I’m from Cleveland, Ohio – which, as I’m sure you know, isn’t exactly the most thrilling city (Can’t blame LeBron James for that anymore…). That being said, summers in Cleveland essentially entail driving to and from your favorite ice cream shop every night, doing chores, and experiencing a lot of rainy days. Granted, Chicago may just have more rain than Cleveland so far – but rain or shine, I’ve yet to have a dull moment in the city.
Coming from Cleveland, I’m mainly impressed with all the free summer activities Chicago has to offer. From outdoor concerts, to movies, to beaches – you really have to try to be bored. Now I know why I toughed out all the brutal weather this winter! Just last weekend, I attended Wicker Park’s Green Music Festival – I love music almost as much as I love food, and the festival had plenty of both among various artisan booths.
Being a college student with limited funds (if funds even exist at all), I’m not a frequent shopper. However, when I do make purchases, I try to be mindful of where my money is going – anything local or benefitting a relevant cause gives me all the more reason to splurge.
A clothing/jewelry company called Greenola caught my eye at the Wicker Park Fest – and it’s definitely worth checking out. Not only are all their jewelry pieces hand-made and extremely unique, but the company also practices fair trade and carries a positive, important message about empowering women.
Each jewelry piece is designed in Chicago, and the designs are sent to women artisans in Bolivia and Kenya who then make the pieces. Greenola believes empowerment through employment and creative collaboration is an effective way to combat poverty among women. I ended up purchasing a ring, and walked away feeling good knowing that my $18 investment had positively affected the lives of others.
I’m looking forward to attending as many street festivals as possible this summer, and next weekend I’m planning on checking out Lincoln Park’s Summertime Farmer’s Market. Although I do miss Cleveland every now and then, Chicago is quickly proving to be the perfect summertime setting.