Thank You to DelVal

 

By: Johanna Marano April 30, 2017

In thirteen days, I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma from Delaware Valley University. In thirteen days, I will no longer be an undergrad student. In thirteen days, I will be a graduate and an alumni. Where did four years go? It seems like just yesterday I got my first tour and fell in love with the campus. Then I moved on campus for my freshman year and the adventure began. And now here we are at senior year. I have so much to be thankful for during my time here at DelVal. The list below just begins to touch on the things I am thankful for.

DelVal
Delaware Valley University – my home away from home for the past 4 years.
  1. Thank you for being my home away from home the past four years.
  2. Thank you for allowing me to go off on my own, grow up, and become independent.
  3. Thank you for introducing me to a diverse group of people, so different from back home.
  4. Thank you for letting me find some of my very best friends. Ones that I have learned and grown from; ones that I can see remaining a part of my life in the future.
  5. Thank you even for the people who came in and out of my life; they taught me so much about life and myself.
  6. Thank you for the professors who pushed and inspired me to do and be my very best to reach my goals. Especially the ones who reminded me of why I was here and where I was going.
  7. Thank you for all the opportunities you have given me, including working as a tutor, a supplemental instructor, and a resident assistant. From these positions, I gave back to the community, helped others, developed my leadership, and grew as an individual.
  8. Thank you for allowing me to pursue my passion in Small Animal Science.
  9. Thank you for allowing me to discover and explore my passion in English.
  10. And lastly, thank you for putting me on the road to follow my dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

Well DelVal, here is to our last two weeks together. I have to say, it has been one heck of a ride over the past four years. However, without you, I would never have the opportunity to go on my next adventure. I will miss you DelVal, but I am looking forward to what the future holds at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on St. Kitts Island.

A Review of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out

By: Johanna Marano April 30, 2017

Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is such a beautiful, yet conceptual, and highly ambitious depiction of emotions. When it comes to previous films, I do not think anything can compare to it and the way it conveys the emotions we all experience on the daily. This movie is so powerful, not only for its intended younger audience, but for people of all ages. It is so wonderfully crafted that you become invested and it hits you with all the feels.

I remember taking two of the children I babysit to go see this movie when it first opened in the theaters. I was nineteen at the time and I recall it as clear as day being on an emotional roller coaster throughout the movie. The part with Bing Bong had to be the worst part; I admit to sitting in the theater and letting out a good cry. There were so many other feelings throughout, but in a good way. I recently re-watched this movie for my Young Adult Literature class and I was once again hit with all the emotions. It also made me more aware of how complicated emotions are, especially for our younger coming of age children.

Emotions are complicated on a good day to say the least. I, personally, do not even want to go back and try to remember how complicated they were around the age of eleven, the same age as Riley (our protagonist in the film). Or even the time when I first entered the world of being a teenager. It is usually no fun trying to figure out what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way, especially when these feelings are new. Sometimes you do not even have the words to describe what you feel, making it even harder to comprehend.

This is why I find this movie so innovating. Inside Out does not depict the emotions to simplify them because, as we learn in the film, they are very complex. What the film is capable of doing, is presenting emotions in a simplified format to make it more understandable for their target audience – children (and even the young adults and parents that take the kids to the movies). One of the key aspects of this format is in the presentation of the characters.

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The lovable emotions from Inside Out – Disgust (green), Joy (yellow), Anger (red), Sadness (blue), and Fear (purple).

The five major emotions are personified into these very lovable characters. The design of each character is so brilliant because they are not only aesthetically pleasing but very informative. For example, Anger is red and brick-like correlating to his character emotion, where Disgust is green and almost broccoli-like in a weird kind of way (a vegetable that most kids find gross!) to symbolize her emotion. In addition, if you look closely at the emotions, they are not drawn with clear and distinct lines. This is very unlike the characters in the outside world. Instead, they seem to be fuzzy around the edges with a sort of mental energy emanating from them. I find it to be a visual representation of how the emotions are not always constant.

One of the biggest things I picked up on is how all the emotions need to work together in order to make Riley successful in life. Although Joy wants her to be happy and shield her form all things sad and bad, it is not possible. She wants Riley to be happy all the time; keeping Sadness away from Riley’s control panel for her personality and memory bank. However, this is not healthy for Riley, no person can be happy all the time. Without allowing her to feel and express these other emotions, she cannot truly appreciate the good moments in her life. Everyone needs the bad to understand and appreciate the good.

Joy realizes this when she ends up down in the memory dump. She comes across a forgotten memory that was initially sad but turned happy; one that she only recalled the happy portion from. She has this epiphany about her and her fellow emotions – they need to work together because no memory or event ever involves just one emotion. Together they help each other to create balance, complexity, and context within Riley. They are there to emphasize and embrace each other’s role. For example, Sadness was not there to bring Riley down on purpose but to act as a warning sign that something is troubling her. When Riley is able to recognize this, she can learn to talk about it or get help, instead of suppressing what she feels. If she did, this would be even more damaging to her overall personality and lead to a miserable life.

