get a feel for life at DePaul!

The Wizard of Oz on the Big B

Last weekend I had the privilege of going to see The Wizard of Oz on Broadway with my residence hall FOR FREE! I am the champion at taking advantage of free events. Generally, the residence halls will host a few events per quarter for residents to go to. In the past we have had opportunities to grab tickets to free events such as Broadway tickets to the musical Chicago, Chicago Bulls tickets, an outing to an apple orchard, and we just had an opportunity to get Cubs vs. Sox tickets last week (Shout out to our Residence Director Amanda for arranging these awesome events! Seton Hall is the bomb).

These events are always fun because normally my whole floor participates, and the Wizard of Oz was no exception. In my opinion, the play was geared towards families with young kids rather than college students (no surprise there) but I definitely am one to enjoy the corniness of family humor. Our seats were pretty much nosebleed status seats and I think I need glasses so I definitely couldn't see any distinct features, but the play overall was pretty good.

A lot of crazy technology and screens were used and I thought the tornado scene in the beginning was pretty awesome. A video of twirling madness and farm junk swirled through the air as a smoke machine helped to also set the mood. The best part of the play was Toto!!!! Played by a real life dog named Nigel, the dog was so obedient throughout the whole play and ran on command and jumped on command and possible even barked on command (that might have been pre recorded but it's Broadway so I'll assume no.) Nigel is so famous and he doesn't even know it. That dog is going places just you wait.

The Wizard of Oz was shown at the Cadillac Palace right off of the Lake Red Line stop. About an 18-minute trip away from campus! I've been to this theatre before and it's so beautiful inside. With chandeliers and ornate walls, Palace is the perfect word for its name. Additionally, the Cadillac Palace is across the street from the best restaurant in the world called Petterinos. Although I didnt get a change to grab a nice (not to mention expensive) dinner there, if you're ever in the city and want dinner and a show, Petterinos and then the Cadillac Palace is the route to go. Overall, I'm so glad I got the opportunity to go to the Wizard of Oz and cant wait for our next great Seton outing!

I hope finals and your last days of school are going well! Especially for those seniors! It's crazy how much will happen during this next year, but always remember to enjoy the moment and every once in a while to think back to where your journey began : )

DePaul's New Club!

Although DePaul has more than 300 organizations, their lack of a water polo club really put a damper on the continuance of my athletic abilities. Rather than complain or try to start playing a game meant for two teams of seven people by myself, I got involved in an up-and-coming effort to start a club water polo team. Within two quarter’s DePaul Water Polo Club is now up-an-running, or should I say swimming? 

I severely missed the smell of chlorine and the 5:30 am practices that come with the aquatic lifestyle of a swimmer and water polo player (haha jk about those 5:30s…purely torturous). I tried to play land games such as soccer or volleyball or running before getting involved with the efforts to start a water polo club, but with my whole life spent in the water, I didn’t get the same satisfaction from pavement, fields, and courts. I swam and played polo all four years in high school so its absence in my life was hard at first (shout out to Metea Valley High School!) 

Being a part of a club that has only had four official practices, no tournaments or games, and is about 75% boys is much cooler than it actually sounds. We have the ability to make this club what we want it to be and shape its future. Of course, our lack of a history also poses its fair share of challenges, but the payoff during these next few years is going to be sweet : ) 

I did not take the lead on starting this club, but the President of DePaul’s Water Polo Club did a great job of communicating with advisors, the Student Government Association (SGA), and club members on the status of this venture. With his initiatives and the SGA, we received $3000 in funding for our club. This supplies us with pool time, equipment, and liability something-something (not quite on the technicalities of that one..) 



I attended last Monday’s practice and it was great to get back in the pool with my other official DePaul Club Water Polo teammates. Despite being embarrassingly out of shape, we had a successful two hours together and the plans for a potential exhibition game with another Chicago area school is in the works. We currently practice at Northeastern Illinois University because DePaul only has a shallow pool and NIU’s is deep. The commute takes about 35 minutes with a 10 minute walk but it’s so worth it to be able to play again. 

Unfortunately, the DePaul Water Polo Club is classified as a men’s club but girls can still attend practices and exhibition tournaments and games. Some of the girls are looking to recruit more girls so we can establish a club of our own. Who knows what will happen in the future? But I know that for right now, our new club is perfection! Be sure to check us out next year!

