Email Etiquette: 5 Rules to Follow

Photo credit: Julianna Young
Photo credit: Julianna Young

If you do it right, email can be your new best friend and make your life SO much easier. Experts say that your email behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.

I came up with a list of a few mistakes that people tend to make regarding emails, it’s important to be aware of these mistakes and do everything you can to use email to your advantage — and not let it get you into trouble.

1. Summarize it – Being clear and concise in an email is key. Make your most important point first, then provide more details if necessary. If you send a long rambling email, it is much less likely that the respondent will act on what you have sent or even respond.

2. Create a signature – Set up a signature that contains all your contact information. This helps the recipient obtain your contact information easily.

3. Be mindful of your tone – It’s not what you say, but how you say it that really matters. Your tone (whether its urgency, irritation or sarcasm) can be easily misunderstood via email. Keep this in mind and be sure your emails are professional, friendly and clear.

4. Understand the difference between “To” and “CC.” – The people you include in the “To” field should be the people you expect to read and respond to the message. Those included in the“CC” field are the ones who need to know about the email, but don’t necessary need to respond. People you include in the “BCC” field will not be visible to others.

5. Spelling, grammar and punctuation – Email comes with spell-check for a reason, so use it. If you misspell words, use bad grammar or punctuation, it reflects poorly on you and/or your company. It’s also a good idea to re-read your messages before you send them to be sure you are communicating clearly.

Lastly, email is great tool but it doesn’t necessarily work for every situation. There are many things that are appropriate to send via email, but there are also some things that should be discussed in person. If a conflict or difficult situation should arise, it’s always better to talk it out.

If you would like to learn some more tips and tricks on email etiquette, check out this article from

Suiting Up for Summer

Photo credit: Ashley Allison
Photo credit: Ashley Allison

June 21, 2014 marks the first official day of summer. However, with temperatures already hitting highs ranging from the mid-80s to low 90s, Bikini Season seems to have already begun in Chico.

And while many welcome the early opportunity to float the Sacramento River in summer’s hottest swimwear fashions, there are those of us who can’t stand the thought of donning a bikini in public.

I’m one of the latter. I start spring the same way every year. I have well-intentioned plans for working out and tanning my stark-white body into something like a Greek goddess. However, as summer nears, I realize that all  I’ve managed to accomplish is overeating at Easter, leaving me looking closer to a centaur than a goddess.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself needing that swimsuit-ready body, I’ve compiled five quick tips to get you in tip-top shape, ASAP.

1. Watch what you eat.

It sounds simple enough, but for many of us maintaining a healthy diet on a student’s schedule it can be tough.

I find counting my calories and keeping a food journal keep me cognizant of what I’m putting into my body. After counting calories for a few days, I naturally shy away from carbohydrate-heavy meals and opt for foods lower in calories that I can eat in high volumes. Meals combining lean proteins like egg whites, chicken and turkey are great choices when combined with fruits and vegetables as these meals tend to be much lower in calories than high carbohydrate meals.

2. Start interval training.

Research shows that interval training, which switches between bouts of very high intensity workouts like sprinting and very low intensity workouts like walking, burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than sustained high intensity workouts.

3. Fake it, don’t bake it.

Suntanning can cause skin cancer. Be kind to your skin this summer and opt for a sunless tanner like Jergen’s Natural Glow. It tans and evens your skin tone while hiding imperfections without all the harmful rays!

4. Find a suit that suits you!

Not all swimsuit styles are flattering on all body types. What may be flattering on someone else may not be flattering on you. Accentuate your body type by choosing a suit that is right for you and ignore the trendy swim styles that do nothing for your figure. Not sure which suit style best suits your frame? Check out Glamour magazine’s swimsuit guide!

5. Love the skin you’re in!

So what if you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model? Even Victoria’s Secret models don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models in real life. Don’t believe me? Google “celebrity photo retouching” and see what you find.

The point is, no one is perfect, and everyone has imperfections. So celebrate your figure. Whether you’ve got lots of curves, no curves or you’re somewhere in the middle, we’re all beautiful. Celebrate your womanhood!

