Author Archives: Kandyce Baker, Criminology, Law and Justice

UIC in Waikiki (Part 2)

While some people spent 12/12/12 at a casino somewhere or getting married…I spent the rare triple day turning another year older.  There are few places I would have rather been than spending my 24th birthday with old friends who really know how to bring in a birthday.  The night, I received an awesome treat at a Japanese restaurant called honey toast!

Honey Toast is exactly what it sounds like. It was like eating breakfast with ice cream.

In front of the Japanese restaurant the night before my birthday.

Afterward, some old high school friends and I went to Dave & Busters!  I did not do very well.  I lost at Pac-Man, Connect Four, and pretty much everything.  I’m pretty sure I ended the night with 20 tickets.   I was NOT very lucky indeed!





This is random but I thought it was cool. Many things in Hawaii are written in English and Japanese.

Menu for my birthday breakfast.

Anyway, later that 12/12/12, a DIFFERENT set of friends took me out.  We went to a restaurant that really reminded me of Hawaii called Sweet Home Cafe.  At Sweet Home Cafe, you order a couple of broths, then purchase various plate of veggies and/or meats.  The waiter puts the giant broths on burners in the middle of the table.  Afterward, you and your friends just add in everything they want and everyone eats from the broths.

Even the dessert was communal.

The communal sharing aspect has Hawaii written all over it. I have not lived in Hawaii in more than five years.  I have not been back in two years.  Despite that, my old friends treated me like it was just yesterday since we have seen each other.

My friends Kallen and Chelsea treated me like a queen on my birthday.


I must say, spending 10 nights in Hawaii was amazing.  I ran a marathon, got to see my old friends and eat some great local comfort food.  However, I missed Chicago! I missed my cats, UIC, people in my department, Mr. Greeks and Potbellys.  Even though few things are more beautiful than a sunset at Waikiki, i’m pretty sure I like my winters cold and my beaches from Lake Michigan.  It’s great to be home.

Beautiful sunset at Waikiki.


UIC in Waikiki


I can't believe I finished!

On Friday, Dec. 7, I landed at Honolulu International Airport. After a bunch of unexpected stress involving loose ends I forgot to tie up in Chicago…I was finally able to relax in Waikiki. This relaxation lasted all of 12 hours. On Dec. 9, I had to wake up at 1:30 a.m.!!! After a quick breakfast, stretching and prayer, I made my way down to the starting line of the Honolulu Marathon!

I finished in 7:14:20. I know this may seem a little long, but miles 20-25 were all uphill. I ended up finishing about dead center of my age and gender class. My legs, back and arms are SUPER sore, but getting that medal and finishers T-shirt was well worth it!

It feels great to be back in Hawaii. I got to meet up with old friends from high school, hang out with other Team to End Aids participants from across the U.S., relax by the beach, and get a free massage and other cool free stuff for finishing the race. Some say that Honolulu is paradise; however, I just can’t shake the feeling that Chicago trumps Honolulu. 

My shoes got beat up pretty bad. Casualites of the marathon.

Even though most people do not get to finish off their finals week in Honolulu, Hawaii…I encourage all of you to keep exploring our great city.

Free Thing To do This Weekend: 

Have you heard the caroling going on at Millennium Park? This free program, presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, showcases Chicago choral groups and invites visitors to participate in a holiday sing-along. The last two caroling events will happen at 6 p.m. today and Friday, Dec. 21.
Random Hawaii Fact: Aiea, a city on the island of Oahu, is the only U.S. city to consist of only vowels.

Hope you guys are enjoying your break and ALOOOOOOOOOHA!

Finals…finals everywhere!!

So here we are.  Finals week!  I should be finished by now.  If everything went according to plan, by the time you read this I will have finished 3 presentations, 2 papers, 1 poster and I will be on a plane to Hawaii.  My semester ends in 6 days and I am not sure how I am going to make it. I try to keep my head up by counting my blessing and remembering that there are many people who wish they could be in my situation.

My weekend looks like it will solely consist of sitting my butt down in front of a computer screen and writing.  No exploring, no ice skating, not even free yoga.

