Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Days

Friday, January 23, 2009

Playing Journalist

When I was in the 6th grade, we had week of costumed dressing called "Spirit Week." There was twin day (you and a friend had to dress identically), pajama day, and school colors day. The day I was most excited for was Career Day. You see, I always knew I wanted to be a writer and while others were dressed as lawyers in three-piece suits, I came to Lincoln College Preparatory Academy dressed in jeans, a yellow t-shirt and carrying my V-Tech Kids Laptop.

When people asked me what I was supposed to be, I tapped the computer and said, "I'm a journalist." Without the laptop the entire costume was rendered everyday wear.

Flash forward 13 years and I'm still wearing jeans and carrying around my laptop in the hopes of becoming a journalist. But now that I've been out in the field, I think I need another prop to make this iteration of journalist work.



Kimchi Blue Briefcase Bag, $68 at Urban Outfitters.

It is so hard to stay organized when you're doing interviews on the street. Nothing turns people off more than anxious fumbling in too deep pockets and apologies for said anxious fumbling.

I picture myself reaching into this bag to whip out my voice recorder to ask people questions about health policy or gang activity in their neighborhoods; the fact that it can be worn messenger bag style is appealing as well - no straps sliding down my shoulders as I try to write in my note pad.

If you have to dress for the job you want, then this bag would definitely be the finishing touch on my journalist costume.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Era

I didn't cry at the rally, but I did today.

Image and "count up" of Obama's presidency available at Is Obama President

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Dream Deferred

I originally saw this on and couldn't think of a more fitting way to begin celebrating two historic men.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Story Telling

I was always a consumer of media before I started journalism school, but now it seems my hunger for news and new media has reached dizzying heights.

As part of the program, lecturers in different fields (i.e. broadcast, radio, etc.) talk to my class about where media is going. In an information heavy age where bloggers can get press passes, what is journalism? Who are journalists?

My definitions seem to be a lot more pliable than some of my fellow classmates. There seems to be a print, hard news bias that I can understand but don't necessarily consider a hard fast rule. One of the things I like most about journalism and new media is the storytelling aspect. You get to hear other people's stories and share them with others; your audience can take that information and apply it to their own lives however they choose, whether as a story to share around a dinner table or as a point of reference for whatever they're experiencing.

With all this in mind, my interests have shifted in the two weeks I've been at Medill. I originally wanted to do long-form features writing. Now I'm hoping to get a foundation in good writing, ethics, and how to find a story, but focus more on how to package information for online audiences. Videography, audio/video slide shows, web development, etc.

Because things like Tumblr version 5.0 get me ridiculously excited (there's that word again) of where journalism can and will go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Put It On the Refrigerator

I'm going into Week Two at Medill, and it is as hard as everyone said it would be. My first week was a very humbling and eye-opening experience; I'm more excited about going to school and learning than I have been in a really long time. I'll go as far as saying Border Star Elementary was the last time I was this amped to go to class. Despite the weather and other issues I won't blog about, the experience has been great in the "Please sir, may I have another?" kind of way.

I'm getting spanked by AP style and I kinda like it.

Anyway, I have less time to devote to blogging about Chicago but I'm trying to stay disciplined. The blog will more often act as a online refrigerator for me to stick up my work at Medill on. I want my family and friends to see what I'm up to.

So without further ado, I give you a link to my first multimedia project: a 1-min audio track made on Audacity (which I learned in, like, an hour and was expected to create a product shortly after).

I did man on the street interviews in Albany Park last week, asking residents if they thought Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be convicted. Listen to the final (but very rough) cut here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who Needs D.C.?

While an estimated 2 million Americans will be making their way to Washington D.C. for the inauguration next week Tuesday, citizens of Chicago have some party plans of their own. Inauguration celebrations ranging from galas to informal gatherings at local bars are popping up all over the city. To see where one is near you, visit's inaugural party finder or check out a few of my picks (courtesy of a post originally found on TimeOut Chicago):

African Harambee (7537 N. Clark) will be offering pan-African food, music, and dancing between 8pm-1am.

Considered the best place to go for Ethiopian in Chicago, Ethiopian Diamond's (6120 N. Broadway) large restaurant will be transformed into a dance hall between 11pm-2:30am.

The first and last time I was at Town Hall Pub (3340 N. Halsted), I was surrounded by hipsters, militant bikers and I was trying to keep a friend from calling an unfaithful ex. This time around, the crowd is sure to stay the same, but with a life-sized cutout of Obama, free Jell-O shots, and drink specials, I might not mind the stink of post-irony irony.

I watched the Vice-Presidential Debates at the Whirlaway Lounge (3224 W. Fullerton) in Logan Square. The bar's affable bartender and owner, flat screen TV, and feel good environment would make for a great place to celebrate the Obama administration's official start.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Will You Be My Boyfriend?

I don't know if you know this about me but I'm kind of obsessed with fashion. Somewhere between my senior year of high school and graduating from the University of Chicago, my knowledge of labels and trends went from nada to damn near obscene in its breadth.

Thankfully I have enough common sense not to send myself into debt over all the swoon-inducing clothes I lust after and stick to consignment stores, Target and sale racks. My graduate student budget will keep my purchases strictly academic or out of necessity (like new snow boots), but that doesn't stop me from looking...


I love the slouchy look that's making the rounds. It exudes this, I'm-too-cool-to-care attitude that renders the wearer incredibly chic. I can picture myself wearing this Topshop Sequin Boyfriend Blazer ($160, so named for its "manly" oversized proportions) with a white v-neck shirt and skinny jeans.


