Category Archives: Do it Yourself

For Those on the Go: Create Your Own Day Spa on Long Trips

-Emily Fraysse

When constantly on the go, it is hard to fit beauty time and sleep into your schedule. I’ve done a great deal of traveling and have found that taking the time to stop and pamper myself has been a plus. Whether you are catching a plane or going on a long car ride, this routine get you feeling refreshed when you reach your destination.

Important things to bring along:

– Snag tea or some type of green drink (Superfood from Odwalla is awesome) from the airport or a coffee shop to keep hydrated.

– Pick up a healthy salad with minimal dressing (or hold the dressing on the side) with different vegetables. Also, grab a piece of fruit, like an orange or pieces of cantaloupe, for later if you feel like the salad will not be filling enough. If you feel that you are getting a craving, drink a tall glass of water or tea. This can be difficult at an airport, but do the best that you can to find a different healthy alternative to snack food.

– Make sure you have all your tools to improve yourself before your flight! Remember: according to TSA regulations, each passenger is allowed one 3.4 ounce (or less) bottle of liquid or gel,  and one quart-sized, clear plastic zip-lock bag holding 3.4 ounces or less of containers.

– Print out a stretching guide if you will be in a cramped position before the trip begins!

The on-the-go beauty routine:

#1 The Tools: Before you head out on your trip, make sure that you have all the products and utensils ready. First thing’s first: establish what area you would like to work on, and then get the right products (or create your own product!) to maximize your spa experience.

Face: A gentle facial cleanser, two good moisturizers (one with sunscreen for the day and another to wear at night), an exfoliant, and under eye patches.

Hands: A thick hand crème and possibly gloves so that you let the crème soak into your skin. Dry hands are the worst.

Feet: Tea-tree oil is really good for feet!

Hair: Hair mask and heat protectant.

Body: Sleep (at least eight hours no matter what age), deep breathing, and water. These are all key to feeling refreshed, relaxed, and cleansed.

#2 Breathing comes first: Whether you are in a boat, a car, or a plane, the important thing to do is relax and breathe. It seems simple, but deep breathing calms and relaxes the body. Reading a book, drawing, or writing can also help you unwind.

#3 Think Positively: Remember, this is time that you are taking for yourself. Either write down or make a list in your head of all the things you are grateful for, write a letter to a friend or family member, or list three good things that happened to you that day.

#4 Remember to stretch: If, at any point during the trip you feel that your muscles are getting tight, feel free to stretch. Check out these poses for inspiration.

#5 Apply! Apply your face mask, under eye patches, or whatever else you would like to work on. Remember to make sure you have enough time to really let things soak in.

#6 Take a nap: Even a short 20-minute nap can make a huge difference. So pop off your shoes, shut the blinds, get comfy, and recline (if you can).

#7 Other things to remember: Bring gum to pop your ears if you are flying! And a nice head rest blow-up pillow will do you wonders for your neck.

Enjoy your trip!

On Trend: Makeup to Beat the Heat

 

-Rache’ll Brown

It’s 97 degrees and you are pouring sweat. Your eye shadow is creasing, your blush is streaking, and your skin is shinier than a freshly waxed floor. You decide to take a dip in the pool, and your mascara runs down your face making you resemble a raccoon.

This is every girl’s nightmare in the summer. In the past, when the temperature reached 80 degrees plus, I’d be stuck with a dilemma—should I attempt to look like a semi-decent human being, or should I ditch makeup altogether to avoid the inevitable mess that ensues via the blazing sun? But then I learned about the magic of waterproof makeup and immediately started giving the products a little test run. This is what I’ve been left with; may the days of running mascara be left behind for good. Amen.

