Monthly Archives: December 2013

My Top 13 Tracks of 2013

Dec 20, 2013 | Author: Ghedion Behonegne

2013 was a great year for music. Here are songs that I danced, raved, procrastinated, studied, and stayed up way past my bedtime to. This list is ranked in no particular order.


This song makes the list purely for its effect on hip hop.  Kendrick elegantly proclaims his importance,

“I’m important like the pope, I’m a muslim on pork. I’m makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York.”

And with that rap was never the same. Many will see his verse as an attack, rather than the call to arms that it really was. It was a rally cry, an attempt to wake up rap from its drug-induced coma, to spur on his rivals to reach greater heights. It also showcases Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical ability and skill.


If you enjoy this song, chances are you’ll love the album which is full of other super chill gems. This song in particular was my anthem of chill. Whether that was mellowing out while studying or hanging out with my friends, this track carries nothing but good vibes.


Need your dose of audio adrenalin? Look no further. Whether looking to you amp yourself up during a workout, or up the energy during your pregame this song is perfect.  Excuse me while I dance and jump around for a little bit.


On the note of amping yourself up, this track will stop short of inducing homicidal mania. And Jeb Corliss is one bad dude.


If you listened to that last one, step away and cool down for a moment so you can enjoy this wonderful track by someone whose name I have no idea how to say.  For best results, listen to in a room with your friends with the lights off. And no, I won’t explain those oddly specific instructions, but trust me and make like a nike commercial and just do it.


Childish Gambino or Donald Glover, is a multi-talented entertainer. This is just one of the many bangers off his recent album, Because the Internet. It’s extremely well put together and has a little bit of everything on it.


No list would be complete without Drake. His album was one of the huge success stories of 2013, and could be heard blaring out of cars, emanating from every set of Dre Beats, it was everywhere. That catchy hook and the universal nature of his lyrics cemented his spot on this list.


Chance the Rapper embodies conscious rap, self-reflection and psychedelic mushrooms all colliding and producing something wonderful. This album was the playlist of my summer.


I don’t think I’ve ever listened to this song earlier than 3 A.M. This was the anthem to my all-nighters and played throughout some spectacular late night moments. Perfect tune for night owls.


Type in harlem shake into youtube, and you’ll have to scroll down to find the original song sans any ridiculous shenanigans. This song was huge and spawned an entirely new genre of viral videos.

Here’s a collection of some of the better ones:


Robin Thicke, Pharrel and T.I. with the most playful, misogynistic tune and video of the year.


Those visuals, that hook, that beat, that twerk (Or lack of). Miley successfully breaks her carefully curated disney princess image with a wrecking ball by declaring that its her house, and these are her rules.


I can’t listen to this song without getting vivid and colorful flashbacks of Electric Zoo 2013. I’ve been raging to this song ever since.


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Is Moving Out Right for You?

Dec 11, 2013 | Author: Colleen Bierstine

Photo by Jamie Callari

I didn’t choose to move out per say. I had every intention of living at home and commuting to school for my entire time at UC. However, my wonderful plan was torn to shreds when my parents decided to up and move right before my junior year.

I was faced with the difficult decision of moving out and being independent or following my parents during their move and having to transfer halfway through my college education. Neither option would be easy, so I ultimately decided I couldn’t give up the public relations program I am so passionate about at UC.

My whole moving out process happened in about two weeks, and it was a whirlwind of changes. I had to find an apartment ASAP, lug all my stuff there, and suddenly learn how to be an independent human being. This also meant that managing my food blog would be twice as hard and time-consuming without my mother to act as my sous-chef, camera woman, and grocery shopper.

I know; it doesn’t sound that appealing at first, does it? It certainly didn’t feel like it to me at the time. But weeks passed, and then months, and suddenly, I was settled in and functioning rather efficiently. Moving out of my parents’ house seemed daunting at first, but I was shocked at how quickly I adapted when forced to do so (and that sentence applies to almost any situation in life).

With moving out, you garner freedom. And I’m not talking about throwing wild parties; I’m talking about the ability to decide what you want to buy at the grocery store, how to decorate, how messy you can be, and whether or not you’re going to put pants on that day (unless your roommate(s) disagree with any of these things). Suddenly, there’s no authoritative, judgmental eye over you. And for the first time in your life, you really come into your own.

Yes, you take on a lot more responsibilities when you no longer live with your parents, but honestly, this is a good thing. You’re going to have to be an independent, functioning adult at some point, so this is like the trial run before graduation. You’re going to learn a lot of important things like the most efficient way to kill a spider and how to change light bulbs. And although these things might feel like a pain while they’re happening, you can’t help but beam with pride for yourself afterward.

