End of Summer…

Well, the time has come… the end of summer, which officially ends for me on August 21st because of training for CONNECT and CONNECT itself. While this summer did fly by faster than I could have imagined, I can wholeheartedly say that it was an extraordinary and spectacular time filled with work experiences, internships, travel, developing close friendships, knocking things off my bucket list, and finding myself.

As a lay in my bed and stare at the raindrops sliding down my window, I cannot help but reflect on my summer and how much happened in such a short four months. It really is remarkable how much you can do in a mere few months.

First off, I have become the most healthy I have been in my entire life. Not only am I eating ridiculously well and keeping track on my calories, but I also hit the weight room hard this summer and made some serious strides there (still can’t tell, though). Mentally, I feel I am in a very fine place. I have conquered my anxiety (to an extent) and am so, so, so freaking happy with who I have become. I cannot help but smile every day because I am who I am. And, spiritually, I have come closer to God this summer and learned to put my full faith in Him! He has seriously made His presence known to me over the past two months, and for that, I thank Him.

Secondly, as I stated above, I love who I have become. Although it is damn near impossible to explain who I am in words, I think I can just classify myself as a “sophisticated hipster”? If that is even a thing? For those who know me personally, I think they would agree completely. I love artsy stuff, photography (if anyone has any camera recommendations, let me know. I am looking for one!), writing, journaling, brewing coffee, drinking craft beer, etcetera, etcetera.

 

Third, I was able to check JUST about everything off of my summer bucket list! I’ve eaten probably five — yep, that sounds about right — acai bowls at Charlotte’s, and they are literally everything I thought they would be. Also, I saw a Cubs’ win inside Wrigley Field, tried the phenomenal pizza pot pie (OH, MY LORD. IT WAS TO DIE FOR.), and visited the Art Institute of Chicago. The only thing I was not able to do was finish reading The Historian. I will be honest, I read like nine pages of it… haha. I just had so much more going on that I never got around to it. Oh well, there is always next summer.

 

Fourth, I have had some serious luck lately. In just two weeks, I won my JuneHouse backpack,  my Marcel Floruss safari-inspired collection, and found a $25 gift card. All I can really say is do good in this world and it will do good back.

Finally, I have decided to try something new: grow my beard out. Every year I try this once, but every year I either keep it to a stubble or shave it all off within two weeks. I can proudly say that I am going on 60 days right now with NO intentions on getting rid of it or trimming it; it suits me rather well!

(Photos are taken one week a part from each other beginning in July… Sorry for the last one just think it shows it better… haha.)

Well, Summer 2017, we have had our ups and downs, but I will miss you sincerely. You have blessed me with the best summer I have ever had, but it is time to get back into the school mindset and finish strong. Next summer at this time, I will have my Bachelor’s degree, moved to Chicago, have a big boy job, and adulting (Yikes!).

Until next time, summer.

– Kyle Majerus

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Who are Saturdays For?… Me!

I look forward to Saturdays after an exhausting work week because I dedicate Saturdays to me, myself, and I. My Saturdays are meant for running errands, spending time alone, enjoying my past times, and essentially doing whatever I want. No obligations to anyone or anything but myself. Boy, do I love my Saturdays.

And, since tomorrow is Saturday (YAY!), I thought I would bring you all along on a typical Saturday in my life. It is filled with fun, adventure, and experiences. While this is a “typical” Saturday in my life, I want to note that sometimes I may just make coffee at home or eat out for lunch/dinner, etcetera, so, this is not exactly what I do every Saturday, but most of them!

This particular Saturday you all are tagging along on was this past Saturday, the 24th of June.

  1. Make a mean breakfast

    One thing I pride myself on is my cooking skills. I was blessed to receive the cooking gene from a parent of mine, so it has always been something I excelled at. After my natural alarm clock wakes me up around 06:00 (…), I jump out of bed and make myself a hearty, delicious breakfast. I aim to hit all the macro groups — carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. For this previous Saturday’s breakfast, I made scrambled eggs with onion and lettuce, a sliced Honeycrisp apple drizzled with cinnamon, toast topped with peanut butter and sliced avocado, and cold-brew coffee. Let me tell ya, it was worth every. single. bite.

