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Best Online Thrift Stores — May 19, 2022

Best Online Thrift Stores

By: Delanee Ensley

Thrifting is a great way to reduce clothing waste, but it’s hard to do it conveniently when you have to go shopping in-person. However, there is a solution! These clothing websites are the best places to thrift online.

  1. ThredUp: ThredUp is like your favorite thrift store, but it’s all online! This online store is dedicated to helping to reduce the waste from clothing pollution. Giving clothing a new life instead of throwing it out is a great way to save the planet, but also get new clothes without breaking the bank. ThredUp sends out bags free of charge for you to fill and send back to them! They then sort through them and decide which things they can sell, and those they can’t donate, or you can pay for them to send the items back to you. When your items do sell they will give a percentage of the profits, and you can use this money to shop for more clothes that are new to you! If you want to just shop there are over 900 brands you can look at, including designer brands. To learn more about ThredUp, click on the link above!
  2. Mercari: Mercari is a great and easy way to find and buy thrift store finds online! Though Mercari has a great selection of fashion finds, that’s not all they offer, they have categories for anything you might need! Mercari also has a new feature where you can shop locally with other people, and meet up with them so you don’t have to wait!
  3. Poshmark: Poshmark is very similar to Mercari, except it’s just clothes and there are no local meet ups. However, Poshmark does allow you to speak with the seller very easily, and allows you to bundle multiple items from a person’s closet so that you can save on shipping! Poshmark is also very seller friendly, and easy to use as well!

Though there aren’t as many online thrift stores or shopping platforms, it’s important to realize the waste impact we have on our planet, and how we can all do our part with something as little as clothing. eBay and Facebook Marketplace are two sites that are similar to the ones listed above if you need more options. Think about thrifting next time you need a new pair of jeans or sweater, though it might not be as convenient, it keeps clothing pollution a little smaller.

Different Types of Manicures — May 16, 2022

Different Types of Manicures

By: Delanee Ensley

There are so many different kinds of manicures out there today, and it can be difficult to decide which one is the best for you. Well, look no further, here are some of the best and most popular manicures today!

  1. Basic: The basic manicure consists of a clip, file, and basic cuticle maintenance. Though there is nothing particularly fancy about a basic manicure, they can be cheaper and more practical if you intend to get multiple manicures a month. Basic manicures can also be done at home instead of going to the salon, nail polish can be found almost everywhere!
  2. Dip: This manicure has become one of the more popular ones. This manicure involves a longer process than a basic manicure because instead of using regular polish, dip powder is used. The benefit of a dip manicure is that it’s longer-lasting, durable, and can be done at home!
  3. Gel: Gel manicures are similar to a dip manicure, however instead of dip powder it’s a gel-based polish that uses a UV light to set it. This manicure is great because it lasts longer than a basic manicure, and does not chip as easily. However ,the downside to this type of manicure is that it’s not easily done at home, so you need to go to a nail salon to be able to get the manicure, and remove the gel polish.
  4. Shellac: Shellac manicures and gel manicures are very similar in nature. While a gel manicure uses a gel-based polish, shellac manicures have a different kind of shellac-based polish. Both of the manicures are finished off with a UV light. The difference between the two are that gel manicures tend to last longer, but shellac removal is better for your nails. Unfortunately, this does not mean much, a dip, gel, and shellac manicures can and tend to, weaken the nail beds.
  5. Press-on: Press-on nails can be the go-to when attending a one-day event or a wedding, however, they are not meant to be long-lasting. Depending on where you get your press-on nails and what kind of nail glue you use, they tend to only last two weeks tops. Press-on nails can also be tricky, because it really depends on the quality of the fake nail. There are some kinds that you can get cheap at the drug store, but there are also salon-grade press-on nails. It really depends on the kind of money you want to spend, and how devoted you are to the upkeep.

