Keeping it Local

For many of you, like myself, graduating in 67 days, the countdown until the “real” world is a scary thing. This looming pressure to graduate, get good grades, look for a post-graduation job all while battling that never-ending senioritis bug can be overwhelming. We get wrapped up in this consuming saga of stress and countdowns and we forget to step back and appreciate what is around us. Never fear! I have devised a fall bucket list of events that are not so known in the Chico area. We live in a beautiful town that has a lot to offer. Let’s take advantage of this before it’s too late.

1. Run for Food: Thanksgiving is amazing in all its gluttonous glory. However, I have learned that in order to fully participate in over-indulging myself, a pre-workout is necessary. Thanksgiving day, Chico hosts an annual Run For Food in Bidwell Park. This charity event supports the effort to raise money and food for those in need from our community. There are several different categories in which you can participate. So, if you’re a competitive runner or leisure walker there is a spot for you. It is an incredibly popular event! Tickets and sign ups are encouraged prior to the run. I assure you there is nothing more rewarding than getting in shape to help others!

Register at: Chico Run for Food

2. Sierra Nevada Tour: For those of you over 21, our local Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. hosts weekly tours of its facilities. This local gem highlights its craft beer, brewing capabilities, sustainability education and the tasting room. It is a great way to educate yourself in the world of one of the industry’s finest. The brewery is located on 20th Street, so make sure you take a sober driver if you’re planning on tasting the beer.

3. Pug Sunday: One of the lesser known events (nonprofits) in the area is the rescue pug Sunday events. Devoted to finding these abandoned furry friends good homes, the organization invites lovers of this smashed-faced dog to come out and mingle every Sunday at Hooker Park. Last Sunday I attended the Halloween costume contest with my pug dressed as a Ninja Turtle. We were not victorious, however, I did end up getting lots of humorous pictures of a variety of costumes including a minion, cowboy and Indian duo, flapper pug,and vampire. If you have a pug or just love animals this is a great way to meet future play dates in the community. Half-breeds are also welcome!

Make new friends – like them on Facebook too: Pug Sunday

minion pug costume contest
First place goes to Ellie, the minion pug! Photo credit: Kiely Nelson


4. Saturday Farmer’s Market: To most of the Chico locals, the Thursday Night Market is a scheduled routine. The coveted booths of locally grown delicacies make this one of the go-to events of the season. However, most people do not know that on Saturday mornings, there is an equally plentiful farmers market. For those serious organic lovers this is your next destination for your shopping ventures. Located in the parking lot off of East Second Street on your way to Bidwell Park, it is a perfect destination to bring the family or your roommates on a relaxing Sunday. Parking is easy and located a hop, skip and a jump away from downtown. Also, make sure you bring your appetite because vendors are always looking for you to sample their product.

Benefits of Working for a Nonprofit

This past summer I moved to Santa Barbara and interned for a nonprofit called Dream Foundation. Dream Foundation is the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults who have been given a year or less life expectancy. The foundation fulfills dreams from lifelong dreams to basic need items, bedside reunions or meaningful experiences with loved ones.

dream foundation employees
Photo credit: Jen Basulto

At Dream Foundation, I was the communications intern and was given many responsibilities that varied from writing press releases, producing web content and pitching to the media. Of all the internships I have had over the years — and I have had many — this is hands down the most rewarding and beneficial work experience I have had thus far.

Nonprofits are sometimes overlooked because of the low pay that comes with working there, but it’s here where young professionals can gain the experience they need. “The fact is, nonprofits can offer fantastic opportunities for individuals who are willing to work hard to make the world a better place,” says Rebecca Andruszka, a writer for The Daily Muse, a website that offers career advice. Here are my top three reasons you should consider working or interning for a nonprofit.

1. The experience is a resume builder and you will expand your skills

Most nonprofits don’t have the funding needed to be able to hire all the employees they need. This means the staff and interns they have will have many responsibilities and a heavy workload. Many of the responsibilities aren’t specific to what your job title is and more often than not, cross over into different departments. This allows for more hands-on opportunities.

internship
Photo credit: Jen Basulto

2. Expanding your network

Most nonprofits have a team of board members that is highly involved in the activities of the foundation and also have many corporations who sponsor, offer services or volunteer for the foundation. This is beneficial for both employees and interns because you will get the opportunity to network with these people who are of great importance to the foundation.

