Welcome to Chicago

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Unlike most of my "Summer of Me" adventures, this one has its beginnings in December. Opening presents Christmas morning had come to be an event that held no surprise, but this year was a little different. Wrapped in a striped box were tickets to Taylor Swift's concert in Chicago for her 1989 World Tour. I may have teared up. My obsession with all things Taylor Swift has been well-documented on this blog, but I had never seen her in concert before. Based on her performances at televised awards shows, I knew I was in for an awesome show.

Along with the tickets came the opportunity to spend a day in Chicago, a city that I don't get to see often despite its proximity. My aunt and cousin would be joining my mom and I for the concert, so we decided to use our afternoon to shop (because....duh).

Michigan Avenue Chicago Street Style | emma-elsewhere.com

Chicago decided to get a little fussy and storm on us, but a little rain (okay, a downpour) couldn't stop us from a trip to Lush and Forever 21. Gucci and Saint Laurent were tempting but I quickly remembered that I'm a college student and that the typical Gucci bag costs upwards of $1500. Moving on.

John Hancock Building Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

Taylor Swift Concert Style - Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

After spending an afternoon in the shops it was time to change for the concert. At this point I was already filled with excitement at getting to see Taylor perform for the very first time. It was going to be about 85 degrees during the show, so I knew I had to keep my outfit light and breathable. A tucked-in tank and leather skirt did the trick, and a floppy hat hid my frizzy hair from view (thanks, rain!).

Taylor Swift Concert Style - Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

Taylor Swift Concert Style Details | emma-elsewhere.com

Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

Our seats were amazing! I couldn't believe how much we could see from our spot in the stands. Taylor is the kind of performer that moves all around her set, so I knew that we would be able to see every part of her show without issue.

Taylor Swift Concert | emma-elsewhere.com

My cousin/BFF, Jack, tagged along for the concert even though it was on his golden birthday! Definitely going to keep him around.

Taylor Swift and Serayah - Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

I wasn't able to get too many clear shots of Taylor (I only had an iPhone camera to work with) because the lighting was so glaring on the stage. I dropped this one in - from her Instagram - of her and her friend Serayah (from Empire!) performing Style so that you could see one of her costumes. Hands down, my favorite performance of the night was her mashup of Enchanted and Wildest Dreams.

Taylor Swift Concert Chicago | emma-elsewhere.com

One of the coolest parts of Taylor's concert were the bracelets we all wore. They were handed out to us at the beginning of the night, and, during Taylor's set, they lit up in different colors and sequences based on a radio signal. It was incredible to be able to see all 55,000 people's hands waving while Taylor sang.

Taylor Swift is not only an amazing performer, but a genuinely beautiful person. You could tell that she truly appreciates being able to play for a stadium full of people, hearing her fans sing her songs back to her. You could read the look on her face clearly: she still couldn't believe that she had realized her dream.

I may have only recently become a mega-fan of Taylor's (for about the last year or so), but she has already had an impact on my life as an artist. The way that she talked to us, her fans, at her concert only solidified how much she cares about them (us?). She talked about relationships, heartbreak, second-chances, success and learning how to realize your own value. The performance was great, but what she said in between songs will stick with me for far longer.

All I know is that I set out to make memories this summer and to hopefully change a little along the way. In my quest toward becoming a person with more memories, spontaneity, conviction, I may have had my epiphany at a Taylor Swift concert. Who would have guessed?