Living independently allows you to focus. It gives you more clarity to think about what it is you want and how to get it. Sometimes it’s something as simple as getting your work done. Without having your family over your shoulders, doing homework and writing papers becomes a bit less about distractions. But you also have more room to pursue and think about your interests. You get to concentrate on you.

The best part is you don’t have to move out forever. Most parents will happily accept you back if you decide that’s what you want after some time. Now is the best time to try it; college is all about having flexibility in your lifestyle and trying new things so you can decide what you want for the rest of your life. Whether you’re moving into a dorm or choosing apartment life, moving out of your parents house will be better for you than you ever imagined. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge.

How to Kick Butt At Presentations

Dec 6, 2013 | Author: Ghedion Behonegne

Talking has always been my thing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been talkative. I had a penchant for the dramatic, so if you gave me half the chance, I would undoubtedly talk your ear off. Naturally this got me into a lot of trouble early on. I was constantly being reprimanded for my chatty nature and it even earned me a special table next to my first grade teacher (Despite her best efforts, my new position in the classroom now allowed me to address everyone at the same time).

The one place where it did pay off though was when it came to oral presentations. I’ve never been fazed by speaking in front of a group so here are my tips for success.

Dress for success. Throw on your snazziest outfit. Not only will you want to look good while everyone is paying attention to you, it will do wonders for your confidence.

Have a small bottle of water. In the case that you lose yourself or go blank, you can always take a long drawn out sip while you figure out exactly where you are, what class you are in and what it is you want to say. Seriously, this one is a life saver.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. And when you’re done. Practice some more. Nothing will set you up for success more than knowing your material through and through.

Use your friends. If you have any friends that are in the same class as you, give them questions to ask you at some point during your presentation. This will make you look extra intelligent, and help to break up the monotony of hearing one persons voice for too long. Be sure to return the favor.

Fake it till you make it. If you are feeling nervous, fake confidence. Even if you feel shaky and fragile, it is very hard to see nervousness in others as long as your voice is stable and you are not too fidgety.

Use the podium. Again, if you are feeling nervous, grasp the podium like your life depended on it and do not let go until your presentation is done. This will help to keep you standing up right and tall and it also keeps your hands preoccupied.

Use these tips to get the best out of your presentations and make the best of finals. Happy studying.

Mythbusters: The Know It All Edition

Dec 5, 2013 | Author: Ghedion Behonegne

I have been told that I am somewhat of a know it all. I will admit to this particular flaw of mine but, I, ever the educational optimist- will use this as a moment to impart some of my wisdom for the betterment of mankind.

Most of these facts were researched for the sole purpose of this article, but let’s just pretend I have an arsenal of impressive trivia and myth debunking experience.

Myth 1: Guy Fawkes was the epitome of an anarchist.

Ask your local aspiring anarchist who their idol is, and chances are they will mention Guy Fawkes.

Guy Fawkes is the inspiration behind these awful masks.

Guy Fawkes is accredited with the cunning plan of almost blowing up Parliament in England in 1605. What a revolutionary, going as far as planning on destabilizing an entire countries government for his beliefs.. What were his beliefs again? Oh, it was that the government was too liberal. England at that point in time was undergoing an egalitarian Protestant revolution, Guy Fawkes planned on blowing up parliament in order to establish Catholic rule and dominion over the country.


Myth 2. Silencers will turn your gunshot into a silent whisper of death.

If you have learned anything from Hollywood, it is that if you want to take out a ruthless drug dealer/dictator/tyrant in public your best bet is to sneak up on him and shoot him with a silencer on your gun. Then you can make your stealthy escape while his bodyguards stand around befuddled yelling, “Did anyone hear where that came from?!” Poppy cock.

An un-silenced gun will register at an average whopping 150 decibels, loud enough to cause deafness with limited exposure. While a silenced weapon will register at 130 decibels, loud enough to cause deafness with repeated exposure and let everyone know exactly what it is you have done and foil your plans.

Myth 3: Scorpions, Sharks and other animals are just waiting to kill you.


Look at how much dying is happening here. Dead.

For whatever reason, animals tend to get misaligned in the media. They are often portrayed as blood thirsty killing machines with an assortment of stingers, venom, teeth and claws that have one purpose; to painfully and excruciatingly end human life. This could not be farther from the truth. Simply put, your odds of dying from a scorpion bite are one in three million. So roughly the same as being killed by lightning.

