Esra: Laptop Friendly Places to Study Outside BU

I get ridiculously bored working from my apartment. Sometimes if it’s especially gross out or I’m feeling lazy, I’ll work in the living room instead of my bedroom so that it’s a slight change of scenery. Most of the time though, I find myself in coffee shops typing away or editing photos on my laptop.

Thus, I’ve become quite acquainted with laptop friendly environments.

Pavement Coffee House

My stomping grounds. I frequent the Pavement on Commonwealth Ave, however, if you don’t want to be surrounded by BU students and/or faculty I’d recommend checking out another one of their locations. If you don’t mind, then it’s a great environment to sit down and get stuff done. I’m here more times a week than I’d like to admit.

WIFI: Yes
COFFEE: Counter Culture

Caffè Nero

I went through so many Caffè Nero loyalty cards when I studied abroad in London because they were everywhere (including down the street from my classroom building). Somehow it took me an entire year of being back in Boston to figure out there’s not one, but many Caffè Nero locations here too. I recently went to the one in Washington Square and I fell in love. It’s a very rustic chic environment with great cappuccino (also their hummus is unreal, random I know) that’s perfect for catching up on work.

WIFI: Yes — 3 hour limit
COFFEE: Caffè Nero

Tatte Bakery and Cafe

Especially when the weather is nice out, the outdoor seating at the Charles Street Tatte is ideal. If you’re more of an indoor person, the Tatte in Harvard Square has a lot of seating (but is often crowded). Another big plus for me is the fact that they serve Stumptown coffee — one of my personal favorites.

WIFI: Yes
COFFEE: Stumptown

Boston Public Library

Last, but certainly not least is the man, the myth, the legend (okay maybe not the first 2): Boston Public Library. After being renovated last year, BPL now has two different vibes for the public to enjoy. Go through the main entrance and up the staircase to experience the traditional “omg am I in Hogwarts?!” areas. Enter from the side of the building, on Boylston Street, for a modern and bright wing of the library. I love them both and decide where to sit based on my mood that day.

WIFI: Yes

Esra: Gluten Free in Boston

Fear not my GF friends, Boston has got some great options for you.

Dig Inn

Dig Inn may still be considered the new kid on the Copley Square block, but it’s been incredibly popular since it opened last summer. The menu revolves around what’s in season, and everything that contains gluten is labeled (among other common dietary restrictions). Some of my favorite GF options on the menu right now include the brussels sprouts with maple & sriracha, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled apples (also the brown rice and chicken are always fantastic).

Wagamama

I’ve realized asian cuisines can be difficult because a lot of sauces sneakily contain gluten, but Wagamama has a great GF menu. I’m a big fan of both the chicken and prawn itame, and am looking forward to venturing into the ramen and lettuce wraps. I can’t imagine they’d disappoint!

Papa Razzi

Just because you can’t have traditional pizza doesn’t mean you won’t crave it. Papa Razzi on Newbury Street has not one, but multiple GF pizza AND pasta options. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like cardboard. To be honest, it tastes so similar to the real thing that I had wondered if they mixed up my order (they didn’t).

Thinking Cup

If you didn’t already love Thinking Cup enough, let it be known that there is quite a selection of gluten-less treats like tiramisu, snickerdoodles, and chocolate chip cookies. They also have GF bread on hand for gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.

Happy eating!

Esra: 4 Movie Recommendations for Your Inner Romantic

I’m almost always in the mood for a rom-com or romance movie. As my brother once pointed out, I’ve probably seen most major, and lesser known, romance movies out there (I begrudgingly admit I even enjoy the insanely cheesy ones).

So here are some of my top picks at the moment.
4 movies that will give you all the feels, but not leave you heartbroken.
Nothing is worse than wanting a feel-good love story only to be left ugly-crying because of something like Nicholas Spark’s The Best of Me (still love you, though, Sparks).

Age of Adaline
I’m no cinematography expert, but I genuinely appreciate the craftsmanship behind this film. Not only is the story line great (although not realistic — fair warning if you’re a stickler for those things), but also the acting is just as wonderful. It’s a bit Benjamin Button-esque in that the plot plays with the concept of age and time.

