Archive for September, 2009

Don’t wait for Halloween to play dress-up this fall

Looks from Anna Sui's line for Target, inspired by "Gossip Girl."

Looks from Anna Sui's line for Target, inspired by "Gossip Girl."

When I was younger, I loved playing dress up. I’m 21 now, and I think I still do it.

In the fifth grade, I had an outfit inspired by Britney Spears: black Gap skirt, white button-up shirt, knee-high socks and penny loafers. My mom made me give my beloved skirt away (I grew 8 inches and my skirt was no longer appropriate for an 11-year-old). For Halloween in high school, I was Posh Spice (sans David Beckham) and Cinderella (again, no Prince Charming).

Now in college, I still tweak my outfits for inspiration. I am a huge fan of novel headbands like Blair’s from Gossip Girl. I love Kate Moss’ tiny minidresses and Gwen Stefani’s red lipstick.

DuWop "Twilight" lip venom

DuWop "Twilight" lip venom

Designers have embraced the love of dressing up and made it more age appropriate. Disney now makes wedding dresses inspired by its princesses; Anna Sui designed a line for Target inspired by Gossip Girl; DuWop cosmetics makes a version of its popular Lip Venom based on Twilight. Have fun with fashion this fall. Draw inspiration from books and movies. If only for a day, live like your favorite character or celebrity, because dressing up never gets old.

-MaryAnn Barone

Graffiti art on pedestrian detour sign at Stadium Drive and South Road

Graffiti art on pedestrian detour sign at Stadium Drive and South Road. Photo by Brittany Bass

If you take a glance at the back of a few Pedestrian Detour maps around UNC-Chapel Hill, you might notice Calvin & Hobbes or the face of a sun stenciled with spray paint.

Graffiti art on campus can be hard to spot, but it catches my eye every time I see a new piece. Although this graffiti was most likely done by a student on campus, I would like to imagine that infamous graffiti tagger Banksy has come to UNC.

From monkeys to mice to overzealous police officers to the Queen of England, Banksy has done it all. The British “art terrorist” whose work has become an underground masterpiece is the creator of some of the most unique graffiti artwork today. He uses stencils and works quickly under the cover of night, but by morning two police officers wearing banana suits will have appeared on the face of a brick building. There is some mystery surrounding the actual identity of the artist, who simply goes by Bansky.

Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to see one of Bansky’s creations in Chapel Hill, but for now I’ll just admire the graffiti we have on campus.

-Brittany Bass

Why I love midterms

Midterms officially kicked into high gear this week, so I would like to take a moment and explain why I love them so freaking much:

  • Multiple hours of slaving away inside Davis Library. It’s industrious to know you’re studying in the same building where babies are made on the 8th floor.
  • Professors may deny their vanity over the course of the semester, but midterms unveil how vain they really are: They all try to one-up each other by scheduling as many midterms for you as possible in the same week. Sly dogs.
  • I lose sleep. The recommended amount is 7-9 hours a night, and I usually average 5-7. Midterms bring me down to 3-5 hours. But wait! This is a good thing! According to the economic law of marginal utility, the more you do something, the less satisfaction you receive from it, so less sleep = lower opportunity costs! Yay!
  • The amount of coffee consumption triples, due to all nighters and more studying on campus. I (sarcastically) told a friend a few weeks ago that I wanted to pick up a coffee habit, so… mission accomplished.
  • You have a greater chance of getting sick, since your mind and body are stressed so much. We have a pretty exciting epidemic to catch this year. A good “swine flu” story is so much more badass than an “I got a cold” story.
  • There’s very little space to study on campus. I especially love this, because I can then spend multiple hours wandering from Davis to the UL to Graham Memorial in an attempt to find an open study spot. From Graham Memorial, I often go to the Union. If the Union is full (it usually is), I’ll try to find an open classroom. But if it’s after 9, the buildings are locked. At this point, I check the Caribou Coffee on Franklin Street, but all the tables are taken there, too. Thus, I must cross the street and enter my nemesis, Starbucks, looking for an empty chair. Of course, there is none. I wander back onto campus, this time into Hanes Art Center, but I don’t know why I bother; there’s hardly any study room in this building, and oh yeah, it’s locked. So I get in my car and drive back to my apartment and go to sleep. Studying is exhausting.

-Sonya Chudgar

Have you Googled yourself today?

I realized I was finally growing up when I developed a new obsession. Gone are the days of outrageous shopping (I used to live at Nordstrom), constant TV watching (I totally forgot about the Grey’s Anatomy season premier ), and spending my Saturday afternoons enthralled in hours of College Football (even Carolina games are trying my patience – Hakeem Nicks, we need you back). Instead, I find myself constantly tweeting, looking for connections on LinkedIn, and (you guessed it) blogging.

