Mattress Firm: Aiding Sleep, or Schemes?

That’s right, folks. It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: The Mattress Firm Conspiracy Theory.

Forget your basic Berenstain Bears Mandela effects – this next level conspiracy theory will make you say “Illuminati, who?”

If you’re not familiar with the Mattress Firm Conspiracy Theory, here’s a quick rundown (you can also watch the video Youtuber Shane Dawson made about it): Back in January, a Reddit user commented that they believed Mattress Firm, the largest specialty mattress retailer in the US is a money laundering company, according to Business Insider.

For those who don’t know what money laundering is, according to the Google dictionary, it is “the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses.” Think Al Capone; people or businesses obtain money illegally but lie about where the money came from, typically claiming that the money was made honestly through business or came from foreign countries legally.

Though the original Reddit thread has since been deleted, other diligent citizens of the US took it upon themselves to investigate. Several videos surfaced on YouTube of people driving around their city Mattress Firm hunting. Some people discovered that there were three, sometimes four or more Mattress Firms within a couple of miles of one another. Check out this google map of Mattress Firms in Austin, Texas:


Image Source

Even in-and-around Boston, one can see the uncanny abundance of Mattress Firms:

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 11.59.54 AM.png

Creepy, right? What makes it double-creepy is that there are never ANY people in these stores. Having a Mattress Firm in my own hometown, I don’t ever see any customers, nor even bored employees having pillow fights with one another. So, how are these businesses staying afloat?

I did some digging of my own to try and find out why Mattress Firm feels the need to take up so many storefronts that could be housing much-needed Chipotles (I love me some chips and guac). An article from the Chicago Tribune back in 2016, which included direct quotes from the former CEO of Mattress Firm Ken Murphy (we’ll talk about his resignation later on), said that the abundance of storefronts wasn’t all that strange.


CEO Ken Murphy

Murphy explained that because the prices of mattresses are so high, even just the sale of one or two mattresses is enough to keep a store front open for months. Additionally, he said that, even if the businesses don’t do well, the storefronts are at least good advertising for the company.

Yeah, because that seems logical; instead of maybe spending some *cough* fake *cough* money on commercials, why not just buy a whole store?

Something is fishy, here, and it’s not just this guy’s neckbeard.

While the original Reddit thread might be forever lost on the interwebs, another Reddit user resurrected the theory, further elaborating on it:


Image Source

Also, where do people most often hide money? (Cue spooky music) UNDER THE MATTRESS.

To further support this theory, Mattress Firm has yet to publish its full-year accounts, meaning that the company hasn’t made public all of the business transactions it’s made… “accounting irregularities” my ass. Additionally, multiple executives, including CEO Murphy, have resigned since this conspiracy theory has gone viral.

Their throne of mattresses is tumbling to the ground.

Call conspiracy theories BS all you want, but you have to admit, this one sounds pretty legit. Something shady is happening at Mattress Firm, and it’s not just the fact that they aren’t a certified Tempurpedic Mattress seller (seriously, Tempurpedic sleep really is power).

Check out Mattress Firm’s Response to the conspiracy theory here.


Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You

I was strolling through a bookstore, coffee in hand, when I stumbled across a small peculiar book called Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You by Robie Rogge. My interest was immediately piqued, so I read the back cover:

Each day is an opportunity to perform one small act of bravery; singing out loud, asking for help, admitting a mistake, pitching an idea, accepting a compliment, changing your hair, going for the prize, failing spectacularly and trying again. This journal contains a year’s worth of fear-facing prompts and mottos of encouragement.”

Well, I thought, didn’t that sound just great! I am currently at a stage of my life, like most other college students, where self-growth and finding myself are two of my highest priorities. So, naturally, this book seemed like the best way to push me out of my comfort zone. However, I wasn’t about to drop $20 on the book after last week’s expenditures left me $10 in my checking account… So I settled on creating my own “scary challenges” each day, tailored to me.

Now, when I first began, I made a list. That was a mistake. The very first thing I wrote down was “dance in public” and the very last thing I wrote down was “get a tattoo” which I knew I was never going to do. I found that it was more beneficial to go throughout the day with the challenge in mind, and the opportunity will present itself.

