Playlist 1: SOUL SONGS

Here’s a peek into one of my personal playlists: Soul Songs. Every song on this playlist speaks to my soul; they’re soothing, passionate, and centered around love. If I’m taking a contemplative car ride, this is what I play.

  1. Butterfly – UMI
  2. Haiku – Nai Palm
  3. February 3rd – Jorja Smith
  4. Best Part (feat. H.E.R.) – Daniel Caesar
  5. Quite Like You – Andy Shauf
  6. Slipping – Eryn Allen Kane
  7. We Find Love – Daniel Caesar
  8. Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens
  9. Sweet Creature – Harry Styles
  10. Emotion – Destiny’s Child
  11. Sunrise – Norah Jones
  12. Song Cries and Amens – Grace
  13. Library Magic – The Head and the Heart
  14. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  15. Streetcar – Daniel Caesar
  16. Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand – Leon Bridges
  17. Village – Cam

Listen on Spotify.

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Date Night: Sackets Harbor, NY

Since this summer I interned in Watertown, NY, I made it a mission of mine to explore the area. I’d previously been to Sackets Harbor, about a 10 minute drive from Watertown, when I was 13 or 14 (when nothing was cool) so it’d been a while since I was there.

My friend Meghan and I decided to take the day, or rather evening, to grab some dinner and walk around historic Sackets Harbor. Our first stop (after finally finding parking – this is the only bad thing about Sackets) was Goodfellos Brick Oven Pizza & Wine bar. Mostly all restaurants and little shops are located on Main Street. So is the harbor, Centennial Park, and the Battlefield path. We had dinner, sat by the lake, and took in the sunset. It was a perfect summer night – and I’m glad I had company but Meghan’s not really my type. Sorry Meg.

I’ve eaten at both The Boathouse and Goodfellos and each meal was deliciously prepared. They both offer outdoor seating, but if you want the view of the harbor, go with The Boathouse. The back of the restaurant gives me a modern Krusty Krab vibe, too.

On the 4th of July (the hottest day of this summer thus far), my friends and I decided to get dinner in Sackets at The Boathouse, soft-serve ice cream at Saturdays, Sundaes & More, and sit in the battlefield (along with a million other people) to enjoy the fireworks. It was brutally hot, but the environment (and food) made the day worth it. The sunset along the lake/river was incredible and we got some really great snaps, too. I don’t know which I enjoyed more – this sunset or the fireworks. Both were incredible. Both were worth the trip.

Sackets Harbor, NY is not only picturesque and lively, but also has a rich history. Founded in 1801 by Augustus Sackett, the land speculator from New York City had high hopes for trade. During the War of 1812, Sackets Harbor became the center of American naval and military activity for Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence Valley. Within a short period, military personnel numbers rose rapidly and the village’s population rivaled those of Albany and New York City.

Two battles were fought in Sackets Harbor, in 1812 and 1813, but luckily in 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed that ended the 3 year war.

After the war, much of the naval base was dissipated. Today, though, historic Sackets Harbor lives on. In 1913, Centennial Park, a portion of the battlefield was recognized and set aside to honor the military personnel that fought and died in the War of 1812. The battlefield, park, and historic buildings like the Sackets Harbor Visitor Center or Augustus Sacket’s mansion are available to tour. Find out more about the history and visiting Sackets Harbor here.

And by god, VISIT. Bring a friend, bring a date, bring the fam. Even just for the day, or a night, it’s worth it.

The Creativity of 3

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I’m not sure where I even found this – but I love it. 3 seems to play a significant role in humankind. It happens that three is the first number to which the meaning “all” was given.

3 signifies a beginning, a middle, and an end. Just like my brothers and I. Me, the first born – the beginning, and my brothers, the middle and the end.

Time, too. When describing time, we categorize it into past, present, and future.

3 seems to signify harmony, completion, or perfection. In the Bible, the number is repeated and used as such. God, the son, and the holy spirit. God’s attributes: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. And let’s not forget: On the third day, he rose again. 

So was this number born out of creativity or necessity? And where does this creativity come from – are we born with it? Is it something we’re taught? Why are some people more creative than others?

In this article by David Cox in the Guardian explores the question: Are people born creative? He goes on to explain that researchers have discovered that the corpus callosum, or band of nerve fibers joining the two sides of the brain, is smaller in creatives like writers, musicians, and artists, “which may augment their creativity by allowing each side of their brain to develop its own specialization.” Cool, right?

He goes on to express that other studies have shown that people with certain mental disorders tend to be more creative. Example 1 was bipolar disorder. If experiencing bipolar mania, the individual is, “experiencing excessive fast and divergent thinking, increased self-esteem, and never ending energy and motivation often to create.”

A creative myself, I find things like this so interesting. I’m on that never-ending and never satisfying quest to find out why I am the way that I am – and why others are the way that they are. Maybe I should have picked up a psychology minor!

I’m always interested in the creative process of others, too. Myself, I carry around a journal that I fill with lists and ideas that drive my creation and inspires me to learn more in order to create more. But of course, there’s creative block. I’ve been pretty lucky with my journal – normally I can find something I find interesting enough to write about just from day-to-day inspo. However, if you’re really creatively gummed up, an article that helped me was this one by Canva’s blog. Sometimes I read stuff like this when I’m not struggling to create content, and it still helps. Check it out.

While we may never know why the number three was created, we can at least admit that it was born out of a necessity of the human mind to imagine. We’ve got science to back that one up. As for the magic-ness of certain triads, keep them in mind. They may just be your ticket to imaginative harmony.

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

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 of 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 most real. 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!