October 27, 2015

It's that time of year in the dorms. While we get scared by haunted houses on the weekends in October, the actual phantom over our heads is the flu. Midterms are coming up, conference meets and games for sports are approaching, and perhaps theatre shows are closing. Long story short, there is no time for the flu. Ain't nobody got time for that! 

Keeping up your health as a college student is almost as difficult as balancing work, school, and a social life. Both feats seem nearly impossible (nervous laugh). However, what if you could avoid a cold and keep up your nutrition. This sounds hard, however it's just as easy as changing up your diet. Below are some foods that boost your immune system, and are also good for you!

1. Citrus
Vitamin C is the number one food that helps keep your immune system running. Lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges are easy to fit into any meal. 

2. Garlic
Garlic simultaneously helps fight infections and is also a great agent in balancing cholesterol. Pinch it into your sauces and dishes to add a little zing to every meal. 

3. Ginger
Just like garlic, ginger adds a zing to your meals and drinks. Adding it to a pressed juice would not only help keep your mind sharp for the day, but it will also wake you up. Like vitamin C, ginger can keep a cold from even taking hold. 

4. Spinach
Spinach is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Wilt it in pasta or enjoy a salad on it. 

5. Almonds
Almonds have vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that is key to a healthy immune system. A handful a day keeps the cold away!

6. Green Tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants like EGCG and flavonoids. The amino acid, L-theanine , that helps fight colds is found in it. Luckily, Starbucks makes many delicious drinks including this delicious way to fight a cold. 

Although most college campuses ban tobacco, smoking still occurs on the sidewalks and illegally in dorm rooms. Being sick and simultaneously affected by pollutants is not a pleasurable combination. With October being National Health Lung Month, be wary of smoke and the pollutants that come with it. These toxins to be wary of include radon and asbestos. These can be carcinogenic, highly dangerous, and lead to cancers like mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos. Here is a fact sheet from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance about healthy lungs:

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dollar store diva


October 13, 2015

Tis the season for pumpkin spice.. and kibbeh. As you know, I have a special place in my heart for mediterranean food; my diet consists of spinach and feta mostly. So, I thought I'd venture off and try a new mediterranean specialty: kibbeh. Kibbeh is a Levantine dish made of bulgur (cracked wheat), onions, garlick, and whatever else floats your boat. Some choose a savory option, I chose to go down a sweet path this time, in the spirit of fall. This kibbeh dish pairs well with vanilla greek yogurt. Enjoy!

All of the ingredients in a bowl look like I'm making pumpkin bread. It's very promising. 

This is the filling: pinto beans, tomatoes, spinach, feta, and olive oil. 

Who said pumpkin and spinach can't play together nicely?

Pumpkin Spice Stuffed Kibbeh
For kibbeh:
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can pumpkin, pureed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
For filling:
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup pinto beans
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Rinse the bulgur
3.Chop the onion
4. Combine drained bulgar, cumin, salt, pumpkin, egg, olive oil, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well
5. Caramelize the onion in a sauté pan
6. Combine the spinach, feta, chickpeas, and pinto beans to the pan after the onion caramelizes
7. Oil a 9 x 13 baking dish and lay the kibbeh mixture on the pan, sparing some
8. Once the filling is done cooking, lay it on top of the kibbeh mixture
9. Layer more kibbeh on top of the filling
10. Bake for 5-7 minutes
11. Enjoy!

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October 08, 2015

I always use these goals posts as a way to rant about the month. Lately, with all of my commitments between clubs and classes, the word I would us to describe how I feel is "drowning." However, I'm not drowning in a sea of bad things or things that scare me, it's in a sea of good things. The radio station on-campus, that I'm involved in, wants to put on a lot of good shows and events. PRSSA wants to raise money for conference and hold fun and enriching events. Running club wants to run as many races as possible and stay in shape. The Women's center wants to promote good causes and campaigns. My classes are teaching me skills I will use in the future. These are all good things, however it's the hard work and logistics that are leaving me with this drowning feeling. I know once I see these events and campaigns come to fruition, I will feel proud and accomplished.

