The words “free” and “wine” in the same sentence? I’m in!

Being Italian, the word “vino” has always been in my vocabulary. I love to drink wine, so when I found the opportunity to attend a free wine tasting in Chico, my friends and I jumped on the opportunity. This past Saturday we were able to taste wine from Hickman Family Vineyards, which is located in Bangor, CA.

VIP Ultra Lounge is located downtown Chico above the Beach. Every other Saturday this vicinity allows local wine dealers and makers to come and showcase their wine. They offered a complimentary wine tasting from 5-8 p.m. All you have to do is show up and it’s on the house! They gave us one ticket per wine so you could go taste each individual wine. They also paired each wine with a different type of fudge that complimented the wine. It was interesting to see how different food could make the flavor taste different.

It was a very different atmosphere than what you normally find in Chico. Very classy, elegant, and they even set the mood with a piano player. Reviews say it’s a great setting for professionals to entertain clients, enjoy a cocktail and appetizer after work or celebrate the end of a week with friends.

VIP Ultra Lounge is proud to support American Viticultural areas and local agriculture around Northern California as the source of their main ingredients and wine list. You can enjoy these complimentary wine tastings from local wine makers on Saturdays from 5-8 p.m. in February and March. Here is the lineup for many more wine tastings to come!

March 2
Grey Fox Winery – Oroville, CA

March 16
New Clairvaux Vineyards – Vina, CA

March 30
Mt. Tehama Winery – Manton, CA

Social Examination: Debriefing of Awkwardness in Public Transportation

I don’t like riding buses. I hate the smell of old buses. You know, the very old ones that smell like burnt diesel. And then the seats, God knows what’s the stain on the seat. What might look like an old chewed gum, could turn out to be something very different. So I don’t risk it, I just skip to the next seat in hopes it’s cleaner. But I’m not always fortunate, the new seat might just be dirtier than the past one. Between my decision-making and the mingle of dark colors of the seats, I muster courage and sit.

However, aside from the seat hygiene, I get a front row seat at people’s interesting demeanors. Yes, indeed, I do my daily examination of social behaviorism.

Depending on B-Line’s bus route, there will be very different characters. For example, bus eight is entirely Chico State students, but once in awhile a ragged stranger creeps into the student crowd. Route three on the other hand is a whole different story. It is almost the counterpart of route eight: a lot of wanderers and not a lot of students.

Going back to the topic of people’s demeanors, one of those characteristics is the “shyguy effect.” People suffering from this social enigma sit awkwardly looking only one direction. They seem like the don’t-talk-to-me-we-are-going-to-have-a-very-awkward-small-talk-conversation type of person. I have noticed this type overpopulates the bus. I have to admit that I have succumbed to its ways sometimes.

And then we have a character very popular these days, “the zombie.” Though, I am not talking about the students whose alarms didn’t go off and overslept, I’m talking about the smartphone zombies. I have also concluded that this characteristic is prone to exist while riding the bus due to the shyguy effect. People sit silently that in an attempt to appear popular and important, they start to play around with their phones. People with this characteristic may experience symptoms of sudden scrolling for the next song, or spontaneously smiling at a text or Facebook post. But between you and me, they are merely scrolling through their text history. How could I possibly know this, you ask? Well, the answer is simple, I too, have suffered from the shyguy effect.

I have also concluded these two characteristics can be applied to other awkward situations, like within a group of unknown people.

One thing I like to do when faced with this awkward situation, is to insert my hand into my pocket and take my smartphone out; no one wants to interrupt a zombie. Just kidding! The best action is to take a deep breath, bring the courageous power out of you, swallow your shyness, and simply start a conversation.





Life After College

As college students, sometimes we forget we’ve been in school for the majority of our lives. The closer we get to graduating from our four-year institution, the sooner we are left to wonder, “what will life be like now after college?”
Some of us have been thinking of graduation with enthusiasm and some of us have no idea how to feel about the whole idea of entering the “real world.”  The transition is unavoidable, but it serves as a fundamental key to a successful path.

This transition from college student to working professional affects almost all aspects of our life. The idea of adapting to work should not be so surprising, but adapting to a new life outside of work can be challenging. In the process of looking for a helpful guide on how to approach a new chapter in my life, I came across an article titled simply, Life After College.”

