The 8 websites that got me through college.

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.


Contradiction of the Century: The Vegetarian Thanksgiving

This time of year is, without fail, always when everyone finds out/realizes/remembers I’m a vegetarian. See also: carb-itarian, “bad hunter” and this:

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 4.27.12 PM


These people say all sorts of lovely things to me…

“Enjoy your tofurky, loser!”
“Hope ya like brussell sprouts, freak show!”
“Have a nice break!”

So hurtful. Especially that last one.

A lot of people assume vegetarians on Thanksgiving are either dining like rabbits or eating tofurkey in a commune while wearing a beret and smelling heavily of patchouli.

I don’t even own a beret.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a veggie and non-veggie idea for the upcoming holiday. The non-veggie idea is peace offering. (</3)

Vegetarian Delight: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes Made with REAL FOOD!
Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 4.44.37 PM

Greatist posted this great list earlier in the week to break the tofurkey stereotype. I think it’s helping! (I also think I’m going to gain 400 pounds this year because I am making every single one of these.)

Omnivorian* Leftover Takeover: Pumpkin Turkey Chili

This recipe is from Tone It Up and is really good and creative! The pumpkin makes the chili creamier and the cinnamon at the end (weird, I know) gives the chili some sweet heat. Don’t knock it ’til ya try it. (I tried a turkey-less version last year. It was really good!)
* I made that word up.

See, vegetarians aren’t so bad, now are they? (Except to the poor defenseless veggies. DIE, VEGGIE, DIE R.I.P.)

For you:
What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?
CARBS. Those flaky, peel-able biscuit things account for approximately 98% of my Thanksgiving meal.
Do you eat a lot of veggies? Or do you consider corn and tomato sauce your favorite vegetables?
Judgment-free zone.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


On the Run: Rayhill Memorial Trail (and some tough-run tips)

Anddd we’re back! Welcome to post #3 for the On the Run!. Today, we’re venturing a bit outside of Utica to explore. In fact, on this run, you cross through four towns all without going very far! What can I say? I am a world traveler.

I will forewarn that this entire loop is between 10 and 11 miles, which I realize is enough for some people to demand I be incarcerated for cruel and unusual punishment. That being said, there is a parking lot smack in the middle of the trail, so driving there is an option. A totally worth-it option.


The trail actually starts just over two miles from campus next to New Hartford’s Consumer Square, so you could totally park at the strip mall and head out from there. I won’t tell.


From here, you follow the trail as it takes you along 840 westbound and onto Middle Settlement Road.

IMAG1755Fun fact #1: all great photography also captures the fingers of the photographer.

Hang a right at the light and you’ll find the entrance to the rest of the trail.


Those of you from the area probably think I’m a little weird/sheltered, but we really don’t have any nice trails near me in New Jersey. It has really made me appreciate that places like this exist!

IMAG1761 IMAG1760  IMAG1762


IMAG1764Look. At. The. Ice. WHY???? (Winter and I don’t get along.)

IMAG1769BEAVERS! (I think. I need at least six more trips to the Syracuse Zoo before I can even attempt to figure any of that out.)


Cross Clark Mills Road and you’ll find…..


Eventually, the black-top trail ends and you’ll hang a right at the traffic light and continue up the sidewalk.

IMAG1774I love the tree in this picture. Fun fact #2: in May when the tree is in full bloom, you have to tuck and roll to go through. Or, like, go around. But what fun is that?


Can we talk about the two little Egyptian tributes in this park?? Every time I run by, I always wonder how that conversation must have gone…

We’ve gotta decorate the park. Maybe a jungle gym or a sand box–
Sphinx statues!

Running gives me lots of time to think about things no one should ever think about.


You’ll be on this path for a while. Enjoy the quiet.

IMAG1778 IMAG1780

Once you pass an elementary school, you’ll turn right onto Henderson Street. There’s no sidewalk here, so run against traffic. The side of the road/grass has plenty of space!


And from here, it’s basically a big loop. Cross Commercial Drive (use the crosswalk buttons!! Do not play frogger.) and go up Burrstone Road back to campus. Seeing one of these at the very end of an 11-mile run is always wonderful.


Hills of doom, ladies and gents. Hills of doom.

While I know the run is a bit long for some, there are some serious perks with this route. Aside from the pretty scenery and the fact there’s almost always someone walking their dog (PUPPIES), the trail is consistently plowed and salted. Even in February after blizzards and freezing rain have turned every other sidewalk in a 45-mile radius to a pit of misery, this trail will be waiting.

