Feel Great

Charcoal-The Beauty Must-Have to Surviving the Semester

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 9.58.36 AM.pngAs midterm week, or weeks, as we like to call it, is winding down, you might find yourself overly tired and stressed out–and it shows, whether it be in the five pounds you gained from stress eating, the bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, or  the overnight breakout that seems to have “magically” erupted on your face. And while we might not be able to help with the exhaustion, we know the trick to make you look, and even feel, a whole lot better. Charcoal.

You heard us right. Charcoal is not longer just for those summer BBQs. It’s the newest and hottest thing in all your beauty and skincare, whether you realize it or not. Activated charcoal, which is essentially treated carbon, has been added to face washes and face masks — even toothbrushes and toothpaste!

The secret to its success? In skincare products, charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out dirt and oil. The longer the product sits on your skin, the more effective it will be in drawing out toxins, because it cleans skin more deeply than the basic “soap and water” combo by minimizing your pores. Need any more convincing? It can also improve overall surface texture by acting as an intense moisturizer for dry patches of skin. In oral hygiene products, activated charcoal can remove plaque and be used to whiten teeth. It’s a win-win x 10.

We’ve picked some of the best charcoal beauty products, according to reviews, that will help you look your best, even when you don’t feel it. With these high quality but cheap finds, these products are the best of the best! Try a few out and let us know how you like them!

Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser


Biore is a drugstore brand that has definitely jumped on the charcoal bandwagon. The brand offers numerous products featuring the activated charcoal ingredient for a great value. It’s perfect for anyone on a college budget. The Deep Clean Charcoal Cleanser, which sells for $6.00, is great for acne prone skin. The product claims to get rid of pore clogging dirt and also detoxifies pores by drawing out and binding bacteria.


Bier Self-Heating 1 Minute Mask


Need something quick and effective?  Biore also ventures into a charcoal Self Heating One Minute Mask. This mask, only $6, is the perfect product for the busy college girl on the go, and purifies skin in just one minute.


Freemans Charcoal & Black Sugar Mask


To reap the benefits of a longer mask application, try Freemans Charcoal & Black Sugar Mask, which costs only $3.00 a tube. This mask moisturizes as well as softens skin, and the activated charcoal locks out oil and toxins. This mask is more suited for normal and combination skin types, and can also double as a face scrub.


Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub


If blackheads are your main concern, Garnier’s Blackhead Eliminating Scrub fights off blackheads and keeps dirt from building up in your pores. According to Garnier, it claims to unclog pores in just one use! ($7.00 a tube)


Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Charcoal Bar Soapscreen-shot-2016-10-22-at-10-42-27-pm

To detoxify the whole body, try a bar soap like Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, which sells for only $3.00 and is  great for cleansing the body after a tough and sweaty workout when pores are full of sweat, grime, and dirt.


inVitamin All Natural Activated Charcoal Tooth and Gum Powder



Though a little on the pricer side, inVitamin All Natural Activated Charcoal Tooth and Gum powder is perfect for those brave enough to venture further into the “charcoal trend”. The brand inVitamin offers tooth and gum powder, which acts as a natural stain and teeth whitening agent. It comes in three flavors: orange, peppermint, and spearmint!

By: Melissa Lee

"Love Your Body, Love Yourself"

Why You Should be Your OWN Best Friend!

2015-12-28-1451345696-3530707-464e1e54d65ce275_10520150_920802287946427_620205038_n.xxxlarge.jpgUnless he suggests chillin’ by the fire while eating fondue, it’s unlikely Justin Bieber is the first person you think of when it comes to giving any legitimate advice. Surprisingly, however, the pop singer created a breakthrough ballad, “Love Yourself,” that provides some noteworthy guidance: “…if you like the way you look that much, then baby, you should go and love  yourself.”

Loving the way you look is a major part in constructing a powerful foundation for self-confidence. Here are some tips to become your absolute favorite person, your greatest cheerleader, and your best friend:

1.) Find more positive social media.

Do you gawk over Kylie’s lips, Casey Neistat’s lifestyle, or Michelle Phan’s makeup skills? Are you motivated by those you watch and follow, or do you find yourself envious and disheartened when you look at other girls on Instagram and compare yourself? If you chose the latter, clean out your social media. Turn your eyes from those who drain you to those who drive you to be the best possible version of yourself.

2.) Find your greatest qualities.

What about YOU makes YOU feel on top of the world? Jot down one physical and one personality characteristic you adore about yourself. Though you shouldn’t struggle to discover two remarkable traits about yourself, reach out to someone who knows you well if you do. Ask them to list and explain, in writing, one physical and one personality trait that makes you unique and incredible. Resist doubting their words! Put this paper where you look frequently (e.g. on your mirror, inside your laptop case) to remind yourself that you are worth it and truly one of a kind.

3.) Find what makes you feel alive.

Have you experienced someone who is both confident and sad at the same time? Nope! That’s because happiness and self-confidence are strongly related. Head to an a cappella show on campus, FaceTime a family member (and your dog) from home, or dance in your room before your roommates come back from class. They’ll never even know! Each day, engage in something that resonates with your soul. Write down what you did and how it made you feel. Reflect on these activities to bring you both gratitude and happiness and ultimately will help generate a stronger confidence and motivation to get out there and participate in the world with no fear!

By: Mary Mik


Coming Out of the Closet



What is your biggest fear in life?  Is it death?  Failure?  The Syracuse Clowns?  What if I told you that at one point, mine was simply being myself?

The thing is, I’m not alone. There are so many people in this world who are terrified of being comfortable with their sexual identity, whether it be out of fear of rejection, lack of acceptance by family and friends, or fear of doubt that what you feel for others isn’t actually real.

I have been there, and I’m here to tell you why your reason for staying in the closet does not, and should not,  take precedence over being who you want to be, and who you truly are.

Society, for lack of a better word, sucks. I understand how judgmental society is.  Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on everything, and is less than skeptical to share them, and unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid people like that in this world.But not everyone is as cynical and judgmental as you may think. It may sound cliché, but the people that love you and understand your beautiful, unique self–those are the ones that will be there for you, even if you don’t realize it.  Nowadays, people have so many opinions about who you should be, how you should identify yourself, and even who you should love but the thing is, those who have different opinions shouldn’t matter to you. Those are the people who are so insecure with their own lives that they think its okay to tell others how to feel, and ultimately, how to live–because anybody naïve enough to create more oppression and more hate in this world are the people that are not happy with themselves.

The people in your life now, they ultimately are always going to be there for you. They are in your lives because they love and want to protect you.  And although they may want the best for you, you may feel like when it comes to coming out of the closet, they may not be that supportive.  And honestly, that’s okay.  Our parents grew up hearing about so many tragedies caused by homophobic bigots, and though expressed in a different context, moms and dads get concerned about our “choices” because of the horrible people our world is filled with. When you really think about it, everyone just gets scared or worried because they are afraid of what others will think. It’s the downfall of living in such a judgmental  world.

The best way to show them how ready you are to live with the negatives of the world, the readier they’ll be to support you in all of your decisions, including this one. Show them how proud you are to be you. Whether you like girls, guys, or both, it’s okay to be who you are. We shouldn’t live in fear of what others think, because at the end of the day, what should matter to you and what matters to your family members is your happiness. At the end of the day, your parents and your friends just want you to ultimately be you, and have you okay with being YOU!

When I first had curiosities about girls, I was absolutely terrified.  I grew up in a strict Jewish-Republican household, in a very prim and proper town, and everyone was always looking for something to talk about.  I convinced myself it was just a phase, because boys are what I was “supposed” to like.  If anyone ever found out, I would be the subject of discussion everywhere I went.

 In the end though, I did tell the world.  I left the closet, and I left all of the fear and cowardice with it.  And now, I am the happiest I can be.  I love who I am.  And I love who I surround myself with.  At the time, my family had difficulty adjusting to my feelings and thoughts on love and relationships. They didn’t quite understand, and honestly, I don’t blame them– but because of this, I felt like an outcast.  I felt unloved and unwanted, but that did not stop me from becoming the person I am today.  And I wouldn’t trade my decision for anything in the world.

Though society continues to tell us otherwise, we need to celebrate our differences, because they are truly what make us beautiful and unique. So much time is spent worrying about if we are too weird, too girly, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too quirky,too awkward, too gay, too straight,  too smart, too loud, to masculine,  too “anything”–and we have to stop this, because it’s no way to live. Our differences, and our sexual preferences and our identities are what make us US, and we simply have to stop apologizing for being who we are. Stop living in fear of yourself and of others, and simply start being you. Because the YOU that YOU are is enough!

By: Allison Epstein

Feel Great

Sexually Frustrated: A Guide to Handling A Partner that is NOT Good in Bed


You’re lying in bed with your partner, making out before things start to get really steamy, the anticipation is building, and then nope—nope, not good. They’re just bad. You wonder what they are doing, why they think this is a good technique, and how they think this will make you orgasm.

You don’t want to hurt their feelings, because they are your lover and friend, so you fake your way through some awkward foreplay, and then some lackluster sex that leaves you feeling dissatisfied, depraved, and wanting more. How do you address this if you want to keep sleeping with them? You can’t just go on like this, because let’s be real– being teased with the idea of climaxing and not reaching it is just painful. It can be literally painful. “Blueballs” might seem like an experience that is only had by those with, well, balls… but we ladies get “blueballed” too.

No one wants to hear (and most people don’t want to tell someone) that they suck in bed, so here are some tips to getting your sex life back on track and ensuring that both of you get the satisfaction you crave.


Playfully Challenge Them

When you finish and they are lying next to you and inevitably ask how it was for you,  give them a challenge like, “It was good babe, but I bet you can make me feel even better.” Giving this kind of challenge lets your partner know that you want more, but also doesn’t shatter their confidence completely. It makes the challenge a sexy game between the two of you. It will encourage the two of you to give each other more elicit, more physical responses, and open channels of communication that may have not been there before.

Show Them What You Think is Sexy

Watch porn together, bring props or toys into the mix, and dress up for each other. Actually showing each other what you like can improve a lackluster sex life. Porn especially is a great way to do this. Finding a video you love that shows your partner exactly what gets you going not only gives them a visual, but can also be great foreplay. You can watch a video together, turn to your partner, and simply say, after you both are hot and bothered, “Want to try that?”


Tell Them What You Want in the Moment

Some people are loud in bed, while others are quiet. Your volume in bed is your choice, but communicating with your partner in the moment can really improve your intimate experience without have to deal with it in more detail later. Some people use comments like, “Right there!” “Harder!”, “Faster!”, or “Just like that!” as sexy talk in bed, but adding these phrases can also allow your partner to make mental notes about what you especially like or don’t like. When they realize what you like and how you like it because of your exclamations, there is a higher chance they will change their technique to match what makes you vocal.


Tell the Truth

When all else fails, complete honesty is always the best policy. Any good relationship is built off of honesty between partners. There is no need to rip apart their emotions and tell them every little thing they do wrong in bed, but having an honest conversation about how you have not quite been reaching your ideal orgasm is good. It is important to remind your partner that you care for them and that they are the only person you want to be intimate with when you have this conversation, because you don’t want to shatter their confidence. It should be noted that this might be a better tactic to take for those in relationships. If you have this conversation with your casual hookup or friends with benefits, things could get weird—and not in the fun way.

Sex, regardless of who it’s with should be fun, exciting, and most importantly, should feel good–for BOTH of you. So stop suffering through the “vanilla” sex life by applying these tips in the bedroom. Trust me, you’ll be thanking us later!

By: Molly Velazquez-Brown

DIY · Feel Great · tips and tricks

Pumpkin: The Must Have Addition to Your SkinCare Routine


The semester is halfway over, and I know that I am not the only one with homework up to my ears. Blinded by my endless to-do lists and textbook pages, I’ve barely realized that fall has arrived to our beautiful campus here in Syracuse; there’s a crisp breeze in the air, with blankets of leaves covering the grass, and everyone is  starting to bundle in sweaters and scarves. It’s time to take a breather from the books, embrace the season and relax… what better way to do so than to have  a fall-themed spa night?

The welcoming of fall also brings fall vegetables, many of which are  a great in homemade beauty products that are amazing for your skin – brussels sprouts, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, squashes; the list goes on. They do wonders for your body, both on the inside and outside. They provide so many benefits when used directly on your skin in the form of a skin treatment.

The most quintessential fall vegetable is pumpkin, of course! Pumpkin packs vitamin A and vitamin C that together soothe, hydrate, and repair damaged skin. Pumpkin also fights acne due to high levels of vitamins E and T. Along with these beneficial vitamins, pumpkin also promotes new cell production, fights inflammation, and controls oil production by your skin. It’s also very inexpensive (a can of organic pumpkin at Trader Joe’s is just $1.99!), making it accessible for college students on a budget.

Pumpkin is the perfect ingredient to use as a skin product base that will leave you with acne-free and hydrated skin. Here I’ve put together two homemade pumpkin beauty recipes, a face mask and a face scrub, that use simple, cruelty-free ingredients that any college student can get their hands on (or may already have on hand). Neither recipe requires animal products like yogurt or eggs that are common in many face mask recipes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Face Mask

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional, but recommended)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, gently apply a thin coat to face (with fingers or a brush). Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water to reveal your glowing complexion!



Pumpkin Face Scrub (for exfoliation!)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)

Directions: Combine brown sugar and spices until well mixed. Next, mix in the pumpkin and honey/agave nectar. Store away or apply to the face/body to revitalize your skin. Rinse with warm water once finished.



These treatments are perfect for a weekend spa night with your friends, and will stay fresh for several days if refrigerated. So whip up these face treatments and spend the night in watching movies and eating Ben and Jerry’s with your gal pals! We all deserve some down time, and now is the perfect time to treat both yourself and your skin! Enjoy!

By: Allie Urso


Feel Great

Detox Drinks Are Your New Best Friends

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Whether you’re seeking help for weight loss, or are just looking to feel refreshed, detox drinks are the perfect way to help you achieve your goals. With simple and natural ingredients that can be found in most kitchens, these three recipes are perfect for when you hit that “burnout” period that seems to be plaguing all us college kids lately. By being low-cal, nutrient rich, and yummy to sip, these drinks are sure to become your new best friends!


Apple Cider Detox Drink

My personal favorite is perfect for the chilly fall weather that seems to be, sporadically, upon us. This drink aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, cleanses the toxins out of your body, and helps you lose weight. Another bonus? It also tastes like hot apple cider! I personally like to drink this in the morning as a nice “wake-up”  before class or work, or at night during some late night study sessions!


  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.


Lemon “Spritzer” Detox Drink

The next detox drink is lemon, mint and cucumber infused water! Infusion recipes have become super popular lately, because they are super quick and easy. Combine in a water bottle with icy cold water, and you have an energizing, tasty drink to sip early in the morning to wake yourself up, late in the afternoon when you need a pick me up, or post workout. This drink provides relief for indigestion, inflammation, and contains natural electrolytes and antioxidants. Fun fact: lemon also rejuvenates the skin!  