Why Everyone Should Experience a Music Festival

Photo credit: Andrea Nibler
Photo credit: Andrea Nibler

The sun is out and ’tis the season for music festivals. Lately, festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have been all the rave and there is good reason for this buzz. From the atmosphere to the line-up and new friendships, summer festivals are an experience not to be missed.

For a first-time festival goer an event this big can seem overwhelming. Many people who have never attended a festival would argue that they are over crowded, too loud and too dirty. In some ways they might be right, but at the same time, music festivals are an experience unlike anything else.

There is something electric about a stadium full of people, all there for the same reason. There is a strong sense of community and companionship in the thousands of people sharing this once in a lifetime experience. Suddenly, after just three days the mass of people in attendance becomes a sort of family.

There are countless reasons that music festivals are an eye opening and life changing events that everyone should experience at least once. Here are the top five reasons to check this experience off your bucket list.

  1. The Line-up

At music festivals you will witness some of the most talented artists all in one place. And unless the festival is genre specific, there really is something for everyone. You will get to see not only your all-time favorite performers but experience new great bands as well.

  1. The New Friendships

Whether you go it alone, with a group of friends or attend as a family, you are guaranteed to meet a bunch of great new people. The atmosphere and open culture make creating new friends inevitable.

  1. The Fans

From the waving hands to synchronized singing you wont find more dedicated and happy crowds.

  1. The Team Spirit

Everyone in attendance realizes that they are all there for the same reason. This creates an understanding and a team spirit that you cant ignore.

  1. The Priceless Moments

This is not the trip to forget your camera. Music festivals can produce some of the most priceless moments you will never forget.

Coffee, Tea, Coca-Cola or Red Bull? Go on, pick your poison!

Photo credit: The Guardian
Photo credit: The Guardian


To me, coffee has always been the number one go-to for early morning and mid-day pick-me-ups. It’s clear to see, especially as a student on a college campus, how many people are about to fall asleep at any given moment without that little burst of caffeine in their day.

Benefits and risks are associated with most caffeinated substances. If you have too much, you’ll probably start acting like a maniac, experience anxiety or start talking at a mile-per-minute.

I have decided to break down the caffeine content, pros and cons of each of these drinks that we consume daily.


Coffee is a deliciously (ok, I’m biased) dark and nutty beverage. Coming from coffee beans, this drink is all natural. The caffeine content can vary from 30-173 mg for your generic home-brewed cup.

The pros are waking up, getting your caffeine on and having an excellent day. The con? If you drink more than a cup or two a day, you risk dehydrating your body severely.

Avoid this by drinking a lot of water on coffee drinking days. Coffee is also a strong stimulant and can tend to hurt sensitive stomachs as well as other organs. Coffee can also cause anxious or jittery behaviors – try drinking “half-caff” instead.

For more information on caffeine, visit


Like coffee, tea can be made in many forms and depending on the type, caffeine levels vary. Black tea is typically the strongest at anywhere from 14-64 mg per 8 ounce cup.

Unsweetened tea can aid the body in many ways. It can help with digestion, diabetes, skin issues, liver problems and much more.

Some see tea as a “lesser” form of caffeine because it’s not as instant as a coffee, energy drink or Cola. The caffeine will eventually kick in and likely keep you up at night if you consume too much tea during the day. A tip is to switch to decaf tea.

For more information on tea, visit


Energy drinks are slowly becoming more natural, but companies such as Rockstar and Red Bull are still in business.

Energy drinks are used to boost energy and help sharpen alertness, and are used typically for a long day of work, a long night out or before a workout.

They are pretty much available everywhere and are a really convenient drink that provides around 80-200 mg of caffeine per can.

Sadly, they are filled with chemicals and toxins as well as a high amount of sugar. These drinks can lead to cardiovascular problems, increased blood pressure and obesity if consumed regularly.

For more information on energy drinks, visit


Soda is something I don’t really care for anymore. I rarely drink it and have grown to hate the taste of such a sweet drink.

There are many folks out there who look to a Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper or Pepsi for a burst of caffeine and sugar that gives them energy to continue working.

A typical soda beverage has anywhere from 35-50 mg of caffeine. This will definitely give you a quick spike of energy, but because of the added sugar and artificial flavorings it can rapidly drop you off back where you started.