The article pointed out several tips that will come in handy as the “real world” arrives.  Some of the tips included making new friends, setting goals and networking wisely.

According to Economic Collapse, “53 percent of recent graduates in America are either employed or unemployed.” One can see this situation as a glass half full or half empty; the fact of the matter is everyone comes to the point in their life where they must face challenges.

As college graduates, we are told that our best years are officially done as soon as we step off the podium and the “real world has begun.” Many of us will land our ideal job in our respective fields and some will take a different direction we had never imagined.

If college has taught me anything it is that one must learn how adjust and adapt to any situation, it’s what makes the difference between being a student and becoming a successful and responsible adult.

Peanut Butter + Jam ≠ Sandwich

For anyone who knows me the least bit knows that I have a passion for the culinary arts. For many, the weekend means time to de-stress. For some this constitutes dancing, while for others it is strictly gym time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some enjoy endless margaritas at Tres Hombres. Tres Hombres is hands-down the best place to order your marg in Chico. With fresh in-season fruit and any flavorsome combination, my weapon of choice happens to be the strawberry-mango blend.

Well now that I’ve gotten my marg spiel out of the way, back to the main point. My weekends are not just filled with happy hours, but also with creative, freshly homemade pastries. I love to bake. I may take my proclivity with baking too far at some times.

I am madly in love with the idea of mixing peanut butter with chocolate in any way, shape or form. My favorite recipe is one that results in soft and chewy oversized peanut butter cookies with blackberry jam. I did not invent this recipe, simply perfected it to my personal satisfaction.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C flour1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C blackberry jam
  • 1/4 C sugar for rolling (not used for mixing)

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a stand mixer beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients until incorporated.
  5. Put the 1/4 C sugar in a bowl. Scoop dough out with an ice cream spoon; roll it in the sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.
  6. Take the end of a thin wooden spoon and create a hole in the middle of each dough ball and spoon in 1 teaspoon of jam in each hole.

*Bake for 11 minutes at 375° F.

Enjoy!

Besides my grandpa,Giada de Laurentiis and theFood Network are my go-to culinary inspiration.  So, now you all know why I’m never in the loop regarding the latest Walking Dead episode or any other “hip” shows on TV—I’m too consumed with researching the latest gluten-free or vegan recipes to accommodate any potential guests I may be hosting.

 

A Hopeless Romantic’s Guide to an Inexpensive Valentine’s Day

It is that time of year again! Love is in the air and hopeless romantics, such as myself, are happy as can be with all the mushy lovey dovey commercials and romantic comedy previews taking over television.

Valentine’s Day gives anyone the perfect excuse to indulge in candy and either celebrate not having to buy a significant other a gift or celebrating your current love interest.

However, for some people this can be a stressful weekend and holiday. I know my boyfriend is driving nine hours just to celebrate this romantic holiday with me. Gas alone is enough to empty his pockets and create one very expensive weekend.

Feeling guilty, I decided it might be important to come up with inexpensive date ideas. It really is such a silly holiday, no couple should feel stressed to throw down a large sum of money. So here is what I came up with.

1. Go on a picnic

Yes, it seems very simple and some of you may have rolled your eyes, but really it is the perfect inexpensive date. Every woman will appreciate you taking the time to pack up some food and take her to a relaxing spot to really enjoy quality time together. In Chico, we really make it easy by having access to the beautiful Bidwell Park.

2. Do something adventurous

It has been proven that challenging activities can actually bring you and your beau closer together by working together in a difficult task. Try rock climbing or go camping. Anything that puts you out of your comfort zone can really make you vulnerable and in return, rely on one another. My personal favorite is to go to a shooting range.

3. Act like silly kids again

Rollerblading and bowling are fun activities that allow you to bring out the child in you. Bowling can create some fun competition and both of these date ideas ease on the pressure to be romantic.

4. Check out showtimes for a movie or concert

I am a huge music lover so when I get tickets to a concert I am completely ecstatic. It not only is a guaranteed fun time, but also shows you are willing to take an interest in the music your date enjoys. Valentine’s Day may also be the one day it is okay to see chick flicks and not be judged for it.