I confess: A year ago, I didn’t even know what Twitter was. Even a few weeks ago, I didn’t have any real interest in blogging. But as of Tuesday, I am officially captivated. My name is Amy Dobrzynski, and I am a social media addict.

It all started when Kelly Giles (former President of Blue & White) came to talk to Carolina Public Relations Student Society of America. And it probably didn’t help that I was surrounded by seniors who were all starting to freak out about getting (or not getting) jobs. But when I learned that it’s not really your impressive resume that lands you the job, I was floored.

So, humor me for a second. Open up Google. Type in your name. What kind of results show up?

I am one of the lucky ones. There is only one Amy Dobrzynski out there, and you’re looking at her. My Google results are pretty straightforward (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, my blog, various entries from The Daily Tar Heel and Blue & White, etc.). But I’m guessing most of you aren’t having the same luck. And chances are that your future employers are going to be Googling you as well.

So how do we change the lack of Google results and increase our chances of getting hired? By developing an online presence through social media.

Here are a few tips from an (albeit fairly new) social media enthusiast:

1. Facebook – keep it private. You are not going to stop your friends from posting inappropriate things on your wall, and you definitely don’t want to risk your employers seeing it. Facebook should be your social outlet, so let’s keep it that way. (Sidenote – University Career Services friended me on Facebook the other day. I didn’t even know they knew what that was.)

2. Twitter – I know we all love bashing Lindsay Lohan, but what does that say about you as a person, besides the fact that you are up-to-date on your celebrity gossip? Tweet about something interesting to you (that future employers will find interesting, too). Business major? ReTweet something from the Wall Street Journal. English enthusiast? Tweet about the great book you just read.

3. LinkedIn – You have tons of connections at your fingertips, and I bet you didn’t even know it. Have you had an internship? There’s a good chance your employers are on this networking site. I’ve even found a couple of teachers on LinkedIn. But make sure you actually know someone before you start going connection crazy. No one likes random friend requests on Facebook, and professionals definitely don’t like them on LinkedIn.

4. Blogs – This is your chance to show off your own personal style, so have some fun with this! Keep it professional, of course, but make sure you show off your creative side.

5. Stay classy – If you’re going to use pictures on any of these sites (and you should), make sure they represent you, and how classy you are. No red cups, please.

6. Start Early – I had a quarter-life crisis this summer. I turned 20 and could no longer use “but I’m a teenager!” as an excuse. Now, I’m a junior and I’m already freaking out about finding a job in this economy. Don’t wait until the last minute to get caught up on social media – you will only put more pressure on yourself!

7. Branding – Create a brand for yourself. For non-PR majors, a brand is something you use to market yourself to employers. Pick a few adjectives that describe you and then incorporate them into all of your social media outlets. Make sure you use a consistent name. Employers don’t have time to go searching around for you. If you need help with branding, UCS is having a Personal Branding seminar Sept. 29.

-Amy Dobrzynski

Foster’s Market: fresh, fast and student friendly

FostersMarket2Foster’s Market is located on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Hillsborough Road, but the café’s artsy décor and eclectic atmosphere remind me of a Carrboro eatery.

The seating arrangement is a hodge-podge of colorful tables, chairs and booths.The décor is both cheerful and utilitarian, with warehouse-style lighting, exposed pipes, large paintings and bright colors.

Sara Foster opened the first Foster’s Market in Durham in 1990 and the one in Chapel Hill eight years later. The concept for the market is based on using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to prepare simple food.

And the food at Foster’s Market is indeed simple and fresh. I ordered The Herbie Bird Wrap, with herb roasted turkey breast, spinach, tomato, cucumber, dill havarti and basil mayo. The turkey and havarti tasted fresh, the vegetables were crisp, even if they went a little heavy on the spinach, and the basil mayo complemented the ingredients well.

And Foster’s Market is convenient (eat in or take out) and affordable. Students get a free fountain drink and bag of chips with any sandwich or wrap. Also check out the soups, salads and pizzas, the breakfast menu, the baked goods, the coffee and juice bar and the specialty grocery items.

-Danielle Cushing

Bad blood

tru blood

Vampires. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the beasts have sunken their fangs deep into pop culture and don’t intend to let go anytime soon. Vamps have been the “it” factor for more than a year now, but for me, vampire fatigue set in long ago. I’m tired of hearing about the overhyped “True Blood.” I deride The CW for launching yet another book-to-television revival in the form of “The Vampire Dairies.” And any mention of Robert Pattinson or Edward Cullen makes me want to chew my face off.

So how do we cope with pop culture failing us when we most need a new trend to talk about? Through mockery, of course. Here’s a rundown of eight ways to use the vamp trend to reinvigorate television.

