8 Things I Didn’t Realize When I Moved to Chicago

Well, for starters, I didn’t realize how damn busy I’d be! Sheesh, guys. I’ve been running like a headless chicken lately, shopping for Christmas gifts, working my ass off at the office, and generally trying to do ALL THE THINGS.

I’ve been a busy lady. But here are 8 ADDITIONAL things (in no particular order) that I wasn’t expecting when I moved to the Windy City.

1. Thrift Stores!

A photo posted by Kait (@kaiwilli) on

Well, of course thrift stores are awesome, but I wasn’t fully aware how damn awesome until now–mostly because I didn’t have access to that many before. I’ve always been an avid antique-er and fan of old knick knacks, but most of my usual antique stores didn’t carry clothing. Now I live near two excellent thrift stores with an insane selection of clothes and cutlery and furniture. I’ve purchased dresses, shorts, tank tops, and one very cozy sweater. Also, these perfect curtains.

So anyway, thrift stores FTW!

2. Buying Beer on Sunday!

I was born here in Chicago, but I was raised in Indiana. And here’s something those of you who don’t live in this state may not know: Indiana is dry on Sundays. You can’t buy any beer, wine, or hard booze. (Although you can go to a bar.) I’m sure it might not seem like a big deal, but I can’t tell you how many lazy Sunday afternoons, with perfect warm breezes and sunshine, could have been improved with a nice 6 pack of craft beer. I feel like I always craved beer on Sunday–and now I can buy it whenever I want!

3. Tourists

Six months ago, I was totally a Chicago tourist. I had no clue where I was going around the city, and I also had no idea that I stuck out like a sore thumb. Now that I’ve been here awhile, I find it’s incredibly easy to tell the visitors from the natives. It’s not a bad thing–tourism is a huge industry and I’ve lived in other tourist destinations before (Costa Rica, anyone?). It’s just funny to feel like I’m not the imposter anymore. I finally belong in the “lives in Chicago” club.

4. Thai Food

Confession: I am a curry whore. I’m an absolute sucker for coconut curry–I would even go so far as to say it’s one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately for me, there were no Thai restaurants anywhere near where I lived in Indiana, so I had to settle for making my own sub-par version. However, there are Thai restaurants aplenty here in the city, and I am going HAM on that curry. I have been GrubHubbing the shit out of the Thai restaurants in my area. (I’m also too lazy to leave the house. Or wear pants.) I’ve tried at least 3 or 4 now, and I fully intend to try more.

YOU CAN’T STOP ME! Mwahahahahaha!

5. Loving the CTA

A photo posted by Kait (@kaiwilli) on

Calling myself a nervous driver might be a bit of an understatement, so when I moved to Chicago, I planned to travel mostly by subway. What I didn’t realize was how much I would come to love the damn train. I ADORE taking the train. Commuting on the red line is 10 MILLION times better than driving to work. And I know I’ll have to walk in rain and snow as the seasons change, but I don’t care. Last winter was AWFUL and I can’t count the number of terrifying drives I made in icy or snowy conditions, with low visibility. I saw so many accidents, cars off the road, and cars spinning out on the highway.

Now, all I can say is: FUUUUUUUUUUUCK that! I’m CTA all the way, baby!

6. Lakeside Living

A photo posted by Kait (@kaiwilli) on

When I stumbled upon my new apartment, I wasn’t terribly familiar with the area. I spent maybe an hour wandering around before I decided to fill out the application for it. What I didn’t understand then was exactly how close I am to the lakeside.

It’s just a 15 minute amble to get to the marina near me, and another 5 minutes has me at Montrose Beach. It’s FANTASTIC! I’ve never lived this close to a beach before, but I could definitely get used to this. The location is perfect for jogging, and the boyfriend and I have been swimming (albeit in the very chilly water) twice now. Love it!

7. Vomit

Guys, there is a LOT of vomit in the city. Like, it’s all over the place, all the time. It’s on the street, it’s on the sidewalk, it’s smeared on the fabric seating of the CTA… Chicago is like vomit-central.

8.  That all of my hobbies would fall by the wayside and I’d vanish from my blog for 6+ months…

I know it’s been a long, long time since I updated. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the main factors is that Chicago is just bursting with things to do and see. Each weekend, and lazy week night, I find new areas to explore, restaurants to try, and neighborhoods to visit. And I’m still learning!


Sooo…I totally have internet again for the first time in like a MONTH!

Hi, guys!

I know, I know. It’s been like ONE MILLION YEARS since I updated this blog. There were lots of reasons for that, but the main one was that I haven’t had internet access at my new place until pretty much RIGHT NOW.

