4xForth: Forth Chicago 2016 Intern and writer Carolyn Green by Clare Johnson

It's 4xForth Friday and today, we're highlighting a very special (new!) member in the community. We're featuring Carolyn Green - writer at VSA Partners one of Forth Chicago's new 2016 interns! This incredible West Coast transplant (originally from Portland, Oregon) moved to Chicago a little over a year ago after graduating in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design, a Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor and an accidental almost-concentration in Medieval Studies. 

Beyond her incredible personality and wit, Carolyn is also an accomplished creative writer, runner, adventurer and overly-charming coffee date. We are tickled to have her as part of our team and can't wait to see where she helps take our amazing community. 

Places I frequent in Chicago: 

  1. The Second City: I recently started taking sketch comedy writing classes at the Second City Training Center, and it's been a dream. I mean, when else do you get to watch "30 Rock" for homework? We receive free passes to shows with our student IDs, so I try to see 1-2 shows a week. For anyone who wants to learn more about The Second City and the history of Chicago-style improv, I recommend the documentary "Second to None," a behind-the-scenes look at the seminal Mainstage Revue "Paradigm Lost," starring now famous comedians like Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Scott Adsit and Kevin Dorff.  
  2. Lincoln Park: I love to run, and I finished my second Chicago Marathon this October. In Portland, we have an abundance of trails within the city, and I try to mimic that soft-surface experience whenever possible. In general, I'm a big fan of city parks. I love visiting NYC and running in Central Park, and I spent a semester abroad in London, where I would explore the city by running through St. James, Green and Hyde Parks to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, or spy on Will and Kate at Kensington Palace (never saw them). I can do multiple loops of Lincoln Park and never get bored. I'm also on a kickball team through Chicago Sport and Social Club. We're called the Kickbrawlers, and you can find us making memories on the Lincoln Park South fields every Friday night in the fall. 
  3. Green, Inc.: Crazy plant lady is the new crazy cat lady. I can guarantee you that if I'm walking down N. Wells Street (a frequent occurrence), I'll stop into Green, Inc. to see if they've received any new shipments of succulents or other "drought-resistant" plants (the only thing I can keep alive). My apartment is kind of modern, with lots of white, so I'm always looking for ways to make it feel more homey.
  4. Trenchermen: Wicker Park is one of my fave neighborhoods in Chicago, and Trencherman is one of my top restaurants in the area. Birthday dinner, Sunday brunch, whatever, I'm always down for a meal here. May I suggest the pickle tots or the eggs florentine? Housed in a refurbished Russian bath from the 1920s, it's worth visiting Trencherman just for the atmosphere.  

Things to do with out-of-town visitors: 

  1. Chicago Architectural Boat Tour: I tried kayaking on the Chicago River last summer, which was decidedly better than not kayaking...until a dead, decaying rat floated past my paddle. Coincidentally, that was the exact moment I decided my preferred Chicago River experience is an architectural boat tour—a great way for out-of-towners to learn about the city's history, feel the city breezes upon their face (smelling faintly of hot dogs) and hear some really great jokes from the tour guide, such as, "Never take marble for granite." 
  2. Art Institute: My parents gave me a membership to the Art Institute for Christmas, which includes free admission for one guest. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Visitors are usually interested in an afternoon at the Art Institute, even if we just head straight for the "Ferris Bueller painting." My goal for this winter is to go to the Art Institute on my own (if I bring friends, we usually just end up talking and not really looking at anything), choose one gallery/genre, and read about every single painting in that section. Rinse and repeat.  
  3. Aquarium: I was born in Oak Park and still have a fair amount of relatives in the Chicago suburbs, so my family would spend 1-2 weeks visiting every summer when I was a kid. My mom was big on museums, especially the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. The Shedd was always a favorite of ours, and when my brother and sister visit me on breaks from their respective colleges, we have to go back. It's not like otters will ever get less adorable. I've been to Adler After Dark, but Jazzin at the Shedd is next on my list! 
  4. Chicago Cultural Center: On the way to your requisite visit to the Bean, stop by the Chicago Cultural Center. It's free and they are usually featuring some pretty cool traveling art exhibitions. Walk upstairs to see the stunning Tiffany Dome, a 1,000-foot dome that contains over 30,000 pieces of glass (!!). Also, the Cultural Center is really warm, in case you have visitors who were brave enough to visit in winter. 

Sites I love: 

  1. Man Repeller: I follow too many design/photography/lifestyle blogs to count, but Man Repeller is a site that I check daily for fashion, humor or cultural inspo. Anything written by Amelia Diamond is right up my alley. 
  2. National Geographic: When an article from National Geographic shows up in my feedly, I always click on it. In another life, I think I would have been an archaeologist. 
  3. Design Sponge: Solid ideas for DIY projects and cool profiles of creative people. I love their city guides
  4. The Toast: Writing goals, humor goals. See "Women having a terrible time at parties in art history." 

Places I want to go:

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright Bike Tour in Oak Park: Biking and talking about historic architecture—what's not to love! Unfortunately, this tour was sold out every single time (once) that I tried to buy tickets last summer. Now I know I have to act early for next summer! 
  2. Evanston: My mom went to Northwestern, and always talks about how much she loves Evanston. I haven't been there since I was in high school, but would love to take a day trip soon. Ideally, I would bike there! (Can you tell I'm from Portland?)
  3. Renegade Craft Fair: I was out of town for this event in September, but I'm looking forward to the Holiday Fair in December.  
  4. Iceland: Not in Chicago, but Iceland is a dream vacation destination. I haven't looked into all of the details, but apparently Icelandair will let you take an extended layover in Reykjavik on your way to, say, Amsterdam, free of charge! Hiking, horses and hot springs, come on...and if you need any convincing, Arlena Armstrong on Instagram provides all the aesthetic appeal and wanderlust you'll ever need.  

Thanks for sharing, Carolyn! 

You're in good company when it comes to exploring the city and its many culinary and cultural wonders. Anytime you need a partner to help you explore Green, Inc., Evanston or any Chicago craft show.. you just call out my name (and you know where ever I am....). 

Be sure to follow Carolyn on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest and stay tuned for our second intern introduction, coming to you next week on the 4xForth series.