The first day I was sitting in my Fiction Writing class as students read their short stories they had written in the 30 minutes the professor had given us. I never usually volunteer to read my writing unless I think it’s perfect, but this time I raised my hand and read my piece and people actually liked it! I got some helpful feedback on my peace and felt like I was truly participating in the class. I felt a rush of adrenaline after doing this and felt more confident in participating in the future. This may be a very small act to some people but it was a large feat for me. After I did this, my body craved more.

Click here to read the story! 🙂 

Another “scary” task I managed to complete was walking around a mental hospital. Bear with me. So, my hometown, Norfolk, MA, is near an old mental hospital called Medfield State Hospital. It has been shut down since 2003 and has since turned into a beautiful and historic property that is open to the public to walk around in with their children and dogs. Movies such as Shutter Island and the new X-Men movie were filmed here as well!

Medfield State Hospital and Cemetery 5__OTIS.jpgMental hospitals have always freaked me out. Long story short, my greatest fear is not having control over your mind so being in a place where people have lost their minds or were on the verge of losing their minds have always made me uneasy. When my friend Isabel suggested we walk our dogs there, I was not too psyched, but I said you know what Emma, just go, so I did.

It turned out to be a really cool experience. We explored the exterior of the old brick buildings that were not being overtaken by vines and trees, which would be lush greenery come springtime. We also discovered a hill that overlooked a beautiful hidden lake at the back of the grounds. The coolest thing for me was seeing the old faded signs that had the names of the buildings on them such as “Mess Hall” and “Warden’s Office.” Overall, I wasn’t too creeped out when I realized the old hospital was just a bunch of bricks and concrete. Things are only really scary when you make them scary.   

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 4.18.55 PM.png

The last task that I will share is when I posted a video of myself singing online. Now, I am a person who hates to sing in front of people. I even used to get quiet around my ex and my best friend of 12 years.

This was actually a two-part challenge. In the first part, I bought a ukelele off of Amazon for around $60 and learned to play a few simple chords for the song “Riptide” by Vance Joy. I had always wanted to learn how to play the ukulele, but never really pushed myself to do so. Second, I recorded myself singing “Riptide” while playing it on the ukulele and I posted the video on Snapchat.

I immediately began squirming after the video was up and it got its first view. After a few minutes, my friends started commenting on it and praising me; I couldn’t believe it! I had never felt so exposed yet so confident before in quite some time.

In the end, I learned that it’s not about getting tattoos or walking through the Boston Common by yourself at 2 a.m. that need to be done in order to scare you. Your scary tasks every day can be something as small as raising your hand in class. Anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone (in a self-growth way) will suffice. If you keep this thought in mind in your day-to-day life, you will begin to see changes in yourself and a new kind of self-confidence and growth that you didn’t see before… At least I did! I also learned you don’t need to spend $20 on a book to challenge yourself in life… Although I thank Robie Rogge for the idea.  

The Challenge of Being Female on the Internet

I had a friend request from myself.

Worse than the unsettling experience of receiving a friend request from you that you hadn’t sent was the fact that it wasn’t really surprising at all. Since, for the past week or two, I’d been occasionally contacted by a Goodreads account that was an exact copy of my own.

As someone who has discovered a love for rereading books I loved in childhood, I set a goal of rereading every Sarah Dessen book in 2018. As I finished another reread of the queen of middle school literature, I logged into Goodreads to update my review.

Before I did, I checked my notifications. And saw my own profile picture. My name, with the same lowercase E I use on my profiles.

“emma started following you.”

“emma commented on your review of The Moon and More.”

I clicked the comment. My review of The Moon and More, another Sarah Dessen book, indicated my pleasant surprise at finding a condemnation of the phrase “not like other girls” in a 2009 book. For context, probably zero authors in 2018 know that that’s not a cool thing to say.

This fake me commented, “I changed my mind. I just finished rereading Along for the Ride, and Sarah Dessen is a total racist.”

In addition to the creepiness of being impersonated, and the disgust at some internet troll calling a completely innocent author racist, there was something more unsettling: I’d logged in in order to update that I’d reread Along for the Ride. I’d never marked it as currently reading: either it was a lucky guess by the impersonator, or they somehow had access to my browser history and could see the library ebook version I’d finished.

I was so anxious I felt sick to my stomach, but not panicked enough to think the latter situation was likely. I reported the account to Goodreads, deleted the comment, and moved on.