For the Eyes

In any occasion, whether the temperature is insanely high or not, eye shadow primer is always a necessity. Always. Not only does it help your shadow stick longer, but it also makes the colors more vibrant. Another alternative is cream eye shadow, or Maybeline’s new color tattoos. In the summer I stick strictly to light, neutral colors because if something is to go awry the mess is less noticeable. I’d also recommend skipping a lot of eyeliner—simply lining the waterline should suffice, and if it is a necessity use waterproof liquid, not pencil or gel. And of course, opt for a waterproof version of your favorite mascara to finish off your eyes because mascara is one of those products that should be present even if nothing else is.

For the Face

Just like an eye primer, a good moisturizer is something that should be used year-round. The sun will dry out your skin, and a moisturizer with an SPF will keep your face supple and protect from sun damage. If you don’t have problematic skin, great! Skip foundation at all, or opt for something like a BB Cream or Skin Tint—they both offer light, sheer coverage that’ll let your skin breathe in the heat. I have a naturally porcelain complexion, so I always use bronzer. In the summer, Stila’s One Step Bronze is perfect because it gives a little color without a cakey finish. Lastly, use a cream blush or cheek tint for a pinch of color; they are long lasting and look more natural on the skin as long as they are thoroughly blended.

So this summer, skip the streaky mess and sport a more put-together look. By using long lasting and breathable products, your face with stay in place all day while still being comfortable in the summer heat.

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Best Places to Search for Creative Sparks

Pinterest

-Emily Fraysse

I needed to find a clever Father’s day card. Stat.

Searching Google, I had a hard time finding something that I liked and that was creative. These days, I find that when I need some inspiration, I tend to stray away from using generic sites like Google and Bing. Finding that little spark of creativity or imagination can be difficult when you have an innovation block. Luckily, there are a variety of places you can visit to get that extra push.  As Pablo Picasso once said, “good artists copy; great artists steal.”

#1 Pinterest

Growing in popularity over the past two years, Pinterest (shown above) has become the new filing cabinet for online photographs. By easily organizing the photographs into different “boards,” you can easily access your favorite photos of people, places, and things.

#2 Instructables

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Tic-Tac USBtinyISP Programmer, Speaker Monsters, Laser Cut Record on wood, and a steam punk storm glass are only a few items that you can make step-by-step on this website.This site is chock-full of inspiration and information on how to make crazy things, and it allows the users to post what they make.

#3 The Matboard

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Similar to Pinterest, it allows you to categorize your photographs into different categories and moodboards while promoting inspiration. What’s different is it allows for the user to search for a specific talent or occupation to view portfolios and works from people in your area. You can also promote your personal portfolio board by connecting your page with other social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

#4 Gentlemint

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Finally, there is a Pinterest for men! Instead of a website with makeup tutorials, clothing ads, and other girly things, Gentlemint is full of topics like cars, alcohol, fitness, and, of course, Ron Swanson’s Man Rules.

#5 Do It Yourself

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Know what you want to do but don’t know how? DIY will help you get there. Appealing to both men and women, the site can teach you how to build a fancy fence, seal an asphalt driveway, or balance the pH in your soil.

#6 Lover.ly

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Made purely for weddings, the users can search by color or keyword in order to plan their dream wedding. Their mission is simple: “to make wedding planning simple and more fun. Discover ideas, things to buy, and people to hire for your wedding.”

#7 I Wanna Nom

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They nail their purpose, saying “if the internet is now the world’s largest cookbook, I Wanna Nom is the index where you can circle the tastiest looking recipes and dishes that you want to try later.”

And there you have it: seven whole websites to let your mind wander pages and pages of millions and trillions of photographs to get those creative juices flowing. Now to find that Father’s Day card…

Frosty Treats for Spring Heat

popsicle

-Rache’ll Brown

Sweltering temperatures and lazy spring days bring forth a yearning in me like no other. An overwhelming desire to consume something icy and sweet ensues, and I’m at a loss of what to do. But one day when I was browsing the Internet, and it hit me—why don’t I make my own frozen treats? So I bought a Popsicle mold and some supplies, then got to work. Thank God for Pinterest.