In the last several weeks, I started my new job, I moved to my new apartment in Chicago, and I’ve been adjusting to the city life. Things have been preeeetty crazy, and they’re just starting to settle down now.

I guess there’s no better way to tell the story of my move than through some photos…so here’s a look at the last several weeks in photo form. They’re in reverse-chronological order, and they show some of my adventures, as well as my new apartment.

I’ll be blogging much more frequently in the coming weeks–don’t worry. For now, enjoy the pictures!


On Yard Sale-ing

Yesterday I had what could be considered the saddest, smallest yard sale of all time. It was hilarious!

I’m still in the thick of the moving/packing process, and since my current apartment is about twice the size of my new place, I’m being forced to downsize considerably. I don’t mind getting rid of things–it’s very cathartic, and it brings me back to my days in Costa Rica, when all of my belongings fit into 2 suitcases and a cat carrier.


Would you believe no one wanted to buy my ventriloquist dummy? I, personally, was shocked.

Still, moving is expensive, and I thought I could fund my move by selling some of my stuff. Thus the World’s Smallest Yard Sale was born. I had a late start, and didn’t get all my stuff out in the front yard of my apartment complex until 10am. At that point, there was still quite a lot of shade, but that shade was quickly replaced with boiling hot, beating sunlight.

I had (in my humble opinion), some great stuff for sale. Books, a large pot, a rice cooker, a lovely bookshelf decoupaged with pictures from Alice in Wonderland (made by yours truly), a comfortably cute circle chair, tapestries, glasses, a tea pot!

My glassware and tea pot  display

My glassware and tea pot display

I got everything out on the front yard and painstakingly arranged it all, using the bookshelf as a focal point. However, within about 45 minutes, my awesome bookshelf sold and I had to rearrange everything on the grass. Fortunately, my sister soon joined me to help keep an eye on things and flag down some buyers.

I’m not the queen of planning ahead, and I hadn’t made any yard sale signs, so we decided to improvise by taping “Yard Sale” signs to boxes and my old clarinet case (also for sale).

I was desperate to sell my big circle chair from Urban Outfitters, as it takes up a lot of space in my apartment, and it was also one of the nicest items I had for sale. However, because I was sitting in it, I thought it might be throwing people off. So I made more signs.




Can you tell I work in marketing?

A few smaller items sold, and I was able to bulk-sell all of my unwanted to jewelry to a lady who seemed very happy to take it off my hands, but not many people had stopped by. My sister and I soon resorted to waving and shouting “Woo yard sale woo!” at passing motorists. Our neighbors across the street found this very amusing.

No one else stopped by though, and we decided to take our sign game to the next level by infusing it with truth and humor.



People thought this sign was hilarious! We got tons of waves and honks, but sadly, no additional sales. After a few more hours of toughing it out in the burning sun, we were done.

The majority of the unwanted items were piled into a bag and given to Goodwill. The circle chair came back to the apartment with me, where it was listed on Craigslist. I ended the day $150 richer, thanks mostly to my friend Ginger, who purchased some of my apartment furniture, since she will be moving into my place when Javi and I leave. (Yay Ginger!)

I’m still working on selling the chair, as well as some other items, like a very collectible Alice in Wonderland tea set, via Craigslist. Hopefully, I’ll be able to accrue some additional funds before I have to go and rent a U-Haul.

All in all, the yard sale was semi-successful, and I had a blast being ridiculous with Erin. Sister adventures for the win!

Do any of you guys have yard sale antics or horror stories?


I’m Back!

Hey, guys! Hey there! It’s been SO LONG and I’ve missed you!

There is SO MUCH HAPPENING in my life right now that I can barely keep myself showered on a regular basis, let alone adhere to any kind of blogging schedule at the moment. Let me do a quick update on what’s happening:

Quick and dirty run-down of current happenings:

-I got a new job in Chicago and it starts next Monday (!!!!)

-I spent the last week and a half apartment-hunting, and I signed a lease this week.

-I move into my new place June 15th, so I’m packing as we speak. My living room is a flurry of boxes, tape, and newspapers right now.

-Until June 15th, I have to commute to said new job via bus, so I’m trying to figure that out.

-I’m downsizing significantly and trying to sell a bunch of my stuff because my new place is smaller than my old place. Yard sale tomorrow, holla!

-I’m also still trying to be a functional human and handle all of these things with grace and poise (aka, just trying not to f*&k it all up or fall down the stairs or something).

-I was really behind on Welcome to Nightvale, and had a wealth of old podcasts to listen to. And then I listened to 10 in a day while packing/cleaning and now I’m all caught up and there’s a Glow Cloud-shaped hole in my heart now. All hail the mighty Glow Cloud.





