A “Normal” Chicago Weekend

As I pass the midway point of my semester here in Chicago (still in shock that it’s over halfway done!) my roommate and I have sort of realized it’s been a while since we had a “normal” weekend. What I mean by that is basically that the last 4-5 weekends I’ve either gone out of town (I went to Philly and back to Hope for homecoming), had friends visiting, or was deathly ill with the flu. Excluding the whole flu thing, these weekends have all been super fun! But it also had both of us missing the beginning weekends when we had no real plans and could just explore and enjoy the city however we wanted. So this weekend I had my long awaited “normal” Chicago weekend.

Except for the fact that it really wasn’t normal. It was Halloween weekend and the Chicago Cubs are playing in the World Series. So the city was absolutely insane. Being here for all the baseball hype is so surreal. I have loved experiencing the crazy energy and love that the city has for this team! With so much happening this weekend I definitely felt the pressure to do as much as I could and I think I did a pretty good job!

On Saturday we lucked out with some seriously amazing weather. I took advantage of this insanely warm weather by taking a short run down to the beach. I love being so close to Lake Michigan, it makes me feel like I have a little bit of home with me here in the city.

After that I changed and got ready for this event called Soul Pose. My friend, Maddie, encouraged me to sign up and I’m so happy that I did! Soul Pose prides itself on being “the happiest yoga class in the world” and with bubbles, neon black lights, body paint, and crazy costumes, it really is! Because we arrived a little late (tip to the wise: add time to your public transit commute on these crazy weekends) so we didn’t totally get to experience the body paint, but we tried to do a little before walking into the class.


After an hour of happy yoga, I made my way home for a quick change and then it was out to Wrigley Field to experience some Cubs craziness! My friend, Sami, invited me to join her at a friends apartment in Wrigleyville to watch the game. The apartment was so close to the field we could actually see the ballpark lights from the porch! It was super cool. Getting down to Wrigleyville was a little less cool, however, and I was very grateful that she met me outside the train station as it was totally nuts down there. We managed to get a couple photos outside the stadium though so it was definitely worth the crowds

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Despite the less than ideal outcome of the game, it was still fun to be by the field and experience the craziness of a World Series game.

After the game I made the trek home and got to see some of the Halloween festivities too. Our apartment is right around the corner from a strip of several different bars that were all participating in a Halloween bar crawl. So on my way home I got to see a myriad of different costumes including: a middle-aged man dressed as the Tooth Fairy and his wife, the tooth, a giant T-Rex, and a very elaborate Jessica Rabbit.

Overall, it was a super fun Chicago weekend, even if it wasn’t exactly “normal.”

I’m 21 and I Still Want My Mom

It’s been a week since I’ve last posted a blog entry, but when I think back to how I spent the past seven days, I truly have nothing noteworthy to say for myself. You’re probably thinking, “how is that possible?! You’re so fun and interesting!” Why, thank you, my hypothetical reader, and while that may be true, it’s actually because the last five days I’ve had the dreaded flu.

Thankfully, I am finally feeling better today, but this was probably the most sick I have felt since being in college. And as much as you may think you’re a high rolling adult, getting sick as a dog has a lovely way of reminding you that you’re not actually that independent and you still want your mom when you’re sick. I encourage you all to go get flu shots because, trust me, you do not want this. However, if you find yourself to be too late to the vaccination party and are already experiencing the joys of all over body aches and eliminating the contents of your stomach, here’s a nice little how-to-survive extreme sickness when you’re not at home.

1. You will get better. 

Around day 3 of this illness that I initially suspected would last a mere 24 hours, I actually texted my mom (in complete seriousness) saying I would never get better. Is that completely ridiculous? Yes. But 3 days of being bedridden, especially when in a tiny apartment or dorm, can make you go a little crazy! So, as much as it seems like you’re doomed to a constant state of illness, don’t let the crazy get to you: you will get better, be patient.

2. Crush Some Water Bottles.

I, admittedly, do not drink enough water. In fact, I’ll often go an entire day and realize I haven’t had a single sip of water. It’s not like I drink other things instead, pop, juice, milk, etc. I really just forget to drink anything at all. Because of this, a couple times a week I usually find myself dying of thirst in the middle of the night. My roommate eventually got used to hearing me at, like, 2 a.m. fumbling around until I found a water bottle and drinking it so quickly that the plastic made a sort of crunching sound so loud that it would wake her up. She deemed this bizarre action of mine, “crushin’ water bottles”, and that, my friend, is exactly what you need to be doing in order to get better. Feel free to be more environmentally friendly and sub in a CamelBak or reusable water bottle, but the point is you have to hydrate up!

