Chicago Donut Fest 2017: A.K.A. Easier to Wake up for Than My 8am Class

Friends, I have a confession. Y’know how sports are the utmost reverenced and widely accepted pinnacle of American culture? Well, I have never cared for these competitive sportsball games, of any kind.

But this year I’ve learned there is one competition I can get behind, one where everyone ends up a winner (ish).

Donut Fest is an annual celebration—held in Chicago, New York, and Cleveland—which invites the best local restaurants and bakeries to bring their doughnut A-game in hopes of receiving the most votes to earn the title of “Best Donut.”

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The most rewarding part about being a fan of this sport is its simplicity: you show up, you receive tickets, you give the tickets to the booths, you get donuts and coffee, and then, finally, you eat the donuts, release several satisfying moans and wonder why you haven’t been starting every morning prior to this very moment with donuts.

The worst part was definitely having to wake up at 6am on a Sunday, but it was a small price to pay to have been granted early access to donut heaven before the general public and earning the official title of “Donut V.I.P.” which, for the record, better be engraved onto my future tombstone.

This year’s Donut Fest featured 11 donut vendors including Chicago donut staples like Stan’s Donuts, Glazed and Infused, and Doughnut Vault and suburban underdog shops like B’s Sweet Bites (Des Plaines), DeEtta’s Bakery (Naperville), and Gurnee Donuts (Gurnee).

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Left to Right: S’mores (Beavers Donuts), Chocolate Sour Cream Old Fashion (DeEtta’s Bakery), Mango Sriracha (Glazed and Infused), Pretzel Style Donut (B’s Sweet Bites), Dark Chocolate Butter Finger (Stan’s Donuts), Cinnamon Sugar (Beavers Donuts), Cookies ‘n’ Cream (Doughnut Vault), Mint Chocolate Chip (Glazed and Infused), Vanilla Glazed with Sprinkles (Cochon Volant)

I wish I could say that I didn’t eat 80 percent of what is pictured above in one sitting—in addition to the donuts from 4 other vendors that I ate immediately because I sadly only have two hands—but I did. #Healthy #CleanLiving

However, as justification, it was for the greater good.  As a Donut V.I.P., it was my duty to assess the flavors of each donut and cast my vote for the most deserving candidate.

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I did my best to leave my predisposition for Glazed and Infused’s donuts far from my decision-making, and ended up casting my vote for Gurnee Donuts’ Buko Pandan, a young green coconut glazed donut inspired by a popular Filipino dessert.

The official judges awarded DeEtta’s Bakery of Naperville with a trophy for their Chocolate Sour Cream Old Fashion, while the crowd deemed Doughnut Vault’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream best in show.

Until next week!

X,

Katerina

Blahsmopolitan No. 7: “No Crying in the Uber” AKA “Help! I’m Stalling and I Can’t Get Up!”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist available on Apple Music and Spotify to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. (Not this week, though!) This week, our columnist breaks his leg, breaks the same leg again, and considers a conspiracy theory in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.

The first week of my first semester, I did a celebratory kick at my first college party, tore a ligament, and fell in blinding, screaming agony in front of everybody. Within seconds, a circle of staring sorority girls had cleared around me as I frantically tried to pull myself off the ground to no avail. In retrospect, I probably looked hilarious, but at the time, it was no joke. I could straight up not stop screaming. Not, like, cute groaning and embarrassed smiling. No performance- dead eyes, and full-bodied shrieking. Water on the Wicked Witch of the West. Not kidding.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 7: “No Crying in the Uber” AKA “Help! I’m Stalling and I Can’t Get Up!””

Blue Monday: The Reason Why You Feel Super Bummed in the Month of January

How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by the month of January?

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If this semester is already bumming you out worry not, friends—you are not alone.

I kick off every “spring” semester equipped with the same distressing bag of emotions: exhausted, frustrated, dissatisfied, stressed, and straight up down-in-the-dumps.

The holidays are over, the weather is dreary and, worst of all, classes resume and we all have to return to our crappy jobs.

Seriously, if January was a color it would be the same shade of putrid brown-green as the cup of water an art lover uses to clean their paintbrushes.

And if my griping isn’t enough to convince you that January is a soul-sucking harpy, maybe a super neat science equation will do the trick.

According to psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, Blue Monday—the third Monday of every January—is  “the most depressing day of the year.” Spoiler alert: today’s the big day.

Dr. Arnall created a formula to facilitate our understanding of this winter times sadness:

[W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA   OR  [weather + (debt – monthly salary)] * (time since Christmas * failure to attempt to give something up) / (low motivational level * the need to take action).

