Moodboard: Eartha Kitt

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I don’t have to be wealthy and rich. My spirit is a valuable commodity.”

Eartha Kitt poses in character as Catwoman for the television show "Batman" in 1967.PHOTO: The one and only Eartha Kitt ~ She and that recognizable voice and what a character ~ lived a LONG LONG LIFE!!! Women In Shorts (Maybe) Cause Car CrashEartha Kitt as Catwoman — Batman, Season 3 (1967-68, ABC)

I’m not black and I’m not white and I’m not I’m not pink and I’m not green. Eartha Kitt has no color and that is how barriers are broken.

Eartha Kitt - 1959 Photographic Print by Isaac Sutton at Art.comEartha and daughter Kitt playingEartha Kitt - 1959 Photographic Print by William Lanier at AllPosters.com

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The Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie

These are a staple in my household. You really can’t go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie. My family bakes a batch on the reg – and eats them within 24 hours.

If you do attempt to make this quintessential chocolate chip cookie, here’s a tip – when storing, use a tightly sealed container and put in a slice of bread. The bread will dry out and the cookies will gather it’s moisture to make them soft and exceptionally yummy.

And as you could probably guess from looking at my beautiful recipe picture – the secret ingredient is the pudding mix. There. The secret’s out. Oh, and love. Duh.

Concertos on the G String by Baroque Malone

This past semester, I was in a class called Music Marketing. My professor, Dr. Barretta, taught us the ins-and-outs of the music industry and arranged for us to meet with ‘Rev. Moose‘, the Managing Partner/Co-Founder of Maurader Group, a music marketing firm based in NYC, over Skype. He explained his role within the company and how needs are constantly evolving with the rise of technology. We ended up doing some work for him and some of the bands he represented which ended up being really cool.

What I really liked about this class, though, was our major assignment/project – to re-brand an already existing artist. My group chose the grungy, ever-endearing Post Malone. The first half of our project was to better understand the typical Post Malone fan. First, we had to do a little research on his background and how he ended up a mega-star.

A Syracuse, NY native until he moved to Dallas, TX when he was 10 years old, Post Malone is a musical artist specializing in Hip-Hop, Contemporary R&B, and Rap Rock. He rose to fame on Soundcloud and was soon sought after following the release of White Iverson (2015). He released his first album Stoney in 2016. Now, he’s the 8th most-played artist on Spotify, on Soundcloud he has 63.7 million plays, and utilizes cross-promotion by being active on social media platforms like Facebook (1.7M likes), Twitter (3.09M followers), Instagram (7.4M followers), and Snapchat.

His most important platform, by far, is Twitter. While Twitter is his most used form of social media, it’s also his realest. His unapologetic and uncensored tweets are millennial and Gen-Z crack. People in these categories eat up transparency in the media. More than ever before, fans know more about and are more invested in artists’ lives. He also engages quite a bit with his audience.

Here’s our full analysis of the typical Post Malone fan:

Post Malone: Fan Profile

The second half of our project was a bit trickier. When the time came, Dr. Barretta announced what musical genre we would re-brand our artists as. Post Malone would be a classical Baroque artist. Perfect.

Luckily, my group and I are creative geniuses and made it work. Thus, Baroque Malone was born.

Take a look at our presentation and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Post Malone: Rebrand

My favorite part and my own personal touch that completes the project:

Concertos on the G String by Baroque Malone

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Now that’s a work of art.

My Ultimate TV Binge List

If you’re anything like me, you love a well-told story. The true special-ness of a story is the connection one makes with it. I have an intense attachment to books, movies, and television shows that make you feel. In this golden age of television we’re currently in a more solid connection is made between the central theme/moral and the person watching from home.

Ever go to the movies and try to talk about what happened in the film on the way home afterward? A story takes time to digest. So many details are left out of a finished film (ahem, any Harry Potter movie) that make the real meat of the story that much more 1. believable, and 2. real for the movie-goer.

When reading a book over a period of time, you have a little more time to digest the information you’ve just read between chapters. Television binge-ing is like reading a few chapters a night. The story sticks with you longer and the beauty is in the details. Plus, if you’re anything like me – you like to re-watch whole series (just in case you missed something!).

Here is my ultimate TV-show binge list in no particular order.

