Month: July 2012

The Lending Library

The Lending Library

Sorry for having fallen off the metaphorical map these past few weeks. Even though I’m having an awesome time living in RoPo this summer, I haven’t really done anything that I felt was quote unquote blog worthy.

There’s just been a whole lot of working (see: the double shift, from 3 pm – 7:30 am, that I inadvertently worked last Thursday night) and a whole lot of crying on my bed while watching Supernatural.

At least with the group in which I roll, that doesn’t seem to be too out of the ordinary. After the fairly stressful spring semesters my friends and I all seemed to have, we’ve been cherishing this free time to obsess over new TV shows and books on a daily basis. Fortunately for my friends, I have a real life Netflix for books (aka an actual library) right in my apartment.

Le glorious library

And yes, those rows are double stacked.

When I moved out of my mom’s place, I took EVERYTHING. And I mean, EVERYTHING. This included what accounted for over 50% of my possessions – my books.

This summer, my collection of novels, which range from the teen vampire fiction I read in 6th grade to the Sufi poetry I read last year, has become its own sort of library for anyone who enters my apartment.

Once my friends started borrowing my books at a steady rate, I decided I needed a system to keep track of where everything was going. Luckily, one of my best friends had me bought this a few years ago.

I've yet to start adding due dates!

My friends all know that before any book of mine is leaving this apartment, they better be signing it out.

And in the meantime, while my favorite books are being recycled amongst my friends, I’ll stick to my bed and staring at Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki‘s glorious faces.

Puppies and Movies and lots of Food, Oh My…

Puppies and Movies and lots of Food, Oh My…

“The Dark Knight Rises” hits theaters in two days, and I am one of millions eager to see it. My friends and I are already planning an outing for next week, which means the anticipation will build till then.

Summer started out slowly, but after a month, things picked up, and getting to see the third Batman movie in this trilogy is just one of the awesome parts of my summer.

Here’s a brief summary of last weekend’s happenings:

Friday, July 13th

1.       I started this superstitious day with bowling with friends. I was out in Lombard, so we went to this little bowling alley called Stardust Bowl of Addison. Considering I’ve rarely bowled into the triple digits and my worst score ever was a 40, I was ready to do granny style bowling every time just for amusement. Though I didn’t reach triple digits (only one of us did- and there were six of us!), I did manage to get third place (by trying). I’m getting better!

2.       After a round of bowling and two rounds of air hockey (this I lost at both times sadly), four of us decided to continue the day with a grand buffet meal. We’d been talking about trying Golden Corral, so that’s exactly what we did. That chocolate fountain that they have? It’s no joke- this fountain of sweet chocolaty bliss was perfect.

3.       The last trip of this day was to a small place called Puppies. Guess what they sell here;monkeys! On a serious note, I found my soulmate in a small Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie mix). He is four months old and so lively, but alas, I couldn’t take him home. At least I can adore him through this photo I took:

Saturday, July 14th

1.       On this day, I got together with one of my best friends as well as two of her close friends from home. The four of us went to Navy Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel (this seems to be my new routine), and then started a walk out to Taste of Chicago.

2.       Though we reached the Taste and the food looked great, we knew the portions wouldn’t fill our rumbling tummies for a reasonable price, so instead we walked through it until we stumbled upon Buckingham Fountain. And to think that just a few weeks ago I said that I wanted to make it a goal to finally see it this summer! It was beautiful, and even more so with the setting sun.

3.       After finally getting some food, we traveled back to Rogers Park to my friend’s apartment, where we settled in with some treats and the movie Sucker Punch. Though I’ve seen it before, I hadn’t paid close attention, so seeing it for the second time was amazing. Those critics that said this movie wasn’t good? Their favorite movie is probably Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (no offense to anyone).

So what’s next for the rest of July? Movie theaters, Six Flags, and the event I’ve been dreaming of for weeks now- Anberlin’s acoustic concert at Taste of Lincoln Avenue on Saturday, July 28th.

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

Having been in Chicago for more than a month now, I can really begin to understand what everyone means when they say: “You must live in Chicago during the summer.”  I thought my home town of St. Louis was an interesting place to spend my summer breaks; however it pales in comparison to its big Midwest brother.