  • 5 slices of cucumber
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • Couple of mint leaves


As simple, and as silly, as it sounds, drinking proper amounts of water every day is extremely important for overall body health and function. Drinking water improves your mood, promotes healthy skin, prevents headaches and migraines, relieves fatigue and aids in weight loss! The best part is that this recipe takes no work! Water is one of the 6 essential nutrients that your body needs, and doctors recommend you should drink around eight 8 oz. glasses, which is around 2 liters or a half a gallon of water, a day.  Basically, water is the OG detox drink that is super underrated!


***Please note that it is not recommended to strictly live off detox drinks. They simply aide weight loss when used appropriately with exercise and healthy eating. Simply drinking detox drinks, without proper food, is dangerous, ineffective, and ill-advised.***

By: Abby Snelling

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Feel Great

On Guard: The Go-to Guide to Self Defense

It’s a chilly Wednesday evening, and you just finished studying for your finals in Bird. You’re walking down Euclid, when you suddenly feel uneasy.  There’s someone across the street, loitering.  Something is not quite right.  Have you considered what you would do if a stranger were to approach you?

The sad thing is, this is a harsh reality for people when they find themselves having to walk home in the dark after finishing homework in Newhouse, studying in Bird, or even just walking home from a fraternity party. We’ve been taught to be on the lookout, always alert, and always wondering if that weird looking guy across the road is going to try and attack us.

Because this is a reality nowadays, it’s important to keep yourself aware and well-protected in case you find yourself in a situation like those mentioned above. With these helpful tips, you can be more aware, increase your safety, and be ready in case someone does try to approach you.


Use the Buddy System

The best step to keeping yourself safe is to avoid compromising situations in the first place.  As DPS recommends, stay with at least one other person and stick to well-lit areas.  Unfortunately, this is not always possible, in which case it’s crucial to know how to respond if you find yourself alone. If you get that uneasy feeling in your gut, listen to your instincts, and call a friend or even DPS to escort you back home.


Confidence is Key

Always walk with a purpose. Always, especially at night, limit distractions such as texting while you’re en route to your destination.  Consider turning down the music you’re listening to so you can be extra vigilant.  If you live off-campus or find yourself frequenting places late at night and unaccompanied, look into purchasing mace or pepper spray (Amazon!).  In New York, it’s legal to purchase mace from a pharmacy or licensed firearms dealer. All you need to do is show ID and sign a form stating you’ve never committed a felony.


Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Be aware of where you are and who is around you.  If you see someone suspicious, don’t be afraid to stare them down. Switch sidewalks if you see someone ahead who makes you uncomfortable.  If someone gets too close for your liking, get loud. You may risk appearing as a crazy person, but it will prove that you aren’t afraid to cause a scene and they’ll most likely back off.


Always Be Ready To Protect Yourself!

As a last resort, attack. Attack fully-committed, in order to render the perpetrator slow to react and give you a chance to get away.  The go-to areas to aim for are the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, and knees. If you have keys, hold them in your fist with the key pointing outwards in case you must strike a perpetrator with them. The assailant is likely larger than you, so your best bet would be to use your open palm and hit their chin or nose in an upwards direction.  To hit their neck, use the side of your hand as if it were a blade. Remember that joints cannot bend in certain directions (i.e. fingers, wrists, arms).  Use this to your advantage as you twist the attacker’s joints in unnatural positions to cause them to release their grip on you.


We aren’t trying to scare you with this article, but we ARE trying to make you aware of the harsh realities that many people, especially girls, face. Next time you’re strolling through campus at night, whether you’re with a group or all alone, notify someone of your destination so they can make sure you get there safely.  Apps like Live Safe are super easy to use and you can always phone a friend on your way home from late nights at the library.  In the unlikely event that you do get caught in an unsafe situation, always to go with your instincts.


By: Helena Starrs


Feel Great

“Abs-olutely” Fit: Three Go-to Ab Circuits to Boost Your Core!



Abs. They’re a love/hate relationship. Every aspect of our day involves the use of our abdomen, whether it be sitting, standing, or going for a run. On top of the physical need for a strong abdomen to improve quality of life, ab strength is a mental need for many as well.

You’d be lying if you said you never thought about how your stomach looked in a bathing suit. These thoughts are only natural, especially in a society that so sadly heavily depends on image to designate status. Whether you exercise your abs for personal pleasure, or for a killer beach bod, you know the love/hate relationship with that comes when strengthening your core. It’s a slow, hard process, but you know how great the results can be if you only hang in there.

Because of this, it can sometimes feel like we’re just doing the same thing over & over! I love a new ab workout, but I keep a few close to the core! Here I give you my 3 go-to ab circuits based on fitness level and ab strength.




Equipment Needed:

  • None

Circuit (Repeat 2-3x):

  1. 10x Raised-leg crunches

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2.  10x Alternating, cross, side-touch sit-ups

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3. 10x Extended arm V sit-ups

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4. 10x Alternating side heel-touches

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5. 10x Hip raises

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6. 10x Straight leg sit-ups

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Equipment Needed:

  • One 5-10lb weight or medicine ball
  • Phone or watch to keep time


Circuit (Repeat 2-3x):

  1. 20x Leg lifts

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2. 20x Straight leg jack-knives

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3. 40x Ab Bikes (20x each side)

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4. 20x Weighted bent-leg jack-knives

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5. 20x Weighted straight-leg situps

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6. One Minute Plank

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Equipment Needed:

  • Bench or equivalent elevated surface
  • One large yoga ball


Circuit (Repeat 1-3x):

  1. 20x Leg raises with hip lift

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2. 20x 90 degree toe touches

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3. 20x Elevated leg cross-body toe touches

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4. 20x Straight Leg Jack-knives

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5. 20x Bent leg V-Ups

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6. 20x Reverse crunches on yoga ball

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I encourage you to try all three and push yourself to complete the max round of circuits for each! However, don’t forget, abs aren’t only made in the gym. They are also made in the kitchen, so try to incorporate healthy eating along with exercise into your daily schedule to get the full effect! If you do, you are sure to look “abs-olutely fabulous.”

By: Renee Schiavone




"Mental Health" Monday · Blog · Feel Great · General Health · Get Well

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Breaking the Mental Health Stigma


screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-2-58-56-pmEveryone gets stressed. The reality of college is that work is stressful, relationships are stressful, and finding a balance between it all has the tendency to be, well… stressful. When it comes to how we handle the challenges of our day to day, everyone’s different. The only right way to handle the ever-changing “status-quo” of our lives is to take it as it comes. And when it all gets to be just a little too much, and you feel like it’s one thing after another stacking up against you, those limits of exactly how much we can handle are pushed.  

More likely than not, everyone reaches a breaking point. For the majority of college students however, how to handle that breaking point is just as big a problem as the stressors they’re facing.

Facing the Facts
According to a study done by Penn State, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most frequent mental health issue college students deal with. However the majority of those who express their anxiety do not seek help in regards to coping with it. So when do you stop and realize when the anxiety you experience has reached a point when help is necessary? And why is it so hard for those who do experience a degree of anxiety that interferes with their academic and social lives to actually get the help they need?

When did your Mental Health Become a Bad Thing?

The stigma behind therapy has always been slightly negative because usually admitting to needing outside  help means admitting that you are unable to help yourself. It seems everyone is always striving to keep up that image of “having it all”, and it usually seems more appealing than being “crazy enough to see a psychologist.”

Think about it like this, why if people are so adamant about seeing a physician for a simple stomach ache or back pain, are they so afraid to talk to someone about days on end of unexplainable sleepless nights, or stress levels that leave them incapacitated, exhausted, and depressed? Just as much as the flu can leave you lying in bed wishing for congestive relief, shouldn’t the stress that comes with our day to day lives that overwhelms us to the point of shutting down be enough to seek help?

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You Are Not Alone
Although I sit here and write to you about how the stigma surrounding therapy has inadvertently hindered many from receiving potentially helpful treatment, during a portion of my college career, something I’m not usually eager to share is that I  myself sought out the assistance of a therapist. Although I’ve used the adjective “melodramatic” to describe myself more than a handful of times, I recognized the when it came to my happiness and well-being, I wasn’t overly emotional or irrational about the fact that I was unhappy.

Like a lot of people my age, especially college students,  for too long I had convinced myself that I was making a bigger deal out of the constant feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. “It will pass,” I would think. “One day I’ll wake up and I’ll just ‘get over it’.”

 I mean what could I really complain about. I was a healthy twenty year old having the time of my life at an amazing university, with a good support system of family and friends.

Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t have this epiphany overnight. It took months of coping in unhealthy ways to recognize that ignoring the problem wasn’t going to make it go away and I needed outside help. It wasn’t until a friend confided in me with her concerns about her own unhappiness that I realized maybe I wasn’t crazy for thinking it was crazy to not be happy. It took listening to a complete stranger, someone totally unbiased, who knew nothing but my name, to tell me that I was far from alone when it came to the anxiousness I felt every day.

Break the Stigma
Listen to your Instincts. You know yourself. You know exactly how much your body can physically and mentally handle. And I get it, there will be those weeks when you have to push those limits in order to succeed, but be able to recognize when to pull back. If the stress is daunting enough to have you running and hiding from it in any possible way, you’re not alone. Know when to ask for help, whether it’s from a family member, a friend, or even the on campus counseling center,  and recognize that at times, it’s perfectly ok to not be ok.

Syracuse University Counseling Center Contact Information: 315.443.4715

By: Nadine Ghantous

Feel Great

Step Away from the Cell Phone :The Unspoken Link Between Depression and Social Media

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 12.01.59 PM.pngWe all have those FOMO moments (fear of missing out) when we see someone’s snapchat story of a party we didn’t attend, scroll past an instagram of friends posing without us, or see statuses about events we couldn’t make it to. It becomes addicting to watch the stories, like the instagram photos, and scroll through the various social media feeds that seem to be embedded within our lives. It can be so addicting that, depending on our personal backgrounds, it can become harmful to our mental health if used excessively.

Although social media sites like Facebook have their benefits in small doses, the constant checking of apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have the potential to create extremely negative internal thoughts and depressing feelings. This is especially common in young adults, and increasingly so in individuals with pre-existing depressive thoughts or social anxiety. The big question is: WHY?

Why is this the case?

  • This constant access to social media sites makes us more likely to compare ourselves to people on Facebook, whether they are a close friend, someone that we may have met once in our lives, or even someone we knew years ago. We end up formulating idealized images of people that may or may not match up with reality.
  • We get caught in a cycle of “liking” photos, being bothered by getting “unfriended,” and posting photos when we’re the happiest even if that’s not how we always feel. It’s a constant game of “How can I look like I’m always ‘thriving’?”
  • Long periods of time spent on social media sites can take away from in-person social interactions, physical exercise, and other activities. They have the potential to decrease social bonding and increase feelings of loneliness and isolation in those most vulnerable.

The Science Behind It

The nearly competitive act of counting how many likes we get one week compared to the next, and comparing ourselves to our “online”  friends becomes a threat to our mental health, especially our self-confidence, which in turn can make us feel sad. What’s more, aspects of physical social interactions such as eye contact, hugging, and laughing are as amazing in theory as they are in persson because they physically make us feel good due to chemicals like dopamine–a natural substance that plays an important role in pleasure and reward–that fires away in the brain when we’re in good company.

As you may have guessed, we aren’t getting as much of this through a screen, especially if the constant cycle of content on social media isn’t something particularly welcoming.


How can we prevent it?


There’s a saying that all things can be good in moderation, and that’s certainly applicable to social media! It’s not ultimately necessary to delete your social media accounts, but if you start to have negative or depressive feelings when spending time on these accounts, it may be time to consider cutting back the hours you spend logged-in and evaluate the reasons why you get on to begin with.

Learn the Difference between Reality and Fantasy

We tend to glamorize the lives of our peers. It seems that nowadays everybody is “so happy” and “#thriving”, but just because we see pictures or statuses about our friends’ so-called ‘fantastic” lives doesn’t mean they are always true. We  have to realize that their lives aren’t perfect all the time, and that what we see isn’t always the truth. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t always tell the whole story. Remember that.

Embrace the Non-Social Media World

The ability to be constantly connected at the touch of a screen isn’t always a blessing. Sometimes, it can be downright annoying.  Instead, embrace the beauty of in-person interactions in real time. Sometimes a few physical friends are much better than the hundreds of online friends and “likes” that social media platforms offer.

Remember, social media isn’t evil.  In fact, it can be an awesome networking tool that allows you to create opportunities, and it offers quick access to important news.

It only becomes a problem when too much of our time is inundated with social media that our mental health becomes compromised. It is important to notice if and when this happens and to give your health the attention it deserves. Social media will always be there for you, but real life people necessarily won’t. So take a break from the screens, turn off the tweets, and try to experience the world in a non-digital way.

By: Laurel Thompson

Feel Great · Get Well

The Genetics of Peer Pressure and Alcohol

A team of six researchers, three of which are from Syracuse University, published a study this semester exploring nature versus nurture as causes of adolescent alcohol use.

According to Michelle Zaso, a SU clinical psychology graduate student involved in the study, says the study explores genetic differences in people’s vulnerability to drinking based on their peers and tendencies to seek out peers with similar levels of drinking.

The study focused on one gene, DRD4, and whether people with the DRD4 gene were more likely to be influenced by their peers.

The study was a follow-up from Syracuse University Professor Dr. Aesoon Park’s abnormal psychology dissertation project from 2011. The study was about how people who have the DRD4 gene are especially vulnerable and influenced by their environment when compared to people who don’t have the DRD4 gene. They feel like everyone’s drinking around them. “Your friends think that drinking heavily is an okay thing to do, or sometimes you even feel like it’s an awesome thing to do,” said Park. “By perceiving that, that cognition is actually causing them to engage in more drinking.”

Prior studies indicate that peer drinking norms are arguably one of the strongest correlates of adolescent drinking.

Afton Kapuscinski, director of the psychological services center at SU, has noticed that college students underestimate the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.

“Normative doesn’t mean not dangerous,” said Kapuscinski. “Research also indicates that college students tend to overestimate how much other people drink, and they underestimate the amount of students who don’t drink at all.”

Kapuscinski claims that 20 percent of SU students are completely abstinent from alcohol, which she says is higher than most students think.

Eventually Park wants to see some kind of way to predict which people are at a high risk of drinking, by considering an individual’s genes and environment. “So we can prevent it or observe it so we can intervene earlier rather than too late,” said Park.

Park said that she hopes that someday screening for alcohol abuse risk will become like cancer screening. The goal is that when people go to their primary care doctors, they can screen the genetic risk of alcohol problems and provide symptoms and resources for prevention and treatment.

“Genetic counseling is already happening,” said Park. “It’s a long way to go for the drinking problem, but that’s potentially the future. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Dr. Stephen Glatt is an associate professor at SUNY Upstate and one of the authors of the study. “There’s a few different ways that drinking behaviors become entrenched. Some people drink to self medicate,” said Glatt. “Some people just drink because other people are drinking; that’s what this study is about.”

Glatt said that they were interested in seeing if the amount of alcohol taken in by college students is influenced by how much the people around them are drinking, especially because college is a particularly influential period for peer relationships on drinking.

Glatt explained that students drink more if the people around them are drinking more. “People tended to conform to the norms around them,” said Glatt. “This particular study focused on seeing if that, in part, was related to specific genes.”