First thing’s first, decide what kind of treat, or treats (I always go with the plural), to make. The options are endless. For Popsicles, gather things like juice, crystal light, and fresh fruit. Simply freezing sliced fruit, like strawberries, kiwis, mangoes, and more, in a Popsicle mold with some water creates a satisfying and extremely healthy treat. But freezing juice or crystal light can be better—I love buying Jet Mango Mania Real Fruit Puree/Tea Infusion Smoothie Mix and freezing that for a flavorful treat (pictured above).

Craving something rich and creamy? Homemade fudgsicles are the best. Chocolate Covered Katie has an array of recipes to choose from, but my personal favorite is the classic chocolate fudgsicle, which I like to make slight changes to. Skip out on the cocoa powder and added sweeteners, and use the required amount of coconut milk with hot chocolate mix to create a satisfying variation on this treat. Desserts like this are so fun and simple because they are open-ended. If it can be frozen, make a treat out of it!

So when the sun is out, save money on over-priced, over-sweetened treat and create something tailored to your tastes. Nothing is more satisfying than a frosty treat on a hot spring day, and your friends will supply you with endless amount of love and gratitude if you supply them with a delicious snack.

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“Tweets,” “Tweetups,” and “Tweeps:” Confessions of a Skeptical Student Turned Online Science-Writer

Infographic

-Sarah Keartes

After a four year hiatus, returning to college was an exciting venture. I was ready to learn—my mind was porous and ready to sponge up the liquid gold which I knew my professors would spew from their educated mouths. “Bring it on,” I thought to myself. I was ready.

Eager and anxious, I peered through the doors of Columbia hall, scanning the ridiculous sea of chairs for just the right spot. Professor Bill Ryan walked down the isles with a calm confidence and inquisitive brow, stopping only to say hello to familiar students, making his way to the front of the room. Though his back was turned to the class, I could just make out the side of his face, and that is when I saw it. The look.

The corners of his mouth crawled up slowly, as if in a Bane v. Batman battle against the muscles in his cheeks. They stopped in a wry smirk—he knew something I didn’t. Liquid gold. I was ready.

“How many of you are on Twitter?” he asked.

Twitter? I was ready for mind-blowing, earth-shattering brain food and this guy was talking about Twitter? My heart sank and I rolled my eyes the way adolescents do when they know they could never be wrong. Twitter was a waste of time, a wannabe Facebook that only allowed enough characters to say, well, nothing important—I knew that.

“If you are serious about journalism, you need to be on twitter, you need to be part of the conversation, find your community,” he explained.

Conversation, shmonversation. How could 140 characters help me become a science writer? The next day, I set out on a new venture—to prove Professor Ryan wrong. My science mind knew that I couldn’t disprove his claim without any data. I needed  working knowledge of the tweet-world—I needed research. I set up my account, ready to taste victory.

Well, Professor Ryan, to my enjoyment, I was wrong—horribly wrong.

Sure, Twitter is another social media platform, and just like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and many others can be a forum for pointless life play-by-plays. But what I didn’t realize, is just how useful a tool it is to connect to people who share your interests—people who can debate, brainstorm, advise, and share their experiences with you. In this way, social media can facilitate educational and professional growth.

“Today, social media go beyond personal connections to permeate professional interactions, including scientific ones,” Emily S. Darling, David Shiffman, Isabelle M. Côté, and Joshua A. Drew explain in their paper The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication.

“Twitter provides a large virtual department of colleagues that can help to rapidly generate, share and refine new ideas.”

Within my first few weeks on twitter, I connected with Bora “The Blogfather,” Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American. He urged me to to register for ScienceOnline2013, an “un-conference” dedicated to connecting people interested in the intersection of science and online media—many of whom met on Twitter. I was unsure if I could hold my own at the event, as I was “just a student,” but I decided to register anyway.

