Thanksgiving for a Metalhead


I can’t really complain about my Thanksgiving this year. It is a shame, however, that Pizza Hut was closed during the holiday because I actually ordered a pizza on that day online. I was so eager to get it. I waited all night for it but didn’t read the email that I got for them saying I wasn’t going to get the pizza until the next day. Oh, well. I couldn’t really complain because I ended up having pizza for breakfast on the day of seeing two of my favorite Metal Bands, King Diamond and Exodus. So it was a win-win no matter how I look at it.


Throughout the entire day I just waited and waited to leave my house so I could go to the train station and make my way to the Aragon Ballroom. It’s still shocking to me that it has been two years since I went because the last show I attended there was Lamb Of God with Testament, Killswitch Engage, and Huntress. I was a junior in high school at the time and that was the first time I went to a big show like that. My nostalgic senses were tingling when I had to wait out in the venue again just like the last time I went. It felt nice.


Finally, once I got inside the venue, I made sure that I got a spot right in the front. I love being in the front. It let’s me witness more of the action of the band. What I especially loved about this show was that there were only two bands playing. I don’t mind opening acts, but the fact that we went straight into the show was awesome to me. Exodus opened for the King and I was really happy about that because not only is Exodus one of my favorite thrash metal bands ever, it just felt so good to finally see them. It was a shame however, that Gary Holt, their original lead guitarist and one of the founding members of the band, was not on tour with them because he’s touring with Slayer at the moment. How lame. I get to see my favorite band but I can’t witness the master of riffs himself? Bummer. I recognized all their songs from Bonded By Blood to Black List. But the highlight for me was that when they played the Toxic Waltz. The Toxic Waltz is pretty much the theme song for moshing. There’s no better song to mosh to than that song. As soon as Zetro, the lead singer, announced it I found myself running to the pit area just to get a taste of the pit myself and I loved every moment of it. Even when I fell hard on my knees, I got up and kept going. There was a guy in the middle recording the whole thing and I kept singing along with the song. I hope he uploads it to YouTube soon so I can look back on how happy I was at that show.


Once Exodus finished I had to wait an hour for King Diamond to play. But boy was it worth it. Once King Diamond was ready, we heard a loud creepy piano hitting notes on the higher octave and right away everyone knew it was the intro to Welcome Home. What I especially love about King Diamond is that his albums have a story behind it. In the album “Them”, it tells the story of an evil grandmother who has been released from the asylum to visit her family. The best part about King Diamond live is that he has actors portraying the characters from his stories. So yes, the evil grandma was on stage. She looked creepy, but it was freaking awesome. But the performance was mainly to play his album titled “Abigail” which is my personal favorite album by him. I don’t really want to get into the story that much because I’d rather you all listen to the album.

This was the best show I’ve been to this year hands down. It was extremely loud, but don’t worry I didn’t go deaf. I still can’t believe I got to see my favorite metal singer of all time! Hopefully he makes another tour for next year. I will definitely be there!

Giving Thanks

breadtruckkkkkkkkkkkHappy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the short week that we had last week followed by the holiday! As for my short week at school, on Monday I was able to partake in the Bread truck! I HAVE MISSED IT SO MUCH! It made me so happy to be able to be at the Port once again. And now that it’s going on a weekly basis, SXU students should email Meg Lavelle at to sign up! On Tuesday, I was able to attend two out of my three classes and went home! It was fantastic; it was so good being home! I missed my family for all of their craziness!

Because it’s Thanksgiving and it’s a time to be thankful, I am going to list out somethings that I am thankful for!

To begin with, I am thankful for my family, for all their craziness, I still wouldn’t trade a thing about them. Getting to be home this past week and getting to be with them was such an amazing feeling, and I can’t wait for the end of the semester to get to be home! But also, I am thankful for when I am at school how my parents always pick up the phone or call me back as soon as they can.cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I am completely utterly thankful for this crazy semester. From taking a whole lot of classes to possibly being way too busy, I feel so lucky to be able to have all of these opportunities and just I am thankful for SXU!

I am thankful for my boyfriend for dealing with my crazy self especially as finals are right around the corner, but also because our three year anniversary is this Wednesday. So yay us, right?

