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Summer 2014 Anthem

Summer 2014 has officially begun! Last summer, we jammed to songs like “We Can’t Stop,” “Blurred Lines,” and “Get Lucky” all summer long.  Now the time has come to choose a new song as the “official” song of the summer.   A summer anthem must be catchy, upbeat, and exciting.  Many songs have the potential to become THE summer track, but a majority of music-lovers have narrowed the search down. Below is a list of the top 10 tunes to get you in the mood for some summer fun! Which of these songs do you think should be the summer 2014 anthem?


1. Paramore “Ain’t if Fun” 





2. 5 Seconds to Summer “She Looks So Perfect”





3. Iggy Azalea “Fancy”





4. Calvin Harris “Summer”





5. Ariana Grande “Problem”





6. Ed Sheeran “Sing”




7. Clean Bandit “Rather Be”





8. Sia “Chandelier”





9. Rita Ora “I Will Never Let You Down”





10. Time Flies "All the Way"


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Fueling Your Summer!

As the sunshine and humidity take over, there's no better way to stay energized than these 3 Do It Yourself snacks. For the quick cool-off snack in between running errands, we have the frozen greek yogurt and pomegranate cubes. Need an on-the-go breakfast? These no-bake granola bars are easy to make, healthy for your body and great for a quick boost! And an easy anytime snack, frozen fruit dipped in chocolate.

1. Frozen Greek Yogurt Pom Squares

First, you will need 2 cups of 2% Greek yogurt. This is a personal preference, so pick whatever! You'll also need 1 cup powdered sugar (also known as confectinoary sugar in different packaging). And, about 2 pomegranates. You can substitute the pom seeds for anything else you'd like to add, but these are small and easy to throw in the mix. You'll also need ice cube trays for easy, no-cut cubes as a finished product.

When you have all of your ingredients together, combine them in a bowl and mix until creamy. Toss in the pom seeds and mix well. Pour the batter into ice cube trays and place trays in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours. When they're ready, just pop them out of the trays and enjoy!

2. No-Bake Granola Bars

For these bars, you will need these ingredients:
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup agave
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • dark chocolate chips
  • Nutella
If you have an allergy to anything in this mixture, these ingredients are easily replacable with other things! And, for a better crunch to the granola bars, bake the almonds, coconut and oats on a cookie sheet for a few minutes until lightly brown and toasted.

Over the stove in a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, agave, coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Mix these ingredients until all of the brown sugar disolves. Add the toasted mixture from previously into this stove mix, and coat the oat clusters well. Pour this combined mixture into a brownie pan, and let cool completely before cutting into bars. For an extra sweet-treat, heat and drizzle spoonfuls of Nutella on top of the bars!

3. Frozen Dipped Fruit

For this snack, find any fruit of preference (mandarin oranges, apple slices and banana pieces seem to work best!) and slice them or peel them into pieces. In a double boiler on the stove, melt any kind of chocolate until smooth. Dip half of the fruit pieces in the chocoloate and lay on a prepared, wax-coated sheet. You can add coconut sprinkles, nuts, or anything on top of the melted chocolate. Freeze until solid and enjoy!

This recipe allows for lots of flexibility and creativity, so don't feel restricted!
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7 Reasons Buffalo is the Place to be in the Summer


1.       The Weather

Contrary to popular stereotype, Buffalo is not always snow and ice. Though summertime seems to come and go all too quickly, the few months of sunshine we’re blessed with are actually near perfect. With daytime temperatures generally falling in the 70s and 80s, it’s never too hot. Adequate rainfall that peaks in the overnight hours is also optimal. Unlike in the south, Western New York’s comfortable climate allows its inhabitants to genuinely enjoy the outdoors—and that’s something we certainly never take for granted.


 

2.       The Waterfront

Foreigners always seem shocked to learn that Buffalo is surrounded by water. Nestled along the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario lies the City of Good Neighbors. A few minutes up the river, you’ll find the great Niagara Falls and its corresponding tourist attractions. In addition, let’s not forget the historic Erie Canal which meets the River between downtown Buffalo and the Falls. Whether you own a boat or simply appreciate the view, with so much available to us, it’s easy to get out and enjoy Western New York’s beautiful waters.


 

3.       Outdoor Recreation

As well as the exciting activities that take place on the water, the Buffalo-Niagara region is home to a number of bike paths, hiking trails, and other areas designated for outdoor recreation. Did you know Delaware Park was designed by the same two men credited for Central Park in Manhattan?!