These five types of manicures are probably the most popular right now. Though they are similar in some ways, it’s important to understand the differences to figure out which one is best for you. Something important before you commit to any of the manicures above is to research salons before deciding on them; some salons care more than others. Your nails deserve the best!

Starbucks Secret Menu Items and How to Order Them — May 14, 2022

Starbucks Secret Menu Items and How to Order Them

By: Delanee Ensley

Secret Menu drinks have blown up thanks to TikTok and other social media platforms. However, it can be difficult for both you and your barista to understand what you want sometimes. This article will help you understand how to order the new TikTok drink, without your baristas hating you for it.


Cookie Frappuccino (Oreo Frappuccino)

To order this drink ask for a java chip Frappuccino with white mocha pumps instead of chocolate. For topping ask for caramel drizzle and cookie crumble topping!

Gummy Bear Drink

Take the classic lemonade and add raspberry to it, and maybe peach juice if you’re feeling spicy! Though it may not be colorful like a gummy bear, it still tastes like one!

Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino

This one is a little more complicated than the two above. The first step to this drink is to order a venti strawberries and cream frappuccino. Then ask your barista to add three scoops of vanilla bean powder, four pumps of white mocha, and three pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup. It might be a sugar rush, but you won’t regret it!

Sunset Drink

This ombre drink is beautiful to look at! It starts with a mango dragon fruit refresher with lemonade. Then just ask the barista to top it off with a little bit of peach juice and then a splash of passion tango tea!

Apple Pie Frappuccino

Once again, this drink can get a little complicated, so read carefully! To start order a chai creme frappuccino, but instead of milk, ask for apple juice instead. For toppings ask for cinnamon powder and caramel drizzle. This might not seem as complicated as I have made it out to be, but it’s a little strange, so make sure you order it correctly!

TikTok Pink Drink

The TikTok pink drink is also known as the keto pink drink. Start with a pink drink, but instead of coconut milk, ask for heavy whipping cream. Then ask them to add two scoops of vanilla bean powder, and some strawberry puree if you’re feeling adventurous!

Cookie Butter Latte

This one is a crowd favorite, and is luckily very easily ordered! Start by asking for an iced chai with oat milk. Then ask if they can add brown sugar syrup. It’s that easy!

TikTok White Mocha

The TikTok white mocha is probably the most popular one out there! It’s an iced white chocolate mocha with vanilla sweet cream cold foam. Then to top it off, ask for a little caramel drizzle!


The most important thing to remember while ordering the drinks is to respect your barista. They have to deal with a lot of drinks and a lot of people every day, and while they’re happy to make your drink, a little bit of kindness goes a long way. So remember to smile, thank them, and tip when possible! Happy ordering!

May: Mental Health Awareness Month — May 9, 2022

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

By: Delanee Ensley

Even today there tends to be a lot of stigma around mental health. There is fear of being judged and facing embarrassment from the loved ones around you. That’s why May is dedicated to allowing you to relieve some of that stress and understand that mental health is not something that you need to be ashamed of.

Mental health is something difficult to wrap your head around, and even harder to say the words out loud. Though Mental Health Awareness Month might not make it any easier to talk about, you can at least get rid of the fear that you are alone in your feelings. On the other end of the spectrum, you might find yourself coping well with your mental health, but that does not mean you can’t give yourself some time to relax. Mental health is something that affects everyone, even if it’s not always in the same ways.

According to National Today, Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, now known as Mental Health America Organization. This committee was founded by Clifford Whittingham Beers, who came from a family that suffered from mental illness. Beers decided that it was time to bring awareness to the cause after watching family members struggle. He wanted others to know that they weren’t alone.