Drama

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You’ll love/hate each character at one point or another in this series. This show explores the vices of human nature: it’s intense, real, and tells the story of Don Draper, ad man. (To Binge: Netflix)

House of Cards

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Politics. Beautiful soundtrack. Robin Wright. Kevin Spacey. Brilliance. (To Binge: Netflix)

West World

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Genius acting, genius story, and genius CGI. Genius. (To Binge: HBO)

Game of Thrones

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Do I even have to explain? All I’m going to say is, it’s worth it. Killer story. (To Binge: HBO)

Big Little Lies

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Mystery. Murder. Moms. (To Binge: HBO)

Law & Order SVU

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Still going strong, SVU has seen lots of cops come and go. The one that broke my heart most though – Elliot Stabler. If I’m being honest, I only binge the seasons he’s still on the show. (To Binge: Hulu)

The Crown

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An incredibly thorough depiction of Queen Elizabeth and her family’s life throughout the years. It’s real, beautiful, raw – and even funny. (To Binge: Netflix)

Bojack Horseman

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Self-loathing, 40-something, D-List celeb Bojack (Will Arnett) tries to conquer his inner demons. Oh, and it’s an animated series. And Bojack Horseman is… well, a horse. (To Binge: Netflix)

Comedy

The Office

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Just, a classic. Watch it. Re-watch it. Or don’t, you ignorant slut. (To Binge: Netflix)

Parks and Recreation 

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I find myself watching this show to just feel good about life. I love Amy Poehler and relate a lot to her character, Leslie Knope. The show, I think, is special because every character, at their core, is shown as a good person. Though this is a comedy, that is the message they ultimately wanted to convey. The writers made sure of that. (To Binge: Netflix, Hulu)

Rick and Morty (sort of drama?)

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An animated action series that sucks you in and provokes deep self-reflective thought – while making you laugh, too. (To Binge: Hulu)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Fast paced. Beautifully written by Tina Fey. Hysterical. (To Binge: Netflix)

30 Rock

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This show is a mess. But a mess that I love. Witty, fast-paced and above all, lovable. (To Binge: Netflix)

Ancestry/PBS

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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I’m obsessed with ancestry.com. Truly obsessed. Watch Henry Louis Gates Jr. unravel mysteries behind notable celebrity ancestry. Guest stars have been Sally Field, Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Kimmel, Mia Farrow, and more. (To Binge: PBS)

Cooking

Chef’s Table

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Each episode follows a world-class chef around as they artfully detail their exploration and mastery of the true art of cooking. It’s inspiring – and the music used in the series is hypnotic. To Binge: (Netflix)

Chopped Junior

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OK – Chopped Junior is so intense. These may be kids but they’re incredibly driven and talented. It’s hilarious, too. To Binge: (Hulu)

Improve Your Mood with a Simple Sniff

Believe it or not, working at Little Trees CAR-FRESHNER this summer has piqued my interest in fragrance! We do so much with fragrance at work (and I’ve smelled some of the best and the absolute WORST aka malodor) that I’ve decided to do a little research of my own on fragrance.

Obviously if you’re smelling something nasty, you’re going to feel nasty, too. Bad smells alert your brain to danger. Is your milk expired? Give it a quick sniff. You’ll know.

What I really want to focus on are the good smells out there and what they can really do to improve one’s mood – and why.

As babies, our olfactory senses are the first to develop and although we aren’t as gifted as dogs are in the smell department, we have a highly developed sense of smell (some more than others). Our body’s limbic system (see below) is directly connected to our olfactory bulbs – so what we smell plays a bigger role in our moods than we might think.

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Recently businesses like hotels and clothing stores have begun to use scent as a marketing tactic. While clothing stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, Inc. douse their product in their signature scent, they’re really training your brain to identify with the brand in a positive way. If you don’t like the scent, however, this tactic may have the opposite effect.

Studies have been done, like this one where participants were exposed to certain fragrances and asked to identify which mood they elicited. This method is called Mood Mapping and has been trademarked by Stephen Warrenburg at Oxford. While studies like this one have been done, lots of others (most likely less qualified than Mr. Warrenburg) have gathered evidence of specific natural fragrances being useful for a variety of stress-relieving outcomes.

Here’s what I found:

Ah, Vanilla. 

You know the smell. I’m sure I don’t have to do much explaining to convince you that the warm and sweet scent of vanilla makes you feel nurtured and content – and gives you a sense of nostalgia, too. P.S. Hot tip: the scent of vanilla wards off pesky flies.

Grapefruit

This sweetly sour citrus scent spikes energy and clears the mind giving you the extra boost you need to get through the day. Eat half a grapefruit a day, or even once a week, and you’ll reap the benefits of the combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, Vitamin C, and cholene which all contribute to a healthy heart. It also helps regulate blood pressure.

