BTS at the Billboards

Was I screaming in joy Sunday night when K-Pop group BTS won their first American Award at the Billboard Music Awards? Yes. Yes I was. Loud enough to frighten my dog actually. Not only was this a major win for BTS but this marks the first time a K-Pop group has even been nominated for anything at the Billboards.

So here are some basics on the new K-Pop sensation; there are seven members, Jin, Yoongi, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They’ve been active since 2013 in BigHit Entertainment, one of the smaller and lesser known music companies in South Korea. BTS’ widespread fame really picked up within the past year with songs like “Fire,” “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and “Not Today”. While their lyrics are stunning, their music videos are equally impressive.

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Making The Most of This Summer Without An Internship

Being at Emerson, it’s likely that you’re constantly surrounded by freshmen with more on their resumes than your parents. That’s just the way it is here, which means there can be a lot of pressure to build up your own portfolio through internships or other professional experiences. However, as we all know, starting out can get a little tricky—especially when you don’t get that call back from a position you really wanted. The truth of the matter is that sometimes things just don’t work out, but fear not. Even if you didn’t land the perfect internship position, there are still a lot of ways to stay productive this summer. Here are just a few ways that you can make the most of your four months off from school.

Freelance Work

I’m going to let you in on a secret: even though you haven’t graduated yet, your work is good. Whether you’re a writer, visual artist or filmmaker, just the fact that you’re pursuing an arts degree means that you’re skilled at your craft. Believe it or not, companies are always searching for people that can do little projects for them here and there with no strings attached. This means that you can make some pocket money from doing what you love, all while practicing your skills and getting real world experience. Content-based websites are constantly fielding pitches (like VinylMePlease.com or HelloGiggles.com, just to name a few) and if you have an idea about an article, email them! Alternatively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become notorious for inspiring young artists to collaborate on his platform HitRecord, a website that gives artists prompts and then eventually publishes the best works (meaning if you are chosen, a check is coming your way!) Just trust your talent, put yourself out there, and you’re bound to make something great for someone this summer.

A Summer Job

We all know college is expensive. We’ve all seen the memes about it and we’ve all cried to our friends and families about the ridiculousness of a 100 dollar textbook at least once. But what can you do about it? The obvious answer—the one that not even I like hearing—is to get a job. I know, this is only a temporary solution to the much larger issue of absurd tuition funds but it wouldn’t hurt to put a few extra bills in your wallet this summer from a part-time job. Besides, working retail can be fun sometimes if you find the right place and can also be a good resume builder if you’re looking to enter the customer service world at any point. Indeed.com can be a great place to find some local listings, so just log on, type in your zip code, and see what happens!

Build A Portfolio

Something I think that all Emersonians forget sometimes is that our art isn’t just our career outlet. At the end of the day, it makes us who we are, it relieves our stress and social anxieties, and it lets us exercise our creativity. So this summer, instead of selling your art, just think about making it (not for anyone but yourself.) If you’re a VMA, then make some short films that aren’t class assignments. WLPs, write some stories for yourself. Then, at the end of the summer, choose your favorite pieces, compile them together, and make yourself the awesome portfolio that you deserve. Make something that represents you as an artist, not as a professional, and hopefully that will be the distinguishing factor that can help you get the job next time.

The Pros and Cons of Staying in Hostels

As someone who has stayed in plenty of hostels within the U.S and abroad, I can say there are plenty of wonderful features, and um, not so pleasant things. Hostels can be a great way to see the world and meet new people but have the potential to be a disastrous experience if you don’t know what you’re getting into. I hope this list will help you weigh your options and figure out if the hostel life is right for you.

Pro 1: The Price

One of the most obvious benefits of the hostel option is the price.You typically pay by the bed, aka per person, for each night. They are much less expensive than hotels if you’re willing to contend with some of the cons. Hostels are a popular choice for traveling students or for anyone traveling on a budget. If you’re someone who would rather spend your money on activities or simply are looking for more inexpensive travel options, hostels may be a good choice for you. Hostels can also vary in price per bed so it’s a good idea to check out a few different ones in the area to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.


