The Art of Love

The Art of Love

A Valentine's Treatise

With Valentine’s Day starting off this week, it is easy to focus on a very superficial, all-consuming, Facebook Official, flutter-in-your-stomach, here’s-how-many-roses-and-chocolates-and-cuddly-pandas I received definition of love. While it’s nice to know how loved you are by others in that certain kind of way, I think that if we're going to call Valentine’s Day a real holiday (and not just a capitalistic tug on the heart strings) then it should also be a day that we reflect on love in general, just like Thanksgiving causes us to reflect on gratitude.

As I said, it’s easy to be focused on one kind of love on Valentine’s Day, but that’s so restrictive to the real human capacity for the emotion. I know that when I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was a day of affection for me and my family as well as a day to show my classmates how much I cared for them. When my sisters and I awoke as children and came down the stairs to see heart-shaped goodies from our parents, it was akin to the excitement and love of Christmas day. Similarly, in our elementary classrooms, I remember looking forward to passing out Hello Kitty (or Spongebob) themed valentines to my friends and peers. As adults, why don't we pass out simple "participation" valentines like "Hey, you're a human. Thanks for showing up. I appreciate your existence." Today, as I walked through the Art Institute downtown, I found myself wishing Happy Valentine’s Day! to several people, mainly the bored-looking museum attendants. One of them perked up and said, “You’re the first one to say that to me!” It was nice to have brightened someone’s day in such a simple way. I think Valentine’s should be a space for us to remember how much we are capable of showing love to those around us. Rather than being “anti-Valentine’s” or constraining love to a simple ideal of romance, we should view Valentine’s as a platform where we can better love everyone, even if it's in as simple a way as saying hi or sending them a gif valentine over Facebook.

I also think Valentine’s should be a day where we love ourselves well. A lot of people get curmudgeonly on Valentine’s Day because they focus on how other people don’t love them enough. The beautiful thing about Valentine’s Day is that you can treat yourself, too. Be kind to yourself, first of all. Being with or without someone isn’t a barometer of your self worth. I know it’s past Valentine’s now, but I don’t think it’s too late to do something simple that you enjoy. I spent the day wandering around the Art Institute and filling myself up with the beauty of craft. I walked around and loved seeing the smiling couples, holding hands with each other or their children. It made me happy to see love around me—not only expressed between people, but also to see love within the art works I appreciated. Each work was an expression of passion’s labor, and a good number of works pondered on human relationships and the idea of beauty. Love, in a way, is an art that we can all practice. It takes skill, finesse, and a deft hand, but it also takes clumsy energy, fearless determination, and a big eraser called “forgiveness.” Whether you choose to spend this week loving others or yourself, I encourage you to think about the art of love and how you might become your own sort of expert at it. CJB

Cover Image Credit: DesignOval

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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My Childhood Nostalgia

Straight from the mouths of babes.


Almost all of us as Millenials and Gen Z were raised around technology. We love it and are constantly adapting to the world and new technologies around us. As we age, we sometimes forget about the online games we played and the things that brought us joy on the internet when we were younger. Sometimes, it's great to go back and reminisce on what we used to play. This allows us to see how far we've come and think of much simpler times. These are a few of the most popular online games when we were younger, and how they're doing now, many years later.


Neopets was an online pet trading and adopting game that started in 1999 and rose to popularity starting in 2005. The game had players create their own customized versions of species and interact with others. In 2010, the game slowly started dying off as most of the main fanbase grew out of the targeted age demographic and due to intense hacking. Now, Neopets is still active and there are updates made to the website.

Disney's ToonTown

Nerd Bacon

Not just a place in Disneyland, Disney's ToonTown was an online game where players were able to choose the toon they wished to play as. The MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) saw thousands of people play every day from around the world. Released in 2003, the game continued to rise and be played by many and was praised for its ability to allow people to connect with those from different areas of the globe. However, because of Disney wanting to focus it's attention to another game, ToonTown was discontinued in 2013, much to the disappointment to many fans. As a result, people teamed up and created a carbon copy of ToonTown called ToonTown Rewritten a few months following its closure. This version of the game is still open for people to play today!


This game was one that allowed people to explore their inner Nancy Drew. This game had players explore secrets and uncover mysteries. The game was created from the same creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and was very popular during the time the books were popular as well. Aimed for people ages 6 to 15, the game continues to have players. Although not as popular as it once was in 2007, the game does have updates and new mysteries uploaded.

Club Penguin

Club Penguin was another on of Disney's online games, and a game that led to the demise of Disney's ToonTown. This game took off, but ultimately end up failing as Disney tried to modernize the game too much, turning it into an app. The over-complication of the game led to many people no longer being interested, and thus Disney closed the online version of the game in 2017. Much like Disney's ToonTown, fans of the game have created their own version, called Club Penguin Rewritten, where people are able to continue their penguin lives.


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