Show Most in Need of a Vampire:

“Grey’s Anatomy”
This snoozer proved last season that it doesn’t mind scripting undead characters (hello, Denny). Ellen Pompeo’s whiny Meredith checks out early this season due to maternity leave, and Katherine Heigl recently announced she’ll skip five episodes to film the movie “Life As We Know It.” So what better time to throw a fanged villain into the mix? McBloody, anyone?

Runner up: “American Idol”

What you didn’t know was that Fox passed up this guy when they offered Ellen DeGeneres the chair of Paula Abdul:


Tough loss.

Show Most in Need of a Vampire Slayer:

“The Vampire Diaries”
For obvious reasons.

Runner up: “Bones”
It’s the perfect solution. Buffy slays Dr. Temperance Brennan, and then she and David Boreanaz’s Agent Booth Angel end up together at last.

Show with a Vampire that just needs to come out of the closet already:

“Gossip Girl”
I’m talking to you, Chuck Bass.

Runner up: “Lost”
Sawyer’s really an escapee from the “True Blood” clan. Just listen to his accent.

Network Most Likely to create a Vampire Crime Drama:

They already did it once: “Moonlight” (cancelled after just one season in 2008)

Runner Up: CBS
I hear “CSI: Forks” is already in the works.

Character Most Likely to Date a Vampire:

Sam Winchester, “Supernatural”
Sammy’s past hook-ups include Ruby, a demon who ultimately convinces him to open the doors to hell and thus jumpstart Armageddon; Madison, a girl who unknowingly morphs into a werewolf at night; and Jessica, Sam’s fiancée who was murdered by the same demon that killed his mother. Dating a vampire would be a tame choice for a change.

Runner up: Dwight Schrute, “The Office”
A) Dwight already believes in vampires (see season three “Business School” episode)
B) He is only 99 percent sure Ben Franklin is dead. 99 percent fact, 1 percent imagination.
C) He could defend himself against any possible attacks: He has the strength of a grown man and a little baby.

Character Most in Need of a Vampire Boyfriend/Girlfriend:

Vince Chase, “Entourage”
Anything to raise his faltering actor status, right?

Runner up: Annie Wilson, “90210”
Annie’s dumb. And this show is boring. It could use some “life.”

Character Most Likely to Kill a Vampire:

Jack Bauer, “24”
Terrorist or not, that bitch is going down.

Runner up: Echo, “Dollhouse”
Eliza Dushku’s Echo can be programmed to take on any persona and thus perform any action. So, obviously, the Dollhouse need only program Echo to become a vampire slayer, and Faith is back in action.

Show Most Likely to Introduce a Singing/Dancing Vampire:

“Dancing with the Stars”
Hey, if they’ll cast Tom DeLay, they’ll cast anybody.

Runner up: “Glee”
As long as it meets the criteria: It sings! It dances! It’s a misfit in high school!

-Sonya Chudgar

Greek blog fire photo

As a Carolina blue fire truck pulled into Fraternity Court Wednesday morning, 22 members of UNC’s Greek community stood bleary-eyed in the misty rain.  There was no fire to extinguish — only a photograph taken of UNC Greeks getting ready to ride to Washington, D.C.

As a participant in the program From Chapel Hill to Capitol Hill, I was in that photograph.  Sponsored by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, this program packed a group of motivated Greeks onto a charter bus and headed to D.C.  Our mission: to convince representatives and senators to support two bills for fire safety on college campuses.

Our trip was part of Campus Fire Safety Month on Capitol Hill.  Phi Gamma Delta recruited support from all the Greek houses on campus to make this trip in honor of the lives lost in a fire at their house in 1996.  We joined the cosponsors from the Ohio Fire Safety Coalition and parents that lost children in fires to represent students across the country faced with the threat or consequences of fires on and around college campuses.

On Thursday morning our day of lobbying began with a short press conference and photos on the Capitol steps, where we hoped to make a difference.  Thirteen groups headed to meetings in the offices of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

My group met with staffers from offices from Ohio, Florida and Maryland.  The staffers are the people who study all the bills that go through Congress and advise their respective representatives or senators how they ought to vote or what they should support.

It was surprising that these staffers, who were genuinely interested in what we had to say about fire safety, were only about 25 years old.  Our country is run by people only a few years older than the students who were lobbying for fire safety bills.

Taking full advantage of this unique opportunity, my group went to the basement of the offices and took the “members only” subway and trams to get from building to building beneath the Capitol.  We also got tickets to view the sessions of the House and Senate and saw John Kerry, John McCain and N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan at work voting.  After our meetings, we met Rep. David Price, who represents my district.  I was fortunate enough to have a chance to take a picture with the man I voted for!

