Date Night Ideas In Chicago for All Seasons

Many times, we just want to do something different other than the normal movie night or dinner date. With carefully curated options in categories such as the chill & relax vibe, history & culture lovin vibe and the let’s get fit vibe, there’s definitely something for you depending on your mood.

Here are some date ideas for you and your +1 or group to enjoy. If you don’t have a +1 yet and still want to treat yourself, please go ahead :) Always happy to bring a smile to your face.

Chill & Relax Vibe

  1. Head to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for an event. Check Groupon or Travel Zoo for any deals. If it’s in the summer, there are several free concerts in Grant Park.
  2. Watch a play at the Steppenwolf Theatre. If you’re under 30, you can get their RED Card which gives you highly discounted tickets. For $100, you get six tickets which you can use for any play of your choice.
  3. For $10 a person, enjoy an afternoon or early evening game of mini golf at the Diversey Range or in the suburbs. Let’s see which of the two of you is the competitive one. You probably know who it is already but be ready to be surprised!
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Five New Foods I Tried At Food Scape 3

Dreams do come true. I remember seeing the ad about FoodScape 3 and thinking to myself that I’d want to go so when my boss said he would pay for me to attend, I was thrilled.

Food Scape 3, a 2-day conference organized in Chicago, IL by the Datassential team was nothing short of remarkable. It was unlike any other event I’ve been to. As a foodie and professional in the food business space, my thinking was challenged, enriched and my palates were also teased and thoroughly satisfied.

A big part of the FoodScape experience was the Global Culinary Theatre that had cuisine from so many countries. In this post, I’ll talk about 5 foods I tried from this epic event.

1. Pea-based plant burger– It was a kimchi burger created by Awesome Burger, a company based out of Ohio. It was delicious and I’ll definitely try it again if given the chance to. Think of the burger as a base. It comes to life based on what flavors you combine with it. 

2. Kurdish “Coffee”– It isn’t really coffee so it has no caffeine. It’s made from a bean on the pistachio plant. Talk about using different plants for food. I enjoyed it in a mini cup, similar in size to a shot glass. It was creamy and sweetened with sugar. Upon talking to the people at the booth, they told me that it was traditionally served in small mugs. I got about 2 more refills of the tiny cup but needed to remind myself that it was small enough for me to savor it and be okay with not having seconds. Check out Gundis Kitchen, located in Lakeview in Chicago for Kurdish coffee and their brunch. 

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What’s Your Relationship With Your Phone Like?

What comes to mind when you think about boundaries? How do you feel just hearing the words: limit, control, restrictions? For me, these words conjure the image of being locked up in a box. I can remember wanting to grow up quickly as a child so I could do things my way, uninhibited.

Now, as a young adult, I know that the words: limit, control and boundaries are meant to give you more freedom and discipline so you can achieve great things in this life.

Before we delve deeper into this conversation, take 5 mins to ask yourself this question, “How will I describe my relationship with my phone?” My thoughts from this question led me to write the rest of this post.

Today, I decided to finally set aside time to review the screen report that details how I use my iPhone. For the past two months, I have seen the report every Sunday but haven’t take much time to review it. This morning however, I took the bold step to see what I had been spending most of my phone time on. EYE OPENING. That’s all I will say for now.

I discovered that

  • I picked up my phone an average of 88 times in a day.
  • Most of my phone pick-ups were due to notifications from Whatsapp (messenger app) and the iPhone Messages apps.
  • Very little of my time was spent on productivity apps and podcasts.

Instead of trying to fight the screen report, I accepted it.

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Planning Tips for Day Trips- Insights from Detroit/Dearborn 12 Hour Day Trip

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Enjoying Detroit’s lakefront

After reviewing my drafts folder in WordPress, I just found this post sitting there after a year and a half. It’s still relevant so I decided to go ahead and publish it. Enjoy!

In my previous travel post, I talked about how I thought the journey from Chicago to Detroit was too long to make it a day trip. Well, 2 weeks after visiting Milwaukee, my dad had really caught the travel bug and asked me if we could visit Detroit. Being the faithful daughter that I am and not wanting to disappoint him, I said ‘yes’ after working out a few logistics.

We had an awesome time but I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing this trip in a day. You will need about 2-4 days to visit Detroit and Dearborn properly. In this post, I’ll outline my planning process following the travel tips from my last post.

Goal– The trip to Detroit and Dearborn was to learn more about the motor city and experience how life was in America, back in the day. My dad is an engineer and is fascinated about cars, buildings, bridges and all things structural so this trip was a great learning experience for both of us. Read More »

Visiting the American Indian Museum in Chicago

I bet you didn’t know that there was a museum in Chicago (Evanston to be precise) dedicated solely to telling the stories of the American Indians/Native Americans. After my last visit to the Swedish museum, I made it a goal to visit more ethnic museums in the Chicago area. After stumbling upon the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian on Google Trips, I decided to make that my next stop for ethnic museums. Google Trips is a great resource for exploring cool places either in your city or your next vacation destination.

Why did I visit:

  • To increase my knowledge about American Indians
  • Liked that the museum was small enough such that I wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed
  • It was affordable ($5/person for entry)

Museum Overview:

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian was started in 1977 by a couple and originally affiliated to Kendall College until moving to its current location in 2005. I found it humbling to know that the museum had been started by a non-native American Indian. They saw the importance of preserving this important history that many have tried to destroy.