  2. Clean up and get dressed

    Trust me, no one wants to see this face in the morning. I have bed head, morning breath, and a sleepy demeanor. Before I head out to tackle the day, I go through my morning personal hygiene routine. It normally takes about an hour or so, but it really depends on how long my shower is. And, then I get dressed and head out. The photo below shows what I wore this Saturday, and the links to the items are provided.

    Shirt: J.Crew White Long-sleeve T-shirt

     

    Pants: J.Crew 484 Navy Chinos

    Shoes: Gray Converse

    Watch: 38mm Series One Apple Watch

    Eyeglasses: Warby Parker “Stockton”

    Belt: Target Cognac Belt

    Socks: Nike Black Socks

    img_2528-e1498354882417.jpg

  3. Head to Charlotte’s

    I go to this coffee shop at least once a week. Shocker, right? This experience will vary based on whom I am going with and why. If I go alone with the intent on getting some work done, I will order either a 16-ounce hot coffee or cold-brew coffee, head to a corner of the shop, and work from my laptop. This place is perfect for it because it sparks my creativity and inspires me to strive for greatness.

    On the other hand, if I go because I am going on a coffee date, then it is a whole ‘nother ball game. I laugh, talk my butt off, and truly get to know the person/people I go with. I will order the same drink but maybe with some food too (like an acai bowl!), sit in the middle of the coffee shop where the traffic is heavy, turn my iPhone and Apple Watch on silent, and truly enjoy the company I am with. It doesn’t matter if I am doing the former or the latter, I will be at Charlotte’s for well over an hour. For this past Saturday, I did the latter, and it went quite well and was truly enjoyable.

  4. Write in my blog

    When I graduate, I intend on becoming a copywriter. In order to improve my writing to be well enough for this type of field, I must write, write some more, and then write even more. I write for at least thirty minutes a day, whether it is for my blog, in my journal, or for my marketing internship. This way, I can find my weaknesses as a writer, get used to the demands of being a writer, and improve my writing skills. On the 24th of June, I wrote for at least two hours and created both blog posts for this week.

  5. Make lunch

    It has been a pretty productive day for me so far, hasn’t it? And, it is not even noon yet! Between 12:00-12:30, I will begin making lunch. Without fail, I make myself a homemade pizza for lunch on Saturdays. On these pizzas, I use Sweet Baby Rays for the sauce; top them with turkey slices, lettuce, onion, sweet relish, pineapple (WHICH DOES BELONG ON PIZZA.), and shredded mozzarella cheese; and season them with basil, pepper, paprika, sea salt, and garlic salt.

    Yeah, my mouth is watering too. Below I have pictures of all the ingredients and the finished product. I also enjoyed my pizza with some tasty lemon water and honey mustard pretzels. 

  6. Watch a movie

    As you could imagine, I am pretty tired from how productive my day has been so far. So, I decide to lay in bed and watch a movie or two. It all really depends on the mood. For some odd reason, I have been on a Twilight kick lately, so for this past Saturday, I watched part one and two of Breaking Dawn. Makes me reminisce back to when I took my cousins to see it in theaters… Ahh, good times.

  7. Go for a walk

    Because I am a fitness freak, I have to exercise some way, shape, or form every day. Since I refuse to lift weights on the weekends or run on a dreaded treadmill, I will walk the Clarke Drive stretch and back — which comes to about 2.5 miles. A decent walk if you ask me. This also allows me to clear my head and relax. This past Saturday was perfect weather for walking. It was not too hot, not too cold, the sky was clear, and the gnats were minimal.

  8. Devour some dinner

    Dinner time for me is 06:30, and I always make this meal a large one because I know I will not be eating for at least thirteen hours. I focus on protein and carbohydrates for this final meal. This past Saturday I decided to make a honey-drizzled chicken breast, baked beans, cinnamon oatmeal, a mixed salad topped with honey mustard, and lemon water. It was pretty healthy and very filling, which is the goal. Of course, I had a cup of coffee after because, well, coffee is life and I’m addicted.

