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Happy Belated Duanwu Festival

June 28th, 2015 Written by | Comments Off on Happy Belated Duanwu Festival


Here is a picture of some home-made zongzi.

Roughly two weeks ago, on June 20, many Asian Americans celebrated a holiday known as Duanwu Festival. The Duanwu Festival, also commonly known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is observed on the fifth day of the fifth month in the traditional lunar calendar. As Asian American millennials, we might not be familiar with the holiday but we are quite accustomed with its traditions–it’s the day we help our grandparents wrap zongzi! For those who are not familiar with it, zongzi can be thought of as the Asian equivalent of a Mexican tamale. It’s a sticky sweet rice, typically wrapped in flat leaves (my grandparents prefer banana leaves because of its easier to find), stuffed with meats, beans, and proteins. There is no right way to make zongzi as different Asian cultures have their unique combination of ingredients, and individual households have tailored their zongzi to their families’ preferences.

Although I’ve been wrapping and eating zongzi with my grandparents for as long as I can remember, this Duanwu Festival, I decided to ask about the holiday. Here is the story that my grandfather shared with me. According to him, the Duanwu Festival started as a way to commemorate the Chinese poet Qu Yuan who was driven to commit suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River during the Zhou Dynasty. As a big advocate of the people, many of the villagers threw sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river for fear that creatures in the water would feed on Yuan’s carcass. The sticky rice evolved into the zongzi that we eat today during the Duanwu Festival.

Another big aspect of the Duanwu Festival is the dragon boat races, what the holiday is officially names after. The origin of the dragon boat racing during the Duanwu Festival derived from the villager’s desire to race to save Yuan from drowning. It has since evolved into a competitive sporting event.

Aside from commemorating the beloved poet, enjoying zongzi, and rounding up the family together, the Duanwu Festival has also come to signal the passing of winter. According to my mom, the passing of the Duanwu Festival indicates the arrival of summer. It’s after the Duanwu Festival that we put away our quilts for the year.

I hope this Duanwu Festival was as much as a learning experience as it was for me! From my family to yours, Happy Belated Duanwu Festival!

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Final Blog Post

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Final Blog Post


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Artemisia V. Local Handmade Bath and Body Products

December 14th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Artemisia V. Local Handmade Bath and Body Products

DSC_0109Artemisia V is a bath and body brand based out of Astoria, Queens. I stumbled upon these beautiful soaps while visiting an artisinal fair in Astoria. Artemisia V stood out among the other vendors to me. Their products were displayed as professionally as one much see in a store window. It was clear to me, from afar that Artemisia was the star of the fair.

DSC_0108Once I got closer, and got a chance to smell the products, I was blown away. The stand held a variety of scents such as Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Pie, Chai Latte and Cappuccino. I was in soap heaven. I eventually left with the Lavender and Bergamot and the Hot Chocolate soap, but not before I spent 20 minutes inhaling the incredible smells.DSC_0115Not only do the products, smell incredible, but they also include ingredients that are beneficial to a variety of skin types and solve a variety of skin issues. Some of the ingredients include dead sea mud, which is terrific to clear pores. Tea tree oil, which is known to help fight acne and treat fungal infections on the skin. Sea salt to exfoliate the skin and get rid of dead skin. Coconut and avocado oils to moisturize the skin. Every ingredient added to the soaps is listed in bold, large letters right on the label. Artemisia V does not hide a thing from its customers. The labels, even say when the product was made and how long the item will last.

DSC_0111All of the products that Artemisia V sells are under $9.00.  According to their website, the products will now be available to purchase online on December 15th. (Today.) The items are beautifully wrapped and it is clear how much thought and preparation went into the packaging of every single item. While at the fair, I spoke to two of the salespeople about the product. They both appeared to be very knowledgeable about the ingredients inside of the products and answered every question I had with enthusiasm. The duo really seemed to be passionate about their products.DSC_0116I would highly recommend checking our their products. The soaps would make a terrific gift, as they appear to be far more expensive and luxurious than their prices reflect. It was truly a joy speaking to the sales team and I look forward to using the soaps I purchased.


