Picture This: How I See Things

This past weekend has been one of the craziest of my life. Typing has never felt so good as my voice is fading from the past few days as I go through rushing for sororities at my university. I have luckily been able to talk a lot about how much I love to write! More on that later, but due to my hectic schedule I did not want to leave you all hanging and I was not about to skip a post! I promise this sorority will not  affect consciousofcasey again, but for about the first time in my life I was not prepared for not having time to write! I thought I would take the limited time I have to share some photos. They say pictures say a thousand words, which saves me a lot of time for not having to write those words myself.

I take a lot of pictures, whether they be of food or landscapes, so these are just a few of my favorites that kind of fit well together. The following pictures take you on a journey from Chicago to New Jersey. I have taken all of these in the past 6 months or so… Enjoy!

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Photo 1: Somewhere between it all
Photo 2: New Jersey
Photos 3, 5, and 6: Ocean City Boardwalk
Photo 4: Ocean City, New Jersey

Only after this post goes live will I post any of these photos on Instagram. I did not want this post to just be a copy of my Instagram feed, but new perspectives and images. I am just an amateur with an iPhone, but looking through these now remind me how much I love photography.

Do any of you know any good cameras for traveling? I am hoping to save up for one soon, but I am so lost on what is good for someone who wants to experiment more with manual, still have the option for automatic, and take really high-quality shots without carrying around something giant!

See you with more words next time,

Casey

 

What I’m Going to, and What You Should, Miss About Chicago

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Two days from now I am leaving my hometown, and for once I have no idea when I will be back. No Thanksgiving or Christmas pulling me home this time. While I couldn’t be happier to be heading back East, leaving is a strange feeling. I didn’t always like Chicago, but my eyes have really opened up to it these past couple years.

While I do not actually live directly in the city, I thought I would share what I am going to miss most about Chicago and what parts of the city are really worth seeing. The best part is that you could see or go to most of these in just one day!

1. Navy Pier

IMG_5096.jpgThe first time I went to Navy Pier was to see a play in middle school. Last time I went was this summer with my two best friends. All the times in between are a blur, except the awkward magic that is prom. Navy pier has so many activities to offer, but the long, historical ferris wheel ride is my favorite. I have yet to play mini-golf there, but I have heard that it is pretty fun too!

2. Anywhere with Deep DishIMG_9639.jpg

Luckily for all of us deep dish can also be found in the surrounding Chicago suburbs AND be shipped anywhere in the America, so there are always opportunities for deep pizza. Giordano’s in my go-to, but Gino’s East is another Chicago classic. East coast pizza is amazing, but deep dish has a special place in my heart and stomach.

3. The ArchitectureIMG_2366.jpg

I learned to really appreciate Chicago architecture when my basic photography class went around the city taking photos. From the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park to the random banks near Union Station, I find the building’s and their histories beautiful. Walking from place to place in the summer is the best way to see it all.

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4. The Willis (*Sears*) Tower

Probably the most touristy place on this list, but the wait in line is worth it. The view reaching from the horizon of the lake to the surrounding suburbs is stunning, even on the cloudiest of Chicago days. I don’t mind heights, so I find sitting on the ledge is the best part!

5. The Lincoln Park Area

IMG_9074.jpgFull of one-of-a-kind shops and the Urban Outfitters surplus store, the neighborhoods near Lincoln park makes me think that I could have maybe survived going to school in Chicago. It is a quiet alternative to the magnificent mile with its suburban townhouses and zoo animals–both in the zoo and on campus.

Honorary mentions to Lollapalooza, the people of Chicago, and the suburbs, all of which have their good and bad moments.

Distance is definitely going to make my heart grow fonder, but i’m not going to miss Chicago winter that will, of course, be over soon after I leave.

Any Chicagoans think I missed something? Anyone heading to Chicago soon?

Your Resident Chicago Suburb-ean,

Casey

 

 

Studying: Coffee House Composure

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It can be hard to focus in college. So many people and activities and food. It’s important to find a place to really be able to focus, whether it be in the library or dorm. After my first semester in college, I know I prefer studying in coffee shops or cafés. Some people may not have found their favorite place personally, but even during my winter session I get the best work done when I leave my house and venture to a new setting. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is definitely my cup of coffee.

Why Coffee Houses?