3. Stock Up on the Goods.

And by “The Goods” I mean the good movies. Some movies just have the power to make you laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy, even if you’re sicker than a dog. A few of my personal favorites include:

  • Princess Diaries
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Trainwreck
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Shrek

4. Do NOT Listen to Salt-N-Pepa.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, look up their song Push It. What I mean by this is, don’t push it. You may be thinking you’re feeling a million percent better and are ready to run a marathon, compose 12 symphonies, and solve world hunger, but take it slow, big thunder. The worst thing in the world is when you do too much and end up relapsing into your sickness all over again.

5. Call Home.

While your friends will definitely feel bad for you and do their best to make you feel better, no one is going to feel worse for you than your parents. And sometimes, you just need someone to pity you. So call your mom, call your dad, shoot, call your grandma! Let them dote over you and give you more advice on how to feel better. Full disclosure: I called all of the above listed people. I needed the sympathy.

So, while it’s definitely not ideal to be sick away from home, it sort of makes you feel like a real adult. It sucks and it’s awful, but you got through it, on your own! Today, tackling illness on your own, tomorrow maybe you can pay some taxes and invest in the stock market! You got this adult living thing!

The Truly “Magnificent” Mile Internship

As a Magnificent Mile intern I get access to some pretty cool opportunities. We have monthly membership events at various members venues, for instance, last month we had a membership event at Lou Malnati’s where we were able to network with prominent Michigan Avenue business while eating pizza and tiramisu. Not a bad deal!

Another really cool aspect of the job is the intern project called “My Day on the Mile”. The project allows each intern to chose six members to visit and experience then write a blog post to feature on our website. Choosing which members to write about was definitely not easy considering we have over 700 amazing members to chose from, but I finally narrowed down my six choices last week.

My first member I selected was The Art Institute of Chicago. Today I was able to meet with one of the marketing employees for the museum who arranged a one-on-one tour for me, completely free of charge. Getting to experience the museum with someone who really knew all about the art and the exhibitions was absolutely incredible. There were so many things I learned that I wouldn’t have learned simply walking through on my own.

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One of the coolest things I got to do was try out the MyJourney experience. MyJourney is a new interactive experience that launched just last month specifically for families to enjoy the museum in a brand new way. Essentially, guests can pick from several different journey “themes” such as superheroes or fashion.

After choosing a theme, you’re taken through five different rounds of choices. For instance, my journey was a fashion journey so I was first prompted to pick a hat/headdress to go see in the museum. I could choose between paintings featuring exceptional hats, crowns, suits of armor, and more. After making my decisions, MyJourney found the best route for me to see all the art I had selected and was printed out for me to fold into an origami shape and take with me around the museum. At each stop there was an activity to fill out in my MyJourney booklet. At the end of the journey, kids are encouraged to return back to the start where they can receive a prize for completing their personalized journey.

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From a marketing perspective, I was totally impressed with the way the museum has worked to make art interactive and modern for kids. It was also an opportunity I would have known nothing about had I entered the museum on my own.

Another really cool exhibit I saw was The Thorne Rooms. To me, this is a must see if you chose to go to The Art Institute. Imagine a room just filled with tiny dollhouse rooms, that’s basically the The Thorne Rooms are, except they recreate rooms from history, ranging from the 13th century to the 1930’s. Each room is recreated to be completely accurate to the time period, meaning that the tiny chairs you see in the 17th century rooms are really made of mahogany. I could’ve probably spent an entire hour in this exhibit alone, but when you’re visiting a museum that is over one million square feet, there’s some pressure to see it all!

Being able to experience the museum in this incredibly personal way is just one of the many reasons I love my internship at The Magnificent Mile. They work so hard to give their interns the absolute best experience possible and it definitely shows. So there’s my shameless plug for:

  1. The Chicago Semester
  2. The Magnificent Mile Association
  3. The Art Institute of Chicago

I encourage anyone and everyone to check out all three of these great organizations!

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All About That Brotherly Love

As much as I love my dear Chicago, I said goodbye this weekend and headed out to check out the hype behind all that brotherly love, aka, Philadelphia. My roommate for the past three years is doing a similar program to The Chicago Semester but based out of Philly, called The Philadelphia Center. So, this weekend I made my way east to pay her a visit!

My trip actually began early Friday morning because my boss let me have the day off to go on my trip, and when I say early I do mean early. I left my apartment at 5:15 and woke up at 4:30 a.m. Typical morning, right? But this was actually good because it meant I got to spend almost all of Friday exploring Philly!