I am also thankful for my friends who remind me to have fun and relax and take breaks filled of watching Gilmore Girls.  Here’s a special shout out to Brittany (my roommate from last year) for still being my friend even after living with me for a year.

Campus Ministry is another thing that I am thankful for, from Sister Carol’s prayer group to the staff to the people. Although I am a Resident Peer Minister, it amazes me how much how much I rely on all of them as my own support system.  Campus Ministry is my home away from home!

In reality, I have so much to be thankful for, and so many more things that I didn’t list. I feel incredibly lucky to have the life that I have; so to everyone who is in my life, thank you for being a part of it. I hope you all have one great week right before finals and that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Break!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome back,

I would like to start the blog by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving! However you celebrate it, I hope everyone enjoyed their day! I spent the day with my family and feasted on a delicious meal. I am very thankful to be able to come home and celebrate with people I love.

Our Thanksgiving table

Our Thanksgiving table

I am on the last day of my short break and I will be heading back to campus in the morning. I was able to relax a bit over the last few days and spend time with family. We did a little shopping, set up our Christmas tree and got our nails done! I really needed some fun and I am glad my family was together. But, alas, all of the work I have to do in the coming weeks is always hanging over my head. I plan to spend the rest of today working on final projects and papers.

We have one more full week of classes ahead of us and then finals week will be here! This semester has gone by quickly, but it has been quite trying so I am more than ready to bring it to an end and start my final semester of college. Graduation has always seemed so far away, but, granted that I pass all of my courses, I will be grabbing my diploma in a just a few short months!


I like, many resident students, find myself with an abundance of meal plan money leftover at the end of each semester. Because you are required to have a meal plan as a resident and the money does not roll over from semester to semester, there’s always a scramble to spend that money before it’s too late. During my 3 and a half years at SXU, I’ve developed a few ways to get rid of your meal plan money that I thought I might share:

1. Buy in bulk: the diner and Rhubarbs usually give you the opportunity to buy their leftover items in bulk using your meal plan money at the end of the semester. This year, they’ve even put out a handy list on which you can place your order out of the available items and pick them up before break. I highly recommend placing an order early if you know you’re going to have a lot of money left over.

2. Starbucks: The Starbucks on campus has some really cute holiday items. Sometime in late November, Starbucks will stock their shelves will merchandise like mugs, cups and thermoses for students to purchase with meal plan money. The merchandise usually sells pretty fast, so if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some of it, buy it and give it away as Christmas gifts! If the merchandise sells out before you get there, there’s always plenty of bags of coffee! I always buy some coffee and give it away as gifts as well.

3. Donate: Dining services will also give you the chance to purchase leftover non-perishable food items with your meal plan money and donate those items to charity! It’s a great way to use up that extra money and help those in need during the holidays

4. Help a friend: There’s plenty of students who don’t have a meal plan or ran out of money that are in need of lunch or a snack during the last two weeks. Sometimes when I go to the cashier in the diner and I see someone taking out cash our a credit card in front of me, I’ll tell the cashier to put their order on my meal plan. I am not saying you should do that all of the time, but it’s a nice gesture and I find that people really appreciate it!

I hope those tips help you get the most out of your meal plan this semester!

Until next time…

It’s The Final Countdown!!

Happy Gobble Gobble Day!!! I am stuffed and need a nap, but I can’t sleep for long because I have to prepare for finals. I can’t believe the semester has gone by so quickly! In just a week, finals will begin!!

With that being said, here is my list of things to help get you through studying for finals week…or weeks, as some final exams and papers are due a week before the actual finals week.

1. Coffee

Coffee is essential during finals. It gives you energy to get you through an all-nighter or wakes you up for an early morning exam. Plus, having a Starbucks in Morris Hall is so convenient for late night or early morning coffee needs!


2. Yoga

Exercising is really good for decreasing stress and increasing endorphins. I personally enjoy practicing yoga to clear my mind during any stressful period of time. Yoga focuses on breathing and being in the moment. So if you feel stuck when writing a paper take a break and do some yoga. Clear you mind and breathe. Woosah!

For your viewing pleasure: Yoga for Stress Relief

3. Motivation


Find something or someone that motivates you. Maybe remind yourself that Ryan Gosling is cheering you on and wants you to succeed.