A soda can contains about 40 grams of sugar, on average. Drinking soda daily has been linked with weight gain, heart problems, various cancers and also creates a cycle of sugar addiction.

For more information on soda, visit

So, pick your poison! It seems that tea is the healthiest choice, but to each their own. Now, excuse me while I go brew some Starbucks Colombian Roast in my kitchen.

Like This and Like That: The Difference between Hip Hop & Rap

Photo credit: Anthony Estrada
Photo credit: Anthony Estrada

Thanks to the cleaver video editors of The Tonight Show, the freshly posted YouTube sensation of Brian Williams “rapping” Snoop Dogg’s timeless classic “Gin and Juice” has got me asking myself the question is this Hip Hop?

In a sense this video is an extension of Snoop Dogg, who is an extension of Hip Hop anyways right? Though many would argue that it would more likely be categorized under Rap; a sub-genre branch of Hip Hop.

So what’s the big difference that separates the two?

Hip Hop, is an original music genre that is influenced heavily from early Jazz and R & B that emerged out of New York in the late 1970s amidst the changing American landscape. Originally, Hip Hop consisted of the elements of DJing, MCing, break dancing, beat boxing, and graffiti art which reflected the culture of daily life in New York.

These five elements would be extended to nine in order to include: street fashion, street language, street knowledge, and street entrepreneurship.

Torch bearers of the genre like KRS-One, who visits colleges lecturing on what Hip Hop is would tell you that it IS a culture, a lifestyle; and that Rap is a naturally occurring by-product that is the result of commercial success of the genre.

Considering that the true forms of Hip Hop include poetic lyrics that echo this lifestyle or life in general, Rap usually is produced purely with the goal of financial profit in mind and typically contains content consistent of extravagant, unrealistic ways of living.

This has been true in recent history as the knowledge and consciousness of Hip Hop from the 80s’ had to surrender to the “bling bling” era of the late 90s’Rap. Ironically in its efforts to be innovative, commercial Rap has made the genre more generic and in many ways somewhat of a superficial novelty, while trying to survive in a declining market.

So the next time you hear someone in your class say, “Did you see that Hip Hop video of the news anchor rapping?” you can respond with, “Oh you mean that silly Rap video?”

What’s in Your Emergency Go Bag?

Photo credit: Karen, Creative Commons. Original photo
Photo credit: Karen, Creative Commons. Original photo

Suffice to say that spring has come and gone and summer is officially upon us. With summer comes a very harsh reality to most of us: fire due to drought.

California has seen intense drought this semester despite the rainfall we’ve experienced in this last month. The closest reservoir to Chico (located in Oroville) is 14 percent lower than its historical average, according to the California Data Exchange Center. At the same time last year we were 12 percent from capacity.

Given the heat and lack of water, summer fires are becoming more of a guarantee than a possibility. While most fires seem to take place away from large areas of population, there is always a risk.

What happens if a disaster hits Chico or wherever you live when you leave Chico for vacations? What is in your emergency go bag?

What do I mean by emergency go bag?

I am not referring to the bag you keep with the water and spare pair of clothes with some power bars to get through a few days of chaos. I am talking about the metaphorical bag you keep with your five or six items you cannot live without.

For instance, my emergency go bag would have my computer and subsequent charger, a sketch book, the pearl necklace my mother made for me on my 20th birthday, my Nikon camera and the typewriter key necklace my sister gave me for my high school graduation.

This is not a bag you would normally think about, most of the time nothing bad will ever happen. But when you have to get out of the house quickly, it is a good idea to know what is in your emergency go bag before you have to assemble it.

So with the warm weather here and temperatures only to rise, what is in your emergency go bag?

How to Transition to a New City After College


Photo credit: Jerry Downs, Creative Commons, Original Photo
Photo credit: Jerry Downs, Creative Commons, Original Photo

Life is made up of many different stages and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that the college stage has gone by extremely quickly. It doesn’t feel like too long ago that I was starting my first semester and now I’m frantically seeking advice on how to adjust to the upcoming post-graduation life.

