gwendolyn faith is not a crayon.

Hello, I’m Gwen.

I work in advertising. I play in the kitchen.

I’m part tweenager. (Look at my iTunes playlist.)

I’m part Grandma. (Look at my oversize cardi collection.)

I’m part Romy or Michelle. (Look at the height of my hair.)

As a Christian, I'm learning how to glorify God in the everyday. To live into the status quo, like Jesus' own Manchurian candidate, and seep grace through its cracks.

I wish my life were a musical, but other than that, I’m pretty content.

(No surprise I also like to Yelp.)

The Casual Vacancy
The Explicit Gospel
Gone Girl
The Chaperone
Cutting for Stone

Gwen Daniels's favorite books »

Posts tagged "chicago"

Chicago officially experienced its coldest for months ever on record, y’all. According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature for December 2013 to March 2014 period in  Chicago was only 22.0°F, 10 degrees below freezing, beating the old record set in the winter of 1903-04.

h/t Ali

Fabulous news from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago!


Please join us in celebrating the 1000th Site Based match served!!   The agency has never before served 1000 SB youth and we are extremely excited to reach this milestone.Congratulations to the Site Based and CSP teams for all of their hard work to make these matches!!

Learn more about Site Base Mentoring

Get involved: Start Something

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to celebrate two sweet friends in one day! We first marked Hannah’s birthday with high tea at the Drake Hotel, where we talked for hours over tea, sandwiches and sweets as a harpist strummed in the background. Later in the evening, I met Lexi for her birthday party in her building’s penthouse, where we all caught up over drinks—and Cards Against Humanity—late into the night. Happy Birthday, friends!

PSA to my Chicago friends and followers: The Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers $20 discount tickets to anyone under 35! (Who knew?!) I definitely recommend Gypsy, running now with Tony Award-nominee Louise Pitre as Mama Rose.

…And if you’d like a sneak peek of the show, I’m more than happy to belt Rose’s Turn, my new power anthem for singing in the shower, at karaoke and at the drop of a hat.


So those snow boots were a good idea huh?

…I should probably move snowboots to the top of my lust list.

Chicagoans, I’ve found a new spot for everyone to try! Yesterday Rebba, Sara Jane, Erin, Denise and I met at the Revel Room in Wicker Park to celebrate Rebba’s new job. {After she finishes law school, Rebba will serve as a public defender in an under-staffed and under-funded city down South through a fellowship with the organization Gideon’s Promise. Mega-congratulations, R!}

The Revel Room makes a lovely spot to linger with friends—either before going somewhere dancier, like we did, or to talk the night away. We loved sampling one another’s cocktails, several of which seemed crafted with flavors reminiscent of the season. And although the {adorable!} glasses look small, most of the drinks were pretty potent.

Afterward we finished our drinks, we headed to Double Door for Soul Summit, a monthly dance party devoted to early soul and R&B. And in between, we might’ve definitely stopped at Big Star for tacos to go. The combination made for a perfect night out to recognize one of my favorite friends!

I’ve been obsessed with Into the Woods since I saw the University of Memphis’ production when I was in middle school. I’ve basically had the prologue stuck in my head since the seventh grade.

On Saturday my friend Kelsey and I saw a matinee performance of the Hypocrites’ production of Into the Woods at the Mercury Theater a few blocks away. I’m still slightly euphoric.

Although I’d recommend the production wholeheartedly, I didn’t quite understand the director’s decision to conceptualize the woods—already a conceptualization of dreams and nightmares—as a child’s playground. Chris Jones hit the nail on the head in his review in the Chicago Tribune:

In the imagination of Sondheim and Lapine, [the] woods are a stand-in, applied with stunning veracity, for the importance in this life of being willing to explore and take risks, and also for the persistent nightmare that so many of us live, wherein we become separated from our loved ones, not to mention our childhood dreams of happiness and success, among dark, foreboding and, oh God help us, unreliable trees. Our explorations can be what kill us. We get a bit better equipped each time we go in, of course. But never better enough to really relax.

The trees in [the Hypocrites’] setting are represented by balloons. Early in Act 1, when “Into the Woods” has a mostly upbeat and expository mode, I was already wondering how the show would handle Act 2, when things turn dark indeed and ideas turn to the agony of loss. The woods can be welcoming or terrifying, shimmering with light or dark. But balloons resist change. They are persistently optimistic in their primary colors, and thus they are less than ideal for a show in which optimism turns to the hard lessons of realism.

On Saturday I witnessed a murder at the Junior League House! In conjunction with the Junior League’s Teen Exodus program, which introduces high school students from underserved neighborhoods to educational, recreational and cultural activities across the city, the Murder Mystery Company put on a show for the girls of Chicago Youth Programs. Although I’ve participated in a handful of Teen Exodus events over the past few months, I’ve never seen the girls act with such gusto. What hams!

Chicago friends, I’ve got a restaurant recommendation for y’all!

On Saturday I met Sara Jane and Sarina for dinner at Isla Pilipina, a Filipino BYOB tucked away in a nondescript strip mall outside Lincoln Square. Although I wasn’t familiar with Filipino food before our meal, I’d officially like to become an expert, eating there again and again and again. I especially loved the kare-kare, an oxtail stew in a sauce as smooth as peanut butter. And {almost} best of all, the meal set us back about $15 each, practically cheap by Chicago’s standards.

After a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations, volunteer opportunities, church events, and late nights and long hours at the office, I bid adieu to Chicago’s snow and ice for almost two weeks at home for the holidays! Stay tuned for updates from home sweet home in Memphis.