But I couldn’t stop refreshing the impersonator’s page as the account set a reading challenge identical to mine, as it friended my friends, as it operated as me. When the troll realized I’d deleted the comment, they ragefully wrote that I was actually a hacker and they were me, forced to create a new account as I continued to pretend to be, well, me. I deleted the comment again.

I posted on Instagram about it. I reported the account again, and the friend request it sent me. But days passed, and nothing happened.

Soon it became clear that the account was being run by another troll – one I’d blocked after he commented strange things on everything I posted. My roommate and I, having seen countless episodes of Catfish, reverse image searched his profile picture. Eventually, we found that he was using the photos of a Massachusetts man, who was married to a woman who had once taught a class I took last semester, though she wasn’t my professor.

Eventually, Goodreads took down the impostor, apologizing for the delay. But the original profile of the troll who ran it still exists, and I got a friend request two days ago from an account with an email address close to his username.

Ultimately, the troll didn’t do any damage to me beyond a couple weeks of increased stress and anxiety. But it was a reminder of something I hadn’t forgotten: It’s really hard to be a woman on the internet.

Since I started a public, book-related Instagram in 2015, I’ve been getting weird comments and messages, always from men, often sexually harassing in nature. The mere fact of my having the nerve to write about books on profiles with my face on them has opened me up to a series of unpleasant interactions. Yet there hadn’t been one like this.

While I appreciate Goodreads’ response in taking down the profile, and the sympathetic, righteously angry responses of the people I told about it, I’m not going to be able to forget that it happened. 

The Goodreads site is a prime example of the difficulties of being non-male on the internet. As the vast majority of the site’s users are women, it attracts a number of men for reasons other than an interest in reading. So while it may seem surprising that this would happen to me on GR, of all places, it’s really anything but. My desire to talk about things I love in the way I want to talk about them made me a target for some troll, and showing my face on public profiles has made me a target for dozens of men. To be a woman on the internet is, often, to be targeted.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is a very daunting idea, but anyone is able to start one. Before I created my blog, I wish I had a better understanding of what I was getting myself in to. Although it is feasible to start a blog without a solid plan, I would strongly recommend against it. If you are considering starting a blog, here are 10 tips that I wish I would have known before I started my own blog.

It’s a LOT of work- When I first started my blog I had NO idea what I was doing. It took me a good month to figure out how to work my website. My naive self thought, “Oh this will be fun, I can just take a few pictures and write about it. It’ll be easy!”. And wow, was I wrong. I wasn’t wrong about the fun part, it is a lot of fun (but it may not be enjoyable for everyone). It takes a lot of dedication to stay consistent. 


Patience is key- I cannot stress this enough, patience is key! I may be the most impatient person in the world, so this is VERY challenging for me. It takes time to build a following and get a clear vision of what you want to do. If you don’t get your desired results right way, don’t stop. Keep believing in yourself and keep going! Not everything you do will be successful. My best advice is to use defeat as encouragement to be even better.


Not everyone will support you- This was something that I have struggled with a lot, especially in high school. Not everyone liked the idea of my fashion blog but guess what, I did it anyways. Once you find your target audience, then you will find your blog’s purpose. Although everyone may not support you, make sure you have a solid support team to lead on. Without my team of cheerleaders, I have no idea if I would still be blogging.


Be careful with who you work with- At first I wanted to work with anyone and everyone, but I quickly learned that it is not the smartest idea. Say yes to brands that represent your values and purpose. If Vineyard Vines reached out to me, that would be a huge deal, but I would not be able to say yes because they don’t fit my style and brand. I have had to say no to people because my viewers would be confused if I advertised for them.


Don’t force yourself to write- You will not always be in the mood to write, so don’t force it. Your viewers will be able to tell if the writing was rushed. With every piece of content you post, make sure you are putting in 110%.


Social media breaks are totally fine- Every once in a while, I have to take a break and not post for a while. Trying to keep up with social media is just plain exhausting. Putting my computer and phone away is therapeutic for me. Also, taking a break also gives me time to come up with more quality ideas.