Macy's Flower Show

Spring was in the air this week and the Macy’s Flower Show gave new meaning to the ol’ saying April showers bring May flowers. Last weekend, Macy’s hosted their annual Flower Show on the ninth floor of their State Street Location. This year, the theme was “Secret Garden” and the show featured crowd favorites of roses, pansies, lilies and much more in their floral displays. Of course more obscure plants and flowers were featured such as the east palatka holly, muhly grass, spider plant, sandy bromeliad, moonlight philodendron, etc.

It was amazing how Macy’s moved so much greenery onto the ninth floor. The space that was used revealed no white space or left any area uncovered. In fact, my friends and I wondered if the flowers and grass in some parts of the area were fake. Small details brought everything in the garden together, such as the display of pennies in their fake pond and mini mushrooms in the corner of the garden.

Additionally, the Flower Show had many other attractions that took place throughout the week. Games, cooking demonstrations, arts & crafts, a garden-inspired fashion show, and 3D chalk art were included in this Macy’s event. My friends and I got to see the 3D chalk art which was created by chalk art master Shaun Hays. I’ve never seen a 3D chalk painting in real life before, so it was really cool to be able to walk on it and take pictures with it. Hays spent the whole week of the flower show creating the illusionary image, but luckily we came when the art was totally complete.

Something that was nice about the Secret Garden was that inside the garden there weren’t any promotional events going on. It was peaceful, quiet, and cheerful as the background was filled with the sound of the mini waterfall working in the back of the garden and chirping birds played from the speakers. However, outside was fair game in terms of promotion and marketing. Macy’s Flower Show apparel, a Macy’s Flower Show café, and new Spring merchandise by Macy’s lined every inch of the walls and floors in the entrance to the Garden. However, it was hard to mind all this marketing after leaving the peaceful garden feeling very tranquil.

The Macy’s Flower Show was the perfect way to get excited for Spring and the beautiful garden is definitely a must-see (and free) event. I definitely will be checking out the Macy’s Flower Show next year as well. Are you excited for Spring?

See for yourself at http://social.macys.com/flowershow/#/home


President Obama Sighting

​I wholeheartedly believe in fate, and last Wednesday’s happenings only reinforced this belief. My story begins at the Ray: last Wednesday I went to the Ray to try and be fit. They say exercise is good for you so I try my best to partake. (Free classes at the Ray make it easy to work out!) As my favorite class-muscle work- fortunately drew to a close (I thought I was going to pass out), I put back my weights and crawled out the door. 

My friend and I decided to eat at the Ray after class instead of following through with our original plan of going back to the dorm and making dinner there. Alas our exhaustion and famishment dictated our decision to stay at the Ray and cool off. After eating and catching up with each other, we then slowly limped back to the dorms.

 Here’s where the story gets interesting: part of Sheffield was blocked off with a barricade and official looking policeman standing guard. This was quite odd, however, my friend and I kept walking, no questions asked. As we neared the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton, even more policemen and squad cars blocked off the crosswalks. 

A crowd had gathered surrounding the corner due to the commotion in the streets and we finally asked around as to what was going on. Much to our surprise and my extreme excitement it was discovered that President Barack Obama would be passing through any moment. And suddenly, my belief in fate was strengthened! Had my friend and I stuck to our original plan and went back to Seton Hall right away we would have missed seeing our own President drive through DePaul’s campus. We eagerly waited ten minutes with the rest of the crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of our President. 

As we waited, a helicopter circled overhead, more squad cars kept driving back and forth waiting for the President to pass through, sirens and all, and somewhat of a smoke cloud seemed to be produced. As each squad car passed by, everyone turned their heads excitedly thinking the President’s limo would be the next car to pass. Finally a plethora of squad cars came by followed by two limos with tiny American Flags hanging out the windows. 
PAUSE 
In case you are unaware, I get very overwhelmed when seeing or meeting celebrities, or for that matter, anyone that is anywhere close to famous. I don’t know what comes over me or what exactly happens, but it’s not pretty (refer to my previous post on Jane Hamilton to really get the full picture.) I definitely should not go to Walt Disney World as I think I would actually go unconscious from being surrounded by all the characters (yes, I know Mickey Mouse and Cinderella are not exactly real, but still…). So brace yourself for my “encounter” with President Obama. 
RESUME 
The rumor was that apparently two limos are always used when the President travels by car in order to protect the President, as no one knows exactly which one he is in. The windows are so tinted that it’s impossible to see into the car- no shadows or glimpses could be caught from inside the limo. But as the two limos passed I was overcome with an astounding and staggering sense of pride in regards to our President. 

