Get Buzzed

Being from the coffee capital of the world, I know my coffee. Working for a coffee company just pushed me over the edge of just a coffee addict, to legitimately sleeping, eating, and breathing coffee. So when I moved down to San Diego, I was shocked that there was only one coffee shop on each street compared to five (I am not even exaggerating). What surprised me even more was the taste of the coffee at these shops- not for me at all! But still, I stayed on the hunt for a good coffee shop that I could go to study, or just stop in when I am craving the perfect iced white mocha Americano.

This school year, my best friend dragged me with her to give Better Buzz a try. Due to its popularity on Instagram, I was worried I wouldn’t like it. Along with being a coffee snob, I fall under the stereotypical Washington hipster that doesn’t like to go to well-known places. But when I walked into this place my hipster self was proved wrong. I had finally found the iced white chocolate Americano I had been searching for since I left Washington, and I was obsessed. Not only was the coffee good, but the shop was adorable. With places to either study, or catch up with a friend, it meets the expectations of an avid coffee drinker.

Better Buzz has three locations in San Diego but my personal favorite is the store in Point Loma. It might be twenty minutes away from my apartment, but I still make the drive at least three times a week. My friends may think I am crazy, especially because I work at a coffee store, but the commute and money spent is worth it. If you are like me and can’t seem to be productive at the library, you can stay as long as you want. Even their food is delicious! Coffee shops in Seattle can’t pull off having good coffee and good food all in one stop.

What I am saying is go to this place. Even in the ninety degree weather, Better Buzz makes me feel right at home with the choice of music, the awesome customer service, and most importantly- the perfect cup of Joe. With a San Diego spin on a Washington entity, you will probably find me here in every free moment I have.

Annual Deaf Festival Celebrates ASL

Once a year, San Diego brings the Deaf community together to celebrate Unity Day. The Deaf Festival took place on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Jacobs Center for the second year in a row.

Unity Day is a fun, free event for the Deaf and a great way to celebrate 200 years of American Sign Language.  As an individual learning ASL, it is a great way to immerse myself in the culture and practice my signing. It can be intimidating, but the community is welcoming to all ASL skill levels.  This is the perfect place to find comfort and friendship in people who have similar experiences or backgrounds within the Deaf community.

This event serves to bring awareness about opportunities and services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. There are lots of different organizations that table, from within the San Diego county and outside.

Along with these opportunities, there were tables selling shirts reading “I love ASL,” and endless trinkets to show love and appreciation for the Deaf community.

There are also activities for people of all ages. There were free caricature drawings, a rock wall and fun workshops to take part in. Well-known groups were brought in for the event, such as Deafinitely Dope, Two Worlds, and Hedy and Heidi.

The crazy warm weather didn’t stop a great turnout for the event. Shaved ice was being sold to keep you cool as you walked among the tables outside.

Inside Jacobs Center was the main stage where Chris Corrigan could be found hosting Unity Day. He was the MC for the event in the previous years and shows sincere passion for the community.

 Deafinitely Dope is a duo who aims to unite the Deaf and hearing communities through music. Mathew Maxey brings the music to life with such vibrant personality in his signing. And, there was a meet and greet opportunity after Deafinitely Dope’s event. Fun Fact: Mathew Maxey is now interpreting for Chance the Rapper! 

Another exciting performance was given by the Israeli dancers Two Worlds. This married couple brings to life a captivating interpretive dance. The husband is Deaf, while his wife is hearing. She learned to sign after meeting him. Together, they make a great team and captivate their audiences through their dancing.

Leaving this event, I realized what an impact it had on me. It is truly captivating to see a community come together and share their beautiful language with one another. While I was not brought up in an environment filled with ASL, it’s a beautiful experience to share little moments with people and show you want to communicate with them. I wish everyone would take the extra step to learn a few signs and communicate with their fellow neighbors and coworkers who are in the Deaf community. That extra step to understand someone makes all the difference in the world.


Featured Image retrieved here

The Benefits of Yoga

It isn’t news that exercise is an excellent way to not only physically stay in shape, but also mentally. There is a wide array of research that has been conducted in the past few decades that allude to the fact that exercise is a crucial element in the lifestyle of a person in order to stay healthy.