Though the understanding of mental health has come a long way since 1949, there is still an unhealthy amount of stigma surrounding the topic. However, through outreach and helping others understand that this isn’t something that someone can control, we can grow stronger as a community in order to help those who need our support. Some suggestions on how to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month is to first and foremost take care of yourself. Though I understand this is easier said than done, it’s good to just check in with your brain. Mental health is just as important as physical health, if something is hurting you need to take care of yourself, don’t try to explain it away, listen to your body. Next, check-in with those around you. If you have a family member that you know struggles with their mental health, ask how they’re doing, see if they need to talk, or just be there for them if they need it. Just knowing that you have a loved one to talk to can make a world of difference. Lastly, don’t keep mental health a secret. Mental health doesn’t need to be a dirty secret to whisper about. Though it can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up, everyone needs to know that it doesn’t have to be something they hide. The more we talk about mental health the more awareness and understanding we can spread.

Your body is there to take care of you, so it’s time we’re there to take care of it. Take some time this month to listen to your brain. More people than you would guess struggle with some sort of mental illness. Like I said above, just because someone doesn’t want to talk about it, or think about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Love yourself, and understand that you’re not alone.

The More You Know: Star Wars Day — May 4, 2022

The More You Know: Star Wars Day

By: Delanee Ensley

The 4th of May is a day for fans to be able to celebrate the Star Wars franchise! There’s a whole website dedicated to the celebration, and even Disney gets in on the action.

Since the release of Star Wars in 1977, it has been a fan favorite! The science fiction film franchise helped 20th Century Fox go from being almost bankrupt to becoming a thriving company. Since the first film, A New Hope, there have been two other original films, with three prequel films, and then three sequel films. There have also been two other anthology films within the series! From the movies, there have been several spin-off series like The Mandalorian

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There are several celebrations everywhere, including the first organized Star Wars day taking place in Toronto back in 2011, according to National Today. This event included trivia, costume contests, short films, etc. In 2012 since Disney purchased Lucas Films, they have continued the celebrations by integrating Star Wars day into their Disney theme parks.

Though this ‘holiday,’ might seem silly to some people, it’s a way for Star Wars fans to celebrate their favorite franchise. So it’s time to binge some movies and May the 4th be with you!

This Day in History: First Sighting of Loch Ness Monster — May 2, 2022

This Day in History: First Sighting of Loch Ness Monster

By: Delanee Ensley

The legend of Nessie has been popularized since its first sighting in 1933. Hundreds of tourists go to Loch Ness in the hopes of spotting the serpent-like creature. Though the creature has never been confirmed as being anything more than a hoax, there are still hopes that someday that we will confirm the reality of the Loch Ness Monster.

The first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster is recorded on May 2, 1933, by the Inverness Courier Newspaper, according to History. This sighting was further validated by a couple who also claimed that they had seen the monster. Since the 30’s there have been amateur detectives, who have taken it upon themselves to find Nessie. In the 1960’s British Universities used sonar equipment to scour the bottom of Loch Ness in search of the creature. In each of these searches, they were able to detect large moving underwater objects, however, the searches were found to be inconclusive. Again, in 1975, through the use of sonar and underwater photography, they were able to find a large animal with flipper-like features. In the 80s and ‘90s more inconclusive readings of the water were gathered.

Though it has since come out that the famous 1933 photo was a hoax, according to Britannica it was actually a plastic and wooden head attached to a toy submarine. Recent searches of the water show that there is no conclusive evidence to show even an inkling of a monster being in the water. In fact, most of the underwater creatures there consist of eels, which might be the reason for seeing flipper-like creatures from the 1970s.

Though the Loch Ness monster is indeed a hoax this does not stop tourists from traveling to Scotland each year; in fact, in the 21st century, it is reported that Loch Ness contributed $80 million to Scotland’s economy. 

Though theres no recent information or searches for Nessie, there is still the hope that she is out there. Maybe one day she will reveal herself!

Mother’s Day: Gift Ideas — May 1, 2022

Mother’s Day: Gift Ideas

By: Delanee Ensley

With Mother’s Day coming up next week it’s time to think about what we should get our amazing life-givers!  Though our moms can be difficult to shop for, it’s important that we let them know how important they are to us. Here are some simple gifts that will let them know how great they are, and can be universal for any mom!