So you see, there’s a LOT going on in la casa de Kait currently. In addition to that, my computer died about 2 weeks ago, and my boyfriend was finally able to help me repair it on Wednesday night. So we are up and running again, and hopefully I can get back to blogging more regularly–especially once I’m all moved into my new place.

For now guys, I hope you’ll sit tight. I’ve got a number of posts on the back burner, and I”m sure there will be a LOT more for me to blog about as I transition into city life and have Chicago-related adventures and all of that.

Every so often, my inner 7 year-old comes out and squeals for joy over simple things, like getting to ride the train to work, or just working on Michigan Avenue in general (it just seems so glam, guys! I feel fancy!).

Also, I get to wear jeans to work now. (Be jealous! MWHAHAHAHA! Dress pants can DIE!)

So yes, I’ve got mad post ideas kicking around the old noggin, and I’m also trying to switch up my diet and cook more, so you may see some more food related posts soon. (Green smoothies! Overnight oats! Mushroom Risotto! ..BEER!)

I’ve also been catching up on some very, very bad horror films on Netflix, so there’s that. And also, I wrote a lovely guest post about expressing your geekiness at the office for my friend Kelly over at Apockylypse.com, so keep an eye out for that.

More things are coming, guys! Now, I’ve got to get back to packing.






So much to type, and so little time!

Guy, I know I’ve been absent. Lots of reasons for that. Work events, general life craziness, my computer crashing & dying on me, and now–I GOT A JOB IN CHICAGO!!!!

I didn’t want to publicize my job hunt here on the blog numerous reasons. But now I can tell you all without fear that I’ll soon be working right in the heart of downtown Chicago, and I’ll be doing event marketing and coordination for a lovely little media/publishing company. I couldn’t be more thrilled, and I think this job is a perfect fit.

The next few weeks will be turning my life upside down. I’ll be packing, purging my apartment of unnecessary objects, and apartment-hunting in the Windy City.

Once things die down a bit (and once I get my computer back up and running), you’ll see more posts from me. I promise.

Until then, chickadees!


Photo via William Shannon

A Personal Manifesto, or Why Kindness is Key

I’ve been dealing with a lot of difficult social stuff in the last several months. Interpersonal communications have been a real struggle in both personal and professional realms, and it has been very hard to keep my spirits high.

Lost or phased-out friendships, friends moving far away, difficult work situations, jealousy, pettiness, bullying; I’ve been trying to handle it all at some point lately. And for someone like me (ie. highly sensitive, introverted, anxious, conflict-averse), it’s been so hard not to carry the hurts around with me as I go about just trying to figure out my daily life.

I’ve always wanted to write a personal manifesto. I’ve even mentioned it on this blog, ages ago, but never really did anything with the idea. Until now.

I think the idea of a manifesto is a wonderful thing, but I also think it has to be fluid and changeable. As you grow older, your manifesto should grow and mature with you. I think part of the reason I shied away from writing one a year or so ago was that I felt that it needed to be permanent.

Nothing makes you less likely to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) than the idea that THIS THING THAT I AM WRITING IS PERMANENT AND MY IDEAS WILL HAVE TO STAY THE SAME FOR ALL OF TIME OR I HAVE FAILED IN MY MANIFESTO-LINESS.

Yeah, I just made up the word “manifesto-liness”. I’m awesome like that.

SO. Anyway. Here are the current contents of my personal manifesto:

1. Kindness is key

Kindness will never NOT be awesome, and I’ve found that in 99.9% of personal dealings with human beings, a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Even when people are mean, shitty, and otherwise disagreeable, I try very hard to be kind. Kill them with kindness is so much more effective, in my opinion, than Wait until they’re not looking and STAB THEM IN THE BACK! 

I’m definitely a fallible human with lots of problematic traits, but I do think my overwhelming urge to be kind and give a shit is one of my better qualities. And I definitely think it’s one worth nurturing and paying better attention to in the future.

2. Try to leave the people, places, and things you come into contact with in better condition than when you found them

I’m borrowing this one from one of my favorite bloggers, Alexandra Franzen, but I don’t think she’ll mind–she’s a huge advocate of love and kindness in all things. I think we’ve all heard some version of this phrase in the past, probably as kids when you were supposed to be cleaning something, like your cubby or locker. Leave it in better condition than you found it. 

However, I think this is a great idea to apply to all things in life. For example, your treatment of the Earth, the condition in which you keep your apartment, your interactions with most people, and whether or not you’re littering can all be improved upon. It’s an admirable goal to try to leave things–and especially people–in better condition than you found them. I know I want to positively impact people’s live and just make them happier in general. I think that’s a worthy goal.

