Month: February 2019

Such a ‘Bler: Failure: A Love Story by Alumni Philip Dawkins

Such a ‘Bler: Failure: A Love Story by Alumni Philip Dawkins

At the beginning of this semester, my design professor Rachel Healy recommended that I applied for a design position on Failure: A Love Story – a play written by Loyola University Chicago’s alumni, Philip Dawkins. She then recommended that I auditioned for the play. I did audition, and being not much of an actress, did not get casted (it’s okay I saw it coming, but HEY AT LEAST I CAN SAY THAT I FINALLY AUDITIONED FOR SOMETHING!) and had too much on my plate this semester to join the design team.

The reason Rachel was so excited to get me involved was because the show featured music, beautiful costumes and PUPPETS! Context: Rachel was my Storytelling Design via Puppetry Spring Semester of freshman year. Rachel then became my theatre mentor and well, she knew I couldn’t resist a production with both music and puppets. Leading up to opening night, images from the show popped up all over Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ socials and I regretted more and more about not being able to contribute to the production. This especially kicked in the night I was going to see the show.

Before the performance, I and other theatre students got the chance to chat with him. He actually got inspiration for this plot from a night at a cemetery with a group of friends. They found a bunch of tomb stones all having the last name “Fail” and became both curious and convinced that he needed to write a play about them. What had happened to the Fail family? Hearing this really showed me that inspiration can come from really anywhere, at any time! 


Sitting down to watch the play, I tried to not keep too much of this information in mind, but I guess in a way it made me understand the theme of the piece more – as well as made me wayyy more emotional. I was simultaneously giggling because I’d actually never seen the use of puppets before. The huge snake that my classmate from Design II made was controlled by two actors at one point. They danced and swerved the puppet up and down in order to mimic the slithering motion of the creature – it was incredible. Other puppets included birds equipped with quirky voices and a wonderful beagle that seemed so real resting on the arm of one of the actors though its voice was presented by another actor standing next to them. I came away feeling equally unsettled, warm and inspired. Such an intimate theme played peekaboo through rather whimsical storytelling devices, making it easier to take in.

Though already having an idea in mind, I am now currently drafting a project of my own for Loyola’s second stage laboratory at full speed. Hopefully you will see it during my senior year. I guess this entire experience empowered me to push my involvement in the Loyola theatre community even more.

Such talent walk and have walked these walls. It is amazing to be among them.





Girls and Weight Training?

Girls and Weight Training?

A lot of times, there is a stigma placed on women who lift weights– associating them with ‘manly’ characteristics. This misconception that women should not lift weights and put on muscle mass is still largely existent today and is completely wrong. There are a lot of long term benefits to doing so, and solely doing cardio to lose weight can have deteriorating effects. As a Freshman at Loyola, my goal was to lose weight, but I depended a lot on cardio for that. I used to go for runs every day, and solely go to Halas for the cardio machines. However, I noticed that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. In addition to the goal of losing weight, I wanted to reduce my anxiety. As I faced a challenging Sophomore year, I began to take on a different academic route, and developed an interest for Exercise Physiology at Loyola. Developing my knowledge in this field, I began to experiment and try weight training, and it has significantly changed my life (literally). Here are 7 things that have benefited me, and can benefit you as well!

1. Lose Body Fat

Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. Studies found that the the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year!

2. Gain Strength Without Bulking

One of the most common reasons I used to avoid weight training as well as women in general avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training.

3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight training not only strengthens muscles, it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine. (Nowadays you see a lot of elders at Physical Therapy clinics, because they are attempting to increase their bone density!)

4. Reduce Risk of Injury

Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.

5. Burn More Calories

Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.

6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain

7. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress

Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.


I encourage you all to step away from this negative connotation of lifting weights, and consider it in your everyday lives. It helps short term and long term, and will make your workouts worth it, trust me.


