Making a Dollar Stretch

August 11th, 2015

College Life

By Olivia Orellano

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For many college students, the biggest obstacles while attending school isn’t learning calculus or chemistry, it’s the fundamentals of saving and efficiently spending the money they’ve earned and/or have. The majority of college students live to the quote “broke college students.” This meaning, most if not all college students, have no means of money. Whether they’re invited out for a bite to eat, need to purchase textbooks, or as important as buying a metrocard; a college student may not have the money to pay for it, hence being “broke.” This can be because, students don’t have jobs in fear that it’ll interfere with their studies, or have a job that can only pay enough for the essentials. Such as paying off all their bills and leaving them with a measly amount for groceries and other expenses. Decisions such as what to buy, how to buy it and when to buy it are asked when college students are faced with budget dilemmas. Dilemmas that happen every so often; as that college is a turning point for many. It’s the time to be independent, pursue goals, hobbies, and to both experience and learn from their mistakes. Most importantly the time to understand financially what it is to be a college student, and being on your “own.” Here I am, a college graduate, graduating with a “broke college student” degree. With easy steps and my own stories to account for, I’m here to save you the trouble, time, and money to live a better college life without having to focus exclusively on your financial needs. Also, to not live up to the “broke college student” quote. “The queen of spending” is ironically writing about saving more than you spend.

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With two degrees in English and Advertising & Public Relations now under my belt, I look back and question how I survived college with the amount of money I made and spent. Four and a half years as a college undergraduate, I was able to learn new things, enjoy my time, cry, be stressed, yet never knew how to control my spending habits. If I liked something, I bought it; if I was hungry and didn’t like anything in my fridge, I ordered. As “broke” as I was my spending habits were more for a person on an everyday wine budget, rather than cheap bottles of beer. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I made money, just enjoyed the luxury of spending money rather than saving it.

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Finding Fresh Air

July 26th, 2015

The New York Bubble

By Oliva Salomon

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I grew up with a dream shared by many: to take a bite out of the Big Apple. I arrived fresh off the plane from Georgia with the plans of an eighteen year-old and a wardrobe from Target, ready to take the city by storm. New York is legendary for a reason, and chances are if you’ve taken the plunge and moved to the city that never sleeps you’ve got bravery and dreams to back you up. Ask any New Yorker and they’re certain to assure you that nothing tops this. Because that’s the thing about New York: it’s all here.

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There are few New Yorkers who can truly say they’ve seen everything this incredible city has to offer– and how could they? One of the best things about New York is its ability to surprise you. While it’s certainly in a state of constant change, it’s the cultural caches hidden in little streets throughout the boroughs that hold the city’s history in place. There’s so much to see and do, yet it’s important to remember that there’s always more to see. It’s easy to become happy in the New York bubble; if I had my choice I’d never leave. But there comes a time when every person needs to reclaim the sanity that New York life can allow us to lose. We have to be able to find silence, serenity, and a perspective other than the typical New Yorker’s. And while we’re lucky to have countless parks and museums at our fingertips, there aren’t many opportunities to be alone.

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It’s also important to stay in touch with the outside world– not just politically. There is so much to appreciate just beyond the city’s boundaries. Opportunities are endless, and when you live in a city that’s sometimes superficial, it is vital to spend time amongst nature and to find ways to connect with the Earth and help those around you.

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A Taste of India at Spice Lane with Student Discount

July 20th, 2015

spice6Craving a taste of Indian Food while in Union Square? Spice Lane on 3rd Ave offers great meals with affordable prices for students. They currently offer a student discount with Campus Clipper! My brother and I stopped by the restaurant for lunch and really enjoyed the experience.

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The atmosphere was fairly quiet; Indian music was playing in the background and it didn’t seem very busy. Only a few tables were occupied. But despite it not being very busy, the food was good. To start, the table was served chips with mint sauce and tamarind chutney sauce. Both sauces were extremely delicious. The mint sauce had a good kick and the tamarind chutney sauce was nice and sweet.

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The waitress was really friendly and made sure our table had everything we needed. The waitress also recommended the lamb curry to me and I really liked it. The curry was just a bit spicy. And I’m very wimpy about spicy foods, so that was good! My brother ordered the chicken tikka masala, which was also really good! The spices blended well together. The chicken and lamb were so soft you could cut them with just a fork. We also ordered a side of fresh naan. If you’ve never had Indian food before, naan is their signature bread and it’s so delicious. It’s very light, fluffy, and addictive. Once you have one slice, you just want more. You can dip your bread in your sauce or just enjoy it on your own.