September Goals

  • Complete all paperwork so running club can run our first race (and second)
  • Get back to two blog posts a week
  • Decorate living room in suite
  • Get accustomed to chores/food shopping/cleaning in the suite
  • Set goals in executive board position for WMWM and PRSSA
Accomplished goals are green and unaccomplished (yet in the works) are in red.

October Goals

  • Take time to put meetings and events in planner on Sundays
  • Work on resume and e-portfolio
  • Look at classes to take next semester
  • Look for spring internship
  • Keep up 2 blog posts a week
  • Take time to relax every day and not work on something
  • Keep up with American Horror Story
  • Have an unforgettable Halloween

Let's hope October is as promising as September was!

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ali asselta

Chapter 1: Lost In Time

October 05, 2015

Something I've never done on my blog is featured a story. My roommate, Ali from Ali's Kitchen, is not only a talented cook, but also a talented writer. I thought I'd share a few chapters from her story "Lost In Time." Here's chapter 1:

Chapter One
“Mutants,” I laughed, “what a joke.” Clicking off the TV that displayed X-Men - I mean really, like who on earth could have claws come out from your fists. Seriously? Uhm, no.
Ring...ring...ri- “Hello?” I asked out of habit, not even bothering to check the caller ID as I glanced at the time; 10:45 pm.
“Hey, it’s uh - me… Chris,” He laughed sounding nervous.
“Chris!” I squealed into the phone, “haaaaaaai!”
“What’d you think of X-Men?”
“Extremely unrealistic, next time you tell me to watch some sci-fi movie again you know what I’ll say? I’ll say no thanks!” I joked imagining Chris’ smile, his eyes crinkling; the twinkle in his emerald green eyes.
“Uh-huuuuuuh, and this is like the 50th time you’ve said this?” Yupp, he was definitely smiling that contagious smile of his alright.
“72nd time actually. I’m sle-eepy,” I yawned, my eyes squeezed shut.
“You’re always sleepy,” he teased me as I heard something in the background, “why don’t you just go to sleep then if you’re so sle-eepy?” He drawled a hint of humor in his voice.
“That damn test…” I grumbled rubbing at my eyes, smudging some eyeliner around, making me probably look like a racoon.
“Ohhh yeah, haha. Good luck with that!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?!” I asked as I shoved myself up into a sitting position while grabbing the flashcards I made and began to go over them.
“Are you seriously studying while on the phone with me?” He laughed contagiously.
“And what if I am?” I laughed trying to drill the answers into my tired brain, “Are you playing  your guitar?” I asked recognizing the soft melodic music in the background as I lazily glanced around my room. My light green walls, and the complementing beige carpet remained unchanged since I was a child, the TV on the opposite side of the room was a new addition however, and then there was my mahogany dresser and on it; was a picture of Chris and I.
“Is it that obvious?” Chris chuckled, playing a few more chords.
“Duh,” I drawled flipping my blonde hair behind me, “and yet you call me lousy for multitasking!”
“Chris?” I asked sometime later as he was just messing around on his guitar letting me study, but keeping me company.
“Yeah Lily?”
“Sing me a song?” I requested, my voice heavy with sleep, “Pretty pretty pretty please?” I pleaded sounding like a child trying to get their way, throwing the flashcards on the ground. All the information swimming lazily in my head as I tried my hardest to retain it.
“But you’re going to fall asleep like last time!” He argued probably running a hand through his dark brown almost black hair, “And you have to study for that test tomorrow.”
“I won’t. I promise! And I’m still studying right now.” I lied looking down at the color flashcards splayed all across the floor, beckoning me to pick them back up and study them.
“Oh yeah? Then what treaty was made in 1258 BC?”
“Seriously?” I laughed, “It was the peace treaty the Egyptians and the Hitties.” I answered in the most serious tone I could muster, “Do you wish me to continue or have I surpassed your little test?”
“Fine.” He sighed the hint of a smile still in his voice, “What song do you want me to sing then?”
“Uhm, uh - umity um uhmmm… OH! Sing something by All Time Low!” I squealed, snuggling into bed; the phone pressed up against my ear.
“Make it a sweet, sweet goodbye,” He sang softly his voice as smooth as a Cadillac’s engine.
“You should really be in a band Chris,” I whispered closing my eyes, drifting off to sleep my last thoughts were about ancient Egypt. That world history test was taking up too much of my time, I can’t wait till that dang test is over and done with!
“Wake up!” An unfamiliar voice bellowed jolting me awake. Wait...where am I? Opening my eyes, I looked around expecting to wake up as I usually did - the phone plastered to my face, all snuggled up in my bed with the ceiling fan on high. However, all of it was gone; instead I was in...the desert?! How did I end up here?
“Wh-where am I?” I whispered tears gathering in my eyes, as I stared at the strange man before me. He turned around to the other men talking in an unfamiliar language. His black hair was to his shoulders and he wore a pleated see-through robe with white long pants. Standing up, I noticed that a lot of the men wore simple tunics and looked absolutely terrified of the man in the robe.