Get organized- I am still continually learning how to do this but being organized is a MUST. To stay on top of things, I bought a planner specifically for blog things. I also make a posting schedule for my content so I can be more consistent. Google Drive is also an amazing organization tool. Take advantage of it! In my Google Drive, I store and organize all my

It’s okay to ask for help- If you’re like me, you try to do everything on your own. Every once in a while, it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means that your are eager to get better. Look up books, podcasts, webinars, etc. that will teach you how to improve your blog. Also, reach out to people in the industry and other bloggers for advice. Most of the time they are more than willing to help!pexels-photo-630839.jpeg

Set goals for yourself- You will never become more successful if you don’t set goals for yourself. First set short term goals: goals for the week, month, and year. Next, set long term goals such as your dream job or dream place to live. Make sure you constantly review your goals for encouragement and to see your progress.


Just go for it- My final tip is to just go for it. If you really want it, you will find a way to get it. It’s normal to have some doubts but don’t let those stop you from pursuing your dreams. Be smart and strategic but also have a little faith. A year ago I never thought I would be where I am but with hard work and a little faith I have exceeded my wildest dreams. 


Diverse YA Recommendations

Over the past year, I’ve become extremely passionate about diversity in books. To the point that I did both a presentation and an essay on the topic last semester. Voluntarily. In the same timeframe. For two different classes. If that’s not passion, I don’t know what is.

Luckily, this long-term temper tantrum of mine lines up pretty well with a renaissance of diversity in young adult books. So if the Renaissance featured more teens taking down governments/discovering magic/having sassy banter-y conversations – and fewer really good paintings of fruit and Jesus and stuff.

I define diversity as representations of sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, mental illnesses, disabilities, and body types that are marginalized or not typically represented in popular culture.

That being said, here are some of my favorite reads from this diversity quest!

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Representation: homosexuality, Latinx

This book follows Noah and Jude, who are ~twins~. It flashes back and forth between Noah’s perspective a few years back, and Jude’s perspective in the present. It is beautiful (in terms of the cover) and beautiful (in terms of the story) and beautiful (in terms of the characters) and and beautiful (in terms of the writing). Noah’s perspective largely follows his experience coming out. I’m a pretty big fan.


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Representation: Asian, biracial

The Lunar Chronicles are a crazy, wild, fairytale retelling IN THE FUTURE. I’m talking moon residence, wolf-people, cyborgs, and futuristic spacecraft things. Plus Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. The on-earth setting is a future China, so a lot of Asian representation. The Snow White character, who is the most beautiful person in the galaxy (because this series takes place PARTIALLY IN SPACE), is half-black.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Representation: asexuality, transgender, nonbinary, mental health, POC

This is magical realism in which Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Narnia series are canon. Basically, children are falling through portals into fairytale worlds a lot. It boils down to magical boarding school + murder mystery, which would be amazing even if this weren’t diverse as all get out. The protagonist is asexual, one of the main characters is trans, and most everyone is of color and/or gender non-conforming and/or queer. There is also so much mental health rep. What I’m saying is this book puts every other book to shame.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Representation: physical disability, POC, bisexuality, ADHD, homosexuality, dyslexia, body type

I am a person who enjoys entertainment, and therefore I’m a fan of heist plotlines. Even better than your Ocean’s Eleven is a high-fantasy heist planned by a gang of teen antiheroes with a super diverse lineup. The ragtag group of pals includes: a ringleader with a physical disability; a woman of color so sneaky she’s known as the Wraith; a sharpshooting bisexual man of color with ADHD; a gay man with dyslexia; and a curvy girl who can STOP PEOPLE’S HEARTS WITH MAGIC. I mean. Come on.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Representation: homosexuality

This is essentially Harry Potter but if Drarry were canon. Thus, there are two types of reactions to this book: “this is literally Harry Potter and I’m mad about it” and “this is literally Harry Potter but not overwhelmingly straight and I’m big into it.” Choose your path and then read this book. Basically, in Rainbow Rowell’s contemporary Fangirl, main character Cath writes fan fiction for a series called Simon Snow. This is that fan fiction.


Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Representation: bisexuality, physical disability, asexuality, demiromantic, homosexuality

Considering I’ve never been big on circuses in my real actual life, it’s pretty surprising that I am the biggest fan of a circus setting on this entire planet. This book is dark high fantasy, a genre which is not for everyone (and sometimes not for me), but: circus. Bisexual protagonist with a physical disability. Asexual demiromantic love interest. Lesbian side character. And did I mention: circus.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Representation: heterosexuality, POC

A classic read-this-book-before-the-movie-comes-out scenario. (The movie is called Love, Simon, it looks really good, and it comes out March 16. You don’t want to be the person who saw the movie without reading the book!) This follows Simon, a closeted gay teenager, as he anonymously falls in love with a mystery kid from his school over email. It’s the book equivalent of a warm cookie.