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News concerning Cycling- Round up

December 10th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on News concerning Cycling- Round up

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Directions for final post and final

December 10th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Directions for final post and final

Directions for sixth and final blog post: This post should show your cumulative knowledge about journalistic blogging. The topic should be interesting and directly related to the blog’s mission. You should include some kind of multimedia – either a video, or audio clips or photos – and a text component. So, you should write a post of 350-400 words and have the multimedia complement the story in some way. You should have interviewed at least one person. You should write a strong headline and include hyperlinks. POST MUST BE ADDED TO YOUR BLOGS BY THE START OF CLASS ON MONDAY, DEC. 15.

What to expect for your final blog review:

Final will be an evaluation of overall effectiveness of blog. Does it meet goals of mission statement? Were you able to establish a voice? Did your writing and reporting break new ground on the topic?

Specific areas I’ll be looking at:

Does the blog include six original posts and a seventh post that that includes a news roundup. This seventh post should have been completed in class. If you were absent that day, you are still responsible for creating this post.

Does each post have a strong headline that clearly states what the post is about?

Does each post include hyperlinks and has it been assigned a category (each blog should have four to five categories)

Is each post clearly written, grammatically correct and include some original reporting?

Has some effort been put into making each post visually pleasing? Here, I’m looking at the body of the post. Are there visuals? Has the text been broken up into shorter paragraphs? (No big blocks of text). Has your multimedia been clearly introduced?

How does the overall look (theme, title, header image) reflect the mission of the blog? (There is still time to change the header image)

Have you noted comments you received from me in grading, especially the comments made for the midterm, and incorporated changes I suggested into your blog.

If you did not meet all the requirements of the midterm, have you gone back and made sure your blog meets them all?

In case you forgot the midterm requirements, here they are:


–Created a blog using Blogs@Baruch, including the name of the blog in the URL. The settings on this blog must be set to public. Go through the different themes that are available to you through Blogs@Baruch and choose the one that works best for your blog.

–Uploaded a unique header image that reflects the character of the blog and includes the name of the blog and a cutline. (USE YOUR OWN PHOTOGRAPH. DO NOT TAKE IMAGE FROM ANOTHER SITE)

–Created an “About” page (Condensed version of mission statement, aim for 200 words)

–Created a blog roll of related blogs and websites. (INCLUDE FIVE TO SEVEN SITES)

–Posted THREE stories to your blog each illustrated by a photo. (This number includes the post you sent to me today. Therefore, you must report and write two additional posts before Monday, Oct. 20. Each post must include relevant hyperlinks.)

–Created five categories for your blog and tagged your posts appropriately.

Review of grading:

Midterm: 25 percent of grade
Final: 25 percent of grade

Opening blogging analysis paper: 10 percent
First post: 10 percent
Multimedia post: 10 percent
Election night analysis paper: 10 percent
Social media strategy paper: 10 percent

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Stories from the set of Still Alice

December 8th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Stories from the set of Still Alice


The Gotham Independent Film Awards kicked off the 2014-2015 awards season last Tuesday. Julianne Moore picked up the Best Actress award for her unflinching portrayal of a Columbia University professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice. Experts and pundits are predicting that Moore will also earn the Academy Award for the film, which was just released for a one-week awards qualifying run this weekend.

Ali Rashti, a production assistant for the film, spoke to The Art House Attic about his experience on the set of Still Alice.

A native of Montreal, Canada, Rashti’s first experience in production came as an editor for the pornographic site, Brazzers and its parent company, Manwin (now known as MindGeek). At Manwin, Rashti edited original content for the web and he re-packaged previous content from the web for broadcast like Playboy TV, as well as Video on Demand. “We would bring past porn content from the web to broadcast level and sort of re-versioned it so it would be broadcast ready,” he says. “Web is the wild west of broadcast. You can just cut something together and put it up. But with broadcast, there are a lot of things that you need to prepare with audio and picture and to take that extra step to make sure that it qualifies to be broadcasted on television.”

Rashti worked with Manwin for about a year and then landed his first job as a production assistant on an independent Canadian film called Black Noise. The film’s plot is similar to Still Alice in that it also features a lead character living with Alzheimer’s. Black Noise did not receive a theatrical release due to its miniscule budget but it did have a VOD release in both Canada and the U.S. The film is also available on Itunes.