Keep an eye out for the mythbuster series, there are more myths that will be debunked.

The 8 websites that got me through college.

Dec 4, 2013 | Author: Vikki Feggulis

That’s one loaded post title. It implies I will really, actually, truly, in less than two weeks (O M G) graduate. Wow.

In true nostalgic fashion, I figured I’d share some of the sites that I’ve discovered in school that have helped me out academically, physically and mentally. I need all the help I can get.

1. VisualCVScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 3.25.07 PM

#ShamelessPlug. Let’s get the academic stuff out of the way off the bat, shall we? (P.S. look around the page right now and try to tell me you’re not creeped out by all the little pictures of my face. GO AHEAD, TRY.)

This website has helped me a lot when applying for jobs and internships! The page itself is set up pretty much like LinkedIn and looks like a virtual resume. Unlike LinkedIn though, VisualCV makes it super easy to upload documents, visual samples and audio clips into a portfolio section. This feature is really helpful, especially if you’re trying to get a job working with social media. Many applications for positions involving social media now require a blog URL or portfolio URL to be submitted, so having something like this handy is great!

2. CollegeRuledScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 4.31.05 PM

Keeping with the academic theme, this website makes plotting your strategies for battle, I mean “picking classes,” ridiculously easy. I’m a little old-school I suppose (Excel docs 4Evah), but this option was introduced to me last year and I have a feeling that if I’d known about it as a first-year student that I would’ve been all over it. (P.S. I only gave you half my schedule in the example above so you can only half stalk me. Boom.)

3. InstamotivationScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 4.46.41 PM

Let’s be honest, there’s something you should be doing right now that you’re not doing because you don’t want to and you’re thoroughly going to regret it right…. now. (Sorry.)

Instamotivation, which happens to be from the brilliant minds at Greatist, will hammer you with motivational phrases until you feel like you could climb Mount Everest, backflip down and then run a marathon at the bottom.

Then you’ll remember that you’re only writing a paper on the economic situation in Sri Lanka and get real sad again. But you’ll be super motivated!! E-C-O-N, who can do it? YOU CAN! (Again, I’m sorry. Instamotivation overdose.)

4. GreatistScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 3.41.58 PM

Greatist is one of the best websites I’ve found in a long time. The goal? To breakdown health, fitness and general wellness information to interesting and easily digestible bites. The site is littered with infographics, research-based articles (with “takeaways” at the bottom for those moments when you’re pressed for time), recipes and polls that ask some tough questions about the state of health and wellness in the country all in a conversational, easy-to-understand format. The unique angle of the articles makes this site one of the biggest ways I procrastinate, but I’m constantly learning so it’s not all bad right…?? Guys?

5. The OatmealScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 5.00.51 PM

This website literally makes me cry. Real tears. Real tears of wonderful, unrivaled joy. These comics are hysterical and most are based on current events (procrastination is justifiable in you’re learning, obviously.) Pretty sure laughing constitutes an ab workout too, so it’s like a win-win.

6. What to Wear ToolScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 4.14.09 PM

For all my fellow runners! Plug in a few different details about yourself and the conditions outside, and the tool will tell you what to wear. No thinking involved. None. Nada. Zip. I need one of these for like, my life. Someone tell Mark Remy to get on that.

 7. Tone It UpScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 3.55.25 PM

Next we’ve got Tone It Up! I started following the site about two years ago because I was bored with my workouts. Karena and Katrina, the girls who run Tone It Up, create, film and distribute free workouts on their site. And let’s be honest, free is every college student’s middle name.

Low on time and space? You could definitely buy some dumbbells and do the workouts in the dorm too. Every Sunday, they post a day-by-day schedule of workouts, which is great if I’m feeling blah about my impending trip to the gym. Each one comes with a printable copy (although, I’m a cheapo and write the workouts on post-its. My gym bag looks like a multi-colored paper-based bomb went off.) With everything else going on, it’s nice to not have to plan my workout from time-to-time.

8. Whatever this isScreen shot 2013-12-04 at 6.31.34 PM

BEST way to waste time (and force you to turn dejectedly to Instamotivation) EVER.


I hope you find some of these websites useful! And hopefully, their use goes beyond just being amazing time-killers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play with the little spaceship. #Instalazy

For you:
What are your top 3 most visited websites?