4. Humor

That brings me to my next point… Having a laugh is always a stress relief. So taking a break from studying or writing to watch a funny video will do you wonders.

Here’s a video to help:Who doesn’t like funny animal videos?

5. Confidence

Surely this is the hardest feeling to have during final weeks. The final exam, the final essay, or the final project for many students can make or break their grade for a class. There is a lot of pressure to get a good grade but going into an exam, writing a paper or presenting a project with confidence is one of the keys to success. Worrying will cause stress and forgetfulness. Prepare ahead of time and do whatever it is you are working on with a clear mind and positive thoughts.

Will Farrel





Feed Me Seymour!!

 When I am well fed I am like this sweet, little, happy flower.

It’s that time in the semester where I am almost down to my last $100 on my meal plan… and this girl is getting hungry. When I am hungry I can become this crackmeister, demanding to be fed!! I am much like the plant from the film Little Shop of Horrors, so I have to find ways to supplement some of my meals and feed myself.

Where else would I go to find creative suggestions for easy and cheap meals for this broke college student named Carleigh? YouTube of course!!

Here is what I found:

Ramen Noodle Recipes!!!! YUMMY!!

Easy Vegetarian Recipes!!!

Hmmm….Questionably delicious but its cheap (in euros)!

Thanksgiving Meal In An Hour

These are great ideas!!!  Now that my meal plan is running low, I guess it’s time to get more elaborate and start cooking for myself in the good ol’ dorm! Pretty much everything I need in order to cook a decent meal is right at my fingertips. Suites on campus are provided with a refrigerator and a convection oven. My suite mates and I have a hot plate and a coffee machine in our kitchenette as well. I have everything that I need, so let’s get started because I’m hungry!!


Stage Fright:How to overcome performing in front of people


I’m sure at some point in your lives, you had to do some sort of performance in front of people. The result of that must have made your stomachs feel uneasy and made your legs feel like spaghetti. As a musician and performer, I’ve had my fair share of performing in front of people and I will be doing that a lot considering I’m pursuing a career as a music entertainer. But I’m going to give you some tips that might help you if someday you’re in a position where you have to do something for people such as a speech, musical performance, acting, etc.

First thing you have to realize is that your audience already appreciates the fact that you’re getting their attention by doing something. That alone already sets the bar high. Don’t take that as more pressure. Take it as you’re already like by your audience before you even get the chance to even say or do something. Audiences can be some of the kindest people ever because they’re the best listeners ever and giving you nothing their undivided attention. So don’t worry about impressing them by everything you do because they will still give you appreciation at the end of the day.

Another thing to help out is pretend it’s still dress rehearsal or that the audience is not there at all. This is an old technique that’s still used to this day. Heck, I even use it. Even though the audience is clearly in your present, you just have to be yourself and act like they aren’t. I guarantee you are going to do a lot better without even thinking that they’re there. Concentrate on what’s more important however by continuing your performance up until you’re are done. Just remember it will be over before you even know it.

And last and most important thing is have fun and just live the moment. Don’t act like you’re being forced to perform in front of many people. You’re doing out of your own volition because you want to which you’re more than welcome to have fun while being on stage. Can you imagine if people didn’t do things because they didn’t like it? That would be awful. That’s why it’s always important to make you’re having a great time on stage because then people will see how happy it makes you and see how you actually enjoy doing what you do. Also, no matter how much you practice before hand, your performance will not always come out 100℅ as you predicted it would. So don’t pay too much attention and just live it the moment for what it is.

I hope this helped people realize that stage fright can be overcome if people just be themselves when performing something. Always be optimistic while performing. The audience loves you. Happy Performing!

Almost Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving break is just around the corner and I am so excited! This past week has been super busy and I just miss home! It really helps that SXU is my home away from home though!

On Tuesday, I had my last transition class!22 transition
I have loved getting to work with my students and see how much they have all grown since August to almost completing their first semesters of college! (This picture is of my transition’s nursing class, yes, I know I am not a nursing major….scheduling issues).