And while my stats professor would probably scoff at the subjectivity of this equation, I can’t help but feel relieved by its existence. With such a daunting amount of negative factors preying on us, it’s no wonder why we feel blue.

My equation looks a little something like this:

(The air hurts my face + I am super poor) * (Christmas was 3 weeks ago * I cannot leave my bed in the morning) / (I want to do nothing * I need to be doing everything) = my depression has depression.

All sass and Mean Girls quotes aside, the winter months are a challenging time for all of us, but especially for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), major depression, and other forms of mental illness. Many people are fighting battles invisible to our eyes, so please remember to be kind to each other.

X,

Katerina

P.S. – B’s and C’s get degrees—so don’t wig out.

Blahsmopolitan No. 5: “Lullaby for a Roommate” AKA “Hello Daddy, Hello Mom, I’m Your Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Child With Mental Illness”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist available on Apple Music and Spotify to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. This week, our columnist heads home for the holidays, writes an actual advice column, and repents for his dorm life sins in hopes that you can learn from his mistakes.

Stream this week’s playlist on Apple Music or Spotify. Blahsmopolitan and its playlists contain mature themes. 

I get that it’s super corny to be the person who goes away to college and then can’t shut up about how much they miss home. College is supposed to be the holy Mecca of good times, the cure-all to high school’s nine circles of social hell, the place where you go to become your true self and never look back. Don’t get me wrong, my first semester of college has given me tastes of all of those things, but there is no such thing as an overnight cure to having a terrible and mostly pointless life, and there’s no such thing as a semester-long cure either.

My qualifications to say this are as follows: I’ve gone to a city college with a 60% commuter population for about three months. I’ve made about four friendships that I could see becoming deeper than just someone to get wasted with, I’ve been passed out drunk almost every weekend, and I’ve taken strictly 100-level courses in areas mostly unrelated to my major. Despite all these deeply formative experiences, I am incredibly excited to go home.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 5: “Lullaby for a Roommate” AKA “Hello Daddy, Hello Mom, I’m Your Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Child With Mental Illness””

The 9th

I wrote this piece, or whatever you would call it the day after the election. I was at the library, and was thinking about all the people I had interacted with in the day, how they felt. A large portion of the students at UIC aren’t fans of Trump, and all of my friend aren’t either. If you are a fan of the president elect, this isn’t an attack on you. This isn’t even an attack on the man himself. This is just what I observed as a conscious feeling that I believe I observed among the people around me, as well as some contribution of how I felt that day.

 

Just looking around it seems as if the same tan ghost is haunting us all. I cannot find a better way to explain it. It is a perfect autumn day, where we still have time before the cold embrace of winter. Yet, the air still somehow hurts. Every head is staring straight into the ground, as if afraid that they may be catch someone’s eyes, as if they are afraid of what they might see. All of us afraid to be reminded that; yes we are haunted by the same terrible ghost.

But there are still the few that seemed find joy in our new ghost. Though they don’t even consider him a ghost, no he is their savior. But don’t be confused their reason for believing in him varies greatly. Some believe they will thrive under someone is different that the norm, they think that is the only criteria he needs. Others love the money. It does run the world doesn’t it? If he has gathered such a large amount of money, why cannot he do the same for them and their loved ones? But lastly there are the ones who have been quieted for years now. The ones that have been had their opinioned characterized as offensive, and belong in an age that has long past. They believe that they have lost what has belonged to them for two centuries, they believe that we stolen it from them. Ironic isn’t it? But now they can breathe, now they can parade in their hate, for they have proven that the hate is not just a major presence, but it has been thriving.

So here we are, those that despair, wondering if they should finally lose hope. Yet it is only temporary, the worst despair arises from fresh wounds, and these wounds will heal, and our despair will wash away. But until then we will walk with this ghost haunting us.

Doubt, Stress, And Genetic Professors

My original plan was to write about my experience abstaining from sugar this past week, which has also carried into this week, but I wasn’t able to do the research that I wanted to make it sound legitimate and knowledgeable in all the ways sugar is not so good for us. I didn’t have much time to do so because I spent all weekend trying to breathe life into a paper I’m writing about Hillary Clinton and her lack of situated ethos, or why people seem to really hate her.

This leads me to this Monday’s blog topic. HRC’s ethos and I wrestled all weekend, and well into this morning, which won me only four pages out of the ten I need to write. Basically I didn’t get much done and feel that I’ve wasted a ton of time that I could have spent studying for my other classes. That is rather beside the point here because what I really felt during my peer review in class today is that I’m not even capable of writing well, which is something I take some pride in. So if I can’t write, then what can I do?