One of the biggest changes that new graduates often have to face is moving to a completely new city. Many students already have some experience moving away from home after choosing which college to go to, but relocating after college can be very different. There may not be as many opportunities to meet people and the age range of everyone around you varies much more.

After graduation, some students plan on moving back home temporarily, some have made plans with friends to move to a new area and others are moving to a new city without knowing any friends or family nearby. Regardless of the situation, new graduates will generally move to a new area at some point, which can make an already tough transition from college to the workforce even more challenging. Here are five tips for making this adjustment a little smoother:

1. Do your research

Whether it’s a different city, state or country, you should start researching the general area before you graduate to find out as much as possible about potential jobs there. Although you may be interested in moving to a big city like San Francisco or Los Angeles, try to keep an open mind. There might be another city that could be a great starting point. Here is an article to get you started.

After finding a job in the area you’ve chosen, start researching neighborhoods to find a place to live that fits your budget and offers the best possible commute. Although we’ve all heard horror stories about bad roommate experiences, having roommates significantly lowers the cost of rent.

Many people would rather live with someone they know, but this is not always possible. It’s important to be careful if you move in with someone without knowing them beforehand, but it might be the best option to save some money in a new city.

2. Make your home more personal

Once you’ve found the right city and apartment or house, try to add some personal items and decorations as soon as possible. It may not seem very important to some, but adding personal items, whether they’re pictures or some souvenirs, to where you’re living can make a big difference when you are away from friends, family and your comfort zone.

3. Put yourself out there to meet new people

It can be tempting to just stick to an easy, comfortable routine when you’re in a completely new area, but doing this can make it harder to adjust. Putting yourself out there to meet new people through your job, internship, volunteering or some other way can help you build connections faster.

4. Stay in contact with friends and family but don’t hold onto the past

It’s helpful to have a support system whenever you’re making a big transition in your life, so remember to talk to and occasionally visit family members and close friends. Distance doesn’t necessarily determine whether you stay close with someone. However, you may want to create new connections and meet people in your new area, so try to avoid only talking to and spending time with old friends.

5. Stay positive

Some people are great at adapting to a new area but if you are having a difficult time adjusting at first, remember that this feeling is temporary. You will eventually adjust and build a life for yourself in your new home, it just takes time.

This is just a new stage in your life to enjoy!


Advice for the Real World that People are Too Afraid to Tell You

Photo credit: Anthony Peters
Photo credit: Anthony Peters

Guess what, little kiddies? We are less than a month away from graduation.

For many people, it’s the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. And for a lot of people, it’s the beginning of independence, no more relying on parents for help with anything.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have preconceived notions of what life is like outside these hallowed halls of learning. Luckily for everyone, I am here to dispense knowledge and not just the same cliches that everyone will tell you. These are pieces of advice that people don’t want to tell you, yet will help you more than you know.

The first thing everyone needs to realize is that nobody cares about you except for you. If you have a problem nobody is going to come in and fix it.

Everybody is too busy with his or her own problems to drop everything for you. So, it’s up to you to put on your big kid pants and deal with it. That’s a part of being an adult, not relying on anyone else.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice, having a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean you have the key to infinite knowledge.

Congratulations, you know how to fake your way through a five-page research paper on the history of the North American fire ant. That doesn’t mean you have enough life experience to tell people how the world should work.

Regardless of what your gender identity 101 professor tells you, it’s up to you now to go and figure out your own world view.

As graduation has been creeping up closer on us all, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how they don’t want to move to Sacramento and are only looking for jobs in the Bay Area.

Well, that’s great and all, but people need to realize that life doesn’t work the way you think it’s going to. You can’t close off one avenue just because it doesn’t fit into your plan. If it were me, I would start somewhere where the cost of living isn’t so high.

Chances are you aren’t going to be making a ton of money, so why would you live in a place where the only apartment you can afford is a studio in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Be smart about this, there is no reason to start behind the eight ball when you don’t have to.

I know that these may not be the easiest things to hear, but if you just think about what I said, you’ll be all right.

Importance of Appearance in This Day in Age


Photo credit: Joserolando Bravo
Photo credit: Joserolando Bravo

Appearance is something that is often associated with clothes, hairstyles and accessories; something that is just a visual appeal and nothing more. However, appearance goes far beyond that.