Such a ‘Bler: Pizza with the Playwright – Alumni Phillip Dawkins

Such a ‘Bler: Pizza with the Playwright – Alumni Phillip Dawkins

Failure: A Love Story was a play written by Loyola University Chicago’s alumni, Philip Dawkins. This theatre season, Failure was produced by Loyola on the main stage in the Newhart family theatre. For me personally, it was a very meaningful event because I was seeing a graduate’s work after their graduation AT THE PLACE THEY GRADUATED FROM – MY UNIVERSITY – how surreal.  

In addition, it was even more special because our Dramaturgy Working Group had some time to chat with the playwright and educator himself about his show and adventures in the world of theatre thus far. I was quite nervous leading up to it but it was nice to see that well, he’s just like anyone of us: hungry for art and hungry take on the world one laugh at a time. 

He shared some things that really helped me, especially during this stressful sophomore and internship hunting period in my life: 

About making a living as an artist: You’re never going to make a living doing theatre, two of you will, maybe (he stressed this). But you need to go into it with that mindset and find a side job. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, you decide how far you want to take theatre in your life. You need to do whatever you need to do to keep your goals alive. 

About playwriting, writings block, artistic anxiousness: Just write, write it all, and then work from there.  

About getting out there and getting somewhere, anywhere: (this one surprised me, but really really helped!!) offer your contributions to theatres that are doing readings, even if you’re not an actor. Get yourself out there, introduce yourself, and then introduce yourself as the artist you are. There’s no harm in being known by another face. 

I then watched Failure that night, and well, I was even more amazed. But more on that in a separate emotional post. 




LUC PSA raises over $1500 for Dam Fund in Pakistan

LUC PSA raises over $1500 for Dam Fund in Pakistan

The Loyola Pakistani Students’ Association strives to recognize and alleviate the struggles endured by those in Pakistan, while raising awareness about its culture and beauty. Setting new goals every semester to raise money for those who are underprivileged in Pakistan, PSA decided to help provide for the Dam Fund in Pakistan. 

Since the recent election of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan has created a mission to raise as much money as possible for the dams in Pakistan. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan will dry up by 2025. Pakistan touched the “water stress line” in 1990 and crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005. The initial fear was that the country would reach the absolute water scarcity line by 2025 if the right decisions were not made at the right time. That time passed long ago. Water availability per capita in Pakistan has depleted to an alarming level. Past governments did little to deal with this massive crisis as it approached. 

Through many service events, PSA has raised over 1500 dollars and recently donated this to the Dam Fund in Pakistan. Just this past semester, events such as ‘Biryani Party’, ‘Lassi sales’ and the well known ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ contributed to this and through the help of its many members, were able to accomplish this goal. Shaadi Mubarak (Happy Wedding day!) was the largest event here at Loyola in November with around 200 attendees that recreated and experiences a ‘mock’ Pakistani weddings, ranging from the decor, food, dances, rasms (Pakistani wedding traditions), to even having a bride and groom play as actors! The purpose of this event allowed for students of all backgrounds to learn about the Pakistani wedding traditions and experience the excitement of it. It was a night to never forget, filled with colors, elegance, and love.

This is a very proud accomplishment of not just the Pakistani Students’ Association, but for Loyola as well. Loyola University creates learning communities that reflect the rich diversity of our global society and this is what truly makes the learning experience one of a kind.

Such a ‘Bler: A Night of Play-reading in Chicago

Such a ‘Bler: A Night of Play-reading in Chicago

You’d be surprised how many theatres there are in Chicago. My friends from THTR 204: Playwriting and I started out the week with a reading of Emma Stanton’s When the Tsunami Knows Your Name at the Jackalope Theatre on the Thorndale redline stop. It was only ONE STOP away from my dorm! The reading was directed by our playwriting professor Devon De Mayo (so we got in for free haha) and served as part of one of our assignments for the course. We have to see at least two play readings and write a viewing response for them. Frankly, I’m totally cool with that! 

Here’s a little blurb about the play from the event: “When devoted veterinary technician Ruby witnesses one stranger’s tragedy, she finds herself drawn to a new path, making precarious pacts with co-workers, a police officer, and an elegant dancer named Tsunami. Populated by pet-devotees and set in a city by the sea, WHEN THE TSUNAMI KNOWS YOUR NAME explores how unexpected tragedy can expose the beautiful and ugly truths about who we are.” 