“Take her back to the pyramids; this slave should be working not sleeping!” He growled as people grabbed me.
“Wait where are you taking me?!” I cried, struggling as I saw the pyramids against the bright blue sky, not a single cloud in sight. “I can’t understand what you’re saying...HEY GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME.” I couldn’t help but bawl my eyes out as I swung my fists against this strange mans’ back.
Without much choice, I was hauled over another one of the men’s followers’ shoulders and hefted on to the nearest horse.
“Shouldn’t we teach her a lesson for running away ? Or at least trying to run,” Another man whom I couldn’t see laughed heartily.
“And what are these clothes she has on?!”
“We’ll teach her a lesson back at camp,” The robe guy said offhandedly, “We’ll make an example out of her for all the other slaves so they won’t even think about running away. After all, Pharaoh Ramses II wants the pyramid built as soon as possible.”
“Ramses?!” I asked shocked, as that was the only part of the conversation I could actually understand, as I watched a pyramid loom closer and closer. Well I guess I found out where they were taking me after all.
“That’s Pharaoh Ramses to you, slave!” He victimized, slapping me across the face, leaving an angry red shaped hand print on my face as I would later see.
What the hell? “Please let me go. I don’t belong here,” I begged hoping that at least one of these strange men would understand and let me go.
“Silence her!” Robe guy snarled, flashing his sickly teeth.
“Please,” I cried barely understandably, “please.” Please became my mantra as I heard a jumble of phrases tumble out of the man in the robes mouth as he gestured violently to his followers. “Please.” I whispered as one of the men approached with a staff in his hand. That was the last thing I saw before being bashed in the head. I couldn’t help but welcome the dark abyss, as it was too enticing to fight off. After all, this had to just be a dream, right?
Ughhh, my head kills. Blinking my eyes open I couldn't help but glance down. Wha-what happened to my clothes? Ignoring the fact that I was dressed in little more than a loincloth, I couldn’t help but look around. Men, women, and even children were wearing as much clothing or even less than myself while hauling blocks up for the pyramid in progress.
“I’m in ancient Egypt, how is this even possible?” I muttered tenderly rubbing the bump on my head.
“You must be the girl they caught this morning trying to escape. Freedom, it’s the only dream we have left and day by day it’s becoming a dying one.” A woman babbled next to me in Egyptian with a sad smile gracing her robust features.
“I-I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re saying.” I replied shakily, thankful my clothes covered the essentials. Sighing the woman shook her head murmuring something. I could feel the tears threatening to spill out, but I refused to show anyone here anymore weakness. I couldn’t help but wonder what everyone else was doing back home. Did they even notice that I wasn’t there anymore, as if I disappeared from thin air? Sensing my inner turmoil the dark skinned woman pulled me into a hug and soothingly stroked my gnarly hair, damp from sweating. Her eyes shining like raw topaz, her shoulders were hunched protectively as she scanned the area, glaring at some of the guards milling about. Hissing at them as she pulled me tighter to her, motioning for me to get up. Scrambling I managed to stand, my body heavy, my throat and tongue dry and coarse like sandpaper. Quickly, her eyes seemed to say, quickly.
“Ah, I see the vixen is awake,” The robe guy growled behind me, yanking me by the hair so hard I was back on the ground. Kneeling down so we were eye level he grabbed my face roughly with his other hand inspecting me. “I have a nice big surprise for you later, whore. Remember to behave or else I’ll personally make sure your punishment happens to be so much worse.”
“Y-you speak En-english?” I all but stuttered by his threat, shocked that I could understand him, and disgusted by the lecherous gaze from his big “surprise” pressing against me.
“English? I do not know of what you speak. Oh! You mean how is it that I can speak your language. I have spent some time up in the far northwest, learning a variety of techniques,” He murmured stroking my cheek. As his thumb lazily passed over my lips. I bit down on his hand hard. With a swift smack and the taste of blood in my mouth I let go. Spitting in his face I saw him rip some cloth off his robes.
“I’ll make sure, that you’ll be begging me to end your pathetic life,” He growled binding my hands behind my back, so tight that they were becoming numb with pinprick sensations.
“Mmmf-gurhhh.” I protested as he gagged me. Yeah, that worked out well, I mentally sighed.
“Just remember what I said,” The man growled in my ear. Being dragged by the elbow, I was thrown into the center of the square where I was quickly tied to a post.