Rashti then moved to New York and one of the first jobs he landed was Still Alice. Besides Moore, the film also stars Alec Baldwin, Kirsten Stewart and Kate Bosworth. Rashti describes the experience as very humbling and also speaks fondly of the film’s directors, married couple Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, whose lives now tragically mirror that of Moore’s character in the film. In 2013, Glatzer was diagnosed with A.L.S., also known as Lou Gerig’s disease. Rashti says that on the set of the film, Glatzer could not talk so he had to use an Ipad to communicate with Westmoreland and the crew. “It was really interesting how they were making this movie about this woman and her family going through a horrible situation and how it paralleled to their own lives,” Rashti says.

In describing his job as a unit production assistant, Rashti recalls assisting in the locations of the shoot and labeling the load in and the load out for the set trucks and the crew. “You’re always the first one on set in the morning and afterwards you’re the last ones there waiting for everyone to clear out. You then begin to take out the signs and the trash, and there’s a lot of trash on set,” Rashti laughs, describing himself as a “set garbage man.” Rashti also recalls some miscellaneous things like shoveling sand from a boardwalk for about three hours in order to allow the wheels on the directors’ tracking camera to fit the boardwalk.

There was also a day when Rashti and other production assistants were used as extras playing students in a scene where Moore gives a lecture in a classroom. “It’s a small, independent production and on that day we did not have enough extras on set,” Rashti recalls. “Most of the P.A.’s have a little cameo in the film which is kinda cool,” he says with a smile.

Since his work on Still Alice, Rashti has moved on to do P.A. work on a much bigger production, a comedy called The Intern starring Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro, which is being released next year. Rashti says that working on the set of an indie film like Still Alice, as well as a bigger, studio film like The Intern were both great experiences but for different reasons. “Shooting a studio film is a lot more comfortable. There’s more at your disposal in terms of stuff like cash flow, food services and safety rides,” he says. “But I feel like with the indie films, the projects tend to be more of passion projects as opposed to the studio films.”

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The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

December 3rd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

New York City subway ridership annually exceeds 2.3 billion and out of all the subway lines, none give a better tour of Queens than the 7 line. It operates between Times Square, Manhattan and Main Street in Flushing, Queens. Along the way you’ll pass through multiple ethnic enclaves and get a perfect cross-section of one of the most diverse counties in the world.

Below are some notable stops, in order, that are worth checking out. Even if you can’t catch a professional tour, you’ll soon see why the 7 line has long been dubbed the “International Express”:


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Social Media Strategy

November 25th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Social Media Strategy

I plan to use social media to promote my blog by essentially building an online community. I have identified my target audience as art-lovers of all ages throughout the New York metropolitan area, so Instagram would be an ideal social network to market with because it is extremely user-friendly. I would also create a Facebook page and link articles for sharing throughout different platforms on the internet.
Who Will I Reach:
paint1 paint2
My Accounts:
Facebook: I would utilize Facebook by making a page for my blog. I would link the Facebook page with everything that gets posted on the blog, particularly focusing on the articles. I would include a photo for every post. The goal would be to get my Facebook posts to get shared as many times as possible.
Twitter: I would post on twitter daily, first and foremost about the posts on my blog. I would also share and retweet posts from the companies I described above, in the hopes that would retweet me and expand my readership on twitter and eventually my blog.
Instagram: I would use Instagram to promote the art I describe in my blog. I would include the links to my blog and articles in my bio as well as in the captioning of each post. I would use Instagram daily as well. I would also screenshot my tweets and posts from Facebook and twitter and post them on my Instagram.
Twitter Titles:

1. Title: Royce Bannon, an artistic force from Harlem
Tweet: Royce Bannon, #UndergroundArtist from #Harlem making #NYC his own.

2. Title: UR NEW YORK—Street-Art’s favorite Collective
Tweet: #URNY opens latest #artshow in #Soho #NY
3. Title: One-year Anniversary: Death of 5 Pointz
Tweet: #5pointz approaches 1-year anniversary of its death
4. Title: Adrian Bermeo Attacking Art From Every Angle
Tweet: New artist from #Queens AdrianBermeo attacking art from every angle

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Social Media Strategy

November 24th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Social Media Strategy

Cheick Toure



Social Media Strategy

Originally the purpose of my blog was to document the experience of cycling in New York City from a beginners perspective. As the blog to developed, it’s turned less about me documenting my cycling experience and more about finding ways to inform or expose others who are unfamiliar to biking in the city to the experience. In order to get others involved with my blog I intend to build a social media presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Instagram because the cycling experience is a visual one, being able to share the experience with the viewers through photos, can allow viewers to share the experience through their mobile devices. Some people view riding in the city to be a very dangerous thing, which it can be, but there are ways to be safe and still enjoy the fun of cycling. So being able to photographically document cycling in New York City, or taking photos of the go to bike shops for repairs, or the local gas station with free or cheap pump for your tires, or ways to be prepared for night riding, can actually help promote more of the fun and safer experience for those have been interested in cycling and those never put much thought into it.