Last Thursday, I checked out the largest festival Chicago has to offer, appropriately titled: “Taste of Chicago”.  Among many other things, “Taste” is the premier event for food-loving aficionados who happen to be in Chicago during the early part of July.  Traditionally a ten-day festival that begins around the Fourth of July, “Taste” underwent some changes this year in an effort to increase numbers.  These changes included shortening the event to a five-day celebration (July11-15), as well as cutting back on the amount of food vendors invited to participate (complete rersturant list here).

Though the vendors may have been less in number than in years past, the food quality was of no concern.  Amongst the food vendors stood some Chicago pillars, such as Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Cubby Bear, and Gold Coast Dogs.  Dessert was served too, with Chicago favorites like Eli’s Cheesecake and Original Rainbow Cone in attendance.  Picky eaters need not be concerned with limited selection because a wide variety of cultures are represented at “Taste”, including Mexican, Jamacan, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and many more.  But even with some of the best food in the city, “Taste” is so much more than a food festival.

The icing on the cake for all “Taste” attendees is the concerts that play on the large, open fields of Grant Park.  Creating the inseparable bond of delicious food and great music, big-name musicians provide the evening’s entertainment.  This year, names like Jennifer Hudson, Luke James, Michael Franti, Calexico, Dierks Bentley, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Death Cab for Cutie all turned out to play for the 1.2 million “Taste”-comers this year.  For an up-close-and-personal experience with the bands, seats could be bought for around $25 dollars, but for those who don’t mind enjoying their pulled pork sandwiches and watermelon on the lawn, seating was free.

So, if you dare to bare the heat and mingle with some million-something people while enjoying the cities best food and a wide variety of music, the Taste of Chicago, is an event you should put on your 2013 calendar.  After all, it is the largest food festival in the world.

The Taste!

The Taste!

The first year I came to Chicago the Taste was definitely a lot bigger than this year! But food is food and if it tastes good, who am I to argue.

This year I decided to attend again. While my visit might not have been the best for my wallet, I got to sample some great food: deep dish pizza, rib tips, cheesecake and Italian Ice. I snagged all this for for 16 tickets, roughly 10 dollars because I split 32 tickets with a friend.

Either way it was worth the money, it was a good time and a fun date. After, my friend and I took a walk along the water and looked at all the boats docked in the yacht club.

The fact is the best thing about the taste is not the food, it is not always the people (sometimes too many come to the Taste), but its about the environment. Chicago is one of a kind.

Recent Chitown Adventures: Part 2

Recent Chitown Adventures: Part 2

Okay, so I promised two blogs for this week, so here’s the second one.

On Sunday, I was with a friend all day, and we decided to head down to Navy Pier because she wanted to check out the shops and hadn’t been there in a while. I might as well have been an out-of-state tourist because I had no idea that Navy Pier had so many cool little shops indoors.

We journeyed into many places, including the Build-A-Bear Shop and this cool little place with all different kind of ties. If I weren’t already tight on cash, I surely would have been at the end of this trip because there were so many things I wanted to buy.

We decided to spend what money we had on something a little bit more beneficial (but not at all nutritious) to us- Garrett’s popcorn and Haagen Dazs ice cream. Here’s a photo of one of our treats:

Was the ice cream as delicious as it looks? Definitely. Was it worth the money? That’s to be determined at a later time over cheaper ice cream.

After my second trip to Navy Pier in one week, we strolled around downtown until we came across this super awesome outdoor art exhibit. Artists from all over were displaying their work, whether it was handmade clocks, watercolor Chicago skyline paintings, or handcrafted jewelry.

My personal favorites were the paintings done by this one woman named Lidia Wylangowska. Here’s a photo I took of the small print version of a painting that I bought:

The last adventure of the day was lived up in the suburbs, out in Des Plaines. My friend and I took a road trip to a tiny restaurant called Bob Mele’s Little Villa Restaurant and Pizzeria because it was karaoke night there.