My roommate, Sammie, lives in this super cool loft with three other students, because unlike Chicago Semester, she had to find her own housing so she had her pick of apartment, loft, high rise, etc. For any of you New Girl lovers out there, her loft totally reminded me of the show, especially since she lives with two guys. After she showed me around her building, we headed out for a very full day! The weather wasn’t great, much to Sammie’s dismay, but we still found plenty to do.

Our first stop was at Revolution Taco, a really cool restaurant located in Center City. I am totally obsessed with any and all Mexican foods so I was all about this lunch spot. After gorging ourselves on chips and guac and, of course, tacos, we decided to do some shopping. I was unaware that Anthropology, Urban Outfitters, and Free People all originated in Philly and thus all have huge stores right downtown. Despite being poor college students, these are three of Sammie’s and my favorite stores so we absolutely had to go check them out.

Anthropology was 5 stories tall. Yes, you read that correctly, FIVE stories. This, in combination with the fact that we totally loved everything in the entire store but couldn’t afford a single thing slightly overwhelmed and depressed us.

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This is a photo of Sammie’s overwhelmed reaction upon falling in love with every item in the store. All three of the stores we checked out were gorgeous and we spent a good chunk of time just photographing the aesthetic of the space. We definitely looked a little odd.

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After window shopping we decided to check out an ice cream place in Washington Square that’s known for it’s rolled ice cream. I was a little confused about what this actually meant until I saw it, but basically they flatten the ice cream out completely, put a whole bunch of toppings inside, and then roll it up! I’ve never seen anything like it but it was absolutely amazing. Sammie said there is usually a line all the way down the street, but the bad weather actually worked in our favor and we were able to walk right in.

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Sammie got an Oreo ice cream and I got a pretzel, chocolate, and peanut butter combo. Note that I had to take a bite before we took the photo. I was very excited.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘Okay, you went to one of the most historic cities the United States has, and all you did is shop and eat?’ and my answer to this is ‘yeah, sorta.’ But we did try to get a little history in too! We saw the Liberty Bell on our first day exploring and made our way over to the art museum to see the iconic rocky steps on the second day.


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Overall, it was a super fun weekend exploring a brand new city! It was also sort of fun to be able to compare the two domestic study abroad programs and see how unique and different they both are. While I’m 100% happy with my decision to study in Chicago, Sam is loving her Philly experience and I’m so happy I got to see what it was all about!

Getting My ‘Tourist’ On

Working 9-5 almost every day definitely has made me appreciate weekends even more and especially being in the city there’s a lot of pressure to be out and doing fun things all the time. So this past weekend my roommate, Dori, and I decided we were going to make the most of our Saturday and headed out for a very full day.

Our first stop was Elly’s Pancake House. This place is definitely presenting a problem for both my wallet and waistline as it is open 24 hours a day and located a mere two blocks from my apartment. Because we woke up with one word on the brain: PANCAKES, this place seemed like a no brainer for brunch. We had their famous chocolate chip pancakes and an egg skillet each. I wasn’t kidding about it being a problem for my waistline. It was definitely worth it though. If you’re ever in Chicago area I’d highly recommend you make your way over there. Who doesn’t love all-day breakfast food?!

12715997_992616877451922_5545382198292301702_oWhen we finally managed to roll ourselves out of the restaurant we decided we wanted to head over to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo itself is on the smaller side, but is really cool because it’s completely free! It also has a beautiful view of the city combined with the green space of the park.

A funny side note about this zoo experience: The night before we were talking to a couple of the students participating in The Chicago Semester who are from Norway. They were telling us that their word for “raccoon” translates in English to “washing bear” which we all thought was extremely funny. Because this got such a reaction out of us Americans, the guys decided to see if they could trick us into believing some more ridiculous translations. They spent a good 10 minutes telling us that the word for “lion” translated to “big screaming cat” among other crazy translations. So while Dori and I were at the zoo we had our eye out for some “big screaming cats”, which we did end up seeing!

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When we decided we’d had enough “Vitamin Z” for the day, we decided to head to a museum Dori had been wanting to check out. It’s called The Driehaus Museum and it is essentially just a preserved mansion from the Gilded Age right in the downtown of the city! It was definitely pretty cool to get to see this beautiful home preserved and looking exactly as it would have in the 19th century. The home was absolutely beautiful and after spending a day sweating at the zoo I definitely felt underdressed for such a gorgeous home, but thankfully the museum employees we’re incredibly kind and welcoming regardless of our appearance.


By this time we were feeling pretty exhausted and decided to make our way back to our apartment, which we arrived just in time to participate in The Chicago Semester’s progressive dinner. Basically the staff gave six students money to provide either a dish, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts. As poor college students, this was an idea we all throughly supported and did our best to fit almost all 35 students in the program into our tiny studio apartments to enjoy the food.

