Sunday, September 30, 2012

Adventure Film Making: Rock Climbing

For the last of the three adventure film labs, I went on a rock climbing adventure. Now, I have rock climbed before Friday, but it has certainly been a while. To better explain to you how long it's been I woke up on Saturday morning with muscles aching that I forgot I had. Don't you just love those mornings?

We went down near Bolton with a student wilderness instructor and three other students from my class. It was rather chilly out. Thank god I have all my winter layers, so I was alright. We were lucky that the rain held off while we were out.

That's me working my way up!
Perhaps the biggest fear I had to get over was that I would just fall off the cliff. It's really not a crazy fear.

I was surprised to find that the climbing shoes held so well on even the smallest of rivets on the rock. This particular climb was interesting because you had to use there was a crevice between the two rocks. There were times when I had to use opposite forces and shimmy a little bit. There wasn't as much stepping and strategic wiggling.

I had a really great time doing it despite being sore the next day. I made it all the way up the rocks twice. The second time I avoided having to go into the crevice, which I was rather thrilled about.

L to R: Me, Kate, and Christina
After a few hours of climbing, we headed back to campus and I had a lovely night out with friends. Sometimes in college you actually have to schedule time to see certain friends. There are some friends I only see on the weekends because we don't eat our meals together in Alliot, we don't share a major and we aren't in the same clubs. It's a weird place to be in considering they are some of my best friends.

It was a great weekend all in all and we have a new issue of the Defender coming out on Tuesday. It could very well be our best yet! I promise to share it with you here when it goes out.

In the mean time, have a great Monday. Keep calm, drink coffee, and make sure to put everything in your planner.

Gabbi Hall

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mason Jars and Tie-Dye: Just Another Vermont Night

When giving a tour, I am always prepared to answer the question, "What do students do on the weekends?" 99% of the time someone (usually a parent) asks. 100% the prospective students are wondering.

The questions actually requires a rather lengthy answer. We go downtown for food, concerts, and shopping. We have movie nights with our friends. We go on Wilderness Program trips. We attend socials.

Socials are put on by RAs and ACAs around campus every weekend and provide activities for students. My friends, Sarah, the ACA in the 200s, and Peppers, the ACA in the 400s and were on duty Saturday night, so they had to put on a social. We also decided to have a girl's night/movie night, so the social was really just a fun time for us all to hang out. However, any one on campus can attend any social on campus. Socials range from wings eating to video game tournaments to what I did on Saturday night.

We headed to International Commons at 8 pm for cookie decorating, mason jar decorating, and tie-dying.

T-shirts were provided for tie-dying so obviously I jumped on that craft. I never really thought I'd tie-dye anything ever before coming to St. Mike's, but you sort of end up with a minor in tie-dye by coming to school in VT. Whether you do it at a social or for P-Day shirts with friends, you just pick it up. I went with pink and yellow on this one and I'm rather proud of it. There is actually a spiral!

Next up was mason jar decorating. It seems that drinking out of mason jars is the super trendy thing to do these days and since they were providing them for free, I snagged a few to decorate with puff paint. This particular jug is going to be my "Winter Time" mug for hot chocolage. It's a rather large one so it could double as a vase, but I think I'll just use it for beverages... or maybe I'll keep hot cocoa mix in there. Hmmmm....

Yes, I know. My big decisions are so impressive and life-altering. :)

We also watched the Twilight movie, Eclipse, and The Proposal that evening. There was also an incident with a spider on the couch which involved a lot of screaming and getting Sarah's BF, Pat, the kill it.

Overall, it was a very successful evening followed by 8 hours in lab to produce this week's issue of the Defender. It comes out tomorrow, so make sure to pick it up!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Biting the Bullet and Redefining Media Events

What is a "media event?" At a most basic level, Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz defined media events as "an event or activity that exists for the sole purpose of media publicity. It may also include any event that is covered in the mass media or was hosted largely with the media in mind (Wikipedia)."

Dayan and Katz's book was published in 1992. It would be an understatement to say things have changed in the past 20 years in terms of media and how we use it.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am giving you a lecture on media. Here's why:
  1. I'm a Digital Arts, Journalism, and Media Studies major. This is what we learn about.
  2. It inspired my senior seminar topic!
The second fact ranks number one in importance and relevance. The fact that Liz and I have decided on a topic for our book is exhilarating, terrifying, and a relief. 

For those of you who don't know, most college students have a semester-long senior capstone class with a 30-page thesis at the end. The MJD department takes a different approach with year-long project, allowing students to develop original research and write a book, build a multi-media website, or produce a documentary. Liz and I have opted for a book as our primary medium. We are also discussing accompanying videos, website, and other fun marketing tools. (You all know how much I love social media.)

