Five Coffee Shops to Try This Winter

You’ve got five papers to do and you need to get in the zone — but how? If you’re anything like me, you know that a good coffee shop is the cherry on top to the perfect study session. Here’s a list of five super neat coffee shops that’ll appease that perfect study atmosphere we all crave:

  1. The Wormhole Coffee (1462 N Milwaukee Ave)
    1. This little coffee shop is completely ’80s-themed. Into Back to the Future? This is the place for you. They literally have a DeLorean mounted at the back of store surrounded by walls of 1980’s nostalgic memorabilia. Plus, you can get your coffee in a Star Wars themed mug. The wifi password? It’s stored on a 5″ floppy disk.
  2. Bourgeois Pig Cafe (738 W Fullerton Ave)
    1. If you’re a DePaul student, you’ve probably already heard of Bourgeois Pig. Located just a few blocks from the quad, it has an incredibly cozy vibe, sandwiches with literary names (“The Sun Also Rises”, for example), and it’s super peaceful and quiet. It’s the perfect place to completely immerse yourself in schoolwork.
  3. Heritage Bicycles (2959 N Lincoln Ave)
    1. If you combined a Pottery Barn catalog, a bike shop, and a coffee joint, you’d have Heritage Bicycles. This bright cafe doubles as a bike store, offering all your cycling service needs. Plus, their lattes are to die for. If you’re in need of a sunny atmosphere with a chill vibe, head over to this place, stat.
  4. Goddess and the Baker (33 S Wabash Ave)
    1. This all-day cafe is definitely a hidden gem in the loop. Their hot chocolates and banana bread slices are both superb. Also, here’s a tip: their happy hour is from 5 – 7PM every day, which means all their food items are half off!
  5. Wired Coffee House (3508 North Broadway)
    1. Wired is absolutely my favorite place to tune out the rest of the world. A hidden treasure, the place doesn’t look like much outfront, but inside they offer a really easy going atmosphere with plenty of seating and board games to boot. Also, they have a really solid selection of international coffees!

Now that you have this short and sweet list, go out and study, DePaulians! These coffee shops definitely won’t disappoint!

10 Fun Things to Do in a Cold Chicago

I don’t know about you guys, but winter isn’t necessarily my favorite season. I can deal with autumn — in fact, I really like autumn because of the mid-60’s temps — but winter in Chicago is pretty brutal. To help ease the chilly pain Chicago brings along with it during the cold months, here’s a list of 10 fun (and totally cheap) things to do in a frost-bitten Chicago:

 

1. Ice Skate at Millennium Park

  • Who doesn’t love ice skating? I mean, if it’s cold, you might as well be doing something fun with the cold, right? From November to March, Millennium Park offers free ice skating daily. Bring your family or a couple of friends to good ‘ol Millennium and enjoy a day of gliding (or, in my case, falling) next to a bunch of super cool Chicago monuments.

 

2. Journey Through the Lincoln Park ZooLights

 

  • Listen, I know Lincoln Park Zoo is next to Lake Michigan and I know that means the wind chill makes the cold that much worse, but ZooLights is worth it. First of all, it’s free, and secondly, you can walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo looking at a bunch of really impressive light sculptures while Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” plays in the background.

 

3. Visit the Art Institute

 

  • First of all, the Art Institute is indoors and that means warmth, but secondly, it features a bunch of timeless pieces of art from all over the globe. If you haven’t been, it’s a definite must. Dedicate a day to it at least, because you’ll get absorbed in all the artwork pretty quickly. Plus, you can use your Demon Discount here! It’s totally free for DePaul students.

 

4. Explore the Chicago History Museum

 

  • Like the Art Institute, the Chicago History Museum is indoors and toasty (because that’s the most important part, right? Just kidding… kind of). If artwork isn’t really your thing though, the Chicago History Museum is the place for you. Demon Discounts apply here too — free admission!

 

5. See the Garfield Park Conservatory

 

  • The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of my favorite places in Chicago, honestly. If you’re constantly seeking some sort of image of thriving vegetation and life, take a day trip here. It’s free and the whole thing’s under huge, beautiful glass greenhouses.

 

6. Shop Around Water Tower Place

 

  • Water Tower Place is one of those shopping malls you expect to go into for 30 minutes and, in reality, you end up staying for about 3 hours. No shame, though — the place has about 95 attractions (including Food Life which is a definite must).

 

7. View the Macy’s Window Displays

 

  • The Macy’s Window Displays have, for me, been the quintessential epitome of the holiday season. Even though the holiday’s are over, stop by and check them out. It’s outside, but with the months of hard work that goes into them, totally worth it.