  • But First, Coffee: Coffee is both a cultural phenomenon and basically an essential item to function. Cafés/coffee houses have an endless supply of it (shocker, right?!), as well as varieties of tea, delicious pastries, or even the occasional healthy foods. Although Starbucks is great, more unique places tend to have different and better things to offer.
  • The People: Small coffee houses are usually stocked with original characters and quality service. Both the customers and employees are usually conversational and pleasant to interact with!
  • Noisy, but not annoying: Working in complete silence is just a call for distractions for me as little things tick or tock. Too much noise is a distraction in it of itself. I find the low buzz of conversations and steamers the perfect complements for a study session.
  • Energy: Not to get too hippie-hippie here, but my past three reasons all add to the feelings of a coffee house or café. I find them so cozy, comfortable, and straight-up motivating. Most other people there are also studying, and everyone is hyped up on coffee and cream.
  • Even science supports the coffee-shop-studying-movement!
  • Who does’t want to feel like the cast of Friends?
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Make the Best of it:

  • Know Your Budget: Know going in that you are going to only buy one cup and a muffin so that you do not keep ordering coffee as you spend more time there and accidentally drop $20 on coffee in one day.
  • Try New Things: Those giant menus are created for a reason. Don’t order the same thing every time you go and it will help bring more excitement to what you are studying!
  • Get to Know the Staff: I have yet to master this, but having the people know your name and/or order could really make your stressful study days a little bit better.
  • Don’t go every single day because the day you skip will be filled with a caffein withdrawal headache.
  • For anyone in Newark, Delaware: Brew HaHa and Brewed Awakenings are the best things to ever happen on Main Street.

You’ve got nothing to loose, except maybe some money.

Please join me in my coffee house obsession and check out your local places, especially if you are a student or if only just to support a small business at the end of the day!

Your Caffeine Enabler,

Casey

Insta-nt Shame or Insta-nt Pride: Social Media

I was struggling to choose which of my pieces to post first this year after my initial announcement. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to focus on the future–not the past. As great as 2015 was, I know 2016 is only going to be better. I thought this post captured something that I know will always be a constant in my life, I just hope it is not too heavy. Enjoy! 

Check Social Media. Eat. Repeat.

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Social media is just another way for me to be creative. I get to write everyday but my constraints in character count help me think differently. Editing some of the photos that I already take to preserve memories is an added creative perk. My life revolves around networking, which is made similar but more exciting online. Social media is an amazing outlet to document memories and share with others.

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Social media is also the perfect ego boost. I will admit I love getting the “like”, 😍 comment, and connection notifications–I mean who doesn’t. I am ashamed to admit the amount of time my friends and I have spent taking selfies. I begin and start my days by checking social media. I will occasionally think in Instagram captions, photo filters, and tweets. This is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to my actual content and sanity.

When I consider both the good and bad of social media, I see all of the amazing potential it has for me to share my ideas and create new things. It may get a bad rep for the ways some people use it, but I love all the different things social media has to offer. I love the way the likes make me feel, but if I am really passionate about how an artsy photo turned out or I think my tweet it really funny, I continue to be confident in those things. As much as social media is about connecting with other people, it still has to reflect my true self.

The Bottom Line:

  • Post what ever you want, as much as you want–just make sure you like it. No Shame!
  • If you enjoy getting likes for the tweets or photos that you post, make sure you also enjoyed the story behind the photo and actually lived in the moment.
  • Balance online communication with face-to-face communication.
  • When you feel yourself “doing it for the Instagram” or only interacting through tweets, take a step back and enjoy the sweeter, more real things in life.

Now for the shameless plug… check out my social media outlets. I plan to connect my blog to social media as much as possible!

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(Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Vsco Cam included, but I’m also on LinkedIn!)

What is your opinion on social media as it is now? Would you/have you ever done a digital/social media detox? I would love to hear about it!

Casey

 

New Year, New Me

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Don’t expect to see me at the gym everyday, but 2016 is the year of Conscious Of Casey.

I originally started this blog in order to write more in my free time… then I ran out of free time. Ever since then all signs have been pointing to me make time for my writing. My hopeful field of PR is all about writing, but more importantly I need to make time for the things I enjoy–which includes writing.

I have been spending some time over the past two weeks working on my blog. Prewriting, tweaking, designing–all of it. I really wanted to be happy with everything before I began posting, and I wanted to be prepared to be consistent but still honest and real. In that process I came up with a list of what I want to stick to…

My new Conscious Of Casey Mission Statement (in list form):

  • Being Proud and Passionate: Not just posting because I think it will get views/reads, but stuff I find interesting to write about.
  • Experiences: I hope to have a lot of new experiences in 2016.. Lots of learning and passing on that wisdom
  • Opinions: Events, People, Products, and More
  • Food on Food on Food: #FoodieFriday will continue to be a thing here, as I try more recipes and restaurants

Now as an eighteen year old, I cannot say my content will always be the same. I hope my audience will grow with me as I make adjustments and try to make the best content possible.

My Mottos that will encourage me to write and keep me going just in general this year:

  • “Her success is not your failure”: you all will be seeing that quote again 😉
  • “Fake it till you make it”
  • “A bread cast upon the water comes back sponge cake”
  • Less talk, more action

Second times the charm… Get Excited!

Casey

P.S. Happy New Year!

Just How Sweet is it to be a Sugar Skull for Halloween?

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Halloween in college is no longer just a calorie-filled night, but a whole week. Everyone wants to be original, but relevant enough so their costume makes sense–not to mention everyone suddenly forgets its 40 degrees outside. With that in mind, my suite mates and I searched day and night for costume ideas that would set us apart but not give us pneumonia. We finally settled on ever-so-popular Sugar Skull faces. It sounded like a great idea three weeks ago.