Overall, it was a pretty successful day. Dori and I were definitely proud of all we accomplished and had fun exploring a bit more of the city!

Working Girl

Even though I drafted my last post about a week ago, it seriously feels like it’s been months since I’ve posted! Our days are so busy that it often feels like a full week within one day. Thankfully, that’s exactly what I was hoping when I moved out to the city so it’s been perfect!

In my last post I had really only spent a couple days at my new internship. Now that I’ve been here a week I feel like I can actually give some insight into what I’m doing. First of all, the transition to working eight hours a day, four days a week has actually been a bit more strange than I would have imagined. Being a student there’s so much time between classes where you go back to your room and take a nap, or hangout with friends, or even just grab a cup of coffee, but working (almost) full time you’re basically there all day.  As someone who throughly loved those small breaks within the day, the adjustment has been a little weird! Thankfully, I really enjoy my co-workers and feel like I’m getting the hang of it more and more every day.

My first week has been a total whirlwind because The Magnificent Mile is actually launching a new website this coming Tuesday! So that essentially meant getting totally thrown into work right off the bat, making sure everything looks 100% for the launch this week. My fellow interns and I spent almost all week plugging in events from now until December into our events calendar so people visiting the site can see what’s happening all around the city. Doing this for about eight hours every day did lead to some occasional slap-happiness, especially when my Norwegian exchange student co-worker was tasked with finding information on Chicago’s infamous Blue Man Group, a show that is definitely a little strange to most Americans but was completely ridiculous and odd to someone not from the U.S. I believe her exact quote after looking at several pictures of the Blue Men was, “Umm…I think that is a very strange person who would want to do that….” I can’t say I disagree with her.

As if launching a new website wasn’t enough to keep us busy this week, The Magnificent Mile also helped put on the annual 5K and Half Marathon, Run Mag Mile, this past Saturday. This event had us down in the city at 6 a.m. ready to help wherever we were needed. Mainly we unwrapped the medals and handed them out to runners after completing the half marathon. This was an incredibly humbling experience as someone who cannot run more than 3 miles. I actually met a man who finished the race at 71 years old. Yeah, like I said, pretty humbling.

While my time has been a bit crazy so far, I definitely like the internship so far. It’s cool to get a “behind the scenes” look at how much goes into the marketing of different events and venues. In all honesty, I just feel really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to intern at such a unique and cool place. This is again, my plug for people to do The Chicago Semester. (I swear, they didn’t tell me to write this!!) It really is such a fun once in a lifetime experience and I can’t wait to keep sharing with you guys!

Week One in the City

Well, guys, I made it to Chi-Town and let me tell you, it has already been so much fun! I feel like I don’t have much credibility after only a week, but I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about the Chicago Semester. My first week has totally been a whirlwind, but I’ll give you guys a few highlights!

1. Orientation: Senior Year Edition

So, like any program, the Chicago Semester had it’s fair share of orientation events. But unlike the occasionally awkward orientation of freshman year, the Chicago Semester really went out of its way to plan super fun and unique events for us to get to know one another. That being said, we did play one ice breaker. It sort of had to be done. Throughout my orientation weekend I not only got to know my 30+ classmates, but also got to know the city! Part of our orientation process was to divvy up into small groups, where we were each assigned a staff member to show us a unique neighborhood of Chicago. My neighborhood was Little India, where we got to eat a traditional Indian meal, get henna tattoos, and explore some of the local shops selling sari’s. I even got to try one on!

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2. Day One of My New Job!

So this past week I started my internship at the Magnificent Mile Association. This semester my job will mainly consist of planning the big lights festival parade that happens at the end of November, and I am already so excited about it! My first day was mostly spent reading and learning more about the association itself, but I can already tell it’s going to be a great environment to work in. My supervisor and the other employees I’ll be working closely with are all young and super inclusive of both my and my fellow interns which is really nice. The only real downfall of the job is that I work right on Michigan Ave. – a.k.a. shopping center – of Chicago. It’s definitely going to be a test of my will power to not walk through the 3-story Forever 21 every day after work, but hopefully I’ll be able to make it!

3. Exploring the City

Since orientation usually finished by 1 p.m., it gave me and my classmates quite a bit of time to explore. So over the course of one week I’ve: gone to a game at Wrigley Field, watched fireworks off of Navy Pier, laid out at the beach, and got brunch at a few local restaurants near our apartment! The city has so much to offer and I can’t wait to keep exploring and pack as much as I can into this semester!