 

8. Catch a Movie at AMC Theaters

 

  • Going to the movies is, without a doubt, my favorite thing. Food, comfy chairs, and a giant movie screen all in one place? Yes, please. Best part? Demon Discounts apply at AMC Theaters too. Also, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out right now and if you haven’t seen it you really, really need to. It’s amazing.

 

9. See a Show at The Second City

 

  • I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like laughing and really funny people. Fortunately, Second City provides both of those things, and it’s accessible via Demon Discounts. Enjoy a night full of giggling and stop by to see some of Chicago’s funniest.

 

10. Grab a Cup of Hot Cocoa at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

 

  • Ok, I’m a bit of a hot chocolate aficionado, and Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is some of the best I’ve ever had, ever. Guys, there’s 9 different types of hot chocolate (I didn’t even know that was possible?!); from the classic Old-Fashioned to Eggnog to Affogato (which has this coffee cocoa ice cream that I literally dream about on a daily basis). Plus, getting a nice, warm cup of hot cocoa is great way to end a day full of activities.

 
Sure, Chicago’s cold weather isn’t something to get super excited about, but the activities provided by the city during its colder months are, without a doubt, some of the best. Get out there and enjoy it!

My First Time Back Home From College.

By Guest Blogger: Madison Page

So you never really know what to expect when you return home from college for the first time. I envisioned… stepping off the plane, walking to baggage claim, and having my parents waiting with signs that read “WELCOME HOME MADI” and me running into their arms. No. This is not exactly how it played out- let me just get one thing clear that fantasy of mine – never happened.

What really happened was me getting off the plane, walking to baggage claim, lugging my two heavy bags alone, waiting on the curb of LAX with a homeless man badgering me. Home sweet home LA. Well, then my mom arrived with a bag of Five Guys and she was like – “Madi, you’re driving home! I want to eat!” and I was like great to see you too! It was like I never even left, and I loved it.

Once I got home I gave my dad a huge hug, then my dad, mom, and I talked for around two hours about my whole other life in Chicago and how much I missed them. Then, Will came home!  I rushed into his arms and I couldn’t believe it – my sixteen year old brother had facial hair, but not only that, his voice changed, and he has muscles now! Ahhh the worst part – HE IS TALLER THAN ME. I was so shocked… I couldn’t believe it. The pest of a little brother I’ve grown up with is now taller and stronger than me (how much time had past?).

It was a realization that now when we get into fist fights I will probably lose (like most brothers and sisters do, right?). Such a depressing thought, I never thought the day would come when I wouldn’t be able to beat my little brother anymore.

Also, another thing I never thought I would appreciate so much is, my dad’s cooking. Yummy!! He has always been an amazing chef , but the transition from STU food for months to a home cooked meal, it was pure heaven. I ate so much food when I was home because it tasted like it was food for the gods. He made Chicken Piccata for my first night back, and let me just tell you that I had three pieces of chicken, but a part of me died and went to heaven…so it was all worth it. Home cooking will forever be my favorite food. Whereas before I went to college my favorite food was In-N-Out Burger. If it was possible I would marry home cooking! What a great trip home I had, can’t wait for the next time.

Credit:

Photo created using canva.com and photo from www.goodwinhouse.org

Farewell… it’s been real.

By OSI Blogger: Jacki Licciardi

This will be my last blog post for the Office of Student Involvement. It can be hard to say goodbye, especially when you have worked with some pretty incredible people. I have been working as the Program Assistant for Social Media and Leadership Development for around 7 months now, which doesn’t seem like that long but it feels like it’s been years. I have learned much more than I had anticipated from the students and colleagues in this office!

Writing this blog had me thinking about how saying goodbye isn’t really goodbye, it’s see ya later. The time I have spent working here and the two years of graduate school at DePaul will always remain a vital part of my life. Not to mention that I will still be here every Monday for class which means I will be stopping in to visit – often!

I am part of the marketing team here in the Office of Student Involvement which consists of me the social media coordinator, Nicole who is the graphic designer, Jorge who is the web designer, and Kristin who oversees it all as the Program Coordinator for Educational Programs and Communications!

Over the past 7 months, I have learned a lot from each of them and I would like to share this wisdom with you all.

Nicole is one of the most talented individuals I have ever met or worked with.  Nicole is a very inspiring person to be around and she is both confident and unique. Nicole has shown me the power of persistence.

Jorge is one of the most hardworking and dedicated students I have seen. Jorge is a master multitasker who manages his coursework in web design, his role in the Student Government Association and Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., and still finds time to dance in Ritmo Dembow for DePaul and work in the office. I have learned from him that hard work does truly pay off.