People with the DRD4 genotype were more likely to drink more when their peers had more positivity towards drinking and alcohol abuse, according to Glatt. People with that genotype tend to hang out with people who are more in favor of drinking.

“It’s not a causal relationship – who you hang out with and what your attitude towards drinking is determined by a lot of factors, it’s not just genetic factors – it’s just probabilistic,” said Glatt.

Though the team feels that these are important public health problems to study, there isn’t a follow-up study coming soon because of a lack of support, according to Glatt. “At this point, we published the paper, we hope that that will be influential in swaying public policy and swaying other scientists to take a look at this so we can come to a consensus that we need more research on this and it’ll be easier to get the funding.”

“What we came away from this study understanding is that this one particular genotype is a small piece of the puzzle in determining who you hang out with,” said Glatt.

Glatt said that the most important takeaway from the study is that genes and environments are both important for determining drinking behavior. “We know that for complex behaviors like drinking, it’s not nature or nurture, it’s both,” said Glatt. “So our job is to figure out what part nature, what part nurture, and how those interact and influence drinking behavior.”

The study was published by Park, Glatt, SU Clinical Psychology Graduate Students Jueun Kim and Zaso, University of Missouri Faculty Kenneth Sher and Brown University Associate Professor Lori Scott-Sheldon.


By Abby Rose Sugnet

Feel Great

5 Game Changing Breakfast Ideas

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true! Studies have shown that eating breakfast every morning, even if it’s something as small as a banana, can improve concentration and focus, and give you more strength and endurance when working out or engaging in physical activity. In reality, it’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t love breakfast already. Honestly, there’s nothing a good bagel sandwich or stack of waffles can’t fix, whether you eat it in the morning or late at night. Even so, many of us simply swap a nutritious breakfast out for something quick to grab on the go, like a granola bar, or don’t even eat breakfast at all. And while coffee is always a good go-to in the morning, especially after you are up until 3 AM writing papers, studying for finals, and freaking out over the text you sent to the guy you’re interested in (believe me, we’ve all done it), it simply doesn’t do the job that a good balanced breakfast can. As finals approach, with summer shortly after, it’s important that you are eating healthy meals that power you up without filling you out. Check out some of these great breakfast options to help you achieve those grades and that summer body you’ve been working towards since January!


Berry and Yogurt Smoothie
The best things about smoothies is that you can make them the night before and put them in the fridge overnight so that it’s ready when you have to run out the door. This simple and delicious recipe is great for those busy mornings when you are on the go and don’t have time to stop and cook. Homemade smoothies also have much less sugar than one you might buy at a smoothie shack. Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and the yogurt is a great source of dairy. Try to opt for milk when choosing a liquid to put in it to get even more protein and dairy, or even a little water can help make it blend more easily and still make it taste great.


  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup fresh blackberries
  • 3 ounce package plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 whole banana 


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender.
  2. Pulse for 30 seconds, stir and pulse for an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Avocado Toast with Egg
An ever-growing health trend, avocados have become so popular that they have been incorporated into every type of meal, including breakfast. A popular snack is avocado on toast, but why settle for a snack when you can have it for breakfast with egg on top? Yes, it is a little strange but it tastes amazing and is high in protein and healthy fats for your body. You also get a good amount of carbohydrates from the toast to get your energy levels up to start your day!


  • 2 eggs (fried sunny side up)
  • 2 slices of bread (toasted)
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Sea salt + black pepper
  • Parsley (optional for topping)


  1. Prepare toast and fried eggs to personal preference.
  2. Peel and mash avocado with the lime juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Spread avocado evenly on each slice of toast then top each with a fried eggs and additional seasonings you prefer. Serve immediately.


Egg Muffins
No, you did not read that wrong. That does in fact say egg muffins, and they are completely adorable to look at and nutritious to eat! Eggs are a great source of protein and studies have shown that eating them can make you feel fuller longer. The veggies in this add both a pop of color to the meal and of course protein, protein and more protein. Both the veggies and the eggs are also packed with minerals, nutrients, and tons of antioxidants. So, not only will you be feeling you best, but you will be looking it too!


  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 spring onions
  • 4 little cherry tomatoes/one normal tomato
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 slot muffin tin
  • Baking paper or muffin cups (only if you don’t have a nonstick muffin tin)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 390°F.
  2. Wash and dice pepper, onions and tomatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the eggs and salt and mix well.
  4. Grease the muffin tin with oil and kitchen paper/baking brush and pour the egg mixture evenly into the muffin slots. (If you think they might still stick to the pan use some muffin cups or cut out some baking paper and to use as cups – definitely saves time on doing the washing up)
  5. Pop the tray into the oven for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.


PB and Banana Waffle Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Banana have always been a delicious combination, and now you can crank it up another level by having PB and banana waffle sandwiches for breakfast in the morning. Peanut butter, in small amounts, is a great source of fiber and protein, and bananas are chock full of potassium. Slathered between two whole grain waffles, you are getting the perfect balanced breakfast that will leave you satisfied and full.


  • 2 whole grain waffles
  • 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy!)
  • 1 Banana (peeled)


  1. Toast waffles
  2. Spread peanut butter on each side
  3. Place slices of banana on each side
  4. Sandwich together and slice in half (if desired) 

blueberry muffin

Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins
Though one of the more complex breakfast recipes to make, this is definitely worth the extra time put in! These homemade muffins are completely vegan, and they can also be made gluten free too! These versions are much healthier than any store bought muffins, which are packed with sugar and preservatives and have no nutritional value whatsoever. To add some sweetness, spread on a little jam or butter when they are warm and just fresh out of the oven.


  • 2 cups oat flour (can make with 2 cups rolled oats processed in a food processor or blender until fine powder forms)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax (can sub chia seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can sub canola)
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, left to sit for at least 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce or 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup brown sugar (depending on level of desired sweetness); can also sup 1/3rd-1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a cup or bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle, at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together well.
  4. Add apple sauce, melted coconut oil, sugar and/or maple syrup, almond milk + vinegar mixture to bowl with flour. Mix gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Grease or line a 12-tin muffin tray. Fill each spot about 3/4 of the way full with muffin batter. Place into the oven for 25-35 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool (or don’t) and enjoy. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to 4 days, and/or freeze.


By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Almond Butter is Your New Best Friend

A classic food that many of us grew up eating on celery or in sandwiches, peanut butter is a beloved snack that continues to be a crowd pleaser. Whether you spread it on crackers, dip apple slices in it, or simply eat it right out of the jar with a spoon (we’ve all done this), this traditional treat is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, and constantly has us coming back for more.

However, although a personal firm believer that you can never have too much of a good thing, peanut butter is still very high in fat, sugar, and calories—not to mention its highly processed—meaning this sweet and salty snack may make your heart happy, but it certainly won’t have your hips, or your waistline, feeling that way. A healthy alternative? Try almond butter!

Though a health trend slowly on the rise, almond butter has become increasingly popular over the past couple of months, and it’s no surprise why, seeing as it contains more protein and less sugar than regular peanut butter. Another bonus? It’s usually less processed, so you aren’t putting any unnecessary unnatural preservatives or additives into your body. Though it’s definitely not the same as our beloved PB (we will always love Skippy), almond butter is still delicious with so many snacks and treats. Here are a few of our favorites to try out if you’re looking to change up your diet!

Rice Cakes with Almond Butter + Honey
This one is pretty self explanatory, but rice cakes with almond butter are a great snack when you need a powerful “punch” of protein. The rice cakes are usually low-cal, so even though the almond butter still has a good amount of calories, you won’t be eating a snack that’s too heavy.  For an added touch, drizzle a bit of honey (or even Nutella J) on top, and enjoy!

The “Banana Boat”
This fun snack that I’ve dubbed the “banana boat” takes a unique twist on the classic combination of bananas and peanut butter. With only three ingredients including a banana, 2 tbsp. of almond butter, and a small handful of granola, this snack is the perfect blend of textures. Simply split the banana in two, spread the almond butter on both halves, and dip both halves in granola and voila, a yummy snack that is crunchy, nutty, smooth, and creamy.

Apple “Cookies”
A healthy take on the classic cookie, these apple “cookies” are a sweet and savory treat that is guilt free but tastes delicious. Simply core and slice an apple horizontally, to make apple “chips”, then spread almond butter across it, and sprinkle some walnuts and chocolate chips on top! This snack is great for when you need a little chocolate “kick” but still want to stay on top of your healthy eating. And even though we all love a good gooey chocolate chip cookie, this “cookie” will leave you satisfied without the bloat or the guilt.

Almond Butter Granola Bars
These homemade almond granola bars are great when you want a chewy, sweet snack, and since they are homemade, they have less preservatives, unnatural additives, and less sugar. Even better? These bars, made with only almond butter, honey, dark chocolate chips, old-fashioned oatmeal and granola, are no bake and can be made in just five minutes. That simply is too sweet!


By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Get Well

Relationships after College: Now What?

Whether you’re a senior in denial or not, there are only three weeks left until graduation. You’ve probably been making a lot of life decisions about what cities you’d consider moving to or what type of post-grad job would suit you best.

However, if you’re anything like most of the people I know, the one decision that needs addressing is what will happen to your relationship after you throw your grad cap into the air.

I’m not a mind reader, but I’m positive that if you’ve tried to have a conversation regarding the topic with your significant other that ended with this simple sentence, “Let’s just enjoy our time now, and we can figure it out later.” Sure, that was great for a while. Unfortunately, ‘later’ is now, and the thought of figuring it out is still looming over your head.

This subject is one of the trickiest to navigate because even talking about it with your significant other can result in further problems. Everyone doesn’t want this time in his or her life to end, so talking about what a relationship would look like away from Syracuse University is scary. I speak from experience when I say that going into these conversations isn’t easy, and that ‘adulting’ really is hard. However, I’ll let you in on a secret; the key to these conversations is knowing what you want.

While the actual conversation itself is difficult, thinking long and hard about what you actually want from this relationship is harder.

If you thought about it and decided that it’s not going to work out in the future, then this conversation should be had so you and your partner can decide whether to cut it off now or wait another three weeks. This decision is completely fine, but it’s best not to string someone along until graduation and then blindside them right before their parents get here.

However, you might have made the decision to try and make it work. While this might be the more complicated option since there are logistics such as potential long distance and job situations that factor in, if you’re lucky enough to have a mature and stable relationship, anything can work.

When I think about it for my own situation, I know that things might get hard. I know that it might be difficult to do long distance. I know that it’s not going to be the same as living down the block from him. However, when you care about someone enough and know that there isn’t anyone else like them in the world, all of those potential issues seem to disappear.

So, the real question we all need to ask ourselves is, “How bad do I want this?” If your answer is something along the lines of what I said above, then it’s worth sticking around to see if that person could be the one. If your answer makes you wonder what else is out there and how things could be different for you without that person, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your plans for next year.

Either way, I wish you the best of luck. This whole topic is definitely draining, but I have confidence that we all make the decisions that are best for ourselves.

By Courtney Rosser

Image courtesy of Thought Catalog


Eat Smart · Feel Great

Are Food Subscriptions the Solution College Students have been waiting for?

I speak for many college students when I say that eating healthy in college is hard. There are constant fatty temptations between the french fries in the dining hall, the stock of ramen noodles you keep under your bed, or the late night sliders in Kimmel.

Unfortunately, I’m a college senior so it’s pretty much too late to change my ways. However, for those of you that have extra time at Syracuse, there is a solution to this problem. Food box subscriptions have recently become more popular because they not only provide the healthy food that people are looking for, but they also provide convenience.

Interested? Here are some of the top ranked food box subscriptions:

  1. Healthy Surprise

This subscription box provides snacks that are all natural, gluten free, GMO free, soy free, corn free, and wheat free. There are various sizes of boxes that differ in price, but reviews have said that all of the boxes are great value. Customers who tend to like this box the most are those who avoid certain foods due to allergies or intolerances.

  1. Nature Box

The Nature Box provides convenient snack bags that lack artificial ingredients, trans fats, or high-fructose corn syrup. When choosing the box, the customer is able to customize it based off of dietary needs and desires. Reviews of this box have said that one of the best parts of this product is that it comes in convenient, re-sealable snack bags.

  1. Bestowed

The Bestowed subscription box not only provides healthy snacks and beverages, but also throws in lifestyle items such as lotions and lip balms. This product is interesting because customers get a wide range of items within the box, instead of only healthy snacks. Many people who have reviewed this box like the combination of the two types of products, and highly recommend!

  1. Blue Apron

Looking for fresh ingredients and recipes that can create whole meals? Perhaps ideal if you live on south or off campus, this service is more than just a snack box. Blue Apron provides weekly specialty ingredients and creative ways to cook them. Reviews of this subscription have claimed that Blue Apron was reliably delivered, affordable, and included recipes that were easy to follow.

  1. Plated

This subscription is another type of food delivery box that provides an entire meal with recipes. Reviewers of this box feel that Plated’s food quality is very high, but the recipes might be for someone who is more comfortable in the kitchen. So, if you’re looking for a challenge, this might be the box for you! Plated also allows you to choose the amount of meals you want for the week, providing flexibility for customers.

  1. HelloFresh

Like boxes four and five, HelloFresh has a similar meal concept. What seems to set HelloFresh apart is that it is more family-oriented and provides discounts for four or more people. Customers who have this subscription box feel that it works well for people who are vegetarian and provides pretty good healthy ingredients.

While I have not personally tried any of these products, I look forward to trying one next year when I have my first real apartment. With these subscription boxes, there seems to be a product for just about everyone’s desires. If you’re interested in trying these out, I’d suggest reading these websites specifically to see what stands out to you and your food wishes. Also, if you’re concerned about the price, there are tons of discount codes that can cut your subscription boxes down so you can eat great and still live on a college budget! (Ahem, YouTube is littered with discount codes in particular for Nature Box and Blue Apron!) Happy, healthy eating!


By Courtney Rosser

Image courtesy of Harvard Business School

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Starbucks: How to be Healthy Cheat Sheet

Speaking from the perspective of a bona fide caffeine addict, coffee is something us college students thrive on (unless you manage to get through the day without it and if that’s the case, God bless you).  Whatever the brand, whatever the beverage, we all have our trademark drink that helps us get through those 8 A.M. classes or through the 3 P.M. slump. On this campus, Starbucks is a beloved place for sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed college kids, with the line almost out the door whenever you visit. While the coffee may be strong, it’s important that you know which drinks will boost your brain and which will have you packing on the pounds and hitting a wall. Here are some of the things to look out for when sipping on your next Starbucks.

Say No to…Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Crème
Green Tea is known to boost your metabolism and be good for your overall health, but this drink is anything but healthy. This creamy and thick frap is heavy on the calories and lacking on the nutrients, with a size tall containing a whopping 290 calories. If anything, simply go for green tea, but if that doesn’t peak your interest, try something healthier.

Say Yes to…Shaken Iced Tazo Passion Fruit Tea
A fruity sweet treat that is perfect for the impending spring weather (hopefully!), the passion fruit tea drink is a great alternative in place of the green tea frap. It’s light enough, with a size tall only containing 60 calories, that it won’t weigh you down, but is great as a pick-me-up during a dull day when your energy levels are low.

