Tag: Christmas

The Three Parts

The Three Parts

When The Prestige first came out on DVD during my sophomore year in high school, I happened to be flying back from a trip to Israel. Because of this coincidence, it playing on its own channel during my 12 hour flight from Jerusalem to New York. The movie is just over two hours, and they played it about 5 times. I watched it every single time.

The reason for this high school throwback at the beginning of my annual “Look what an awesome time I had during my winter break this year!!!11!” post is that throughout my holiday break, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ending of the movie.

We hear Cutter (played by Michael Caine), explaining that, “every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts.” And, if I needed a quote to describe my winter break, that was it. It was grouped into three different segments of time and every one felt just like magic.

Part 1 (aka Livin’ the Dream)

Christmas at a children’s hospital!

During the first week and a half of winter vacation, all my dreams had come true. I was able to limit myself to four activities: 1. watching cheesy CW television shows; 2. sleeping; 3. working Christmas shifts at the hospital; and, 4. sleeping some more.

After my semester filled with at least 48 hours without sleep at least once a week and countless commitments to take care of, it was so nice to go to work in the afternoon, watch television all night, and sleep all day.

I know that it sounds like working over break wouldn’t be very fun, but surprisingly, it was a blast. Since I work at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, we constantly had Santa and his elves dropping off toys for our patients. And we got to wear awesome holiday themed headbands!

Part 2 (aka JewFest 2013)

Last year, I spent Easter Vacation in Miami, Florida with one of my best friends. Since she had visited me at Loyola our freshman year, we wanted to go somewhere different for what we have now decided is our now annual reunion.

Our destination for junior year: New York!

Reunited…and it feels so good!

We ate, saw, and did so much over the 10 days we were there.


…inadvertently ended up spending New Years Eve in the penthouse at the Waldorf Astoria


…went to the American Museum of Natural History

…continued to eat

…saw Peter and the Starcatcher


… and reunited with many of our old counselors from the camp where we first met each other about 10 years ago.

While New York and everything in it is pretty ballin’, seeing all of our old friends was definitely the best part of the trip. We saw staff (including my first counselor, who I hadn’t seen since I was 10!) and other campers who we used to be in awe of, whispering to each other, “OhmyG-dohmyG-dshe’sSOCOOL.” And the best part…they treated us like real grown ups now!


Part 3 (aka Cabin in the Woods)

Finally, with one weekend to spare and after only 2 days back in Chitown, I went up to my mom’s cabin in Minocqua, Wisconsin with my two friends, Maureen and Scott.

We had originally planned on going skiing, but that fell through when the snow did. However, we still had as much fun as three kids alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere could have. Spoiler alert: it was a lot.

Wilderness Explorers!

We watched an obligatory we-are-three-kids-alone-in-a-cabin-in-the-middle-of-the-woods horror movie, in addition to cooking meals, convincing family friends to give us free meals, going hiking, and even playing some pretty intense Scrabble. It was the perfect.

Even though I’ve cut down on my commitments (maybe i’ll actually get sleep now!) this semester, I still have a long ways to go before summer vacation. I’m really grateful for the chance to rejuvenate before I dive back into school life, and I can’t wait to see what Spring 2013 brings me!

Photo 1 attributed to myself

Photo 2 attributed to myself; used with permission from the ballin’ Rachel Niederhoffer

Photo 3 attributed to, and used with permission from, the lovely Batyah Weiss

Photo 4 attributed to the grown up Koz; used with permission from Maureen “Cool Cat” Burns and Scott “I Haven’t Been Scared Since Alien” McCoy

Get Those Thinking Caps Back Under Those Winter Hats

Get Those Thinking Caps Back Under Those Winter Hats

Even though Winter Break is officially over, I clearly did not get enough sleep because at 8:00PM Monday (the first day of classes), I realized that I’d been wearing my sweater backwards all day. What a warm welcome back!