As public relation practitioners, we are taught that maintaining a good public image is the key to success when it comes to clients, a lesson that should be taken far beyond the clients.

Maintaining a good personal appearance is very important for the public perception of an individual. We live in a time where people make social judgments on appearance alone. Some may call that prejudice, but it is a reality that can easily be shifted from a negative to a positive.

With first impressions, both on a professional and personal level, the first interaction conducted is through the eyes. Before you meet a person and get to know them, your mind makes an assumption based on what you see, and through conversation, that picture begins to fill and a full opinion is made.

Appearance is the silent description of yourself. It is the image you choose to show to the world that represents you, in the professional world and in your personal life. It can be used to show status, attitude and even creativity.

A good appearance isn’t a difficult task to accomplish. It has nothing to do with beauty or physical features. It is all about visual self-presentation, and the smallest details can make the world of a difference. So here are a few tips that may help.

Grooming is a priority. A haircut, and a clean shave for gentlemen are always ideal, however there is nothing wrong with a well-kept beard. It shows cleanliness and class.

Hairdos for the ladies don’t have to be extravagant, just as long as you stray away from basic. As long as it doesn’t look like you just got out of bed, any hairdo will do Make-up isn’t necessary, but can be complimentary when not overdone.

Any indication that there was thought and time was put into an outfit is already one step forward. Proper color contrast and accessorizing are a great place to start. One small detail that I think stands out the most.

Whether for ladies or gentlemen, a key detail that I find to make a huge difference is tailored clothing. It is inexpensive and can make a huge difference to any outfit.

Don’t be afraid to stand out. Sometimes it is as simple as a color or accessory that really makes you stand out of a crowd, which is not a bad thing.

Aside from the physical appeal, having a good appearance also makes a change in your attitude. It is incredible how confident and better you can feel about yourself when you know you look presentable.

If you would like to read more about the importance of appearance, here are a few articles you can check out.

How to Prepare for a Music Festival

Photo credit: Kristen de Golia

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a music festival. If not well prepared, odds are you’ll still have a good time. If well prepared and you put in some effort to plan your adventure ahead of time, you’re destined to have an amazing experience!

Where to stay?

Plan ahead and be frugal.

Use websites like or to compare hundreds of travel sites at once.  On websites like these you can compare rates on hotels, flights, cars, vacation packages and various other deals.

Who to go with?

Make sure you have a good group of friends to travel with.

The wrong crew can really mess up the vibe of your trip. Make sure you plan your trip with a group of people that can go with the flow. Attending a music festival is supposed to be a fun and stress-free experience, so really take into consideration who you want by your side.


Figure out which of your friends has the most fuel-efficient car.

This is a vital part of your trip. The expenses are bound to add up, so you should plan ahead and save money where you can. Depending on the location of the music festival and whether or not you will need to stop numerous times for gas, use a phone application called GasBuddy or visit to compare gas prices near you. The app compares the surrounding gas stations to your location to find you the best deal.

It’s essential that you make a killer playlist for your car ride and re-listen to songs you think are likely to be played at the festival. This way the experience is more enjoyable and you can embrace every moment and easily sing along!

Photo credit: Kristen de Golia
Photo credit: Kristen de Golia

“The Look”

Depending on the theme of your festival and the genre of music, outfits will range across the board. For country music festivals cowboy boots, hats, flannels, sundresses, jean shorts and things of that nature are normally acceptable. For EDM and rave festivals, more colorful and flashy bedazzled outfits are generally worn. Girls often make these outfits themselves with flowers, jewels, glow sticks, ect. More elaborate outfits can be purchased and even rented for special events from sites such as

Regarding skin protection and makeup, musical festivals generally run for long hours from early in the morning until late at night. Everyone should be sure to wear lots of sunscreen! Ladies should invest in some tinted moisturizer and waterproof mascara so that they don’t have to reapply their makeup throughout the day. There are also makeup sprays that can be applied that “set” your makeup to stay for long hours such as Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, which is available at Sephora.

Taking just a few of these tips into consideration will be sure to enhance your experience and enable you to have an even better time at a music festival!

Visit Buzzfeed for a few additional tips and a laugh!