As a political science major, I have an enormous respect for our system of government, despite its shortcomings and challenges. In that moment, I was simply so proud to be an American. 

 
As the two limos passed and I did the forever professional and classy double wave, (I felt it took two hands to express my enthusiasm,) I burst into tears. Looking back I have no idea why. I couldn’t even see President Obama, let alone the fact that I’m not even a huge President Obama fan. I couldn’t believe that the street I cross everyday, the President had just crossed!

Granted, he was in a limo with windows so dark he could have been in the helicopter and no one would have known, but I had just been closer to the President than I have ever imagined I would be. As people stared at me during my outburst and my friend tried to pretend she didn’t know me, more tears sprung from my eyes and stained my cheeks. My hair a hot mess and donned in workout gear attire, my friend told me to get it together as I looked a bit suspicious and the police were starting to stare. 

Regardless of my fashion statement at the moment, or lack thereof, I will always remember the moment I saw President Obama on the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton (well, saw his car at least.) 

The next time I run into President Obama I really hope I get to actually see his face, but for right now, just seeing his car was enough to make me cry : )

​​

Spring Break and Spring Plans

​This past week was Spring Break for DePaul. Rather than lounge on a tropical beach on a private island or backpack through Europe with my buds, I decided to go home to Naperville where it snowed, rained, and remained in the 30s… Despite this somewhat depressing environment, it was so nice to be able to reconnect with family and friends while of course eating some home cooked meals. Some much-needed TLC from my mom and dad made me feel victorious after a long winter quarter. 

Even more, I got to see some of my DePaul friends as we all met up in Naperville together for a day. We went out to lunch and then saw a movie and it was great fun! Oddly enough, the weirdest part of the day was when we drove to lunch together. Living in Chicago, we constantly rely on public transportation. That being said it felt weird to cart each other off to different destinations in our vehicles. No waiting for the Red line to finally show up or having to pull out our Ventra cards are the simple joys of life. (Additionally after all of us not driving for 10 weeks, I’m glad we made it in one piece; I guess it’s like riding a bike, you never forget.)

 Although not doing anything too exciting over Spring Break, my friends and I did brainstorm a few things that we plan to do this spring quarter:  
 
1. North Avenue Beach - To quote the ever-intelligent Nicki Minaj, “let’s go to the beach each, let’s go get a wave.” This quarter my friends are I are definitely going to North Avenue Beach when the weather warms up to soak up the rays and play some volleyball or Frisbee. http://www.cpdbeaches.com/beaches/north-avenue-beach/   ​

 2. Lincoln Park Zoo - A short walk away from campus, I’m sure that the Lincoln Park Zoo will be much more enjoyable when the weather is nice enough to not wear four layers and two pairs of gloves. Plus more animals will be available to see! Not to mention, this zoo satisfies the freegan lifestyle (free admission!). http://www.lpzoo.org/   

3. Michigan Avenue - Despite taking a huge shopping trip every quarter (I recognize I have a shopping problem…), I know that this one will be extra special! With new spring clothes hitting the stores, even window shopping will be enjoyable. http://www.themagnificentmile.com/

4. Baseball Game - With baseball season almost in full swing (pun completely intended), it will be fun to go yell some “swing batta batta” and “we want a pitcher” from our no doubt nosebleed seats (poor college kid, remember?) Regardless of where our tickets place us, nothing can beat the atmosphere of the ballpark! http://www.stubhub.com/mlb-tickets/  ​

 5. Lincoln Park Conservatory - In the city it’s sometimes hard to find where the greenery and parks are. With the Lincoln Park Conservatory this task is a cinch! Plus free admission :) http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/lincoln-park-conservatory/  

Certainly stay tuned for my adventures! Who knows where this quarter will take me!