Now that I am done laughing at my silliness, it’s time to get back to my Loyola blog. Since my last post, we’ve had Christmas, New Years, holiday parties, and snow (well, kind of). Here are the highlights and lowlights of Winter Break 2012-2013:


  1. The Saturday before the New Year, I was lucky enough to say goodbye to 2012 with my mom at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin, where we went snowboarding/skiing. The slopes were awesome, and I was ecstatic that for the first time in my life, I didn’t fall once while boarding. I started getting very tired by the end of the day, so unfortunately we left earlier than either of us hoped, but I didn’t want to end my streak with one of my classic dramatic falls that, though they tend to come out quite graceful, give me a headache and turn me into a five-year old with a bad mood.
  2. New Years Eve was one of my best ever. I spent it with my best friend and my boyfriend, along with a bunch of other friends (and people I didn’t know). We began by listening to the B96.3 music countdown (is anyone surprised that “Call Me Maybe” was number one?), and when we got home, we turned on the New York New Year’s countdown on TV. We welcomed the New Year with lots of hugs and laughs before falling into a deep slumber for the first time in the New Year.
  3. Though some may find this highlight not so fun, being able to consistently go to the gym was a huge highlight for me. I kept up with my workout routine, even when cookies were a great temptation, and for that, I’m really proud of myself. I credit my workout regimen as the reason that I didn’t fall when I went snowboarding because my strength, flexibility, and balance have all gotten better in recent months. Don’t agree that this is a highlight? Then clearly you don’t work out enough.


  1. One lowlight was the fact that I didn’t get to work more hours during Winter Break. Though it gave me plenty of downtime, I was looking forward to logging more hours while I could because we all know it’s not fun to be a broke college kid (not that I’m broke…).
  2. Another lowlight was that there were several activities that I didn’t get a chance to do during break. I wanted to go sledding and ice-skating and build a snow fort, but the weather was uncompromising. Chicago’s lack of snow this year meant that the snow fort and sledding ideas have been put on hold, but I’m still holding out hope that we’ll have a nice snowfall before the winter season ends.

This winter break was a short one, done before I could even blink, but many great memories have been created from it. Let’s cheer for a great end to one thing, and an even greater beginning to something else, our Spring 2013 semester!

Who Says You Need to Spend a Lot of Money on XMAS

Who Says You Need to Spend a Lot of Money on XMAS

While I started my Christmas by heading home with the family I quickly came back to Chicago to give my girlfriend her first “real” Christmas. To put this simply she has never had a stocking and never had that special feeling when you come out of your room to see a tree with presents. While I am fully aware this is not the real meaning of Christmas, it is nice to have this type of experience once in your life.

I was on a budget though, $50 to be exact for dinner, decorations and presents.

First mission, presents!

When I was home I found this treasure at Disneyland, only $4 after an employee discount. Our first movie and probably the one that best describes us is “UP.”

Not quite as easy this was made and the wire was purchased for $2.

I also included a photo album, a cheesy coupon book and earrings.

Oh and don’t forget a stocking full of random things that reminded her of the cutest moments in our relationship.

Next Step, Decorations!

Went to the consignment store down the street and found it all for a total of $30 this included the fake tree, lights, stocking and ornaments!

Finally thanks to Aldi market I managed to put together a great dish that she would love as well. After boiling potatoes, I pan fried lemon marinated tilapia and topped it with caramelized onions and cranberry sauce!

I am happy to say it was probably the most work I have ever put into a Xmas and I look forward to not being a college student so I can do it the way I would prefer.

In comparison this is what I did at home.

Lets just say I like Christmas!

Christmas Break Is Here!

Christmas Break Is Here!

I returned home to Cleveland, Ohio last night.  I only had three finals and three papers, so it wasn’t too bad of a finals week for me.  I’m looking forward to Christmas time, as my family goes all out for Christmas.  Check out our Christmas tree! Happy Holidays!

A Little Touch of Christmas

A Little Touch of Christmas

Yesterday, I got an e-mail telling me I had a package and needed to come to the mailroom to pick it up.

Getting a package is a big deal for me, especially when no one told me to be expecting it in advance.

I headed to the mailroom and got the package. Inside, was a small, purple Christmas tree! I was so happy. While I’m at college I always miss out on the decorating, lights and other holiday festivities that my family does at home. I stretched the branches of the tree, got it plugged in and placed it perfectly on my kitchen table.