Talk about a botched attempt at a song. If Queen had heard us sing “Somebody To Love”, they would have rethought why they wrote it in the first place. We would have to beg for somebody to love our version because it turned out, we didn’t even really know the lyrics to the song (and that was just the beginning).

Other than my Sunday field trips and a lovely Sushi dinner with my cousin at a restaurant called Tank on Monday, the rest of this week has been rather slow. Thankfully, my workweek is over so who knows? Maybe I’ll check out Taste of Chicago this weekend.

Welcome Week Activites

Welcome Week Activites

The first few my internship has provided me with ample opportunity for learning and appreciating.  Tasked with working in with Water Tower Campus Life, I have a great opportunity to learn about all of the perks to living at the Water Tower Campus.  In an effort to bring to light all of the great opportunities the Water Tower Campus offers, I will talk about the programs planned for next year as well as the many perks to living downtown.

Welcome Week, as almost all Loyola Students can attest to, is a great opportunity to learn about all Loyola does for its students. Traditionally, Welcome Week is full of games, scavenger hunts, free food from local venders, prizes and raffles, free merchandise, and escapades around the city.

What isn’t quite as well known around Loyola is the Welcome Week Activities hosted at the Water Tower Campus, the other main Loyola campus located minutes from the Magnificent Mile.  As someone who has traditionally fallen into this less-informed category of students, I want to make sure all Loyola students know that this Welcome Week invitation extends to everyone on the Lake Shore Campus.  Furthermore, this is an opportunity for continued free food and merchandise, things Loyola students hardly ever pass up.  Here is just a brief list of the activities going on at Water Tower Campus this year for Welcome Week:

Pizza Wars: 8.22- 7PM
A chance to taste many different local Chicago pizzas.  Some Pizzerias partaking in the on the list include Connie’s, Pizano’s, Giordano’s, Pizzeria Uno, Go Roma and More!
Trolley Tours: 8.23- 2PM and 4PM
Take a tour around the scenic and historic Chicago downtown area.  Some locations on the list include the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building and of course
Outdoor Movie 8.26- 7:30PM
Located in the Lawson parking Lot (Pearson and State), WTCL will be screening The Avengers.
Trail Blazer Reception: 8.27- 4PM
A reception for all transfer and commuter students as a welcome into this Loyola community
Labre Ministries: 8.28-  6PM
Part of living in Chicago at a Jesuit school is giving back to the community.  Join Labre Ministry as they feed and interact with the homeless around the Chicago area.
Block Party: 8.30- 11-2PM
Exactly what it sounds like.  A block party in the middle of downtown Chicago to celebrate the onset of a new academic year.

Loyola in the Summer

Loyola in the Summer


My apologies for being away for such a long while, however I am back now and excited to be back on the blogosphere.  To start, let me catch up on my life and the fun activities I have been involved with.

Firstly, the first 6 weeks of summer I spent recovering from finals, catching up with friends, hanging out with family and eating the delicious foods home never ceases to offer.

Now though, I have started a new summer project, a project that will help me better appreciate this Loyola community that has brought me so much joy.

I have been fortuned with an internship opportunity here at school that allows me to meet with directors of various student development departments so that I understand their roles, and appreciate their service to the university.  I also have the opportunity to work within two departments and assist with some projects they are working on.  These two departments are the Center for Community Service and Action and Water Tower Campus Life.

As a student blogger and liaison to the flow of information here at Loyola, I will spend these next couple weeks blogging about the great people and great opportunities this university offers.  I hope you can learn about all of the exciting events going on here at Loyola as I relay the information.

Recent Chitown Adventures: Part 1

Recent Chitown Adventures: Part 1

My recent adventures have kept me from posting a blog last week, but I am happy to say that I have plenty to write about to cover not one, but two posts this week. Yay!

Last week, my mom treated me to Cirque du Soleil: Dralion, and any dream I have recently created for myself about joining the circus died. Why? Because I have zero chance and ability of doing what they were doing. Here’s a recap of my favorite parts:

1. During the first act, they kept bringing up this one specific guy from the audience up onto the stage. My mom and I were convinced that he was just an onlooker like us because he acted exactly like an audience member would- confused as to why he kept getting pulled on stage, nervously giggling at everything he was made to do, and trying to run away every chance he got.