LaRok's clothing toes the line between feminine and hard-edge "rocker" style. I like the fit of their Launch Party Blazer (on "sale" for $188) and the black piping.


I really love dresses and skirts. I like the pleating on the front of this Vanessa Bruno skirt and the bright royal purple color, but not the price tag ($253.50).


This budget friendly option from teen fashion catalog, Delia*s, has a full skirt fun for twirling in and cool beading on the waistband ($38.50).


Vena Cava is a high-end brand designed by Parsons' graduates Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai. The duo creates dream clothing for the urban sophisticate, mixing industrial details like zippers and beading with great silhouettes and prints. This top is on SUPER sale at Hejfina, a boutique in Chicago's Wicker Park ($88).


I tried these Michael Kors' booties ($179) on at a Macy's when I was home in Kansas City and loved them. The shape of this bootie may seem intimidating, but they're incredibly wearable. I haven't reached the point in my life where I'm OK with spending over $50 for shoes but I would definitely cop these on sale.


For someone who wears heels as frequently as I do, you would think I would have a nice pair of black closed toed heels. But alas, my shoe rack is lacking in that department. These Calvin Klein black pumps ($98) are interesting as well as functional thanks to their snake skin texture and 1/2 inch platform (which helps when walking in heels higher than 3", in my opinion).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Paris, Je T'Aime

I'm obsessed with the idea of Paris. The insanely chic women, the architecture, the art, the food. I would love to go there some day. I had a really crappy morning (I got two lessons in time management and journalism that left me a shaking, panicky mess from seven this morning until one in the afternoon) so I'm transporting myself to a bright and winsome version of the City of Lights, via this ad for the perfume Miss Dior. (Directed by Sofia Coppola)

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Day in Albany Park


Nanook of the North Side.


Footsteps on the Metra North Line Platform at Ravenswood.


The first people I interviewed today. The question: Do you think Governor Rod Blagojevich should be convicted?


I can't read what this says, but I like how the cracks in the stencil makes the characters look like rib cages and bones.


"Kiss me, I'm Serbian!"


Outside the Kimball Brown line stop.


Dresses at Grisel's Bridal Shop.


This was spinning and colorful in all the gloom.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Give Me A Beat!

My Journalism Methods: Newswriting class met for the first time today and I am beyond excited. We were assigned our beat: Chicago's Northwest Side (i.e. Logan Square, West Ridge, etc.) with a focus on stories that will appeal to baby boomers. Our first assignment is to get twelve audio interviews of people reacting to the Blago drama. Along with those interviews, we're expected to get a feel for our assigned neighborhoods (my group of four will be covering Albany Park or Korea Town), taking pictures and jotting down notes for an audience report presentation to be done weeks later.

Can I just say my general anxiety has been replaced with overallexcitement? I'm getting practical journalism training at arguably the best journalism school in the country from professionals who are genuinely passionate about giving us the best and most true to life experience possible. Ah, I can barely contain myself!

Ok. Back to reading about interview techniques and Albany Park. And if anyone out there knows anything about the neighborhood they'd like to share with me, definitely let me know.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

After waking up mid-afternoon from a long night of celebrating, I hopped on Facebook and wrote what I thought would be an all-encompassing resolution to start the New Year with:

I'm pretty proud of my rudimentary Paint skills, lol.

This prompted an emailed response from someone I hadn't heard from in awhile, questioning whether substantial change through "sheer will" was possible. She attached this article from the Times, which cites medical examples of people reverting back to bad habits (i.e. dieters regaining weight) and the opinion of a clinical psychologist named Marian Kramer Jacobs who thinks there are evolutionary reasons as to why change is hard to maintain:
If one believes that human beings are social animals, our hierarchies within families, governments and businesses depend on people who know their roles and perform them dutifully. "We're hard-wired not to change quickly," Dr. Jacobs said. "Think of what chaos would ensue if you could snap your finger and change instantly tomorrow. You would be one person today, someone else tomorrow."

The article goes on to say the belief that change is impossible can seem unpatriotic given America's history of movements and revolutions, our love of rags-to-riches icons, and self-improvement stories, yet numbers show "that after six months, only about 45 percent of the subjects managed to stick to their pledges." It ends noting that resolutions centered on healthy self-acceptance is more realistic than wide-sweeping change.

This all got me thinking whether or not resolutions are a wholly American (or Western) concept. What a luxury it is to consider the evolutionary or psychological reasons why we make resolutions! In societies where the caste you are born into most likely will be the one you die in, is there an urge to make resolutions to better oneself with the coming new year? Or is making resolutions just part of being human, wanting to change for goodness' sake, for the approval of others, or to move up in more fluid social systems, to make something better of yourself? Is there something wrong with looking back on the year as it draws to a close and thinking about ways to improve yourself in the coming year? In evolutionary speak, maybe making resolutions and being part of the 45% who succeed effects genetic fitness and allows successful resolution keepers to send their "quit-smoking-do-pilates-be-kinder" genes into the next generation.

What do you think?

Beginning Half of How I Rang In the New Year

My camera experienced technical difficulties after the first party Derek and I attended (they're all worked out now, apparently slamming it against a hard surface is something recommended by camera professionals), but here's how the first half of my New Year's Eve looked:


Hot sake and sushi at Tokyo Marina (5058 N. Clark), an establishment that comes highly recommended. Good price and a lot of extras (tea, cucumber salad, and miso soup) for free.


Mood lighting at Laura (an old co-worker) and Shelby's apartment, our first stop of the evening before ringing in the new year with champagne cocktail of Cassis, champagne, and strawberries at Derek's cousin's loft.

Photobucket Photobucket

Noisemakers are not fun to be attacked with, boyfriend of mine.