Category Archives: City Lovin’

Book It to Algonquin Hotel

Standard

When I’m staying at hotels, I’m always itching to get out of the room, no matter how immaculate it is. And then I saw this and figured my hotel ways would for sure change.

The Algonquin Hotel just announced a partnership with Simon & Schuster that will feature a Simon & Schuster Suite and Package. The Suite, stocked with bookcases of classics, book memorabilia and advanced copies of new releases, features a living room and king-sized bed and a turn-down service where you walk away with a soon-to-be-released book.

Should you decide to venture outside of the hotel room, there will be breakfast in the Round Table Restaurant and author readings. Rainy vacation days in NYC just got oh so fantastic, with a $459/night price tag. For a photo gallery of the featured room, Christopher Reynolds of Los Angeles Times provided some images.

Via Publishers Weekly

 

Discovering the Creative

Standard

This past week, I spent time in New York City attending The Creativity Workshop. After getting the supplies list that included sketchbooks, I was a little nervous. Writing and cutting and pasting? I can handle that. But physically drawing objects, people, places?! I was insanely intimidated.

These drawing assignments challenged us to go out into the world, find someone and draw. Then after you were done drawing, you had to write a story. Either what they were going through at that specific moment in time, or their inner life. I found the writing part helped me shape my drawings. As I sat there thinking I had completed the drawing, all of a sudden I’d see something new from my story and need to add to the sketch.

That’s the number one lesson I’m taking from this course, that creativity is never finished. Even as the deadline hits and the pitch/concept goes out the door. Everything’s still a work in progress. Too often I think I look at that looming deadline as the be-all-end-all. And that the project, along with the ideas, just stop.

I’ve also learned to silence that inner critic of mine. That voice telling me as I’m typing, writing, creating to self-edit. It was hard at first to ignore it, but through loads of automatic writing, I’ve managed to quiet it down. After all, that’s what the editing’s process is for; why do double the work?

One of my favorite exercises was taking a blank piece of paper and just drawing lines and squiggles for about 10 minutes. All while you closed your eyes and held your pencil in a new way. It was extremely freeing and really challenged your imagination as you “remembered” where you’d already made lines. Then you opened your eyes and started to make sense of the squiggles by finding objects/shapes in the chaos. It was challenging at first as you forced yourself to make sense of it all, and then I found the more you just glance and scan, the easier it was to “see” something.

Our class was about 25 students from 12 different countries. It was insanely inspiring to hear the stories, the drawings and the thoughts of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate alongside. And there was even another Hannah in the mix (from Saudi Arabia).

While I’m never really one for negative-based language, this was our mantra (from Samuel Beckett) throughout the class and it really did help me move past that inner critic that’s so used to being heard.

9a5ac8e590a19073aabd2b031500eb61_view

Bringing the Fun to the Raiser

Standard

Last year, a few friends decided to create Team FUN–a group dedicated to raising funds for non-profits while having well, some serious fun in the process. Naturally, I had to join. This past Sunday, we held our first Benefit, raising money for Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). With ticket sales, t-shirt sales, silent auction and raffles, we raised a significant amount to help ease the cost of transplant operations.

With our first Benefit night complete, we’re excited for the next one on the horizon.

“You must promise to always smile through the bad times, laugh through the good times, and always cherish the amazing things in life.” — Team FUN anthem

New York State of Mind

Standard

“I didn’t know the city at all, but I was so happy to be in New York I cried. I was so excited.” 
–Greta Gerwig

Very rarely do I travel alone. Or rather, very rarely do I travel alone where I stay at a hotel all by my lonesome. I’ve been fortunate enough to always have a traveling companion or a friend/family member eagerly awaiting me to step off the plane. Even when studying abroad, I made a friend, we met at the airport and experienced the hilarity of our situations as we attempted to find our apartment together. But that will all change come June when I head out to New York. And navigate without a smartphone. Cue the maps.

I’ve always had this weird pull to New York, despite not spending much time in the city. As a kid, without knowing exactly what the job entailed, I wanted to be a Broadway producer. It just seemed like the job that would mix a little business with some art. And one I could spend my days completely enthralled with music. My latest stint to NYC was with Amanda last year, though we didn’t really venture north of Midtown. As this trip is happening for a creative recharge, I’m excited to find other ways outside of class to gain some inspiration and insight.

A few years ago, I saw this The Sing for Hope piano installation. Pianos are placed throughout the city and available for you to come and play a little tune. And what do you know? They’re back at the beginning of June. So I will step up and play the Ladage Family Staple: The Garbage Man (at least I think that’s what it’s called…) the minute I see one.