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To drink, we got the mango lassi. I’ve eaten Indian food a lot, and I’ve ordered lassi a few times. It’s this yogurt-like drink, similar to a smoothie. It was really good, very refreshing. The yogurt and mango blended well together. Some places use milk instead of yogurt because it’s cheaper. But with milk, the drink doesn’t taste as rich, filling, and creamy. But Spice Lane does use real yogurt! Their lassi was super delicious.

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For desert, we got the Kheer, or rice pudding, which was light and sweet. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. And it’s pretty close to Union Square, without BEING in Union Square, so the street is peaceful. Overall, I recommend the restaurant if you want good food and a quiet night out.

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 ~By Megan Soyars

Spice Lane

aspicelanenyc.com

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Welcome!

July 7th, 2015

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.”

~William Shakespeare

Clothing. Shoes. Makeup. Women love it. Shopping centers though, I find are not quite as enjoyable. Despite having stores that hold the items I so dearly love, traveling in a stuffy environment for hours does not appeal to me. Even just visiting a couple of stores one after another can be draining. Many of these stores have men in suits standing in front of their entrances. In the Manhattan Mall I found one of the most amazing human beings I have ever been graced to hear.

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Walking at night on the lowest floor, a booming jovial voice from a slightly rounded Jamaican man came calling after customers exclaiming, “Thank you for coming! Thank you for shopping!” which was then followed by a sing-song like “JC PENNY!”  His smile followed passersby such as me infectiously. Every five minutes he would sing his greeting and at 9pm at night it brightened my sluggish, normally slightly agitated demeanor. It is strange how something so small, someone excitedly greeting you in a rhythmic sing-song like manner, can really change your entire attitude. Normally at night, I, like many other New Yorkers, just want to get home and shower off whatever negative occurrence happened that day. Hearing that “JC PENNY!” and see the man slowly wave with a smile and rosy cheeks not only made me laugh, but also put a smile on my face to the other people I walked by before making my way to the trains. Here I learned that the best way to end the day is with a smile and a laugh.

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~Sophia Calderone

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Liberty Spikes

June 29th, 2015

“As contemporary history reminds us we are human to the extent that we are able to choose between alternatives.”

~ John G. D. Clark

Living in the melting pot known as New York, it is no surprise to see many things considered out of the norm of society. One of the best places to see these types of people is on the subway. The subway system is like the “great equalizer.” Everyone takes the subway regardless of status, income, or family background. It is the only place where you can find a business man writing out important documents sitting next to an old Chinese man in a sweats and sneakers.

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I sat on the train, traveling home late at night after an event with my family and the array of strangers to view followed with more intrigue that it would in the daytime. My parents had found a spot to squeeze into and I stood, holding onto a pole wondering when my feet would fall off. That is when I noticed who my parents sat next to: an amazing mohawk. I noticed the hair before I noticed there was even a human being attached. Also called the Liberty Spikes, his hair stood straight in around 20 partitioned hair groups and created a perpendicular halo. It was amazing. How can hair do that? This was my first experience with seeing a well done mohawk in person that occurred around the age of 12-14. I have seen plenty of bad ones, but never artistically perfected hair spikes standing from the base of the man’s head and reaching for the sky. They stood for the freedom that they took their name from, defying gravity and proclaiming individuality.

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I wish I could have complemented the man. However, my parents were there and this was the classic example of a “young person you should not talk to”. “Alternative”, the way this man was dressed, does not equal delinquent or drug abuser. To me, he was simply a person with really cool hair. To them he was already categorized into a dead-zone which they refused to associate into. The man left for his stop on the subway and my mental compliments faded with their conversations in my head.

 

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~By Sophia Calderone

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A Taste of Latin America at Varadero Cuban Cuisine

May 14th, 2015

 

For students searching for a great Cuban restaurant, look no further! Varadero Cuban Cuisine has opened up in the heart of the East Village. The restaurant recently underwent a major renovation and now offers a welcoming ambiance paired off with delicious food and drinks.

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I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant. My friend and I visited during dinnertime. All of the doors were open to let in the natural lighting. So it felt a bit like an open air café. Very inviting. Overall, the restaurant had a really relaxed vibe. It was quiet and welcoming.

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Varadero’s owner, Manny, explained that the original restaurant needed a lot of work; a complete renovation. He wanted to create a new face for the restaurant. The renovations began in early January and Varadero was finally open for business a few months later! Now the restaurant is much more beautiful and open! The windows provide a great deal of natural lighting and the benches along the wall are nice and comfy. There is also a bar in the corner where you can sit and enjoy a drink or two.