Love, Rosie
I like to call this one the Avia Approvedchoice. In a nutshell, what this means is even if you hate everything and anything remotely mushy, and would much prefer a great action or superhero movie (like my best friend Avia), you’ll still appreciate AND EVEN enjoy this one. It’s beautiful, and the cast is pretty great: Lily Collins and Sam Claflin aka Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games. Spoiler: they make a great duo.

The Longest Ride
This one is for the Nicholas Sparks fans. Aside from The Notebook, of course, this is probably my favorite of his movies. Scott Eastwood is quite pleasing to the eye if I do say so myself. But aside from that, it’s a beautiful, arguably predictable, love story (which I don’t find to be a bad thing since I’m a sucker for happy endings).

The Holiday
This one is a throwback to the early 2000s. It’s about two women who swap houses during the holiday season. One lives in England and the other lives in LA. The cast? Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, Jude Law, and Eli Wallach aka the type of old man that just makes you smile because he’s so cute. Probably one of my favorite holiday movies out there.

Grab some comfy PJs, some fresh baked cookies, and embrace the beauty of chick-flicks, my friends.

 

Esra: Apartment Hack: Easy Kale Chips Recipe

Being self sufficient can be hard — especially learning to not rely on the dining hall. Here’s an easy and healthy snack recipe you can make in your apartment! 

This recipe is super simple and one of my go-to’s when I’m craving a salty snack.

What you’ll need:

○ Kale

○ Olive oil

○ Salt

○ Nutritional yeast

The reason I haven’t included measurements is because it’s completely customizable (in a way you can’t really mess up, so those of you who panic without exact measurements, I promise it’ll be fine).

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Wash, de-stem, and cut/rip your kale into small pieces
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. Spread kale on parchment paper
    • Tip: make sure it’s not piled on top of each other too much or it won’t get as crispy (for example, the batch I photographed could have been spread out more, but I wanted to use up all the kale I had left)
  5. Lightly drizzle kale with olive oil
  6. Salt and nutritional yeast to taste (this is what will give it the cheesy flavor — personally I opt for a bit less salt and a whole lot of nutritional yeast)
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy

Esra: The Quarter Life Crisis

The quarter life crisis: it’s real and it’s normal.
You don’t have to get to the “midlife” point to have a crisis. I’ve realized we all experience it at some point or another during our college career. There’s that moment of sheer panic where you’re like “I’m running out of time”, and “what am I going to do with the rest of my life?”, etc.
I think it’s the availability of options that makes us all so unsure. Up until this point, it’s seemed relatively simple: graduate high school, apply to and choose a college, graduate from said college. But after graduating from college, there isn’t necessarily a predetermined next step. You may find yourself wondering if you should start working right away or go to grad school or take a year off to travel or do community service, etc. Really the possibilities can be endless and it’s nerve racking.
So I’d like to share some words of wisdom  from the lovely Airbnb host I had while visiting Dublin. She didn’t know it of course, but she told me exactly what I needed to hear: it’ll all be grand. Nothing profound, rather simple actually, but I could see how certain she was about this. It’ll all work out. We hear this type of thing all the time, but when you take it to heart and fully understand that no matter what decision you make everything will fall into place, it takes some of the weight off your shoulders. Perfect decisions don’t exist, so relax and enjoy yourself because “it’ll all be grand.”

Esra: Books to Read Over Break

I know what you’re thinking: Esra, why would we want to do readings over break?!

Reading may be the last thing on your mind considering the never-ending scholarly articles, textbook chapters, etc. that you have assigned for your classes, BUT that shouldn’t scare you away from the amazing books out there. I’m personally a huge book nerd and even still I barely read anything non-school related during the semester because honestly there isn’t enough time. While you’re relaxing at home over Thanksgiving, and then winter break, enjoying doing absolutely nothing, consider checking out these books.

If you liked The Hunger Games…

Try: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

I’m a huge fan of futuristic/dystopian/utopian novels. This is the first book in the trilogy and I think it’s one of the most unique in its genre (you know how some books seem super similar to others in terms of plot, characters, etc?). It follows a girl named Juliette who can’t touch anyone — the last time she accidentally did, the Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why her touch is fatal, but she has now intrigued the higher-ups as a potential weapon.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429045-shatter-me?ac=1&from_search=1 

If you like romance novels…

Try: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.