This tree really got my roommate and I in the spirit. We made the best playlist of our favorite Christmas music and listened to it while we decorated our room with paper snowflakes, candy cane lights and pictures we drew on computer paper. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a college dorm room and it’s cozy enough.

Along with this, various signs of the holiday are staring to appear throughout this city. The nativity scene is displayed outside of Loyola’s Mundelien Center, the annual lightigning of downtown and Christmas parade on Michigan Ave. took place about two weeks ago and I am noticing more and more Christmas music every time I walk into a store.

Can’t wait for even more festive surprises as December is just two days away! Happy Holidays!



While my Christmas break did not officially begin until December the 16th, I fell victim to an early check out.  My sister, who is a freshman at Creighton University in Omaha, came to visit on the 14th and 15th.  So, instead of burrowing myself inside the IC to review months of anthropology (and thus 10 million years of earth history), my sister and I toured the Loyola campus as well as the notable parts of the city.  What a stunning place Chicago is around Christmas.  Needless to say, as soon as I strolled out of my final exam Friday afternoon, I was more than ready to begin break, and what a break it was.

I began my break with a visit to Kansas City to see some friends that attend Rockhurst University, KC’s own Jesuit University.  Together we all attended The Fray concert at Midland Theatre (a beautiful place) before staying at my friend’s house for the night.  Though it was only a one-night affair, it was a great opportunity to come together and meet with friends I do not get to see all too often.  It was time well spent.   Upon arrival home, I fell into a state of inactivity that lasted until Christmas Eve.  For the five days leading up to Christmas, my days consisted of waking up (preferably after noon), reading the mystery book I was wrapped up in (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- not normally a book I would read but very interesting and.  I would not recommend it for the faint-hearted), and eating meals with my family.  On occasion I left the house, but only under dire circumstances: a haircut, lunch with friends or a trip to the movies.

However, this hibernation of sorts would not last the entire break.  After Christmas and the festivities surrounding it, I began to shake off the laziness.  I had the chance to go to a few Blues hockey games….wins, which by the way, they are red hot right now as they make their push for the playoffs.  I also did some running with my friend who attends Rockhurst.  We are training for the St. Louis full marathon, so it was vital that we run a few times over break.  One of the nicest parts about break is that the weather was warm and enjoyable.  Though many may complain that it was not ‘Christmas weather’, I was entirely fine with that because on occasions I would go run around in the park in shorts and a sweatshirt.  It was perfect.

By the time the New Year had started, I was back to the active lifestyle I am used to.  I spent one night at a friend’s farmhouse laughing and playing music with some friends, Loyolans, as we wished one of our own ‘Ciao’ (as he was leaving for Rome in a few days).  I was also slated to leave St. Louis earlier than most.  In fact, my last day was January 8th.  So, on Sunday morning at 6:40 AM, I boarded train No. 302 headed for Chicago.

Best Winter Dates

Best Winter Dates

It is that time of year. Lights fill the streets, trees are found in the windows, snow is starting to fall and it is time to take a girl on the best possible date ever. I’ve noticed that winter offers the best possible dates available. Let’s not kid ourselves, a dinner and a movie date is lame and cliche. Here are some of the outings I’m personally looking forward to trying and the best ones that have worked in the past.

1. The Perfect Night in the City – So it starts with ice skating at the Grant Park rink. Don’t be confused this is not the same as the rink in Millennium Park. Behind that rink a block down is another smaller rink that is half the price, has a better view and lacks the crowd. Then walk down Michigan Ave. pass the beautiful sights and end at the Hancock center where you can take her to the 96th lounge for drinks and desert above the entire city. From there you really have the best 360 view of the city and the food is amazing.

2. Evanston Light Contest – For this date it would be best to start with dinner at one of the smaller restaurants in Evanston. Then after a nice dinner take her through the local neighborhood and look for the best decorated house. During this time a couple Christmas songs together would lighten up the mood. From there the rest of the night is up to you.