 

 

 

The meals were also very filling and homey. They offer a great, authentic taste of Latin America. For the appetizer, my friend and I ordered both the chicken and beef empanadas. Empanadas are my favorite and these were very good. The crust was flaky and the meat inside was really tender and juicy.

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For the entrée, my friend and I both ordered the recommendations from the waiter. My friend had the Ropa Vieja, which is shredded skirt steak with sauce and vegetables. It came with white rice, black beans and plantains. I love plantains, so it was a nice treat to get them. Their sweetness balanced well with the more salty beef and savory sauce.

 

 

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Thanks to the waiter’s recommendation, I ordered the tilapia. It came with a lemon and capers sauce. I’m not a huge fan of capers and found them to be pretty salty. I’d never had capers before, so I wanted to try them out. But you can order the meal without capers! If you’re not a huge fan of salt, I would recommend that. But otherwise, the fish was really delicious. It came with vegetables and mashed potatoes. The potatoes were light and fluffy. The meal was very filling overall.

 

My friend and I also got drinks! We were going to order the sangria because it is supposed to be very good, but we decided to try the mojitos instead. They really good, strong, and refreshing. I got the passion fruit sake mojito and my friend got the mango mojito. The mango tasted so good. The fruity taste blended well with the mint. The drinks also came in mason jars, which I thought was a really nice touch. The restaurant also has happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-8pm, where the drinks are only four dollars! They also have live Latin music on Saturday evenings, which is awesome.

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Varadero will also be offering great discounts for college students! Students get 50% their meal from 11am-4pm and 30% off all other times. You can download the coupon from the Campus Clipper website here. So whether you’re stopping by for the drinks, the food, or the live music, Varadero Cuban Cuisine should be your first stop in the East Village!

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Varadero Cuban Cuisine

214 E 9th St

(212) 598-4321

varaderonyc.com

~By Megan Soyars

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Kiin Thai Eatery Brings the Traditional Taste of Thailand to East Village

March 30th, 2015

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“Kiin” means “eat” in Thai, and Kiin Thai Eatery, which opened in the East Village recently, lends new meaning to the simple word. Kiin offers a variety of sumptious dishes, all based in traditional and home-style Thai cooking. The owners, Phakphoom Sirisuwat and Supanee Kitmahawong, seek to bring authentic recipes to NYC locals. Many of the dishes are inspired from century’s old central and northern Thai cuisine.

At Kiin, I enjoyed the pineapple fried rice lunch special.

kiin 5 All lunch specials come with sliced veggies and an option of either sweet and spicy papaya salad or cucumber soup. The rice was very sweet and flavorful. It was cooked with curry flavoring, slices of ham, shrimp, pineapple, and raisins. The dish also came topped with sweet dried pork, which had a very intriguing texture and flavor. This lunch special is a variation of their popular entree, in which the fried rice is served in the shell of an actual pineapple. Yum!

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Other popular entrees include: Pad Thai with Shrimp wrapped with Egg Crepe ($15) and Pad Kee Mao with Tender Pork ($13). They also offer a number of vegetarian options.The food at Kiin Thai Eatery is filling, but leaves you with a light, clean feeling. Many of the dishes come laden with fresh vegetables. The prices are also very affordable for students! The lunch special prices range from $9-$11, but the food is filling and the portions are pretty generous. Entrees range from $11-$16.

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They also offer a full bar, offering classic and modern cocktails, wine, and beer. They also offer non-alcoholic beverages, including thai iced tea of course!

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Last but not least, the ambiance at Kiin is very clean and inviting. The walls, tables, and chairs are all white, and the wide windows offer plenty of natural lighting. There’s a sense of relaxation and open space when you enter the restaurant.

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There is also a Zen element to the decoration. There are plenty of fresh plants situated around the restaurant, and fresh white flowers on each table. There are also several contemplative Buddha statues.

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So remember stop by Kiin for some authentic and affordable Thai dishes! They are open everyday from 11:30am-10:30pm.

 

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Kiin Thai Eatery

36 E 8th St.

212-529-2363

kiinthaieatery.com

 

~ By Megan Soyars

 

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Part One: Hello Stranger

March 15th, 2015

The Dark Silhouette

Night, the beloved.  Night, when words fade and things come alive.  When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.  When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.  

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I used to visit a library near my school before going to my after school choir meetings. One day I was startled by a very distinct image. A silhouette, dark against the beaming rays of the afternoon sun. Gleaming white eyes came from a man leaning against a door, hidden between two stores. Eyes that surveyed the rush of public school children screaming and laughing with their friends. As I walked closer to him, I could see his skin was the blackest of black. His tall, lean figure shadowed over what was a young girl around the age of six or seven, who’s moist white eyes sparkled against her dark skin.