Yesterday the day finally came for us to do our makeup. That same day my Spanish class talked about El Día de los Muertos. I am not sure about my suite mates, but I completely appreciate Mexican culture and I hope I did it justice. With that in mind, I sincerely apologize if Sugar Skulls are considered cultural appropriation. I admire global celebrations and the idea did not cross my mind when we decided on this costume (I found this blog post about it interesting).
My angel of a suite mate Aron picked up the Wet n Wild Queen of the Dead Stencil Kit to help us out, along with some white face paint. We did not take the time to practice before hand, like I originally thought we would.

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I did not take any pictures of the process, but we all started with the white base. Thanks to some Pinterest inspiration and our own sheer laziness, we only did half of our faces. Being that I am so pale, I really had t layer on the paint to make it actual contrast my actual skin. I have very dry skin, but it still went on well. I did not anticipate the rough texture that the paint created on my face, but I still managed to avod a panic attack and get it on my face. That alone took more than half-an-hour.
I was already tired of doing my makeup by the time I got to the most important part of my face: the art. I would definitely recommend some practice on this one, but have fun with it! Luckily the Wet n’ Wild was easy to remove if I messed up and I got tScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.58.32 PMhe idea from this video to use the sponge applicator from the kit to create the circle around my eye. It took a couple tried but we got there! My suite mates were quick while my roommate and I struggled to strive for impossible perfection. I would say only makeup artists, beauty gurus, and anyone more authentic can really perfect the sugar skill look. I am still happy with how it turned out, and I managed to not smudge it until after we took our pictures!

A quick review for the main product: I would give the Wet N Wild Kit a solid 5/10 because the eye liner was good, but the consistency of the colors was very gooey–almost like those cheap lip pallets that everyone had as a kid. If there ever is a next time, I would just buy some bring and dark eye shadows to contrast the looks better. It still managed to get the job done. All four of us were supposed to be different colors, but none of them really showed up well. I ended up using my Too Faced Natural Eye pallet for some better sparkle, so being innovative is key!

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My beautiful room and suite mates

We saw a lot of other Sugar Skulls last night, most of which looked better than ours but oh well. I was happy and I had a pretty great night. It’s a fun costume if you do it well and for the right reasons.

Happy Halloween everyone! Stay Safe!

Hello October: My September Favorites

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It looks like goals are not going to be my thing, but I have definitely found some favorites!

  1. My Suite mates

I was really nervous about making friends going into college. I have yet to find my true group, but what I have for now is completely fine with me. I love my roommates and suite mates, or at least the ones that have not moved out. There has been very little drama, but we managed to have two suite mates move out and one move in. The three OG are the best, even if they aren’t perfect. I could not have been more lucky. They are helpful, caring, and very entertaining. (They do not know about this blog so I am going to hold off on pictures… for now)

  1. Café Studying

I was told that I should find my own niché going into college and that is exactly what I did. A lot of people I know like the library or the dorm lounges, but I am willing to pay for tea or coffee whenever I need a place to study. I crave the sounds of the steamer and cafe chatter. The idea of becoming a regular at Newark’s Brewed Awakenings in basically my goal in life right now. My productivity levels increase so much when I am there. I can’t wait to go back as I type this, and I was literally just there

  1. Ocean City, New JerseyIMG_7278

As much as I enjoy my suite mates, I was overjoyed when I had the chance to get away for the weekend in OCNJ. The house (my grandma’s extra house) is being kept open all year for my sake, so of course I had to check it out. I didn’t realize it until I got on the road, but I missed being alone so much. I also missed fresh air and the open road. The full weekend, although still full of homework and laundry, was more than I could have asked for. I love Ocean City so much and I cannot wait to go back.

  1. WaWa

IMG_7389National Coffee Day came and went this September. Last September I would not have cared, but now I am a changed *college* woman who needs coffee. Wawa was my supplier for that, and now many other things. I need to start a petition for more WaWas nationwide for when I go home to Chicago. Wawa does not have all that much, but for some reason I just love it. It’s probably because of all of the sweet foods and subs (hoagies?!?!).

  1. Food

Walking is my main form of transportation is college, but unfortunately I am usually walking to or from places with food or near food. Be ready for some posts about Insomnia Cookies and Newark Deli & Bagel, among many other places, once I get my hands on more of their menu items. While my dining hall food is okay, the off campus food just a short walk from my dorm is amazing. Fingers crossed exercising is in my favorites next month. #FightingThatFreshmanFifteen

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September was a roller coaster ride, but a good month over-all. I won’t go into detail because I want to safe all the juicy stuff for full posts of their own.

This was a short list with nothing to specific, but I just really wanted to post SOMETHING. I am slowly getting my lift together here at UD, but I am going to test out a new system so I can post more. Wish me luck.

Hope everyone had a great September!

Casey