 

4.       The Music Scene

Excited for Dave Matthew's annual show at Darien Lake? Or simply looking to enjoy a cheap night night out with your friends? Between First Niagara Center, Canalside, and Artpark, we've got performances to satisfy everyone. There are also many smaller venues hosting some great shows this year! The Fray will be playing at Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda on July 27th —definitely something to check out.


 

5.       Festivals

Canal Fest, Italian Fest, Wing Fest—the list is never-ending. We've got a lot going on here in Western New York, and in true Buffalonian fashion, we're proud of it. Whether you're sampling fine dining at the Taste of Buffalo or exploring your artistic side at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, there's always some sort of celebration happening. How wonderful is it to live in a place so lively?


 

6.       The Wineries

Located along the lower Niagara River one can find the Niagara Wine Trail. These wineries offer a diverse selection of wines to serve all tastes. Regarded as an up-and-coming region, the Niagara Wine Trail is the perfect adventure for a multitude of occasions.


 

7.       The Transit Drive-In

With around 360 drive-in movie theaters left across the US, the communal experience previous generations were once accustomed to has now become a rarity. Not to worry though, because Western New York has kept the tradition going strong! Looking to enjoy a night under the stars? The Transit Drive-In has got you covered. With double-features offered every night, it's a steal compared to your average movie theater. Not only that, but Tuesdays are retro movie night! They cover all your favorites from The Goonies and Jurassic Park, to Dirty Dancing and Stand By Me. My suggestion—follow @TransitDriveIn on Twitter for the latest updates on exciting events. You won't be disappointed.

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The Right Way to Run Summer!

Sure, we all say we're working towards those 'summer bodies' while we're at school. But what's the occasional mile here or there going towards? Goals are the biggest thing. To successfully set yourself up for a fit and toned summer, set a goal for yourself. Want to strengthen your core? Or increase flexibility? These are all achievable things that anyone can do, and with a few simple steps! Take the steps in the right direction to a fun and fit summer, starting with the basics:

1. Sneakers: To start any kind of training, make sure you're in the right pair of sneakers. Each pair is composed for different strengths and weaknesses. Some have more stability in the arches for support ad pronation (over rotation of the foot while walking or running), some have more cushioning for alleviating heel pressure or even have additinoal purposes to allow for transitioning to cross training. My suggestion is to go to a specialized store to find what your fit and need is, and then shop around for a brand you like that carries what your feet require. I'm biased towards Asics, but it's all personal preference!

2. Attire: As cliche as it may be, the running 'look' does not a runner make. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you're ready to sweat in! There's no special type of clothing that will make you perform better, run faster, or lift more. There's clothing that have moisture wicking abililties, or other added features that will help maintain comfort while working out. Again, it's more of a personal preference than anything, simple athletic shorts and cotton t's will do the trick just fine!

3. Hydrate: The big rule, is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! No matter how much physical activity you're planning on participating in per day, your body must be prepped and able to perform without dehydrating. Your muscles need to be functioning to their peak ability to perform at their best, especially for training purposes. Before working out, depending on what you will be doing, a minimum of 32 oz. should be consumed within the hour and a half leading up to working out. Hydrate in between exercise, and replenish after as well. About 64 oz. should be consumed post-workout to replenish and continue to hydrate for the rest of the day. In addition to hydrating, consuming small meals will benefit your workouts. Eat a small meal with protein an hour and a half prior to working out, and small snacks throughout if needed. Things like nuts and dried fruit are perfect for boosting energy and regulating metabolism. And as always, carbohydrates are the best for prepping for long endurance workouts two days in advance!

These few tips are the basics for starting any kind of training, no matter how intensive. Every new beginning comes from somewhere, and these three tips will prepare you for anything that will kick start summer in a fit and fun way!
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4 Things You Take For Granted Before College

The Class of 2014 will be graduating high school within these next few weeks! Before you leave for college in the fall, take time to appreciate these every day luxuries.

#1: Home cooking
This goes without saying…the worst part about going away to school is eating the dining hall food.  While most college campuses provide a couple of different dining halls, there isn’t much variety among them.  If you want to purchase your own food to cook in the tiny kitchens, that’s not always a bad idea.  Grocery shopping can add up, so beware!
 
 

#2: Always having something to eat
Remember complaining to your parents that there isn’t anything to eat in the kitchen? We all know that were plenty of things for us to munch on.  Just wait until you leave the library at 3:30 am and everything is closed, and you actually have nothing to eat because you already ate all the snacks in your room. That being said, always stock up on your snacks (especially during finals week!).
 