With an outstretched hand, he waited while someone placed a flogging whip in it. Yelling to the crowd gathered before us, I couldn’t help but stare down at the ground watching a scorpion crawl by, trying to control my breathing. Ripping away what little cloth that kept my breasts hidden I held my head high as I waited. Time was all but stalment as the whip collided with my back making a distinct thwack!
“Mhhh!” I groaned from the pain, as it became a steady rhythm. Blood pooled and rolled down my back and body, dripping on to the dusty ground. Blinking through my tears I noticed two men approaching, father and son. They were clearly related with similar features. He gazed at me with such an intense stare, it felt like his brown eyes were gazing deep into my soul. Salty tears mingled with sweat soaked through the linen gag as the sun beat down. On the verge of passing out from the blood loss and dizziness of the heat I noticed the whipping had stopped. When had this happened?
“Stop! That’s enough Abasi,” He yelled his voice husky, the whip wrapped around his arm making it a bloody mess.
Well now I finally had a name to place that damn lech with.
“I see you are quite smitten little brother,” someone laughed, patting him on the shoulder appearing out of no where,
“What are you doing?!” The father yelled his voice heavily accented, his face turning purple with rage, “This girl is just a mere slave!”
“I know Father but-”
“What am I going to do with you,” he sighed, cupping his cheek lovingly. “Abasi!”
“Ye-yes your majesty?” Abasi squeaked out, ready to appease him at all costs, what a kiss ass.
“Make the necessary arrangements for the girl to stay with us.” He commanded with authority, “Oh, and Abasi make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Venom dripped from every word spoken as someone bandaged his sons arm.
“Sire.” Abasi bowed clearly shaken as he took his leave.
“What’s your name?” My savior asked as he waved off the twittering women signaling them to tend to my wounds first as we entered the Palace. The trip from the post to here was all but a blur.
“Lily,” I winced as whatever salve they lathered on my butchered flesh, stung. “You?” I asked gritting my teeth, trying to ignore the pain.
“Ramesses, eldest son of Isetnofret,” he laughed, it echoing around the room. I couldn’t help but notice the grandeur of this place, as I had been so focused on not passing out earlier on our way here.
“Where are you from?” He asked curiously, dismissing them while inspecting their handiwork personally.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” He shrugged it off, taking a swig of wine from an ornate chalice, “you shall become my concubine. There is something about you, that...has enchanted me.”
“Wha-WHAT?!” I choked out, falling out of the bed I had been placed in, only to be caught delicately by Ramesses. “I refuse.”
“Why? Isn’t it every girls dream to have the affections of a Prince? Besides you’ll like the others.” He went on not noticing the sobs I was trying so hard to desperately hold them back, “I’m sure Cathia will - what’s wrong?” He frowned finally aware of my breakdown going on.
Mom...Dad...Chris... I was never going to see any of them again.
“Shhhh,” Ramesses soothed scooping me up into his arms like a newlywed bride, striding down the hallway as people couldn’t help but gwack.
“Out of the way Nyx,” He growled as a woman stood bravely in front of him blocking his path, “now.”
“No. You’re wife has been awaiting your return all day worried sick since she heard you were hurt, and here you are gallivanting around on your childish whims with a palace slave.”
Before I knew what was happening, my eyes grew heavy with sleep as Ramesses and the woman argued before me. Drifting off to sleep, I thought about the one thing that could always comfort me, Chris - his voice singing me to sleep, his bone crushing hugs, his presence that always made me feel safe as my parents screamed and fought with each other, who’d do anything for me.
“Mmmmmmmm,” I groaned stretching my arms, only to have my hand whack against the wall rather hard. Quickly opening my eyes, I took in my surroundings. I was in my own room! “Oh thank the Lord!” I laughed heading for the bathroom, shaking my head at my ridiculous dream while stripping off my clothes. With an irresistible urge, I glanced in the mirror as I turned on the shower, none other than the irritated, red cuts that ran down my back and the bruise of a hand on my face staring back at me.
“ was all real,” I murmured turning the shower off immediately.
“How is this possible?”
“Hey Chris,” I whispered quietly as he finally opened the door from my incessant knocking.
“What are you doing here so early?” School isn’t for another couple of hours, “Chris yawned while stretching, his long sleeved gray shirt riding up, flashing a hint of midriff and a teasing amount of hair disappearing under his red and black plaid pajama pants.
“What other sci-fi movies do you recommend watching?” I asked bluntly, getting straight to the point, trying not to hyperventilate as he silently scrutinized me.
“Since when do you like sci-fi? I thought they were way too ‘unrealistic’ for you.” He said his eyes glued to my cheek where I had painstakingly tried to cover the burning handprint.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” I deadpanned, fidgeting as his eyes flickered to mine.
“Try me.”

