Globe

Keeping Up with Faraway People

I hate beginning friendships, but I love maintaining them. There are few things as great in this world as talking to someone you may not have spoken to in a while, but whom you know you could pick up with like no time had passed at all. In fact, probably only two things are better: warm cookies, and that occurrence when you get inside and just as you get in the sky opens up and boom torrential rain, but it couldn’t get you, because you are more powerful than nature itself.

Anyway. It’s not always easy to keep up with people who aren’t physically near you, but it is worth it, both because it’s nice and it makes going home for the holidays a hell of a lot less awkward. You try meeting up with your old group of friends if you’ve ghosted them for a semester.

Not cute. Here are five tips to avoid that direness.

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Campus

How to Stay on Top of School (Without a Mental Breakdown)

When it comes to school, I have precisely two modes. Either I am living my life as if I have never before attended school, as though for all intents and purposes I am the human equivalent of a tumbleweed, drifting through life with no burdens or responsibilities; or I am a sleepless zombie editing the same sentence of a paper that isn’t due for three days until the sun rises. There is absolutely no in between.

Since high school, I have dedicated all of my energy to making sure that I do not revert into Anthropomorphic Tumbleweed Mode, which means it’s been all school obsession all the time. In the hopes of preventing a mental breakdown or two, I’ve been trying to chill out a bit. Here are some of the ways to maintain that balance.

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City

How to Survive Commuting

Ah, the city school. There are so many upsides to attending a college in the heart of downtown: the exciting nearby events; the discounted access to museums and fancy cultural stuff; the jaw-dropping number of CVS franchises in a one-block radius. (It is truly mystifying that so many identical retail pharmacies can exist in such close proximity to each other without any threat to business whatsoever.)

However, with all upsides come downsides. Such is the way of the universe. There are two exceptions to this rule: the film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which is perfect, and the food known as the buttered popcorn jelly bean, which is one hundred percent downside and so unabashedly evil it is concrete evidence of the existence of the devil.

Going to college in the city has a downside, and it is this: it is expensive to live in a city, so unless you live on campus, you might have to move to the outskirts. And moving to the outskirts means spending a lot of time on transit. Here are some of my hard-won strategies to surviving my time on the train.

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Health

Sunshine Equals Happiness: How to Brighten Your Mood on Gloomy Days

One of the hardest parts of adjusting to Boston was getting used to the gloomy days. In Texas, I was so used to having constant sunshine. I didn’t realize how much the sun affects my mood until I experienced many days without sun. There is a direct correlation between sunshine and happiness. Sunlight increases serotonin levels, which makes you happier. This feeling could also be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms include constantly feeling depressed, having low energy, changes in appetite and/or weight, have difficulty concentrating, and low interest in the things you usually do.  This is why during the dark winters, our moods may not be as great. After being exposed to constant sunlight in Texas, the lack of sun really has affected my overall mood and day to day life. I couldn’t exactly figure out why  I felt this way so I have experimented different methods to make me feel happier. I have researched ways to get more Vitamin D, and I have found a few tips to brighten your mood on gloomy days.

Take vitamin D supplements & Eat foods with vitamin D-  After having my mom constantly telling me to take my vitamins, I recently just started taking vitamin D supplements and I can already see a difference in my mood. I have more energy (without having caffeine) and I am in an overall better mood.  All you have to do is take one to two supplements with food. They are so easy to find too. I personally bought mine on Amazon, but they are also available at drug stores or even some grocery stores. Here are just a few foods that are rich in vitamin D: fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, and egg yolks.

Buy a Happy Light- I still really, really want a Happy Light. I actually heard about this Happy Light from one of my fellow sun lovers from California. The Happy Light is made to mimic sunlight and enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus. They start around $40. Personally, I think this is a great investment. Especially considering the weather in Boston. I am definitely going to be purchasing one for next year. For a basic light, you can buy it on Amazon, but for the more high end Happy Lights there are more specialized websites.