It focuses on all native American tribes in the US and Canada. About 1,200 of them existed (yes, so many. We only tend to hear about a few of them). Read More »

A Taste of Sweden In Chi-town

It’s Monday, everyone’s favorite day of the week right? I’m usually not enthused about Monday because I feel like the weekend flew by. Today however, I chose to console myself with the fact that I had a great weekend.

With the up and down temperatures in Chicago, I decided that I wasn’t going to subject my plans to the weather conditions. I’d been wanting to visit a museum for about a month now. As I scrolled through Google for my options, I wanted something close to home, an ethnic experience and a place that didn’t have too many exhibits that would feel overwhelming. I eventually decided on the Swedish American museum which is about 2 miles from where I live in Andersonville. It was raining cats and dogs when I left home but I was determined to make this trip.
I arrived about an hour before the museum closed. Diana, one of the staff at the museum allowed me to go in for free, as it was close to closing time. How sweet of her :)

Here are some of my highlights from the trip:

1. Immigration of the Swedes- They came as a result of push and pull factors. Most of the immigrants were from rural Sweden and drought and scarcity of land made it difficult for their livelihood. Also, the promise of opportunities in America encouraged them to move. They settled in slowly and eventually made a great life for themselves.

2. Swedes’ Contributions to Chicago- I was surprised to find out that the Swedes built the Wrigley building, the North Park University and founded the famous Walgreens pharmacy.

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Walgreens Exhibit

You see, if a group of people don’t tell their story, their contributions are unknown and will be forgotten. I’m grateful that the founder of this museum thought it important to preserve this history.Read More »

Lessons from the Movie: I Can Only Imagine

3382313-c_215_290_x-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxThis past weekend, I finally watched the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine. I like to support to Christian movies because there aren’t many that are frequently released. Anyway, I am known to not just watch movies for entertainment. I need to leave with a lesson or two every time I watch a movie. Maybe, this is a characteristic of my Type-A personality. This movie walks audiences through Bart Millard’s life as a child growing up with an abusive father and sheds light on the numerous hurdles he faced, which all culminated in his record-breaking single I Can Only Imagine.  This movie explores several themes, a few of which I continue to discuss further. 

Labels– What labels have your family, community, teachers or social media placed on you? Bart’s father hammered it in his head that dreams don’t pay the bills and that he was inadequate. He kept hearing this on repeat when he was rejected by the big labels on his first try. He couldn’t really hear their positive feedback because he kept internalizing his father’s labels.

Camp– At camp as a young boy, Bart learned about forgiveness and wrote in his journal, “The person I want to forgive is ________.” It was later in life that he inserted his dad’s name in the blank. Don’t underestimate the influence or seeds you sow into a child’s life at school, Sunday school or camp. They may not fully utilize all the lessons you teach them, but later on in life, they’ll remember them and apply them to a life situation.Read More »

Start Where You Are

BloomBig Disclaimer: These questions are meant to help you engage in deep introspection, and not to make you feel bad. This is also my attempt to preach to myself. 

After all, Plato reminds us that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Have you read all the books on your shelf? If not, why are you still buying or borrowing new books from the library?

Can you handle the small apartment you have? Are you maintaining it well? If not, what makes you think you can keep a big home, with a nice backyard?

Have you read all the books on your bookshelf? If you have, are you implementing all that you have learned from them?

Have you tapped into the full potential of your degree? Then, why are you trying to incur more debt with another degree? I’m amazed at some high-level positions people can attract with just a bachelors degree.

How about the tasks God has placed on your heart? Have you started working on them or completed them? Then why do you keep asking Him to use you for more assignments? On countless occasions, He’s told you about the ministries and projects He wants you to work on but you haven’t even touched them. It’s always one excuse after the other. Do you seriously think He’ll give you another assignment when you haven’t even begun the one He gave you last year?

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Are You Content Right Now?

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Source: Teaching Channel

“Are you content?” I felt God ask me in my spirit. I  sat in silence for a few minutes when He hit me with this question. “I didn’t see this coming at all.” With earnestness, I answered “No.” As you read this, I encourage you to pause now and ask yourself this question, “Am I content?”

Let me be real with you. Most of the time, I feel I should be doing greater things, have more money saved up, have more of my loans paid off, be superb at managing my time and have a well balanced life. Sometimes I wonder why it seems as though my classmates from primary school, high school and college appear to be so ahead of the curve while I’m still in the starting stages of my career. I tend to discuss several of these concerns/rants with my boyfriend, who has a wise way of helping me to take a step back and look at things from another perspective.

On countless occasions, I’ve seen and read the statement that “God is more interested in my character than my comfort.” I’ve also seen and heard variations of this quote- Know that your qualifications can get you to places but it’s your character that will keep you there. Read More »

Make Travel Happen- Part 3 (Lakefront & Milwaukee Public Market)

This is the last post in the Milwaukee day trip series. For a link to the previous post, click here. I’ll be talking about lunch, our exploration around the public market and the lakefront.

We had lunch at a black restaurant called Coffee Makes You Black and the ambiance was nice. There was slow and smooth Jazz music playing in the background, with the waitresses dressed in aprons, with the African-American national flag. I got chicken and waffles, and it was delightful.

IMG_4529After lunch, we sat in the Hop on Hop Off bus for an hour tour, to get a good overview of the downtown area. Read More »