22 feedThis past Wednesday I was able to go with BSU (Black Student Union) and part take in Feed My Starving Children. Once again, I had another great experience serving! Some of my favorite parts about Feed My Starving Children are that students get so excited about how much food they make and how easy it is to serve.

This past Thursday I was invited to attend the first ever Latino networking event at La Taberna Tapas on Halsted St. For the most part, none of us students really knew what we were getting ourselves into other than that the President of SXU invited us to attend the event!22 pres Once we got there we soon found out that it was all about making future connections for possible work experiences. Overall it was pretty fun and the food was fantastic! (In this picture the student girls are in this picture: Me, Ana C., and Kathy R.)

On Friday, we had the last Broadview of the semester. Like always, it was a great trip, except it also saddened me to know that the other person who leads Broadview with me is graduating this December. Yuritza has been leading 22 broadviewBroadview for about two years now, and she was the one who pushed for me to part take in leading Broadview. She will be greatly missed, and I hope that next semester that I am able to lead as wonderfully as she has.

Today, Sunday, my boyfriend (who goes to another university) had his orchestra concert which I was able to attend, and I heard amazing music. He did a great job, and his whole family was also able to attend! They came all the way from Minnesota and Iowa. It was a just so great to see them and see him do well! 22 jon and I

I invite and hope that anyone who is looking for something to do tomorrow (Monday) to come ot the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in the chapel at noon where lunch will be served (for free)! I will be giving a blessing over the food, but all faiths are welcomed for giving thanks for all that we have in our lives!

THE BREADTRUCK IS BACK ON! Yay!!!!! Finally! I get to go for the first time this semester! I could not be more excited about it! Except the whole going home for the first time in almost four months…

I hope you all have a fantastic break this upcoming week and that all have safe travels home!


Ready, Set, Snow!

Welcome back,

We are now just a few short days away from Thanksgiving break. After all the work I have been doing on my senior project (and have yet to do), this break couldn’t come at a better time. I am looking forward to having a few days to spend with my family and be away from school, but unfortunately, I have a few things I need to finish up or get started on regarding my project during that time as well. I hope I can strike a good balance between work and pleasure during the break and make the most of it.

I suppose the biggest news for this week is Chicago’s first snowfall of the season. It was quite a measurable snowfall for November and I am praying that this is not an indication of the winter to come. I am not opposed to snow entirely, in fact, I love a little snow around the holidays, but this was too much too soon. It was just enough to make travel and just about everything else more difficult over the weekend. I am certainly going to miss this pleasant fall weather we’ve had.

A snowy scene outside my house

A snowy scene outside my house

Once we return from Thanksgiving break, we’ll have one week of classes to tackle and then finals will be upon us! It occurred to me that I have two finals weeks left to concur in my college career! When first semester comes to a close I know it’s going to be a series of “lasts” until graduation in May, which is always bittersweet. I am wholeheartedly ready to leave college though. It has been fun and challenging, but I am ready to move on and start my life.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to list just a couple of things I am thankful for this year:


1. My family and friends

2. My education (and being able to finish my degree in 4 years)

3. The opportunities I have been given this year to expand my knowledge and gain experience.

4. The internet (particularly online shopping, which is currently acting as a great distraction from my homework)

5. All of the support (financial or otherwise) I receive from many people (those close to me and those I do not even know)

I am very fortunate and very thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Jazz Ensemble: SXU edition


If you remember my previous blog, I talked about Jazz being one of the main things in my life. Well, that fortunately continued for me here at SXU. Once again, I’m playing with another band, but this time it got bigger. Back in high school, there weren’t many members in the Jazz band as far as variety. Yeah, we had rhythm section and a couple of saxes, but I felt like we could have had more. We needed more trombone players because there was only one. Just like here at SXU, we also lacked trumpet players. Which stinks because the band sounds so much better with trumpet players. So here’s my little advertising for the band I suppose. We need trumpet players, so if you know how to play trumpet, please consider joining Jazz Ensemble.