3. Take time to play & create something everyday

I’m a highly imaginative day-dreamer, and that part of my personality tends to get bogged down and neglected when I get overworked and anxious and busy in my professional and personal life. But here’s the thing: I always feel so much happier and less stressed when I’m doing creative things. I need an outlet. And neglecting my creative urges creates a cycle where I feel down because I’m not creating/playing, and because I feel down, I don’t create. Or play.

It’s weird to be learning at 26 that taking care of your personal needs makes you a better person overall. The idea is sort of counterintuitive and feels selfish to me, but when I when I take care of my needs and make myself happy, I have a much better version of myself to offer the world.

Besides, what’s the point of life if you’re not creating or playing, anyway?

4. Exercise will ALWAYS make you feel better. Even if you feel shitty and tired when you’re exercising.

I’d say about 80% of the work outs I do are done begrudgingly. I have gone on many a run with gritted teeth and had to repeat to myself “I love running. This is totally fun. I don’t hate this AT ALL.”

But at the end of the exercise, I ALWAYS feel better. Every. Damn. Time.

So I just have to keep reminding myself that if I put in 30 minutes of physical work, I WILL feel better afterwards. Exercise can make a world of a difference to your mood.

5. Always wash your hands thoroughly after feeding wild monkeys

This one time I spent several hours feeding plantains to wild monkeys and I guess I didn’t wash my hands well enough afterwards, because I wound up with salmonella and it was HORRIBLE. I literally had to stop eating so I could survive the flight from Costa Rica to Chicago without running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.

NEVER AGAIN. Wash your hands, people.

6. Be free with your praise for others (as long as its genuine)


Giving someone mad props is never a bad thing. I’m a HUGE advocate of praising people if they do good stuff, are awesome, have a great haircut, etc. However, you do need to be mindful of your praise. Praising someone for sycophantic reasons is not the goal. Neither is telling your female coworker how “smokin’ hot” she is. I’m talking about real, honest compliments of a non-sexual and non-creepy nature.

Pile on the praise! It almost never hurts, and it can really make someone’s day.

7. Be present & try to worry less

Guys. I struggle SO HARD with this one. Like, Magikarp hard.

When I’m freaked out and anxious, I tend to get a kind of “What’s next?” tunnel vision. I think it’s the curse of an event planner, to always be thinking two weeks or two months or two steps ahead. And because of this, I have a difficult time enjoying the now. It drives my boyfriend nuts.

But when I do have the wherewithal to let the stress go for a minute and have fun in the present, it’s like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. So mostly, I’m putting this in my manifesto as an attempt to remind myself how much better I feel when I calm down and focus on the now.

8. This song is the BEST and is my favorite dance anthem of all time.


 9. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic about the shit you love

The main goal of my ongoing Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness is to be unapologetic about my super-geeky interests. I think, as kids, we sort of learn to keep our interests under wraps if they aren’t mainstream, well-known, or well-understood. I can remember my elementary school self keeping mum on her love of video games and other things that weren’t popular, in order to avoid being mercilessly teased. (Although that really didn’t stop the teasing, anyway.)

If you go through the majority of your life keeping quiet about your interests, it can feel really REALLY strange to start being publicly enthusiastic about the things you love. But don’t let that strangeness stop you!

In my quest to be more outwardly nerdy, I’ve discovered that sporting your nerd gear in public will help you meet people and possibly make new friends. I can’t tell you how many people have used my Pokeball earrings as an icebreaker just to jump into a Pokemon conversation. Being geeky publicly is a great way to meet other geeks–whether they’re hiding or not.

Plus, being a nerd is awesome.

Suck it, bullies!

10. You can’t win everyone’s appreciation, support, or love. Try to be satisfied with doing the absolute  best you can do.

I’ve never mastered this one. It’s my constant, ongoing goal to eventually come to grips with the fact that I will never be everyone’s friend. (Yeah, I’m that girl. The really eager to please one. It’s just a 26-year-long phase, I swear.)

I struggle in social situations because I want people to like me, I want people to appreciate my work, and I want people to return my kindness with kindness. But life doesn’t work like that. Trying to get people to be my friend has led me into a lot of fair weather friendships where I am the provider of rides, the comforting shoulder, or the listening ear, and the other person can’t be bothered to return the favor.

You can never please everyone. So I’m trying to focus less on what other people appreciate and more one whether or not I’m satisfied with doing my best. Feels pretty good.


So, there you have it. My (current, potentially subject-to-change) manifesto. So what do you think? Have you ever written a manifest of your own? Would you ever want to?

Let me know in the comments.


(Photo Credit: William Shannon)