3. Meet talented and passionate people

People who work in nonprofits are some of the most amazing people you will ever get to meet. They are good at what they do and don’t do it just for the money. They truly work hard to make the world a better place and to bring happiness to those who need it most.

So the next time you’re searching for an internship or job, consider working for a nonprofit to gain valuable experience while making the world a better place.

We Bleed Orange

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air as the San Francisco Giants say goodbye to a rough season.

Even if you’re not a baseball junkie, like myself, you know who the SF Giants are and recognize the beautiful SF logo they bring with them. You might also know that as double World Series champions in the last five years there are many disappointed fans this season. But these disappointed fans remain proud and faithful.

The Giants started off the season just like every other season, ready to dominate Major League Baseball but slowly tumbled from their World Series championship throne. But game after game I yelled out and shouted at the boys as if they were my children.

I had the pleasure of attending the second to last game of the season at AT&T Park in San Francisco against the San Diego Padres. The smell of the fresh cut grass and that first hit that infielder, Pablo Sandoval made to put us in the lead made the rest of the disappointing season melt away.

It coincidentally was also fan appreciation weekend and even though I didn’t win any of the amazing prizes that were given away, the fans went wild each time a new winner was announced. As the game progressed and the score was no longer in our favor the fans remained enthusiastic and engaged as the prizes kept flowing, showing that win or lose we are Giants.

Even though the regular season is over for Major League Baseball, spring training will be here before we know it. So hold on baseball junkies the Giants will get them next season because after all, we bleed orange.

AT&T Park panoramic
Photo credit: Eva Cuarenta

Stay on the Go Without Your Cup of Joe

Happy Monday! Time to wake up for that 8 a.m. class! After a long, typical, “Chico weekend” sometimes that early morning class isn’t the first thing on your to-do list. Oftentimes, the pillow takes priority. Luckily we have coffee. But what about the days you wake up late and don’t have time to brew your cup of Joe? Or you forget to bring your wallet to campus? How do we get through our day without our regularly scheduled morning coffee? Kiss the caffeine habit goodbye with some healthier alternatives to staying awake throughout the day.

coffee and fireplace
Photo credit: philmikejones

Sleep: As students, we all have random, crazy schedules that may not allow us to get the full amount of sleep our bodies require to function properly throughout the day. Sleep is extremely important. Let’s face it, after a late night of studying, we wake up looking forward to that afternoon nap. Don’t underestimate the power of the nap! About.com has some Tips for Great Naps about how to nap effectively. Our bodies go through different levels of rest throughout a nap and a night of sleep. Check out this bedtime calculator to figure out the best times to go to sleep and wake up so that your body feels refreshed instead of groggy when you wake up.

Food: Certain foods give us an extra boost of energy, while others make you crave crawling back into bed. Back away from the bed and grab an apple instead. According to Oddee.com, the natural fructose in apples slowly gets released in the body, which provides long lasting energy. Apples also contain carbohydrates to keep you moving and they are a good source of fiber. Another super food that keeps us on the move is eggs. Eggs are packed with protein and help keep us full so we don’t start getting sleepy and feeling lethargic. Throw some eggs in a pan with some chopped up veggies for an easy, energy packed start to your day. Even just the smell of breakfast food cooking will wake up your brain!

Music: Listen to upbeat music while walking to campus and in between classes. You’ll be surprised how some upbeat tunes can boost your mood and energy. Make a playlist of your favorite party songs, because we all know what it’s like to get the “that’s my jam!” feeling. If you need a little help picking out some energizing songs, spinebreakers.com has an awesome Top 10 Songs to Wake You Up in The Morning playlist already made to help you get your booty out of bed with a smile on your face.

You can tackle tomorrow without a caffeine crash. Ditch the cup of joe, bump your favorite beats, throw an apple in your school bag and take a guiltless power nap!