Alas, he turned out to be a part of the show, but nevertheless, he was hilarious. He was forced to wear a red clown nose, almost all his possessions (including the shirt off his back) got stolen, and in general, they just would not leave this guy alone. What was the best part of his appearances? His reactions to everything. I was crying into my mother’s shoulder of laughter when he imitated the little clown who bothered him the most.

2. Also in the first act, there were acrobats doing flips and tricks on trampolines. The cool part of their number was that they were also using tall walls as props; they would jump high on the trampoline up onto the walls, flip off of them, and then drop back down a far distance. I’ve only done those tricks in one place: my dreams.

3. My final favorite piece was the duet performed using two thick and long ribbons descending from the ceiling. It’s hard to even begin to describe how beautiful and graceful this act was, so I’ll just say that it was amazing. Neither of the performers was attached to any safety devices, so the only things they held onto were the ribbons and each other. My heart wouldn’t stop beating rapidly throughout the whole performance, both out of fear of them falling and awe of their actual moves. Flawless!!

My other favorite event of the week was Fourth of July. From start to finish, it was one of the best-spent Independence Days I’ve ever had. My best friend was performing a dance in Washington Park that day for the International Festival of Life, so I got to take the Green Line for the first time to get there. Afterwards, my friends and I all went down to Navy Pier to catch the fireworks, followed by a lovely ride on the Ferris Wheel as the night’s closer.

Between the fireworks, flips and flaming hot weather, I’d say last week was one of the best I’ve had this summer so far.

Top 5 Disneyland Secrets

Top 5 Disneyland Secrets

Being that I have had an annual pass for over 15 years at Disneyland I have started to learn a lot of the tricks to getting around and the special things that most people do not know about the “happiest place on earth.” Here are a couple of the fun facts guests might want to know about the park.

5. It is not myth there is actually a basketball court in the Matterhorn, it is a half court and if you know the right cast members who have the keys you can go see it. It is very rare that they let guests up there but the inside of the mountain is actually quite a site to see.

4. “To all that come to this happy place, welcome! Disneyland, is your land…” -Walt Disney. It was his most iconic speech and the words still echo throughout the park. Actually that is a bit more literal than most would think. At the New Orleans station in Morse Code the speech is playing throughout the day.

3. For all those that believe in the paranormal, there are a couple interesting ghost stories associated with the park that cast member will rarely talk about with guests.

– Timmy: the story goes that a young boy died on the ride many years ago, in remembrance of him if you peak under the far left plate at the dinner table in the grand ball room there is a picture of him.

– The Girls in the Red Dress: only seen by cast members after hours this girl walks the tracks of Indian Jones. She was apparently killed and burried on the farm which once existed on the spot the attraction was built and now might be seen wandering about.

2. There is only one light that stays on in all of the Disney parks. It is never turned off because it represent the idea that Walt is ever present. That light sits in Disneyland on the second floor of the Firehouse where Walt’s office is located.

1. Lilly Belle: this is Walt’s private train car, it is very difficult to get on but any time you are visiting it is suggested you ask about making an appointment to ride in it. When Walt was around it was the the location for all his interviews and it was his favorite attraction in the park because it allowed him to see his grand park.



Coming to Chicago I was a die hard Angels fan. I still remain an Angels fan but I am learning quickly that there is this team on the north side which I cannot help but love.

The Chicago Cubs are one of the most historic teams in baseball. Being that they have not been to a World Series since 1945 and have not won one since 1908 there is one phrase all Cubs fans must learn and love, “There is always next year!”

I went to a Cubs game not too long ago. I came to the game expecting nothing more than a good effort from the Cubbies. Our seats were in the bleachers and I caught a ball during batting practice which is always a great way to start a game. And above all things they WON!

Besides their World Series Drought, there is one more thing about the Cubs that makes the team special; Wrigley Field. Wrigley is one of the most historic stadiums in the world.

A day at Wrigley is one that is unlike any other and it is truly difficult to not appreciate the beauty of this team.