And last year, I saw this intriguing exhibit in London Rain Room. It’s a room where it’s raining and when you walk in, the rain stops. You essentially control the weather. I’ve been waiting for this exhibit to make its way to the States and it has! Finding its home at MoMA and on exhibit through July.

Our classes have us visiting other locations and destinations for keynote addresses and projects, though if there’s a hidden gem, pray do tell!

Serving Up a Speaker

Standard

Chicago Cares just announced their speaker for this year’s Serve-A-Thon

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 2.50.13 PM

 

I’ll be one of the site leaders down at Haines Elementary School this year and obviously will be hitting up the Serve-A-Thon rally party when it’s all done.

Volunteers and Leaders are still needed if you’re interested.

An Evening of Greatness

Standard

While the movie hasn’t been getting all that great of reviews, our Great Gatsby night was a huge success! After getting all dolled up, everyone went to a screening in 3D then heading to PUBLIC Hotel for an after party in the library room. Napkins, shot glasses and movie posters awaited our partygoers while servers walked around with Stella and baby Moët bottles. And of course, the soundtrack played throughout the whole party.

Many thanks to our photographer Tim Sullivan for helping commemorate the night.

A Grand Vision

Standard

“I like large parties. They’re so intimate.”  — The Great Gatsby

Next week, after an early screening of the highly anticipated The Great Gatsby, we’re hosting a Junior Board after party Gatsby would love; full of champagne, cocktails, finger foods and of course dancing at the PUBLIC Hotel. Just looking at photos from this iconic hotel, it’s easy to get into the Roaring 20s mindset. And we’ll kick it up a notch by having partygoers dress in their favorite Gatsby attire (read pearls, red lips, cigarellas).

Aside from loving the book, I’ve been pumped for this film. Even Maggie, the not-so-movie-goer said, “Even I’m excited for this screening!” With a visual-spectacle director like Baz Luhrmann, it’s sure to be a treat. But I’m most excited for the music. The trailer alone features a handful of songs that I wish ran their full length (and it seems a new trailer is coming out every week).

Florence + the Machine’s song for the movie is my current go-to.

 

One for the Books

Standard

Yesterday was World Book Night. A day/night where thousands of volunteers pass out 20 copies of a book across 6,000 cities and towns resulting in 500,000 books out to light and non readers. My co-worker Amanda and I signed up to volunteer as Book Givers. The process was pretty simple. You filled out an application and if selected, decided where you wanted to pick up your books (We went to After-Words which just might be my new favorite place in all the land). Then, you hand out your copies.

Amanda handed out Bossypants and I dished out Moneyball. We did a few handouts on our way into work and decided that during lunch we’d stop by the Chicago Fire House nearby and then continue to hand out books around the Loop.

Walking up to the Fire House, we didn’t know what to expect. It was raining, so the doors were all closed. Unsure of our next move, we walked in to Mister Firefighter Chris greeting us. The interaction went a little something like this:

FF Chris: Good afternoon, how can I help you?
Hanna/Amanda: We have books. Here are some books. Thanks!
FF Chris: Oh awesome, come on in. Do you guys want some coffee? How about some pictures?
Hanna/Amanda: Yeapictureswouldbegreatofcourseuhhuh
FF Chris: Here, let me grab some guys we’ll get you helmets.
Hanna/Amanda: start sweating and turning red

Firefighters Reuben and Brian join us and Amanda and I suit up in fireman garb. Amanda’s wearing a jacket, a helmet (Captain’s nonetheless) and carrying hoses on her shoulders. I’m given boots, pants, a helmet and yes, even an ax. We stand around chatting in our attire, take a photoshoot and leave the firehouse huge fans of the Chicago Fire Department.

A little book drop turned into an afternoon pick-me-up neither of us saw coming. Needless to say, the rest of the day’s giving was fun, but didn’t include dress up time.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Irish Eyes are Smiling

Standard

Over the years, I’ve heard of St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the South side. As there are a ton of Irish living in the area, I knew I needed to make the journey one day.

Amanda has proven she’s more than just a friend you want to travel with, she’s the one who finds you random things in the city to do. Case in point: she got us on a wagon, pulled by Clydesdales, in the South Side Irish Parade.

Despite the rain/drizzle and cold temps, we had an absolute blast working out our arms and cheeks as we waved to kids and parents donning tweed hats and Irish fisherman sweaters. Plus, we had bagpipers right in front of us during the parade line-up.

We’ll do it all again this weekend during the downtown Irish parade. And for the very first time, I’ll see the river turn green instead of just catching the “aftermath” on Monday morning while going into work. I’ll find any and all excuses to wear my Irish Drinking socks straight from the Emerald Isle and sing “Galway Girl.”

Obviously I can get behind gal pals that love Eire

Obviously I can get behind gal pals that love Eire