Emily Hickey


Retroactive: The Pop Culture that Shaped Us

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Jeffrey Kopp (A&E Editor)

Movie: “Tarzan” (1999) – This is a film that hits me in the feels every single time that I watch it. The soundtrack by Phil Collins adds so much emotional depth to the movie; “Two Worlds” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” are the definite standouts. This is by far my favorite Disney movie of all time; just thinking about it makes me want to find my copy of the VHS tape and take a trip back to the jungle.

Song: “Hey Ya!” (2003) by OutKast– The lyric, “shake it like a Polaroid picture” has been repeating on a loop in my head since 2003. The catchy beat immediately transports me back to the simpler times of elementary school; the deeper meaning behind the song flew over my head as a child, but I’ve been able to appreciate it more as an adult. This is a song that has stood the test of time and is definitely one of my all time favorites.

TV Show: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-Present) –  Every generation has something that culturally defines them. In the case of millennials, that is Nickelodeon’s most iconic cartoon. I have so many fond memories of watching “SpongeBob” with my parents and friends, laughing at the absurd scenarios and jokes that have evolved into memes in recent years. Without any doubt, “Pizza Delivery” and “Band Geeks” are two of the greatest episodes in television history.

“Breakaway” album cover courtesy of Walt Disney/RCA

Stephanie Trefzger (Assistant A&E Editor)

Movie: “Twister” (1996) – Granted, I only saw this movie once as a child, but it probably had the biggest impact on my life.  It scared the absolute hell out of me, and I had nightmares about tornadoes ripping through my house. In an attempt to assuage my fears, my mother encouraged me to learn more about tornadoes, and suddenly I was obsessed with weather.  Despite the science in the movie being outdated, Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton inspire a love and fascination for storm chasing in me to this day, and it has been my dream job for the better part of my life. If only my mother would let me.

Song: “Breakaway” (2004) by Kelly Clarkson – I love drama, and this song, as well as the album by the same name is full of it.  When I was in the car and I heard the opening notes, I would immediately stare out the window like Clarkson describes and acted like I was in a music video.  This album is also part of the reason I have trust issues; upon its release in 2004, it was the only Christmas gift I asked for from my parents. My dad, however, bought 2003’s “Thankful.”  While this is an excellent album, I felt disappointed and betrayed.

TV Show: “Shark Week” (1988-Present) – Ok, so this is more an annual event than an actual TV show, but I got super hyped for it every year (and still do).  Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but I have always loved the ocean, and after my disillusionment with dolphins, I became enamored with sharks instead. Due to my obsessive nature, I learned and accumulated enough knowledge about them over the last few years that I am able to take the fun out of any shark movie fairly quickly.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.

Hunter Heilman (Editor-in-Chief)

Movie: “She’s the Man” (2006) – At the time, “She’s the Man” was basically the funniest film I had ever seen in my entire life. This 2006 teen adaption of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” was Amanda Bynes at her most charming, the 2000s at their most iconic, and teen comedies at their most genuine. Everything about this movie is peak nostalgia and perfect memories of a much simpler time.

Song: “The ABBA Generation” (1999) by A*Teens– There is no album I have listened to and loved more in my life than Swedish pop group the A*Teens’ 1999 debut album, The ABBA Generation. Comprised of nothing but ABBA covers, I was exposed to the magic of both teen pop and disco music all in one go. Personal favorites of the album are “Mamma Mia,” “Voulez Vous” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” the latter of which still remains my favorite music video of all time. I love this album so much I can get emotional over it.

TV Show: “What I Like About You” (2002-2006)– I had a bit of a thing for Amanda Bynes when I was younger, as I simply found her to be the funniest person working in media targeted to people my age. I didn’t discover “What I Like About You” until shortly after it was canceled in 2006, but like “She’s the Man,” it showcased Bynes’ talents as more than just a child star. The chemistry in the hilarious cast and absolute lunacy of much of the show’s plot only cemented it more as my favorite sitcom ever.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Kathleen Cook (Sports Editor)

Movie: “The Lion King” (1994)– I loved the songs and the characters – Timon was my favorite. I’ve actually never watched the scene where the dad dies though.

Song: “Come in Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners– I thought it was actually “Come on Kathleen,” because my mom would always sing “Kathleen.” I was heartbroken when I first heard the song without my mom singing it and realized it was Eileen and not Kathleen.

TV Show: “Dragon Tales” (1999-2005)– I had the stuffed animals for all of the characters and had a dance routine I would do to their song.

Album art courtesy of Universal Records.

Alex Sands (News Editor)

Movie: “Beethoven” (1992)– I had three St. Bernards growing up and they all were as crazy as Beethoven in this film. They’re big slobbery messes with really big hearts and lots of love. The film is not only a nostalgic early 90s film, but it hits home.

Song: “Leave (Get Out)” (2004) by JoJo– I recently rediscovered this banger song. The only problem is the real version is not on Spotify. So whenever I want to listen to it in the car, I force myself to listen to D-Money’s remix. You may ask “Who is D-Money?” I don’t know, but he should stop rapping.

TV Show: “Lizzie McGuire” (2001-2004)– I would like to give a shout out to Bitmoji for fulfilling my childhood dream of having my own animated version of myself like Lizzie McGuire. I was a die-hard Hilary Duff fan when I was kiddo and watched the episodes over and over. To this day, I still ship her and Gordo.

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Viacom.

Josh Worley (Video Editor)

Movie: “Gone With The Wind” (1940)– Growing up, I first remember watching this movie with my grandma. The movie takes place in a time period that I am most fond of from a historical perspective.

Song: “Africa” (1982) by Toto– Whoever says it’s not, can choke.

TV Show: “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)- The greatest cartoon to ever grace this universe. There were deep moments that, when you were a kid you didn’t really think about, but they hit home now.

Photo courtesy of Jive Records.

Hailey Turpin (Lifestyle Editor)

Movie: “Peter Pan” (1953)– I wanted to be apart of Peter’s Lost Boys and I would jump off the couch to try to fly like him. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Song: “Oh Aaron” (2001) and “Not Too Young, Not Too Old” (2001) by Aaron Carter– My sister and I religiously listened to Aaron Carter back in the 2000’s. I have no other words besides talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique.