5. Find out about the restaurant deals in town

Many restaurants will have specials for this holiday and it is the perfect opportunity to go out to a nice place without looking at the bill in complete horror. You can also check out LivingSocial, which always has great deals for restaurant vouchers.Well, I hope this helps all you fellow poor college students or those of you who find it ridiculous to spend too much money for one holiday. Let me know if you try one of my tips and how it worked out for you!

All About Klout

I am addicted to social networking analytics and I’m not exactly sure why. I was never particularly fond of mathematics in school and I can remember celebrating the day I walked out of my last math class in sophomore year, vowing never to take another one again. But something is different about looking at the numbers associated with online engagement. There’s something hidden in those mounds of data and numbers and “likes” and “shares.” There’s money.

Now, if there’s money to be made, then obviously it’s at least a littleinteresting, right? But there’s more to it than that. For me, analytics provide you with your digital footprint. They are like the ripples in the water that form after you throw a rock into a puddle or a lake. These numbers provide you with an insightful look at your social presence and your digital influence.

So naturally, being a social networking analytics junkie, when I heard about a website calledKlout–that takes social networking data from all of your different accounts and spits out a “Klout score” ranking your overall influence, I was intrigued.

Initially, the concept begs an interesting question: Does a Klout score actually mean anything? To be able to answer this question, and it’s one ofmuch debate, it is important to understand how Klout arrives at your score in the first place.

 

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Klout attempts to measure your influence by considering things such as following count, posts, engagement, retweets, reshares, comments and friend count. It also looks at the type of people you tend to follow and retweet as well as the number of your direct mentions.

 

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But how reliable is the score you’re provided with? Well, as it turns out, it is still too early to say. Although most marketers agree that Klout does measure your social influence to a certain degree, they are often quick to point out that there are still too many variables that can fog up the data.

Whatever the case, that still hasn’t stopped companies from taking the Klout score seriously. UK startupFrostbox originally opened up the company to investors…so long as your Klout score was above 60. The idea was that social media gurus with high influence and great social engagement would help to promote the company. It’s so crazy it just might work.
In the end, whether or not the Klout score is 100 percent correct is irrelevant if companies are beginning to take the score seriously. If you’re serious about your analytics and want to see your influence, Klout is a great way to go and their proprietary algorithms are only improving as time goes on.

It never hurts to start raising that score; you never know when it might be part of yourjob description, or maybe even part of your grade if you ever find yourself in thisclass!

That’s Like So Obvi Totes Adorbs!

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Can’t understand my title? Let me break it down for you.
 
Obvi= obviously
Totes= totally
Adorbs= adorable

You may want to watch this video before preceding!

Grammar was first hijacked by texting abbreviations, such as: LOL, OMG and BTW. People are now taking advantage of shortening syllables and having simply shaved off words to make them cuter.
Most people will assume only girls do this, but I have heard boys utter the word “fab.” I guess you could say it is that annoying habit others possess, yet you find yourself saying these words when you are home alone.

This trend has been encouraged by socialites, reality tv stars and anyone out there who is trying to personally customize their vocabulary.  
In order to fully grasp this form of word modification, it would be beneficial to grab some popcorn and turn on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

As a soon-to-be college graduate, I worry about the reputation Generation Y holds. We are known for being technologically advanced and capable of doing everything from our laptops, according to a Forbes article.

With all the other concerns older generations have about Generation Y, I hope that the use of word shortcuts, doesn’t lead them to think we are proned to do so for everything in life.

Aside from searching for jobs and perfecting my resumé I need to fine-tune my vocabulary and throw out the cute, so-called girly slang.

Note: Please don’t think I am writing this to bash word abbreviators, because I am 100 percent guilty when it comes to this guilty pleasure.




A Girl’s Best Friend (Nope, no Diamonds Here)

My dog is probably my most prized possession.


As that cliché hypothetical question goes: if there was a fire and I could grab one thing, it would be my four-legged sidekick.  Although technically she would be running ahead of me at full speed, and my hands would be free to grab my computer, that’s neither here nor there.

One day I went to the Butte Humane Society with my human best friend to write a story for my JOUR 341 class and saw a scruffy, small mutt in a green sweater.