However, while going for a three-mile jog every morning before work is great, and hitting the gym every night after dinner to lift weights and do a series of cardio exercises is beneficial, yoga is often overlooked as a serious work out. There are a number of misconceptions on the practice of yoga.

I know that before I started practicing yoga, I would think of relaxation and meditation – something that doesn’t necessarily qualify as an intense exercise – as more of a peaceful activity that focuses on the mind rather than physical, grueling intensity. I used to foolishly associate yoga with something that puts people to sleep. However, there is actually a multitude of benefits that yoga brings, psychologically and physically-speaking. Here are some of the benefits of yoga:

1. Physical strength and overall health

Yoga consists of a wide array of poses – each one focuses on different areas of the body and all are meant to strengthen. Because each pose, even the simplest of poses, directly targets specific groups of muscles, muscles are toned in both the upper and the lower body. Yoga also helps with flexibility, which in turn helps to improve one’s posture, because poses focus so much on proper alignment and allow for more synchronized movements of the body. In addition, research has concluded that yoga reaps important physiological benefits, by helping to lower blood pressure, releasing toxins from the body, flushing out the lymphatic system and promoting a healthy heart overall.

2. Memory

According to Live Science, as well as some other studies that have been conducted in recent years, yoga has been found to improve memory. This may be a result of the fact that yoga heavily draws on repeated movements and visualizations. These strengthen both verbal and visual skills, as well as help with overall awareness and attention. People who have participated in these studies were found to have improvements in image association, as well as name and facial recognition.

3. Mental health

There are multiple studies out there that have shown that yoga helps relieve stress, depression and anxiety. With its focus on controlled, gentle breathing, as well as its precise postures and its emphasis on deep concentration, yoga has been found to lower depression, especially for those who practice consistently. Dr. Chris Streeter, who specializes in psychiatry and neurology at Boston University, states that yoga is a better alternative to taking antidepressant drugs, which bring a slew of side effects. Yoga targets the autonomic nervous system, and according to Streeter, if the autonomic nervous system is balanced out, “the rest of the brain works better.”

4. Insomnia

According to the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, and other independent studies that have been conducted, people who practice yoga and meditation are more likely to get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Even researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that daily yoga practice results in significant improvements in the quality and quantity of sleep. Thus, yoga is a great way to help remedy insomnia, which leads to a long list of health problems, including obesity, depression and high blood pressure. Yoga is a great alternative to sleep medication, and can help reduce feelings of fatigue.

How To Not Start A Band

We have all dreamed of starting a band with a group of our best friends, of somehow making it big in the music industry, of being discovered by another artist and then traveling around the country in a cramped bus. But, what happens to those dreams when neither you nor anyone you’re close to knows how to play a useful instrument? I mean sure, we all know how to play the recorder, one of us knows the harmonica and a few of us can blow into a saxophone if we try really hard – but all together that doesn’t constitute a solid musical group.

So, here is the story of an unsuccessful band.

The biggest flaw of this band was that it started out as a joke, an excuse to get out of family parties. It is so easy to say “hey, sorry, I can’t come, we have band practice tonight.” The biggest evidence of this joke was the name: we called ourselves fannypack melvin, all lowercase, or fpm for short. Some of us took it more seriously than others. I, for example carried around a notebook to write song ideas in whenever inspiration struck.

All together, we were just a group of teenage girls, aged 17-19, huddled around an electric keyboard, pressing random buttons, trying to find our sound. If I could, I would describe that sound as key-smashing-’80s-pop-electric-grunge-screamo – if you can imagine the beautiful mess that would make. Our only single we ever went through with was titled “grandma, grandma, you’re so pretty.” But, we never recorded it, or even really got past the brainstorming process.

Maybe our biggest problem was not taking it seriously, or not having any talent, or quite possibly the fact that we never really followed through with anything that had to do with our unsuccessful summer dream. The band was a failure, but the friendship lived through it, and we still call our little gatherings band practice every now and again.

If any of you readers out there are looking for a musically talentless person with great enthusiasm to join your band, go ahead and count me in, just know that my heart will forever be in fannypack melvin.