TV Show: “The Fairly Odd Parents” (2001-Present) and “My Life As A Teenage Robot” (2003-2009)– As an elementary school kid I was very particular about the shows I watched, and those two were the most interesting to me! The graphics and storylines were so good, and still are. I will always love Chip Skylark.

Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network.

Pooja Pasupula (Photo Editor)

Movie: “Toy Story” (1995)– While Toy Story is not my number one favorite Pixar movie, it’s the movie that always reminds me of my childhood and brings me the most nostalgia. This movie was always playing on every TV when I was a child and there are so many iconic characters and scenes encased in it. It made childhood seem like the best thing ever to be apart of. The whole series is centered around the inescapable circumstance of growing up, and being hit with that inevitability as a child was always hard for me. The whole series brings back memories of clinging to childhood and not wanting things to change.

Song: “… Baby One More Time” (1998) by Britney Spears– A timeless classic that never fails to make me smile or sing along. I was never exposed to music as a child and when my aunt found out she started to play Spears’ album around the tiny townhome she shared with my family. It’s the first song I have any memory of. At the age of four, I had no concept of what dancing was, so I would skip around our townhome to the beat of this song as my way to jam along to it. Hearing this song throws me back to that memory and the nostalgia of what the 90’s/early 2000’s era felt like.

TV Show: “Teen Titans” (2003-2006)– I’ve always been enamored with superheroes and watching this show as a child was what sparked my adoration for them. While Wonder Woman and Batman have been my core favorites for most of my life, the Teen Titans were my first love. I used to feel very vulnerable and helpless as a child, but watching teen superheroes kick ass gave me hope to one day be as strong and brave as they are. They were who I looked up to and idolized.

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema/Warner Home Video.

Leysha Caraballo (Photo Editor)

Movie: “Elf” (2003)– Watching “Elf” every Christmas season with my family was one of my favorite traditions growing up. Will Ferrell is so over the top ridiculous, as usual, but in a heartwarming way in this movie.

Song: “Numb” (2003) by Linkin Park– Linkin Park’s “Numb” showed me that music didn’t have to fit the pop music mold. I may have been a bit melodramatic, but I connected to the sound and message of the music. They were my absolute favorite band throughout my adolescence.

TV Show: “That’s So Raven” (2003-2007)– This show never got old for me, to the point where I watched multiple all-day marathons. Raven had sass, attitude and confidence – all of my favorite things!

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Viacom.

Mia Shelton (Opinion Editor)

Movie: Seventeen Again” (2000)– Not the one with Zac Efron, but the one with Tia and Tamera Mowry. I loved this movie because it was a unique and fun concept; grandparents using soap that their grandson accidently spilled his science experiment on that makes them seventeen again was fun to watch. I also love Tia and Tamera and seeing them on television and acting started my passion for acting. Also the grandfather is very cute when he turns seventeen.

Song: Circle of Life” (2004) by the Disney Channel Circle of Stars– I loved it because it had all of my favorite actors and actresses sing in the song like Raven Symone, Christy Carlson Romano, Hilary Duff, Tahj Mowrey and many more. Hearing their unique voices combined on one of Disney’s greatest song from its most notorious movie was very moving and fun to sing along to.

TV Show: Kenan and Kel” (1996-2000)– I loved this show, because they always made laugh. Kel’s obsession with orange soda and Kenan’s elaborate plans to make money made my stomach hurt from laughing.

Photo courtesy of Reprise Records.

Emily Hickey (Managing Editor)

Movie: “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)– When I was four, I watched it every day for a year and insisted that my mom dress me up in my Dorothy dress and put my hair in the two braids. Every time I watch it now I am reminded of my childhood love for the movie and for the amazing soundtrack (that I still know by heart).

Song: “Landslide” (1975) by Fleetwood Mac– My aunt used to burn her favorite songs onto CD’s and give them to my mom, and as soon as my sisters and I listened to “Landslide,” it was immediately our favorite song and has been throughout our lives. When I was three, I put on a performance of the song in front of all of my extended family.

TV Show: “Ghost Whisperer” (2005-2010)– Starting in elementary school, every Friday my dad and I would watch the new episode aired at 8 p.m. Despite after a few years it scared me too much to continue watching it, it’s still my favorite because of the time spent with my dad.

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox.

Daniel Head (Technical Director)

Movie: “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977)– Duh! I watched this movie and fell in love with the “Star Wars” universe. I was obsessed with the idea of intergalactic travel and warfare, and loved the characters. Everything about the movie was great to me, and I’m still obsessed with “Star Wars.”

Song: “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (2005) by Panic! At the Disco– I loved the sound song, and pretty much all of my friends did too. Just singing along with all my friends makes it memorable.

TV Show: “Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)– I grew up with it and, again, I was obsessed with science fiction and the characters. I think that just the depth of the characters and the universe was enough to make me look forward to next week’s episode; to see some awesome new world, new alien race, or new piece of technology. A good plot was just the cherry on top for me back then.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Angie Baquedano (Assistant Lifestyle Editor)

Movie: “Hercules” (1997)– I love Disney and I practically grew up on it, and when they introduced the movie they brought in my love for Greek mythology. The music was exceptional and I had the BIGGEST crush on Hercules (or should I say HUNK-ules).

Song: “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) by Elvis– I’ve had this really weird obsession with him since I was a kid. I can’t explain why or how this happened, but it did and I’m actually his wife, so…surprise.

TV Show: “Rocket Power,” (1999-2004) “Cat Dog” (1998-2005) and “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)– It might be impossible for me to choose just one for this. Apart from being a Disney kid, I was definitely a Nickelodeon child.

Album art courtesy of RCA Records/Columbia Records.

Madison Dobrzenski (Assistant Opinion Editor)

Movie: “The Ultimate Christmas Present” (2000)– I loved this movie so much as a kid, and to this day I can’t really explain why. I think it’s just because I also didn’t experience a lot of snow, so I empathized with them? I also loved anything Brenda Song was in when I was a kid, so that might have had something to do with it.