Standalone with spinoff(s)

From this newfound passion for YA diversity, I have one major takeaway: Diverse books are better. The characters are richer, the world is more full and realistic, and exploring other cultures and identities is fascinating no matter what the genre. Non-young adult books should take a hint from diverse YA.

And all the overwhelmingly white/straight/cisgender/traditionally abled young adult lit should, too. That’s why I’m planning to send all the books on this list to JK Rowling as soon as possible. 

Black Panther and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel cinematic universe has turned into an ever-growing conglomerate of superhero movies. The most recent addition to the universe is the new and popular film, Black Panther. If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, you’re missing out. I would argue that if even if you are not a Marvel fan, Black Panther is an incredible cinematic production. Plus Chadwick Boseman is just incredible to look at in his role as the black panther (especially in all black ;)).  

I was personally really excited to see this film. I was curious to see how Marvel was going to incorporate a new superhero into the mix, especially one with such a unique background as to how he actually became the Black Panther. Being the Marvel nerd that I am, I could barely contain my excitement once it came out in theaters. I knew there was no shot I was going to be able to see it opening night, so I waited a couple of weeks. When I finally got around to seeing it, I spent the extra money and saw it in IMAX 3D. In the end, the film went beyond my expectations, providing me with a thrilling experience in the theater.

There are some that may argue that the Black Panther film seemed disconnected from the rest of the Marvel series. In my opinion, I think that they did a great job connecting the Black Panther to the rest of the series through the use of vibranium. Vibranium is the metal that Wakanda uses in order to power its city. It is also the same metal that is in Captain America’s shield, and the same metal that the villain Ultron uses in the second Avengers movie, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, in order to create Vision, a new hero added to the Marvel series.

This all probably seems very confusing if you are not a Marvel or superhero nerd like me. However, I am here to assure you that if even if you haven’t seen any of the other Marvel movies and you just wanted to see Black Panther for the heck of it, it is worth your time and money going to see. It has an incredible cast, including but not limited to Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o. It also has a fantastic soundtrack associated with it, with songs by Kendrick Lamar and SZA. (All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA is my favorite song at the moment.) I definitely would spend my time and money seeing it again because it was that good.
More recently, Marvel has been creating new movies based on new characters in the Marvel comics. This is why characters like Ant-Man, Spiderman, and of course, the Black Panther have come into play. While these characters have not been placed in an Avengers movie yet, they are all featured together in most recent Captain America movie Captain America: Civil War. However, the trailer for the third Avengers film, Avengers: Infinity War, illustrated the involvement of all of the characters, old and new. It is set to come out May 4th of this year. I couldn’t be more excited to see the Black Panther return once again.

By: Madeline Leto

Extreme Pinterest Writing Prompts

Hi, my name is Lily, and I’m addicted to Pinterest.

Specifically, I like to pin interesting writing prompts onto a board, and then never revisit them again. Seriously, who comes up with all these creative ideas? I’m lucky enough to be able to come up with one great idea for a story every millennium or so. I could probably have ten bestselling books right now if I actually just sat down and wrote utilizing these ideas.

Well, move over JK Rowling, because today, I’m actually going to do some writing, using Pinterest prompts as my sole inspiration. To raise the stakes a bit more, I’m going to limit myself to a mere 100 words… who doesn’t love a challenge? If you’d like to join me in this adventure, pick up a pen yourselves- or open a word doc if your hand forgets how to operate a writing utensil- and write along!

We’ll begin with this prompt:

Image Source

My hand is missing.

It happened so suddenly that I almost didn’t realize. No blood, no cracking of bones. The death of my hand was quick, surprisingly elusive.

I’ve been looking for it all over- under my bed, in the blender (sometimes I accidentally hit the ‘juice’ button at the worst times possible)- but it’s nowhere to be found.

This isn’t the first weird thing that’s happened. My hair falling out in clumps, teeth plummeting from my mouth… it’s all pointing to something more sinister than I care to admit.

The more she improves, the less of me there is.

Next up is a bit of dialogue to get inspired by:

Image Source

“Good morning,” he said. “I see the assassins have failed.”

I smirked. “You really thought you could get rid of me that quickly?”