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’m a Neuroscience major, but I’ve fought my entire way through it. I’m not naturally good at math, nor do I excel in the sciences. But the brain, and especially the mind, fascinates me. From a more practical standpoint, I also felt secure studying a hard science. What I do well is be stubborn and work hard. I’ve accepted my inability to maneuver through coursework with ease, but I’ve also accepted the challenge. However, today was a day where I questioned my major, my capabilities, my aspirations, and of course, my existence because stress isn’t as much fun if you don’t over do it.genetic-ethics1Today I thought a lot about whether I had made the right decision or if I should have chosen something that was better suited to my strengths. I still don’t have a single clue what I’ll be doing once I graduate, but struggling in my science classes makes me feel that I’m not cut out for graduate school, or anything at all really.

I caught my breath and stalled my brain, and made sure I didn’t complain to my friends. I bought myself an almond latte and listened to Frank Ocean on repeat while I did my homework. I thought about the work, instead of if I could do it or not. Then, I turned on lecture capture for a class I had missed, and listened to my genetics professor talk about an experience he had in graduate school.

He told the class how, after an exam, his professor called him to his office and told him that he shouldn’t be in graduate school because he had confused transcription with translation. After looking over the exam, my professor acknowledged his mistake, but let him know that he was aware of the difference. And as he walked out of his office he told him that he most certainly belonged in graduate school. My professor finished his story by reminding us to never let anybody, especially a stranger, tell us what we can’t and cannot do. The class applauded, and I too applaud.

He also didn’t fail to mention that his professor died prematurely of lung cancer. So, ease the mind and collect yourself. Don’t let the bastards get you down, and don’t be one either.

Rad Radar: The Sympathetic Imagination

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It’s no surprise technology has influenced everything around us. Machines have most certainly affected art: we can design graphics, alter photos, record works on video, and edit visuals to look even more magnificent. We have evolved into a society that preserves the physical into digital.Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) newest installation, The Sympathetic Imagination by Diana Thater, merges tech with the most organic physical of all, nature.

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“…continuous disruptions of the American landscape document my refusal to see the land as backdrop for man’s heroic conquering of the wild; instead I see it as a foreground, a subject to be contemplated for itself and for which wilderness is a state of grace.” Abyss of Light (1993)

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“…when viewers walking into the projections, they penetrate the bee space; the one picture breaks into five, and the surrounding bees become and vision of chaos.” Knots + Surfaces (2001)

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“Framed by the moon and the sun, this work makes reference to the Egyptian falcon god, Horus, whose eyes were said to represent the two celestial bodies… Here we see beings who cannot look back at us – that is, until the final subject of the film appears… evoking the unanswered questions: ‘ What do I see when I look at the other, and what does it see when it looks back at me?'” A Cast of Falcons (2000)

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“…there are three kinds of bodies in space: dolphins moving through volumetric space; the sun spinning in a vacuum of black space; and then the  viewer, moving through ‘real’ space made volumetric by the artificial magenta light” Delphine (1999)

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“…the forests of Michoacan, Mexico, become the overwinter home for tens of millions of monarch butterflies… This broken video wall focuses on one butterfly slowly flapping its wings” Untitled Videowall (Butterflies) (2008)

“At the heart of Thater’s work is the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality and, by extension, between the domesticated and wild, the scientific and the fantastical or magical… Thater layers imagery onto architectural surroundings to create complex relationships between time and space.”

The accompanying pamphlet sets the concept as an intimate experience with scenes of the wild we wouldn’t normally experience if it weren’t for technology. The set up of projectors reflecting on the blank walls of the gallery create a situation where, no matter what, you are bound to cast your shadow on the film. This is a nod to Thater’s want to have the viewer interact with the outdoors. Monitors displaying parts of a butterfly are arranged in a floral way, while others show tinted versions of our planet Earth. Creamy lights of neon and pastel mingle with the projections to be a reminder that though you are connecting with nature, it is all but a virtual encounter.

If you want to get immersed in an ambient wilderness or just love magnificent visuals, take a trip to Thater’s exhibit. The Sympathetic Imagination is stationed in the MCA till January 8, 2017.

Work Cited:

Thater, D. (2016). The Sympathetic Imagination [Brochure].

Chicago, IL: Museum of Contemporary Art.

Blahsmopolitan No. 4: “The Panic at KΔP” AKA “Veni, Vidi, Veni Again”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist available on Apple Music and Spotify to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. This week, our columnist gets a lesson in weed culture, outsmarts some sorority girls, and goes home with a stranger in hopes that you can learn from his mistakes.

