24 April 2014

Free Things

Between booking a spontaneous trip to NYC, paying the dentist to polish and clean my (now) pearly whites, and making rent, it's hard not to occasionally feel a little cash poor. And feeling cash poor makes me feel the following things: completely pathetic/bummed out which is then made worse by major #FOMO. Why must everything in the city cost money? Why do I want to do all of the things that cost money? What about my lifestyle needs to be tailored and trimmed to make my pocketbook smile?

And then it hit me. Well it hits me from time to time, but on a cloudy cash poor day like today, it hit me all over again. There are plenty of free things to do in the city,  I mean plenty. I am mainly writing this for myself as a reference for future-cash-poor Sandy to reference, but if you have anything to add or if you want to not spend money with me, then be my guest. My free-loading, free-lovin', free-wheeling guest. Also, kudos to Rose for making a list very similar to mine. The more free inspiration, the better.

Go outside
Walking and jogging are free. Sun is free. The smell and sound of rainfall is free. As are grass, and shade, and the sound of birds chirping. Pull out your picnic blanket, grab a library book (also free), and sit your tush outside for as long as you can. Time will pass pleasantly, and you will free the grace of the sun making you whole again. Additionally, the Chicago Park District Pools officially open in June.
What I wouldn't give to relive last Sunday afternoon again.
Just going for a casual walk around Logan Square. Dog sitting is also free.

Sandy, you have a GoogleDoc full of DIYs ripe for the picking, as well as a craft cabinet laden with supplies. 1 + 2 = 3, amirite? Roll up your sleeves, dust off your crafting tools, and make something with what you already have. Also, pickle every vegetable ever. And make syrups. And bake bread.

Rhubarb syrup with produce from today's farmers market!
Syrups are one part sugar, one part water. Infuse with whatever spring thing delights you.
Basil? Sure. Mint. Why not? Rhubarb, always.

Go to the bar, but don't buy a drink
This is a plan I am going to try tonight. There is a FREE feminist dance party at the Whistler, with gender-neutral bathrooms, and ALL of the ladies/feminists I want to align myself with. It's the perfect place to show off my unshorn pits as well as my dance moves... and what if I went without buying a drink. I'll get back to you on how this one goes. But free dance partay!

Negroni slushie was basically invented for me and my day off.
Ah to master the art of ordering just one drink.

Volunteering is free and it makes the world a better place. Last fall I volunteered for the Chicago Humanities fest, and in exchange for a few hours of my time, I was invited to attend two lectures, one magic show for adults, and an interview with Rick Bayless. I'm hoping to get involved with a community garden, or I will just take over Andrew's deck garden for the greater good of the community. 

What is art?
I was a volunteer coordinator for ArtWork6 last year. Volunteering at openings is so much fun.
Free art, and sometimes free snacks/free wine.

Free Summah Activities
Chicago, you are the best for this. I just need to not go overboard on the snacks situation for most of these. Pro tip: snacks add up. So do beer and drinks. I think learning to be satisfied with none just one drink is going to be a new skill I implement this summah. New mantra, water is free. And better for you.
It's hard not to spend time in Millennium Park and feel removed from a routine.

Free Chicago Things
Chicago is full of free things, year round. Sometimes I just need to remind myself that all of these wonderful places are free, then pinch myself for not spending more time at these places.
Lincoln Park Zoo is free. I know, zoos are super problematic, but I go for the history and architecture. Also... the penguins.
The Art Institute is free Thursday nights. 
The Museum of Contemporary Art is free Tuesday nights.
The Chicago Cultural Center is free and open daily.
First Fridays art openings in the West Loop.
Second Fridays art openings in Pilsen.
The parks and beaches are free.



  1. Going to the bar, and not buying a drink is something I've picked up in recent years. Usually the bartenders look at you a little funny - just tell them you partied too much the night before and drinking is a no-go but the event was too good to miss. They usually offer a free soda, too!

    1. I was sober (in solidarity) for six months and it was sooooooooo weird to go to bars. But you get over it. Also, during my time of sobriety we went to a very secretive speakeasy, and rather than ordering a drink, I ordered the $25 ice cream sundae, because when in Rome? Right?

      I'm glad you do the same, and holy cats has it been a long time since I've heard from ya! How have you been?


    2. Just saw your reply! Haha I could really go for a $25 ice cream sundae about now! I've got quite a few friends who play music around town, so when my wallet is tight and I want to go out, I find a free show and keep it to 0-2 drinks depending on how much fun I had the night before.

      I'm doing really well, thank you! Living in Lexington with The Boyfriend and working for UK research. My brother just moved here 2 months ago, so I've been helping him get settled. I'm really enjoying your blog! Especially the "Make" posts you've done recently - I hadn't ever thought about the different connotations of the word 'make' - so many ways to be creative! Glad to see what you've been up to, reminds me of the Xanga days haha.

      Also, I discovered last year that a dirty martini with extra olives will fix just about anything. At least, anything that a massive ice cream sundae can't fix ;-)


    3. So glad to hear from you, I've sadly fallen out of touch with so many of my favorite Kentucky folks. Would you believe that one of the only kids I hear from (sporadically) is the beloved Ben Tarbox who is perpetually at sea? Funny how things play out.

      Lexington really is a wonderful place, it's fabulous that you're living with your boo - I have yet to have that experience, but living in the same city as my boo as worked wonders for me. What kind of research are you doing for UK? How long have you been there? Do you like it??

      You should do some "makes" just for yourself - even if you don't blog about it! Don't you sometimes miss the xanga days?

      It's not even 9 here, and I'm already fantasizing about the dirty martini I will be making myself tonight.


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Haha I could really go for a $25 ice cream sundae about now! I'm doing great! Living in Lexington with The Boyfriend and working for UK. Really digging this blog, especially the "Make" entries. Also, I discovered last year that a dirty martini with extra olives will basically fix anything. At least, anything that an ice cream sundae won't fix ;-)