Thursday, February 28, 2013

“That is Like So Hella Rad, Brah”

By Kellie Sones, Account Executive

I’ll take words you will never hear together for eight hundred, please.

If that title didn’t confuse you, nothing will. If you ask any native Californian, there is an impending debate about which is better: Northern California or Southern California.  Northern California has San Franciscothe academic geniuses of Silicon Valley and the state capital. Southern California is home to Hollywood, Disneyland and miles upon miles of sandy, almost always sunny beaches. The question remains: Nor Cal or So Cal?

Originally from sunny San Diego, I think it’s pretty clear what my answer would be; however, while still at school here in the northern end of this glorious state, I think I will keep my humble opinion to myself.

          Southern California Kellie                                                        Northern California Kellie

What I am most interested in concerning this constant debate is the differences in speech. For example, I had never even heard the word “hella” before coming to Chico for college. Now, it’s rare if, for one day, I don’t hear someone say “That’s hella cool!” or “I’m hella hungry.”

In Southern California, we say things like “rad” and “stoked.” Those aren’t just cheesy words used by surfers and reality show jocks to further instill the So Cal stereotype into the minds of others, it’s really how many of us speak.

Another point of notable difference is the use of the article “the” in conjunction with freeway names. For example, in Southern California, interstate five is “the five.” While, in Northern California, it’s just “I-5.” I found these to be interesting factors of separation for the mid-state divide.

If you couldn’t already tell which end of the state someone is from, listen to them talk. The moment the first “hella” or “gnarly” is spoken the mystery will be solved.

So… is there a clear winner and loser? The world may never know.
Until then, stay classy, California.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Wanelo it!

By Nicole Walker, Account Executive

Move over Pinterest, Wanelo is climbing up the ladder and joining the spotlight.

Note I said joining--not taking the spotlight, because I am a die-hard Pinterest fan, but I try to stay open minded about my app usage.

Wanelo is a Website and app that is similar to Pinterest, but, get ready for it… you can save and buy things from the Website! Wanelo has endless photos of clothes, accessories and home d├ęcor. However, I must warn you, this site is more dangerous than Kesha with a tube of glitter, but it is perfect for gifts and self-indulgences on payday.

Pinterest is known for its original ideas, photos and a spectrum of creativity, but it can be a tease. Call me a shopaholic, but I find it to be heartbreaking when I am scrolling down Pinterest and find a must-have, but can’t buy it because the link leads to an error.

Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest has a multitude of qualities that makes it unique and productive, but if you are just trying to find fun boutique-like treasures, Pinterest can be hard to navigate with the linking situation. I love pinning and finding ideas for hair, makeup, nails and “thinspiration,” but for consumerism purposes, Pinterest just makes you want everything you can’t have simply because you can’t find it.

I am a student, holding down a job and two internships; I really do not have the time or talent to get crafty with mason jars, decoupage and hot glue guns. So for the individual with a busy life, but a superb taste in fashion, trends and the latest ideas, Wanelo it is.

Friday, February 22, 2013

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

By Amanda Papapietro

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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Social Examination: Debriefing of Awkwardness in Public Transportation

By Miguel Rocha, Editorial Assistant

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.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life After College

By Louis Correa, Social Media Assistant

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.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Peanut Butter + Jam ≠ Sandwich

By Rosana Torres, Editorial Director

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. 

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) 

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. 


Besides my grandpa, Giada de Laurentiis and the Food 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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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

By Amber Whiteside, Online Communications Director

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

By Jonathan Menager, Social Media Director

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 little interesting, 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 called Klout--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 of much debate, it is important to understand how Klout arrives at your score in the first place.

Simply put, Klout provides you with a score based on data taken from a number of different social networks that you provide the website access to.

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.

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 startup Frostbox 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 your job description, or maybe even part of your grade if you ever find yourself in this class!