Chicago, United States
Beth, 33
Reporter & Preps Expert, Chicago Sun Times
see her Chicago city guide

a bit about Beth

What do you do and why do you do it?

I connect. I try to connect truly, madly and deeply with my surroundings and those surrounding me. I've been fortunate, to say the least, that I make a living talking and writing. People seem to care about my musings, which never ceases to amaze me. My life is my best life when I continually discover, connect and engage. Sometimes that means sitting straight up in the middle of the night and discovering one of the best ledes I've come up with. Other times it's connecting with a client in a fitness class I'm teaching and seeing on their face that my words motivated them at the exact. right. moment. It's presence. It's worth it.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?

Hmm. I've always been innovative with jobs -- which makes them not entirely too bad. The worst though? Probably my first job lifeguarding. Mainly because no one came to the pool and I just cleaned the scum off the tiles visible above the water pretty much every shift. I always wondered what that scum was... never mind.

Were you born and raised in Chicago? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Chicago?

Not born and raised, but proud as hell to call myself a Chicagoan. I grew up in the beautiful (I mean it) mountains of Western North Carolina. I traded small town, rural America on the foot of the Appalachian trail for the bright lights of the Second City. The mountains have my heart but the city has my soul. I like to think of the two places as a paradox of two of the most beautiful places in the world. My career brought me to Chicago, like so many others. But what keeps me in Chicago is the personality that this city has to offer. There isn't anything better than just getting out and taking in the people, scenery and breath of the city.

What’s your current hood in Chicago and what’s the best/worst thing about it?

North Side! Lincoln Park to be exact. The best thing is the fact that I can be on the lake in t-minus two minutes. The worst thing? Parking. God. Parking.

What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?

Don't judge me... I love country music. I can get down with top 40, a reggae beat is always legit but there is something about a song with lyrics that means something. I really don't totally hate much besides elevator music. 

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Empowering songs from back in the day. Nothing makes you feel better than some good ole' Avril, Xstina or Britney Spears. Am I rite?

Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?

Planet Earth. I'm a total junkie for the majestic viewpoint this creates. No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. I can't stop watching. The way he explores other cultures and always seems to find a way to do them justice is amazing. Speaking of traveling shows, Booze Traveler. Also, Huangs World. A bartender at the Berghoff told my fiance and I about Huangs World. Holy great show. As for sitcom's I never really got into them. The day to day show I can't live without though -- LAW AND ORDER.

Name some spots in Chicago that are good for a Tinder date.

Thai Bowl on Lincoln. BYOB. Pad Thai, trust me. FUH -- a fast food style Pho BYOB spot. Renalidi's Pizza on Broadway if you want an off the beaten path pizza place. Plus they have karaoke. Want less food and more booze? Beermiscious if you want room to talk. Old Crow if you want to dance.

Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).

The Cubs Anthony Rizzo. I love Anthony Rizzo but I think hearing him roasted would be hilarious. Plus, I feel like he would take it well?

Who’s your hero and where in Chicago would you take them out for a serious hang?

PAWS Chicago! So, not a person but an organization. I've got a pup named Athena from PAWS (the largest no kill shelter in the midwest) and the work they do in the city is unmatched. I thought I knew life and love before I owned my pup, but I was wrong. If money was no object I'd take all the volunteers from PAWS out for a drink (or several) at one of the city's dog friendly patios. And yes, Athena would be there.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I'm always in athletic clothes. So, shameless plug -- lululemon. I also love graphic tees with animals on them... like my own pup. So, popmypup!

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Wrigleyville after 2AM. Maybe saying I wouldn't be caught dead there is a bit of an extreme, but boy do things get weird at 5AM bars in Wrigley after everywhere else closes. Go Cubs Go!

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

*Museums! I am the type of person that reads every sign in every museum, zoo, aquarium and if I could go once a week I would. Learning is my jam. I think it's pretty freaking awesome that the Field Museum has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo. I think it's pretty sweet the zoo throws events that you can drink wine/beer and grub on food trucks all while asking the staff and volunteers (come see me I volunteer!) anything you would ever want to know about conservation and the animals. I could stare at the plant exhibits at Adler planetarium all day. Speaking of Adler, go for Adler After Dark.

Where do you go in Chicago for a casual night out?

Find a BYOB spot. It's one of the best things about Chicago, being able to bring your own booze to restaurants. Most restaurants will list on their website if they are, but don't be afraid to call and ask. Then go, pick out a nice bottle of wine or grab a six pack and grab dinner.

Where would you go in Chicago to celebrate some freaking good news?

Try Jellyfish in River North. It's got a special place in my heart, it's where my fiancé and I celebrated our engagement. And do yourself a favor and try the avocado and crab salad. It's divine.

What’s your choice of transportation in Chicago and why?

I hate to admit this, but my car. It's an easy city to drive in -- and I'm pretty dependent on my car. I have plenty of friends that depend completely on public transit and they seem to prefer the El over the bus system. I'm the weirdo that would rather take the CTA buses over the El.

What are the Chicago spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum Campus and an architecture tour on the river. These things all sound very touristy, but you will learn so much cool stuff about the city and it's history. There is something so alluring about first hand capturing the rich history of Chicago. When you are at the zoo, find someone in a green polo and ask them about the animals you see -- I bet you will learn something. Get deep dish pizza. Eat a Chicago Style hot dog (no cheating, no ketchup) and enjoy the flavors of Chicago. It's one of the few cities that I've ever lived in where the people that live in it still want to do the things listed above, occasionally.

What are the Chicago spots tourists should run from screaming?

Navy Pier. I run around Navy Pier sometimes and honestly I don't understand. About a quarter of a mile in off the lake, the food is cheaper, it's less packed, you can see the fire works through virtually the entire city. If you must, go see it. Walk the mile around it and get the heck outta dodge. Same thing with the Bean. It's cool, one time.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Chicago. How do you spend it?

At a high school football game. But not reporting and on a deadline, just connecting with others and watching the game. One of my first days in Chicago took me to a high school game for work and I was able to build a career I love because of the passion, loyalty and open arms of the IHSA community. Friday night lights are unmatched and as long as I can report on them, I will.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

It's tough to choose between Kingston, Jamaica and St. Croix, USVI. I think when pressed, St. Croix because it's so raw and real. The eastern-most point of the USA is in St. Croix, as well as Cruzan rum's manufacturing. The people that live there welcome you with open arms to explore their island. You can be in the rainforest, dry land and ocean front in just a matter of miles. It's beautiful and mystical.

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