Now, I would give you a more personal summary of it but I’m still too emotional – and well the above was beautiful said. But I was blown away. This was not only because the characters were prenominal and wonderfully casted, but because the theme and metaphors were very close to home. 

From my understanding the Tsunami represented a certain sadness that we all feel and how it can be so scary yet comforting. I thought intertwining this metaphor within the tsunami dance scenes of the play made the sensitive topic more approachable for the audience. And the intimate space of the Jackalope Theatre couldn’t have been a better place for this experience. 

I have another play reading left for this course, but my Chicago theatre adventures are definitely not stopping there! 




Phi Sigma Sigma’s Stroke Awareness Event

Phi Sigma Sigma’s Stroke Awareness Event

Playing bingo for a good cause? Sign me up!

In 2011, Loyola student Emily Johnson passed away from a sudden stroke. Among her activities she was involved with on campus, she was a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma, a Panhellenic sorority on campus. So every year they raise money to donate to Rush Hospital, where she was taken, and talk about the warning signs of a stroke to students on campus.

The culmination of their efforts is a Brunch and Bingo event, held just this past Sunday and catered by Panera. A $5 entry fee – or $15 if you also wanted a t-shirt – nets you the brunch and two bingo cards. 

The food was so delicious, as is expected of Panera. And the whole of Rambler Room was packed, which made me glad – I’m sure Phi Sigma Sigma raised a lot of money and was able to help out a lot.

All of the sisters were wearing red and white, and the tables were, as you can see in the picture, filled with red bows with FAST written on them – the acronym for stroke warning signs. Facial drooping. Arm weakness. Speech difficulties. and Time. All things to keep in mind when you may be having a stroke or seeing someone else – the imperative is to get them hospitalized if the FAS in FAST is noticed.

When it came to the bingo – I actually won! They hadn’t exactly calculated for two winners, so they only had three prizes left for the three rounds left (I don’t really know what was going on, it was possibly one of the most confusing rounds of bingo I’d ever played) so the other winner and I flipped a coin and she ended up with a bag of coffee beans and I got four free sandwich coupons to Potbelly’s. Seeing as I gave them to the friends I had gone there with and we made plans to go eat using them later, I think I was the real winner. But that’s beside the point.


In addition to prizes, they also had a raffle to call winners who could then purchase bigger prizes, like a signed Blackhawks jersey or tickets to a Bulls game.

All in all, it was a lovely morning, and I’m glad my money was well-spent – both on breakfast for me, and for Rush Hospital, doing good in the world.

Swap for Spirit

Swap for Spirit

I love my Loyola gear. In my freshman year, I must have gotten like ten or so free tshirts just by going to different events, and it’s a great story to tell.

And my collection has only grown from there. I’ll admit, it’s not the largest collection – a lot of the shirts from freshman year are now tired from being my workout clothes, but I try to get a new piece of gear every year. I got a scarf during my sophomore year, and since I was abroad my junior year (although I did get gear from both universities I went to) I made up for it by getting two things this year – a new hat, and a fleece jacket. Yeah, it can get a little chilly here, so I gotta get things that can keep me warm, right?

But how, you might ask, do I get… more? And for cheap?

The bookstore can run pricey, I know. There are two ways a lot of students get their gear – going to sports games where they hand them out for free, and going to Swap for Spirits! Sports games are nice because you usually just have to be one of the first 500 students or so to show up, which isn’t that hard. My roommate must have three or four Loyola hats just from doing that.

Swap for Spirits, on the other hand, is way faster. You can take any piece of clothing – it says other universities, but I had a really good friend who just traded in a plain white shirt, and they’ll replace it with Loyola gear! Just last week, Alumni Relations had one for hats.

Cute, right? Easy as pie. That’s Loyola for you!

Starbucks or Dunkin Coffee?

Starbucks or Dunkin Coffee?