  9. Take a bath

    Oh, yeah. I am a huge advocate for baths. I will take baths until I am not physically able to. I was feeling a good, calming bath last Saturday, so I took in my cup of coffee, lit my Suit & Tie candle, dimmed the lights, and truly, truly enjoyed myself. 10/10 recommend you all give it a go.

  10. Get ready to take on the night**

    As a 21-year-old college student, you all know what I do on weekends. I go downtown to enjoy an adult beverage (or six). The summer squad and I like to have a couple drinks before we go downtown so we can save some dollar bills. Getting ready and the pre-game session goes from about 22:00 to 23:00, and then we take on the night.

  11. Go downtown**

    Our routine for going downtown is this: start off at Easy Street playing bags and enjoying some drinks (I like brass monkeys), head to either Lot One or 1st & Main to socialize with myriads of people, and ending at the Venue so we can dance. We normally return to the apartment building around 01:45 – 02:00. It is always a good time.

**This is typically what I do on Saturday nights; however none of my friends who go downtown with me were in the area this past Saturday, so I just stayed in and prepared myself for the busy work week and extremely fun weekend ahead. I played a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which was just as fun as going downtown if you ask me.

Well, there you have it. A “typical” Saturday for me. I, personally, love it and have no desire to change it. Some say, “Saturday’s are for the boys,” but I say that they are for “me.”

– Kyle Majerus

Coffee Dates are a Key to Happiness

I truly cannot convey how much I love going on coffee dates. It doesn’t matter if it is with a friend, a family member, an acquaintance, a significant other, or even the random man or woman I meet at the counter, coffee dates are a time of joy, inspiration, intriguing discussion, and delicious coffee.

I love going on coffee dates for two reasons. One, I get to enjoy a high-quality cup of Joe, and two, it allows me to talk about life with whomever I go with. I would consider myself somewhat of a coffee connoisseur and a coffee addict. Not ashamed of either if you want me to be completely honest. Coffee is fabulous. Anyway, when I go on coffee dates, it allows me to embark on a savory journey of trying new types of coffee. In fact, I had my first cup of black coffee and my first cold-brew coffee while on a coffee date. Now I am addicted to both. A pretty big part of the coffee date experience is enjoying the actual coffee, which I undoubtedly do.

Referring to the latter reason, when I write “to talk about life,” I mean having a deep heart-to-heart with the person whom I go with, in which we discuss our fears, inspirations, dreams, and ambitions. It is truly a chance to not only discover who the person I go with is but also who I am. I used to save my “coffee date where we talk about life” with someone very special to me, but now I have opened up to the opportunity of talking about life with others as well. In fact, three weeks ago, when I had my first acai bowl and cold-brew coffee, I had an intense talk about life with my buddy Colin. We discussed both our moves to Chicago, the English major and how fantastic it is, and the struggles we have been through recently. It was a thought-provoking conversation that allowed our bond to strengthen. Colin is a great guy, let me tell ya.

In all, coffee dates truly are a remarkable experience. Yeah, some may see it as a monotonous get-together with someone else, but it is much more than that. It is an experience in which you will grow as an individual, discover things about yourself, lament about the struggles you are facing, and enjoy some sweet nectar of the gods (or, “coffee” for those who don’t know me well). Now, go grab a friend, a family member, your significant other, or whomever you want to, and then go on a coffee date. Find a comforting little coffee shop (so, NOT Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts…), and talk about life. I promise you will find happiness from it, either from the conversations, the coffee, or both.

– Kyle Majerus

Summer Bucket List

Ahh, summer. This is one of the only times all year I am not bombarded with homework and stressed out with organizations. I just work during the day, relax at night, and thoroughly enjoy my weekends. Since it is summer, I have much more free time because I have no serious obligations like I do during the school year. I figured since I have much more time on my hands, I could compile a list of activities and goals I wish to complete throughout the next few months. Without further ado, I give you my summer bucket list (as of now):

  1. Eat an acai bowl from Charlotte’s Coffee House

    Acai bowls — a thick fruit smoothie in a bowl, topped with fruit, peanut butter, oats, and a honey or agave nectar glaze — have become the hype lately. I never even heard of them until everyone and their mom started talking, tweeting, and Facebooking about them. So, after discovering what they are, I made it my mission to try one; and, where else would I go then my favorite coffee shop on this planet: Charlotte’s Coffee House on the corner of White Street and 11th Street in Dubuque, Iowa. This coffee shop is welcoming, cozy, and aesthetically pleasing. Also, I heard they have the best acai bowls in the area. What more could I ask for?