Planning the Perfect Siesta

Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Napoleon Bonaparte and Thomas Edison have one thing in common with me: enjoying an afternoon nap.

There are cultures that dedicate a portion of their day to having a siesta. Every day, between 1 and 4 p.m., I close my eyes and take a much anticipated break by napping.

Being a busy college student with a big course load, I have found that napping has increased my productivity. Long gone are the sleepless nights doing homework and studying. I find that the minute I wake up, I get more done and feel less stressed or lethargic about the pile of homework that greets me at the foot of my bed.

napping
Photo credit: Chantal Richards

According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are three different types of napping:

  1. Planned napping is when you take a nap before you get tired. This technique is used when you know you will be awake later than your normal bedtime or to ward off getting tired.
  2. Emergency napping is when you are so tired you can’t function anymore. This occurs when you are engaged in an activity like reading a book and fall asleep right then and there.
  3. Habitual napping is when you take a nap every day at the same time.

According to a Fast Company article, napping between 1 and 4 p.m. boosts productivity because it kick starts your brain to think it’s a second workday and doesn’t mess up your sleep schedule.

Falling asleep in class and at work isn’t ideal, but we all have those breaks in-between tasks  where we can squeeze in a power nap. Even at work, we have our lunch breaks where a few zzz’s can make our work ethic stronger.

An article on Higher Perspective says there are different time frames for the mid-day power nap:

  1. Napping for 10-20 minutes Increases alertness and gives a boost of energy. It’s the perfect amount without falling fully into rapid-eye-movement or REM sleep.
  2. Thirty-minute long naps are 10 minutes too long in that most people wake up groggy and tired  for an additional 30 minutes. Only after that time has passed do people feel the benefits of the nap.
  3. Hour-long naps help with remembering names, places and facts. It helps when studying for a midterm or having to memorize a speech. The only downside is some grogginess does occur upon waking up but at least you’ll remember all the dates for your history exam.
  4. Napping for an hour and a half is considered a full cycle of sleep, which boosts creativity, emotional and procedural memories and it is easier to wake up.

I am glad that I schedule a nap in everyday because I do reap the benefits.

It’s 1 p.m.; time to hit the hay.

Recycle, It’s Easy!

So you’re walking around school drinking the water bottle you bought from the bookstore about an hour ago. You finish the water and go to throw the bottle in the recycle bin. Wait, where does that even go?

I found myself asking the same question, which made me want to do a little bit of research. Where do all the recyclables go? Why even recycle? How much am I actually helping?

Well, it turns out trash is the worst thing for our planet. Go figure. Trash that is thrown away is later sent to a landfill, which is piled up and pollutes our planet. Runoffs from these landfills pollute our water.

Here are some tips to make recycling easier around the home:

  1. Label your recycling bin with the recycle symbol numbers: This can help you and your guests remember what goes in which bin. I use this strategy at my house!
  2. recycling bin
    Photo credit: Sarah Schroder
  3. Clean your bottles and tins before recycling them: It will prevent flies and other bugs from traveling into your home while waiting to take the recycling out.

  4. Use plastic bags for recycling: This will prevent anything from ripping or leaking in your recycle bins.

  5. Use mason jars for everything: Mason jars are the most awesome thing! You can use them to store anything in your fridge, bathroom, kitchen, or even bedroom (depending on what you would like to store). They’re easily washed and last until you break one. Also, if you don’t want them anymore, they can be recycled!

  6. Recycle your batteries, CDs, print cartridges, etc. through Associated Students: A lot of people don’t know what to do with these items so they end up throwing them away. Visit the Associated Students Recycle Program at 417 Cherry St. and get rid of them there!

For more information on recycling and how you can help our planet visit the Associated Students or Earth Easy.

Celebrate Every Day in October!

October offers much more than one holiday. Almost every day in October has a specific event to recognize something of importance. Halloween is the big attention grabber during the month, but some people don’t celebrate it due to religious or personal beliefs. With so many opportunities to celebrate multiple things, there is something for everyone!

According to National Whatever Day, there are around 40 kinds of festivities in the month of October. Some days have multiple events, and some event dates vary by year. As a student under so much stress, I love having new reasons to add some fun into my routine!