Last but not least, Kristin… I have been so lucky to have her as a supervisor for more reasons than I can even list. She is the type of supervisor everyone dreams of having one day. She has consistently challenged and supported me both professionally and personally throughout my time here. Kristin brings the most positive and encouraging energy to work every day-yes, every day!

I leave you with some of my favorite “goodbye” quotes… “Farewell, it’s been real.” – Jacki Licciardi

“Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye”
― Beyoncé Knowles

“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.”
― Dr. Seuss

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

Read more goodbye quotes…

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/goodbye

Credit: Photo created on canva.com

What Games You Should Be Playing Today!

By Guest Blogger: Spencer Albin

One of the best benefits of attending a college larger than the high school system that you attended is that there are a lot more people with interests that are similar to your own as well as a lot of people that are experienced with things that you are a novice to. This allows you to both reinforce existing interests and branch out to learn about and explore new interests!

There are many organizations at DePaul to help facilitate this process. This is also a great way to meet new people and potential friends, which is the primary objective for many people during their first year at college, including me. Already well into the winter quarter, I am happy with the friends I’ve managed to make so far. I was fortunate enough to become friends with my roommate, Cole. Through him I was able to meet several other people including another one of my good friends, Scott. I also met many people through my classes, which is nice because it allows me to say hi to them in passing. I’ve also made friends through my classes, though almost exclusively through classes for my major, Computer Game Development.

There must be something about the people in these courses that separates them from the majority of people in the other classes. It doesn’t take long to figure that out; we all have a passion for games and everything to do with them. Games are something that multiple people can experience separately and instantly relate with each other. They provide a lot of content to talk about with other people. Even sharing the games you like and dislike allows a glimpse at your personality. Gaming is an inherently social activity, therefore I believe they are the best method through which to get to know people and become friends with people (and also have a lot of fun by doing so).

I think that there are a lot of people that still characterize the ‘gamer’ as belonging to the societal fringe; a person that has no friends and sits alone in a room…most of the time. I would like to say that even among the hardcore section of gamers, there is an incredible variety of people that are as social as they are diverse. Everyone can be a gamer in their own right. You just have to play games! Speaking of, there is tremendous variety when it comes to games and they are not limited to digital devices; there is a huge tabletop game market nowadays, ranging from simple card or dice games all the way to full scale role-playing games.

Not sure where to find a game that would interest you or how a game plays? Consult the Internet. You should be able to find a number of games that are fun and suit you. Now get some people to play with!

I mentioned before that playing a game gives you an experience that you can relate with someone through. In some form or another, playing games, especially with other people, builds comradery. Playing games is a great way to spend a night during the weekend and is often overlooked by people that typically do other things. Scott and I recently spent a Friday night playing a notoriously difficult platformer called Spelunky together. The amount of entertainment we got out of the experience both brought us together and gave us a great start to the weekend. I could go on about other games that I have spent hours playing with other people, but I think you understand how games can be great to make friends through.

DePaul has a large community of gamers, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the largest student organization on campus is DeFRAG (Check em out: http://defrag.depaul.edu/ ). The DeFRAG meetings are a perfect place to meet people and learn to play new games at the same time. It is open to everyone, even if you’ve never played any games before. Plenty of people would be willing to teach new games to you and help you out while you play them. If you haven’t played many games before I suggest going to at least one of these meetings or to someone you know to play a game, any game. You might find that you have been missing out on a completely unique experience.

The two main points I am trying to make with this blog are… First, to offer people a way to meet new friends and have fun. Second, to encourage people that don’t consider themselves to be gamers to branch out and play a few games. Both gaming and starting your college career are things that start out uncertain and rough. However, after some time has passed and you receive guidance, it evens out and becomes easier to do and to enjoy. With that I will leave you with some table games that run the gambit of complexity but are definitely fun. It is by no means a comprehensive list of awesome games, but it is a list of games that I like. Maybe you’ll find one to your liking!

 Tabletop Games that I’m sure you’ll like!