Other than the obvious Facebook and Twitter.
I almost typed MySpace.
Help me, I’m stuck in 2006 and I can’t get out.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Africa

Dec 3, 2013 | Author: Ghedion Behonegne

In my never ending quest to educate I’ve assembled some of the most interesting and lesser known facts about my home continent. Enjoy.

1. There are more than 2,000 languages spoken in Africa. Bear in mind that there are only 54 countries.

2. The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world and is larger than the continental United States.

3.  Africa is home to the largest reserves of precious metals in the world. The source of 90% of all platinum reserves, 60% of cobalt reserves and 40% of gold reserves.

4. Africa is home to 8 of the 11 major biomes.

5. During the summer months of June and July, the largest wild migration occurs on the Serengeti. An estimated 2 million Zebra and Wildebeest travel from Tanzania to Kenya in search of fresh grazing grounds.

6. Approximately 30% of Earth’s remaining minerals are found in Africa.

7. Africa is the hottest continent with 60% of its landmass covered in desert and drylands.

8.  Prior to colonization, Africa was composed of 10,000 self governed and autonomous states.

9. Africa burns the most biomass on the planet, yet is only responsible for only 4% of carbon dioxide emissions.

10. The discoveries of ‘Lucy’ (The earliest known hominid remains dated 3.2 million years ago) in Hadar, Ethiopia and a trail of hominid footprints discovered in the Kibish region of Tanzania point to the Rift Valley being the birthplace of humanity.

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Feasting

Dec 2, 2013 | Author: Colleen Bierstine


As a devoted food lover, this is my favorite time of year. There are so many seasonal treats to indulge in, and calories don’t count until after the New Year, am I right? Now, perhaps you need some inspiration for what to chow down on this holiday season, or maybe your usual menu is starting to look a little lackluster. Allow me to help you out. I’ve got a smorgasbord of delectable dishes to make this the tastier holiday ever. But I must caution you: Please feast responsibly. Over-indulging in these mouth-watering treats may cause food comas.

Main Dishes to Steal the Show


  1. Eggplant Parmigiana This overloaded cheesy behemoth is a meal in and of itself. You’ve never seen so much ooey-gooey cheese in one place, plus a sweet yet spicy homemade sauce with fresh basil makes this dish special. And who could resist crispy, golden brown fried eggplant tucked underneath all that goodness?
  2. Vegetable Lasagna with Blush Sauce You’ve probably seen vegetable lasagna with white sauce, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried it with my rich blush sauce. This substantial main can be customized with your favorite veggies.
  3. Classic Polish Pancakes Whether you’re Polish or not, this recipe is a must-try.

Must-Try SidesDSC_9646

  1. Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese The flavors of this ultra-creamy mac are comforting and warm, and everyone who’s tried it has raved about it.
  2. Cheesy Twice-Bake Sage & Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes Words cannot describe how heavenly and flavorful these potatoes are. You’re a fool if you don’t try them.
  3. From-Scratch Cheddar Green Bean Casserole Way better than the canned, chunky version, and just as easy to make.
  4. Ma’s Baked Corn Pudding If you’ve never tried corn pudding, this is the recipe to make you a corn pudding lover. It’s sweet, savory, golden brown, and indulgent.
  5. Ma’s Sweet Potato Casserole Because everyone needs the perfect sweet potato casserole recipe.
  6. Extra Creamy Stovetop 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese Chances are, you’re short on oven space as is. Save yourself stress and make this super creamy & cheesy mac on the stove in about 20 minutes.
  7. Roasted Garlic & Basil 3-Cheese Shells A sea of rich cheese sauce kissed with the robust flavor of roasted garlic and the sweetness of fresh basil blankets mountains of tender pasta shells.

Awesome AppetizersIMG_3389

  1. Best Spinach-Artichoke Dip Seriously, I’m not kidding. This is the creamiest, cheesiest, best spinach-artichoke dip on the planet, and it’s a one-pot dish.
  2. Party Bread Sourdough bread cut into tearable, sharable pieces and stuffed with monterey jack cheese, drenched in butter, & sprinkled with poppy seeds and fresh scallions. It’s all baked until golden brown and melty. Yum.
  3. Tortellini Dippers w/ Pesto Sauce So easy, and yet everyone will rave over how cute and delicious these are.
  4. Easy, Big, Fat Garlic Knots Starts with a can of store-bought biscuit dough, but tastes like homemade.