At ScienceOnline I learned an immense amount about online media, writing, science, and networking—but I learned the most about myself. I am not just a student. You are not just a student. We are students with passions, interests, opinions, and unique perspectives. We each have something to say, and it is that something that connects us. We have something to say, and people want to hear it.

From the moment I walked into the conference center, I felt at home. I was surrounded by my Twitter community—my “Tweeps,” (twitter peeps) people who shared my love for science, and who wanted to connect, collaborate, and learn from others regardless of position.  My Tweeps have become, in essence, a family—a network of support, knowledge, and life-long friendships that would never have been had I not reached out to the online science community.

Perhaps you have never tweeted, or you have never thought to use Twitter to network with people in your field of study, perhaps you are uninterested. But if curiosity is calling here are some tips to getting started from a former nonbeliever:

#1 Find your conversation: hashtags are more than a fad.

With over 550 million active users on twitter, there is a conversation for everyone. Searching for hashtags (noted with a pound symbol) is a great way to find people with similar interests. For example, initially, I searched for tweets which had been tagged “#sciencewriters” and “#studentjournalism” in hopes of finding other science writers and student journalists who I could talk to about their experience.

#2 Find your voice: forget titles and don’t be shy.

Reaching out to professionals can be a bit daunting. Leave your fear at the door—er, homepage. The first step in successful networking is saying hello.

My search for “#sciencewriters” brought me to aviation and space journalist Miles O’Brien. I had recently seen one of his films, and had some questions about his experience working on it. He had 31,745 followers, so I assumed he wouldn’t respond, but I reached out anyway. To my surprise, he responded right away, and was happy to talk shop. Remember that most people are active on social media because they want to talk and share.

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#3 Find your “tweeps”

Once you find people who interest you, start looking at who they follow. What are those people saying? Who do they follow? By taking the time to see what your tweeps are saying, and who they are saying it to, you can quickly expand your network.

#4 Find each other elsewhere: “tweetup,” and “Hangout”

Yes, “tweetup!”  Just like ScienceOnline brought together 450 people from an online community, small-scale Tweetups (in person meetings with twitter friends and colleagues) are a great way to stay connected, and make new connections. Find people in your area who share you interests, and suggest a meeting to bounce ideas around, or talk about your work.

At ScienceOnline I was able to connect with the four other undergraduate students attending by sending out the following tweet using the conference’s designated hashtag “#SciO13:”

“Hey #scio13 undergrads, meet in the Marriott [hotel] lobby?”

Now that we are back in our home-states, we are able to stay connected with Google+ “Hangouts” (multi-person video-chats). Every two weeks we meet on Google+ to talk about internships, school, blogging, and science writing in general.  We share our questions, and comments by posting them on twitter using our hashtag “#sciyoung.”

 

@scifleur, @shanpalus and @sarahkeartes discussing the best way to handle rude comments on blog posts at the last #sciyoung Hangout

@scifleur, @sarahkeartes and @shanpalus discuss the best way to handle rude comments on blog posts at the last #sciyoung Hangout.

You can see how my twitter community is helping me achieve my goals. Get out there, get creative, and get connected.

Has social media helped your career? Let me know by commenting below!

Follow Sarah on Twitter!

Infographic by Katie Ph.D.

On Trend: Dressing for Formal Occasions

formal

-Rache’ll Brown

Spring may be known for the beautiful weather and colorful flowers, but in my book it is also defined by another event: formal season. From sorority and fraternity formals, to  weddings, graduations, and more, May to September seems to be jam-packed with events that require dressing to the nines. In some cases, formal events can be tricky. How much is too much? What is too casual? But fear not, I’m here to help!  Take these tips to be appropriate at any upcoming event that may hold a dressier tone.

To start, scope out the event to figure out what would be deemed appropriate. I like to ask other guests I know what they will be wearing, or just use prior experience to gauge the situation. Next, depending on the event, follow a little style guide that fits the occasion. For weddings, don’t wear everyday clothes. This is a special occasion, and attendees’ outfits should reflect that. For ladies, a nice sundress with sandals or wedges is suitable, and slacks and a dress shirt are perfect for men. Don’t go too flashy unless the invitation says black-tie, and don’t be that person who wears jeans to a wedding. That’s just rude.

