Category: City

About the city of Chicago: around town.

Hockey withdrawal

We live in a great city with great sports! Da Bears, The White Sox, The Blackhawks, The Fire, oh yeah…and the Cubs — I guess you can figure out what side I’m on :).  These teams have truly made this city particularly electrifying. My cousin and I have become HUGE Blackhawks fans.  We’ve been to many games, bought tons of Hawks gear, books and DVDs, followed their tweets and stalked them at bars (and I say that in the least creepy way possible).  But ultimately, we have come to love the sport of hockey and we take pride in our Chicago Blackhawks.

Awesome socks, huh?

I thought if I didn’t think about the lockout during the summer, then maybe it wouldn’t happen.  Man, was I wrong! As a depressed hockey fan with a lockout that seems to go on and on, there is some good news. ESPN agreed to broadcast KHL games this year. For all of those who don’t know, the KHL or Kontinental Hockey League, is an international hockey league in Europe.  If you’re a glass half empty kind of person (which we all can be at times….guilty as charged!), that means that the lockout will probably go on for some time and even ESPN knows it.  BUT if you’re a half glass full kind of person, that means you’ll still be able to see a few of your favorite NHL players this season playing for KHL.  People say it will last a couple months at least.  Some say there is a good chance we may not see any NHL this year. WHAT?! REALLY?! I don’t want another 2004-05 season (or lack there of). Hey rich guys, can’t we all just be friends?! The fans are the ones who get screwed the most in this.  So far, all the pre-season games and the first two weeks of the regular season have been cancelled. If I’m going to get through this stressful semester, I NEED to be able to watch my Hawks.

Well, I guess for now I can reminisce.  The night that the Hawks won, everyone was on the edge of their seat.  And I mean, literally.  I’m pretty sure I spent most of the night sitting on the floor because I was so nervous.  I probably could have fallen off my chair at any moment.

And then it happened.  The moment when Patrick Kane tossed the puck in the net, everyone just lost it.  I don’t think I ever hugged so many people that I didn’t know before.  It didn’t matter. We all ran out into the street that the Forest Park Police blocked off (knowing it would be insane if the Hawks won) and we celebrated.  We celebrated with friends and we celebrated with strangers.  It was amazing.

The days after the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, my cousin and I followed the cup (and the guys) all over the city.  And I mean EVERYWHERE! The only problem was, we seemed to be consistently two steps behind.  Every time we heard “The guys and the cup are at this place,” or “They just left and are heading here,”  we booked it to the nearest cab and said “FOLLOW THAT CUP!”  Well, we didn’t really say that but it definitely felt like we were on a scavenger hunt of some kind.  Unfortunately, every time we arrived at the place that the cup was supposed to be, some person would say “Oh you JUST missed it, ” while admiring their autograph from Toews.

It was truly an amazing summer.  Although, we never ended up seeing the cup in person during our post-cup winning quest, we had the opportunity to go to Toronto the following season when the Blackhawks just HAPPEN to be playing the Maple Leafs.  It was there, we FINALLY saw it in person at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

 We had a blast in Toronto! We were able to get tickets to the game at the last minute. Our seats were WAY up at the top, but thankfully we were able to sneak down to the first level and watch our Hawks win.

Let me tell you, It felt so good to be a Chicagoan that night.  Not only because the Hawks won, but simply being in Canada and wearing my Hawks jersey made me proud of who I am and where I come from.  I am a city girl.  I am a Blackhawks fan.  I am a Chicagoan.

                            Go Blackhawks!!!…………..please come back soon.


The Nanny Blog

Kids are fighting, pillows are flying everywhere, the baby is climbing on the furniture with a poopy diaper (That’s right, I said poopy diaper), and I‘m trying to salvage what I can of the dinner I just burned.  I am not a mom. I am a nanny. I am a Chicago sports fan.  I love food and I love politics.  I am outspoken and I have strong opinions.  That’s me in a nutshell.