I shouldn’t feel so bad though.  I spent my Thanksgiving in the Bahamas with my sister and cousin and was plenty of fun!  Now it is time to crack down, open a book and write 20-plus pages before Monday!


Don’t let the stress overwhelm you.  Last Monday I was very pumped to be productive only to learn library did not have the computer program I needed to work!  I felt frustrated, sad and tired.  However, I took a minute to regroup and create a different plan for the evening.  Once I finished the revised plan of productivity, I was actually more productive than I originally planned to be.

If you need a place close to study at UIC check out the Library! The library is open 24 hours until December 14th!!!   I know I plan on making that my new home until I am done with the papers!

So keep your head up, drinks plenty of coffee and remembers that someone is rooting for you and believes you can finish (me!).  The end is in sight. Good luck on finals guys!

i promise to be more interesting once I’m in Hawaii!!!

Time management is life’s Rubik’s cube

As the semester winds down, I find myself not only struggling with assignments and papers, but also that pesky thing called management.  If it wasn’t for my procrastination, I would be done with all of my assignments this semester.

I have been doing a little bit better however.  I have been able to kick my Netflix addiction!  I know longer feel the chronic need to hop on the Halsted bus after class to catch the latest episode of “Gossip Girl” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Now that my chronic procrastination is out of the way, I have other important things in life to balance.  My many trips (two trips to Georgia, the Bahamas, and Hawaii), my massive amounts of school work, not to mention a new beau in my life.  I like to look at time management as a Rubik’s cube for a couple of reasons. First, I am AWESOME at Rubik’s cubes.  Second, I like to look at life’s problems like equations that just need to be solved with the correction algorithm.

I encourage all of you to look at your problems in a context that makes sense to you.  By doing so, the solution may just be right in front of your face. 

Sorry I don’t have a free thing to do in Chicago this weekend, but i do recommend you try ice skating at Millennium  Park.  I was horrible at it, my feet hurt and I screamed like Daffy Duck every time I felt unbalanced.  Despite all of that, I had a GREAT time!   Just a $10 rental fee for ice skates and you are on your way!

Sorry for the short post.  I have so much going on!   I guess I’m still trying to figure out the correct algorithm to fit in EVERYTHING.



My Rubik's cubes! I have been solving since 2010. My best time solving a 3x3x3 is 1:16.

"Binders full of women." Two of my final papers involve feminist theory. Another thing to juggle.

Me and my new beau ice skating at Millennium Park.



Thankful at UIC

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  While you are reading this, I am enjoying a cruise in the Bahamas!!!  As school and financial stresses begin to swell, I wanted to take the time out to thank UIC for all the opportunities and experiences it has given me thus far.

First, I am thankful for Campus Programs and FNL.  Sometimes, you just need to take a break from research papers and labs and put on a balloon hat and win a cool prize.  During my junior year at UIC I won a Wii!

I won a Wii at FNL in Spring 2010. ( This was the beginning of my Netflix addiction!)


Me and my friend Emmanuel enjoy FNL during Fall 2010.

Secondly, I am grateful for every department on campus that has given me some form of employment.  As I was calculating in the back of my head, I realized that in the course of five years I have had a total of seven different jobs at UIC through four different departments!   With each job I have learned skills in leadership and work ethic that I did not have previously!  So thanks to:

UIC Student Development Services, UIC Campus Housing, UIC Building Operation, UIC Campus Recreation and OF COURSE UIC NEWS!

I was a student orientation leader in 2009.

With Campus Housing I was a desk worker for a year, a summer housing assistant for three months, and a resident assistant for two years.

Last year I traded in my housing polo for a black blazer as a building manager with UIC Building Operations.

I am not only thankful to currently be a fitness instructor, but I am also thankful for the people who attend my class. Their motivation and determination is inspiring.

Third, I want to thank everyone in my department.  What a ride it has been this semester!   Despite the long nights studying for statistics, cramming information into one page for Criminology Theory and endless Facebook statuses about our sometimes frustrating journey, I feel I am amongst some of the most intelligent and well-spoken group of people at UIC.  I feel honored to be a part of this cohort.