Say No to…Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with Whipped Cream
As delicious and sinfully good as this sounds, the only thing this drink will have you feeling is a sugar crash. Packed with sugary syrups and whipped cream, this drink is a definite no-no, especially with a calorie count that tops off at 290 for only a size tall! Skip the quick sweet fix and opt for something low-cal.

Say Yes to…Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte
A personal favorite, the iced skinny vanilla latte is one of the lowest calorie drinks Starbucks serves, and only contains 110 calories even at the biggest size! With more of an emphasis on coffee, you are sure to get the caffeinated pick me up you are searching for without the fast crash from sugary syrups and sauces.

Say No to…Chai Tea Latte
Another seemingly healthy choice, this drink is a calorie bandit in disguise. Though the drink itself isn’t so sweet, it still contains more sugar than two entire Snickers bar, and evens out at a whopping 340 calories. Save the extra trouble of trying to squeeze in extra gym time just to burn this off, and opt for a lower calorie option that will give you the energy surge you need.

Say Yes to…Teavana® Shaken Iced Passion Tango™ Tea
If you are still looking for a tea-based treat, opt for this iced passion tango tea, with 0 calories (two of our favorite words!) and 0 grams of fat. This drink is caffeine free (so beware if you need the energy), but it is a yummy and sweet treat that will help perk you up and finish your day strong.

Say No to…Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
This deliciously creamy, chocolaty, and minty concoction sounds great to our ears, but is bad for both our brains and our stomachs. While we all deserve a nice treat, this drink is chock full of sugar syrups, milk, heavy cream, and of course, chocolate. It is certainly more of a dessert than an early morning grab and go. A grande alone has 410 calories and 20 grams of fat! Even worse, this sky-high “sundae” will pick you up in five minutes only to have you crash mid-morning in your anthropology lecture.

Say Yes to… Skinny Peppermint Mocha
While it may not have the same white chocolate appeal as the peppermint white chocolate mocha, this drink is a yummy treat that is still awesome to drink, but lower in calories (and side effects!). Made with sugar-free sauce and syrups, and light amounts of espresso, you’ll soon enough be sipping this and feeling the great affects of our favorite morning friend: caffeine.

Whether you are into the over-the-top sweet and savory concoctions Starbucks is known for, or are a laid-back and simple coffee and cream kind of person, it’s important to know what’s going into your body, especially at a time when school, sports, or even your social life is picking up. Whatever the case, always try to go low-cal, low-sugar, and pick something high in energy. If you can, always go for a simple coffee, but if you can’t resist a little bit of your sweet tooth, try to opt for some of the healthier drinks we offered up!


By Annie O’Sullivan

Image from dailygenius

Feel Great

8 Tips to Nix Negativity

Everyone experiences negativity in their daily lives to some extent. Here are some tips to help you minimize the amount of negativity in your life and lead an overall more peaceful life. You’ll be surprised by how much these simple habits can change you!

#1. Quiet time.
Plan 15 minutes every day that you turn your phone off and sit alone. This is a great time to journal or read a book (one that you choose, not for school!). The only rules: you’re not allowed to use technology or sleep. If you find yourself struggling to stick to the rules for a full 15 minutes, start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up. If you stick with it, you may want to try working up to 30 minutes. This is a time for you to compose your thoughts and escape from the fast-pace, loud world we live in. Allow yourself to slow down and just be a person for a few minutes. If you want to start journaling but the empty page makes you unsure of how to start, check out this board on Pinterest for inspiration.

#2. Do something you love every day.
Devote an hour a day to your goals. Want to learn how to play guitar? Make it a priority to spend an hour every day playing. You can work up to an hour with this one, too. Start with 15 minutes a day. If you want to be better at drawing, this is the perfect, easiest way to get you farther than you can imagine within a few months!

#3. Exercise.
Sweat out the negativity. When you feel stressed and overwhelmed with work, take a break from studying and hit the gym. Despite being a break, exercise is still productive. Don’t get bogged down by feeling like you need to be there for two hours like the heavy weightlifters are – if you need to give your mind a rest from work but you still have a lot of studying to do, go to the gym for 20 minutes. Go on a quick run. Even if it’s short, it’s always better than nothing!

#4. Set boundaries with people.
Minimize toxic relationships. If you have a friend who makes you feel bad about yourself, or if you just feel like you’re trying to be someone you’re not when you’re with them, it’s okay to remove them from your life. If someone close to you is struggling, it’s great to be there for them, but it’s not okay for their problems to become your own. You don’t need anyone else’s problems on top of your own! Check in with them every once in awhile to make sure they’re doing okay and to let them know you care about them, but give yourself some space. Make sure they know you love them but that you need to put yourself first and take care of yourself. Hear what they’re saying. Listen. But don’t commit to fixing them. Don’t be their therapist.

#5. “To do for me” and “To do for you” lists.
Give back to your community – volunteering, or even just doing something nice for someone daily can really give you a positive vibe. Though it’s extremely important to give yourself time every day to do things for yourself, it can also be helpful to do things for other people. Make a list of things you want to do for yourself – these things can be the other tips, like working out, quiet time, or pursuing your hobby. Then, make a list of things you want to do for other people, or things you’ve committed to do for someone else. Go back and forth between the lists. Do something for yourself, then do something for someone else. Don’t cheat and do something for someone else before you do something for yourself!

#6. Quit something.
Find one thing that you’ve committed to doing on a consistent schedule – your least favorite of all of your commitments. Quit it. Don’t quit all of your commitments, just quit one. Pick one thing that feels like a burden but that you’ve stuck to because you made the commitment. Quit it! You’re not “a quitter” for un-committing to one thing!

#7. Clean up social networks.
Unfollow the people that give you a negative vibe. If you’re only following someone because they follow you, unfollow them! If you’re following someone who you only pretend to like, unfollow them! Clean up your social media feeds until they’re nothing but positive.

#8. Don’t look at your phone for the first and last 30 minutes of your day.
After you turn off your alarm in the morning, put your phone in a drawer. Get ready for the day without your phone. Get out of the habit of laying in your bed scrolling through your phone for the first 30 minutes that you’re awake. Before you go to sleep, do the same thing. Set your alarm and put it in a drawer – get ready for sleep without allowing your phone to be the last thing you look at every night.

These are options. Don’t try to start all of these at once. If you can get into the habit of doing all of these eventually, that would be awesome! But for now, pick one that sounds doable to you and try it every day for a week. If it works for you, add another one on. If the one you choose doesn’t seem to be helping, try another one. Each one of these tips will get you one step closer to living a happier, calmer, more peaceful life, but everyone’s different – some of these will work better for you than others. I encourage you to push yourself to try them all at some point, but they only work if you’re in the habit of doing them daily! It may be tough to get yourself into the habit – trust me, it’s hard for me, too – but once you’re in the habit of doing these daily, they can make a world of a difference.


By Abby Rose Sugnet

Feel Great

Is Spray Tanning Really the Safest Option?

This time every year, campus is typically busy with a continuous schedule of formals. For those of you that don’t know, it’s the time of year when all of the sports teams, Greek organizations, and various other clubs hold their end-of-the-year parties. That being said, when events are held where people are expected to dress up and maybe show some skin, they occasionally desire that skin to glow.

Since it is anywhere from 30-45°F in Syracuse, you wouldn’t be able to obtain a good tan naturally outside. *Cue You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones* While you might be sad about this, your skin definitely is not. Lying outside in the sun causes skin damage that can possibly lead to skin cancer. The next best option isn’t great either. Trying to get some color through a tanning booth can put you at risk even more than natural tanning would.

Thus, many people resort to spray-tans in order to look sunkissed without all the damage. Spray tanning works by covering your body in a mist that contains the chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which changes the color of the dead cells on the outer most layer of your skin when coming in contact with amino acids. While many experts have recommended spray tans as a healthy alternative to tanning beds, further studies have been done to highlight health concerns with DHA.

Previously, the FDA had approved DHA to be used only on the skin (such as self-tanning lotions). However, when applied as a mist like a spray tan, it is highly unlikely that somebody could avoid inhaling or ingesting DHA. This data concerns experts because further research has revealed that DHA could be linked to increases in asthma incidences, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer.

This research has been brought to the attention of tanning salon owners, and many employees of these companies have gone through additional training to increase the safety of spray tans. Some salons have also started using goggles and nose plugs to prevent the inhalation or ingestion of DHA.

In conclusion, none of these tanning methods are completely safe for your health. However, experts are now saying that if you’re craving that sunkissed glow, it is best to use a self-tanning lotion. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that applying lotion with DHA as an ingredient eliminates the inhalation and ingestion issues that might arise with spray tans.

It’s important for you to look the way you want to when you’re showing off that new pink dress of yours, but remember to be smart when choosing your tanning method!


By Courtney Rosser

Image from PopSugar

Feel Great · Fitness

5 Best Exercise Classes to take at SU

It’s registration season again! That means you’re probably prepared for the Hunger Games-esque scene that usually occurs during these few weeks. While this scene is usually caused because the classes you need to get into close within the first couple of hours, you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to workout classes. Typically, there are a few of the same courses offered at different times throughout the week, which makes picking them relatively simple. It’s important to have a scheduled time of day to workout that holds you accountable for showing up. If you’re anything like me, that chunk of time on Wednesday morning that you blocked for working out will inevitably turn into you sleeping in or going on a Netflix binge.

Luckily, through these workout classes you don’t have to worry about this anymore! It’s an opportunity to workout with your friends a few times a week, while getting an easy A. Syracuse offers a wide variety of really interesting and cool workout classes, but after taking a quick poll of some students that I know have taken them, the following classes were ranked the highest:

  1. Bootcamp Fitness – This class seeks to really whip you into shape. The class is structured so that you get a large variety of workouts anywhere from interval training to yoga. I really enjoyed bootcamp because we were pushed harder than most classes, and it was a great way to work on everyone’s spring break bods!
  1. Tabata – Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) that forces you to push yourself. The class that I took works either through a Tabata app or the teacher leading the sections by personally timing the intervals. These intervals require you to push yourself to the limit for 20 seconds with whatever exercise the teacher chooses, then you get a 10 second break. If you’re thinking, hey that’s not too bad…repeat eight more times. Tabata is supposed to be an amazing fat burner, so I’d suggest taking another interval class for the first half of the semester, and then Tabata for the second. That way, you’ll be in great shape going into Tabata and can get the most out of it.
  1. Pi-yo – This class combines both pilates and yoga. This class is great for strengthening and balance, while also giving you a great workout! A lot of people that I’ve talked to say that it works well for stress relief and that it gives them a nice break in the middle of their day to stretch and meditate.
  1. Zumba Step – This class is fun! While it doesn’t require you to have rhythm, it does require a positive attitude and a desire to dance. The class is a modern version of step aerobics, and mixes high-energy songs with simple moves. This class definitely will keep your heart rate up for 45 minutes, and burns about the same amount of calories as an interval training class.
  1. H.I.I.T – As mentioned, this acronym stands for high intensity interval training. The class is structured a lot like Tabata, but the intervals are different. For H.I.I.T, you would push yourself for 45 seconds and get a 15 second rest. This is a great class because it really allows you to increase or decrease the intensity to suit your body in the best way possible.

All of the teachers I’ve had so far have been great, so I’d suggest finding a class that works well with your schedule to take with some friends! To sign up, just search the name of the class you’re interested in on MySlice, or select ‘PED’ and your availability—this will hone in on your options. When else will you ever be able to earn credit for getting into shape?


By Courtney Rosser

Feel Great · Fitness

Best Moves for Your Best Butt

A favorite hobby of most people is stalking. Let me clarify. A favorite hobby of most people is stalking random people, especially fitness gurus, on Instragram that you happen to come across while mindlessly scrolling though. We can’t help it. We are curious. We click on a picture, and soon we are obsessively staling their photos, 72 weeks deep in their instafeed. We are magically drawn to their perfect bodies, their toned arms, and their muscular legs.  We like their pics and we constantly wonder, “Why doesn’t my butt look like that?” or “How can my butt look as flawless as hers?” or probably the most philosophical question we all ask ourselves, “How can I look like them and still eat whatever I want?” Well, we can’t help you on that last question (no matter how much we want too!) but we can help you get on your way to a better butt so that you can soon be Instagram-envied like your favorite celebs and workout stars. With these new moves, you’ll be the envy of all your friends, and will soon be rocking those bikini bottoms when you hit the beach in stride this summer.

Toe Taps
Say sayonara to saggy skin with this simple move that helps tone your lower behind.

How To:

  • Lie flat on your back, lift your feet off the ground. Bend both knees to 90 degrees so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Slowly and quietly tap your left toes to the floor, then your right. Alternate tapping feet for one minute. Do 3x with break in between.

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5H4t2ZMos8

Squat Kickback
This move is great for those with impeccable balance! (And for those who are not, this is a great way to improve your balance and coordination!)

How To:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and squat. When your rise up from squatting, bring your left leg straight behind you while extending your arms forward. When squatting, remember to keep your weight back on your heels.
  • Return to the squat position, then repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating sides for one minute. When extending the leg behind you, keep your hips square — don’t twist them toward the side. Do 3x.

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omb53Sqf598

Plié Squat
Plié’s are no longer just for graceful dancers. As simple as it sounds, Plié’s help tone both you’re outer butt area and your inner thigh. With a fast, quick move that does both the jobs, this move is a win-win!

How To:

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out.
  • Bring your arms out straight in front of you and lower into a squat. Go as low into the squat as you can without letting your knees move past your toes.
  • Do for 1 minute. (After about 40 seconds, pulse at the bottom of the squat for 20 seconds.) Do 2x.

Note: Be sure to tuck your tailbone under and contract your glutes. Keep your torso tall, and don’t let your knees creep past your toes.

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNKVK2axeNI

This move will really have you feeling the burn! A classic butt-burner exercise, lunges are a great way to tone your butt muscles, your thighs, and your inner core. Once you start to feel the burn, you are doing it right!

How To:

  • Stand with feet together and hands on your hips, then lunge forward with your right leg.
  • Jump up, switch legs in midair, and land with your left leg in a forward lunge.
  • Continue alternating sides, for one minute. Do 3x.

Note: Keep your fists up in front of your chin and push off the floor with both feet. Your front knee should be bent 90 degrees and align over your ankle.

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done:


Hip Raises
This interesting yet intense move allows you to work you glutes without straining your back. Though relatively simple, this exercise is great for working your lower body muscles, most importantly your butt and thighs.

How To:

  • Place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle. Brace your core–imagine you’re about to be punched in the guts–squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) tightly.
  • Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from you shoulders to your knees
  • Continue this repetition for one minute. Repeat 3x

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDP6O_aJpDg

Though this move may not feel fun, at least the name is! This move is a great way to work your lower core, hips, and most importantly your butt. And when you start to really feel the burn, try to think of something as pleasant as the name to keep you going!

How To:

  • Begin on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and your wrists stacked over your shoulders.
  • With a pointed toe, extend your left leg behind you and slightly to the left side (it should be level with your spine)
  • Keeping your core tight and leg straight, slowly lower your leg to tap the floor. Squeeze your glutes as you lift the leg back to starting position, then slowly tap the floor about a foot to the right.
  • Return to starting position to complete the rep. Repeat for 45 to 60 seconds before you switch legs. Do 2x.