Song: “Girlfriend” (2007) by Avril Lavigne– I used to blare this song with my friends when I was in elementary school, despite being absolutely no one’s love interest, because we were like 12. I can still throw down to it to this day.

TV Show: “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005-2008)– I loved this show for a lot of reasons. One, there was a smart character with the same name as me. Secondly, I always felt “different” because the show paints Zack out to be the cute and cool twin, but I had a crush on Cody.

Ivanka Trump is not for the people

Before her father’s historical takeover of the White House, Ivanka Trump was known somewhat as a beauty icon. The kind of beauty icon that attracts her father’s praise in March of 2006 when he infamously – and creepily – stated that: “…if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” This is how Ivanka was known to the world: as Donald Trump’s beautiful daughter that even he would date. Despite this, Ivanka made a name for herself through modeling and in her father’s business. Nepotism was not an issue in regards to business, so it is no surprise the same treatment was offered when Donald Trump took office, regardless if she is working for free or not. Now an Advisor to the President, Ivanka is climbing the political ladder one ring at a time. During the Presidential election process, Ivanka had only a minor role in her father’s campaign. However, her involvement in Trump’s administration has not gone unnoticed. Her lingering presence in everything her father does has gained an immense amount of media attention as the American people try to figure out whether this reflects positively on her White House influence or negatively on the President’s capabilities. Important meetings that were once for the President have seen Ivanka in the press room alongside him. The first-daughter even seems to be surpassing the first-lady’s role in press and volunteerism, and thanks to Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, it’s apparent her hard work is going towards the bigger goal: replacing her own father. As of the first week of the new year, Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner’s “Clinton-style” pact has come to light in the media. According to “Fire and Fury”, the duo’s involvement in the Trump presidency has been more or for their own benefits. According to Wolff, it was decided that Ivanka would be the one to run if the opportunity presented itself. This is no surprise considering the noticeable differences in personalities as Ivanka is the more outgoing of the pair while Jared is described as a “helper-outer.”, yet I disagree with anyone who says she has the capacity to hold the job of President of the United States.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump is hot-headed and foul-mouthed; he is always under fire for what he says, respectfully so, and seems to garner more hate than praise for the few actions he has taken in office. Ivanka, however, has tended to stay tight-lipped on important situations, like the transgender military ban and the most recent nuclear button war with Kim Jong Un. While one can argue she has limitations that prevent her from speaking out, like fact that she is the President’s daughter, I argue that she is wasting her platform. She claims she tries to stay out of politics but inserts herself into business that first-daughters aren’t necessarily supposed to be in. Trump even tweeted: “She’s a great person – always pushing me to do the right thing!” For someone who tries to stay out of politics, especially an Advisor to the President, it is hard to believe she hasn’t taken a passenger seat next to the conductor of Capitol Hill. When Ivanka has spoken out, it has been flooded with faux-feminism. Finally, a woman who is hardworking and driven – of course, with help from her billionaire father – has the ability to lift women up and commend them. Her favorite saying is “Women Who Work”, yet fails to protect the women in underdeveloped countries who used to work for her in terrible conditions, like 18 hour work days and abusive management. She hasn’t expanded the child tax credit, despite being a mother of three, and was again tight-lipped when it came to her father supporting a bill that impeded the access of birth control for women. While she may have the ability to decide to have three children to experience the joys of motherhood with no hindrance, not everyone does. Not only that, but one would think her determination to get women working would result in prioritizing equal pay for all genders, but that doesn’t seem too important either. While I can praise Ivanka’s determination to use her father’s failures for her own gain and to potentially take his job, I don’t want her to. She has limitations in the things she can do of course, but to become the first woman president, you have to prove you are for women to gain the votes of women. With the few things I mentioned, it is clear to me she is not for women, and I’m not too sure if she’s for everyone in general, considering her silence on the transgender military bill. Her hard-work is geared towards White House position holding, not in actual policies that affect the everyday people of the United States. Ivanka and Jared show themselves to be just like the majority of the people on Capitol Hill: out to make a name for themselves. Once she can prove to me that she is capable of fighting for the people against those who try to push them down, I may change my mind, but until she shows her true opinions in regards to her own father, I don’t believe she can be the next President.

Iced Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato

Everyone is familiar with Starbucks’ fifth-best iced coffee drink, the Caramel Macchiato. It’s rated fifth on 1912pike.com, but I rate it first in my heart. Being a latté kind of girl, this says a lot about me. There is something about the caramel, vanilla, milk and coffee blend that go so well together and force me to restrain myself from finishing my drink in one sip. With the approach of autumn and my slight pumpkin obsession preparing to go into full swing, I decided to add a shot of pumpkin to my Caramel Macchiato. The only adjective I have to describe it is amazing.

First of all, pumpkin is good. Don’t listen to Matt Bellassai slander its name on Whine About It and don’t listen to anyone else whose life purpose is to bring others down. If people can openly enjoy cauliflower, let people enjoy pumpkin. Its versatility is exciting: pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffee, etcetera. The possibilities are endless, but what can you do with cauliflower? Cook it? And then what? Case closed. Pumpkin is here to stay.

Photo Courtesy of Emily Hickey

Second, the ordering process is easy. I ordered my drink from the same Starbucks location twice in one weekend, and each time it was delicious. All you have to do is order a regular Caramel Macchiato and ask for pumpkin to be added. They will probably make sure you still want the caramel and vanilla, so say yes. However, the first time I got my coffee with soy milk instead of whole milk and I liked that much better. The drink with whole milk had bologna undertones, but that could be because I don’t like regular milk and my sister (who hates pumpkin and coffee) said that’s what it tasted like. Don’t listen to her, it tasted good regardless.

Since North Carolina’s version of autumn is 90º Fahrenheit with 100% humidity, iced coffee is generally the way to go. To still immerse yourself in the fall spirit, the shot of pumpkin is necessary. Not only is the drink refreshing, but the addition of pumpkin to the already iridescent caramel and vanilla swirl makes for a great photo-op. The constant bursts of flavor keep you guessing which one you’re going to get with each sip; will it be vanilla, caramel, pumpkin or all-in-one? Just that thrill alone keeps you wanting more.