Perhaps more importantly than picking the medium, Liz and I picked a topic. We have spent the past 3 weeks brainstorming topics. We have tried to meet twice a week to review our list, add to the list, and develop our favorite ideas. For our meetings with Hyde and Sultze, we picked our top 3 ideas to run by them. We also threw out other ideas from our list that weren't as developed as the ones we were pitching.

Our favorite topics were:
  1. Social Media and Political Leanings - Is the "invisible wall" between social media users and their audience making them more extreme in their political views?
  2. The Harry Potter franchise and its effects on 18-24 year old culture - How has the HP franchise changed our generation? What makes a book-film franchise so successful? What are the psychological effects of our demographics obsession with the wizarding world?
  3. The third topic was inspired by my water bottle
    which I bought at Rite-Aid last year.
  4. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to tweet about it, did it really happen? -  In 2012, can media events still be defined on the terms of 1992? How has the definition changed? How are media events the same as 1992? Do events have any real significance if they aren't trending topics on Twitter?
Following my hour and a half meeting with Professor Hyde yesterday, I met up with Lizzie to go over his thoughts on our topics. #2 and #3 were the favorites. (They were for us, too. Thank goodness!) The real debate came when we discussed depth vs. breadth. Did we want to dive into one specific top (HP) and completely dissect it OR take a step back and look at the bigger picture of media in the 21st century? 

We ultimately decided on breadth, so that we could address all our favorite topics from politics to Harry Potter. Why get tied down when the world is so large?

As I type this, the reality that the hard work lies ahead is settling in. I can't dwell too long though. There are Defender pitches and stories to write, lines to memorize for acting, and parts to learn for Acabellas! I like to keep busy. :)

Have a great week! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fashion Evolution from High School to College (Guest Post by Amy and Alyssa of East Coast Clad)

The transition from high school to college isn't easy. Living on your own, figuring out expenses, dealing with classes, homework and a social almost seems impossible. Then throw in the daily problem of "what do I wear to class?!" and college life IS impossible. Thankfully, the inspiration to dress on a budget and find the perfect "I-am-dressed-up-but-didn't-try-to-be" outfit is right here...on the internet!

When we started college (Amy in the fall of 2009 and Alyssa in the fall of 2010) neither of us had our styles set in place. Luckily, things have changed and we are well on our way of finding our unique personal styles.

Amy's story:
My freshman year style consisted of rainbow sandals, an ill-fitting pair of Seven For All Mankind jeans and an Erin Fetherson for Target blouse. I had the basics, but seriously needed some help. It wasn't until I discovered fashion blogs and began reading magazines that I gained the confidence to emulate and re-create the designer looks I was seeing online and in glossy pages. I knew I wouldn't be strutting down the streets of NYC on my way to English, but that didn't mean I should be dressing like a bum. College is preparing you for a career, which means you should dress up nicely for when you have a career. Plus, you won't look like you pulled an all-nighter if you have your makeup on and a stellar outfit.

Alyssa's story:
It is funny how in high school and at the beginning of college in my mind I thought I looked so stylish. I look back now and I am like what was I wearing?! I also wore the basics that I felt couldn't be criticized by others, because everyone wore them. I never felt comfortable sharing my true style in high school, then when I came to college I was still in that mind set. Finally I began to feel comfortable and confident in my skin, so wore those oxfords to class that I never imagined I would. It just kept going from there, my personal style kept emerging more as the years went one. The happiness of feeling good about how you feel or  what you are wearing is like nothing I have ever know. The best advice I could ever give to anyone would be wear what you want to and forget everyone else. Who cares what people think and rock  your combat boots to class or out at a party. People will notice your style and confidence and be like, "Hey, I wish I could wear those boots." Love who you are and embrace it. 

College is all about self-discovery, and fashion is included in that. You become more confident with yourself and your style develops and changes. We believe that style is always changing and that it will always be difficult to pinpoint down on one's exact style. Personal style is different to everyone, hence the "personal" part, so that doesn't mean you should copy an exact outfit you see on a blog. Take what works for you, say a cropped pair of jeans you saw from Zara, and make it your own. Style is self-interpreted, so take chances during the year's of your life where it is all about chance and self-discovery.
Amy Kelly & Alyssa Miller
      East Coast Clad founders


I want to extend a thank-you to Amy and Alyssa for contributing to The 'Licious Life. I think that how we present ourselves on the outside can have a huge impression on how people will treat you. We all want to be successful in life and dressing for the role you want will be a huge benefit for you. Find your personal style and run with it! Questions?

xoxo Gabbi

Monday, September 17, 2012

@NEACAC Students in Admissions Forum - Brown University, RI

Instead of lecturing you about the awesome trip to Brown University, I thought I'd give you a Storify, a compilation of tweets and photos that will tell you about the trip! Questions? Ask at


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Designing My First @SMC_Defender Pages - A Double Truck Extravaganza

You know when you open a blank Word document, place the heading, and then just stare at the screen?