#3: Laundry
Maybe you already do your own laundry, or maybe your mom still does it for you.  Regardless, doing laundry in college is one of the most inconvenient chores there is.  Some campuses provide in-dorm laundry rooms.  These are constantly busy and full, and it’s rare that every machine is actually in service.  Students get impatient sometimes and will stop a load early to put theirs in.  Personally, I hate the thought of someone else handling my clothes.  Many times I go to retrieve my clothing and I have things missing.  You’ll come to find that everyone loses things in the laundry room. Where do they go, you ask?  That is one of life’s greatest mysteries.

#4: Your family
They might drive you crazy, but at the end of the day your family is your biggest supporter.  It’s weird not seeing them on a daily basis anymore.  Sometimes, all you really want is a big hug from your parents to cheer you up.  Make an effort to call your family every week or so…they miss you and will want to know all of the great things you’re doing in college!





 
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I love College

For many College students in the Buffalo area, the semester has finally come to an end and many look forward to enjoying summer, after what seemed to be the never ending winter.  College grads reflect on their time spent at their undergrad and prepare themselves to move onto the real world.  Like Ferris Bueller once said, “life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” so what will you do to cherish your youth?


Time is something you can’t change, pause, or fast forward, but you can live each day to its fullest and make the memories of a life time! If you thought high school went by fast, just wait until College. As a student going into her senior year of undergrad, I can honestly tell you the four years truly passes you by in a flash.


While studying, building up your resume, and establishing connections for future career paths after graduation are important, I believe that making memories during this time of your life is precious. They say that the friendships you make in College are the ones that last a lifetime and if I were to give any advice for students around this time of the year, I would suggest that sometimes we need to just sit back and remember to not take life too serious.

 
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Best of 2013

I wanted to go over the top 10 best artists of 2013!
10.  Lady Gaga: Planning to go to space and 'Artpop'
9.  Lorde: Teenager from New Zealand released her debut album, 'Pure Heroine'
8.  Bruno Mars:  'Unorthodox Jukebox' and "Gorilla"
7.  Drake:  'Nothing Was the Same' and "Started from the Bottom"
6.  Katy Perry: 'Prism' gave us "Roar" "Unconditionally" and "Dark Horse"
5.  One Direction:  'Midnight Memories' and a 3-D movie, "This Is Us"
4.  Kanye West:  Father of North West with Kim Kardashian and his "New Slaves" single
3.  Justin Timberlake:  "The 20/20 Experience" and reuniting with 'NSYNC at the VMA's taking home 4 moonmen
2.  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:  "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love"
1.  Yes....MILEY CYRUS...she came in like a wrecking ball!  Tongue and twerking gets you noticed, especially since Hannah Montana is long gone.  She outshined Katy Perry and Lady Gaga this year...All hail Miley.
 
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Ready for St. Patrick's Day?



I am not Irish.  Well, not that I know of.  I am, however, ready for this weekend.  Tomorrow is the First Ward parade is tomorrow on Hamburg, O'Connell, Elk & Smith Street.  Most of the people know this one because they live in the neighborhood.  The larger parade is set for this Sunday, in our downtown Buffalo in Niagara Square at 2pm.  At 3pm, you can go to the Hotel at the Lafayette for no cover, free parking, in Pan Am Brewery & Grill on Washington Street (reminds me of 'The Hunger Games').  There, you can purchase Irish beverages, enjoy Irish music and dancers, and opens up before the parade if anyone wants some grub.  Music will be from 3:30-7:30pm.  You can park in the parking lot behind the brewery on Ellicott Street.

It's always good to have options this weekend.  If you are not feeling downtown, Allentown is nearby to cater for your St. Patty's Day festivities.  Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar opens at 12pm this Sunday for celebrating.  With their complimentary corned beef and cabbage, they are open until 4am!  Located right on Allen Street, try their food because kitchen closes at 3am.  Whether you want to go bar hopping, having a nice meal, or enjoying the parade, OR all three, be sure to deck yourself out in GREEN.  Irish or not, we live in Buffalo people.  Let's give St. Patrick's Day 2014 a party like no other...without the drunken fights.
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Ain't No Other Man but Matthew

When I think about my childhood, the first thing that comes in my mind is music, then television.  The artists I listened to, the shows I watched, movies I adored.  A lot hasn’t changed.  The battle between Britney, Christina, Jessica, and yes, Mandy Moore was ongoing until Mandy stopped recording, Jessica married Nick Lachey, and Britney married Kevin Federline.  Which one is not like the other?  Christina Maria Aguilera.  I put her above the others due to her versatility.  From ‘Genie in a Bottle’ to ‘Dirrty’ to ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ to ‘Not Myself Tonight’ and so on, Christina demonstrated she is capable of anything in the pop music industry. 
 