People in my cohort studying before a stats quiz.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has helped my transition from the “Hawaii girl” who only brought a sweat shirt from in preparation for winter….to the 23-year-old graduate student I am today.  It has been a wonderful six years at UIC.  It is hard to believe that in May it will all be done.  I know I would have never made it here without some great resources on campus that do amazing work so also thanks you:

African American Academic Network

Campus Advocacy Network and Women’s Leadership and Resource Center

The Gender and Sexuality Center

These organizations have been great resources for me when I have felt confused, frustrated or just needed a little extra help.

Thank you UIC.  I am proud to say I am part of a world-class university.

I finished my undergraduate studies in 2011. Hard to believe I will be walking again in a few months!

Appreciating veterans every day of the year

No words can describe how the picture below makes me feel.

The "check plus." The ultimate sign of "you are on the right track."

A check plus is considered a “very nice paper” in my criminology theory class and they are NOT given out lightly.  It is very interesting that I received a “check plus” on my paper considering that I spent my weekend writing this paper while in Georgia!

I went to Georgia in early November to attend my father’s retirement ceremony.  My dad served in the Air Force for 30 years!  I do not get to see him very often.  Usually Thanksgiving time and a summer trip is the extent to our face-to-face interaction.  So it was very interesting hearing the many stories people had about my father about how he not only impacted the Air Force, but also their lives. Even President Obama had a few kind words for my dad.

Dad's certificate from Obama.


My dad spent 30 years in the Air Force.

Many people in my family have served in the military.  Both of my parents, my stepmother, my grandfather and a few aunts and uncles have served or are STILL serving in the military. Coming from a military family has allowed me to have some great opportunities in life that sometimes I may take for granted.  One thing I will never take for granted is that people in the military make a conscious decision to serve for our freedom.  Veterans Day may be over, but we can thank our veterans any day of the year.  

Me, my father and my sister, Krishna.

Free thing to do this weekend:

Have you heard of Flywheel?  It’s an indoor cycling class and your first class is FREE! My co-worker Alicia works there and I guarantee you that if you are looking for an intense workout, she will not disappoint!

Cheap and fun thing to do this weekend

Me and friend Jordan at the Prince and Michael Experience.

My friends and family know me as a Michael Jackson fanatic!   Every blue moon a party happens in Chicago to celebrate Michael Jackson and Prince. The Prince and Michael Experience is a party I try to never miss.  Fanatics like myself dress up, do the dance moves and just have an all around great time appreciating these two artists.

If you love MJ, Prince, and other associated artists check out the Prince and Michael Experience at Beauty Bar Chicago Saturday, 1444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60642. Cost is $5 dollars, and you must be at least 21.





Finding a study place in the city

Finding time to study has not been super hard. However find a PLACE to study is another story! Studying in my apartment has proven to be full of too many distractions (cough*Netflix*cough). I will even find myself washing dishes and mopping the floor in order to avoid class work. I knew it was time to find a new place to study. Fellow UIC blogger Mike Queroz gave some great suggestions for Getaways at UIC that also can double as study spaces. Unfortunately, I live in Lakeview. Getting to these places is a little out of the way at times, but I did find two great places in the city that are AMAZING study places

1. Starbucks in Old Town, 210 W. North Ave.: This particular Starbucks is great for studying for two reasons.

1.) There are outlets EVERYWHERE
2.) It is open 24 hours!
What more could a busy college student ask for? The place usually has a decent amount of people studying and seemingly working very hard. However, there are certain peak hours during the weekend where the noise does get a little loud. Right next door is a Walgreens, which is perfect for picking up snacks and last-minute supplies you may have forgot (pens or rulers). Overall this Starbucks gets a B when it comes to study environment.
2. Panera Cares, 616 W. Diversey Pkwy.

I love Panera. Quality food and a quiet study environment. Many times I will walk into a Panera and find people holding meetings and finishing papers. Like Starbucks, the noise level seems to be just about right when it comes to studying. What is great about Panera Cares is that one can pay as much as they can for the food. Also, right when you walk in the door there is a table of baked goods that were left over from the night before. For a suggested donation of $2-3 dollars, one can grab half a dozen bagels and a loaf of bread. You can enjoy the great Panera food without the Panera price.  In my experience, a manager is usually on site to speak with customers as well. This Panera is a little bit quieter than the Starbucks so it gets a B+ in overall study environment.