Currently, I am Graduate student at UIC working for my Masters in Early Childhood Education.  This semester is my second at UIC.  Before this semester started, I was anxious to continue my program and work towards my goal of being a teacher. However, I also experienced that feeling of dread of the first day of school.  It’s that same feeling that my kids experienced the last week of their summer vacation as they were preparing to start school (as I quietly jumped for joy). What? Summer is over? Well, it was a good one.  And maybe dread wasn’t a good word to use.  It’s too negative.  Someone who “dreads” school wouldn’t buy all their textbooks and color-coded pink and green school supplies a month in advance. So, I suppose I was rather excited to start classes again. I just became accustomed to having free time to do things like lay in my pool, catch up on the latest season of Breaking Bad, and of course, I read Fifty Shades of Grey…(all three in one week and LOVED it!)

Since last semester was my first being in school after 4 years, it took me a few weeks to learn how to manage my time again. After seeking advice from fellow classmates, I was able to adjust accordingly.  This semester, my classes seem to involve much more work so I hope to be able to manage my time with school and still be able to do the things I love.

Stay tuned for my next post about the Chicago Blackhawks and my hockey withdrawal!

Grandpa’s Kid Too!


This past week was full of exciting events. The first of them was the start of the 2012 CHANCE for CHAnge STEM Camp. I was lucky enough to be named one of the group leaders for the camp. This year we had a larger group of students than any other year. I am in charge of the older group of students in total there are about thirty-eight students and eighteen of them are in my group. I am very pleased with my group; they show a lot of interest in the STEM fields. I can’t wait for the rest of the summer.

This Sunday was my Grandpa’s (Lieutenant Colonel Matich’s) JROTC Open House. In reality, he is not blood related to me but he has had a profound impact on my whole family. LTC Matich is the now retired Commandant of the General George S. Patton Academy at Farragut Career Academy. All of my siblings (two brothers and one sister) attended this high school and we all have very fond memories of Colonel Matich and the amazing things he did for every cadet (military student) in the program.

 The recognitions started.

When I stepped into the academy I saw that the trophy cases are still accumulating prizes, the hallway continues to accumulate memorabilia and gifts from donors, and our Patton Hall (where we would practice drill and honor guard, recite poems, and sometimes just hide from grandpa) was even more stunning than I remember. Although not much had changed in Patton Hall, the murals were already there when I was but this time they came to life.

 The Hallway and one of the many trophy cases

Patton Hall Wall Mural of General Patton

Another Patton Hall Mural

Another Great Patton Hall Mural

My Favorite Mural in Patton Hall

He led the academy and the school through one of the toughest time periods, where gang violence and early pregnancy were the norm. He was able instill a sense of pride, citizenship, and leadership through his playful scolding, high standards, and care. Patton Academy has seen innumerable recognition in various competitions like the Drill Team, Color Guard, Drum and Bugle, Raider’s Challenge, and Orienteering.

He is even great at planning events for the academy to grow stronger as a family. The annual picnic with different team building activities like the egg toss, potato sack race, watermelon eating competition, and the infamous upper classmen vs. lower classmen giant ball game. We also had dances and the annual military ball (somewhat like homecoming) where all the ladies would wear nice dresses and the male cadets would wear the Dress Green Uniform with a bow tie and white shirt.

 More Trophies, this is not it, there was another case I missed.

Aside from competitions and fun he also instilled the need for service in all of us. We had periodical community clean up events, we participated in the Junior Achievement Program where we taught children about different careers, and we marched in parades throughout the city and suburbs.

When I was a senior, I was part of the Staff which means that I was one of the leaders working directly under his guidance, more specifically, the Special Projects Officer. I had different specific tasks and duties as a leader and his professional guidance helped me tremendously. His attention to detail meant that anything less than perfect was unacceptable. This perfection was passed down to all of the cadets, we would have our brass gleaming and our uniforms squared away, so much that when we had visitors they always complimented our appearance.

Colonel Matich will definitely be missed but I am sure that his successor will definitely have the right guidance to continue the legacy of excellence that my Grandpa has established. After all, his entire era seems to be meticulously synchronized and documented under his high tech cameras and camcorders. He would take a lot of pictures at every event like a proud parent.  At the open house he even had laptops with pictures from every academic year.