A lot of people (i.e. my mother) ask me how I get through any run, especially the long ones. My secret weapon is this:


I listen to a loop of Jillian Michaels screaming obscenities at me. Works wonders.

KIDDING! Jillian Michaels has a great fitness/nutrition/life advice podcast that you can download for free from iTunes! It’s full of great information, conversational and usually has me cackling in the middle of my run. All alone. In the middle of the woods. This is also a great tactic for ensuring strangers think you’re mentally unstable and do not want to talk to you. It’s a win-win!

If I’ve already listened to Jillian’s weekly podcast, I jump to NPR’s Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, which is a hilarious news quiz show. The show helps me get up-to-date on current news in a really unique and entertaining format. Wait, Wait! is also available for free on iTunes.

Best way to end a run? Pain and torment, obviously.


Hurts so good.

Some questions for you:
Do you like paved trails/sidewalks? Or are you more of a traditional, gravel-and-mud trail person?

What’s your favorite thing to listen to during a run?
Podcasts, e-books, songs/albums.. whatever! I’m always looking for ideas 🙂

Have you ever used that doo-hickey (technical term. Also known as a foam roller) in the last picture? Do you weep every time or is that just me?
Just me? Ok, cool.



Being an RA is really, really fun sometimes.

They told me I was crazy.

When I mentioned to friends and coworkers what I was planning on doing, they called me a looney. Told me it was madness. I must be ill!

What exactly did I do, you ask?
I, voluntarily, took 16 18-year-olds on a six-hour trip to the mall. And it was AWESOME.

As I mentioned in my first post, I’m an RA for a themed community for first-year students. Whereas the zoo trip went along with the ULive floor theme for biology majors, this trip was for my own community: UBalance. In UBalance, we focus on healthy living from head-to-toe.

So when my partner-in-crime and fellow UBalance RA Sam came to me with an idea to take our floors to Destiny USA for the ropes course, WonderWorks and shopping (in the name of mental health and learning, of course), I was all for it.

On Wednesday, we loaded up two 12-passenger vans and set out for Syracuse.


Destiny USA is pretty overwhelming. It’s basically four thousand stories and has every store/restaurant you could ever need (except a Chipotle. I am still sad about this.)

But even the open-plan, enormous, fully Christmas-ified interior of the mall didn’t make me half as hysterical as this did:
This is where the fun begins.


WonderWorks is probably the coolest place I’ve ever been. I don’t want to ruin the surprises, but they have a lot of neat things like anti-gravity space machines, roller coaster simulators, a BUBBLE LAB and lots of other exhibits. But, in order to get to the WonderWorks exhibits, I had to conquer a few fears.


If you’ve been to Destiny USA, you’ve no doubt noticed the 7-year-olds sprinting from obstacle to obstacle above your head while parents cling to support ropes and mutter obscenities. Kidding. Kinda. If you’ve never been, you’re walking across various rope and beam obstacle while suspended over anywhere between 1-3 floors of the mall, depending on the part of the course.

We were all very excited. Especially these two.
This is George and Kelsey showing off their “very-excited”/”we-are-totally-not-about-to-die” faces.

It was a lot of fun! You never actually unclip from the beam your harness is attached to like with some ropes courses, so after exploring for a bit, everyone gets daring. I did a few obstacles with no hands!


Picture included because this girl looks eerily just like me. But it’s not me. But it could be. So that’s weird. 
Also, pro tip: Don’t wear converse when attempting the course. I almost slipped to my doom a few times.

Everyone pretty much had free reign, which is part of the reason I thought this trip went so well! You could spend a little time on the ropes course, browse WonderWorks, eat, shop–whatever!

Or, you could do what me and Cody did, which was get froyo and then scour the mall to find his face. Success.
He is so cool.

Overall, it was a great trip! Living on campus can have drawbacks (I still miss/talk to my mom basically everyday), but I’ve been able to do a lot of awesome things that I never would’ve been able to do otherwise! Exploring the area has expanded my knowledge on a lot of things, too! Like, for instance, I now think ropes courses should be mandatory in all malls. All of them. It is our RIGHT. Well, not really, but I want it.

The great thing about this trip was that everyone that attended is part of the UBalance community. In a themed community, you have the opportunity to do things you’re really, truly interested in with people you connect with outside of the fact you attend the same school. It’s like forcing people to be your friend!!! Except significantly more successful than when I try to do it.

Living at UC, you’re really close to a lot of great places. It would be a shame to never see them, right?