Take a walk- Even though the sun may not be out, a quick little walk can boost your mood. Being cooped up indoors all day is not beneficial to your mood. A little exercise is guaranteed to make your body happier. I love going on walks through the Boston Gardens and then I make my way to the Charles River. If I’m in a really good mood, then I go to Newbury. 

Embrace the sun when it does come out- On the days that there is sun, take full advantage of it. Go for a run. Sit and do your homework outside at a cafe. Stroll the commons. Whatever you want to do, just make sure it is outdoors in the sun. I also am a huge believer in skipping class when the weather is nice. Of course, I have only done this one or two times. I am still a good student. But on the days when it is pretty out, just a few minutes outside can make a huge difference to your day. 

I hope these few tips help you boost your mood. I know that I rely heavily on these during the winter and I take full advantage of any sunlight now. Although we can’t change the weather, there are so many steps we can take to boost our mood!

Globe

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.

Continue reading “Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News”

Globe

Black Friday Shopping Guidelines

Since 1952, Black Friday has become a holiday of its own for the consumers of America. The term was originally used to describe the crash of the U.S gold market in 1869. The term “Black Friday” was later used as a way to refer to the day after Thanksgiving when retailers went “into the black” or made a profit. Today, Black Friday is a day that has turned into a full-out, strategic shopping adventure. Whether you go to Target or Walmart, some sort of calculated strategy needs to be put in place. Here are a few tactics to tackle your Black Friday Shopping:

  1. Make a game plan- A game plan is vital to Black Friday shopping. A game plan includes a shopping list, list of stores you want to visit, and you may even want to include in itinerary. The more organized you are before during this chaotic day, the easier your shopping experience will be.
  2. Figure out your needs and wants- We all have things we need, but we also have things that are more of a want. Now the tricky part is distinguishing the difference between a need and want . . . My personal advice to you is to put the people you are shopping for first, and then put yourself second. Although there will be many tempting items that you will just need try to find the self-control you have deep down and remember the others you are shopping for. By shopping for others on Black Friday, not only will you save money but you will get your Christmas shopping done early! Now you will save money and stress. Of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t splurge on something for yourself, but always keep in mind your needs and wants.
  3. Research, research, and research some more- I cannot stress this tip more . . . do your research! Prices fluctuate from every store. One store may have a packaged deal or an exclusive product that you wouldn’t have known about without looking up prices. Also, search for the store policies at the stores you plan on shopping at. Some stores may have limitations for certain items, or some may match the lowest prices of other stores. Doing your research is always advantageous, so research, research, and research some more!
  4. Set a budget- Setting a budget can be a daunting task. Personally, I set a budget with a little bit of “wiggle room” and set it at a the price that I can comfortably spend the most. I do this so I am not tempted to spend too much money, but also so I don’t feel too confined. Make sure you stick to your budget, and make sure it is realistic for your shopping plan. It is definitely okay to underspend, but you may regret overspending.
  5. Decide how dedicated you want to be- There are many levels of Black Friday shoppers. You have the “oh I just want to check out a few stores” shoppers. You have the “I have a list and I know what I want, but it’s okay if I don’t.” Then you have the “I’m camping out all night for this 50 inch, $100 TV” shoppers. Whether you are a spectator or a camper, figure out how dedicated you want to be and then plan accordingly.
  6. Find Apps- Surprisingly enough, there are apps for Black Friday shopping! Disregard my sarcasm, but there are actually three specific apps that I would recommended: ShopSavvy, Black Friday App, and Nifti. These three apps are great tools for your shopping trips. ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of a product to find the best price. Black Friday App shows all the Black Friday deals and also includes store times and information. The app Nifti tracks prices based on historical data to see if it really is a good deal. I would highly recommend downloading at least one of these apps to make your life easier.
  7. Maybe online shopping is a better alternative for you- If none of these tips seem appealing to you, then maybe you should opt for online shopping. There are many Black Friday online deals, but if you simply don’t want to shop the day after Thanksgiving then there’s always Cyber Monday.

I hope these tips will help you with your Black Friday shopping. Best of luck to you and whoever else dares to face the craziness that Black Friday brings.