Con 1: Lack of Privacy

 The standard hostel room is a four to six-bed room which usually consists of bunk beds. I have some seen a couple here and there with a few eight or more beds per rooms if you’re up for the experience. I would suggest looking at website photos to get an idea of room layout so you’re able to better judge your comfort level. If you plan on being away from the room all day or are just a generally social person this might not be a problem at all. Sometimes it may be awkward if you’re a solo traveler rooming with another group. Sharing a room with someone during vacation can bring some of the same frustrations you may have experienced during your college years; when to turn the light off, partying, snoring etc. Many hostels do offer private rooms which are much more expensive than dormitory rooms, but often less expensive than your standard hotel room. 

Pro 2: Kitchen

Some of my favorite travel memories take place in hostel kitchens. Besides being a great way to socialize or make interesting memories, they serve many practical uses. Most hostels come with fully equipped kitchens so you’re only in charge of buying the food you will eat. It’s pretty common for them to serve a breakfast so you’ll only need to worry about arranging plans for lunch and dinner. Of course eating local cuisine is one of the best parts of traveling, but we all know that eating out every meal can get expensive very fast. Having a hostel kitchen provides you with a great way to make your own food efficiently and stay on a budget. Prepare to wash your dishes and label your food. Another tip – many times there will be a “free to use” shelves for dry and fresh food. This shelf consists of food that was left by guests who have checked out but is still eatable. You can often find things like eggs, milk and condiments that you will be able to use during your stay.  

Con 2:  Communal Bathrooms

Even if you do manage to snag a private room, many hostels only provide communal bathrooms. While this isn’t a lovely experience for anyone, it isn’t so bad if you come prepared with a bathroom bag and shower shoes. A good way to judge the weight of this con is to read the reviews for the hostel you’re considering. People will be pretty open about cleanliness and when you’re sharing showers; that’s pretty important. 

Pro 3: Meeting People from All Around the World

Because so many aspects of hostel life are communal you naturally get to know the people around you. This is really great way to hear cool stories, make new friends and get cool ideas for things that may not be in your travel book. Many young or solo travelers will often meet people in hostels and then continue their travels with the people they’ve met. I’ve had the chance to go to poetry readings, concerts and amazing restaurants because of my hostel companions. Meeting people from different cultures is an important part of traveling and expanding your world view and hostels only help add to this.

Con 3: Security

Hostels don’t provide you with a lock and key and you’re responsible for your own items. Because you’re sharing a room with potential strangers it’s important to be aware of this risk. You can easily find small padlocks at convenience stores or online that are intended for travel use. Some hostels may rent them out, but don’t count on it. I’ve personally never experienced theft in hostels outside of losing one travel pillow, but I’ve heard stories from people with worse luck. Many hostels do offer lockers to secure your belongings in so you can place the padlock on the locker instead of merely having it on the outside of your suitcase. I don’t find it necessary to put away every single item I own when I leave the room but it’s always a good idea to be careful with your valuables.

Pro 4: Activities 

Many hostels, particularly ones in big cities, host their own tours or have arrangements with the local companies. You can often buy tickets right at the front desk. You find anything from pub crawls to walking tours around the city. The employees are usually very happy to offer suggestions that match your interest and budget. This is a great way to spend your first day in a new place so you can see the sights and get ideas for the rest of your trip. Many hostels often have common areas with pool tables, TVs and even small cafes. This is a great perk and a nice way to relax during your down time. 

Con 4: Noise

Anywhere you stay in a city has the potential to be noisy. However, hostels are often very social environments and that “socializing” can sometimes last late into the night. I’m a night owl and in my early twenties so that’s not always a bad thing.  A good way to avoid this problem is to not stay in youth hostels or “party” hostels.  There are many hostels that are more family friendly and they tend to have quiet hours. If you’re someone who values your beauty rest or doesn’t enjoy the wild nightlife, consider they type of hostel you plan on staying at. If you’re someone who wants to experience the “party” hostel without committing for the whole trip you might want to try staying at a few different hostels throughout your stay. 