I would definitely describe myself as a coffee connoisseur. To me, coffee is more important than eating sometimes, it’s that bad. Although I have my favorite coffees, I am always willing to try new things. Give me a recommendation and I will try it. Give me pumpkin and I will try it twice, love it so much, then write an article about it. Seriously, if you want a cool pumpkin drink for the fall, try the Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Charlotte Fashion Week

It’s that time of year again: the season of fashion. When you log onto social media or watch the news, I’m sure you’re bombarded with pictures of models, celebrities, fashion designers and big cities filled with good looking people. It’s what happens every spring and fall; high-end designers flood the walkways in the major cities to showcase their seasonal lines in events like New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and London Fashion Week. Even low-end designers in smaller cities showcase their designs, and I had the privilege to attend Charlotte’s very own fashion week called Charlotte Seen, created and directed by Rita Miles, held in the Embassy Suites in Uptown.

Being a lover of apparel and fashion, this opportunity was an amazing experience. The event took place over a span of five days, starting Tuesday, September 26 and ending Saturday, September 30. I was only able to attend Thursday night’s show due to my hectic schedule, but I still felt the thrill and glamour that goes along with the entire production.

Thursday night’s show was Boutique and Opera Carolina Recyclables Runway Show and included local designers ranging from Versona Boutique in South Charlotte to Karl Lagerfeld. The variety in designers and products kept the audience enticed as it strayed far from monotony. There was a show for every person in the audience with female lines, male lines, co-ed lines and child lines. The material presented included clothing, bags, glasses, formal attire and more, giving everyone a look into different apparel that is predicted to take over in the upcoming fall season.

Since the contributors to this particular show were majorly local boutiques, they targeted the younger Charlotte crowd. Many lines showcased young adult fashion while others showcased children’s clothing. The young adult fashion included darker tones and cozy looks that were influenced by the ‘70s. The colors popular were brown, maroon, red and pale pink, the latter being an addition to the typical fall color palette. Velvet dresses, flare pants and vests were popular among the looks. The accessories popular were long necklaces, chokers, glasses and boots. Boots were everywhere; over-the-knee boots, riding boots, ankle boots, you name it. The glasses were a regular in each line since the designer was a local man trying to promote his business. The boutiques only targeted the female crowd, but there were two lines from Dillard’s that included males.

The fall fashion for males has always tended to stay the same with sweaters and pants, but this year I saw the stray from skinny jeans to fitted jeans, meaning the ankles weren’t being suffocated, but the jeans were still hugging their legs comfortably. Many males also sported fake glasses, a trend that is taking over the social scene. The children’s lines, like the males, didn’t include as much variety as the female lines, but that is a given. Female fashion dominates, all others have to try to keep up.

The first children’s line was clown themed to bring fun into the show. As soon as the first child walked out, the entire crowd released a choir of awes. They modeled bright blues, reds and yellows, and sported their tulle skirts and crazy headbands with a confidence I wish I had. The second children’s line was sponsored by Dillard’s, so the models wore casual ‘70s influenced clothing and some formal attire. In my opinion, the children were the best part of the show for they kept it humble and reminded the audience that the Charlotte community is a tight-knit family.

There were more lines that modeled bags than I would have expected. There was one for weekend bags, one for wallets and one created by Karl Lagerfeld. Trust me, I was losing it when his name was announced. The intertwining of local and famous names solidified my experience, letting me feel proud for the people in my city while also showing me that we are taken somewhat seriously in the fashion world. Not only were the lines well walked, the atmosphere of the place was welcoming and held the air of a fashion show. Local artists had tables set up to greet you as you walked in, and the runway was designed just like one you might see in New York or London.

Charlotte Seen was an outstanding production and one I am glad to have been able to attend, even if it was only for one night. Now I know to plan my schedule next year to attend every show and feel the same glamour I felt on September 28.

Tips for being more organized

If you walked into my bedroom right now, there would be clothes all over the floor, water glasses on every surface, and three different types of cookie packages on my desk. Messiness is a part of my life, but disorganization is not. There may be cookies on my desk, but my wall planner above it is neatly color-coded for each event. My clothes may be all over, but my assignments are tucked away in folders for each class. Being organized is not hard, as long as you find what helps you. Here are some things that have helped me become more organized.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Make lists. The biggest thing that helps me is making lists. If I don’t write everything down, I’ll end up forgetting and freak out. I have a grocery list, a to-do list, a retail shopping list, and a homework list. There’s nothing worse than going to the grocery store and forgetting to buy essentials because you couldn’t remember, and there’s nothing worse than not having your homework done before a class because you forgot to write it down. If you think you won’t forget, take the extra precaution so you really don’t forget and write it down.

Utilize reminders. The Reminders app on iPhones is truly a gift from Apple God, a.k.a. Steve Jobs. It’s not just one of those annoying already installed apps, it’s a lifesaver. The app reminds me of important times I need to remember and places I need to be. Not only am I messy, but I’m forgetful as well, so being reminded to do something is a requirement. Since I’m always on my phone anyway, having the reminder pop up on my screen is super beneficial, and I’m no longer late for everything/don’t miss anything anymore.

Strategize your notes. There are many ways to take notes, but some ways are flat out bad note taking strategies. To fully capitalize on what you learned in a class, it is important to take notes in an organized and thorough manner. Obviously, that doesn’t mean writing word-for-word what the professor says, but try to structure notes in a way that categorizes the different topics you learn and the important details for each topic. If your notes are not aesthetically pleasing (even with bad handwriting), they are probably bad notes.

Folders and labels. For ultimate organization, keep all of your assignments for one class together. The easiest way to do this is by using folders. Having a folder for each class is helpful, and labeling them as such will help even more. This way you will never have to scramble looking through five different classes worth of work. Not only does this work for classes, but it also is good for life documents. For example, I have a folder for all of my paychecks and check receipts. Considering I pay in check for bigger things, such as rent, I know this folder is for important finances. Another folder I have holds all of my important documents, such as my birth certificate and medical documents, and another folder has a collection of birthday cards and ticket stubs. I would consider folders and labels almost as important as making lists because they keep all of your stuff in one, easy-to-find place.