Who will I reach: These are several blogs that document aspects of cycling, from a street cycling to documenting pro cycling or pro athletes. Those blogs have already established themselves and they often repost a tweet from a fellow blogger in an attempt to create more of a cycling community.

1.Red Kite Prayer: Twitter @RedKitePrayer/ no instagram

2. Adventure Journal: Twitter @adventurevida/ no instagram

3. Rouleur Magazine: Twitter @rouleurmagazine

4. BDIPC: Twitter @#BDIPC/ same for instagram and Facebook

5. Fat Cyclist: Twitter @fatcyclist

6. BikeHacks: Twitter @bikehacks/ Insta @bikehacks

7. The Inner ring:Twitter @inrng

8. Vital MTB: Twitter @VitalMTB/ insta@VitalMTB

9. Boulder Report: Twitter and Instagram @BicyclingMag

10.Bike Snob: Twitter @bikesnobnyc

11.Ralpha Blog: Twitter @rapha/ Insta @rapha

12. Cycle chic: Twitter @_Cycle_Chic

13. Bicycle Habitat: Twitter and Instagram @BicycleHabitat

14. BikepeaceNYC: Twitter and instagram @bikepeacenyc
15.PreferredMode: Twitter,Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr @PreferredMode

These blogs can open up a larger social media followers to my content, some the last three are a bit of competition, but competition can foster growth and push to create original contents.

My accounts:

Facebook: Cycle Path on Facebook would to create more of cycling community, Facebook is a good place for people to open up conversations about an experience. So is twitter, but the main difference here is that you have almost to word count limits.

Twitter: Mainly to keep my readers up to date with my blog, things that I think is interesting for them to follow or that aligns with the work am doing on my blog. As well with informing them of new blog posts.

Instagram: Mainly just to share the experience of cycling through the lens of my cellphone camera with my readers, it makes them feel part of the experience and will drive them to want to participate in the experience and discuss it with others.

Writing Tweets and Headlines:

Twitter handles:             Headlines:

#cyclepaths-                 biking maps of NYC including rules and regulations.

#WilliamsburgBridgecyclepath –     Williamsburg Bridge on Two Wheels as headline

#conversationonCitibike    –     A student’s perspective on Citi Bike

#cyclingisforartistofNYC     –     An artist Mode of transportation

These are few twitter handles to promote the current and previous blog post and give readers the chance to interact with my contents.

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Behind the Notes Social Media Strategy

November 24th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Behind the Notes Social Media Strategy

   Social media is something people in today’s society continuously use. Social media has replaced the paper in more than one way for people to catch up on current events, blogs and etc. With free instant access on a multitude of social networks such as twitter, facebook and instagram, news, people opinions and links to people knowledgeable in fields, people are more freely able to be informed. While some people do prefer paper such as the newspaper, paperback books, etc. over digital forms of these things, social media paves the way for people to see my blog in a faster way across many communities through people sharing links or by ads.