3. My own CLJ department

Myself with two classmates

Inside the maze of BSB on the fourth floor is a little computer lab for Criminology, Law and Justice graduate students. Unlike many computer labs at UIC, I don’t have to wait for a computer and the noise is pretty much silent. I can blast music from Pandora without worrying about bothering anybody. What is also great about this lab is that I often run into people in my classes. What begins as a single study session can quickly turn into a group thing. Together, my classmates and I can get through the material and fact check each other. I highly recommend that anyone ask their own department if they provide a similar types of spaces.  This space gets an A when it comes to overall study environment!


Check out the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Riverwalk at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, State and Wabash.

The Suit Case Opera Project – The Suitcase Opera Project, a new nonfiction opera, excavates a “curious box of letters” purchased off eBay that reveals a lost history of post-Kinsey/pre-Stonewall queer America. It is running at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millinieum Park from November 8-10 at 7:30 p.m.
Have a great weekend!

Oh wait…I’m in this thing called the “Graduate College”

My articles for class put Ollie to sleep as well.

As fun as it has been meeting celebrities, exploring fitness crazes and parts of the city (and writing about them on this blog) sometimes forget I am in this thing called the “Graduate College” and that it requires a lot of work.  The end of my semester is looking like this:

  1. A 15-page literature review on Techniques of Neutralization
  2. A 20-page research paper looking at my field (criminal justice) through the lens of feminist theory
  3. A research poster
  4. A 7-10 page extension to the Neutralization paper for my comprehensive exam.

If this all sound hard and confusing………… it is.

That is about 40 pages — plus a poster  — for those keeping track.  As much as I love this city, it is really time to focus in on school.  Last weekend I spend my time indoors reading for Gender and Women’s Studies and Criminology Theory.

2 books.

3 papers.

500 pages.

Despite being in the “comfort” of my studio apartment, I was constantly interrupted by my two cats.  They love to sit or sleep on anything they believe is getting in the way of me giving them attention.  This week, they made my two books their pillows.


The cats are not fans of Katz (left to right: Jackson and Ollie).

After I finally finished my three papers, I got to have a great time unwinding at Vintage Lounge.  One of my goals this year is to make myself more social among my cohort.  The Graduate Student Council hosted a salsa night at Vintage Lounge on October 24th.  I had a GREAT time.

It was fun, yet unfamiliar, to see all my cohort dancing and laughing and not talking about the “origins of crime,” “righteous slaughter,”  “diaspora” and other concepts that give me headaches.

I hope to make more blogs about great parts of the city. However, I am off to Georgia to visit my family soon.  Maybe I will find some pretty cool things over there to share. Hopefully I will be able to find a balance between exploring the world and exploring the research articles sitting on my desk!  Am I the only one who feels like the end of the semester is coming to soon?

Free thing to do this weekend:

Check out Yoga Now Chicago.   Every Sunday at 6 p.m. they have a free yoga class!  Yes, FREEEEEE!  It’s located at 742 N. LaSalle St..  They have mats and other equipment.  All you have to bring is yourself!

Yoga Now Chicago.

A little urban exploration in my life

My best friend Ariane and me.

On October 13 and 14, the Chicago Architecture Foundation hosted its annual Open House Chicago.   During the event, parts of the city that normally would be closed opened their doors to the public.  I’m usually not into that kind of stuff, but hey….it’s FREE.  So get ready for PICTURES GALORE!  My best friend and I went to the House of Blues, Wit Hotel, Kemper Building and Chicago Tribune among other places.  The weather was horrible and the visibility from most of the high skyscrapers was very low.  However, how often does one get to pretend they are an awesome rock star on stage at the House of Blues?

I am a rock star!

My favorite place was the Wit Hotel.  The restaurant on the top floor was open to the public. It was extremely beautiful.  The outside portion of the restaurant was on a ledge similar to the Willis (Sears) Tower. Ariane was too scared to go out there to take a picture with me!