If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcWcLvPfI68

Donkey Kicks
This move will have you looking your sexiest whether you done a bathing suit or just some sweet shorts. By toning your butt and upper and inner thighs, you will be looking and feeling your best this summer.

  • How To:
  • Get on all fours with hands under shoulders, knees under hips
  • Keeping right knee bent 90 degrees, flex right foot and lift knee to hip level.
  • Lower knee without touching floor and continue action for 15 reps. Then switch legs and repeat. Complete 2x.

 If you are a visual learner, check on this awesome video to see how it’s done:



By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great

How to Make a Delicious Fruit Smoothie Bowl

With increased studying and late nights, there usually is an increase in unhealthy eating. While it’s okay to occasionally order Dominos to get your pizza fix, it’s not okay to order out every night of the week just because you’re not on your #springbreakdiet.

A smoothie bowl is something extremely simple to make, but it’s packed with great things for you! In between library sessions, this could be the healthy energy boost that will help you make it through another few hours of work.

To make a smoothie bowl, you have to add these ingredients into a blender:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 ½ cup spinach
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks


These ingredients are just what my roommates and myself like to use, but there are tons of variations. Feel free to substitute with your favorite fruits!

When the ingredients you added into the blender are completely mixed, take the contents and pour it into a bowl. The amount of ingredients that I provided makes enough for two smoothie bowls, so be aware that you’ll have more left over!

Finally, it’s time to put on some toppings to give it additional taste. In the picture shown below I used:

  • 1tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1tbs chia seeds
  • 1tbs hemp seeds
  • Slivered strawberries

fruit smoothie

This was a meal that gave me servings of fruits and vegetables, while tasting great! Try it out and enjoy!


By Courtney Rosser

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Make Mondays Great Again

The Healthy Monday campaign at Syracuse University originated on campus in 2006 with the goal of creating and sustaining healthy behaviors for students, faculty, and the Syracuse community through free fitness and nutrition programs, as well as general wellbeing programs.

Despite Healthy Monday being a nationwide campaign with a strong goal and clear message to the college audience, Healthy Monday is not as widely acknowledged on the Syracuse University campus as it should be.

Newhouse alum Sid Lerner founded The Monday Campaigns in 2003 in association with Johns Hopkins University. The campaigns started off with Meatless Monday and have since grown to include more than a half-dozen efforts including Healthy Monday and Move-it Monday. Meatless Monday urges students to give up meat for one day a week
to “increase your intake of plant-based foods like fruits & vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts & seeds,” according to its website. Move-it Monday is a program that offers free fitness classes to students and faculty on the SU campus. The classes are 45 minutes fueled with fun and intensity to get your heart rate pumping and those calories busted—free of cost!

With an array of activities at college, students can participate in essentially whatever they want—which may not always be the healthiest activities. Gym plans seem to fall through when a student realizes he or she is too hungover to hit the elliptical; students get two hours of sleep when cramming for an exam; friends order pizza or Insomnia Cookies after a late night out, and so on. It is fairly easy to become unhealthy in college, which is why participating in Healthy Monday and spreading its message should be a necessity.

Syracuse University has integrated Healthy Monday programs in more ways than one. The Healthy Monday campaign offers programs such as Move-it Monday, the Monday Mile, Quit & Stay Quit Monday, Mindful Monday, and I Love NY Water and even has a “Healthy Monday” in Florence, Italy.

Although Healthy Monday offers a variety of programs that handle different aspects of health, no one program is more important than the other. Leah Moser, Syracuse University’s Healthy Monday program coordinator, says it is equally important how people treat their bodies and their minds and not one program is more beneficial than another. “The most important part of our campaign is the partnership across campus and promoting balance,” she says. We work with food services, health promotions, and Hendricks Chapel to build partnerships.”

There is a new chef at the Syracuse dining centers who prepares healthy and ethnic meals for students; there are free exercise programs on Mondays and Fridays at the gyms on campus; and there is also weekly mediation at Hendricks chapel to escape stress and achieve mindfulness.

The Healthy Monday campaign makes it easier for Syracuse students to achieve and maintain mental and physical health and mindfulness, Moser says. Whether they are on campus or in a foreign country, students can now live a healthy lifestyle thanks to the programs provided by Healthy Monday.

Anise Kamel, the program coordinator of the Florence, Italy, Healthy Monday program, emphasized the importance of incorporating Healthy Monday while abroad in a new city, “Living in a new culture means a new cuisine and it is very difficult to maintain the same balanced diet,” she says. The Florence program not only features free exercise classes—Zumba being a fan favorite, according to Kamel— and serves free fruit, the coordinators say they also want to start putting out a weekly newsletter and blog posts with various nutrition and exercise topics to further help students stay healthy while studying abroad.  While in foreign countries, students have easier access to alcohol than they most likely do in college and get a taste of new cuisines and dishes they are not accustomed to at home, so it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet without any guidance. “It’s very easy for students to drink more than they normally would and in total consume an excessive amount of carbs and sugar,” Kamel says.

Having a Healthy Monday abroad program available to students is a great way for them to establish a healthy lifestyle in their new city with the help of free fitness classes, free fruit, newsletters, and blog posts with tips and tricks.

Next Monday, rethink your day. Instead of having a hamburger at the dining hall, make yourself a hearty salad with healthy fats and veggies—and maybe even participate in the Monday mile.  Spread the word about Healthy Monday and help Syracuse University students make Mondays great again.


By Gabriella Salkin

Eat Smart · Feel Great

5 Health Fixes


Seniors don’t usually live in dorms all four years, but when we do we master the ins-and-outs of the dining hall system. The pizza and French fries are obviously the best looking foods in there, but if you’re on a health-kick, don’t succumb to the grease just because the lettuce at the salad bar is soggy and black. There’s plenty of healthier options than what meets the eye.

A dining hall is like one massively stocked kitchen at your disposal. So, while the quality of the food hasn’t changed much, it’s time to get smarter with using the supplies in front of you. Here are five hacks for eating healthier in the cafeteria.

Overcooked veggies? Grab some raw vegetables from the salad bar or the stir-fry section and have the staff either sauté or steam them. You’ll never get bored of eating the same thing because they always have a wide variety to choose from like broccoli, green peppers, and mushrooms. Mix in some teriyaki sauce for added taste!


Undercooked rice? Get steamed cauliflower and mash it together with a fork until it’s the same consistency as rice. Cauliflower is anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins and fiber, and only 29 calories per cup. This gives you the room to eat more without the bloated and guilty feeling you’d get from a smaller portion of rice.


Craving avocado? Probably. So, next time you’re at one of the campus markets, buy a ripe avocado and bring it into the dining hall. This fruit provides the good kind of fat that helps lower cholesterol, reduces heart disease, and increases fiber intake. For breakfast, make avocado toast and top it with a juicy sunny-side up egg. For dinner, slice and toss it in with your quinoa and fish.


Nothing to eat? A chicken quesadilla is always the answer. It’s simple, filling and delicious, but the chicken breast at the deli bar looks like rubber. Ask the staff to make an extra-cheesy cheese quesadilla. Then take chicken breast from the hot dog section and cut it into strips. Put the best pieces into your tortilla!


Bland-tasting food? Add hot sauce to everything. Hot sauce will boost the flavor level of any meal and is a lot healthier than the other saucy alternatives. Its key ingredient is capsaicin, which speeds up fat burning, fights infections and might even make you live longer. The dining halls never run out, but just in case keep it in your bag like Beyoncé does.


Stop looking at these cafeterias with a negative attitude. Instead, look at each trip like a new opportunity to get creative with your food and to eat better than anyone else in there. You’ve got 99 problems, but eating healthy in the dining halls ain’t one anymore.


By Mariah Kulak

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Perfecting the Paleo Diet

In a country where eating healthy is being emphasized more and more, fad diets are becoming increasingly popular. Dieting is extremely hard no matter what anybody says, and there are so many options that it can be overwhelming. That is why your best bet when dieting is to not diet at all, but instead, just look for healthier choices. Dieting has a bad connotation because it usually involves giving up food that you love and going hungry because your portion sizes are smaller. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard though, and an example of this is the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet has been gaining popularity due to its simplistic and unique nature. It doesn’t involve counting calories, excessive food prep, or portioning sizes. Sounds great, right? Now, you are probably wondering what the catch is, and how much it will cost you. It can be relatively inexpensive, but the catch is that you have to give up grains, processed foods, and even dairy if you so choose. So it may not seem that appealing anymore, but continue reading because this diet actually works and is not as hard as you think.

So what is the Paleo Diet exactly? Well, the whole premise of the diet is that you eat the way a caveman would have eaten in the Paleolithic era. That means meat, eggs, nuts, fruit, natural oils, fish, and tubers (sweet potatoes) are all fair game. There are no set portion sizes, so you eat whatever amount you choose whenever you are hungry, and eat to your heart’s content! Paleo recipes don’t usually involve many ingredients, and therefore, they don’t take much time to prepare, so you can whip up something quickly if you are in a rush or not in the mood to slave over the stove. The majority of the recipes taste and look great as well. If you don’t believe me just try the Paleo banana pancakes or the Paleo Valentine’s Day smoothie; they’re both so addicting.

The whole point of eating this way is not only to lose weight or build muscle, but to be healthier and even increase your life expectancy. Eating basic foods such as meats and vegetables will increase your metabolism, give you more energy, and even tone your body. For many people though, it may seem too difficult to cut out the sugar and grains that they love so much. Also, being in college, it can be quite the task to prepare your own meals and worry about eating properly. It’s so easy to reach for the telephone and call up Domino’s after a long day of classes, work, or clubs. Personally, even I struggle with the Paleo Diet because the dining hall doesn’t afford a lot of opportunity to eat this way. So, another option to this diet is to do a milder version, which is what I do, and gradually cut back on the grains, substitute regular milk for soy/almond milk, and eat more vegetables at the salad bar so they aren’t smothered in oil/butter. No one says you have to give up every food that you love, and having a cheat day is fine. You can eat a wrap or a piece of cake from time to time, but for the most part, the Paleo Diet is feasible and can transform your body in the best way possible.

Here are some tasty, quick, and simple recipes that will get you hooked:

Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Valentine’s Day Smoothie

Banana Pancakes

Buffalo Chicken Wraps


By Rachel Cathie

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Healthier Easter Candy Alternatives

With spring break quickly (and sadly) becoming a distant memory, and Easter approaching this weekend, it’s easy to want to say Sayonara to your strict healthy diet plan and veer off your regimented gym plan that you slaved over for weeks to get your bikini body for break. Nothing sounds better than skipping the gym to binge watch Gossip Girl and eat the Starburst jelly beans your mom sent back with you! But while it’s important to let yourself indulge a little, it is also important to stay on track because of all of the work that you put in to get that beach body you worked so hard for for spring break. With these healthy alternatives to the traditional Easter candies that we all love to enjoy (looking at you Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs), you can have all the flavor and taste at a lower calorie option that you and your waistline will be thanking us for later.

peanut btuter

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Once upon a time, someone decided to mix peanut butter and chocolate, and thus, this amazingly delicious concoction was created. Peanut butter eggs, a staple of Easter, or any holiday season, are small yet deadly, in the sense of the amount of sugar that is packed in each individual serving. The peanut butter filling often has two or almost three times the amount of sugar that regular peanut butter has, and on top of it, the milk chocolate coating isn’t doing you any favors either. For a low sugar option without the added preservatives, try making your own homemade peanut butter eggs using the recipe below, which is both vegan and gluten free!


  • 1/4 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar or *sugar-free powdered sugar*
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave or pure maple syrup
  • 2 more tbsp of sugar, if needed

Note: Makes 6-9 eggs


  1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a crumbly dough.
  2. Add the extra 2 tbsp sugar if it’s too gooey, and add a little more peanut butter if it’s too dry. (Different brands of peanut butter will yield different results.)
  3. Form dough into flat little ovals/egg shapes then freeze the dough for an hour, or until it’s hard.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the cocoa and coconut oil, add the agave/maple or stevia drops, and continue mixing until it looks like chocolate sauce
  5. Then take one “egg” out of the freezer at a time (so the rest stay cold) and cover in chocolate. Immediately return covered egg to the freezer and let harden. Best to store these in the freezer as well. Enjoy frozen or take out and warm to room temperature and enjoy!

peeps 2

Homemade Marshmallow Chicks

It wouldn’t be Easter if you didn’t see those Peeps on the shelves of your local grocery store. However, these fluorescent colored, bunny shaped marshmallows may look like fun, but they’re bad for both your teeth and your body. They are high in sugar and fat, and provide no nutritional value to your diet whatsoever. Though these homemade Peeps may not look as fun as the traditional marshmallows you used to get in your Easter basket, they taste great, are made up of natural ingredients, and can be completely sugar-free if made without sprinkles!


  • 1 cup water, split into 2 half cups
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Cover a 9 by 13 inch pan with greased parchment paper
  2. Put 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften. In a small pot, place the honey, salt and the other 1/2 cup of water and heat on medium level temperature.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by carefully dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the soft candy stage — which will form little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature.) Remove from the heat as soon as it reaches the right temperature.
  4. Very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl while slowly beating ingredients together. THIS MIXTURE IS EXTREMELY HOT SO BE CAREFUL! Once combined, add the vanilla and increase speed slowly to high. Beat for 7-15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy and holds its shape when you lift the beaters out of the mixture.
  5. Spread onto pan, and add another piece of greased parchment paper on top. Press down to even out with a small rolling pin
  6. Leave uncovered for 4-12 hours to dry. Use greased cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Roll in sugar/sprinkles if so desired.

 cream-eggs-940x626 2

Healthy Cadbury Eggs
Going back to the traditional candies, that relatives as old as our grandparents have enjoyed through the years, Cadbury Eggs are an unusual candy that many enjoy, but few actually know what it is, or more specifically, what is in them. With a light yet buttery filling that isn’t high in fat and sugar, and with an organic recipe that is chemical and preservative free, these homemade sweets are sure to satisfy your craving without ruining your diet. Even better, the recipe can also be modified for you fellow vegans out there! These eggs are the best of both worlds.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted organic butter
  • 1/4 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey (add an extra teaspoon for a very sweet filling)
  • 1 fresh organic egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract
  • Pinch unrefined sea salt


  1. Heat butter, cream, and honey, stirring over low heat until butter is completely melted.
  2. Whisk in egg yolk and cook over medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (should take 3-5 minutes). It will leave a trail when you drag your finger across the back of the spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stevia. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add a tiny pinch more stevia if necessary. If when cooking the custard you start seeing little tiny cooked pieces of egg white, immediately pull from the heat and strain mixture.
  4. Chill until cool to the touch.

rice krispy

Homemade Rice Krispy Treats
Though not traditionally a treat you associate with Easter, these marshmallow-laden bars are always good regardless of the holiday, and Easter is no exception.  As yummy as they are, they are pure sugar, and are sure to make you crash from a sugar high after you eat one. This year, snack on these three ingredient no bake “Rice Krispy” treats that are easily moldable into fun shapes, like bunny rabbits or Easter eggs! With no marshmallow, butter, or oil, feel free to eat one (or even three) with no guilt after a long day of hitting the books!