Globe

Being The Change

The events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last week are nothing short of appalling. Watching the news has made me feel so incredibly sick. I’m upset, angry, and looking to make a change. As a young adult in the world today I am in an important place of power. I have the power to control the future of our nation by speaking up about important issues. I encourage you to do the same because every voice is valuable!

Take an inside look into what happened in Charlottesville by checking out this documentary created by VICE. The footage gives great insight into the minds of some of the individuals involved with the rally and how their actions affected those around them.

I hope this film made you just as upset as it made me. Getting enraged is what will spark the fire to make a change. I wish I could show this film to every single person my age to create a reaction. It is one thing to read a tweet about what happened in Charlottesville, but taking the time to put yourself in the shoes of those who were there when it happened creates a whole differe

This past Saturday there was a free speech rally in the Boston common, and I have never been more proud of my city. Hate was met by an outpouring of love. The counter protest consisted of at least 30,000 individuals marching to fight bigotry and hate. The rally was for the most part peaceful and no extreme acts of violence were reported by the Boston police. There is just as much room for love in this world as there is for hate.

Boston “Free Speech” Counter Protest – Aug. 19, 2017

I was feeling down and upset last week but after Saturday I felt my body fill up with hope. Boston proved that love can overcome hate.

As far as what you can do, reach out to Republican state reps and speak up about the change you wish to see in our government. Every voice is important and speaking up is the best thing you can do at this time. We must bring these issues to the attention of local officials who have the power to invoke greater change. Every individual can impact a bigger change.

Check out this link for more information: https://hastebin.com/tosetacemo.coffeescript

Resist, resist, resist. Combat hate with love. Persevere. There are things going on everyday that inspire me to take action and I hope that more young people will educate themselves and get involved because we are the change.

City

Chicago in 3 Days

 

Looking to explore a new city? Want to experience a breathtaking skyline that’s also right on the water? It may be time to look into visiting Chicago. This past week I went for 3 days and really fell in love with the city. There are great deals on Expedia that will make it easier to travel on a budget and this guide will help you get the most out of your trip. 

Chicago Cubs

If you’re a Red Sox fan, Wrigley field will feel very familiar to you. It is the second oldest ballpark behind Fenway and has an awesome old timey feel. Wrigley is a beautiful field with great a great view from every section. There is history packed into the stadium and fun facts posted around the park to read up on the history of the Cubs. Awesome food, die hard fans and ice cold beer. Basically Boston, right?

The Bean

The Bean!

An icon in Chicago, the Bean can’t be missed. Located in the heart of the city in Millennium Park, it could not be easier to get to. Grab a Chicago dog from a nearby food truck and sit by the Bean for an hour or so. The perfect place to people watch and snap some fun pictures. There are other sculptures and artwork scattered around the park to check out too. Research restaurants around the Bean because there are many cool food joints hidden around the downtown area!

Art Institute

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat

After you’re done with the Bean, move on to the Art Institute of Chicago to explore an incredible selection of artwork. The institute carries an impressive collection of pieces from Seurat, Monet, van Gogh, Warhol and so many more. It is not hard to spend an entire day here exploring every wing of this beautiful museum. Be sure to check out the modern wing upstairs for very funky, contemporary paintings and sculptures.

Navy Pier

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What is better than an amusement park on a boardwalk?! Navy Pier is a fun place to visit while in Chicago, even if it’s only for half a day. On certain days over the summer they feature outdoor movies on the pier along with other cool activities. There are many fun restaurants, carnival rides, and boat tours to explore. The Navy Pier ferris wheel is the perfect way to view the entire Chicago shoreline from end to end. To make thing even better, the shuttle from downtown to the pier is always free and runs about every half hour! Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.

John Hancock Tower

Sunset from the top of the 360 Observatory.