Using these tips can help someone become more organized, and maybe even set them on the path of getting their life together, like me. Being a college student, it is extremely important to be organized or else you take the risk of falling behind. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than falling behind in college, so take the initiative now and become more organized.

Juggling real life and the college world

Moving away to college is a challenge that takes all by storm. Adjusting to adulthood while trying to juggle good grades, a social life and extracurricular activities can drive students more than crazy, and it takes most a while to get into the groove of everything. In some cases, students have to add a job to their list of things to do, making the adjustment that much harder. Here are some tips for juggling a job while maintaining being a student.

Time management. It may seem like common sense, but a lot of students struggle with managing their time. There is always the problem of taking on too many things but, if you’re like me, the problem of procrastination. If you know you have to go into work, it is better to budget your time as if you are budgeting money. Allow yourself enough time before and/or after work to complete assignments and give yourself some extra time between each task for life to happen. Don’t push anything back or else you may risk being late. If you really don’t feel like doing the assignment, just do it anyway. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t get cut until 11:30 p.m. and you have to wake up for a 9:30 a.m. the next day.

Prioritize what’s important. It may seem like friends and social settings are what’s most important, especially if you’re a freshman, but it’s better to realize now that school

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

is the most important, with your job coming after. I’m not saying being social isn’t important, but if you know you have to work at 5 p.m. and have an assignment due the next day, it’s smarter to work on the assignment than hang out in a friend’s dorm. Yes, it is the boring option, but real life is boring most of the time. It’s just how it works, unfortunately.

Create a rhythm. Most of the time, your work hours will be consistent. Even though your homework will fluctuate, class times will also be a constant. Try to make a plan each week that will help you do what you need to get done. Once you get into this groove, it will become easier and easier as the weeks go on and eventually it will just become routine, like brushing your teeth.

Talk to your professors/employer. If life becomes too much, don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and/or employer. They are (hopefully) understanding people who will work with you to make sure you can handle your responsibilities. If they are not, they probably have hearts the size of the Grinch. However, you have to try to work with them and you can’t expect them to make exceptions for you if you are not trying. Don’t be afraid or ashamed, everyone has to deal with life too.

Remember to put yourself first. It can be challenging being thrown straight into adulthood with barely any preparation beforehand. Although school and work are important, you are the most important. Don’t forget to tend to your needs and listen to yourself. Life can be boring and life can be hard, but it’s vital to keep entertainment and health at the forefront. If you don’t incorporate the things that keep life going, it will only go downhill. Using the other suggestions listed, it can be easy to find the balance between adult life and student life.

You are in college. This is where you learn how to adult, and if you are not that good at it at first, don’t be discouraged. Everyone else is learning right alongside you. This is the time for you to finally experience the world around you and how it works while also finding where you belong. It may be hard at first being a student employee, but when that first paycheck comes in, it will all be worth it. Work hard, study immensely, but most importantly: have fun.

Book Review: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey

Photo from Flickr

For the longest time, one of my best friends kept badgering me to read “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey. She ranted and raved about how amazing the book is, and since it’s a literary classic, I decided to give it a try. I’m really intrigued by mental asylums and people with mental disorders, so I was excited to dive right in, especially since Kesey spent a lot of time shadowing asylum patients to craft each character 100% accurately. I was prepared to cry, laugh and feel every other emotion she swore I would. After finishing the book, it’s safe to say the only thing I felt was a small amount of sympathy at maybe two parts.

Going into it, I had high hopes for this book. I had heard so many good things about it and I always take advice from my friends with a lot of heart. The beginning was slow, but whenever I start a book I always make myself finish it. It takes a lot to interest me, so at least getting through the first two chapters is important for me to actually get into a good book. That’s what I expected to happen, but I never ended up getting into it like I should have.

It was only halfway through the book that I realized why it was boring me: there’s no apparent plot. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what the plot is. McMurphy is there to shake up the hospital, but since it’s narrated by Chief, it confused me a lot. Chief is a half-Native American patient who has vivid hallucinations and believes he is trapped in a corporation called the Combine. Since he has such deep hallucinations, Kesey uses too many descriptive words to describe everything, and it’s a bit much for my taste. It only contributed to my confusion. If you are too descriptive, my mind gets lost. The simpler the better for me. I appreciate his need to include the descriptive scenes to fully encapsulate how cuckoo Chief is and the symbolism behind his visions but  it was just too much in my opinion.

Once you get past parts I and II, I admit, it does get better. Since McMurphy’s goal is to defy the warden, Nurse Ratched, it’s thrilling to see him rebel and go through the series of conflicting emotions he feels. Nurse Ratched has the ward wrapped around her finger and plays into each character’s insecurities in order to maintain power, so to read McMurphy’s outright defiance was riveting. Only towards the end of Part IV is when I found the most interest in the novel. A series of events that you don’t expect play out, resulting in a conflicting ending.

Whether it’s happy, sad or both is totally up to your own interpretation. I understand why people rave about this book, yet I didn’t feel the same effect. If I had to rate it, I’d probably give it 3 out of 5 stars, which isn’t bad, but isn’t necessarily good either. It’s definitely a book you are really into or are really bored throughout. Don’t let this review discourage you from reading it if you wanted to; you may have a different experience than I did. There’s two sides to every story, and I just couldn’t find the good side of this one.

exactly.me App Review

The role of social media in our everyday lives is so prominent, my hands get sweaty when I haven’t checked my Instagram for more than three hours. Everything revolves around social media and each app takes its own time dominating the market and capturing the interest of consumers. I am a person who gets bored easily, so the rise of new apps is always exciting for me. When someone reached out to me a couple of weeks ago to tell me about the app exactly.me, I immediately downloaded it to see what was up and what is up is a new obsession.

exactly.me was designed to be like a Tinder for friendships. People upload pictures of things they enjoy and you swipe left for yes, I like that too and right for no, not my interest. The uploads are simple: I came across a Redbox DVD Rental, Two Story Closet, Chocolate Martini, Hiking in Yellowstone and more. You basically just decide if you like the interest or not and connect with the user over that mutual bond. It’s easy, accessible and quite addicting. You can see statistics of what people like, upload your own pictures and search for interests to connect you to people who are just like yourself. Once you find a person who is similar to you, exactly.me has in-app messaging that makes it easy to communicate. I love to meet new people, so if I can talk to someone across the world about my love for Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, you know I’m all in.