Turmeric

The pungent and bitter root spice has an encouraging benefit: the release of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin signal depression, so turmeric plays an adverse role on the mental disorder.

Bergamot

Feeling irritable or angry? Take the edge off with a fragrance that includes bergamot. Bergamot scent is derived from the bergamot orange. It’s a fragrant yellow/green citrus fruit roughly the size of a Florida orange. Bergamot is supposed to be mood balancing.

Jasmine

Personally, I’m not fond of the scent, but it has some pretty great qualities. Jasmine is supposed to be deeply sedating to the body’s nervous system. It’s perfect to use after a long day – just try to stay away from stressors and take a few deep breaths after applying.

Lilly of the Valley

One of the cutest and most fragile flowering plants, Lily of the Valley, is known to help with sadness or grief by inducing a sense of security and comfort. Keep an eye out for those little white bells!

Rosemary

Rosemary improves memory retention and fights headaches, mental fatigue, and physical burnout. It’s also delicious and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that prevent brain aging and improves digestion.

 Coffee

The magical scent of coffee. Mmm. I feel more relaxed just thinking about my morning cup. A study was done by Han-Seouk Seo of Seoul National University in which rats were stressed out because they were being deprived of sleep, but once exposed to the fragrance of Colombian coffee beans, brain protein levels changed and had a calming/antioxidant effect on them.

Try these out. You never know, a better day might be a sniff away.

 

How To Land an Internship

Full disclosure: What worked for me may not work for you. These are just some general tips.

  1. First of all, make a LinkedIn. Have a friend take a professional photo of you. Use correct grammar and punctuation because that really does matter, and don’t just one-click apply. If you want, use bullets under your work experience and be specific, but don’t write a novel. Then, make connections. Personally, I don’t really like to connect with recruiters unless they’re working for a specific company that I’m familiar with. They clog up my timeline. Don’t be afraid to connect with people you’ve worked with or for in the past. If you did a good job, they’ll gladly connect and might even write you a recommendation! Professors are great LinkedIn connections, too.
  2. Utilize LinkedIn when looking for a job. BUT – don’t just look for job openings. Look to network instead. For instance, in the search bar I can type in ‘St. Bonaventure University’. My connections obviously pop up, but so do other tabs. These tabs are categorized into locations, connections, and current companies. If you see that an alum from your school works at a company you can see yourself at – send them InMail. My school has the reputation for being extremely prideful and helpful when reached out to, so I’m lucky! Utilize alums. They want to see you succeed!
  3. Put your heart and soul into every cover letter you send out. Ultimately, the organization you send them to wants to see that there’s a good chance you’re going to stick around a while, so add why you’re applying. Do some research. Your personal and professional beliefs should mesh well with theirs, so finding something that you like about the job other than the salary should be easy. They need to know you’re putting stock in them as much as they’re putting stock in you.
  4. Go to networking events. This is one I’m terrible at. I end up going for the free food and talking to one person. It’s definitely a scary thing, but these people wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to talk. They’ve come to help with securing internships, general advice, or to speak on something in a specific field. Use them. Find common ground. Get their business card or LinkedIn. Bounce. Repeat.
  5. Prepare for your interview. Whether on the phone, through Skype, or in person, preparation is key. Write down common questions, do mock interviews, practice in the mirror or an empty room if you have to, but just be prepared. Research, research, research – know about the company! They want to know you’re invested, so they will ask. Have a prepared answer for, “Why do you want to work at … ?” Have questions for them prepared, too. Be professional and confident, yet relaxed and not boastful. Be yourself. Interviews are the hardest part of the process but you’ll get through them. Normally by the third or fourth interview, you’ve got your answers down for the basic stuff.
  6. Write a thank-you. If you want to go the extra mile, write an actual thank-you card with an actual pen. If you can’t in time, it’s acceptable to write an email. Keep it short, sweet, and memorable. Try to write something about the tips your interviewer gave you or a commonality you shared. Then, of course, thank them for their time.

Trust me when I say I know how nerve-wracking the interview process can be. I break out in hives on my chest and neck every time I’m nervous – so special attire (TURTLENECKS) is required. I also have the sweatiest hands on the face of the earth, so I try to stay as cool as possible and keep special deodorant on-hand for that first impression handshake. Most of the time it does not go well – but I keep a smile on my face and try to charm my way into my interviewer’s heart. Sometimes that works. But most of the time, being prepared works better. Applying for jobs is a job in itself. Just be smart about it and you’ll have one in no time. Just don’t give up. The more you apply, the better you’ll get at it!