Delightful Desserts


  1. Chocolate-Gingerbread Pumpkin Mousse Trifle This pretty dish is a show-stopper, and the perfect dessert to please pumpkin pie lovers and gingerbread lovers alike.
  2. Peppermint-Gingerbread Cookies & Cream Ice Box Cake All the flavors of Christmas in one insanely indulgent and delicious make-ahead dish.
  3. Nutter Butter Penguins Cute, quick, and delicious.
  4. Eggnog Christmas Cookie Milkshakes What else are you going to do with all those Christmas cookies?

Cookies Galore_DSC7509

  1. Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Everyone needs the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
  2. Fudge Brownie Thumbprints with Caramel Drizzle These cookies are as gorgeous as they are sinful.
  3. Hello Dollies A 7-layer cookie tradition handed down to me by my grandmother. Just pile all the ingredients in a pan and bake!

What’s on your menu this year?

Gym Etiquette: A How To Guide

Dec 1, 2013 | Author: Ghedion Behonegne

After the gorging festivities of the past week have passed, the food babies have been slept off, and the last of the dishes have been washed, all of us who practice some self reflection will have realized something: A workout (or two, or three) is in serious order after we have plowed our bodies with enough calories to store up fat and hibernate through the cold winter months ahead.

For some, the gym is like a second home (No need to read on, for you are well versed), while for others it is a frightening and foreign land filled with large huffing, puffing football players and a collection of other pitfalls and potentially fatal awkward encounters.  This blog post is especially for you, so listen up.

Do: Research and set your own goals. Read up a little bit, there are some fantastic resources for gym goers of all ages and levels. These are my two favorites (1 and 2).  Set your own goals, whether they are aesthetic or performance based, they will help you keep focus and discipline. The purpose of this is so that you can maintain some modicum of self respect, and just so you don’t feel downright silly. 

Don’t: Be a chatty Cathy. Girls and frat bro’s, I’m looking at you. Space and equipment are limited resources. Get in, warm up, work out and get out. Nothing is worse than waiting for someone to use a machine or the squat rack and they spend their ‘rest’ time gossiping for five minutes, or even worse, on their phone. The most insufferable version of this person has headphones with an in line microphone, so you don’t stand a chance of getting their attention- and are left waiting an eternity while you wilt away.

Do: Have a designated workout buddy. Studies have shown that having a partner or a group to workout with can keep you going to the gym for longer and more consistently. Finally, a positive type of peer pressure.

Don’t: Ogle. At the gym you will find a myriad of attractive  and well toned males and females. This coupled with the fact that the majority of them will be engaged in physical activity, in revealing clothing (Yoga pants, how are you such a blessing and a curse?) in front of mirrors makes for an ogle-fest. You do not want to be that girl or guy that gets labelled as a creep due to your wandering eye. So look once (Twice if she’s really cute) and resist the urge and focus on  your workout. Remember that people are there to improve themselves, so staring and gawking is insensitive.

Do: Re-rack and wipe down your equipment after use. Because its sanitary and polite, and because sweat puddles are gross and icky.

Don’t: Lift heavy without a spotter. This one applies more to the guys out there. Nothing is more embarrassing than dropping the barbell on yourself while attempting to bench press*.

*Note: There is one thing actually. This happens when you are bench pressing heavy without a spotter while listening to music with headphones.  Then you reach failure. Now you have a barbell pinning you down to the bench, and blaring music in your ears causing you to lose the ability to gauge how loud your voice is while you ask for help (Or squeal). So you end up repeatedly half shouting then half whispering, “Help! Help? Help.” Until the nearest person so kindly offers some assistance. No, this did not happen to me…

Disclaimer: This did happen to me.

Do: Share. Growing up I was always taught, sharing is caring. So when someone asks you how many more sets you have with those dumbbells, the appropriate response should be, “(Insert how many sets you have left) but you can jump in.” Its courteous and people will be sure to return the favor.

Don’t: Take selfies in the mirror. Whatever your take is on selfies, we are all guilty of having snapped a few in the privacy of our own bathrooms (Why is it that approximately 86.4% of selfies are taken in the bathroom)**.  It is highly frowned upon to take selfies in the gym. Firstly, whenever anyone in your immediate vicinity hears the click of a camera shutter their first thought is, “Why is this person taking a picture of me?” Followed by the realization that you have pulled up your shirt and are holding a flex for the camera. They then shake their heads in disappointment and move on.  This is an exact sequence of events, as they occur, every single time.

**Note: Approximately 73.4% of statistics are made up.

Lastly and most importantly, do go to the gym and enjoy yourself. Strive to make yourself a little bit better everyday, and one day- lo and behold, you will be a vastly improved version of yourself.