The top floor of the Hancock tower hosts the most amazing view for a sunset. An elevator takes you 94 floors up in less than a minute. When the doors open, you are greeted by floor to ceiling glass windows showcasing a 360 view of Chicago from a bird’s eye view. It is so peaceful being in that beautiful tower and a perfect way to relax at the end of a busy day exploring the city. You pay for admission to the top of the tower and can stay as long as you want. There is a fun new feature at the top called Tilt! where you lean against the glass at the top of the tower and hang out above the city. Very scary, but worth it for the thrill!

Chi-town is my new favorite city and maybe it will become yours too!

Health

Being Present

 

Credit: Pinterest

Last week I came across the above quote and it really spoke to me. Being physically present and being mentally present have two completely different definitions. Lately I have been feeling the absence of deep, meaningful conversations in my life and I yearn for that void to be filled.

I cannot remember the last time a phone wasn’t pulled out at some point during a conversation. When hanging out with a group of friends all it takes is one person to pick up their phone and everyone feels obligated to check theirs too. We have grown accustomed to the presence of technology and it is getting harder and harder to be fully present in day to day life. The truth about technology is saddening because no one my age knows how to entertain themselves without a screen. Someone whip out Yahtzee or Pictionary, PLEASE.

It may seem ridiculous to live without technology but pulling back from constant screen use is a great way to slow down your brain. Lock your phone and instead pass some time by reading, journaling or drawing…unleash the creativity! Once enough time is focused in a more constructive place than the depths of someone’s Instagram page a feeling of relaxation arises. There will always be time to be engrossed in social media but I hope more than anything that young people can learn to stay present in the more simple joys of life.

When having a conversation, I try to remind myself to continuously look someone in the eye and ask questions about what they are saying. That is the best way to show your true interest in another person. It is just too easy to get lost behind a screen when the world is going by around us. We walk around engrossed in the latest Tasty video or Snapchat story, completely oblivious to the beauty passing by with every step.

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It may seem impossible to go a full day without your phone but the experience will allow you to see the world a little differently. You don’t need that perfectly staged Snapchat video or Instagram story to show that you are having fun with your friends. There is definitely pressure in our world today about posting constantly to ensure that your followers know you are maintaining an interesting life. Your friends that you are hanging out with already know how much fun you are. Pictures and videos are great, but soaking in the memories with your eyes and ears is more organic and fulfilling.

It is always great to snap some pics of a new place or some cool food, but save the editing and posting until after in order to enjoy the rest of the day. People always seemed surprised when I say I left my phone at home for the day or night; it’s like a security blanket that is thought to be a necessity when I can function just as well without it.

Right now you are looking at a screen, as are billions of people around the world. Try taking a breather from all the screens and pay attention to the beautiful details all around you because the world is a lot more interesting than the Instagram popular page.

I snapped this pic before embarking on a beautiful walk down the beach a few weeks ago. Left my phone in the car (:

 

Health

Fun and Cheap Adventures for Summer 2017

If you’re anything like me, you like trying new things and visiting new places. Even if you aren’t as inclined to branch out, summer is a great time to try new things and visit new places. New adventures don’t necessarily require lots of money and preparation, you can have a lot of fun in and around your hometown to spice up your summer and discover some hidden gems. Trust me, growing up in a small town has forced me to get very creative when I’m bored.

Whether you’re bored on a rainy day, or sick of going to the beach on your day off, these ideas can help you find something different to do this summer.

Public Parks

Acadia National Park

The best vacation I have ever been on was to a national park. Last summer my family visited Acadia National Park in Maine, and the sights were breathtaking. I have never seen such natural beauty and it made me want to go on a national park road trip. Wherever you live in the world, there are public parks, hiking trails, and lakes that many people don’t know about. A lot of them are free entry, too! If there is a daily fee, the money goes back into environmental efforts to keep the parks open and thriving.

There are numerous parks in Massachusetts alone, and thousands across the country. Many offer kayak and canoe rentals, camping grounds, and scenic walking trails. Parks are a great way to bring out your inner adventurer and spend time outside.

They are also perfect for your furry friends to enjoy.

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Aren’t into climbing mountains? Have no fear! Pack up a nice lunch and go sit by a beautiful lake or overlook, I promise you will not be disappointed. Lunch with a view is always a good idea.

