Spring Break, Blog Break

While my Spring Break didn’t involve any exotic locales or raging parties, it did include a significant amount of Rest and Relaxation.

Unfortunately for my adoring readers (this is basically just a shout-out to my mom who has been kind enough to visit my site from time to time), this also meant a big of a break from the blogosphere.

But never fear, for I have returned! Ah, but what to write about? One would think that after more than a week of absence, my brain should be brimming with ideas of possible posts. Instead, I am faced with a spell of writer’s block, a misfortune I seem to almost perpetually suffer from.

So instead of a typical PR or media commentary, I’ve decided to take a break from the typical subjects and discuss a bit of my new/rediscovered favorite things from my Blog Sabbatical (that’s the official title we’re using for it now). So just think of me as a less exciting, less successful Oprah, giving you a list of my favorite things (minus the part where I actually give said things to the audience…okay, it’s really nothing like Oprah).

Favorite New/Rediscovered Things

  1. Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee: It’s not quite a revolutionary item for the list, nor is it ‘new’ to me, but with the rediscovery of the warm spring weather comes the rediscovery of this delicious nectar. One coconut iced coffee, with cream no sugar. Please and Thank you. DD iced coffee never fails to remind me of summer, and to be able to drink it again without freezing to death is quite a spectacular feeling.
  2. E.L.F. brand: I was at Target the other day and I came across a shelf of incredibly inexpensive make-up. My first reaction was that some grave mistake had been made in marking prices. My second thought was that I better take advantage of this mix-up before someone realized. Either way, I spent a total of $5 and got some of the best quality lipstick and eye-shadow that I’ve ever used.
  3. Men’s sunglasses: I seem to have misplaced my own favorite pair of sunglasses. This made me quite upset, considering how well they had fared despite my constant manhandling of them. I went to the store to buy a new pair (never over $20, that’s my rule) and I couldn’t find any I liked. Then my mother (that’s two shout-outs now) moved on over to the Men’s section and picked up a pair of Ray-Ban-esque sunglasses. Needless to say, they were perfect and I am quite content with my purchase. After all, I’m not one for the bug-eyed look.
  4. I-pod/phone free dictionary app: Why didn’t I add this sooner? And it was free! So here’s to improving my vocabulary!
  5. Out of Print Clothing: I’ve posted about them before, but I never got around to getting the Sherlock Holmes shirt of my dreams. Instead, however, my mom went ahead and purchased me a lovely Great Gatsby t-shirt that I am more than overjoyed to have. Now to restrain myself from spending hundreds of dollars on the website…
  6. Traveling: I took a short trip to NY to visit a friend over break, and as I hopped from train to train, I experienced a sense of nostalgia. I miss traveling, like I did so frequently when I was abroad. I even stuck to my rule that I developed when in Europe– always wear a scarf when traveling. That way, you can use it as either a pillow, blanket, or blindfold to keep out the light. I have used it for all three and I am not ashamed.
  7. Bagels: I can’t even begin to count that number of bagels I consumed over break. I don’t care how bad for you they are, they will forever be my weakness.
  8. Eureka: This SyFy television show is practically unheard of, which I see as a real shame. The premise: a U.S. marshal and his daughter find themselves stranded, and later at home, in a town a geniuses. Honestly, check it out. It’s heartwarming yet hilarious.

So that’s about it for my favorite things. As I said, my break was pretty low-key. But now it’s time to get back to blogging– a past time I actually really do enjoy. Back to school, back to blogging.

Hearing the Homeless, on Twitter

Whenever I visit the city, I am always struck by the number of displaced and destitute people are on the streets. While I won’t attempt to preach my opinion, since I in no way mean for this post to be a political piece, I think we can all agree that there is a homelessness problem that must be dealt with.

Research has been conducted to determine more exact numbers of the poverty-striken, and the statistics are staggering:

“Each year, more than 3 million people experience homelessness, including 1.3 million children.”

“Each night, over 38,000 homeless individuals sleep in the New York City shelter system. This includes more than 16,000 children and 8,000 single adults. Thousands more sleep on city streets and in other public places.”

“Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans.”

While these facts and figures are heartbreaking, for many they remain disconnected and thus less emotionally charged. For this reason, an organization called Underheard in New York has reached out to give the homeless their own voice. The program, with the help of the local shelter, chose 4 homeless New Yorkers and provided them with free cells phones, a month of unlimited text messaging, and a twitter account. Armed with social media, Underheard in New York hopes that these delegates, representing a previously under-represented community, will bring life on the streets to life. Says the website:

“Underheard in New York is an initiative to help homeless residents in New York City speak for themselves. We’ve provided [the representatives] each with their own mobile phone, a month of unlimited text messaging and a Twitter account. They’ve found their voices by texting their thoughts, feelings and actions to Twitter. We aim to use their social media presence to create real interaction both online and off. In other words, get to know them as individuals.”

On February 1st, Danny, Derrick, Albert, and Carlos began their month of social networking. Prepared with short lessons on how to use the new phones and twitter accounts, the men were quick to get their voices heard. The messages are riddled with misspellings and key slips, adding authenticity and sincerity. The men tweet their feelings, opinion, thoughts, and activities to all their followers, while the people at Under Heard in New York monitor their use and progress.

I found the program endearing, with its candor and frankness. I will admit that my immediate question was, “why not just give them the money/money’s worth of food that would be spent on the phones?” After seeing the messages these men have posted, I understand the importance of the bigger picture– bringing an awareness to an ever-increasing section of our population that remains voiceless and, thus, helpless.

So whatever your opinion on the economy, the homelessness situation, welfare, or politics in general are, please get behind this program. Make it worthwhile, and consider donating to your local shelter or food bank. And while you’re at it, why not follow the twitterers on their journey!?

{via http://mashable.com/2011/02/16/homeless-tweets-underheard/}