Pro 5: Unique Experiences

Overall, you will get a one of a kind experience no matter you go. You will leave with amazing stories and get to participate in things outside of the average “touristy” plans. You may find yourself trying new things with new people you could never even imagined before departing from home. The communal and unique nature of hostel helps all these to happen on a greater scale. If you want something different and adventurous then this is a perfect fit. Fear not, there are plenty of cozy and low-key hostels if you crave the unique with a little less of the adventure.

Con 5: Curfews

This one is sort of a pro and a con. The hostels that do have curfews are often in big cities and have them in your place for your protection and well being. When a hostel has a curfew this means that their front doors will lock at a certain time and you will need your room key to get into the building. One of the advantages of staying in hotels is the ability to go to front desk at any time to get a replacement key if you lose yours. Another important thing to note is that many hostels will fine if you lose a key ( this varies depending on if you have a swipe card or a metal key). They will be pretty upfront about policies when you check-in but it’s always good to know in advance. This is coming from a serial key loser.

Now it’s up to you

Well, there are some of the reasons to stay (or not to stay) in hostels. I really believe that the pros greatly outweigh the cons. I’ve mostly stayed in hostels during my international travels and have found them to be an enriching experience that only added positivity to my trip. If you’re still on the fence, look out for a local hostel to try out the experience before committing to the lifestyle on a longer trip. Happy travels! 

Training Like A Pro

Sports were never really my thing. Of course I love to cheer on the Red Sox and yell at the referees through the TV during hockey season, but I never got involved with school athletics. I did theatre and dance never stepping foot into my high school’s locker room.

Fast forward three years later and running has become a huge part of my life. If you told high school Hannah that she would be training for a half marathon this summer, she would snicker in your face. My athletic ability is truly being put to the test but I am welcoming the challenge with open arms and fast feet.

Barack Obama running obama run barack obama GIF
Credit: giphy.com

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Boston Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

Boson Ballet has brought a classic fairytale to life, with a performance of Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty. Like the story itself, the ballet was charmed, with lush period outfits, mesmerizing dances, and a spellbinding symphony.

“This is my favorite production of The Sleeping Beauty, and I am excited to share it with Boston audiences again. It is a fantastic introduction for the first-time ballet goer, as well as a true pleasure for connoisseurs,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen in a press release. “The Sleeping Beauty is ingrained in ballet history, and I am proud that Boston Ballet continues this legacy. The tradition, emotion, and atmosphere created by the superb dancing, costumes, and sets have made audiences fall in love with it again and again.” 

The Sleeping Beauty is split into three acts with a total run time of just under three hours—I will admit that the time was a bit of an issue and left me fidgeting or yawning in my seat at times. Not a commentary on the performance itself, but just the fact that sitting that long in the dark is hard for me, let alone the gaggles of kids that come to see their favorite princess on stage.

Act I is to be expected, the christening ceremony of the baby princess. She is blessed by six good fairies—read six and not three, while reminiscent to the cartoon version we all know and love, the ballet is slightly different—which is outlined through an array of solo performances meant to express the personality of each fairy. Some were definitely more memorable than others; the Songbird Fairy in particular was cheeky and elicited several laughs from the audience.

This is all interrupted by the evil fairy Carabosse. She appears—in a magnificent (get what I did there, Maleficent) green hued gown—with her creatures and gifts the princess the curse of death by the spinning wheel.  But have no fear, the Lilac Fairy saves the day and turns the death sentence to a magical sleep, broken by true love’s kiss. The Lilac Fairy continues to drive the narrative and execute graceful solos.

One of the most impressive moments of the night was the Rose Adagio—which is famous in the dance world. Now a beautiful teenager, Aurora is presented with four princely suitors. She stands on pointe and spins as the princes take turns holding her hand as an anchor. The moments when they briefly let go stole my breath, afraid that when they let go she would wobble. But she executed the move with ease and only slight pause.