He shrugged. “I had hoped to.”

I turned my back to him, returning to my katana. I ran a rag over the glinting blade, soaking up the blood it had reaped from my enemies. “You underestimate me, sir. I will beat every single test you throw at me; I will become the warrior you secretly want me to be.”

“We shall see about that,” he said. “Expect the next killers in thirty minutes. Have a lovely day.”

Now, a bit more of a general one. I chose a character who is feared by all.

Image Source

Lucifer won’t stop calling me. I swear, if he wasn’t already in hell, I’d send him there straight away.

It’s not like I haven’t been doing my job. There have been plenty of customers considering how often humans like to blow themselves- or each other- up. Practically every few minutes, I have to bounce to some far-off country and swing my scythe around like I’m Babe Ruth hitting home runs. The Middle East was pretty when I first visited, but now I’m getting sick of seeing its blood-spattered streets, hearing the screams.

Maybe I’m just tired of being Death.

Finally, we end with a picture prompt:

Image Source

He held her head in his hands.

“Close your eyes,” he whispered, “forget the gun. Forget them all.”

The two were standing in the middle of an arena, the enormous crowd shouting slurs down at them. His eardrums thundered with their grating voices, and he tried to instead listen to her ragged breathing.

“I won’t let this be the end,” she said, gripping onto the lapels of his jacket.

He felt the soldier behind him press the handgun harder against his skull, watched the soldier behind her do the same.

He kissed her forehead softly before it all went dark.

As you can see from this exercise, there are all sorts of different prompts to suit your needs. If you’re looking for some dialogue for your story, a picture to set the scene, or just something to journal about, there’s a prompt for you!

I have to say that the hardest part of this experience was writing succinctly. I am oftentimes a long-winded writer, doting on the tiny intricacies of the setting and characters of a story. This exercise showed me that it’s actually not that hard to communicate a lot of detail and information in as few words as possible. If you find yourself to be struggling with cutting down your writing, or are just looking for some interesting story starters, Pinterest writing prompts are a go-to solution. Happy writing!

Check out this Pinterest board for some more writing prompts.

Hidden Secrets of the BPL

Let’s face it: Emerson College’s Iwasaki library is not the quietest place to work. From archaic printers churning out hundred-page movie scripts, to students complaining that Emerson doesn’t have access to any source materials worth using for a thesis paper (the struggle is truly real), there’s really no place to procure some quiet time. Even if you don’t go to Emerson, I’m sure you can relate to the struggle of being unable to find a serene space on-campus.

Keep calm, fellow Emersonians! There’s a place close to campus where you can go and not only do your work but grab a bite to eat and get cultured as well: The Boston Public Library.

The BPL is on Boylston Street, and is just a fifteen-minute walk from Emerson’s campus (perhaps a bit longer for you poor souls who live in paramount). This means you can get in your exercise without having to go to the gym; yay physical activity! On the way to the BPL, there are also a surplus of places to eat, so if you get hungry on the way, you can always stop by Panera or Chipotle for a quick food break.

Now, most people have probably seen this picture of Bates Hall, the main hall within the BPL:

Image Source

Here, there are rows upon rows of tables where people can come in and do their work. Personally, it’s my favorite place to go when I need to bang out an essay or do some reading for class. How cool is it to read The Iliad right below the spot where Homer’s name is etched into the ceiling, eh? Eh? Just a writing major thing? Anyways…

The BPL has a lot more to offer than just Bates Hall, books and free Wi-Fi, however. Here are some hidden secrets of the BPL that you can take advantage of:

  1. The Boylston, Elliot, and Washington rooms

The BPL has three other whole rooms you can do work in. Though much smaller in comparison to Bates Hall, these other three rooms provide quiet spaces with plentiful desk space. They’re also a good last resort if the library is packed, seeing as a lot of people don’t know, or simply forget about them.

  1. You can take out more than just books

This has been a life and money-saver at times, especially if you have a class that requires you to watch films for homework. The BPL rents out movies, video games, music, magazines, and newspapers, some of which you can access digitally if you can’t get to the library in time. You can see if the library has any material you’re looking for by searching for it on their website. In addition, if the BPL doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can request them to procure it for you through their Interlibrary loan, a service through which you can request media that the BPL doesn’t have.