Save the date on your calendars!

Here are a few random, yet great days to acknowledge:

  • Tuesday, Oct.1 – World Vegetarian Day

Be sure to eat your greens! Go meatless this day, or try to enjoy at least one kind of veggie during the day. Buy local if possible!

vegetables
Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Thursday, Oct. 4 – National Frappe Day/National Taco Day

After all, it is that time for pumpkin spice flavored miracles. How these two edible items got their day of recognition combined? Beats me. Nevertheless, frappuccinos are blended goodness that can be purchased on campus at Common Grounds, Creekside Coffee (check hours of operation here). Frappuccinos can also be found downtown at Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Splurge and enjoy! They tend to be more enjoyable in a heated room when the weather cools down. I wouldn’t recommend eating a taco with a frappe, but you can end your day having a fun taco evening with friends.

  • Saturday, Oct. 5 – World Teachers’ Day

How many teachers have impacted your education for the better? Outstanding educators that go above and beyond are more challenging to come across. Especially the higher up you go in your academic career. Take time to compliment them through email, or face-to-face. Everybody thrives on positive feedback, even professors.

  • Friday, Oct 18 – National No Beard Day

It’s not quite “Novembeard” yet. Are you overdue for a trim? Are yesterday’s crumbs resurfacing in your facial hair? Head to a barber or find some clippers and rediscover your baby face. Already beardless advocates can rejoice in being overachieving celebrators.

  • National Cat Day

You’ve CAT to be KITTEN me right MEOW ! The procrastination process would never be the same without cats overloading the internet. If you own a cat, give them some extra treats and love on this day. Thinking of adding a furry friend to your family tree? Adoption is the way to go! Being cat-free doesn’t exclude you from the festivities either. If you have no access to real and/or internet kitties, be one. Find a laser pen, and a box big enough to fit your body. Sanity is optional.

cat
Photo credit: Adriano Makoto Suzuki

The ‘90s Comeback

I found myself the other day having the urge to play a Nintendo 64. I was in luck, my roommate had a Nintendo 64 already hooked up and waiting for me to give in. While playing Super Mario 64 I found myself reminiscing of my childhood when I played Nintendo 64 almost everyday after elementary school.

Nintendo 64
Photo credit: Jonas Nilsson

These nostalgic thoughts tracing me back to my childhood days expanded into other memories formed during that time period in my life. I then thought of why I had gotten the urge to play suddenly, and out of the blue, especially considering that I had not played Nintendo 64  in over six years. Had I been listening to the ‘90s Britney Spears earlier that day? Was it ‘N Sync making a surprise performance at the MTV VMA’s just weeks before?

I still do not know the answer to this question, but I remembered hearing various sources claim the ‘90s were making a comeback. Perhaps they were making a comeback not only in society as a whole, but also into my individual life. Whether or not the 90’s are making an actual comeback, I am happy with the ‘90s reminiscent surprises showing up in our current world.

Here are some signs that I have found that give way to the thought that the ‘90s might be making a comeback:

  1. ‘N Sync doing a live surprise performance at the MTV VMAs in August
  2. Austin Mahone’s MTV VMAS performance’s resemblance to ‘90s style, August 2013
  3. Certain fashion trends such as floral prints, high-waisted shorts, fanny packs, high tops, etc.
  4. ABC’s new show “The Goldbergs” about a suburban family from the early ‘90s

College Student Survival Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget

Let’s face it. Being healthy in college is pretty hard. We’re constantly in situations such as snacking on delivery pizza with our roommates late at night or gulping down sugary energy drinks to help us study. It’s difficult because these unhealthy foods and drinks are easily available to us and usually pretty cheap which complement our “broke college student” lifestyle.

Luckily, eating healthy on a budget is not as hard as you might think.

For the most part, people have a good idea what foods are healthy versus what aren’t. When choosing healthier foods to eat, it’s important not to make yourself miserable. I know spinach is healthy, but would I want to eat it everyday? Absolutely not. Eating should be enjoyable! Focus on what healthy foods you do like and eat those.