Photo from Flickr

Swiping left and right is what really hooks you; I never wanted to stop. The simplicity of the interests drives you to keep going and after so many swipes, exactly.me gives you people who are similar to you in their swipes. You can choose to talk to them or keep swiping and me being on the rampant swipe trend I was on, I kept on swiping. The creators of this app knew what they were doing when designing it by allowing people to express their unique opinions and shared likes and dislikes. They created an app where there’s no pressure to feel like your “best self” like there is on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Tinder. There’s no impressing anyone on exactly.me because you’re paired with those who are just like you and because of this, the relationships you make are more in-depth.

If you’re getting sick of the never-ending pressures of social media and the need to present yourself in a certain type of way, this is the app for you. From my experience, I have always had to shape my personality around the app I’m using and the users who can see, but exactly.me doesn’t require me to do that. People from all over the world connect with me based off the things I enjoy and it feels good to finally strip myself of the social media persona I have created and just be myself.

Album Review: ‘Midnight’ by Lewis Watson

“Midnight” album artwork courtesy of Lewis Watson/Cooking Vinyl

A boy, a guitar and a raspy voice: all three combined to capture England’s heart in 2012 and is slowly grabbing hold of America’s. Lewis Watson, the owner of these three things, captivated many with his painfully talented YouTube videos he began to upload to his channel in 2010. His voice stood out, being described as a mix between Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles, and people could not get enough of it. Watson then began to upload his original works to his channel, which quickly led to the release of his four EPs between 2012 and 2013, followed soon after by his first album, “The Morning.” His EPs and one album took over the Indie/Singer-Songwriter genres with his slow acoustic songs that were perfect for a rainy day or an afternoon at a café. Watson created a frenzy in the Tumblr world and left everyone waiting patiently for the release of his newest album, “Midnight,” which was met with widespread support. Here are five reasons why you should give it a listen:

  • He experimented with the overall sound.
    Unlike his EPs and “The Morning,” the songs on “Midnight” have more instruments creating more sounds. It’s no longer just his guitar; now there are drums, pianos and more. Watson held tight to the sad and sweet aesthetic, but his new album brings more feel-good songs infused with lots of instruments and production. There are still his usual slow acoustic songs that snake their way onto the set list, don’t you worry, but fans now have an album for car rides with the windows down and an album for a day in bed.
  • Every song is “related.”
    Each song is different, yet they all have the same general feel, like relatives. Yes, I have the same features as my cousin, but we don’t look exactly alike. That’s how the songs are on “Midnight.” The instrumentation tends to keep the same pattern on each track despite the melody and rhythm, but each song is distinctly different from the next, keeping it exciting.
  • There’s a perfect mixture of happy and sad songs.
    Watson made sure to include his acoustic sound into songs like “Hello” and “Slumber,” but he wanted to get the party started with “Maybe We’re Home” and “Deep the River.” There are enough songs for you to listen to while hanging out with your friends and enough for you to listen to when you need a good cry. The happy weighs out the sad and vice versa. A perfect medium.
  • It’s affordable.
    On iTunes, you can get the entire album for $9.99. Considering Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is $17.99, “Midnight” is a quality steal. Students with Spotify Premium, who only pay $5.33 a month for the app, can download the album immediately and for just that. It’s a bargain, really, and the quality of the album is worth every penny.
  • Lewis Watson’s voice.
    Need I say more? His voice is delicious.

This album is one of the better things to come out of 2017, and purchasing it is not a bad idea. The songs are amazing, the lyrics are poetic and Watson’s voice could make angels cry. Even if you don’t have any spare change, just giving it a listen on YouTube will change your life. Leave it to Lewis Watson to always kill the music game.

February isn’t just Valentine’s Day

There are some holidays that dominate, there’s no denying them. What is an American calendar without Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and all the rest that define each month? Somehow they overshadow the smaller holidays, but that doesn’t make those smaller any less important. That being said, February isn’t only Valentine’s Day, but there are only three holidays left of the month. Here’s what’s coming up in America.

On Monday, February 20, America will be observing President’s Day. This holiday is

Photo from Pixabay

called different names all over the nation, some states referring to it as George Washington’s Birthday or Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday, but regardless of name, all Americans celebrate this pretty awesome day. This holiday, held on every third Monday of February, was created to honor George Washington and his presidency. Washington, whose birthday is February 22, 1732, also shares this honor with Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12. Both Presidents were extremely important to American history, so what better way to honor them than by giving them an entire day?

Up until the late 1980s, most corporate businesses were closed to give respect to those persons who serve as President, but today most stores hold sales to boost their finances, a tribute to the capitalist society our government runs. Adam Smith would certainly be proud. Certain schools throughout the country close for the day or even for the week, but like the name of the holiday, it depends on the state. There are only two cities who host celebrations, though. Alexandria, Virginia hosts a month-long tribute for the holiday and even has the longest running “George Washington Birthday” parade. In Eustis, Florida, a “George Fest” has been hosted every year since 1902. Even though they’re the only big parties, every American still celebrates this holiday in their own way.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Four days after President’s Day, the Hindu festival, Mahashivaratri, will be celebrated. This holiday is in honor of the god, Shiva, with the date differing each year, determined by the Hindu calendar and when the Shivaratri in every luni-solar month falls. In late winter before spring (February or March), the “Great Night of Shiva” occurs and is called Mahashivaratri. This year, it falls on Friday, February 24. The holiday is celebrated for three to ten days, the length of celebration determined by the luni-solar calendar. While most Hindu festivals are celebrated during the day, Mahashivaratri is celebrated at night, for it symbolizes overcoming darkness and ignorance in the world. In order to overcome this, Hindus maintain a jaagaran, or all-night vigil and prayers. Other practices include chanting prayers, fasting, doing yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues. This introspective focus allows people to reflect on self-restraint, honesty, non-injury to others, forgiveness and the discovery of Shiva. The importance of this holiday is significant in the fact that it is believed to absolve past sins, a good thing to cleanse the soul and hope for future prosperity.