  • Left-Center-Right – A simple one die gambling game where one lucky winner takes the pot.
  • Cards Against Humanity – Think Apples to Apples, but dirtier. For those that aren’t familiar with Apples to Apples, it is a game where players alternate drawing prompt cards and choosing the card that best matches it. The other players submit the other cards.
  • Fluxx – A card game with a simple premise: draw one card and play one card per turn, meet the goal to win. However, there are cards that change the rules and steal victory from the other players. Available in many themes.
  • Munchkin – Munchkin is a sort of role-playing lite game that primarily uses cards and does away with much of the complexity and time typically needed for RPGs. It is really fun once you get the hang of the basic rules. Loot the room and stab your friends in the back! (Also has a large variety of themes.)
  • RISK – You can take over the world, enough said. More seriously, RISK is a classic strategy game that I like to play a lot (because I win most of the time).
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill – A B-rated horror movie in a box! If you like the kind of horror movies that take place in creepy old houses, you’ll probably like this! It is another RPG lite and is one of the most unique games I have played. It has fifty different possible haunts!
  • Settlers of Catan – A strategic trade and economy game set on the island of Catan. This one can be a bit more complex for new players, but like any game is more fun once you’ve played it a few times. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for premature terminations of friendships due to playing this game!

…Spencer Albin is a freshman at DePaul studying Computer Game Development. Spencer is also a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE Team!

What To Do If You’re Feeling Home Sick.

By Guest Blogger: Alden Claire Knight

Something I’ve noticed at DePaul is that I always get mixed reactions when I tell people where I’m from. Generally, the consensus seems to be that people react with mild surprise. Others react loudly. Some don’t care. I mentioned previously that I was from North Carolina. I also mentioned that I disliked it.

North Carolina isn’t the most shocking place to come from. I’m picking up on the “what-an-anticlimactic-place-to-live” vibes I’m sure you’re experiencing right now.

Something you need to note: North Carolina is pretty far away. 2 and a half hours by plane; 12 and a half hours by car; 76 hours by bike; 249 hours by foot (not that I’d ever do the latter two). I can’t take the next Metra ride home or pack my overnight bag into my mom’s car. What I’m getting at here is this: when I’m homesick, it’s pretty tough.

No, I’m not saying I regret my decision to come to Chicago. In fact, I’ve frequently thought about what a great fit it is. But everyone longs for home sometimes. You can’t deny that sometimes you just want to snuggle up on your couch (in my case, with my dog) and watch your favorite movie. You wouldn’t decline the opportunity to get pampered by your mom or veg out with some high school friends. Maybe even visit your favorite childhood park or walk that trail behind your house that you loved when you were little.

I’ve recently discovered that what seems like well over half of the student population at DePaul are from the suburbs (or aptly, “the ‘burbs”). When asked on the first day of class where they’re from, classmates of mine will usually name a suburb and then either mention its distance from the city or its directional location in the state. Most in-staters nod in agreement, mentally adding another suburb to what seems like a never-ending suburban list. Nearly all of the friends I’ve made go home most weekends. This stifling tidbit of information hadn’t even crossed my mind until a friend of mine approached me a couple of weeks ago asking if I had gotten homesick at all this quarter. The reason she asked was because I was the only other person she knew who had come to DePaul from a state farther than five “driving hours” away.

Truthfully, my longing for home was far more difficult this quarter than last. I found myself feeling lonelier than ever when I came back from winter break and I noted that my calls home had practically doubled. It could’ve been a seasonal thing, or really just an “adjustment to college” thing, but I think it was my recognition that almost everyone I know here has the capability to go home whenever they feel like it. Friends of mine will mention how excited they are to go home for dinner and get a home cooked meal, or they’ll express their need for a haircut from their hairdresser whose known them for eight years. I realized then that I was jealous. Jealous because if I need a haircut, I have to go find someone I’ve never met. Or if I want a home cooked meal, I’d have to find a restaurant that specialized in that kind of thing. Of course, it’s not my friends’ fault in the end. They can’t control where they’re from. If you had the option of going home whenever you felt like it, who could blame you.

I realize looking back on this now, homesickness comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I want to spontaneously purchase a plane ticket and take the next flight home, but other times I’m super happy that I’m not in North Carolina anymore. It’s totally normal to feel this way, especially when you’re really far from home base.

During a rough patch when my longing for home was nearly unbearable, I made a list of things I could do to make myself feel better. I’ve tested some of these tricks, and most of them seem to work. Recently, for example, my mom and I have been watching our favorite shows together while simultaneously reacting via phone call.

Another item on the list included getting out of the dorm and seeing friends to take your mind off things. If friends aren’t available, take a walk around Lincoln Park (dependent on weather). We’re fortunate to be in a really beautiful part of Chicago. Exercising helps for some, and I know looking at old photos can bring back some great nostalgic memories. Compiling a care package for a loved one or friend from back home helped me a lot as well (I know I’m not the world’s best “feel good guru”, but these things worked for me).