 Colonel getting his things ready.


I look forward to someday also making the type of difference he makes.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Here is one of the many pictures of pictures I took from his presentation.



This week was AWESOME! In between a tough work week in a really hot office, I was able to make some time with my nephews. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, we did not expect the long lines at the aquarium but it was well worth it.  Once inside the kids were so excited. My youngest nephew, Fabian, was so happy he would run ahead and call his mom to go see fish and marine wildlife. Of course, seeing the clownfish (“Nemo) was one of the highlights of the tanks. Another highlight was the dolphins’ show my nephew, Fred, came out of the show very excited and describing every single aspect of the show. It was a really fun day I love spending time with my nephews; they are the funniest kids I know.

They didn’t even want to take a picture

After a lot of preparation, the CHANCE Program hosted the Third Annual CHANCE for CHAnge STEM Camp Orientation. The event was held at the Charles A. Hayes Center. As soon as you walk into the Hayes Center you are welcomed by the rich history of the Hayes Family. There are a lot of historical photographs of Mr. Hayes and other historical figures like Harold Washington and Martin Luther King.

After taking in the history of the center I walked into the events center. I was surprised to see so many influential University staff and company representatives. I was also happy to see that the amount of students in the camp grew. The attendants enjoyed a delicious dinner and inspirational speech by Algenoy Alexander, who was able to inspire many in the room to strive for greatness.  I am very excited for the STEM Camp, it is always a highlight of my summer.

After the Orientation

Thanks for reading this week!

Giving a Helping Hand

This past weekend I had a great opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering at the local homeless shelter. At The Pacific Garden Mission I had a chance to realize how ungrateful I had been at times. There where individuals there who had significantly less than I had ever received over my life time, and yet here I was complaining about not being able to take a vacation. Life is hard; there is no doubt to that. However, if we all pitched in every once in a while to help someone in need things can be a little bit better for those in need. It is not what you do it is how you do it.

Making Salads For Dinner

Until next time think Ethically.

Top 3: Dating Places for UIC Students

Hey, You I See!!!

Let’s start of with “Pics of the Week”:

Molly's Cupcakes, Lincoln Park

Famous "Kimchi Fries" at Del Seoul

 Top 3: Dating Places for UIC Students

3. Comedy Sportz 
Nothing like competitive improv between two teams! I would say it’s definitely a cross between TV shows Who’s Line is it Anyway? and Wild N’ Out. A great place for a first date.

2. Grant & Millennium Park
Events all around the year! Range from Zumba dance lessons to music concerts. A great idea to ice skate around winter as well. Restaurants and museums surround the nearby area.

1. Your own living room
Assuming your roommate is out for the weekend– surprise him/her with an indoor picnic at your place, or a pizza and video game night. It’s here where you can work your magic ;)


**UPDATES: My birthday week is coming up!!! I’m so excited. I actually have no idea where to go and I was hoping you guys can help me. There are a few rules: 1.) Has to be of any age [it would suck if anyone is under 21] 2.) Has to be preferably under $20. And that will be the question of the week =)**


Stay awesome Chicago

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: “How to Talk to Anyone”

SONG OF THE WEEK:  So lately I’ve been in love with this song I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing covered by Allison Iraheta

A Conference to Remember

Hola UIC!

This past weekend was a very memorable one. It started with the I am… WOMAN Conference it was definitely a must for the UIC female population. The Conference started off with the Networking event on Friday, which was filled with motivation and tips. The conference then went on to Saturday.

On Saturday along with helping the presenters with their supplies for their presentations I also had the opportunity to take some pictures to show you what I saw.

The day started off with a continental breakfast and a panel discussion. The panel consisted of mentors, very powerful women from all walks of life. Almost every profession represented. They gave everyone a lot of helpful advice. Their sincerity and passion for their careers was evident.

The amount of useful knowledge that all of the attendants were given was evident. I looked around the room and saw all of the attendants with pen and paper writing down the tips that the women gave.  It was exactly was a conference is, an exchange of ideas for progression.