But then of course, Aurora pricks her finger and the whole kingdom falls into an enchanted sleep.

Act II includes Prince Desire—about like 100 years later—guided by the Lilac fairy to rescue Aurora, his true love. The ballet concludes with their wedding, which is attended by an ensemble of fairytale characters. Puss’n Boots and the White Cat quickly became audience favorites, with an extra-feline performance that left everyone smiling.

Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty makes for an enchanting night. Its familiarity makes it perfect for ballet newcomers (or even children). And its beauty and masterfulness makes it a treat for dance aficionados. Never has this city been more magical.

“The Sleeping Beauty” will be presented by the  Boston Ballet through May 27 at the Opera House, 539 Washington St. $35 and up. 617-695-6955, bostonballet.org.

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Doggy Digitalization

I remember the days when dogs were just dogs. Cute little animals that prance about filled with energy and brighten everyone’s day that spots them. When you wanted to see them you had to go outside to your backyard or the local park. But, now, like with everything, you no longer need to go outside to see these pups! There is a plethora of ways to see these dogs from dog spotting facebook page to Instagram pages filled with cute pups.

Dog Spotting Facebook Group

This is a glorious page filled with pictures of dogs all over the world! Some are sitting on the T, some are chilling in the common, and some are running through the beaches of the Caribbean. The fun of this page is one day if you run into one of these cute pups it’s kinda like you’ve run into a celebrity! What makes this page even more interesting, is that there’s a whole competitive edge behind it. There’s a whole list of rules that can be found on the page and yes people do take it seriously. They range from not posting a dog you know to no service dogs allowed. People get so serious that they even have a page to contest any alleged “bans” against you. This just goes to show the passion that people have for dogs.

Wag

Have you ever wondered how someone gets the wonderful gig of a dog walker? Did they just know the right people? Have the right doggy connections? No need to fret any longer because you don’t need an in anymore! You can become the dog walker you have always been meant to be by just signing up through wag! Of course you’ll have to pass a background check and have your info in the system, but I can’t imagine anything more worth it than quality time with a pup.

Insta Dogs

No longer is Instagram just for selfies taken in perfect lighting. It also can act as the perfect portal to dogs all over the world! No longer are you limited to seeing dogs in your neighborhood, by tapping a few buttons you can have access to dogs playing the waters of Cabo or walking the streets of London. Some of the cutest ones can be found on the pages puppiesforall or if you want to follow one specific dog I suggest Marine the dog! Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 10.32.33 AMShe is so precious with her blonde locks and her post will really pull your heartstrings. One that really got to me was when Trump passed the Muslim ban and Marine was out with the protestors at the airport! Could you ask for more of a touching photo?

Rover

This is a lot like Wag, but instead of just walking the dogs you would get to take care of them! It’s a dog sitting website that lets you have access to tons of dogs in need of some love! This is wonderful if you are missing your little dog at home and just need some puppy love in your life again! Might have to commute a bit, but so worth it!

Dog internet personalities

Weratedogs twitter is a gem! You can’t but be happy when scrolling through their feed! They pair little funny blips about the dog pictured and give every dog a rating on a 1-10 scale, but of course they always rate above a 10 because every dog in the world is automatically a 10! One of the recent post they had was of a tiny little pug sticking its tongue out and said, “This is Kyle. He made a joke about your shoes, then stuck his tongue out at you. Uncalled for. Step the h*ck up Kyle. 11/10 would forgive” Come on, can you get better than that?

 

Sure, digitalization can be seen as this horrible monster that is taking over everything. But, in terms of dogs it seems to be only making things better! You know have access to dogs all over the world and little communities, like insta dogs and dog spotting, have popped up all over. I’m just grateful to know I am no longer alone in my obsession with dogs, I only have to click my phone open to find the other millions just like me.