This was an incredible experience.   I learned about fire safety, understood more about how laws are created and discovered that our senators and representatives really care about what their constituents want.  With enough time and persistence, we will have influenced the laws that govern this country and we’ll have made campuses safer for students.

The voices and presence of these UNC Greeks in D.C. influenced the future of our country this week.  I can’t wait to go back next year to continue to be a part of something that really makes a difference.

-Megan Cassell

Six talented a cappella groups helped UNC Habitat for Humanity kick off the year with its first Rock the House fundraiser. Memorial Hall’s lower level seating was full, thanks in large part to the popularity of the Clef Hangers, who were slated to appear at the end of the show. But the lesser known groups proved just as entertaining.

Group 1: Lucky 13 (Chapel Hill High School)

habitat blog post lucky 13

Chapel Hill High School’s all-girl a capella group, Lucky 13, performed a nice rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn,” taking into account the fact that they are high school girls performing for a group of college students. The lead singer was a little quiet and a little flat in some places, but they get extra points for bravery.

Group 2: Walk-Ons

habitat blog post walk ons

The Walk-Ons’ renditions of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and Akon’s “Freedom” were smooth with great harmonies. I was especially impressed by Walt Peters’s range in “Freedom” and his ability to hit the high notes with such force.

Group 3: The Loreleis

habitat blog post loreleis

This was my first time seeing the Loreleis perform. They started out rocky with Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.” Savita Joshi had trouble putting power behind the high notes. But she impressed me with her deep, sultry voice when she sang Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” in the final medley. Paramore’s “Hallelujah” ended the medley, but Nina Gandhi also had trouble with the high notes in the beginning. Maybe it was nerves, because she picked it up and redeemed herself by the end. My favorite performance was by Starr Miller, who sang Adele’s “Hometown Glory.” Her voice was soulful and velvety. UNC’s next American Idol competitor?

Group 4: Psalm 100

habitat blog post psalm 100

Psalm 100 began with The Submarines’ “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie.” Soloist Katy Link sounded a bit nasal in places, but it was a group of true entertainers – they were excited to be there and had the audience clapping. The talented Rachel White sang Flyleaf’s “All Around Me,” a song that constantly switches from low to high notes and back again. They ended with a hymn by Caedmon’s Call, “I Will Sing.” It was beautifully done, with the whole group in harmony.

Group 5: The Achordants

The Achordants were one of my favorite groups – who wouldn’t like a group of 17 musically talented men? They started with Blink 182’s “Stay Together for the Kids,” which had some great harmony in the chorus with tenor Ben Phillis taking care of the low notes and Adam Pasour hitting the high notes. Jacob Osborne had the crowd roaring with laughter during Styx’s “Mr. Roboto.” Apparently singing isn’t his only forte – he dances, too. Pasour finished it off with Rob Thomas’ “Streetcorner Symphony.” And maybe it’s because that’s one of my favorite songs, but I thought Pasour was really hot!

Group 6: The Clef Hangers

habitat blog clefs

The Clef Hangers have a great reputation for a reason. The group has great stage presence and a strong, beautiful sound. They began with Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” and soloist Hogan Medlin delivered a clean performance. James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” was second, and one of the things I love about this performance is that each member has a small solo. They finished with Toto’s “Africa,” another Clef classic. I liked their choice of songs, but the latter two are sung at every performance. It would have been nice to get some more diversity.

Surprise! Group 7: Steve McQuaid and Megan Jones

habitat blog megan steve

The night’s emcees and UNC Habitat co-chairs Megan Jones and Steve McQuaid – also a Clef Hanger alumn – surprised the audience with a duo rendition of Jason Mraz’s “Lucky.” The mini performance was a pleasant surprise.

-Danielle Cushing

Overheard in the Pit

Girl (To her friend): When we get home, do you want to go stand by the toilet?

Girl: Man, I should really start wearing more underwear…

Boy: To this day, Airbud is still seriously the saddest movie that I’ve
ever seen.

Boy (to Pit Preacher as he is walking away): I love you!
Pit Preacher (turning around angrily and pointing at him): You don’t know what love is!

Ad on the television in the Union from Campus
Health Services:
“Chuck Norris’s tears can cure H1N1. Unfortunately, Chuck Norris never cries. Learn how to prevent the swine flu.”

-Brecken Branstrator

Bobby Frasor practiced his video documentary skills when the UNC men’s basketball team visited the White House in May. While his camera skills leave something to be desired, he may have a future as a fashion critic. Watch Frasor give his teammates a hard time for their wardrobe mishaps and see how the national champs cope with the recession.

Check out Lindsay Britt’s column about men in suits on page 10 of the September issue of Blue & White.

-Natasha Duarte