  1. There’s a courtyard area with tables to do work
Image Source

I know it’s winter now, but trust me, when it’s warmer out, this area is super chill. There’s a fountain at the very center of the courtyard, which gives a really nice ambiance to the place. Though it can be a bit noisy at times, and you have to watch out for little dive-bombing birds, it’s a great place to do some casual work, or hang out with friends.

  1. The Map Room and Newsfeed Cafes

Each offers a little something different. The Map Room café is a bit quieter, and offers breakfast, lunch, and snack options. The Newsfeed Café, on the other hand, is usually a bit busier, and offers not only breakfast, lunch, and snack options, but also a $10 student dinner special with a valid student ID. I can assure you that the food options in these cafes are far superior to the dining hall options. One Garlic & Herb Roasted Sirloin, please!

  1. There are different events going on all the time

If you go to the BPL’s homepage, they list all the events going on for the current week. There are dozens of interactive workshops, talks, lectures, and readings that happen every day. There’s also a book discussion group that meets monthly; they post what book they’re reading for the month online and are always accepting new members. A majority of the events are free, so there’s all the more reason to attend!

I strongly encourage everyone to go to the BPL to do work any chance they get. The only drawback really is that you can’t have your water bottle on the table (seriously, the security guards will find you, and when they do, they will yell at you).  All in all, the BPL is a great place to go and be productive, and maybe eat a freshly baked muffin… or croissant.

Check out this map of the BPL for more information.

Laptop Stickers are the Windows to the Soul

When I sit in class, I can’t help but wonder what the meaning behind the colorful stickers plastered on my peer’s laptops. Laptop stickers are a means of self-expression and even art. At school, I have seen my fair share of fascinating and quirky laptop decorations. These stickers are often very funny and have even funnier meanings and stories behind them. I decided to hunt down some particular interesting laptops and decipher the meaning behind their decals!


Me! – Freshman WLP Major: I started collecting stickers for my laptop over the summer and going into college. Over the summer I took a trip out west to different national parks such as Yosemite and Death Valley National Park, where I began to collect stickers from each location I traveled to. Travel and the environment are two essential elements of my life that I wanted to be reminded of. I also have a sticker of a wolf which I think to be my spirit animal (I may or may not have taken five personality tests to decipher this as well). Lastly, I put my Yeti water bottle sticker on my laptop to remind myself of the importance of hydration in addition to putting shame on myself for spending so much on a water bottle.


Hind Bakkali – Freshman International Business Major: I found Hind typing away on her laptop at Explorateur while sipping on her latte. Her laptop grabbed my attention; particularly with the very “mainstream” sticker choices such as of Kim Kardashian and Brandy Melville… I wanted to know more. She told me that she was an international student at Harvard majoring in international business, but didn’t specify where she was from. She started collecting her stickers last year when she started college. She described the skull from Brandy Melville as her style, and she identifies with the “queen bitch” sticker because she sees herself as just that. She also had a SoulCycle sticker because she is a fan of this exercise group.


Sallie Bieterman – Senior Theatre Arts Major: Sallie shows her Jewish pride with a sticker with the Jewish phrase “Oy Vey!”, and her love of Scotland with a Scotland sticker. She describes this sticker as “constantly my mood.” Sallie also worked at the women’s march headquarters in Washington DC, (hence her women’s march sticker. One of her stickers actually brought in a fellow stagedoor manor theatre camp participant. The girl saw her sticker through the window at Bolocco and told Sallie that she was going to be attending the camp soon. Ever since then, Sallie has been mentoring this girl.


Eric Doente – Freshman WLP Major: Eric didn’t have much to reveal about his mysterious stickers besides his favorite sticker, the banana sticker. He got it an an Aminé concert which was one of his favorite things he has done in Boston this year. You might know the song “Caroline” from this band.


Cassandra Yany – Freshman Journalism major: Cassandra is from Rhode Island, which is where her anchor and PV Donuts is from. PV Donuts is a popular donut shop in Rhode Island where she usually frequents when at home. Cassandra has a New York City sticker because she wants to work in NYC in a magazine someday. Lastly, she has a “Rep” (Reputation) sticker to show her love and undying support of Taylor Swift.


Jillian Stalker – Freshman VMA major: Jillian’s laptop was definitely the most minimalistic. Jillian admitted that she was very into minimalism, and the googly eyes were representative of her eccentric, spontaneous, and unique personality. I think that the googly eyes are a great conversation starter and are a play on her last name: “Stalker.”