  • 2 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (can sub for almond/cashew)
  • 1/2 cup sticky sweetener of choice – I’ve used brown rice syrup (best), honey and maple syrup (least sticky)


  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your crispy rice cereal and set aside.
  3. Stovetop or in the microwave, melt your nut butter with your sticky sweetener and then pour the mixture into the crispy rice cereal and mix well. If you used brown rice syrup, this should be perfect. If you used honey or maple, you may need to add a dash more to make them stick together.
  4. Pour mixture into the lined baking tray and press firmly into place. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.


By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Get Well

Can Echinacea Beat the Common Cold?

It’s no surprise that with the changing of the season also comes an increase in sickness. What should you do to prevent getting sick during this infectious time? Some might recommend Echinacea, a herbaceous flowing plant that is related to the daisy. For hundreds of years, Echinacea was used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. When Europeans colonized North America, the idea of Echinacea as an herbal remedy carried over from the Native American culture.

Today, Echinacea is available at pharmacies and supermarkets in a variety of forms. Whether it’s capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, a dried herb or tea, the debate still continues on what its actual effects on the body are.

A recent study performed in 2015 suggested that Echinacea had no significant correlation to the prevention of the common cold. However, they found that Echinacea products might be associated with a small decrease in cold incidence. So while Echinacea might not work like a shot does for the chicken pox, further research reveals that subjects were less likely to get a cold while using one of the various forms of this product. However once you had the cold, this study showed that there was no decrease in duration of the sickness, even when taking Echinacea.

Another research study led by Dr. Craig Coleman from the University of Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, demonstrated that Echinacea has the power to help you avoid and recover from the common cold. They tested the common cold in two ways. The first way was by letting some subjects naturally get sick to see if Echinacea could combat this common sickness. However, the second group was injected with rhinovirus, one of the viruses that typically cause the common cold. From here, the results were analyzed to show that cold incidence was reduced 65% when it was caused naturally. Against the rhinovirus, data depicted that there was only a 35% decrease.

I’m guilty of taking Echinacea tablets during cold and flu season to help my immune system. Maybe it’s a placebo effect or maybe it’s actually helping, but when both of my roommates had strep earlier this semester, I had a clean bill of health.

So does Echinacea really work? That’s something that you’re going to have to decide for yourself, because the science currently released about the subject has mixed reviews. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even if it does work, the FDA doesn’t regulate Echinacea. While you might think just because it’s herbal that it’s automatically safe, you should check with a doctor before you start taking any type of medicine.

May the cold prevention odds be ever in your favor!


By Courtney Rosser

Feel Great · Get Well

Does Aromatherapy Really Work?

With the increasing presence of various spa treatments, oils, and lotions, I’m sure that you’ve heard about the benefits of aromatherapy. I’ll admit I’m guilty of having multiple lotions that claim to aid in stress relief and sleep. While it may seem new to pop culture, essential oils have been used to treat various health issues for approximately 6,000 years. A wide range of cultures even used these oils for cosmetics and perfumes.

It wasn’t until a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé applied lavender oil to a burn on his hand that sparked a modern use for essential oils. After studying the effects of these oils in 1928, Gattefossé released the findings from his research to the public and “aromatherapy” was born. From 1950 until today, aromatherapy has become increasingly popular for massage therapy, beauticians, doctors, and more.

The real question is, does aromatherapy actually work? Even with its popularity, there are few research studies that can reliably answer this question.

There have been research studies showing the uses of aromatherapy during labor, after extensive surgeries, and for sleep improvement. What these researchers found was that aromatherapy was not capable of changing the physiology of the body. However, what all of these studies do share, is that essential oils and treatments have proven to lower anxiety and improve mood.Aromatherapy is capable of this because when the smell enters the nose, the molecules from the aroma dissolve within the mucous lining of the membrane. After this occurs, the molecules can then stimulate the olfactory receptors,

which then activate the olfactory bulb. From here, the mitral cells transport the stimulated signal from the olfactory bulb to the olfactory cortex and the limbic system. Together, the scent can be detected and recognized, especially if it triggers a memory.

So will aromatherapy cure your pain or solve your stresses? The science seems to think that it won’t. However, if you want to improve your mood, an aromatherapy spa treatment might just do the trick!


By Courtney Rosser

Eat Smart · Feel Great

“Healthy” Snacks that Could Be Making You Fat

As midterms approach, you are probably running around aimlessly, trying to fit in as many study hours, papers, coffee dates, and workouts as possible. With little time to do it all, it’s easy and efficient to grab a snack instead of a meal whenever free time pops up. In an effort to stay fit, and stay healthy, it’s important to snack smart and focus on what you are actually snacking on. Here are some snacks that are believed to be “healthy” but could be doing your diet more harm than good.

Veggie Chips
Though veggie chips claim to be loaded with nutrients and packed with as many as three servings of vegetables, they are often made up of potato starch and corn flour, which are two ingredients that make you more likely to snack between meals. Don’t be fooled by the “veggie” coloring on the chips, which is usually just food dye added during production. For a real healthy snack, you are better off making your own homemade “veggie” chips with real veggies like kale, broccoli, or Brussel sprouts by slicing, sprinkling with salt, and baking for about 10-15 minutes.

Bottled “Green” Juices
While it is nice to think you are being super healthy by “drinking your greens,” green juices are often packed with tons of sugar, which make it more like eating a Snickers bar than drinking a simple smoothie.  All that sugar is more likely to make you “crash” later in the day, and also make you crave junk food more. Try flavored or sparkling water if you are looking for a sweeter, very low-calorie alternative.

Yogurt Covered Pretzels
A sweet ‘n salty treat that seems pretty healthy, yogurt-covered pretzels, are one of the most deceiving foods that people think is healthy, but really does more damage than good to your body.  Pretzels are never an A+ snack, as they are loaded with sodium and complex carbohydrates, and when covered in “yogurt” (which in this case is often a combination of sugar and palm kernel oil) you have a snack high in sugar, fat, and carbs, three things that are never good. For a healthier alternative, opt for low-sugar kettle corn or a square of dark chocolate.

Sports Drinks
Sports drinks claim to refuel and reboost your body, but is that really true? More often than not, sports drinks are laden with corn syrups, tons of sugar, and people justify drinking them by arguing that they are key to rehydration and reenergizing one’s body after hard work or exercise. However, more often than not,  you don’t need to refuel your electrolytes with sports drinks unless you’ve had long, grueling workouts. So, unless you’re running a marathon soon, you should back off on the PowerAde unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Protein Bars
Protein bars are a tricky snack. Something with the word “protein” in it surely must be good for you, right? Wrong. Protein bars are simply a healthier name for the candy coated, sugar laden, sweet snack bars they truly are. So while they seem to be good for you, the only thing they add to your diet is sugar, syrups, and artificial sweeteners. You are better off making a homemade granola mix at home or packing a simple snack of banana and yogurt instead of grabbing one of those when you are on the run.


By, Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Get Well

Burnout is Real, and it’s Scary

What happens when your mind says go, but your body says no, no, NO?

As college students, we want to get the absolute most out of our time here. We join as many clubs as possible, try new things every week, meet new people everyday, and accept every opportunity that comes our way. Some of us even take on double and triple majors. But sometimes there comes a point when we take on too much.

Two internships, a part time job, a social life, and a full course load? Sure, it may sound manageable at first, but after so long of pushing our bodies to their limits, it’s okay to say enough is enough.

When It Happens to You
Before you get a chance to cut back on your obligations, however, your body might make that decision for you. This is called burnout. According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress. It’s more than just a freak out session, it’s a sign that your body is protesting against your over-achieving ways. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: chronic fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, impaired concentration, aches and pains, increased occurrence of illness, changes in appetite, anxiety, depression, pessimism, and apathy.

Burnout manifests itself differently in everyone. For me, it meant all of the above but I didn’t know I was nearing the edge until one day I overslept, through all eight of my alarms, and did not wake up until 6pm. I missed an entire day at my internship, putting my grade and my reputation in jeopardy. Halfway through the semester, I had reached an ultimate low.

But for me, it was a learning experience. It’s okay to cut back a little, which I did. It’s not a sign of weakness, in fact it’s a sign of maturity and strength. Pick yourself back up, take responsibility for your actions, and move forward with your head high. Knowing your limits will work in your favor in the long run, because you’ll be a healthier and happier version of yourself. Not only that, but the quality of your work will be so much better and you’ll be able to take those strides in all the right directions.

Stress is a common problem for students, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Here’s some tips from Psychology Today to help reduce stress and avoid burnout:

  • Remember the Basics. Sleep, eat, drink, repeat—don’t forget it, and certainly don’t replace them for unhealthy alternatives. Energy drinks cannot replace sleep, and sweets cannot make up for a well-rounded plate.
  • Relax. Don’t push the things that make you happy and peaceful out of your life in exchange for a busier schedule.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Say No. As long as you do it respectfully, it is
  • Exercise. This will help strengthen your body, keep your insides working properly, and overall give you a foundation of success.
  • Remove Negativity from your Life. This is a big one. If someone or something is stressing you out, either fix it or nix it.

And finally, only you know what helps your body. Light a candle, read a book, spend a day out with friends. Do whatever it takes to keep the balance, because burnout is real and it’s scary, but it is 100% avoidable. Good luck!


By Caleigh Gran

Feel Great · Fitness

Debunking CrossFit Myths

CrossFit is a word you have probably heard quite frequently. If you are unaware of what this sport is, it is a combination of weightlifting, cardio, gymnastics, pure pain, and 100 percent fun. Now you might be wondering why people would subject themselves to this torture, but staying active for CrossFitters is not only part of their daily routines, it’s something they look forward to and enjoy. The reason for this is because CrossFit is not only a fast-paced, high intensity workout, but each box (the CrossFit term for a gym) is unique. This sport is not just a place where you get sweaty then go home; you form friendships and join a community that supports one another, pushes you to achieve your full potential, and provides people you can rely on whether it be in the box or out of the box. CrossFit not only fosters a community setting, but it comes equipped with its own lingo (WOD, PR, Kipping, Rx, etc.), meal plans (paleo diet), and stylish workout gear (Reebok cross trainers, Reebok spandex, Reebok anything really). It is not only a sport or a gym, it is a lifestyle.

Of course, if you have heard of CrossFit, then you have probably heard how “dangerous it is,” how it is “unhealthy,” and how all CrossFitters are obsessed. Well, the last myth is true, most CrossFitters are obsessed, but for good reason, I promise.

Debunking the myths:

  1. Myth: The coaches are unqualified.

Truth: It’s quite the opposite actually. Yes, it is correct that you only have to attend a two-day seminar where you take a test and they evaluate your skills in order to be a trainer. This seems like it is not enough of a barometer to determine whether a coach is qualified or not, but in fact, it is. It doesn’t quite matter how many certifications you have, but rather, how you put your knowledge into practice. The coaches that care about the sport also care about being qualified for it. These people are not given certifications just by showing up, they are tested and given rules and regulations to follow. This sport does not typically pay its coaches a ton of money, so they are not usually doing it for monetary reasons, rather they do it because they love it.

  1. Myth: The coaches yell at you, and push you too hard.

Truth: The coaches are not yelling at you, they’re encouraging you because they know you are stronger than you believe yourself to be. You only push yourself as hard as you deem appropriate. No reputable coach is going to do anything to make you feel uncomfortable, and everyone in the box is rooting for you. It is such an empowering feeling when you think you are going to fail at a workout, but 20 other people are cheering you on because they believe that you can reach your full potential. Nobody wants to push you ‘til you puke, although that is a common joke among CrossFitters (the mascot for CrossFit is called Pukie the Clown), they just want to ensure you succeed.

  1. Myth: You can get hurt.

Truth: Yes, you absolutely can hurt yourself, but who cares? What I mean by that is you can get hurt sitting on the couch, which can cause extreme back pain. You could get hurt running on the treadmill by twisting your ankle or getting stress fractures. You can get hurt attempting any workout, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. That is why each CrossFit affiliate requires foundation classes for beginners. These classes provide more one-on-one instruction typically, and the coach goes through all the movements you would be attempting in a regular CrossFit class. They ensure that you know what you are doing before you go head-first into a workout.

  1. Myth: It’s too hard.

Truth: Any workout is as hard as you make it, and CrossFit is no exception. If you cannot do the workout Rx (as prescribed), then you can always scale it! You are not shamed for doing some of the movements a little differently because it takes time to learn how to do pull ups, toes to bar, hand stand push-ups, and many other movements. The workouts and the people may seem daunting at first, but everyone is fully supportive. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and no one is penalized for tailoring the work out to fit their abilities. There are always going to be competitors, but you do not have to be a professional CrossFitter to benefit from the sport. This is applicable even at a regular gym. If you see someone running faster and putting in more mileage than you, you are not going to speed up to keep up with them if you know your body cannot handle it. Instead, you naturally progress and run a little more and a little better each time until you can finally keep up with the nut on the treadmill next to you. It takes time to do a workout Rx, so don’t be deterred from trying the sport because it appears to be “too hard” or “too scary.” Everyone scales at one time or another, and it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is about getting the best and safest workout in as possible!


Still not sold? That’s alright, because it isn’t for everyone. Although you can scale the workouts, it does not mean it is going to appeal to everyone, and that is perfectly a-okay. Some people call CrossFit a cult, and even I, an avid CrossFitter, have made that joke time and time again. However, I have seen some people accomplish amazing feats because of this sport, and it is absolutely worth a try!


By Rachel Cathie

Feel Great · Get Well

DIY Face Masks

As we slowly but surely, start to approach spring, it’s time to put some “spring” back into your step, and more importantly, back into your skin. Just because it’s still the dead of winter and pretty frigid out, doesn’t mean your skin has to look dead too. These quick and easy homemade face masks are the perfect products to brighten you up. With little time and few ingredients needed, these quick and easy homemade face masks will make your skin feel bright, fresh, and airy.

avocado-honey-3 2

Avocado and Honey
Winter can make your skin dry and cause it to peel, and sometimes no matter how much you moisturize, lotions can only do so much. Avocado is loaded with vitamin E and fatty acids which will reenergize your skin and help keep it smooth, while the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are key to reducing redness and swelling. This is something to keep in mind whether you’ve been battling the winter cold, or it’s just the morning after a rough night out.


  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Simply mash and combine the ingredients in a small bowl and apply to your face.
  2. Let sit on your face for about 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Follow with your favorite moisturizer.

 soothing-and-moisturizing-diy-banana-face-mask-1-500x333 2

Organic Banana Face Mask
This face mask is for those who want the results without all of the work. With three basic ingredients that can be found in anyone’s kitchen, this mask has been praised for leaving skin silky, smooth, and glowing, and it works great on all skin types. It only takes five minutes to make, and the results are worth every second.


  • ½ Banana
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey


  1. Mash ½ banana.
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon of orange juice and 1 tablespoon of honey.
  3. Apply to the face and keep the mixture on for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Make-an-Egg-Facial-Mask-Step-16 3

Egg White Mask
An unusual twist with something you usually have for your morning breakfast, egg white masks are quite common, and are known for their stellar results. They are great for reducing breakouts and clearing up those nasty acne scars from our teenage years. Even better, they help soak up excess oils on the skin and help rebuild damaged skin cells, so you can start your day off clean and glowing.