  1. Puzzle: Puzzles may seem like a dorky gift but in reality, it’s something that helps strengthen the mind and get creative! This Amazon Andy Warhol puzzle is super colorful and fun. Though it is a bit difficult at 500 pieces, it will go quickly with your help!
  2. Mini Mobile Printer: When there are family get-togethers there’s always the family group photo to look forward to. However, there’s always the issue of making sure everyone gets the photo, or how you’re able to hang it on the wall after. With this printer, that won’t be an issue anymore. You can take your group photo, and then mom can make sure everyone has one!
  3. Acupuncture Mat: Stress and exhaustion come with the territory of being a mom. This mat gives the relaxation of acupuncture without having to leave your home! This mat can save you from the expense of chiropractic appointments and can relieve back pain whenever you need it. Your mother will love this little escape from reality!
  4. Ugg Slippers: Mothers need something comfortable and plush after being on their feet all day. These slippers are perfect! These ugg slippers are made from sheepskin and blanket your feet to keep them warm and toasty. Though they might be a little more pricy than everyday slippers, they are worth the price for long-lasting comfort.
  5. ‘Badass’ Bracelet: Who’s more badass than your mom? This cute bracelet will be an everyday reminder for your mom to remember who she really is. These bracelets are hand-made by women for women, and come with a tag where you can register the bracelet online to become part of the community!
  6. Handwriting Bracelet: This bracelet is perfect for anybody, including moms! This Etsy shop uses the handwriting sample you send them to create a bracelet in your chosen person’s handwriting. Write a message in your handwriting, or someone else’s, and you have the perfect gift for mom!
  7. Mindfulness Journal:  Moms need time to unwind after a long day, and this journal guides them through it! This journal goes above and beyond and allows moms to take much-needed five-minute breaks to recollect themselves. Mental health help is something everyone needs to help themselves with, including your mom!

These seven gifts are perfect for any mom. With Mother’s Day coming up fast, it’s time to focus on the greatness that is our mothers and get them something great that they will love and cherish!

Spotlight: Sydney Hegele — April 28, 2022

Spotlight: Sydney Hegele

By: Delanee Ensley

Sydney Hegele, formerly Sydney Warner Brooman, is a non-binary author who recently published their first collection of fiction short stories in 2021.  I met Syndey through Patchwork Literary Magazine, a literary magazine published and produced out of Iowa City, when we were co-fiction editors for the second volume. Though we only worked together for a couple of months, I have followed their writing journey and am very excited to be able to interview them!


When was the first moment you decided that you wanted to be an author?

“I wrote a lot of fun little books for my family when I was young–maybe seven or eight years old–and I feel like I had a strong sense even then that I wanted to be writing books for the rest of my life.”

When did authorhood become real for you?

“I have an in-person book signing at a bookstore as part of a festival this summer. Honestly, not until I heard about the event! Everything before that felt like a lucky kid who got to ‘play author’.”

What gave you the idea for The Pump?

“I grew up in Grimsby, Ontario, which is where a lot of ‘The Pump’ is based. Most of the interconnected plot is inspired by my childhood and adolescence. The town’s tainted water supply came from a time period in my childhood [and] the beginning of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which I remember very vividly at the time I was writing The Pump.”

 Do you get writer’s block? What pushes you to continue writing when you get frustrated?  

“I think it’s important to balance writing time with lots of not-writing time. When I write for half an hour and rest for half an hour instead of writing for a full hour, my writing is always better. When I hit a roadblock, I rest and read and go for walks. Sometimes moving the blocks takes time. I don’t force them.”

What is the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring writers?

“You will always write in cliches before you can learn to break cliches. This is normal, and it is necessary, and it won’t last forever.”

What’s next for you in your literary AND personal life?

“My second book is going out on submission soon! Also, I’m getting married this fall!”

What was the publishing process like for you? Would you ever consider self-publishing?