You think "What should I type?" or "Where should I place the picture?"

Well, that is how my first day in the Defender lab started. (In case you don't know "Defender labs" are the Sundays that the editorial board of the Defender get together and layout the paper. It is part of the Publication Editing and Design course and if you want a concentration in journalism, you have to take the course.)

My first (and really my only) project for the day was laying out the Double Trucker, a two-sided, open-faced page in the middle of the paper. My "Fall Sports Preview Article" is front and center in the article, which I think is VERY exciting.

The interesting thing about Defender is that it is "learn as you go." For the most part, design skills are taught in Digital Media 1 and 2 and those design skills are for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash. Publication Editing and Design is primarily focused on the use of inDesign.  Since we are putting out a paper in the third week school and several of our class periods are dedicated to pitching and editing articles, you can imagine that we haven't had much time to learn inDesign. Fortunately, I am a self-taught inDesign user after my summer at Western.

My primary issues were deciding where to place photos and text and make it all look cohesive. Photos need to correlate with the text they are sitting with. I had to decide if I'd use a photo for every article or just a couple large photos. I had basically laid out my entire 2 pages when Professor Swope arrived on the scene. (Professor Mindich was on the scene for the morning section.) You may want to look at things this way. Mindich is our writing guru and Swope is our photo and design guru. Mindich edits our stories and Swope edits our layouts. I am pleased to say that my article (1,600 words long I might add) got an A.

Of course, what I really want to talk about are the finite, nit-picky details of design. There was too much white space on my page. According to Swope, extra white space should be on the outside of the page. Therefore, at 2 pm after 3 hours of laying out my page, I had to do a reworking. I ended up with some cute purple boxes for statistics and regular article text. (See a .jpeg of the design below) Thank goodness for Professor Swope. If there is one thing being a media studies major teaches you, it's how to take criticism.

My first ever newspaper layout!
My housemates often joke that my ego is to big for St. Mikes. My nickname is "Boss lady" or "Miss SMCVT." However, I know that I don't know everything about design for newspapers. (Hello, I'm a blogger! What do I know about paper?) Although it may appear that I have everything together, I have a lot to learn.

My advice for aspiring MJD majors: Help others when you can and take criticism and advice with a smile.

Have questions? Ask me here (you can ask anonymously!):


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adventure Film Making - Mountain Biking

Why do I like Saint Mike's? 

Departments and clubs come together in unique ways and, in the case of Adventure Film, ways that will allow you to go out on adventure trips for the lab portion of the class! Thank you, Media Studies and Wilderness Program!

Last week, I went sea-kayaking. This past Friday, I went mountain biking. As Professor Hyde said, "You grew up in Truckee and haven't gone mountain-biking?!" A) I only half grew-up in Tahoe, but more importantly B) I was always more about skiing and gymnastics. This Friday was the first time I'd been really mountain-biking and it was so much fun.

It was a gorgeous day in VT!
We headed out to Catamount Family Center in Williston, Vt. about 20 minutes away from school. I got to drive the snazzy school van because I'm school van certified van driver for the alpine ski team and followed Hyde and Sultze in Hyde's pick-up truck. I should have know Hyde had a truck. You'll understand when you meet him.

The goal of these labs is to educate the class on different outdoor activities and encourage our creativity when it comes to adventure film. If there is one thing I know, it is extremely hard to photograph and video an activity you don't fully understand. (You should have seen me photographing Field Hockey this past weekend for Defender. It was tough figuring out what the "peak moments" were.) Essentially, it's 3 hours of riding and then stopping and chatting about camera angles, unique attributes and challenges of the environment you'd be filming in, and getting over fears or discomforts. The other great part? Quality time with your professors. How many other schools are there where you go mountain biking with the professor teaching your senior seminar? (Tips for first-years: Always refer to your professors as "Professor (insert last name here)." In the case of the MJD department, you'll probably be on a first name basis with your professors by sophomore year. I still can't bring myself to call my advisor, David, but maybe I'll get there someday.) Not only did Professor Hyde lead the trip, but Professor Sultze accompanied us, playing "sweeper" in the event that anyone crashed and needed to be picked up.