  • 2-3 egg whites 


  1. Separate two to three egg whites from the yolks and whisk until frothy. Let them stand for a few minutes while you rinse your face and pat dry.
  2. Apply a thin layer with your fingers and allow it to dry a few minutes.
  3. Continue to apply layers until you have three or four in total.
  4. Let the mask dry for 20 minutes then rinse completely and pat skin dry.

 DSCN1926 2

Baking Soda Mask
As odd as it sounds, baking soda is great when used on the skin. It cleans out bacteria in pores, dries up excess oils, and removes dead skin cells. Feel free to add drops of lavender or any other scent your prefer to help you relax or make your skin smell as yummy as it feels.


  • Equal parts baking soda and water to form a thick paste


  1. For an acne mask, mix equal parts baking soda and water to form a thick paste.
  2. Massage onto skin in a circular motion for 2 minutes, then let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat skin dry.


By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Get Well

Animals on Campus

Syracuse University is experiencing an increase in students living with animals on campus, according to the Office of Residence Life.

Terra Peckskamp, Director of the Office of Residence Life at Syracuse University, said that having animals on campus is something a lot of campuses are talking about, seeing more of, and figuring out how to navigate.

“We’ve had more of them on South Campus in the apartments, where it’s a little bit easier to do that, but they can have them in the residence halls too,” said Peckskamp. This year, there are two students with animals in residence halls, and many more on South Campus.

Neha Rauf has an emotional support animal in the University Village Apartments. Her family moved to Wales so she was feeling very lonely and started going to counseling. She brought up the idea of an emotional support animal to her therapist, who also thought it would be beneficial.

“There’s a lot of therapeutic benefit from just taking care of something,” said Rauf. “I enjoy being busy and having responsibilities.”

Peckskamp said that, for students who need emotional support animals, they “can be incredibly beneficial and can really help them thrive on campus. However, having animals in residence halls does create challenges.

Rauf plans her schedule around her dog. She has to go home at some point during the day or have a neighbor check in on her dog. Because of this, Rauf only took twelve credits this semester.

Rauf’s dog, Jill, is a mix of a laboratory retriever and a pitbull, which she says sometimes raises some eyebrows. “Fix It gets nervous,” she said. Still, Rauf said that her dog is one of the best decisions she’s ever made.


Neha Rauf and her dog, Jill.

In a study ran by Theresa McDevitt and others at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 95% of 449 student participants considered interaction with therapy dogs to be a means of stress reduction.

“I think there’s a greater understanding now of the impact of animals on people,” said McDevitt. “If you pet a dog, a hormone is released that makes you calmer and, if your heart was racing, it brings your heart rate back down to normal.”

Timothy Reid is a graduate student in the Psychology Department at Syracuse University, who said that it’s possible that some of the students with animals could be faking mental illness so they can bring their pets to school. “I think it is possible in any field that people will try and cheat the system in some way. With enough research, you could probably fake something,” said Reid. “There are scenarios where it would be advantageous for someone to get a diagnosis that maybe they don’t actually have.”

C.W. Von Bergen, a professor at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University and an expert on animals in society, said that it’s hard to identify mental disabilities so it’s easy for college students to claim they have one. “It’s particularly true in dorms and housing situations, where the federal housing administration has approved bringing animals as a mental accommodation,” said Von Bergen.

He worries that it’s getting easier and easier to get someone classified as having a mental disability. He mentioned that there are a number of companies on the internet that, in exchange for payment, will write a letter to your landlord or university saying that you have a mental disability and that an animal would be beneficial treatment.

However, Peckskamp is confident in Syracuse University’s Office of Residence Life’s system to make sure that the animal is a legitimate need for the student. “It’s not just, ‘Hey I want to bring Fido from home,’… Those are the ones that end up getting turned down.” However, Peckskamp said that most of the cases she’s been involved in have resulted in the student being able to keep the animal.

Still, the Office of Residence Life is still struggling with issues where students have animals who aren’t there legally and try to say it was approved by a therapist, but they haven’t been approved by the school. “We kind of work with them on that process, so in the interim there’s a little bit of limbo where we’ll say the animal can stay for two days but they need to be able to provide the documentation,” said Peckskamp.

“It’s more of the students who actually are just there with pets where we have to say no, that they have to find somewhere else for their animal,” which Peckskamp said happens a lot on South Campus.

Sometimes students will remove the pet, but a few months later the Office of Residence Life will come back to check and the pet will be back again. At that point, they may move the student out of the apartment and into a residence hall, which affects meal plans and financial aid.

“We have students sign a notarized form that says I understand that I’ll be moved if I have my pet back again because it’s not just the student that’s impacted but it’s their roommates, and it’s also the pet. Because our residential facilities may or may not be well equipped for animals,” said Peckskamp.

The Office of Residence Life also keeps a close eye on South Campus apartments because of the wild cat problem. Once people graduate or leave, they sometimes just turn them loose.

“There’s a lot of trickery going on, a lot of faking kind of activities,” said Von Bergen. “I think it does a disservice to people who actually have a mental or emotional disability.”


By Abby Rose Sugnet

Eat Smart · Feel Great

Foods to Maximize Your Workout

You should never exercise on an empty stomach, and sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to eat pre- and post-workout. Fear not, What the Health has broken down the best foods to eat when exercising.


Before You Workout

  1. Bananas are an excellent food to eat before you work out. They have fast-acting carbohydrates that provide you with fuel during your entire workout. The potassium in bananas also helps prevent muscle cramps mid-workout. There is nothing worse than getting a stomach cramp while running on the treadmill!
  2. Another great food to eat before you head to the gym are oats. They can be in the form of oatmeal, granola, or combined with other ingredients for fun oat recipes. Oats are loaded with fiber which help release carbohydrates into your bloodstream, providing fuel to last you throughout your entire workout.
  3. Surprisingly, caffeine can be an effective pre-workout food. Caffeine can work to slow muscle fatigue and increase how much fat you burn.
  4. Fruit smoothies are an excellent way to get ready for a workout. They are high in protein, can be digested very quickly, and contain both simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates will activate in the first 15 or 20 minutes of your workout, and then the complex carbohydrates will kick in around the 30-minute mark.
  5. Chickpeas have 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, and about 9 grams of fiber to help make your work out easy peasy (pun intended).
  6. Unlike egg yolks, egg whites provide you with no fat and 4 grams of protein. The yolk of the egg contains lots of fat, and is metabolized slowly so it will make you feel sluggish. Ditch the egg yolk and just stick with the egg white!
  7. Greek yogurt is a great alternative to regular yogurt because it contains less sugar but more protein.


After you Workout

  1. Avocados are a great post-workout food because they have good fat, not bad fat. This good fat helps repair muscles after a workout. Avocadoes also are high in Vitamin B, which speed up your metabolism.
  2. Instead of water after a tough workout, try chocolate milk. Chocolate milk helps restore muscle glycogen and rehydrates you just as much as Gatorade. It is high in carbs and protein, and you will also be getting calcium—added bonus!
  3. Another drink to try once you get home from the gym is green tea. Green tea can give you a much-needed energy boost after the gym and also has great fat-burning compounds.
  4. Quinoa is the best way to get your carbs, and a great alternative to brown rice. It has more protein and fiber than brown rice, and is also so much easier and quicker to prepare!
  5. A great fish to try after you work out is salmon. It is high in protein and also omega-3 fatty acids, which help to rebuild muscle post-workout.
  6. One of the best fruits to eat after a workout is kiwi. Kiwi contains lots of vitamin C and potassium packed into one small serving. They also contain antioxidants, which help reduce muscle soreness. Another tip to make the most out of your kiwi: eat the skin! It has more nutrients.
  7. Another helpful fruit to eat after you work out are blueberries. They are packed full of antioxidants, and studies show that they can trip your rate of recovery after a hard workout!


By Annie Kelly

Feel Great · Fitness

If You Do Anything, Do Yoga

When the stress is building, and you feel like you’re going to explode, it’s always a good idea to get out, get active, and get exercising. But when the cold weather hits, and your schedule fills up, it can be hard getting to the gym, or even having the energy to get out of your nice warm bed in the morning.  Yoga is a great way to stay fit without hard “wear ‘n tear” fitness routines that your body seems immune to during the winter. Not only is it good physically for your body, but it has emotional benefits as well. And on the plus side, who doesn’t love a good excuse to go and buy some more Lulu Lemon gear?

Improves Flexibility
Yoga keeps your muscles toned and makes your body more limber. If you stick with yoga, you will notice that your muscles will become much more flexible and soon you’ll be hitting those headstands easily.

Helps Posture
Say goodbye to the aches and pains your lower neck and back start to feel when you hit that afternoon slump. Studies have shown that yoga helps improve posture and spinal adjustment, which keeps your body from feeling sensitive and sore throughout the day.

Increases Heart Rate
Stretches such as the Down-ward Dog and the Tree pose have shown to improve blood circulation and increase your heart rate. This gives you a nice rosy post-workout glow that will leave you feeling great the rest of the day.

 Calms Your Body
The key to relaxation is good breathing, and yoga is a great way to get active and learn how to do it. Yoga classes are a great way to learn more about your breathing and the inner self in a group setting. They encourage focusing on the present and teaching strategies to cope with outside stress.

Strengthens Concentration
Studies have shown that participating in yoga on a regular basis helps improve your coordination, memory, and reaction time. Taking as little as a 15-minute break from your studies to stretch it out with some basic yoga poses can be the difference between that B+ to an A on your next exam!

 Increases Happiness!!!!!
Anything that increases happiness should always be a priority in your life. People who participate in consistent yoga practices have shown an increase in serotonin levels and an overall happier outlook on life. So get out, channel your inner yogi, and soon you’ll be on your way to a more relaxed and happier you!

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart · Feel Great

How to Cope with Neophobia in College

Generally, incoming college freshmen have difficulty adjusting to the dinning hall meals provided by Syracuse University. Now, imagine if you are a student who suffers from food neophobia and has a limited menu to begin with. Many people suffer from neophobia, an eating disorder that causes you to be afraid of new foods. This disorder can lead to malnutrition, and as a result, affect your daily functioning. Someone with neophobia can have panic attacks or be so repulsed by the new food that he or she will throw up.

Syracuse University sophomore Hailey New has suffered from neophobia since she was a child. When asked about the difficulties that accompany neophobia, she described how it would often cause problems at the dinner table.

“I had a set menu of meals I would eat as a kid and if [my parents] made something different, I would refuse to eat dinner that night. I would only eat chicken noodle soup, no other kind of soup. And peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but only if it was a certain brand of jam, I wouldn’t eat other jams. Gosh I was an annoying kid,” she said humorously. However, she had no idea that 25 percent of children and many adults suffer from neophobia. Many of those people go to the website pickyeatingadults.com to share their experiences with the disorder. According to an article ABC News wrote in 2010, the website has 7,000 members.

During her freshman year, Hailey shared her struggle with the dinning halls. “I lost 15 pounds when I first got to Sadler because I would only eat the green grapes and cereal they had. Food has to look and smell good to me, and it was so different so I said nope not eating any of this. They were all new brands of food too, that bothers me a lot.”

This can be a real nuisance when being away at college, so if you are a student or just anyone suffering from neophobia, here are some ways to ease your way through the difficulties.

  1. One at a time
    Don’t bombard yourself with new foods, because then you’ll just be freaked out. If you have something new that you want to try just try that and take it one food at a time.
  2. Try not to get frustrated
    Again, stay calm, because you don’t want to freak out and hate everything.
  3. Know that some foods will be easier than others
    Sweet or salty foods are best for trying new foods because they’re less sour and bitter.
  4. Sauces can sometimes help
    Putting a complementary dressing on it never hurts. Sometimes the food just needs a little extra flavoring added to it in order to be just right. However, that may cause you to become dependent on that flavoring in order to like the food.


By Destiny Reyes

Feel Great · Get Well

Apps to Improve Mental Health

Whether you’ve been hitting the books hard, going through the grueling process of pledging, or are just beat by the frigid temperatures, it’s easy to get exhausted, run-down, and sick. Being constantly on the go, it’s easy for your body and your mind to underperform—but sometimes it’s hard to take the “me” time you need. Thankfully, your cell phone or laptop can be your “saving grace.” With just the simple touch of a button on these cool apps, you’ll be on your way to a happier, relaxed, and better you.


Breathe2Relax (free on both iOS and Android)
This app developed for stress management offers a variety of breathing exercises to help reduce stress, stabilize your mood, and manage anxiety. It can be used individual or in a group, in case you and a bunch of your friends want to relax together.

SAM: Self Help for Anxiety Management (free on both iOS and Android)
As college students, our anxiety can be pretty high, especially with three tests and two papers due all while trying to fit in dinner, gym time, and time with your friends. This app is perfect to help you manage your anxiety levels and identify what causes you the most anxiety. With options to help manage your physical and mental symptoms, this app is perfect for people experiencing anxiety on any level.

Equanimity ($4.99 on iOS devices)
Equanimity is a mediation app that includes a journaling feature. With a variety of meditation options, this app is great for when you need to take a “time out” and focus on you.

BellyBio (free for iOS 7 compatible devices)
A seemingly different take on a meditation app, BellyBio teaches deep breathing techniques based on individual measurements taken by placing your phone on your stomach while using the app. This allows the app to monitor your breathing and teach you better ways to relax and breathe deeply.

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson ($2.99 for iOS 7 compatible devices)
One of the biggest ways to improve your mental health is by getting enough sleep. This easy to use app gently soothes listeners to sleep. It also features a variety of mediation options, and an alarm, for when those deep relaxations turn into naps.


Sometimes our lives become a little too overwhelming, and we need a break. These apps are perfect when you hit those periods in your life, or day, when you need to step back, turn off, and just spend some time with yourself.

And sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes an app cannot always help us be happy, or help us through the hard times. Sometimes we need more than technology. We need friends, and family, and resources. I encourage you, if you are struggling and you don’t know what to do, to reach out to someone, because YOU are important, and YOU matter. Reach out to a friend, a family member, or a local counseling center. Technology can do a lot for us, but a person can do so much more.


By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart

Who Says Valentine’s Day Can’t Be Healthy?


Valentine’s Day is either your favorite day of the year or your worst nightmare. This year, get excited for the devoted day regardless of whether you spend it snuggled up to your new beau or hosting your own “Gal-entine’s Day” with your favorite gal pals and snazzy snacks. This “lovely” holiday is never complete without tasty treats, and what’s better than red and pink chocolatey goodness for only half the calories? With these yummy, low-calorie recipes, you’ll be sure to capture the heart of someone special!


Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Have a sweet ‘n savory treat with this classic concoction. Dark chocolate is known to help lower your risk of heart disease, so this dessert is sure to make both your stomach and your heart happy.


  • Fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) white chocolate, optional for drizzling
  • Double-boiler or heatproof bowl and saucepan
  • Heatproof spatula
  • Parchment, wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Small plastic bag


  1. Rinse the strawberries under cold water and pat dry. The strawberries need to be completely dry before dipping, so spread them out and let them air-dry if necessary.
  2. Fill the bottom of the double-boiler or saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer all chocolate into the double-boiler or heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Let the chocolate melt until no lumps remain, then remove the bowl from heat.
  3. Dip strawberries one at a time in melted chocolate, coat fully, then lift the strawberries out and shake gently to remove excess chocolate. Lay strawberries on baking sheet to harden.
  4. If you choose to drizzle white chocolate on the strawberries, melt the white chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, then use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the hardened strawberries.
  5. Let dry and serve when set.

Layered Strawberry Jell-O Cups
This fun and fruity dessert is perfect for when you want a sweet treat that is light and easy to make!


  • 5 packets of strawberry Jell-O mix
  • Water
  • 2 cups of Cool Whip, plus more for topping
  • Strawberries, to top each parfait

*In order to get evenly distributed layers that you can clearly see, it is important that you let each layer set before adding the next one. Depending on how many cups you make, you may have leftover mixtures.*


  1. Layer 1, Layer 3, and Layer 5: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with 1 packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using. Refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layers 3 and 5.
  2. Layer 2 and Layer 4: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with a packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Add in 1 cup of cool whip. Stir until mixed. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using, layering on top of the previous Jell-O layer. Separation may occur, causing a lighter and darker layer. Refrigerate until set, 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layer 4.
  3. Finish by topping with Cool Whip and sliced strawberries.


Paleo Chocolate Truffles
Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, and this year is no exception. For all of those people who love this tasty treat, this recipe is for you. Get the same delicious taste of thick, creamy, chocolate with this healthier alternative to the classic truffle.


  • 5 cups raw cashews
  • 12 dates
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1 cup for rolling truffles in


  • Soak the dates overnight in water.
  • Put all ingredients (minus extra coconut) into a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Scoop out mixture and place in clean bowl.
  • Cover bowl and put into fridge to chill for at least one hour. Once chilled and firm, scoop even amounts of dough out and roll into balls.
  • Roll in shredded coconut, and place in fridge to firm up. You can also freeze these for use later.


Strawberry Mint Spritzer
This Valentine’s Day, get the best of both worlds with this creative concoction that goes great both with and without alcohol. However, if you choose to make it, this sassy spritzer will have you dancing the night away with your favorite girlfriends.


  • 1 bottle Sake – any kind will do
  • 1 bottle Dry Champagne
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 6 Meyer lemons (or 3-4 regular lemons)
  • 3-4 sprigs of mint
  • Vanilla Stevia, to add flavor


  1. Slice your strawberries into vertical slivers, tear mint leaves roughly, and add both to a large pitcher.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 6 Meyer lemons and gently mash the ingredients using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add equal parts Sake & Champagne, and lots of ice.
  4. Squeeze a dropper full of vanilla stevia into each glass before serving.


Strawberry and Cream Cashew Cookie Bites
These “pretty in pink” treats are delicious to look at and eat! With few ingredients and no actual cream, these no-bake energy bites are the perfect way to have a sweet ‘n salty treat to keep your body going.

Ingredients (Makes approx. 40 bites)

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt flakes


  • Place cashews in food processor/blender and pulse until crumbly. You want there to still be a few bigger chunks to give the bites some nice texture.
  • Add dates and pulse until the mixture starts to come together to form a sticky “dough.” Add vanilla extract and salt flakes and pulse again to combine.
  • Finally, add your freeze-dried strawberries and pulse until combined. Using your hands, roll approx. 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into a little bite-sized ball, then transfer to an airtight container (or even just a Ziploc bag) and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Repeat steps until batter is gone.


By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Fitness

Gift Guide for Your Exercise-Obsessed Friend!

We all know that one person, whether they be a friend, sister, brother, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, or cousin, who is always on the move, always on top of the new exercise trend, the ever-conscious health nut! While you’re okay with lounging in your bed Saturday mornings watching a movie, they are already up, at the gym on the spin bike, or outside on a five mile run. This holiday season, get them a great gift they will appreciate…and actually be excited to use! With this quick gift list, find an awesome gift that you’ll feel great about giving and the receiver will feel great about while working out!

Foam Roller
Though somewhat expensive depending on where you buy it, this crazy gadget is a godson to runners, and will have your friends’ legs in great shape so he or she can run the next 5k feeling awesome!


“Namaste” Necklace
A cute and quirky necklace for your yoga-crazed cousin, this necklace can also be customized any way you want, so it is great for multiple people.


Water Bottle
An increasingly popular item, this water bottle is cute, colorful, and very eco-friendly! The Swell water bottles are another popular option.


Customized Yoga Mat
Hot yoga has become an increasingly “in style” exercise trend, and this yoga mat is perfect for your mom who is obsessed with it! With a non-slip grip at a relatively cheap price, this mat is not only great for yoga, but also for Pilates, aerobics, and your standard CORE exercises. What’s even better is that you can personalize them with names and initials!


Lulu Lemon Headbands
With so many cute colors and styles to choose from, it’s no wonder many girls are obsessed with Lulu headbands. Built with sweat-wicking and anti-stink fabric, these stylish hair accessories will become a classic staple in any workout routine, whether it be running, biking, or spinning.


Swim Spray
Made for the swimmer in your life, this spray gets rid of the strong scent of chlorine from your hair and skin post-workout. Great for those times when you can’t always grab a quick shower, this is a gift that the wet n’ wild friends in your life will love!



By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great · Get Well

6 Ways to Prevent Anxiety During Finals Week

It’s that dreaded time of year again. The time of year when everyone has the most work to do and the least amount of motivation to do it. Although I’d like to be able to write about how to avoid stress completely during finals week, I know that’s not realistic. However, even though you might be stressing about your cumulative final on Friday or your paper due at midnight, here are some tips that will help better prepare you to deal with the anxiety.

  • STOP pulling “all nighters” – No seriously, go to sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep (even when you’re taking Adderall) is damaging your ability to think clearly and make effective decisions. In a study done by Dr. Timothy Roehrs at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, results indicate that when comparing sleep-deprived subjects to fully awake subjects, the sleep-deprived subjects didn’t make reasonable decisions based on the task they were asked to perform. Sleep is also the time when your brain consolidates information and commits the important pieces into long-term memories. Without sleep, how are you going to remember all of the information for that history final you just crammed for?
  • Exercise – I know that many of you probably rolled your eyes when seeing this, and thought, “If I had more free time, don’t you think I would’ve already done that?” I understand completely. Nobody has time throughout these tough couple of weeks, but it’s all about making time. The exercise will allow the release of endorphins that will make you happier and reenergize you for more productive studying.
  • Complain (but only a little) – As you’ve probably come to realize at this point in your life, it never pays to hold in your emotions. If you’re really stressed out about your test and need someone to vent to, allot yourself a ten minute phone call with your friend or family member to get it off your chest. Once your not internalizing it anymore, you could allow time for more focused studying.
  • Organize – There is absolutely no way any work is getting done on a desk filled with papers and a backpack overflowing with a mixture of old and new sticky notes. When you first sit down to do your work, take the first 15 minutes to organize your life. Clean up the clutter and create a chronological list of things you have to do. It helps if the highest priority is at the top, but some people prefer to knock out all the smaller tasks first so the last thing they have to tackle is the larger projects. Whichever order you choose, checking off items from your list will make you feel extremely productive.
  • Eat right – While it might be easier to make those dinosaur nuggets you keep in your freezer for emergencies three nights in a row, it’s just not healthy. I know that it might be tempting to always take the easy way out and live off chips and candy for a week while you study, it’s necessary that your body gets the right food to fuel your brain. Try throwing in fruits and veggies as snacks to tie you over between meals. Also, try making meals with a protein and a carb in order to boost your energy level. Your body and mind will definitely thank you later.
  • Do something you love! – Lastly, make sure to do something you love. While studying and finishing your work is important, make sure to fit in a small amount of time to unwind. Listen to music, surf the web, catch up on an episode of your favorite show, etc. Keeping your sanity is crucial during this stressful time of year.


It might be easier to just mentally check-out of school work because break is pushed back another week this year, but always remember what Beyoncé once said, “Whenever I feel bad, I use that feeling to motivate me to work harder.”

By Courtney Rosser

Feel Great · General Health · Get Well

DIY Holiday Beauty Products

As the holiday season approaches, the classic Christmas scents start to emerge in all your favorite things.  With these homemade beauty products, you can get even more of the holiday scents you love. Whether you use them to pamper yourself or gift them to someone special, these recipes will have you more excited for Christmas break than ever (if that was even possible)! 

Whipped Sugar Cookie Body Butter
Nothing beats baking Christmas cookies, especially when the best part is eating the yummy leftover batter! Sugar cookies are a staple of the holiday season, and with this simple recipe, you can smell just as good as your kitchen smells when baking this tasty treat.


  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Raw Shea Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Oil
  • 20 drops of Sugar Cookie Fragrance (found at stores like Walmart, Macy’s and Target)


  1. In a small saucepan, melt oils and shea butter together over low heat.
  2. Once melted, carefully pour liquid into a chilled bowl, mix fragrance, and let sit until mixture starts to harden. You want the oil to be firm, but not solid (about the consistency of softened butter).
  3. When the oil is ready, whip with a mixer for several minutes until the body butter is fluffy and at a consistency that you like.
  4. Place into containers. Mason Jars are recommended, as they are cute and relatively cheap!


Sugar Plum Scrub
The classic holiday story The Night Before Christmas reads, “The children were nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,” and after using this recipe, sugar plums will definitely be dancing in your head. This delicious scent has been known to cause relaxation and to help you unwind during the busy holiday season, so bottle some up, and give it as a gift to your (most likely) stressed out mom as she prepares for the onslaught of grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews!


  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 Drops Sugar Plum Fragrance Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Vitamin E Oil
  • Purple Food Coloring (optional)
  • Rubbing Alcohol


  1. Spray a container of your choice with rubbing alcohol and set aside until dry.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil.
  3. Combine essential oil, vitamin E oil, and sugar. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add a few drops of purple food coloring in and mix until you reach your desired color.
  5. Store in a covered container at room temperature.


Candy Cane Bath Salts
What would Christmas be without candy canes.  With this DIY recipe, you get all the fun of a candy cane without all the added sugar. The best thing about making bath salts is that it’s so simple and easy, so making this recipe is a sweet treat (literally)! With this relatively easy recipe, add a few ingredients together, pour a little sweet scent on top, and you’ve got a creative concoction to help de-stress and get excited for the holiday season!



  1. In a large bowl, combine Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda.
  2. Add in peppermint oil and stir or whisk to distribute evenly.
  3. Divide bath salts in half. Use a separate bowl to color bath salts with 4-6 drops of red food coloring.
  4. Layer bath salts in jars, about two heaping tablespoons per layer, and press the salts down before adding a new layer.


Gingerbread Cookie Body Scrub
Nothing beats decorating gingerbread houses during the month of December, except maybe smelling like one. With this cookie cutter classic, smell and feel as great as your gingerbread house looks. With the added scent of ginger, which has been known to banish blemishes, increase blood flow, and tone skin, you’ll glowing brighter than the lights on a Christmas tree!



  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into the container of your choice.


Quick Tip: Place your homemade holiday scented beauty products in mini mason jars and tie with a bow, and you’ve also got a great gift that can be given to friends or family, or even as a gift to yourself! Happy Holidays!

By Annie O’Sullivan

Feel Great

6 Ingredients Essential for Exam Week

Did you know our brains need a constant supply of glucose to function correctly? The glucose we need for better brain function, mood, and memory should come from good foods. With finals coming in hot, prepare your brain to the max by adding theses extra six foods into your meals this week!

  1. Spinach. This ingredient can prevent dementia, aging, and damage to your DNA. These leafy green veggies are also a good source of foliate and vitamin E.
  2. Avocado. These are one of the best source of omega 3 and omega 6 needed for a healthy body. Avocados will help to increase blood flow to brain and lower cholesterol. Added bonus, they have vitamin K!
  3. Dark Chocolate. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a treat that will improve cognitive function and memory. Consuming this delicious cocoa will also improve mood, and it is packed with antioxidants.
  4. Nuts. Almonds and walnuts especially are good for healthy nervous systems and brain function. They have B6 and vitamin E to protect your brain for the long run.
  5. Quinoa. This complex carbohydrate will keep you full while you test and is great for keeping the blood oxygenated. Quinoa is also a great source of iron and vitamin B. Plus its gluten free!
  6. Broccoli. This awesome veggie is a superfood for the whole body! It is rich in calcium, vitamin C, B, and lots of iron. Eating broccoli will also decrease your chances of catching any viruses during your finals week.

Good luck with all your finals, and don’t forget to feed your brain! Food for thought: “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” –Tom Ziglar

By Sydney Hughes

Eat Smart · Feel Great · Nutrition · Student Life

5 Snacks to Power You Through Finals Week

Ah! Finals week. A week filled with endless papers, exams, and the occasional mental breakdown. As you start preparing for the end of the semester, it’s important to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down (a girl can dream).  To do this, it’s important to fuel your body with brainpower snacks, so you can hit the books instead of hitting the wall. While sleep and exercise aren’t guaranteed things as finals week approaches, you can still be healthy and happy with these yummy brain boosting snacks that will keep your mind sharp and your stomach satisfied!

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Satisfy your midnight stress snacking with this delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, which can help your brain perform at its best ability, and bananas are a great source of potassium, which will boost your energy levels once you hit that 2AM slump. If you really want a treat, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips, which have been known to aide concentration and boost your mood!

Trail Mix
Trail Mix, often labeled a “danger food” of snacking because it is high in calories, can be healthy, and it is great for your brain! Dried nuts and fruits, both high in protein, have been known to aid in memorization and concentration, and make your brain sharper and quicker, which can help when studying. To create a healthier, lower calorie mix, try to incorporate unsalted almonds, dried berries, and if you must, a small amount of dark chocolate.

Mixed Berries
A sweet treat that will pick you up when you want to give up, berries of all kinds, especially blueberries, are considered to be the #1 brain food.  They contain nutrients that have been shown to improve memory and learning, and even help produce new brain cells. Whether fresh or frozen, berries are a yummy, low calorie snack to stress eat when you want something sweet and need a good boost.

Avocado on Toast
A trending treat that is taking the health world by storm, avocado on toast has become a popular snack for many. While avocados may be fatty, they contain “healthy” fats that keep the brain cell membranes flexible, which keeps you energized and ready to hit those books. The fatty acids in avocado help strengthen brain muscle, which makes it easier to memorize information and study for longer periods of time. Spread mashed avocado on whole grain toast, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, add any other ingredients you like, and you have a simple but yummy study snack to help you score that A on the exam!

Of course, we cannot forget this dearly beloved, which has gotten college students through finals weeks and exams for hundreds of years. Although this does not necessarily count as a “snack”, it is a classic concoction to help you get through those all-nighters. Coffee is great for improving thought processes and helps repair memory loss so you will remember those anthropology terms you learned in the wee hours of the morning before the exam. Just remember to skip the high-calorie sugar laden drinks with whipped cream and flavor shots, because the only thing those will do is pack on the pounds and make your brain crash when you need it most.


By Annie O’Sullivan