Her “genie” days go back to when Christina was 18 years old and by 2000, she won Best New Artist at the Grammy’s.  When she turned 21 and released Stripped, she not only made a statement she wasn’t a teenager anymore but jam packed an album of empowering singles.  There was ‘Beautiful,’ ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ ft. Lil’ Kim, and ‘Fighter’ that exhibited her seriousness to succeed as pop star unlike any of her generation.  Though Sarah Michelle Gellar did a poor parody of the pop star on an episode of Saturday Night Live regarding her controversial ‘Dirrty’ music video, Christina Aguilera replied at the time that she could have done a better job making fun of herself. 
 
I’ll skip ahead to 2006 when Back to Basics was literally, back to basics.  From fluff songs like “Ain’t No Other Man’ to heart wrenching songs such as ‘Hurt,’ definitely paid tribute to her 6-octave range of vocalic.  She was awarded the Best Pop Vocal Performance for ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ at the Grammy’s in 2007.  The album had its own persona of 1920’s-1950’s style of music, dating back to a more classic era.  Christina also changed her look from a hoop nose ring and black streaks to red lipstick and a 40s hairdo as a blonde bombshell.  At 25 years old and recently married to Jordan Bratman, Christina composed an album of her desires and fears of entering the family world. 
 
After having her son Max, Christina took a short break after Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits in 2008 until Bionic released in 2010.  I remember when she recently gave birth in 2008 and performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and they honored her for the Generation Award.  People were commenting on the spandex black jumpsuit she had worn that “made her look fat.”  I was shocked reading this for the first time thinking the scrutiny Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson consistently faced on this topic.  But, Christina was always petite as can be.  When Burlesque hit theaters in 2010, her figure was said to be “back to the way it was.”  The first film at age 29, starring alongside the pop sensation, Cher, Christina had already done it all.
 
In 2011, she signed on as one of the judges for the singing competition TV show, The Voice, along with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green.  Since this past Valentine’s Day, she’s engaged to Matthew Rutler, and maintains a civil relationship with her ex-husband.  Ten days later, she finds out she is pregnant!  With a wedding and a baby on the way, I hope this doesn’t put a halt to her music career.  I want something more after A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something.’

 
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Queen of the Diva's

When you hear the word diva, a few names may come to mind such as Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, etc., but the one that should stand out the most would have to be, the one and only, Mariah Carey. Her fame and angelic voice is legendary. With her breath taking high notes and collection of numerous awards, Mariah takes home the title as the queen diva.
How talented is Mariah? Well, just to put into perspective of how her talent has truly changed her life, here are a few of her attributions to the music industry. Her success is legendary: with over 200 million records sold worldwide,  9 multiplatinum albums, more number 1 hits than any other solo artist, 79 weeks at number 1 on the billboard’s  hot 100, most number 1’s on hot 100 female song writers, most number 1’s on hot 100 female producer, with 2 singles declared song of the decade, a world-wide best-selling Christmas Album, her legendary 5 octave range, 12 BET awards,5 Grammy’s, 17 music awards including artist of the millennium, BMI icon award. 21 AMA’s, and 31 billboard awards including artist of the decade, she is truly an international icon. It makes you wonder where on earth does she fit all of her record breaking awards!
Rise to stardom takes time and a lot of work, and for some, overcoming struggles. It almost seemed fame, talent, and glamour was destined to be in Mariah’s future. Mariah Carey was born on March 27th, 1970 in Long Island, New York. Her mother, Patricia Carey, was an opera star in New York and singing quickly became the center of Mariah’s life. At the age of 3 Mariah began to take a huge interest in singing and her mother would give her lessons. Growing up Mariah Carey had to overcome the hostility and stereotypes of being a mixed child, half Irish half African/ Venezuelan, and having divorced parents put her mother into a tough position; working many jobs to take care of three children on her own.
After high school she decided not to go to college, but take a jump start into her destined music career. Her talents were quickly noticed and producer Tommy Mottola from Sony/Columbia jumped at the chance to raise a star. He was also known for signing and contributing to the success of Whitney Houston. By the late 80’s early 90’s Mariah was preparing her first album, which little did she know would make music history.
As her first album reached the top of mainstream charts; Mariah Carey began her journey to mega stardom. For over 20 years Mariah has been creating music that has made an impact on the music industry. Recently she has released a single on February 12th from her new album debuting on May 6th, called “You’re Mine” as part of her Valentines appreciation. She has been promoting heavily on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to spread the love around the iconic holiday. To keep up with the super #diva, you can follow her @MariahCarey or check out updates, news, and sneak peeks on her personal website www.mariahcarey.com.


 
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