The day then separated into separate breakout sessions. I decided to attend the “Tips to Professional Dress” workshop. The presenter was very knowledgeable in her subject area. Her presentation along with being insightful was also very interactive. The workshop attendants were also lucky enough to receive a copy of her book.

After the workshop we came back to the main conference room for lunch. I was lucky enough to sit with one of the mentors. She had an inspiring story of perseverance. Although life had brought different conflicts her way, she was able to succeed and follow her passion. I also sat with other women who were in various colleges at UIC with different life goals. Along with a delicious lunch, we had the opportunity to listen and be motivated by Lameisha Taylor, a very passionate woman who has overcome various obstacles and is overall an amazing individual.

After lunch we had another break out session. I attended the Entrepreneurship workshop which gave us an insight to how to start our own business and how to market ourselves. The workshop presenter even hosted an elevator speech competition. Various attendees competed and they were surprised to know that they would be sponsored to attend the Entrepreneurs Conference in Chicago.

Thanks for reading this week!


Por Fin! (Finally)

Hello UIC!

Last Friday, I went to eat Chilean food with my good friends (Carlos and Mauricio). This has now been our sixth restaurant together in search of good Latin American home cooking.  The other restaurant countries of origin were, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, and  Ecuador. Some might think that because most Latin Americans share the same language, the food might be the same; this couldn’t be further from the truth. All Countries have their own traditional dishes, spices and customary ways to cook food.  The Chilean restaurant, Rapa Nui, was definitely one of the surprising ones.

We started off with chips and aji (hot sauce). The hot sauce was not as spicy as imagined but pretty tasty.

We then went on to order some empanadas, since we were in a Chilean Restaurant the traditional Chilean empanadas are oven baked. Empanadas can be made with a large variation of filling, we tried the spinach empanada, ground beef baked empanada (it has ground beef, a boiled egg, black olives and other spices) , and cheese empanada.


After the empanadas came our main dish. It was a Parrillada Chilena (Chilean Grilled Platter). I was surprised when the food came. It was so much meat it could have fed about 5 of us. Something that I noticed that is different about the Chilean way of eating is that they did not serve rice and beans with the salad, which is something that is customary with most Latin American main dishes.

After our meat feast we decided to share a dessert, mill hojas (it’s a pastry made with a lot of really thin layers of dough and cajeta, a type of caramel made with milk). It was very tasty.


Overall it was a good first time experience at Rapa Nui, we were full and satisfied.



This weekend I also had a chance to volunteer with the CHANCE Program at the Pacific Garden Mission. It was a good experience but it was also a very sad one. Along with volunteering, I also had the chance to see all of my nephews. My house was full of noise and energy. The children really made a difference in our family mood. Also, since I did not have the chance to see them or my sister on my birthday, they brought me and my brother a cake. It was a nice gesture of them.

On Thursday, I attended another Basketball Game. My organization was funding through the “Wear the Letters Earn the Cash” program. The game was pretty exciting and pretty close, I was also pleasantly surprised to see President Hogan and Chancellor Allen-Meares. During half time a unicyclist made some very impressive tricks with plates while on a unicycle, she would throw the plates from her foot towards the top of her head.

Thanks for reading this week. This weekend will be full of studying and the High School Regional Science Bowl, very exciting.


Thinking Ethically

“Heights of great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night” (Henry Wadworth Longfellow)

Thinking ethically is something that I had the privilege of learning how to do this week. It is not always about the profit gain when deciding to pursue a business idea ( lol I know it backwards of what we are being told to focus on in our marketing, economics and accounting classes), a “wise man” once told me to pick my career based on three facts. The first of which being; what can you do for long hours and not get bored or paid? The second was what work could I do and not rely on positive feedback from my superiors and still give 100%? And the last one was what will make you a better man by the time you’re done working each day? These three questions have lingered with me for the past couple of years as I try to traverse this campus and find my place in it, until I eventually decided to become a marketing manager major.