- to be continued -

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PR Professional and Stylist to Hold an Earring Drive and Party to Benefit Windows of Hope Boutique at Beth Israel Hospital

October 01, 2015

As a fellow PR nerd, I thought I'd share this awesome event held by Jamie Adler, head honcho at Bayleaf Communications. It's an earring drive to benefit Windows of Hope Boutique at Beth Israel Hospital, a speciality shop for cancer patients. This month-long event in October will donate all proceeds and earrings to the charity. She is also co-hosting a a fundraiser at the Art Lounge in Arlington, Massachusetts where she hopes to raise money and collect earrings.  Here is a blurb written by Jaimie:

As most of you  probably know, October is Breast Cancer awareness month and I wanted to do something special on a local level to bring a little cheer in the form of bling of course, to women undergoing chemotherapy. I can’t imagine how scared and vulnerable these women must feel.

Founded by a cancer survivor and her husband, Windows of Hope  Boutique at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, makes it easy for patients with cancer to find the products and services they need in one comfortable and convenient location. 

Although the drive has started, and will last throughout October, I have joined forces with the Art Lounge in Arlington for a fundraising event on October 10 from 7-10.. All  proceeds from the event and any physical earrings purchased will support the charity. We hope to deliver 100+ pairs of earring to Windows of Hope on November 1st  to give to women at their wig and headscarf fitting appointments.

If you aren’t local or can’t attend on the 10th you can still contribute. Just visit my site,  You can drop the earrings off at my house, or I can meet you if you are local or have them sent directly to me. DM me for my mailing address.

 I hope you’ll join me for this 1st annual earring drive. On behalf of myself, The Art Lounge and Windows of Hope, I thank you!
Please share and help me spread the love.

Lastly, here are some Stella & Dot samples:

To donate to her earring drive, mail earrings to:

17 Nichols Rd
Lexington, MA

Don't forget to check out her event at to support a great cause.

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