As for formals, think back to high school homecoming: short and playful dresses are the way to go; leave the floor length princess dresses behind. I try to stay away from black, especially in spring, but I also don’t seek out over-the-top prints. Classic, simple pieces will always be in style, and accessorizing will take a look a long way.

Most importantly, an outfit should make the wearer feel confident and comfortable. I won’t fuss over heels if they are too high and I can’t walk in them—I look a thousand times better owning a pair of flats than teetering around in stilts. I look for clothes that suit my body type and make me feel amazing because it’s not worth being trendy if I feel self-conscious. In any situation, dressing appropriately is extremely important, but wearing an outfit that just screams you is key.

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On Trend: Spring Nails

-Rache’ll Brown

Trends aren’t just limited to clothing and accessories. Hair, makeup, and nails matter too, and this spring some easy DIY nails trends are in. From fun designs, to hues that are bright, dark, or pale, there is something to match everyone’s style. So this spring, pair white clothing with one of these nail designs to be completely on trend.

After a little research, I found the top nail trends for spring 2013, and decided to give one a try. With pops of color, two-tone nails, and metallic accents to choose from, I decided to combine a few and create a nail look that fit my style, but still kept the trends of the season in mind.

First, I had to choose my colors. I went with “Dulce de Leche” by OPI to match the natural/pale color of the season, and decided to use “Hot & Spicy” by OPI (a bright, orange-y coral) as my pop of color. I painted all of my nails (except my pinkies) the pale color, then let them dry almost completely. Next, I took some pieces of tape, and placed them diagonally across each nail. I decided to make my diagonal “pop” gradually get bigger from the pointer to the ring finger, and I ended up leaving the thumb nails just the pale color, and the pinky nails just the bright color. I chose to do this because another trend I noticed (more on celebrities than the runway) was each nail looking slightly different from the next, but all still looking cohesive as a whole. After placing the pieces of tape on my nails, I painted the uncovered portion and my pinky nails with the bright color, waited for the polish to be partially dry, then peeled off the tape. And that’s it! Cover with a topcoat, and a trendy spring nail look is complete.

If nail art seems too complicated, stick with solid colors. White nails, pastels, and bright colors are always in, and this season, dark nails are making an appearance too. Remember: in fashion, every detail down the nails matters, so grab some polish to create a polished look.

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What YouTube Teaches Me

-Rache’ll Brown

I spend way too much of my time on YouTube when I should be studying, cleaning my apartment, or writing an essay. But what can I say? I’m a procrastinator, and YouTube is just so much more appealing than a five-page paper. However, I don’t see this obsession as time wasted—YouTube teaches me a lot, and I have had more than enough time to narrow down my favorite channels that I frequent instead of tending to my grown-up duties (who wants to do laundry anyway?). So here are the YouTube channels that teach me how to dress better, cook better, look better, and feel better.

Wendy’s Look Book

This channel features a small woman with a huge wardrobe and a ton of style. Her outfits are impeccable and her videos are prime quality, and most of her “pairings” and style advice is spot on. Fashion-lovers will be impressed with her words of wisdom.

DailyMixTV

From the sisters of Pixiwoo comes a British fashion and beauty channel featuring celebrity-inspired tutorials, makeovers, street style, and more, all featuring everyday viewers that are yearning for a new look.

You Deserve A Drink

Hosted by actress and comedian Mamrie Hart, You Deserve A Drink (YDAD) is filled with cheesy one-liners (which are the basis of her built-in drinking game) and delicious drinks in honor of celebrities and current events.

Laura in the Kitchen

My dad is a chef, so the cooking channel is always on when I am home. And let me just say, Laura Vitale is better than everyone on there. Her Italian-style cooking, simple recipes, and sheer enthusiasm are inspiring. Plus she has some great close ups of delicious food.