That's Dominique and Michelle up top and
Professor Sultze riding on the bump track below.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Burlington Art Hop 2012

Planning to live in Burlington?
I recommend attending the SEABA Art Hop at least once. SEABA stands for the South End Art and Business Associaton.

Awesome mural on the side of the Soda Plant
Planning to studying Digital Arts, Journalism, and Media Studies?
You should also plan to attend the Burlington Art Hop every year. Whether it is for extra credit or your senior seminar (That's my reason this year.), you'll go and I promise you'll enjoy it.

As I mentioned, I went for an "Alternative Visions" assignment for my senior seminar research proposal class. (MJD seniors have a year-long senior project and the fall semester is dedicated to determining a topic and starting research. Most majors have a semester long capstone class.) I went with my fabulous senior seminar partner, Liz Murray.

You're probably wondering "What the heck is the Art Hop?" The Art Hop happens one weekend in September and locations all down Pine Street open their doors for locals and tourists alike. Artists from all over New England hang up their work and socialize with an eclectic mix of people appreciating or criticizing their art. Here is the official description from the SEABA website:

The South End Art Hop is a three day event occurring on the weekend following the Labor Day holiday. It attracts over 30,000 visitors, the majority from outside Burlington. Visitors are attracted to the South End artist’s studios, and local businesses that are refit as art galleries and exhibition sites for the more than 500 participating artists. The event celebrates the unique characteristics of the Pine Street corridor, in particular the development of concentrated creative and artistic activity that has been established in numerous re-purposed factories and warehouses within the District. This corridor has been designated, and recognized, as the South End Arts District.

The Art Riot in BTV
My favorite part of this year's hop was the Art Riot. It was a parking lot filled with artists working on pieces that were up for auction. There was a DJ to accompany the scene and even an Instragram contest. (I was totally geeking out about it. I'm a social media nerd. I can't help it.) My other favorite stop was a shop, Recycle Moe, which makes crafty decorations and notebooks. There were notebooks made of a Scrabble board and a Candyland board. Yes, I want them both. Luckily, Recycle Moe is on Etsy, so I can order online. Yay for crafts!

We were particularly excited that the weather was warm enough that even after dark we were comfortable in summer dresses. After Pine St, we went up to Church St so that Liz could get some highlighter clothing for the Highlighter dance and a Starbuck cappuccino. I wanted to get Ben & Jerry's, but the line was out the door. *sigh* That's okay because I came home and hung out with my friends. :-D

Of course, hanging out with my friends means I'm now scrambling to do my homework for tomorrow. No rest for the weary. Look for upcoming posts on my latest Adventure Film Making lab and my first Defender lab experience.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Working on the @SMC_Defender Staff - Part 1

We are in Week 2 of classes here at St. Mike's and I'm still getting into the swing of my schedule. My schedule is rather full this semester making it even more challenging. However, today I'm just going to talk to you about one of those commitments, Publication Editing and Design, or as media studies majors call it "Defender." Taking Publication Editing and Design means working as an editor on the school paper. As a team, we determine the paper's mission statement, the overall design of the paper (although that does fall primarily on the Executive Editor), and weekly content. 

Our first issue is coming out on September 11, 2012, or next Tuesday. We have all been assigned our articles for the first issue and my piece is a Fall Varsity Sports preview. From this you may have guessed that I am, in fact, a Sports Editor! I am co-editing with Chris Elbag, another MJD senior. Typically, editors will write 2 articles per issue plus we'll have staff writers from Writing for Media 1 and 2. My sports preview is covering 6 sports, each receiving about 200 words. It is the equivalent of about 2 typical news articles. Generally speaking, stories are around 500 words each. 

I'm in the thick of my interviews right now and have a ton of writing to do. I'll get there, it's just a lot of information about several sports that I am not intimately acquainted with. I am happy to be in a section that is typically run by males because lord knows I love to stir the pot and be different. I am also happy not to be the Online Editor. Virtually everything I am involved in is online, so I was keen to avoid being online editor.

Our articles our due on Friday and we have Defender lab on Sunday from approximately 10 am to 6 pm. Defender lab is where the paper really comes together and all the editing and page layouts happen, so that the paper can be printed and distributed on Tuesday. My first lab is on Sunday and I don't really know what to expect yet. All I know is I can't wait to get in there and shake up the sports section.

I'll post again after the lab to let you know if I survived ;) Have questions? Ask me at


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