Me on the ledge at The Wit Hotel. Ariane REFUSED to take a picture with me!

We wanted to eat at the restaurant, but unfortunately the prices were not lowered for the everyday folks.

Top floor of the Wit Hotel.

We also had access the private theater in the Wit Hotel.  It could fit approximately 40 people. The single chairs felt like sitting in first class on a plane.  They were extra comfy and could recline. There were also about 10 loveseats in the back for a more romantic experience.

Private theater at the Wit Hotel.

Another great place was the Chicago Tribune. We had access to Robert McCormick’s office. For those who don’t know, he was the owner of the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s.  Many of the things in the office were original from when the building was built.   The coolest part about the architecture was that in the back of his tiny closet was a set of stairs that went up two floors.   The tour guide told us that during McCormick’s time, people would get shot and killed over stories put in newspapers. McCormick wanted to make sure he could escape in case he made someone really mad.


In other news, my mom sent me a picture from Afghanistan!   I love modern technology.   My mom usually lives in Washington, D.C., so we normally communicate via telephone once a week and Facebook.  Nothing has really changed.  I still speak with her once a week (granted, one of us usually has to sacrifice sleep due to the time difference) and she is slowly but surely navigating Facebook more efficiently.


My mom in Afghanistan with her crew (she is the one in plaid).

Unfortunately, I did not get the “CHECK PLUS” on my paper I told you about last week, but my instructor left a comment that said “very nice discussion.”   So maybe this week is my week to get the check plus.

I didn’t plan on doing the Chicago Marathon, but…

Hello my fellow UICers!   I hope midterms and papers find you well. I’m barely above water!  I write a paper every week for my Criminology Theory class and the professor either gives us a “check” or a “check plus”   I REALLY aiming for the “check plus”  next week so I’m spending my weekend in the library!

So here is something crazy.  I ran the Chicago Marathon on October 7!   I really wasn’t planning to.  My trainer for the Honolulu Marathon called me and told me that he had extra bibs and asked if I wanted to run with Team to End AIDS  as part of my “training.”  So, while I was debating between another run down Lake Shore Drive or the Chicago Marathon…..the choice was pretty easy.  One of my favorite parts  were the signs people held up.  They ranged from inspirational to hilarious.  Some of my favorites were:

“Pain is temporary, but pride is forever”

“Guess what, by the end of the day you will have ran a marathon.”

“Your only option is FINISHING.”

“Chuck Norris is tough, but he never ran a marathon.”

I saw the UIC Pep Band around Mile 17.  They were playing “YMCA” and all the students were doing the moves.  I found a little adrenaline rush as I ran passed SCE.  So THANK YOU UIC PEP BAND!


After I ran the marathon my legs felt numb, but my pride was through the roof!

If you are tired of “Eye of the Tiger” and looking to crank up your running playlist, here are a few songs that kept me going and have a subtle “you can do it” message:


  1. Kanye West – “Stronger”
  2. Stefano – “I’m on a Roll”
  3. MC Hammer – “2 Legit 2 Quit” (*bonus points if you do the dance while running*)
  4. Breathe Carolina – “Blackout”
  5. The Jacksons – “Can You Feel It?”
  6. Foster the People – “Don’t Stop (Color the Walls)”
  7. Rihanna and Nicki Minaj – “Fly”
  8. Kelly Clarkson  - “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
  9.  Quad City DJs – “C’mon N’Ride It ( The Train)”
  10.   The “Mortal Combat” Theme

Last but not least, I am sad to say my awesome supervisor officially left UIC as the Group Fitness Coordinator.  I am happy for her new opportunity, but it sucks a little since she taught me everything I know about group fitness. She has literally watched the process of my growing into a group fitness instructor since day one.  Fern Delima will be missed.

Myself with Fern Delima before her last day at UIC.


Oh I know I said I was going to post about the pros and con of this new weather, and I decided that besides wearing cool boots and drinking pumpkin spice lattes…I really DO NOT like the cold.  I miss summer. :-(

Page 3 of 41234