Parks can be packed during the summer, but there are multiple trails so nothing ever feels too crowded. Getting out into nature is great physically, but also mentally. The warm summer air and the sound of birds chirping in the trees creates a natural zen environment. There is something so peaceful about sitting in a quiet park and taking a step back from a fast paced life. Every time I visit a park I feel happier and more relaxed when I leave.

Secret Beaches

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If you live near the ocean, I’m sure you’re familiar with the local beaches. But do you know all of small, secret beaches that aren’t crowded with a million umbrellas and coolers?

I am living on Cape Cod for the summer and I have started to discover multiple tiny beaches that are nearly empty. Most don’t even have parking lots and consist of a tiny path on the side of the road that leads to a little slice of heaven.

These beaches can be tricky to look up online because people like keeping their secret sanctuaries private, so doing field research may be your best bet. They are usually close to public beaches, unmarked and down a side road. Getting to them is an adventure in itself but once you reach the destination the serenity is well worth the journey. If there isn’t a sign that says “Private Property,” put your towel down and make yourself at home.

One of my favorite “private” beaches on Cape Cod.

When you find a place like this, shhhhh! It’s a secret beach for a reason!

Give your tastebuds something new and different

Coconut latte from Jaho Coffee

One of my favorite things to do over the summer is try to find the hidden gems of the food world. They are everywhere! So many restaurants in the U.S. are inspired by places all across the world, bringing an international food experience right to your hometown. Yelp is a great place to start and gives a reliable outline of what kinds of dishes to expect. It is particularly helpful to read reviews of dishes you aren’t used to before making the trip.

I like branching out to find different food because it is easy to get sick of the same things. I fell in love with Indian cuisine through my summer research and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go to somewhere so new and different with so many amazing flavors I have never experienced before. My taste buds were happily surprised.

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Picky eaters can enjoy new food too, most places can create dishes that are fairly mild if that is what you’re comfortable with. No matter what kind of cuisine you are trying, try to choose something on the menu that sounds different and exciting. If you discover you really like it, try making it yourself at home! Fill this summer with new food adventures and maybe discover a new love for cooking.

Grabbing some friends and visiting a funky place for dinner is an awesome adventure and summer is the perfect time for it.

Unusual Sports

The category of sports encompasses a lot more than baseball and football. No running is involved, just fun! Whether it’s ziplining, whitewater rafting or bubble soccer, there are many wacky activities out there to try this summer.  

One place I have really been wanting to go the past year or so is a treetop adventure park near my house. Definitely find one of these places near you if you want to feel like a monkey! This park is a course of ziplines, tightropes, rope walls and more. It has been built in the woods so you really feel like you’re a tree animal! I went ziplining once before in New Hampshire and absolutely loved it and I am yearning to check this place out.

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Bubble soccer is another funny one that has become somewhat recreational in the Boston area. Once you put on the “bubble” you look like a hamster ball with legs. It is hilarious to watch but looks like it would be so much fun to try. There are locations and variations of this activity all across the U.S. and it would be perfect to rent some for a party, or just for fun with friends!

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Bubble soccer. Giphy.com

The Zoo

The zoo is so underrated. I absolutely love the zoo. You can find me there, standing next to a seven year old, just as excited as they are to see the giraffes walking around. They are fairly cheap to visit and showcase amazing, exotic creatures.

If you live near Washington D.C., the Smithsonian National Zoo is free!! It also happens to be the best zoo I have ever been to…they have giant pandas, lions, elephants, and so much more.

Giant Panda at the Smithsonian Zoo.

The zoo is a great summer day trip, and I definitely recommend going on a weekday if you can because it is a lot less crowded and easier to get up close to all of the animals. Some zoos also allow you to bring in your own food and drinks, so you can save money by packing snacks from home.

In addition to the zoo, go to the aquarium! So many beautifully colored fish, penguins, seals, and other water creatures that are amazing to see up close. The aquarium is a perfect adventure for a rainy day.

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I hope this list helps you kickstart an amazing, adventurous, memorable summer. (: