How to Make the Perfect Spring Dessert: Mudpies!

Springtime is a mash-up of different beautiful weather forecasts. When it rains, it pours  and when it’s sunny, it sure gets hot. The Mudpie dessert signifies the rainy part of Spring when the worms surface from their dirty abodes in the ground. Even on a hot Spring day, a Mudpie can cool you down. What better way to celebrate the season than with a chocolaty “dirt” pie?


Business Casual Attire Broken Down

More tips for men:

Shirts: Pick shirts either in a solid color or that  have a formal-looking pattern like plaid or oxford. You can wear polo shirts, but make sure there are no big logos on them. Always tuck in your shirt.

Pants: Pants should extend to the top of your shoes or be slightly longer. If your pants are too long where it bunches up at the bottom or you are required to fold them, this is considered to be too baggy and unprofessional.

You can wear a blazer or a V-neck.

ALWAYS accessorize with a neutral-colored belt.

More tips for women:

Skirts and dresses: You don’t want the skirts or dresses to be too long or too short. Avoid revealing skirts and dresses.

Shirts: Look for shirts on the more conservative side that are not too revealing. Depending on the cut of the shirt, you can get away with it being either tucked in or not tucked in.

Shoes: Avoid heels that are above 4 inches.


Jeans and sneakers are not considered business casual attire UNLESS stated by the company policies for both men and women.

Sundresses are not considered business casual attire for women.

The Role Sponsored Content Plays

Sponsored content is a common theme that is seen in Public Relations. It plays a significant role for the agency or business-to-business public relations firms, as well as playing a significant role in the ethics of the company. I hope you enjoy the video.



Mental Training and Memory Mnemonics

Photo credit: j4p4n, Creative Commons, original illustration
Photo credit: j4p4n, Creative Commons, original illustration

One of the most important functions of our minds is memory. It is the basis for everything we do in both our professional and personal lives.

A recent interview with a world-class memory champion revealed a lot about what we can do to flex our mental muscles in simple ways to keep our minds sharp.

U.S. memory champion Nelson Dellis revealed to Forbes some of his rather interesting techniques for making information stick, and the advice is gold for any new professional who seeks to make the most of their time – including not spending it looking for their keys.

The first tip is simply to be mindful.

When dropping your keys on the sofa in a rush, there is a slim chance that you actively noted your move or will think to dig through the cushions the next morning before work.

Dellis’ recommends people mark their memory by either visualizing an image or letting out a shout that alerts the mind of novel information.  The goal is to create novel stimuli and to take a moment to actually create a memory, not just an action.

Remembering names is also an exercise in deliberate thinking.

When you meet a new person, make sure you ask them to clarify pronunciation.  If the name is at all difficult to understand, ask how it is spelled and visualize the spelling as you hear it.

The act of encoding a name will make a lasting impression on your mind, much more than passively shaking a hand and not thinking twice.  Whether it’s a new colleague or your date’s boss, getting someone’s name right is part of making a good impression and creating a network.

Another key element to Dellis’ memory advice is the use of images.

When dealing with complex ideas, try to imagine an image that defines a key relationship or aspect of the information.  One way to store a good image of an abstract idea is to store it within a “memory palace.”

This is one way of storing ideas without simply trying to memorize. “The problem with repetition is that you’re not saving it in any place in particular,” Dellis says.

Building a palace of memories is a way to use special recognition to create common associations with abstract ideas.

It’s like framing a picture of a great day you intimately remember; when you think of it sitting on the shelf, it becomes easy to remember everything that was part of the snapshot, and details come pouring through the little frame.

Central to all of Dellis’ advice is the practice of physical exercise and good diet.  With a bad diet and poor health, the workout mantra of use it or lose it works on a deeper level.

Without consistent exercise, the part of the brain linked with cognitive function and memory, the hippocampus, literally shrinks.


How Smartphone Games Keep Us Hooked

Photo credit: Meghan Vanderford
Photo credit: Meghan Vanderford

Does anyone else miss the simple life? What ever happened to a painful yet oddly entertaining game of slug bug, while sticking to the leather seats of your mom’s minivan? It seems as if many people have forgotten those days and have entered a world where smartphones rule their lives.

I won’t sit here and pretend that I have never been at the mercy of my smartphone. That thing is glued to my hand or in my purse at all times. I am a part of Generation Y, which means technology is key and has made its way into every aspect of my life.

One thing I have always taken pride in is that I never have gotten hooked on a smartphone game… until recently. I was a victim of Flappy Bird. Never have beads of sweat formed on my lip or my heart beat so fast from just moving my thumb. On no account have I ever said, “Just one more game” at least 20 times. I found myself addicted.

What is it about games like Flappy Bird, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds or even the decades-old Tetris that are so habit-forming?

Well, according to The New York Post, Professor Sudhir Kale, marketing and gaming expert from Bond University, said, “The brain starts secreting dopamine, the same when someone’s doing cocaine or recreational drugs. The effect is the same.”

So every time that bug-eyed bird passes through two pipes, you match four candies or get a shape that fits so perfectly a row disappears—you get a little rush, making you want to play again.

The Wall Street Journal recently posted four other theories online. These include:

1.We connect with inanimate objects when they have faces. The Wall Street Journal had Karen Collins, a professor at the Games Institute of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada explain:

“When something has a face, we find it much harder to give up or get rid of. We are sort of hard wired into that. We know logically that these things are not real, but there is still an emotional connection there.”

2. We love finding patterns. As humans we tend to notice patterns before we spot the specific details. That’s why games where finding patterns are key, such as Candy Crush and Bejeweled, are so hard to put down.

3.  We love to improve our skills. Even if they are juvenile like who can blow the biggest bubble, we still enjoy honing our talents. So if a smartphone game is just hard enough but still easy, players are more likely to engage in it and not be able to stop.

4. We like to engage in the digital world when it resembles the real world. The Wall Street Journal has Asher Vollmer, creator of the game “Threes!” and former designer at thatgamecompany, explain this theory.

“It’s much easier for people to connect with a piece of software when they feel like it’s closer to the real world than the digital one,” Vollmer said.

So, occasionally remember the simpler times. If you ever find yourself on a road trip and your phone is dying, don’t forget the sheer joy you could be experiencing while punching someone in the arm and screaming “slug bug” at the top of your lungs.

Dealing With Anxiety

Photo credit: jessicahtam, Creative Commons, original photo
Photo credit: jessicahtam, Creative Commons, original photo

College is a stressful time, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or superhuman.

Chico State does its best to provide students with resources to help them deal with the day-to-day stress that classes, work, internships and socializing bring.

But then there are those of us who suffer beyond the average student.

Students with anxiety and panic disorders have the added pressure of dealing with abnormal neurotransmitter levels which manifest in increased heart rate, uncontrollable feelings of dread and other unpleasant side effects.

While the general tips and tricks on how to deal with stress may be helpful in some situations, here are some tips for when your symptoms feel overwhelming.

1. Don’t be afraid of mental health days

If you’re having one of those days where your symptoms are out of control, you’re not doing anyone any favors by forcing yourself to work on that in-class project while trying to ignore the fact that your heart is beating a million time a minute and you’re sweating like a sinner in church.

Take a day to yourself to sit on the couch, read a book, cuddle your pet and get yourself together.

2. Trust people to have your back

People are usually more understanding than you think they will be.

If you need to step out of class to get your panic under control or if you need to leave work early because your anxiety is making it impossible to focus, don’t be afraid to let you professor or supervisor know what’s going on.

More often than not they will be more concerned than upset and they will appreciate your honesty.

3. Don’t go cold turkey

Just because you’ve been feeling better doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medication or going to therapy.

The fact that you are able to keep your symptoms under control and function correctly means that the treatment is doing its job. If you feel that you don’t need to be on medication anymore or want to lower your dosage, get off of it slowly.

Taper yourself off over the course of a couple weeks or months and see how you feel before you take the plunge and stop altogether.

Nothing is worse than going through withdrawal on top of your regular symptoms.

4. Know your limits

When I say know your limits, I don’t in any way mean limit yourself.

Push yourself to do things that may exacerbate your anxiety but only to the extent that you know you will be able to move past it.

If you discover that you aren’t able to balance all of your activities, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Step away from some activities and come back to them when you are better able to deal with them.

5. Create a positive environment

This is a key aspect of treatment that is often overlooked.

People are influenced by who they surround themselves with and if you find yourself hanging out with unmotivated, negative people, I can almost guarantee that your motivation and general affect will take a nose dive.

While oftentimes the last thing you want to do when you have anxiety is to go out and meet new people, sometimes a change in your environment and peers is exactly what you need to stay motivated and in control.


Stuck in a Mental Rut? 3 Reasons to Stay Positive

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Do you ever feel like every step you take feels harder than the last? Sometimes we think that the world is against us and wonder ‘why me?’ as we forget an important deadline at work or lock the keys in the car.

With the growth of social media, I see countless numbers of people complain about how difficult things are and how they wish things were better.

Well, do something about it. You are the only person that you can control and staying as positive as possible during those tough times can seem like the only thing that can keep you sane.

Here are a few reasons why you should choose to be a Positive Pam instead of a Negative Nancy.

1. According to Mayo Clinic, there are several different health reasons why you should try to stay positive. You can live longer, resist the common cold better, lower rates of depression and you will be less stressed.

In an article by American Psychological Association, they state that “44 percent report that their stress levels have increased over the past five years.”

2. When you are a positive thinker, you will naturally attract other positive people and situations.

If you have a lot of negative things happening to you, or a lot of negative people around you, then it is probably a good time for a change.

Drama attracts drama.

Negativity attracts negativity. But the good thing is positivity attracts positivity. Guess what? Being a positive person is an attractive quality that everybody should want to be around.

3. You will be more productive and perform at a higher optimal rate if you are positive.

This links to the other reasons above.

If you are less stressed, physically healthy and have people to support you in a positive manner when you need it the most, you will most likely be more successful in your endeavors.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still check off things on your to-do list when you have strep throat, knots in your shoulders and while fighting with your spouse.

But we all can agree that we aren’t able to give our 110 percent. Being positive can help you achieve higher levels in your career and reach your aspirations

So, the next time that you are struggling and choose to post on Facebook about it, or make the mistake of gossiping next to the water cooler, I challenge you to think about it.

Think about the potential ramifications of attracting the drama, the increase of stress and the potential of getting sick, which will only make things worse.

Know that you are a strong person and things will be OK.

Escape From Reality

Photo credit: Julianna Young
Photo credit: Julianna Young


Photo Credit: Julianna Young
Photo Credit: Julianna Young

When my friend suggested a trip to the Sea Ranch, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I soon discovered it to be nothing like I had ever imagined. It proved to be one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been.

Located 100 miles north of San Francisco, the treacherous drive to the Sea Ranch takes about five hours from Chico. However, it’s said to be one of the most picturesque, drives in the world.

The Sea Ranch started in the late 60′s and early 70′s and was established as an Eco-friendly community with hopes of preserving the area’s natural beauty, while blending architecture and nature. Current residents of the Sea Ranch strive to live like the early inhabits, the Pomo Indians who believed in “living lightly on the land.”

My boyfriend and I rented a home called The Wave for the weekend, its curved roof and unique design is meant to resemble an ocean wave crashing onto the shore. There are many other unique homes in the area. Such as the fantasy inspired, Hobbit House located in the redwood forest.

Tons of wildlife roam the area. In the morning, we were woken up by a noisy flock of sheep grazing right outside the window. I couldn’t help but to think to myself, “I’m definitely not in Chico anymore.” The Sea Ranch feels like a land that no one else knows about. There is nothing around for miles, ensuring a relaxed weekend. Lucky for us, the weather was incredible during our visit; we spent the days wandering the beach, exploring the trails and scenic views.

Photo credit: Julianna Young, Annapolis Winery
Photo credit: Julianna Young, Annapolis Winery

We even discovered a local winery called the Annapolis winery, where we were able to enjoy a complimentary tasting, courtesy of the owner.

In the evenings, we made dinner, watched movies and enjoyed the sunset and ocean view from the comfort of the Jacuzzi. When it finally came time for us to go, my heart sank. I wished I could have stayed longer, but I have a feeling I’ll be back…

 If you’re looking to get away, relax and unwind, the Sea Ranch is the perfect place for a sweet escape.

Photo credit: Ralph Cruz
Photo credit: Ralph Cruz