“My publishing story isn’t the most helpful in terms of advice because it was so odd, but what I will say is that everyone’s publishing journey looks very different! I don’t think I would have the publicity skills for self-publishing personally, but I’ve seen other people do it successfully!”

What is your favorite genre and would you ever branch out to other genres?

“Literary surrealism, magical realism, literary realism, and speculative fiction are my favourites. I’d love to write a YA book one day though!”

Just For Fun Questions

 Your French Bulldog, Sloan, is adorable! When did you meet them and how did you come up with their name?

“Sloan is named after Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend Sloane Peterson from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Love at first sight since 2018.”

Who is your literary icon?

“It’s poet extraordinaire Isabella Wang at the moment. Please check out her book ‘Pebble Swing’ if you haven’t!”


Sydney presently lives in Toronto, Canada with their fiance and Sloan, who is pictured above. Though The Pump is their only book out at the moment, they have quite the collection of short stories and other writing that you can view on their website here. Sydney is also scheduled to be speaking at The Festival of Literary Diversity at the beginning of May. You can register here for this remote experience. Their work is amazing, and I’m excited to see more of it!


Follow Sydney Hegele on Twitter and Instagram at @sydneyhegele
 

Buy The Pump here!


Special Thanks to Katey Peters.

The More You Know: Cinnamon Benefits — April 26, 2022

The More You Know: Cinnamon Benefits

By: Delanee Ensley


Cinnamon is a great spice that adds flavor to any dish or dessert! What many people might not know, however, are the great health properties cinnamon provides.

Cinnamon has a regal history where it was given to Egyptian kings and was a very rare spice. According to Healthline, cinnamon is made by cutting the stems from cinnamon trees. The inner bark is extracted, and then the wooden parts are removed. In order to create cinnamon sticks, the extracted cinnamon needs to dry out, and then the cinnamon is able to be ground to create a cinnamon powder. 

Here are the ways that cinnamon can be beneficial to your health!

  • Antioxidants: According to the same Healthline article cited above, in doing a test with 26 spices (including garlic and oregano) cinnamon had the highest amount of antioxidants.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: One gram of cinnamon a day (about half a teaspoon) does wonders for anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re someone who struggles with chronic problems associated with your bodily tissues (like arthritis) this might be something that will help you! However, this is not something that should be done dry.
  • Heart Disease: Taking about 1 gram of cinnamon a day (half a teaspoon), may have beneficial properties for your blood markers.
  • Lowers Blood Sugar: Cinnamon has been known to decrease the glucose that is in your blood and can act insulin-like to your cells.

Cinnamon has a lot of properties that may be able to help you with a lot of different medical situations. The ones listed above are only a couple of the great situations that cinnamon can help you with. If you want to find more, you can click on the link for Healthline above! Cinnamon is tasty and healthy too!

This Day in History: The First Earth Day — April 22, 2022

This Day in History: The First Earth Day

By: Delanee Ensley

Earth Day is a day dedicated to the enforcement of clean water, regulating pollution effects, and keeping endangered animals safe. Here is how the first Earth Day came to be!

April 22, 1970, is recorded as being the first Earth Day in recorded history. The 1970s was a time for change and the earth was not something to be left out. According to History, there were many rallies, educational programs, and marches across the country. Pollution was belching out of cars left and right, and Americans decided there needed to be a change.

The idea for earth day came from Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin environmentalist, who was trying to get some recognition for the planet we live on. In July of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established which led to the Clean Water bill and the Endangered Species Act. 

In 1990 the 20th anniversary of Earth Day people from all over the world participated in Earth Day, and President Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This was also the first time that Earth Day was able to go global.

The most important thing we need to realize is that our planet will not last forever and that anything we do to protect it needs to be done. There are many ways to cut down on pollution, like walking when possible or taking the bus instead of driving some days. When it comes to protecting endangered animals we can use reusable straws and try to recycle so we are not polluting as much into the ocean. For more information on how to protect the earth, check out EarthDay.org!

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