Maxwell Street Market

Located in the shadows of the downtown skyscrapers, Maxwell Street Market is one of Chicago's oldest open markets. It's known for its bargains and international flavor. Many immigrants have come here to sell their goods over the years. The Germans, Irish and Polish came first, and more recently the Mexican community has a stronger presence.

We come here for the amazing food, like the delicious tacos and the tamales oaxaqueños that you'll see featured. It's a must stop if you are new to Chicago.

The 606

Very rarely in Chicago we get good weather at the beginning of Spring. But when we do, everybody and their lovely mothers are out and about and excited like a little girl at a premier of Frozen. Some people spend time on the lake shore, others head to the national parks, but a couple of weeks ago, we decided to check out the trendiest urban greenway in the city: The 606. Also called The Bloomingdale Trail, this trail is a revamped 2.7-mile elevated railroad running east-west on the northwest side of Chicago back in the day.

It's perfect for runners, bikers and urban explorers like us who like to get a taste of different neighborhoods in one shot. You'll love it. Check it out.

Music Time Capsule

I come from a generation of playlist curators. Music was a big part of life growing up, although there was no YouTube back in the day and Cable TV was simply a luxury, meaning no MTV or VH1 either. My friends and I had to wait impatiently for the local radio DJs to play our favorite songs so we could record each and every one of our tunes over cassette tapes. And didn’t you hate when the radio promos would end up in your recordings? Regardless, that tape meant something to my friends and I. It said something about that moment in time, like a scrapbook or a time capsule.

Years later came Napster and MP3 players and online stations. Pretty much nothing has been the same. The other day I was at Best Buy with a much younger coworker who called me “Old School” for buying a CD. And why is it that millenials can’t even remember the name of songs anymore? Even the good ones. They just listen and dispose of music like a pair of socks. I grew up memorizing lyrics and trying to figure out what they meant. I would buy an album for the one song and make myself listen and appreciate the rest... because $20!

I think a lot of my inspiration as a writer comes from music. Something I like to do is to go back and listen to the music from a specific period in my life. It helps me reconnect with who I was then and refreshes my perspective on how the world has changed. If you haven’t done it, try it. Make time to take in the songs, create YouTube playlists and keep going back to them. Here’s the playlist I created from my grad school days in Boulder, Colorado (2003-2006). Can't believe it's been 11 years.

Illustration by Evgeni.

Sixteen Microactions to Propel Female Creatives

It’s not about the amount of work or the late nights. What really stresses women in the creative industry is “being forced to do a job in a way that doesn’t feel natural to them.” It’s about having to work with people who have a hard time understanding their principles and perspectives, and it’s about the struggle to make sure they are included and their voices heard.

This was one of many popular preconceptions debunked by Cindy Gallop during her presentation on Thursday for IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network relaunch. She’s the founder & CEO of If we ran the world and Make love not porn and has decades of experience as a creative, advertising consultant and advocate. Needless to say, she’s a pretty tough leader. “I like to blow shit up,” she says. “I’m the Michael Bay of business.”

Gallop was brought by IPG as a guiding force to inspire women to continue fighting for gender equality and career opportunities. She believes that women and minorities are the driver of innovation for agencies, and that they should be empowered to explore their potential and help bring more business.

While it’s commonly believed that there are not enough women candidates or that their portfolio is not up to par, she says that diversity is truly what helps raise the bar. “Men are usually hired based on potential, while women are hired on proof. They’re simply not given a chance.”

For over an hour, she went over all of the myths that exist in the industry and provided a series of actions that women and minorities can immediately take to create a better future for themselves and help change the current environment for everyone.

Here’s her advice:

1. Say what you think. Own it and claim it. If you need time to formulate your thoughts, make sure you set some time with the parties involved to voice your opinion.

2. State your ambition. Make sure everybody knows where you want to go. Think about what your path looks like and make sure you communicate your goals.

3. Create a paper trail. Have a voice, comment on issues, let your values and dreams be known.

4. Take up more space. Make sure you sit where people can hear you. Be present where you can. And if you're always busy, your space should reflect it.

5. Understand how your company makes money and recommend how to make more money. For example, if women are the biggest consumer group, who better to recommend how to sell something to them than another woman.

6. Be your own filter. Start by defining what you don’t like or believe in, so you can better understand your beliefs and who you are as a creative.

7. Say yes. Say no. Offer yourself to participate in interesting projects that help you grow, and stop doing little things that makes everyone’s life easier but your own.

8. Make decisions visibly. Express your thinking behind projects and make sure people know what you are working on. Promote your talent and how you impact the agency.

9. Make shit happen. Take initiative, do things well, add value, become a resource.

10. Call out barriers. If there are attitudes or barriers that slow you down or unable you to have equal participation, call it out.

11. Volunteer to be tested. If you want to get experience in a particular area, ask for an opportunity to be tested. Get feedback and push forward.

12. Dress for presence. Do not dress as people expect you to dress. Dress to express who you are, to be comfortable and feel confident.

13. Build your own personal brand. People are bound to Google you. Build a personal site where you can state who you are and what your passion is. Provide value, insights. Identify what you want to bring to the table and offer something the industry is missing.

14. Make lots of money. Help create an environment where women can get paid what they are worth. Have an investment mindset and help support other women around you.

15. Find champions, not mentors. You don’t need people who listen to your challenges, but people who challenge you and help change your path.

16. Help change the numbers fast. Push forward to create a better environment for yourself and other women. Help create a workplace that reflects the world around us.

A taste of Poland in Chicago

Did you know that there are over 46,000 Polish immigrants in the Windy City? Our city center alone holds the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. They have brought with them a tradition of hard work and an incredibly rich culture that includes great food. Thanks to that, we are lucky to have access to so many great restaurants where you can enjoy a taste of Poland for an affordable price, like the delicious Red Apple Buffet in Logan Square. They have lots of different dishes and Polish beer.

Here's a quick video of a recent trip.

Verdelicias Holiday Mag

Are you a Verdelicias fan? Our Fall & Winter magazine is here! Nabol and I had so much fun putting this together for all of you. Click here and you’ll find new trends to update your kitchen, news about the blog and lots of tasty recipes with seasonal ingredients.

Enjoy everything from a warm veggie chili or a fluffy arroz con gandules to a sweet, but healthy carrot cake. May this season brings you lots of joy and fun times.