 

My Skin is Thanking Me for Dry-Brushing

I have recently started dry brushing my skin. Let me just say this now – I have seen a significant difference in my skin as a whole.

However, take into consideration that I have been more conscious about what I’ve been putting into my body lately as well. I’ve been eating smaller portions of grains and proteins, but filling up on leafy greens and veggies. It’s summer. Most of the time it’s too hot to eat a steak. So keep that in mind. Since dry brushing has become part of my routine, though, I will keep an eye on my skin in the winter months, too, when I’m not eating as healthily and all I want to do is cuddle up and watch movies.

Ok – so here’s how I started.

I did some research. What is this dry brushing thing? Does it even actually work? How do I incorporate it into my regular routine? Is it just another fads that Gwyneth Paltrow is tricking me into thinking is working but it’s really a bunch of hooey?

I tend to have pretty dry skin on my body – well other than my armpits – because I’m a nefariously sweaty individual. All in all, though, my skin is relatively healthy. I have a few dark spots on my legs and those little white bumps on my upper arms, but other than that I’ve got major dryness. And I really do try to lather up in lotion after each shower, but sometimes I’m just too tired or too lazy. Self care is seriously draining, guys. But it makes you feel so good about yourself.

According to my extensive research:

What are the benefits of dry brushing?

In short, smoother skin and lymphatic drainage.

Our lymphatic system is a network of vessels, nodes, and ducts that transports lymph throughout the body. Many of these vessels are located directly under our skin and dry brushing is said to promote lymph flow and helps us ‘detoxify’.

Obviously, dry brushing helps to exfoliate our skin as well. This means that all of those pesky dead skin cells are whisked away and skin becomes smoother. An added benefit to this exfoliation is cleaner skin. Exfoliation also helps to rid our pores from excess oils and dirt we pick up during the day. Cleaner skin means healthier skin – so you may notice that your pores look smaller than they did before dry brushing.

Some say that dry brushing has a unique benefit – reduction of cellulite. While this hasn’t been proven, I definitely noticed a difference in my skin on my behind. It didn’t reduce cellulite, but it definitely helped my skin to breath on my upper thighs and butt which aided in a healthier and smoother appearance.

How do you ‘dry brush’?

You brush from bottom to top of your body in an upward motion toward the heart. Start with your feet and move up, brushing your arms last. Use long, smooth strokes about 10-15 times on each area. It shouldn’t hurt at all – so adjust the pressure you use to your liking.

When do you ‘dry brush’?

Normally, I dry brush before I shower. I shower at night (because my hair is a bitch to dry in the morning). After my shower, I lather up in a creme lotion (Cetaphil) and I’m relaxed and blissful at bedtime.

If I forget to, I’ll dry brush after my shower (although this isn’t as beneficial with moister skin).

Where do you get a dry brush?

Target, Walmart, T.J.Maxx or Marshall’s, Ulta, Sephora, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Amazon… the list goes on. And they’re pretty cheap!  Try to get one with a handle so you can reach your back. I have two – a circular brush with a strap that fits right on my hand for easy brushing on my legs and a brush with a long handle so I can reach my back. Bacne (back acne) is not cute on anyone. Replace once you feel you need to.

Did it work for you?

YES! I mean, it’s summer. I need nice, smooth, sun-kissed skin! Dry brushing has made my little white bumps, also known as keratosis pilaris, virtually disappear and my whole body became so smooth and seems almost firmer. Like I said, I have been living a more healthy lifestyle, too so the firmness could be attributed to that. Overall, I’m very happy with my new dry brush body routine. I dry brush almost every day before my shower. It makes me relaxed, clean and beautiful before bed and a lot of my dark spots/stretch marks have faded as a result, too, which is absolutely fabulous. If you don’t dry brush now – you should definitely start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Study Abroad Experience: Chapter 1 – How Amy Poehler Saved Me

In 2016, I studied abroad. Truthfully, I was in a rush. In high-school, I missed out on the Spanish trip offered by Señora Chichester. The trip was a rarity in my small Northern-New York central school. (I graduated in a class of 44 students.) I was impatient to see the world – but my Mom assured me I would get the chance to see it once I got to college.

So there I was – at the first interest meeting to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain the Summer of 2016. I was a freshman.