The last day of February is hosting the infamous Mardi Gras (and my roommate’s birthday). This French

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

celebration is celebrated heavily in New Orleans, Louisiana, and literally translates to “Fat Tuesday” in English. Observed by Orthodox Christians, this is a day to indulge in rich, fatty foods before the month-long fasting season called Lenten. Most people who celebrate Mardi Gras no longer do it for religious purposes but rather for the party and widely anticipated parade. Orthodox Christians still recognize it as the celebration before Ash Wednesday, but most attendees come for the colorful beads, great food and shirtless women.

Regardless of your reasons for being there, this is one celebration everyone is able to enjoy, just like every holiday in February. Next time you think of February as the month of love, just remind yourself that it’s also the month of Presidents, riddance of sins and colorful, elaborate food parties.

The history of Valentine’s Day

Oh, love. Oh, Valentine’s Day. There’s something about this Hallmark holiday that sends lovers all over the world in a frenzy. The cards, the flowers, the jewelry, the dinner; but who really knows the history of this beloved holiday?

Starting in Ancient Rome around approximately the 1st century, the fertility festival called Lupercalia, named for the saint Lupercus, was held on every February 15. This pagan holiday was dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, and the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Every festival began with the order of Roman priests, called the Luperci, gathering at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus were being cared for by a she-wolf. The Luperci would sacrifice a goat and a dog – the goat for fertility and the dog for purification – and slap the women and crop fields with blood soaked goat hide. Roman women welcomed this because it was a belief that they would then become more fertile in the upcoming year. Afterwards, all the young women would put their names in an urn for the city’s bachelors to choose from. Whichever name was chosen, the bachelor and the woman would be paired for a year with the match usually ending in marriage.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Around A.D. 270, Pope Gelasius put a stop to this “un-Christian” holiday. It is believed the Christian Saint Valentine was killed around this time, and to honor him, Pope Gelasius placed his commemoration feast in the middle of February to “Christianize” Lupercalia. Despite the Pope declaring February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day, no one really knows who St. Valentine was. There’s one theory that he was a Christian cleric in 3rd Century Rome who was sentenced to death for performing illegal marriages in secret. At that time, Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for young men because he believed single men made better soldiers. In another theory, it’s said Valentine was jailed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. During his confinement, he fell in love with a young girl (said to be the jailer’s daughter) and sent her letters signed: “From your Valentine.”

The signature “From your Valentine” was penned in the year 270 and is still in use today, showing love truly does travel distances. After Valentine’s death, the next Valentine known to be sent was in the year 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. Charles sent his wife a poem he wrote while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Valentines today are simple notes of love and appreciation, but the first Valentines were more tragic, being sent to dearly loved wives by men awaiting their deaths. King Henry V was one of the first documented Valentines to send a note to his wife, Catherine of Valois, just to celebrate the holiday, thus starting the tradition of sending your loved ones a simple Valentine note.

As time went on, it was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which turned into the idea the day should be for romance. Lovers all over these two countries followed in King Henry V’s footsteps to send their lovers sweet notes and shower them with affection. In 1840, the United States picked up the holiday and started the mass-production of Valentine’s cards. Like most other things in the U.S, Valentine’s day was turned into an enterprise that still reigns supreme today.

Every year, one billion Valentine’s cards are sent, 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate are sold, 220 million roses are produced, $20 billion is spent on Valentine’s and $4 billion is spent on jewelry. This loved-up holiday is more of a pick-pocket franchise, but love never fails to be the defining motivation for it all. An average six million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day, showing it truly is the day of love. Although this holiday has a dark and sinister past, love prevails through it all, so eat your heart-shaped chocolates and tell your person you love them. Just don’t forget to sign your card “From your Valentine” to make St. Valentine proud.

L’Oréal Paris Féria: Midnight Collection Hair Color

Photo by Emily Hickey

Identity is what makes people who they are, but experimenting with identity is what makes people more fun. Take hair for example; everyone knows you based off your hair color and style. It’s how to identify people with similar names and a way to explain someone if your friend can’t seem to remember who exactly you’re talking about. If someone were to describe me to someone, they would say “Emily with the dark hair,” but as of last night, I am now Emily with the purple-black hair.

I love to dye my hair; it allows me to express myself in a visible way. Usually I go darker to match my eyebrows and attitude, but this time I decided to add a splash of color with my usual black. My go-to hair dye is L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème due to the constant success I’ve had with this brand. Every time I use it, the color is rich and it lasts fairly long for a box-dye (a little over a month). Not to mention it’s cheap and I’m a broke college student. However, this time around I decided to try L’Oréal Paris Féria: Midnight Collection Hair Color in Violet Soft Black. After reading the reviews online, I was convinced this would give me the results I hoped for.

At around 11:00 p.m, I started the process of dyeing my hair. I managed to lather the dye into most of my hair with only occasional help from my friend. I was also able to keep the floors, walls and sink area clean. Not so much the sink mat, but washing machines were created for a reason. The actual process was easy and the kit contained an easy to read, step-by-step guide for use of the product. It took approximately an hour to soak my hair, let it sit, then wash it out and then another thirty minutes to dry and straighten my hair for the final results.

Maybe my hair didn’t take well to the color or the dye wasn’t strong enough, but there’s only a hint of purple and a tint of black. My hair is already naturally dark so for the color to only be one shade darker

Photo by Emily Hickey

isn’t a problem, it’s with the lack of purple that I’m bummed. A couple of people throughout the next day commented on it by asking if I had changed my hair. One friend asked if I had and after I told her yes, she replied: “I couldn’t figure it out so I had to ask, but I like it.” If that is indication of anything it’s that the color is not at all vibrant and my hair is not different enough.