I went back the next day and took her home with me. I named her after Luna Lovegood, the whimsy and slightly loopy Harry Potter character. My boyfriend, who I live with, was out of town at the time, so when he got home I casually said, “Hey look I adopted this dog! Isn’t she cute?”  Not one of my proudest girlfriend moments, but he grew to love her just as much as I do.

I’m a very logical and methodical person with very little impulsive tendencies. But her adoption was definitely the most impulsive decision I’ve ever made.

Even though she is my best friend–just saying that out loud makes me feel so awkward–it hasn’t always been a walk in the park taking care of her as a working college student.

She had (and still suffers from) severe separation anxiety. She’s destroyed carpet, blinds and toys. She is a piece of work.  My schedule is catered to making sure I can get home to let Luna out.  But she is so worth it, because every time I’m home alone, I’m not really alone. She’s always there…literally.  I wasn’t kidding about the separation anxiety.

I encourage any college student thinking about getting a dog to consider ALL the responsibility that comes with a canine best friend.  You can’t just leave on any given weekend or have a crazy loud party if your dog is as anxious as mine is. But hey, she’s worth it. Look at that face.

 



Leading the Horse to an Empty Lake

Is “Student Athlete” the correct label, anymore?


By Joelle Cabasa, Photographer/Videographer


Fact: Student athletes fulfill their manifest destiny… as pull-cart mules.

Europe in the Georgian era (1700s – 1800s) is today’s college sports.  Before the calmer times of the Victorian era, Europe’s colonialism was rampant across Asian countries.

Colonialism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “control by one power over a dependent area or people.”

Corralled into a pool of “opportunity,” student athletes lose their right in the recruitment process under the long-lost ideas of fair market value.  Instead, they are given scholarships based almost entirely on their athletic performance, while millions of dollars are raked in by the athletic department.  

Pretty low-key issue, right?

Remember Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley?  You heard right — he and his coaching staff are awaiting a $9 million severance paycheck, even though there was still four years left on his contract and incoming athletic support was projected to be about $15 million.  

These big financial investments subsidize the coaches outrageous salary or contracts to boost the success of their sports program.  

Is this remotely fair?

Present day student athletes are exploited from the moment they commit to the sports program.  Expectations include, but are not limited to, good academic standing, individual athletic performance, exorbitant time commitment, noble character and accurate representation of university standards, as well as a willingness to maintain emotional and mental stability for the sake of program success.

Not too much to ask, right?

With so much at stake, a closer look at recent events is necessary to understand the huge investment these students make just to receive a decent education.  The time commitment required by student athletes can make them vulnerable. So, should these individuals be called “athletic students,” instead?  

Titles and responsibilities are skewed, money is passing through everyone except the “performer,” and it is the student athlete who is receiving the least protection.

The scuffle between a head coach and his player at Morehead State was a great example of the inconsistent, inverse relationship that raises so much discussion with the media and nationwide university officials. View the quick clip here.

Is this just the progression of an entertainment-driven society?  Or is it truly for the love of the game?

All of the above could be true, but we can recognize as a society that we might be pushing these student athletes too far just for the sake of selfish entertainment.  

How about fair treatment now?

PR Stereotypes

By Heather Wilson, Assistant Account Executive
Considering we are at the final month of the year, I find myself only two weeks shy of graduating college and entering the real world.  With that said, I am constantly asked by my family and friends, “What are you going to do with your life?” or “Do you have a job?” 
When I tell them my answer, that I am entering the world of public relations, the most common response I hear is, “Oh, you’re a PR girl … ”
Public relations is an industry that appears to be bombarded with the most stereotypes. 
Due to the infamous HBO show “Sex and the City” and reality TV show “The Hills,” the media has portrayed public relations to be one of the most glamorous jobs ever.  These shows make public relations look like the daily duties of a practitioner consists of attending fashion shows, socializing at parties and receiving numerous amounts of free goods. 
However, the reality is, PR consists of dealing with multiple personalities on a daily basis, juggling multiple client accounts and constantly checking your inbox. 
Here are some common PR girl stereotypes:
·   They worship hashtags more than shoes
·   They have a great understanding of culture and current events
·   They always wear black
·   Their life is like Samantha Jones
·   They are workaholics