Pop Pilates

Fitness instructor Cassey Ho shares her tips and tricks on efficient workouts, diets, and fitness apparel with this hands-on channel. Her workouts can be hard, but her optimistic attitude makes it a little easier to complete (although her enthusiasm can be slightly irritating—I mean, how is someone so happy while doing side plank extensions?). I feel great after completing one of her videos, and sometimes an at-home workout is much more appealing than heading to the Rec Center.

Visually Oriented: The Aesthetics and Aroma of Latte Design

-Emily Fraysse

Driving toward the blur of the city lights on the Bay Bridge, I looked in my rear-view mirror to a sunrise that made Oakland and the Berkeley hills look like they were on fire. I never usually drive into San Francisco at this ungodly hour of the morning, but my mother, father, two sisters, and I all signed up to work the morning shift at Glide Memorial in the Mission District. After countless plates served of watered-down eggs and two-day-old bread, we were finally finished and exhausted. We began to wander about the Mission district, ravenous with a major lack of caffeine in my system. Bringing up the Yelp app on my iPhone, I found a good rating for a restaurant called “The Blue Fig,” so we went forth.

It was a bit of a hole-in-the wall restaurant despite the high rating on Yelp. I snatched up an order of mocha and eggs Benedict and when the food came, I was astonished. My mocha had been transformed from a typical latte to an elaborate form of art with the name of the restaurant carefully and eloquently poured in by steamed milk.

While this form of art is purely temporary, it is a worldly recognized and appreciated type of edible design. Since the early ‘80s, the action of pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso, or latte, while creating beautiful sketches and patterns is seen as a legitimate talent. Baristas, or coffeehouse bartenders, seek creativity and elegance when creating. Their goal is not only about flaunting their talents, however. It is also about making that single cup of coffee more special, sexy, and, consequently, more delicious  The artwork ranges from floral prints, to symbols, to portraits. For more design inspiration check out this gallery.

WikiHow provides a quick guide to creating a latte floral pattern.

Fighting Senioritis

-Casey Klekas

As my college experience nears its end, I’ve come down with a bad case of senioritis. This ailment has caused my creative faculties to dry up at a time when I need them more than ever. I feel like it’s the fourth quarter and I don’t have the energy to finish strong. I’ve found a few ways to combat this condition so as to relight my imagination before it burns out completely.

The best defense against senioritis, I think, is to take time to read for pleasure. I always carry a book with me–one that isn’t on a syllabus–just in case I have a free moment when I need to recharge rather than zone out. This goes double for writers. Being a good reader is essential for being a good writer. I find that when I’ve spent the whole day buried in unabsorbing texts with big words that have little relevance to my daily routine, it’s hard to make the transition to writing well.

I know that whenever I’ve been reading a lot of a particular author, I tend to write much like his or her style. Sometimes I do this deliberately. For example, when I need to write a short essay, I warm up by reading George Orwell. When I feel my writing style has become dull or flat, I’ll flip through a random passage of Nabokov to refresh my love of the English language. I’ve heard several of my favorite authors, including Hunter S. Thompson, say that they learned to write by copying whole texts from the writers they most admired (in his case, it was Fitzgerald and Mailer). If this seems excessive, then just read them carefully.

When reading, if you’re not buzzing with caffeine shakes, you should be sitting straight in a not-too-comfortable chair, in a well-lit, quiet room. I don’t think the same needs to be said for writing because sometimes it’s easier for me to write if there is a white noise overlaid with music in the background.

Whatever the case for reading and writing, the best antidote to senioritis is to recharge your imagination. Boredom is a very serious disease. It stifles creativity and it must be overcome if one wants to create anything interesting. So, now that finals week has come and gone, don’t spend your very short periods of free time zoning out on YouTube or Netflix. Pick up a good book, and keep your creativity candle lit and your imaginative skills burning.