The first meeting was in February. Information was handed out by none other than Dr. Alva Cellini, one of our instructors for the courses we were about to take while abroad and a vital character in this story. I can not say enough about Dr. Cellini. She has a certain zest for life that’s contagious and an earnest aim to educate with compassion and poise while puncturing (and oftentimes confusing) us with her sarcasm. Cellini is Italian and if you heard her speak, you’d know it. While we all grew to love and understand Dr. Cellini, I’ll have to admit, she was a bit of a hard-ass at first. She needed the passports, the deposits, and the enthusiasm – and she needed them NOW.

We were all assigned a Spanish city or region to give presentations on (I was assigned Toledo) and at the following meetings, each of us presented to the group. Each meeting the group grew, but really, I knew no one. I did recognize one girl, though. So, naturally, I approached her while shit-faced at a party one weekend. Molly still tells the story of how I came up to her and frantically asked her to be my roommate. “Yeah, that’s how we met,” she goes, Bambi eyes wide. I can hear her saying it.

Classes ended and I went home to prepare for the trip. I had two weeks to gather everything I needed and to mentally prepare.

We were responsible for finding our own flight – the end destination being Madrid, Spain where we would all meet up in the airport. I, OF COURSE, had the worst flying experience of my life.

I am not a nervous flyer by any means. I love to fly. In fact, if I have a window seat, I look out of the window the whole flight. I love flying. It wasn’t the actual flying that got me rattled.

I’ll start from the beginning. I was flying out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. My uncle and his girlfriend live in Montreal, so my Dad and I went up a day before my flight to spend time with them. We walked through beautiful Old Montreal and had a delicious meal at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar. Next thing you know, my uncle’s girlfriend is dragging us out for drinks and we get back to their apartment pretty late. My flight is at 10:00AM the next morning.

I wake up, have everything prepared, and we’re on our way to the airport. I say goodbye to my Dad. Almost cry. But I have to stay strong. Because… I’m hungover. And crying will make it worse.

My flight to JFK in New York wasn’t awful – but it really was not pleasant. I was still recovering and it was an uncomfortable hour in the air. Once I arrived at JFK, I got some food in my system and calmed down a little. I found my gate and patiently waited – and I found a friend! Another girl going on the trip was on the same flight. What a relief. We waited and chatted.

She boarded. I was waiting in line. I went up with my passport and ticket – and my ticket didn’t scan. Apparently, it said that I had canceled the flight. While this is happening, people are zooming by me to board the flight while I wait for someone to tell me something. I’m sweating from nervousness, my face is beat red, and I’m practically in tears. I wanted so badly to cry. The baggage assistant is reassuring me and he’s really the only one who seems to notice that I am about to freak out – or the only one who cares.

Finally, everyone is boarded. I explain my situation. I need to get on this flight. I need to. Fortunately, there’s one seat left. In the back middle of the giant 300-person plane – right next to a couple with a 6-month-old baby, and you guessed it! Right next to the bathroom. GRRrreaaat. I did cry a little.

Our flight from JFK to Madrid was 7 and a half hours long. After that ordeal, there was no way I could sleep. My adrenaline was through the roof and it was freezing. However scary, though, I just have to tell myself that I survived and I could take care of myself. God bless the people who got me on that plane. I can’t even imagine what kind of shape I’d be in if I had to fly the next day.

Luckily, I had a book with me. I bought it in the airport and it was by one of my favorite people on earth, Amy Poehler. Funny enough, there’s a section in “Yes Please” titled

Reasons We Cry on an Airplane:

  1. We are a little drunk.
  2. We are a little scared.
  3. We feel lonely, which is different than being alone.
  4. We are missing someone or have just left someone.
  5. We are headed toward our family and can’t stand our cousins.
  6. We feel like time is suspended and therefore we can feel real emotion without consequence.
  7. We look out the windows and see the sky and are reminded how amazing it is to get in a giant steel bird and not have to die on the trail like our forefathers.
  8. We have just watched a movie. ANY MOVIE. Recent movies I have cried to include 21 Jump Street, That’s My Boy, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Jackass 2.
  9. The pressure.
  10. The pressure! (different)

I love her and this made me laugh on one of the worst days of my young adult life! Really, stuff like this is funny to me now, but at the time it was traumatic. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Laugh it off and keep going. Trust me, there will be a few more horrific incidents like this one in the next few chapters. For now, let this one sit with you – and maybe read Amy’s book while you’re at it.