Life Lately: Adventures in Chicago

Adventures in the Chicago, the Windy City

Believe it or not, I do sometimes do other things than just sit in my apartment. I actually go out into the city I live in: Chicago.

Shocking, I know.

When I moved, one of the things that really excited me was the endless opportunities of things to do.  There is a list of typical touristy things that I wanted to make sure I did, as well as some things that just looked fun. Just because I live here doesn’t mean I can’t put on my fanny pack now and then, right?

Which led to the Bucket List. My friend Anne created it with another friend, and I kind of invited myself along. You know, as one does.  There are so many typical Chicago things to do, and not nearly enough time!

Thankfully though, the last few weeks have offered some free time (thanks to catering season being sloooowwww) and I managed to get a few things done:

The Bean

After missing out on ice-skating the first time, my friend Brianna and I paid a little visit to Millennium Park and the infamous Bean back in December.  It was an unusually humid and warm, so the city was coated in fog a la Typical Chicago, resulting in some really eerie pictures.

Adventures in the Chicago, the Windy City

If you’re able to go in daylight, I highly recommend it. Make sure you take super touristy mirror selfies of yourself in the Bean, or you can just be weird and go for the “The Pisa” like I did circa Summer 2014.

Adventures in the Chicago, the Windy City

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

Right near the usual little rink in Millennium Park, there is a larger ice ribbon in Maggie Daley Park.  After an accidental fancy dinner at Tavern on the Park, where Anne and I, (AKA two broke girls) split two appetizers next to tables of established adults who ordered $30 steaks– it was time to test our skills.

Adventures in the Chicago, the Windy City

I actually took figure skating lessons when I was young, so I was super excited to go skating again.  Apparently skating is NOT like riding a bike, as I learned.  We hugged the railing the first few laps, and got passed by 10 year olds, which was definitely not a blow to the ego or anything.

Thankfully, as things got more comfortable, I started trying to go “fast”, skate on one foot, and go backwards. I’m proud to say neither of us fell, though I did almost, but caught myself rather impressively. Also managed to take a bow for all the on-lookers who were laughing at me after almost-falling. Happy to entertain, ya know?

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley is free if you supply your own skates, or $12 to rent them.  Though it was a workout (my butt still hurts and this was 3 days ago?) I would definitely go again.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Got treated to an improv show! In celebration of our 5-year Friendiversary, Amanda I went out for drinks and then a show in Andersonville.

Adventures in the Chicago, the Windy City

(Let’s all take a moment to grieve for my pale princess skin tone. It’s only January, and it’s only going to get worse. #INeedATan!)

The group is called the Neo-Futurists, and they put on a show where they try to complete 30 plays in 60 minutes. It was a mix of a little bit of everything, but mostly humor. It was really funny, and also had some super touching parts.  Fun Fact: This show has been running since November 1988, making it the longest running show in Chicago. The plays change every week and are written by the performers. They’ve premiered over 9,000 2-minute plays since the show opened 27 years ago!

For me, the highlight was definitely a skit about the MegaBus, where they specifically mentioned “Toledo, Ohio” as being crappy and in the middle-of-nowhere, and I died laughing. Even in Chicago, everyone knows.

If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend coming to check them out.  It was a cool show, and you could tell the actors really love what they do, which always makes it more fun to watch.


Next up on the Chicago Bucket List is a deep dish pizza tour, and some other things that don’t excite me nearly as much as the idea of a deep dish pizza tour. Pizza? Yes, please!

Got any ideas for things to add to our Chicago Bucket list? Leave them in the comments!


Favorite Winter Red Polish

I don’t know about you, but the after-Christmas slump of winter is hard for me.  There is virtually nothing to look forward to for months.  Nothing to feel festive about, other than hoping your toes don’t develop frostbite as you walk home.

So it’s no surprise I went back to a dark red nail polish mood. I’m pretty sick of my last bright orange red I wore during fall, and wanted something warm and cozy but also super low key. Winter is a time that I am constantly trying to slap lotion on my entire body.  And ain’t nobody got time to wait for their nails to dry when it comes to trying to combat alligator skin.

Favorite Winter Red Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure | Candidly Kelsey
Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line is one of my favorites.  The fat brush gives a super easy application, and the formulas are always great.  They last forever with only minor chipping.  Perfect for winter when you’re shoving your hands in and out of gloves and pockets all day.
I discovered this shade “Maasai Red” at my mom’s house– and after this post goes live, she’ll realize that I promptly stole it from her after Christmas*– and I’ve been obsessed ever since.  It stays on forever, only takes two coats to get a good opaque color, and is the perfect deep red that screams winter to me.
I’ve already reapplied three different times since Christmas, and can’t imagine I’ll get sick of this one for awhile.  Add a coat of Essie Gel Setter Top Coat (which I’m having a loving relationship with at the moment) on top, like pictured, and I feel almost like I’ve got a salon manicure.

Not that you can see it, anyway. My hands are in gloves.Got a favorite winter nail polish? Something other than red? Let me know in the comments.

*Sorry Mom, I did not mean to steal it.  Accidentally left it in my purse after taking it with me to Aunt Connie’s. Total accident, I swear. Total happy accident.