It is not easy coming from a CPS school and being able to compete with some of the best and brightest this state has to offer. However, through perseverance and the help of the CHANCE program I am able to still pursue my educational goals. The reason I mentioned CPS was not to downgrade the hard work put in by the faculty and staff at these high schools but it was done in an effort to shed light on something that most people know but not many individuals seem to address. My intentions here at UIC is not solely for the monetary rewards I will receive with a higher education but it is the hope of one day giving back to this great community of Chicago. Through this wonderful University I have been able to develop life skills that I am quite certain will take me far with my career, ensuring success and philanthropy.

CPS high school students across the city have a 30% chance of graduating which mean there is a 70% chance that they will not graduate (keep in mind that the percentage presented has a standard deviation of ± 5). There has been several research projects dedicated to finding out the true causes of this epidemic and in addition aimed at generate positive solutions. The research has shown that there are four main reasons as to why students drop out of high school, and those four reasons are teenage pregnancy, lack of financial assistance from their families, lack of motivation and lack of resources. Although there is more to the main four reasons, each student is different when it comes to deciding if they should drop out. Now that the issues have been identified it is then best to provide solutions. Some of those solutions are providing more professional relationships between school faculty and students, with things such as(mentoring programs, counseling, tutoring etc),also financial support from those involved in the students life or allocations from the state to help fund a child’s education. Many students feel as though the lack of motivation within a school environment helps to foster the thought of dropping out because they do not feel challenge. Moreover, students’ in public schools lack the resources they need to pursue their career interest.

And of those who make it to the post secondary level they then face the challenge of competing on a playing field that they are not well equipped for. What does this have to do with UIC one might ask; well it has a lot to do with us. The main reason being that we are one of the largest college in Chicago and not only that but we produce some of the best and brightest this city has ever seen. I implore my fellow students to think about what you can offer back to your community with the knowledge you obtain here at UIC, not just for profit. Helping a fellow classmate who is struggling seems to be insignificant but in essence you have just helped the schools retention rates go up. “Each one teach one”, no man is an island no man stands alone. Until next time think ethically.

Weekend Adventure!

Hello UIC!

Another week has passed! This weekend was very eventful and very rewarding.

My weekend started off with the Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ILS-AMP) Conference on Friday. It is a conference like no other. It is empowering and informational. From the moment we arrive, we were learning. Dinner was followed by an insightful presentation on nanoparticles. I was very pleased with the topic and very relevant to me. We had actually discussed nanoparticles in class only a couple of weeks ago.

The best dessert, carrot cake with cream cheese spread

During the Nanoparticle presentation

Aside from gaining a lot from the conference itself, it was held in a very upscale hotel. It was held in the Blackstone Hotel, we were told that it was the meeting place of Alcapone. We even scoured the hotel to find the infamous Barbershop, which we were disappointed to see had turned into a regular conference room. We did find a painting of Alcapone on our way to the Barbershop.

           The infamous Barbershop

The painting we found.

After dinner there was also the Poster Session Set-Up. I was glad to see so many UIC posters. The night ended with a very well organized social that was brought together by my two kids (Dori and Roberto).  The DJ was very good, he had a good amount of the attendees dancing until he left.

The Poster Session

After a fun night, came the dreaded early morning. I was part of the Regional Science Bowl (RSB) Committee, so it meant that we had to wake up very early on Saturday to finish last minute details for the competition.  I also, had the important task of scorekeeping. Getting acquainted with the rules and point system took a while, but it was very fun at the same time.

                          Tensions were high before the competition.

It was AWESOME to see the kids compete and to get really excited about the subject areas. It was also great to see old friends who graduated also volunteering. It was a great way to catch up and spend some time doing something great. The High School RSB will be on February 25th, I can’t wait!

This week was also my Birthday Week. I was pleasantly surprised when my workplace gave me and my co-worker a cake. It was nice gesture.

Although we haven’t found any time to go eat some Chilean food with my close friends (Carlos, Lauren, and Mauricio), next week we will surely give each other sometime.

Thanks for reading this week!


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