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It was as if he was protecting her. A younger sister perhaps? Just someone in his care? Midnight. Silence. The beauty of contrast. Those thoughts swirled in my mind all years ago. Their silence against the roaring of the school children. The little girl’s delicate form under the towering protective position of the man before her. Both of them, with pearl-like eyes gleaming against the dark of their skin, watching the afternoon pass by them. I tried not to stare as I walked past the pair. The image was burned into my mind forever. Two figures of night in the afternoon.

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~Sophia Calderone

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March 8th, 2015

PART ONE: HELLO STRANGER

Man with the Jade Dragon

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

~Oscar Wilde

Everyone has their troubles. Many of us just keep it to ourselves. Sometimes, when I notice someone is upset, I feel as if I have discovered their secret.

I love looking at bright, colorful things. I love staring at things in nature, such as trees, cracked sidewalks, with their veins like lines in marble structures. I can almost feel the patterns being absorbed into my vision. It makes me think that if I open my eyes wider I can then absorb them better.

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What also catches my eye is motion. In the subways, I liked to see if I could spot the moment of rats in the tracks below the platform. A bit disgusting of a habit, but nevertheless passes the time. In the trains, usually everyone is very still, either trying to maintain their balance, reading their Kindle, or enjoy their nap. I usually try not to stare too long at any person who catches my attention. The awkward moment where the person you were staring at catches you is just a little too uncomfortable for me. However, on this day, in the seat in front of me was a man who caught my eye. Or maybe I should say what he was doing caught my eye. In his hands was a jade dragon figurine. The little dragon had a string through a little hole above its head which was tied around the man’s finger. He constantly rubbed the dragon over and over again. His mouth seemed to be pursed tightly together. His face was young, it seemed like he was in his early forties. But he had receding gray and black hair that led to my deduction that he must be in his late forties or fifties.

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I was transfixed by this secret ritual. I could not turn away. It made me wonder.  Was he nervous? Was he waiting for something? What was making him so distressed? I imagined his background. He had family issues and a son who he lacked communication with. His job was tough. He was strong though and worked very hard in everything he did. This figurine was his totem to keep him calm and grounded. I grew worried for him. I wished I could do something to help him, but alas, I was a stranger and he seemed very deep in thought. Later on I asked my mother about what the jade dragon might be about since she and the man were both Chinese. Jade in general is believed to bring good luck and fortune, especially when you rub it. This is why many Asian women and men wear jade accessories and have jade figurines in their home.

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Whatever this man was going through, I hoped that the Jade Dragon would give him the luck he wished for.

~Sophia Calderone

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THE PECULIAR OBSERVATIONIST: Observations and Anecdotes

March 3rd, 2015

PART ONE

by Sophia Calderone

 

Ever wonder what the person next to you was thinking? Where they came from? Where they were going? Every day we travel to our destinations, seemingly in another reality. Our surroundings are faded into a blur of motion, movement, and sound. The crowded subways, the busy streets, and even our neighborhood parks all are settings in which there is a special mental bubble we put ourselves in.

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It is easy to get lost in this way of thinking, where everything becomes relative to our vision and our existence. When I was young I was always told the age old advice “Don’t talk to strangers”. This was for my own safety being young, naïve and vulnerable. Along with that phrase also came another called “Always be polite to your elders”. What I found was that at a certain age, it was confusing to balance both. The confusion created an inner battle of emotions and thoughts. How can I be polite and get out of a conversation?

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Another thought crossed my mind that maybe it would be nice to spare these strange people your time and indulge in their conversations. I always felt terrible inside when I saw homeless people on the street. Their weary faces would be imprinted in my mind the entire day as I would fiddle in my empty pockets with nothing to give them as I walked past.

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When people like this came up to talk to me, while indeed it was frightening, but I knew that sometimes just showing a little kindness and indulging in conversation would make a person feel better. While over the years I have gotten much better at ignoring people, these childish habits have still somewhat remained. I made this book in an attempt to share what I see sometimes in what we call the “stranger”. I want to share a child-like viewpoint that maybe we all wish we still had, or have but do not indulge. That is, the idealist child’s view that not everything is bad and the world is full of wonderful and interesting things.

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This work is not meant to demean, insult, or judge the individuals in any way. It is merely a simple, naive perspective on people that we do not know. This is appreciation for the stranger.

 

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