Stream this week’s playlist on Apple Music or Spotify. Blahsmopolitan and its playlists contain mature themes.

Before I begin this story, I want to be very clear on my feelings about U of I. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a god forsaken land. God has left the building, and 18-21 year olds have been left to their own devices to roam the Earth and think of new mixed drinks and hazing methods. This story takes place within the span of 24 hours. It took 24 hours to do all of what you are about to read. U of I is where innocence goes to get tied up by all four limbs and attached to pygmy horses, yanked at with just shy of the correct force to totally sever it- forever in a limbo between responsibility and debauchery.

If you have even the mildest case of FOMO, I do not recommend going for any longer than a weekend. If you are a person like me, who does stupid things for the story, do not go at all. I am already considering going back to have more material for this column. It is the sort of place where every time you go out, you will be greeted by some sort of mistake that informs who you are to your very core, and you will never regret it, but you will almost definitely fail your classes if you have even the slightest dwindling in your willpower.

Anyway.

Last Friday night, I got a bad feeling.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 4: “The Panic at KΔP” AKA “Veni, Vidi, Veni Again””

Rad Radar: Clara Tang

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My friend, Clara Tang, is a musically talented chick who hails from Connecticut. She samples pop vocals and mixes dreamy beats to create chill electronic music you can cruise late nights to. Under the moniker SleepyHaze, her tunes have been making waves.

When did you start making tracks?

I started making music midway through junior year of high school – so two years ago. My brother made music, so he had me download software awhile ago. Basically, I got super depressed and I couldn’t play violin anymore. So then I started making electronic music to fill the void – the creative void – that I had. So at that point I didn’t really listen to electronic music. I was in a huge indie phase, but I had just started listening to Tokimonsta and Flume. They are kind of younger. Especially Tokimonsta; she’s a Korean female producer and I thought that was really cool. You don’t see many female producers lately. It made me realize that I could do that too. Those were the first two that kicked off everything else, and then I started to get into more electronic stuff.

Who or what do you sample from the most?

Honestly, I just have a folder on my computer of random vocal stems that I find on the internet. Most of them are pop songs. I’ll just kind of shove it into a song until one of them works, and then usually I’ll put a bunch of effects and then make it seem like – you usually can’t tell what I’m sampling. I like that about it. I try to blur the words a little bit so you can’t really tell what they are saying. I’ve sampled One Direction, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and stuff like that.

What is the best set that you have experienced that you want to pay yourself?

Favorite set that I’ve ever seen was my first show here, in Chicago! It was the Soulection show. I saw AbJo, Stefan, and Joe Kay. The sets were really – they start off a little bit more chill and vibey and they got really – not hype but more trappy and future-bass. I really like that and it kept you dancing for a full four hours. I think that if I ever were to play a live show it would be – I don’t know. My music is too slow, I think, for a live show. I’d probably do more of a DJ set and I’d want it to be that kind of vibe.

How did you come about with the name SleepyHaze?

It’s so lame! SleepyHaze… I was tired as hell, so I took a shower at 5 p.m. and was feeling all groggy. Then, mid-shower, I thought of the name and realized it was totally my sound.

What is the ideal scenario you would want your songs to be played during?

Well a lot of it is inspired by night driving, so that would probably be a good situation. Or like a montagey, lo-fi indie film type thing – I could see my music being played on top of that. Teen angst type, I guess.

If you are, like most of us, feeling that teen angst because of recent political events, take a good hour to relax with SleepyHaze’s recent release, WeakNights, on blast. A chill, downtempo feel is what you will get from this electronic piece. Inspired by thinking too much late into those dead nights that you just drift, the album’s ambient soothing is what SleepyHaze stands for.

The View From Here Is Amazing

I don’t care if I’ve seen the Sears tower (I refuse to call it the Willis tower) a million different times, I’ll never get tired of the view. I feel like every time I look up while walking to BSB, riding the train, or riding the Halsted bus, I’m seeing the Sears tower for the first time.

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When the clouds are moving away from the tower on a cold day,

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When the Sears tower seems to stand out even more when the sky is clear and blue, when we can’t see it all because it’s gloomy, cloudy, and foggy. When the leaves change colors in the fall, or when the trees are bare,

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When spending all day and late nights around Chicago are a must during the summer,

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When snow covers the streets of Chicago, consuming the world below the Sears tower, when the night comes and it looks just as beautiful,

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I have to take a picture. I have to capture the beauty because it’ll never look exactly the way I’m seeing it with my eyes again.

The view of Chicago from the 103rd floor of the Sears tower is pretty amazing too.

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