Gaining some insight behind the mysterious stickers that find themselves on every millennial’s laptop proved to be a very interesting project. I always thought that the majority of stickers were random, but actually every sticker seems to have some sort of hidden meaning. The next time you are checking out some of those laptop stickers or buying some of your own, try to decipher the meaning behind them!

Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News

There was probably a time when keeping up with the news was easy. Back in the good ol’ days, when people read the Sunday paper and there was about as much space devoted to the Big Game as to politics as a concept.

Now, there are many reasons it is not easy at all. Such as: it constantly seems like the most insane event in the history of the world just took place, and then three minutes later something even crazier happens. Also, everything has been happening for so long and it’s so hard to catch up and does anyone know what Israel and Palestine comes down to or are we all just too scared to ask. Also also, the economy is so boring.

But there is one thing that makes it unbelievably easy, and that thing is in your hand or pocket or the space between your bed and the wall right now. It is called a smartphone, and it makes it impossible to believe that people ever managed to get their news exclusively from comically large stacks of paper with stories printed in size 8 Times New Roman once a week.

Here’s how I manage to keep up with the news and have bare minimum 18% comprehension on what it means, while also being the laziest individual on the planet Earth.

1. Email subscriptions

There is not a person in the world who enjoys constant emails, but here we are. I subscribe to three email news things, but there are approximately infinity of them if none of these suit your fancy.

One: theSkimm. It goes out every weekday morning at a ridiculously early hour, tries really hard to be funny and #relatable, and comes with celebrity recommendations from the likes of Trevor Noah, Sarah Jessica Parker, and OPRAH. Yes. Oprah.

Two: the Post Most. There are a lot of ways to get the Washington Post in your inbox. The one I went with sends out links to the most popular stories of the day.

Three: the New York Times Evening Briefing. This goes out every weekday around dinnertime and tends to rank stories in order of significance, which is fun for if you don’t have roughly four minutes to read something.

2. Have favorite news sites (and maybe – gasp – pay)

Paying for things is disgusting. But it at least helps to have website preferences for those times when you see something that hints at a news story and want/need to find out more info. For example: When someone says “Did you hear what Trump did today?” and you can sneakily say yes while actually typing into the Safari app on your phone to figure it out.

For sites with paywalls (the New York Times, for example, lets non-subscribers view a mere 10 articles a month), you may want to cough up the cash.

A lot of newspapers offer a student discount, because the Venn diagram between “fan of knowledge” and “needs things to cost less money” is exclusively the currently-in-college demographic. Find a list of them here.

3. Twitter, shockingly

I have a Twitter account. I do not tweet from it, which is surprising primarily because of my obsession with hearing myself talk (reading myself write?). Rather, I use it to follow news sources (the Associated Press, CNN), individual journalists (Jake Tapper, Maggie Haberman), and people whose political takes I like (Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett).

Also every comedian I’ve laughed at even once, and one meme account, for flair.

4. Weekly magazines??

In a twist no one saw coming, weekly subscription magazines still exist. In a double twist, they can be really helpful. And also cheap. I subscribed to the New Yorker for $12, and will get 12 magazines and a tote! Now I can be the pretentious person at the coffee shop with the New Yorker bag who looks like they really have their life together. (There’s also a digital subscription option if you’re a big tree fan.)

The Week, which has funny sections I used to read in seventh grade for some reason, will give you four free issues even if you cancel payment on them like the scammer you are.

5. Podcasts!

I am a huge podcast fan. Granted this rarely extends outside of an extremely narrow niche of LA-based improv comedy and the occasional true crime, but I am a big fan of some political ones too. There’s the Crooked Media empire (Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It, Pod Save the People, With Friends Like These, and seemingly infinity more); the New York Times’ The Daily; NPR’s All Things Considered; and so, so, so, so, sosososo many more.

Seriously. So many more.

It seems like a wildly daunting task to understand even a tenth of what’s going on current-events wise today, but you’d be surprised. Just a couple of these options can give you baseline knowledge that will make you feel way smarter. Maybe not safer, or less anxious about the state of the world, but definitely smarter.

Also, you’ll be way better equipped when that one friend keeps dropping obscure news stories into the conversation. And honestly, it’s about time for Sarah to realize that she’s not the only one who checks CNN in the morning.