Just writing this makes me so stressed because I ask myself everyday, do I like Starbucks coffee more or Dunkin Donuts? First off, what do I even order to make that judgement, right? Well, I am basing this off of pure black coffee y’all. Before I get into which one is ‘better’, lets explain why I even drink black coffee. For many years, I was that person who would say “ew! You drink black coffee???” So I would get my regular cream and sugar with a typical sweet flavor added into it and that got me through the day pretty well. Yeah… it wasn’t long until it started making me really nauseous and uncomfortable. (Lets keep in mind, I am lactose intolerant). So how do I know which chain is the real deal when it comes to black coffee? We can add the fun syrups and flavors later, but lets base this judgement on the actual coffee now.

Well for starts, if you are in the mood for just a regular cup of coffee, then it depends on your taste of the companies’ original coffee blend. Starbucks’ coffee tends to be very strong while Dunkin Donuts’ coffee tends to be more watered down. I personally prefer a Dunkin’ Donuts cup of plain coffee compared to Starbucks IF its just for my daily routine. I usually grab a Starbucks if I need something a bit more strong, like for an exam, quiz, or long day.

When it comes to the special-flavored drinks, I definitely have to give it to Starbucks. Starbucks offers a wide variety of flavored coffees. I personally love the pumpkin spice and caramel brulee latte. Dunkin’s special flavored drinks aren’t that great to me.

Hands down, Dunkin’ Donuts definitely beats Starbucks when it comes to the iced coffee. When I would drink flavored coffee, I survived on caramel iced coffees.

Dunkin’ Donuts is cheaper than Starbucks so it wins in this category. Starbucks drinks can be really expensive and sometimes you need to rely on those Starbucks gift cards to get you through these difficult times.

So to be honest, I can’t say one is greater than the other. I have apps for both of them. I go to both of them. I spend a lot of money on both of them. I enjoy both of them (at different times). If you need recommendations as to what to get from either one of them, let me know! I definitely have had more than just black coffee!

International Law at Loyola

International Law at Loyola

I’ve considered a lot of careers in my life, from my distant dream of being an astronaut to the classic dream of becoming a princess. As one does.

I made a previous post about my history department and the workshop they offered to think about grad school or post-grad life. Today I bring you news from my Global and International Studies department, who teamed up with the Political Science department, to bring in a very prominent professor from Loyola’s law school to speak about international law. I was blown away, to be frank. Professor Gathii was inspirational, not just from his words but from his actions, too. I mean, he went to Harvard and has a million other accolades they listed off as they introduced him.

I couldn’t take a very good picture because I was focused on taking a lot of notes and really absorbing what he said. He spent a lot of time talking about different ways students could get involved and stoke their interest in international law, which was really exciting for me. Plus there was pizza, so even though I had eaten breakfast about an hour ago, I still took advantage of the opportunity. That’s college life for you.

Thanks to this talk, and although it hasn’t been long since I attended it, I think I might just be reconsidering law again. I really stress that there are countless opportunities at Loyola one should take advantage of. There’s a talk coming up soon about the environment in the Middle Ages in Europe that I wish I could attend, but it’s right when I have a class! Keeping busy has never been easier, not when I learn so many new things and get so inspired.

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow

Local Fave Restaurant: XO Marshmellow


How do you like your marshmallows?

If you say: I like them when there’s a whole store dedicated to them, then you’re in luck! I may have written about this place years ago, when it first opened up, but I think it’s always good to bring the attention back.

XO Marshmallow is, at best, a ten minute walk north of campus. It has sweet treats and photo-ready decorations for anybody! Although the space is small, it manages to feel a lot bigger with the airy lightness of the colors and the delicious, fun treats they have for sale. A friend recently brought me a marshmallow pop from there and it was so good. A sign of a true friend, bringing me something just because!

Truth be told, I think they are a little magical in there. They invent all sorts of delights, from funfetti marshmallows to marshmallow turtles – and foods for those with dietary restrictions as well, so nobody has to miss out on the happiness. I’m always tempted to go up there and get a coffee or a hot cocoa, especially on days like these!

Check out their website here or pop by yourself when you come visit. Be sure to check their hours first, since it’s a small business they’re not exactly open all hours of the day, but it’s a local Rogers Park business that’s totally worth a visit.