Ok, it’s your turn!
Are you a fan of ropes courses? If you’ve never tried one, would you?
Have you ever visited WonderWorks before?
Do you like Cody’s glamour shot on that banner?!? Because I do.


Just some cool things.

Today, I’d like to share some cool things from my week. I feel like we are friends, and you are therefore obligated to care. (Plus, I have a super cool post coming atcha tomorrow or Friday. No hints this time though :-))

Cool Thing #1
I had the opportunity to visit WRCU 90.1FM (Colgate’s college radio station) so we could trade hit clips and gossip share ideas and start collaborating on some things! This is one of the areas they archive CDs. Yes, one. Also, those shelves move. Mind = blown. (P.S. tell me someone remembers hit clips?!! I am old.)

Cool Thing #2 IMAG1737
UC offices seriously have the best PR. Who doesn’t need (read: want) a squishy moose figurine?? Exactly.

Cool Thing #3
The car knows that it’s WPNR!!!! (Top left corner) I got really excited when I saw this.

Cool Thing #4
Photo courtesy of Mike McDougall’s Twitter.
I had the opportunity to attend the PRSA Northeast District Conference this past Thursday! It was a wonderful experience, as always. The keynotes were fabulous, and the speakers at each session were unique and informing. I had a great time!
Plus, they named the conference in conjunction with having lots of food-related speakers…
…which is obviously 3000 percent A-OK with me.

Cool Thing #5
Photo courtesy of CBS News.
The FDA is finally trying to remove trans fats from food!! This is ridiculously cool. My inner label-reading, health-nut, trans-fat hating self was delighted by this. My childhood would have been really empty without gushers (one of the trans-fat offenders), so it’s a little sad. But not really.

And finally…
Cool Thing #6
WPNR’s 2013 t-shirts are still probably the coolest things I’ve ever seen and therefore must be included.

Your turn…
Tell me some cool things about your week!!!


On the Run! Valley View Golf Course

Welcome to the first real post for On the Run! In case you missed my first post about why running isn’t actually the devil (I have done extensive testing), check it out here!

When I started thinking about this feature, I realized that I was gonna need to start with something big, something pretty awe-inspiring, and really hit the ground running, so to speak.

Valley View Golf Course seemed like the only logical place to go.
2013-10-28 16.54.48

But let’s take this journey a little more gradually, shall we?

From UC, Valley View is a straight jog up the parkway. The parkway has sidewalks along either side and a strip of grass in the middle (which I’ve heard referred to as a park?? Utica, you are not helping your case). This grassy strip is also home to a familiar face….

2013-10-28 16.39.49
It’s Grandmother Willow! From Pocahontas?! …Guys?

You get a cool, birds-eye view of Utica on your way up the parkway. And I literally mean UP. Utica is latin for “hills of doom” afterall!**

2013-10-28 16.48.43

**I made that up.

Once you hit the end of the parkway and take a small detour through Valley View’s parking lot, you’ll find a gravel trail.

2013-10-28 16.53.12

Trail running isn’t something that Utica is necessarily known for (at all), but they exist and they are wondrous. But we’ll go more into that next post…. 😉

This trail is one of the tougher parts of the run because it’s like HILLS HILLS HILLS, but it evens out pretty quickly. The view helps a bit too.
2013-10-28 16.53.32 2013-10-28 16.54.37 2013-10-28 16.54.48   2013-10-28 16.56.56

I took about a thousand more pictures, but you get the idea. Super pretty. And we’re not even technically in the golf course yet! And yes, the sun was absolutely assaulting my corneas.

The trail runs just less than a mile before you hit paved trails. These are also beautiful. This entire paved path is also part of the Boilermaker 15K course, which takes place in July and is a ton of fun. It is also approximately 60 degrees warmer outside. Excuse me while I weep.

2013-10-28 16.59.59 2013-10-28 17.03.11

As you can see, there are about a million different paths, give or take, to choose from and you can mix and match depending on the length of your run. I promise it’s pretty hard to get lost in the golf course (golf carts don’t have GPS systems ….although, I may go patent one that does because that is GENIUS), so have fun and explore! The path I chose goes straight up and around…

2013-10-28 17.06.56

 …then through the woods….

2013-10-28 17.07.15

And viola! We made it and it’s all down hill from here.

2013-10-28 17.08.34

The run back is a breeze and takes you downhill most of the way and then flattens out right back by the college. The whole loop is just over 7 miles and can be made longer or shorter depending on where you start on campus and what trails you take. You can also park at the Rec Center (located on the parkway off of Oneida Street) and start running from there, which cuts the run down to just over 3 miles. It’s a great area and one of the biggest things I’ll miss when I head home to New Jersey in December.