    Luckily for me, I already knocked this off my summer bucket list last Saturday. A buddy of mine and I met up for breakfast and to talk about life, and I had a delicious cup of cold-brew coffee and a beautiful acai bowl. Oh, it was heaven; 10/10 would recommend to anyone. They also make for some pretty neat photos.

     

  2. See a Cubs game at Wrigley Field

    Not many people know this about me, but I am a huge baseball fan. In fact, I played baseball all throughout elementary school and for three years in high school. Nevertheless, as any other baseball fan and ex-player, I love to visit baseball stadiums and watch live baseball. Now, I have been able to watch three games at Miller Park, tour Busch Stadium, and even play in the Metrodome for high school baseball, but I have never been to Wrigley Field.

    As a future Chicagoan (in exactly one year, might I add!), I feel like this is a must-do. All I need is an ice-cold beer, a Chicago dog with extra everything, and some baseball to make me feel at home. I have made it my number one goal to visit Wrigley Field this summer. Well, as this post goes public, I can happily say I am in the process of purchasing my ticket to see the Cubs play at the beginning of July. So, in less than one month I can check this off the list too!

  3. Wine taste

    I am in love with wine. Well, only white wines and sweet red wines, none of that dry stuff. Fortunately, there is an upscale winery in Dubuque, Iowa, and all my friends and I love going to Stone Cliff Winery and tasting the delectable wines they have for $5. With it being close to my apartment and so cheap, it won’t be too tough to make an appearance or two there this summer.

  4. Eat a Pizza Pot Pie

    Don’t tell me you never heard of a pizza pot pie?! Click this link right now and check it out. I promise you will not be disappointed. Heck, you might even add this to your own bucket list. A pizza pot pie is a gift from God, and I will devour one before the summer is out. Sadly, this may have to wait until August when I visit some pals of mine, but it will happen nonetheless. You know what, I may even buy two and eat them both… who knows.

  5. Spend a weekend on the lake

    Since this is a summer bucket list, I have to have something about visiting a lake, right? It is kind of a requirement. Normally I would just go to Lake Joy in Belmont, Wisconsin, but my roommate’s girlfriend has a lake house in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and her family is more than happy to host us for a weekend. Without a doubt, we all will spend a weekend or two up there boating, jet skiing, and enjoying adult beverages. I cannot wait to have a Summer Shandy on their boat; there is nothing better in life than a boat rocking under your feet while drinking something lemony and sweet. I sure am looking forward to completing this one.

  6. Finish The Historian

    Last summer I started a novel by Elizabeth Kostova titled The Historian. It is a detective fiction/mystery about a graduate history student who receives a mysterious book that implies Dracula is still alive. Once he begins to investigate this, strange events begin to occur to himself and those around him. That is all I will say on it, but I definitely recommend it. I, unfortunately, did not have the time to finish it last summer, but now since summer has — thankfully — returned, I can! I only have about 300 pages left, which is a walk in the park for an English major.

  7. Visit an art museum 

    I have been obsessed with visiting art museums since I was a freshman in high school. There is just something emotionally stimulating and inspiring about observing others’  creative works and their reasons for their masterpieces. Dubuque has a small art museum downtown which I intend on visiting, but where I really want to go is the Art Institute of Chicago. I was fortunate enough to have a field trip here for my freshman year ceramics class in high school (which sparked my love for art museums), and I have not been able to go back since. The art museum has some fascinating exhibits on display; truly, the medieval suits of armor are remarkable and “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” is something to behold. While it is pricey for admission, I know it is worth it because you get much more bang for your buck.

There you have it, folks. My 2017 summer bucket list. It is still rather short and not too extravagant or impressive. However, I intend on adding to it as the months go on, and, hopefully, I can complete every one by the middle of August. This is going to be one eventful summer because it is the last one before I am off to begin my adult life. Time to make some unforgettable memories with the best of friends.

– Kyle Majerus