My favorite, though, was to make a playlist of songs to unwind with. I’ve included one that I put together at the end of this post for you DePaulians who might be going through the same thing. Just remember, being homesick is totally normal. It’s going to get better. Enjoy…

Chicken Soup for the Homesick Soul (2)

Chicken Soup for the Homesick Soul:

Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone

Hero – Family of the Year

Piledriver waltz – Alex Turner

Seaside – The Kooks

The Commuter – Jeremy Messersmith

April Come She Will – Simon & Garfunkel

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths

Take Care – Beach House

Blue Skies – Albert Hammond, Jr.

17 – Youth Lagoon

…Alden Claire Knight is currently an undeclared Communication major however, intends to pursue a degree in Communication and Media Studies field with a concentration in Radio, Television and New Media! Alden also enjoys any film by Wes Anderson, with her favorite being Moonrise Kingdom!

You’re so nice. Minnesota Nice!

By OSI Guest Blogger: Erin McGrath

minnesota2

Enjoying the vibes of Minnesota.

I was born in the state of Illinois, Elk Grove Village to be exact. Living in the area of Elk Grove and also Joliet during my childhood. I grew up going to catholic school and living what I considered to be a normal childhood. Near my eighth birthday my parents had gotten a divorce and my mom decided to move to Minnesota with my step dad, where I had to make the decision of whom to live with. For any child in this non-ideal situation it can be hard to choose one single parent to live with especially being at such a young age. I had chosen to live with my mom and create a new life in Minnesota.

From what I remember Minnesota wasn’t such a scary place for me when I had first arrived, I was a very outgoing child, which did make it easier. On top of that, I thankfully had enjoyed my new Dad and siblings, whom made me, feel very welcome in my new family.

Not to mention that I now lived in the state that had the Mall of America! At the time, being as young as I was it was a great time because they had a theme park called “Camp Snoopy” with rides that related to the Peanuts characters and that’s not all… they also had a play area related to General Mills where you could make your own Cereal! Every child’s sugary dream!

As time went on…growing up in Minnesota, I started to associate myself more with Minnesota than Illinois, I was from Minnesota! In my eyes Minnesota and Illinois have some differences. I never noticed them in my younger years going back and fourth to visit my dad here in Illinois. It wasn’t until I started being here full time as a college student that I began to notice the differences.

Of course the first one being, the accent, obviously I had never noticed it while I was in Minnesota but once I started introducing myself to people all that changed. I would get comments like “Oh my gosh your accent is so cute!” and I would be so confused because I never thought I had one. Also I had certain words that as Minnesotans say differently because of our thick “O’s” like “about”, “home”, etc. At first I was very conscientious about my accent and tried my best to sound “normal”, but realized I loved my little “O” sound I had in words and also didn’t want to lose sight of my roots in Minnesota.

It has been nice being back “home” in the city of Chicago but I do see those differences. The city of Chicago is a very cultured place with such rich history and many different people fill the city. The atmosphere is also very different. Seeing that I grew up in a place that is referred to as an area where everyone is extremely nice to one another…Minnesota Nice. Every now and then I will mention to people that I’m from Minnesota and they’ll respond with “It’s so weird how nice Minnesota people are” when I hear that I really never know what to say because shouldn’t everyone be nice when you first meet them?

minnesota

Just one of the many beautiful views in Minnesota.

The atmosphere in each Chicago is full of buildings and sights to see, while Minnesota (where I grew up) and surrounding areas are very environmental sights with those sights being bluffs and of course the 10,000 lakes. So the big picture is much different.

Whenever I visit these sights in Minnesota I get a nostalgic type of feeling that just gives me peace of mind. My friends and I always come together and talk about our different sights… we refer to them as vibes. Being in a place like Minnesota, the vibes are again very nostalgic because of its great beauty. Not saying that Chicago is not a beautiful place because it truly is a great place and I love being here, but at times when I want to get away I see myself going back to Minnesota because of its environmental beauty and vibes.

Well with that said, now that I am in Chicago for studying at DePaul University, with the possibility of making this my home after college once again. I am very excited to possibly make Chicago my home again, even though my bank account might not be happy about it.  I will never lose sight of my home back in Minnesota and will always make sure I visit whenever I’m stressed because Minnesota is set as my ultimate happy place.  I do hope that people will enjoy my Minnesota Nice style while making Chicago my home.

So I have been living in Chicago for a few months now and the ironic thing is that while I was on break in Minnesota, I was telling my friends and family things like, “I can’t wait to be back home” or “Back home we have…” Which is why I can now say that I can’t wait for what the city has to offer me and what lies ahead for my future.

“Home is not a place- it’s a feeling” – Anonymous

chicago

Erin and her new home – Chicago!

..Erin McGrath is a current freshman at DePaul studying Health Science. Erin is also a member of Delta Gamma Eta Pi Fraternity!