And just for good measure, here’s a picture of me looking like a looney.
Yes, that was published in the college’s paper. No, Under Armour did not promptly contact me to do their cold-weather ads. I know, right?

Talk to me:
Most embarrassing picture ever taken of you? (You can just describe it, although I would love to see it.)
Locals/students: Based on my hints, any ideas where I’m headed next?!


On the Run: New blog feature!

Hi everyone! I’ve been hard at work collecting some things for a new feature I’m starting on my blog called On the Run! I think a little background is necessary, so let’s take it back a couple years….

I grew up seriously overweight. Things escalated quickly and I found myself as a 180-pound high school freshman. Something needed to change. I found that change in something I never thought I would:

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.18.20 AM
I decided to start running!

Now, while I’m sure you’d be more than happy to giggle at the absolutely ridiculous running pictures I’ve taken (I’m the worst picture-taker when standing still, let alone moving around), there is a UC connection. I dropped most of my weight thanks to running while at UC!

My sophomore year I started dabbling in running a bit more. I’d always been curious, but I had a vision in my head that only super skinny kids could run–I know, I don’t know. I ran my first race in April 2012: The Save Our Switchbacks 7.5k. The race was k i l l e r; the hills of the switchbacks are pretty much vertical and I was wholly unprepared for what I got myself into. I finished and hobbled into the post-race party… to find out I took first place in my age group! This created a monster and I spent the summer determined to get better. I ran my first half marathon that September.


Not only did I finish in one piece, I ran the race with a pace over a minute-per-mile faster than the 7.5k (and held it for almost ten miles longer!).

Then came UC. I was a woman possessed. I didn’t know how to improve, but I knew I wanted to. That’s when I decided to take the plunge…

I joined the track team!

I ran indoor and outdoor track and saw leaps of improvement in my running. By the end of the 2013 track season, I had decreased my mile time from 6:50 to 6:10! I knew what the real test would be though: a re-try at the Save Our Switchbacks race.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.35.20 AM
I tried again… and came in 40th out of nearly 200 runners! Second place in my age group, an average 7:48 pace compared to last year’s 9:45 pace… I was a happy, proud camper.

Two weeks later I did something else I never thought I’d do: I won a 5k. Won. This will never happen again, but I’m glad it happened once.
Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 12.24.24 PM

Running has given me so much. It helped me feel like I was really good at something. It made me feel stronger. It made me lots of great friends!
Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.45.20 AM

But most importantly, it helped me finally do this:
Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.48.19 AM

Running, especially at UC, helped me become a better version of myself and I want to share that with all of you! Before you panic, I’m not making you run laps (although, that might be fun…). This segment is all about showing everyone what cool things I’ve found running in the Utica area! I’m really excited about it and hope you are too!

Some questions for you:
Do you run? If not, do you like another sport?
Local folks: what places should I run to?!?

And a sneak peek at the next installment of On the Run:
2013-10-28 17.06.48

Oh yeah, I went there.


Fun at the Zoo!

Nothing like the zoo to make you feel like a little kid again.
…. I act my shoe size more often than I care to admit.

I was able to visit the Syracuse Zoo on Sunday thanks to Cody, a resident assistant in South Hall for the ULive themed floor. The floor is aimed towards biology/health studies students, and they do all sorts of cool stuff geared towards students in those majors. I was so excited to be a bio major for the day!

I’m a huge animal lover and always find myself mesmerized by the unique animals at the zoo (and trying to kidnap the cute ones), like this little fellow:

Poor thing has a cataract from a car accident, but he’s made almost a full recovery.
We’re also pretty much in love. Send dead mice in lieu of wedding gifts.

Another great part of the zoo is seeing animals in their natural environments. It’s kind of like “The Real World,” but with lemurs and flamingos.

This photo was taken seconds before the the two penguins that are in each other’s faces went at it. I’m actually being completely serious this time.

The penguin on the left lost and was not too pleased.

Poor guy.

And no trip to the zoo is complete without this movie star:
Not a fan of paparazzi.

You better believe I was that person yelling “you guys, I found Nemo!!!” in the middle of the zoo. Even the toddlers were embarrassed for me.

Your turn!
Do you like the zoo? When was the last time you went and what zoo?

Favorite animal?
Owls! Although, the red panda is making a mad dash for my heart.
Do you act your age?
In most situations, I do (I swear). The zoo just warrants some light-hearted fun!