Making small changes in your diet can go a long way. Try having egg whites instead of the whole egg or choosing wheat bread instead of white. If there is something unhealthy you absolutely cannot give up then look for healthier alternatives. If you’re craving chocolate, go for some dark chocolate (which is better for your heart) instead. If you love potato chips then find the one lowest in fat and sodium and choose those. Baked chips, instead of cooked in oil, are also tasty alternatives.

If you like energy drinks, like I am guilty of, a great alternative is green tea. Green tea has almost as much caffeine as coffee and provides amazing health benefits. It’s also inexpensive. You can find green tea at any grocery store for about $5 a pack.

Photo credit: Janet Beasley
Photo credit: Janet Beasley

Farmers markets are a great way to find fresh locally grown fruits and veggies at a reasonable price.  Unfortunately, the Thursday Night Market we are probably most familiar with ends on Sept. 26.  However, there are some other options.  There is a year-round Chico Certified Farmers Market  from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the parking lot on Second and Wall streets.  There is another Chico Certified Farmers Market from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays in the North Valley Plaza Mall parking lot on Pillsbury Road (adjacent to Trader Joes).  This market goes until November 27. http://chicofarmersmarket.com/markets/

Another great place to do your grocery shopping is at Chico Natural Foods.  The store is located at 818 Main St. and they pride themselves on supporting local farmers and offering organically grown produce.  The store has a special co-op membership program where for $25 a year, members have access to member only discounts and monthly specials.  Students who are on financial aid and sign up for the program will receive an extra 5 percent discount for any product they buy.

With these tips, it is possible to eat healthy while in college.  It just takes a little dedication and knowing where to look.

Tips for Concert-Goers from a Music Lover

Many of my fondest memories were made at various music festivals and concerts. I’ve experienced a wide array of concert-going events and my friends often ask me to take them to their first big show because I “know the ropes.” Since I’ve introduced several friends to the wonderland of large-scale music events, such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Vans Warped Tour, I know my list of concert do’s and don’ts by heart.

Whether the show features rockin’ bands, upbeat electronic DJs, relaxed reggae or all of the above — it is always important be aware of yourself, your friends and your surroundings. Although the overall experience typically differs by show or music genre, a majority of my concert safety tips remain the same.

Here are my top five safety tips for attending music festivals:

  1. Stay hydrated: Concerts are hot and attendees often don’t realize they’re dehydrated because they’re having so much fun. I recommend buying a water bottle as soon as you enter the venue and refilling it often throughout the night. Water bottles are often overpriced at events but some event companies, like Insomniac Events, sell sustainable aluminum water bottles and offer refills. Although it may be hard to pry away from the music to replenish your water, your safety is worth it.

  2. Photo credit: Petras Gagilas
    Photo credit: Petras Gagilas

  1. Buddy system: Large crowds and loud music can separate groups of friends much faster than some may think. Wandering alone around a stadium filled with more than 100,000 people can lead to looking like a target for assault or theft. From the moment you walk through security to the point you get back to your hotel, make sure to have a friend with you at all times.

  2. Charge your phone: Refraining from posting about your amazing festival experience on Instagram and Twitter might be difficult, but it’ll be worth it at the end of the night when you’re looking for the friends who strayed away. One time I waited at a friend’s car for three hours after the show ended because both of our phones died and he forgot where he parked. Stressing out over losing touch with everyone else can definitely damper your fun.

  3. Know the venue: Festivals and concerts are typically hosted in large, confusing venues. This is especially true for festivals that feature multiple stages and require a lot of trekking from stage to stage. Luckily enough, most event promoting companies post a map of the show and set times ahead of time. I recommend taking a screenshot of the map and set times on your phone so it’s with you at all times. This also helps you plan out which artists you would like to see and know where they play ahead of time.

  4. Photo credit: Wil Kristen
    Photo credit: Wil Kristen

  5. Designate a driver: Don’t risk getting in a car with an intoxicated driver and don’t drive under the influence. Festivals and concerts often have a hefty police force surrounding the venue before and after events because this has become such an issue. If you can’t find a sober driver, remember that paying for a taxi is always more affordable than getting caught driving under the influence, which can cost thousands of dollars in California.