   I’ve put together a list of 15 sites that I came across, mostly big organizations in the music industry that take part in helping out or promoting street and subway musicians from all over the world themselves. blogs like Busk NY, The Busking Project, and the Busker Advocates Organization are three that I added to my list because they are all similar in ways of specifically directing the people to new musicians in the same way as what I’m doing in my blog. Not only do they promote them, but they also inform the people who follow them of the rights these musicians have, and ways to fight for their rights when it comes to a performance, which to me is always helpful to learn especially when It comes to my own interviews. More general sites that are more informative in the latest news that I found such as the Gothamist, The Rolling Stones Magazine, NPR Music Organization, Consequence of sound network, Short and Sweet NYC, and lastly Pitchfork, provides more categories to their readers, but at the same time stick to music related topics too. In addition some of these sites even go out of their way to add multi media like clips of new songs from some of the few street or subway musicians they come across. I personally think sites this informative with so much visual would be good to connect with in order to help promote my blog because it will spark an automatic interest to the followers and make them want to learn more about who is singing or where they can find them. I also think its useful how these sites have so many different categories, even though my blog is strictly based on musicians and their struggles and success in New York, they go out of their way to go beyond that and inform people of the latest news in other hot topics that catch their eye. By doing so, I think would be a good strategic move because it will make people of all ages, and places come to the site with at least one interest they come upon, but at the same time they might also come across a music related post similar to mines that they might want to read out of curiosity too. This will build up a fanbase, and make my blog more popular in time to people. Two other organizations that I added to my list are City Lore and Vocalist, in comparison they both present readers to the arts of music, and other talent. However, City Lore reaches out in various ways with introducing people to not just the arts, but the culture, tradition, and creativity too. Vocalist is an organization in the UK that introduces people to musicians and performers who are trying to make a living. This organization seeks out musicians and gives them a helping hand of getting a career started, and at the same time giving them lessons by teachers. I think this is useful to my blog because even though its in the UK they always accept recommendations to hear from new musicians. The last four that I added to my list are the Subway Music Blog, the Subway Diaries, Hype Machine, and WNYC are my favorites because I feel as if they most closely connect to what I’m doing in my blog, but at the same time they make it unique. To be more specific, the subway music blog and the subway diaries blog both provide people with information on subway performers just like I do, except they add a lot more audio, and visuals with longer posts and links to other sites that could do good in my favor. Hype Machine is the most interesting to me because this blog keeps track of other music related bloggers, while providing analysis and updates on what or who they talk about, this could be very useful to me since I am a music blogger myself right now and they could promote my blog and follow my posts so I gain more popularity. Lastly, WNYC is yet another organization I found that provides a lot of audio with one on one interviews with many musicians all over New York. Of course, I’d also love to connect with them because its also similar in many ways to what I’m trying to do in my own blog.

  Facebook is one good outlet for my blog, because I will be able to provide my followers with the latest updates of the musicians such as what they are up to now, where they will be touring, selling their latest CD’S, etc.. these updates would be posted every week daily to help spread the word too. Second, I’d like to use Twitter as another outlet because I’ll be able to make my own hashtags as a way for my followers to re-tweet any posts I make specifically for my blog, as another good source to promote and also share pictures of the musicians I come across at the same time. The last outlet I’d like to use for my blog is Youtube because many musicians I interview already have accounts on Youtube as a source to share their music with fans. It will be easy for me to create a YouTube account to share the musicians accounts by their personal links, and also post my own clips that I record of them to share with my blog followers and eventually making not only my blog more popular, but every musician I meet at the same time.

My Tweets and Headlines:

first post headline: Is Rock Really Dead or Just Evolving?

first tweet: Vanessa Vasquez@NessyV91 23 Nov 2014

Gene Simmons declared Rock and Roll dead, according to two street performers Rock is not dead, it’s very much alive but rare #BehindTheNotes

second post headline: Music is in the Blood

second tweet: Vanessa Vasquez@NessyV91 23 Nov 2014

Classical guitarist Maya Miele believes musical talent flows through her sons blood.#BehindTheNotes

third post headline: Karikatura, the Growing Sensation

third tweet: Vanessa Vasquez@NessyV91 23 Nov 2014

Multi-genre band Karikatura, takes the world by storm, performing in popular places around the globe. #BehindTheNotes

fourth post headline: ‘70s Musician Forest Apple Then and Now

fourth tweet: Vanessa Vasquez@NessyV91 23 Nov 2014

Forest Apple, a ’70s musician, entertains the crowds of people in the subway with his xylophone and harmonica. #BehindTheNotes

My Blogging List:

1.)Gothamist ,

2.) Busk NY blog

3.)The Busking Project,

4.)Subway Music Bllog ,,,,

5.)The Rolling Stones Magazine, ,,

6.)The Subway Diaries Blog,,,,

7.)NPR Music Website,,,,

8.)City Lore Organization,,,,

9.)Vocalist Organization,, ,

10.)Busker Advocates Organization,,

11.)Hype Machine Blog,,,

12.)Consequence of sound network,,

13.)Pitchfork website,,,,

14.)WNYC Organization, ( provides audio on one on one interviews with some street/subway muscians,,,

15.)Short and Sweet NYC,,,,

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