Now I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s so good about being in a Jazz band. Well, I’m sure the music already speaks for itself. But I understand if you do need a little convincing. So here some of the great benefits of being in Jazz Ensemble. First reason is quite obvious, you get to play music as a class. I mean how cool is that? Playing an instrument you love and counting it as a class? Count me in! It’s so awesome to tell my mom or other family members that I’m heading to class when really I’m going off to play my favorite instrument for a band that plays great music. It’s kind of what I really look forward to over the week. Just getting my mind off things and playing some bass. What a great way to relieve some stress if I do say so myself. Maybe that’s how everyone else in the band feels as well whether it’s Matthew forgetting about his troubles on the Sax, or Jamel just taking out his frustrations on those sweet fills he comes up with. Whatever may be, music that has heart and soul is worth playing for. But if that isn’t enough to convince you, that’s okay. I have a couple more reasons coming up.


Reason number 2: You get to dress nice. Here we have a picture of my good buddy Ethan(Alto Sax/Flute) looking sharper than razors. I don’t know about you, but I love wearing a suit and tie and looking like I have a lot of money(even though I don’t). Dressing nice is probably one of my favorite things to do ever. Now just because I don’t do it everyday, doesn’t mean I hate it. I just need to find the right occasion. Traditionally in Jazz, the outfit is usually all black, and yeah I guess you can say that is pretty metal. Haha, but here at Sxu, you get to wear a full suit and whatever color shirt you want. Looking good while playing some good music? Who wouldn’t take that offer? That’s got to be like one of the biggest win win situations ever. Still not fully convinced? Well this last one should get you hopefully.

Last reason why you should join: The more you do it, the better you get at it. I’ll be honest with you. When I first came here to SXU, I had very little to no experience when it came to improvising, music theory, and sight reading. If it wasn’t for Dr.Salmon, I would have no idea what mixolydians are, how to play my minor scale, and more importantly, how to improvise. I am more than grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about these things here with the Jazz Ensemble. Sometimes, I like to teach this information to some of my friends who are still in high school interested in a career with music. I still would not consider myself an expert on music theory and playing, but I know one thing is for sure, and that is that I know a lot more now than I did before. It’s not all just in studying it. You must apply it as well and that’s the best part of Ensemble. You apply it as much as possible and that to me is one of the biggest blessings I could ever get in my life.

I hope this at least has interested you guys into considering participating in music because being a music advocate, I just love it when people start to gain an interest in it. Here’s a link to our first concert to get a taste of what we sound like. It was a Frank Sinatra show who is one of the most well known singers in Jazz. Hope you enjoy.

Home Sweet Home

I have gotten to the point where I call my dorm “home”. The dorm is where my clothes are. It’s were I sleep. My friends live with me. I cook for myself. It’s my home. I’ve lived on campus the entire time I have been at SXU minus when I studied in Spain, so I am very much accustom to living away from home.

…But between you and I…I live roughly 35 minutes away from SXU. My permanent address is somewhere in Hyde Park. So what gives Carleigh? Why do you live on campus when you live so close? I have asked myself this many times.

Picture looking out the window in January. What do you see? Snow. I ain’t about that life. Let’s be real.



I am fortune enough to have this opportunity and I definitely appreciate it, as living on campus is expense. I may regret my desicion a year from now when I have to start paying my loans but for the moment I will enjoy my “home”.

So after years of living on campus here are three benefits of living on campus.

1. Convenience

Of course, this is number one. Living on campus allows me to have easier access to teachers and campus resources like library, the Shannon Center. living on campus makes my commute to the main building or to the Pulaski center between 5 and 15 minutes. Having a shorter commute would allow for longer time to sleep, more time to work, and more time to watch Netflix.

2. Independence

Like I said I only live 35 minutes away, so I can easily go home, have a home cooked meal, and have my laundry done for me…sometimes but I choose not to. Living on campus gives me the freedom to make my own decision on how I live. I can decide when I want to do laundry or clean the living room. Living on campus has allowed

3. Friends

I thinks it is much easier to make friends living on campus then commuting. People are around you 24/7 while living on campus so making friends is inevitable. For one your roommates. I have lucked on my roommates. My roommates freshman and sophomore year are all my best friends. This year I am rooming with transfer students and so far so good. Also, having neighbors helps to make friends too. If you are in need of a spatula, go to your neighbor. Having to borrow a cooking utensil or some salt are great ice breakers!


College is stressful, so if I can make it less stressful in any way I am doing it. Living on campus helps me do that.