This isn’t your average romance novel, which is why I think I liked it so much. One of the main characters is a deaf musician and it talks a lot about how he taught himself to play guitar. It’s a beautiful story that makes you feel for all the characters.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17788403-maybe-someday?from_search=true&search_version=service 

If you need some inspiration for life…

Try: Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke.

My mom recommended this book to me, and it’s applicable to absolutely everyone. It takes life lessons, if you will, and breaks them down to you in a really understandable way through mini stories. It’s one of those books that you can read multiple times and take away something new each time.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25241473-rules-for-a-knight?ac=1&from_search=1 

Happy reading!

Esra: 5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist

I’m not the most musically educated person in the world, but I do know what I like. I’ve been playing these 5 songs on repeat for the past week (maybe two) and I think they’re definitely worth giving a listen.

  1. Blame It On Me by George Ezra – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mt5d5hSyv8 

  2. Never Forget You by Zara Larsson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlARJAmytnk 

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5X5ZUvq5XY 
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thUXXhWdqd8 

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwyWm6HiT4 

Perfect to add to your “walking to class” playlist (because we all know when you can’t catch the bus you grab your headphones and make the trek easier with some music).

Esra: How to enjoy fall even if you hate it

Let me start off by saying I love fall, and fall in Boston is particularly beautiful. It never even occurred to me that someone might dislike fall until I was having a conversation with a friend who said she hated it because it gets colder, darker, and the days get shorter (touché). So, if you are one of those people who hates the sudden pumpkin obsession this time of year, I’ve got you covered with some ways to enjoy fall anyway!

1. Go apple picking or go to a pumpkin patch

Usually pumpkin patches and apple orchards are in the same area- so yay for two-in-one! Bonus: you can make an apple pie afterwards.

2. Make pillsbury holiday sugar cookies (the halloween ones are out in the fall)

I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like these cookies. I think the fact that they’re not available all year round adds to how great they are.

3. Check out the foliage

Even the biggest fall hater can’t deny the leaves are incredible this time of year. Bundle up and take trip to Boston Common or a nice walk down the Esplanade.

4. Boston Public Market

Don’t have time to make a trip to an orchard? Stop by Boston Public Market and get your fix of apple cider and apple cider doughnuts! A taste of fall without having to go far from campus!

5. Head of the Charles Regatta

This one is not quintessentially “fall” which is perfect if you’re not into the usual fall activities.

Esra: Fitting in Last Minute Activities

Less than three weeks of classes left and it’s hitting you that the school year is almost over. For most, it’s a very bittersweet time. So how can you make the most of it before finals? There are so many fun events constantly going on around campus, especially this time of year when the weather is finally getting warmer.

Kappa Delta’s Smart Cookie

Join Kappa Delta in their spring philanthropy event on April 13 at 7:00pm in Metcalf. The event pairs members of different BU organizations together to compete in a trivia competition using questions from an Eastern Massachusetts Girl Scouts troop. Additionally, sisters will be selling Girl Scout cookies at the event!

Alpha Phi’s Ivy Man

The sisters of Alpha Phi are hosting their annual Ivy Man Male Beauty Pageant on April 15 at 7:30pm in Metcalf. All proceeds go to the Alpha Phi Foundation supporting women’s heart health.

Boston University Relay For Life

April 18-19 will be BU’s seventh annual Relay For Life event. Sign up, donate, and enjoy some live music, a dodge-ball tournament, Zumba, and other activities while you fight the battle against cancer! Get ready for an awesome night at the Track and Tennis Center!

BU Treblemakers Spring Concert

One of BU’s co-ed a cappella groups is having a spring concert on April 19 at 7:00pm in the Photonics Center, Room 206. The “Treble in Paradise” concert is embracing the upcoming warm weather and it will be a great time!

COMapolooza

Stop by the COM Lawn on April 29 from 3:00-5:00pm and enjoy all sorts of baked goods! COM student groups will be competing at this annual bake off. Money raised will be benefiting the Katie Bleck Foundation.