3. Zoo Lights – In Lincoln Park you will be able to find plenty of perfect restaurants to take your date. Either way after dinner is where the fun starts the zoo turns all the Christmas lights and they have random arts and crafts placed throughout the zoo that you can do with your date. Yes it is a bit childish but personally I love pretending to be 10 again and I have never had a date that does not love going to zoo lights. Plus, you are at the zoo and many of the animals are still out to be seen.

4. Dinner and a Movie – This is not the normal dinner and a movie, on a night that is cold and snowing the best thing to do is stay inside and who better to be with than that special someone. To make it a perfect night simply make her dinner to start off the night, move to some hot chocolate and end with a Christmas movie of choice.

5. Christmas Tree Watching – On this date after dinner downtown at the restaurant of your choice take her around the city and look for the best Christmas tree (this could also apply to decorations in general). Maybe stop and see Santa, definitely walk by Macy’s and just a prior hint the best try is always at daily plaza. But this date is set up to give time to talk and enjoy the Christmas spirit.

No Explanation Needed

No Explanation Needed

Okay, I guess A LITTLE explanation might be needed to accompany these delicious pictures. Along with the rest of Loyola’s student population, I decided to take a quick break last night before the IC, review sessions, studying and, ultimately, finals take over my life for the next week.

That’s why, when my friend, Emily, invited me to her aunt’s annual Christmas Dessert Party (yes, you read that correctly – a party dedicated entirely to desserts), I had no problem saying yes.

I won’t taunt you with details of the marshmallows, carmel corn, yule log, berry cake, brownies with whipped cream or cheesecake on a stick – all homemade – but I will tell you that it was just as delicious as it sounds.

And now I leave you with these pictures from last night, which make me smile and provide me with a great reminder of my supportive community of friends as finals week, and the end of any hope of sleep, fast approaches!

Future roommates!

All Pictures – Attributed to Emma Cook

Volunteering Pays Off In The End

Volunteering Pays Off In The End

While in high school I volunteered randomly in my community because it looked good on college applications or because people always would say, “it’s a good thing to do.”

Ever since coming to Loyola though I have found myself volunteering much more for no reason other than I just want to. Why the sudden change you ask? Well I attribute most of it to the amazing friends I have made in college. My friends are constantly brainstorming new ideas for service work such as  mission trips, fundraisers, and how to recruit people to help out at the soup kitchens.

Christmas On Campus was one of these events that my friends founded and somehow convinced me to help out with. It was this past Saturday and it was such a success! This was the first annual Christmas On Campus so no one knew exactly what to expect.

How many kids will show up? How often should we have a group perform on stage? Will the Loyola student volunteers ditch? How are we going to deal with upset children?

These, along with countless others, were all questions we were asking ourselves up until about 11:00 a.m. Saturday when the volunteers started arriving. To my surprise everything went very smoothly and we had tons of people come out for the event! The gym was full of awesome Christmas decorations (which we had stayed up till 3 the night before putting up) and the children looked so happy.

I will admit, Friday night at about 2:00 a.m. after about 4 hours of decorating and setting up I was questioning my decision to join my friends in administrating this project. It was taking a lot of time and effort that I easily could have put into school work or other leisure activities.

Once Saturday morning came around though, I knew I was grateful for the opportunity to help with the event. The Christmas cheer that I saw in these children’s faces and the enjoyment of everyone in the gym was amazing. It was the coolest feeling to know that I helped make it possible.

I am already looking forward to Christmas On Campus next year and have some ideas on how to improve it!

Alex Bosech and Nic Herman on stage at Christmas On Campus
Baby It’s Cold Outside

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Last week saw the first official snowfall in Chicago!

Not as excited as I am about this? We should consider ourselves lucky. Here in Chicago we had some big, wet flakes that did not stick to the ground. I got a text from my mom around 11:00am. It was a picture of my house back in Michigan with a blanket of snow over it!

There is nothing like snow to get you in the mood for Christmas. My friends and I finished our night with popcorn and the movie Elf. I love Christmas even more than I love snow. It is not yet Thanksgiving but I am definitely in the Christmas spirit.

My house in Michigan covered in snow!

Loyola's still green campus after the snow.