Sitting Pretty in the City

Sitting Pretty in the City - Chicago, IL. View of downtown and Lake Michigan from the steps of The Field Museum.
I had several startling realizations lately, so allow me to share them with you:
  • I am becoming a tad bit of a local now. (Which, I’m sure even calling myself a local negates the whole “being a local” thing, but whatever.) I have been living in Chicago just shy of two months, and successfully went to several different places in the past week without using Google Maps to guide me– including navigating public transit.  Big steps, kids.
  • Walking around the city in the fall is the best thing ever. I spent a few hours just exploring yesterday.  Sun shining, wind blowing, wearing a blanket scarf, and carrying coffee. I passed a ton of puppies, attractive runners, and gorgeous orange and red trees.
    I even stumbled into a thrift shop that I will be visiting quite frequently now. Not only do the proceeds from the sales go towards a local hospital, but the shop was the perfect over-crowded hod-podge of stuff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I spent less than 10 dollars on a bag full of things, and am sure I will be going back all the time. Bonus points that it’s on the way to the closest train stop, which means I pass it everyday.  Dangerous and wonderful!
  • I swore I wasn’t going to waste money on fall decorations because a) I probably can’t afford them, b) my apartment is roughly the size of a large closet, so why waste the space and c) I’m just kind of lazy.  But then I found a bag of tiny pumpkins at the grocery store, and I may have blacked out a little because now my apartment is covered in tiny pumpkins.


Sitting Pretty in the City - Chicago, IL: Decorating a tiny apartment with tiny pumpkins is quick, cheap and easy.


  • It is finally Giraffe Onesie weather.  Let us all rejoice.
  • You can buy candle-making stuff online for so cheap that it will make you wonder why you ever spent $16 dollars on a scented fall candle.  This may or may not be foreshadowing to what is about to happen next. You have all been warned.
  • I have been reading a self-help book that I will not disclose the name of because #embarrassment but it’s making me THINK things and question things and wonder if how I am approaching life is the right way and oh my god, the quarter-life crisis is coming early, folks.
  • I miss my Kroger “Amaretto” coffee creamer so badly that I am thinking of having my mom ship me some college-style. Who knew moving to such a wonderful place would mean giving up SO much?
  • And finally, baseball is so confusing. I’m trying hard to follow the Cubs and their quest for glory (right? Isn’t that how we say it in sports terms?) but I just can’t make it work. They’ve lost to the Mets twice, but apparently there are 7 games? Why 7? Who decided this? Where can I find a brochure on how this all works? Is there a class?
Anyone with sports knowledge want to help me out?  I’m sure this is necessarily knowledge for my quest to find a husband. Thanks in advance.


Ya Girl is Employed

A little over a year ago, I visited Chicago again after recently deciding that I hated the city.  Then I saw the other parts of Chicago, and all the potential it had.  I saw grass, and trees, and cute little homes that I had no idea existed when you walked away from the sky scrapers and giant hoards of people.  During a walk around the neighborhood, I decided that I was going to move there.  It was shortly after this picture was taken.

Fast forward to today, September 21st, 2015, I have officially accepted a job offer in that city.

Praise coffee and the gods of Google for allowing me to get to this point in my life.  And also college, mom and dad, and my cat, who really did nothing but should be thanked anyway because why not?

Although this has me feeling all sorts of deja vu, because I will be working for a very small nonprofit that will just barely pay me, so I’ll be getting another job.  What, 2014 Kelsey, is that you? Who let you into my new apartment? I just couldn’t turn down the chance for the experience, and everything I will learn in this new job.

This feeling is completely opposite of last week.  Flashback to last week’s disgruntled rant about working for the common good but receiving nothing for it, which is still totally true.  But now I’m feeling far less pessimistic, and far more opportunistic about all the world has to offer.

I love fresh starts, and for the first time in the month that I’ve lived here, I can breathe easily knowing that this new start was not a horrible mistake.  I have a job, I live in a city that is new and exciting, and I finally feel like I am making something of my adult self.

Anyway. This got really real really quickly.  Apologies.  A massive amount of relief has equaled this outpouring of sincere feelings, which I hate.  Feelings are gross, but if you hold them in, they tend to make more feelings and it’s just a vicious emotional cycle.  Let the feelings out, and stay above the influence, kids.

Morale of the story: put good vibes into the world, receive good vibes back.  Take a chance and don’t be afraid to fall, because what if you fly instead?  Think in color, not in black and white.  Fart glitter.  All that good stuff.

Peace, love, and business casual.


Hitting the Field

Chicago, The Field Museum, vikings, dinosaurs, museums, educational chicago

After sending out enough resumes the get my entire graduating high school class hired, I took a little break today.  Luckily, some friends had the day off too so we decided to hit the The Field Museum.

I’m a huge fan of museums, but it has been a long time since I’ve been to one.  It was an afternoon of culture and me holding in so many jokes about how phallic some of the exhibits were. The giant screen full of all the creatures popping out of the the ocean floor… I mean, come on.

I really enjoyed the Viking exhibit, because I honestly knew nothing about vikings before.  Apparently they’re not rude and aggressive sailors who wear those horned hats with big yellow braids sticking out of them.  They’re real people who lived in villages, farmed, had families, and had really good hygiene– and no, I’m actually not kidding on that one.  Combs were apparently a big deal to them.  They also had real human bones in this exhibit, which was cool as crap too.

My second favorite was the dinosaurs though.  Obviously.

Chicago, chicago museum, chicago land marks, dinosaurs

We all know dinosaurs were giant, but I love seeing the slightly smaller ones.  Like prehistoric horses that were about as big as a dog.  Can you just imagine a little horse running around your house and playing fetch?

But playing with the big ones is cool too, I guess.

Chicago, chicago landmarks, dinosaurs, sue, educational chicago

Tomorrow is back to business with a few job interviews lined up for the rest of this week.  Think happy and employable thoughts for me!  And leave your favorite Chicago educational landmarks in the comments for me.  I want to get through them all!