Day 218

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to check out several of Chicago’s great neighborhoods. I first ventured to Lincoln Park (not to be confused with Linkin Park), where I spent some time relaxing along their tree-lined streets and lush park grounds. From there, I headed northwest to Logan Square for a drink at Revolution Brewing—one of my favorite breweries in the country. Along the way, I even found time to stop in a few of Milwaukee Ave’s great shops and eateries, while doing my best to keep my wallet tucked away. I’m not sure if the Logan Square / Wicker Park areas are considered Chicago’s “Williamsburg,” but it certainly seemed that way to me. At the very least, I know where I should head for brunch from now on.

Next, I headed back to The Loop, which houses much of Chicago’s downtown area. As I walked back through the streets, still peering into an interesting shop every now and then, I began to realize that one of the most appealing aspects of a city like Chicago is choice. Since my past few stops have been smaller cities, at least compared to the likes of Chicago, LA and NYC, I almost forgot how much choice you have in a city this size. Don’t get me wrong, every place I’ve visited will have all the things you need. But do they have everything you want? When you’re in an NYC or Philadelphia, there's no denying that you’re going to find more variety. While Memphis may have a great Peruvian eatery, chances are you’ll find at least 2 or 3 of them here in Chicago. The same goes for coffee shops, stores, chain restaurants, parks, jobs, etc.

Of course, that doesn’t make one city any better than another, but it does offer an interesting choice when searching for a place to live. Are you always looking for something new and better? Or do you want comfort and familiarity? That’s a choice I’ve struggled with before and I’m sure it will come around again once this project is over. That's why it's so important to find a city that fits your lifestyle. If you can't connect with the place you live, you'll never be happy there. 


Day 190

As expected, I had a very eventful weekend here in St. Louis. It all started Friday, when my hosts and I headed to the National Donut Day Celebration, presented by Strange Donuts. The event showcased some of the area’s most delectable bites and brews, such as curried chicken salad from Mai Lee, gelato from Pastaria and craft beers from the likes of 4 Hands and Modern. However, one of the coolest things I came across was the booth for Treehouse Networkshop, a local event series that brings entrepreneurs and young professionals together to swap inspiring stories and motivational content. I don’t think I’ll have time to take part in one while I’m here, but it’s a great idea indeed.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that I met a pair of Clevelanders at the event. They gave me a bit of insight into what it’s like living here—from the NE Ohio perspective—and I got a chance to tell them all about #TGAA. It was a great chat and the experience continued my trend of meeting fellow Ohioans at each of my stops.

On Saturday, I decided to wander around the downtown area a bit. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hit me with a rain delay and I didn’t get to see as much as I had hoped. I did get to checkout Ballpark Village though. I’m not a huge sports guy, but even I can see how great this complex is. It offers several bars, restaurants and clubs; and at Fox Sports Midwest Live, you’ll even find a 36-foot TV behind the bar. For those wondering, it’s the largest non-stadium TV in the Midwest.

After finishing my walk through downtown, Casey (one of my hosts) and I decided to take a bike ride to the St. Louis Galleria to pick up our Race for the Cure packets, which we had recently signed up for. Sadly, halfway to our destination the rain returned and we had to abruptly take shelter for a bit. In the end, I think it worked out rather well, because we grabbed a quick lunch next to Post-Dispatch lake at a small restaurant called The Boathouse. Once the rain stopped, we completed our mission and on our way back we stopped by Urban Chestnut to meet up with some Boxing Clever folks for a beer.

In my first weekend here, I’ve come to find that St. Louis is a lot like Charlotte or Memphis, in that it’s neighborhoods are very defined. From The Loop and The Grove to Soulard and the Central West End, each has a distinct personality all it’s own. However, the neighborhoods here seem a tad larger and offer a wider array of shops and eateries. I still have a few more areas to checkout, but thus far, I’m really enjoying what this city has to offer.


Day 186

I’m only a few days into my residency at Boxing Clever and I can already tell I’m going to love it here. From the moment the elevator doors opened, I’ve been shown nothing but warmth and enthusiasm for the project. I was already overjoyed with how my weekend shaped up, due to the generosity of BC Partner, Jim Harper, but it’s easy to see his kindness is shared amongst the rest of the office as well.

The office itself is littered with concert posters, industrial accents, metal figures and stunning artwork. They also have shelves upon shelves of things I love—from Kid Robot figures and Adventure Time toys to whoopee cushions, candy bars and whiskey bottles. It’s as if everyone’s inner child is on display and that’s certainly something I can relate to. Basically, this is what my apartment would look like if I lived here; just throw a bed in the corner and I’d feel right at home.

One Corner of the Boxing Clever Office

Oh, but that’s not all! There’s also a ton of records and skateboard decks scattered throughout the space—evidence of the agency’s deep ties to local Record Store Day festivities. Most of the posters you’ll see on the walls are musically inspired as well and a majority of them are even signed by the artists themselves—from the likes of They Might Be Giants and Rise Against to Torche and My Bloody Valentine. That’s because BC designs them for the national acts, who do autograph signings at local landmark, Vintage Vinyl. I haven’t been to it yet, but that’s probably a good thing because I like having money in the bank… but then again, I do like records… hmm...

Last night, I also got the opportunity to attend the 48 Hour Film Project—a showcase for the city’s talented filmmakers and creative minds.  Although Boxing Clever didn’t participate this year (you can see their previous entries here), it was really cool to see what people brought to life in just two short days. If you ever see one of these events taking place in your city, I highly recommend checking it out. After the show, I hit up Chuck Berry's local restaurant, Blueberry Hill, with some folks from BC and Bruton Stroube, which was a great way to cap off an awesome night.