If I were to recommend someone this product, I would not. I love L’Oréal and use a variety of their hair products, but this one I was disappointed with. Despite its luring box design and excellent reviews, it personally did not make a lasting impression on me. One upside is its price at $8.97, but if you want a good box-dye, go with L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème. It’s cheaper, being only $7.97, and the product is fantastic. Next time I dye my hair, I won’t be using this collection, but my loyalty to L’Oréal will never falter.

Women’s Fashion Predictions for 2017

Fashion: it can either make or break a person. It runs the celebrity agenda and determines your status within peer groups. Fashion expresses a person, reflects seasons and is ever-changing. At the end of every year, a team of experts gets together to predict upcoming trends, colors and fads that will have a major impact on society. For the 2016 year, skin-tight everything and neutral colors inspired by the Kardashian family dominated the market. Women everywhere were wearing body-con dresses paired with knee-high boots while men sported skinny, distressed jeans, an oversized, neutral colored t-shirt and Adidas sneakers. Moving away from that, 2017 is predicted to be seen with an influence of the late ‘90s-early 2000s grunge era.

There are many events that influence fashion and the changes in the industry with the most prominent one right now being the election season. Generally, people tend to dress more professionally surrounding the election season, shying away from leather and mini-skirts and replacing them with blazers and knee-length pencil skirts. Big heels turn into loafers and revealing tops turn into conservative blouses – it’s just how the trends work. Since this election season was so controversial, it’s not surprising that more people are reaching for the darker colors and “rebellious” looks. Although spring is right around the corner, no one seems to be thinking about the bright colors and are replacing typical spring colors with the pastel and muted version of them. They pair these colors with denim skirts and trench coats, two fashion staples of this upcoming year. Don’t worry, florals are still a spring staple. As Meryl Streep in  “The Devil Wears Prada” said: “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”

White is seemingly the only bright color we will see in spring with all-white outfits making a comeback. Whether it be white linen dresses, a white top and white skirt, or white pants with a muted color top, white is predicted to dominate the market. On the other side of the color spectrum, black is also prominent, as it always has been. Black is the color of fashion. People are breaking out the graphic t-shirts and mesh fabric to create a grunge revival. Platform shoes are finding their way back and chokers aren’t going away anytime soon. Of course, every outfit is paired with highlighter makeup, no matter how bright or dark the outfit may be.

Showing off your curves was the thing to do in 2016 fashion, but not everyone has natural curves. This has influenced the tight tops with billowing bottoms look that is making its way onto the streets. There was once a time when women wouldn’t be caught dead with big hips yet now are doing everything in their power to attain them. This style creates the illusion of a small waist and big hips; the iconic look of our day. When you are trying to achieve this look, keep in mind the colors should now be dark instead of neutral and maybe add a choker or platforms to really fit in with everyone else in the months to come. Don’t shy away from colors, but make sure they’re not too bright and do NOT forget your highlight. Fashion is supposed to be fun, so wear everything with confidence and be sure to push the bar.

It’s not Springtime in Colorado Springs

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The holidays are known for being the time to spend with loved ones and those you hold dearest, but it’s also prime travel time, so I took advantage of just that. In early August 2016, I decided to give myself an early Christmas present of round-trip airline tickets to visit friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My first ever holiday trip, my first ever escapade completely by myself and my first time ever to Colorado – in fact, before this trip, I had never been anywhere in America besides the East Coast. It was an experience I will remember for a long time to a place I encourage others to visit as soon as possible.

Touching down at Denver International Airport at 10:19 a.m., I was running on three hours of sleep on the first day of the new year. Denver’s airport apparently has some bad juju surrounding it with creepy murals that plaster the walls and a steel horse statue out front whose eyes gleam red, so I was more than ready to evacuate the premises and get to Colorado Springs. The hour and a half car ride there was filled with good friends, good music and an even better view. Both Denver and Colorado Springs sit just before the mountains, so as you drive the highways you are presented with one of the most spectacular views I have ever witnessed. It’s beautiful enough to make you sit back and genuinely feel grateful for the life you live.

My vacation in Colorado Springs was packed with hikes, park visits and a lot of Starbucks. The first place I visited was Garden of the Gods where I successfully hiked in heels. It’s one of Colorado Springs’ wonders and I could see why: the dark red rocks that protruded from the ground were a place to hike, climb , and take in the view of the beautiful city. The name of the park came from a dispute between two European surveyors in which one wanted to build a beer garden and the other, awed by the beauty, claimed it was a better fit for gods to assemble. No, there aren’t actually gods there and there isn’t a beer garden either. It’s just really pretty.

Another memorable experience I had was my drive to the top of Pikes Peak. The infamous coffee mountain had an elevation of 14,114 feet and was 3 degrees Fahrenheit. It was almost too cold to even enjoy the view, but I definitely enjoyed the spectacular doughnuts the small shop offered. I also learned Pikes Peak was the inspiration for the song “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates. After visiting the top of the mountain, we spent the afternoon in the eccentric small town of Manitou and played at the arcades that made up the town center. For the next couple of days, we just hung-out and did miscellaneous activities around the Springs area until Thursday when we traveled through the Rockies to the ski village of Breckenridge. This by far was my favorite thing we did due to how spectacular the views were. The whole day it snowed and driving through the winding, snowy mountains as gray clouds rolled over above them was a sight like no other. Breckenridge itself was a beautiful town that was packed under feet of snow that only kept falling.

If you find yourself in Colorado, definitely visit Breckenridge. I promise you’ll thank me. My trip to Colorado was filled with memorable experiences and a lot of culture  since I stayed with a German family. Not only would I go back to the places I visited, but I want to explore more of the Rockies and of Colorado. I am a big encourager of travel and I strongly encourage everyone to visit Colorado at least once in their lives – just remember to bring a heavy winter coat if you visit in the cold months because trust me, it’s freezing.