This is so important because it shows viewers, especially the target audience, that it is normal and important to feel and express these emotions. By doing so, it leads someone to have a much healthier life. I have realized this over the years and know how important it is to have this wide range of emotions. I have always been the type of person who tries to make others happy, similar to Joy. But like I mentioned before, you cannot be happy all the time. That is impossible.

I often tend to keep my emotions bottled up, which is not good. I try not to get angry in front of people; although I admit I can get a little sassy. I am also not one to be upset and cry when others are around. However, bottling emotions up is not good because there eventually comes a time when you cannot take anymore and explode. And sometimes you just need to have a good cry – it’s healthy! Usually this happens in private, but if I am with a really close friend then maybe I will show that side of myself.

But I have at least learned that I need to be able to talk about what is going on and bothering me. I admit that this can still be difficult to do. But by doing so, I can clear my head and work through what I am experiencing. Inside Out is such a beautiful depiction of all this and clearly showcases how important every emotion is not only the individual but to each other. I strongly recommended people of all ages to watch this movie.

Not Defined By Your Hogwarts House

By: Johanna Marano April 24, 2017

I am going to start this off with admitting the fact that I am a Harry Potter fanatic. (Writing this is just building my excitement because my family and I are going to Harry Potter World for the second time this coming summer!) The series feels as though it has always composed a major portion of my life, although I probably did not start reading them until about 6th grade. However, one I started, I could not stop. I just need to keep reading and reading. I became captivated by this extraordinary and well-crafted world that is paralleled to our own.

It has always been a pet peeve of mine that I could not watch the movie until I read the book. The same went for Harry Potter. I wanted to have all the details of the book before the movie cut a handful out or changed details due to time constraints. I have only read the books one time through, so far, and finished the final book in like 9th or 10th grade. However, I have watched the movies countless times and my love for the series continues to grow each time.

I feel as though I grew up alongside these characters and as a result, I walked always having learned numerous life lessons. Even now as I continue to re-watch the films, I discover or take away something new each time. At some point in the far future, I hope to get the chance to reread the entire series because I know it will be a completely different experience than the first time around. I am most definitely not the same person I was when I first read these books. Even though the story is the same, the novels are going to have a different effect on me now that I am older.

I recent reread The Sorcerer’s Stone for my Young Adult Literature Course and have already begun to notice this. When I first read the series, more so towards the end, I recognized how some of the characters had qualities about them that did not fit in the stereotypical characteristics of the Hogwarts they were placed in. And if you are a Harry Potter fan, you should know how important the Sorting Hat is and the house you call family.

Sorting Hat
Harry Potter being sorted into his house by the Sorting Hat upon his arrival to Hogwarts.

What I am beginning to notice is how so many of the characters fit in to this concept of not just “belong” to one house. And this goes for so many of the characters other than the main three – Harry, Ron, and Hermione. For example this applies to Dumbledore, Snape, and even Draco. All the characters grow and learn from their experiences over the series, causing them to develop particular traits over others, some of which are not defined by their initial house placement. Just as I am not the same person I was when I first read the series, they are not the same characters as they were when they were first sorted by the Sorting Hat.

How is it that the Sorting Hat, although it appears to be extremely knowledgeable, know precisely in what house to place the students. It is said that a Gryffindor is brace, a Hufflepuff is loyal, a Ravenclaw is intelligent, and a Slytherin is cunning. How can a student at the age of eleven, who has had little experience, knowledge, and training, be accurately placed in to one of the four houses? How can the Sorting Hat foresee the type of person each individual will become? As the series progresses, we see how there is no clear cut definition as to what characteristics each house is built on because the characters begin to overlap. The characteristics assigned to each house merely act as a “base line”, for people are much more complex and not simply defined.

I would say that for most of the characters, they could fall under two or more houses based on the characteristics they express and embrace over the course of the series. I think the most obvious character is Snape, who is a Slytherin. You cannot deny that his is an extremely cunning character – as a Slytherin is known to be. Although he is capable of deceiving Voldemort in to believing that he is on his side, he is extremely loyal to Dumbledore and bravely accepted his fate. Based on the latter two characteristics, it would be very fitting to say that Snape also carries the traits of a Hufflepuff and a Gryffindor, respectively.

This just goes to show that people are not defined by what others say they are or who they once were. People can change over time through their experiences, leading them to develop other traits. Their traits can only be defined by themselves, in the manner in which they choose to act on them.

This is one of the reasons I love and respect Snape so much; people think they have him all figured out, but his is far much more complicated than that. Throughout a majority of the series, we are led to believe that he lives up to the Slytherin characteristics and is not a good character, acting against Harry. By the end of the series, we learn he really is not that bad, but rather misunderstood and does not always go about things in the right way. However, leading up to that point people have always tried to define him based on the house he was placed in.

I think this is why I cannot bring myself to take the Pottermore quiz on which house I would belong in. Although I am a diehard fan, part of me does not want to know and then be defined by that house and its “base line” characteristics. I know there have been moments in my life when I have expressed characteristics from all four houses because there is no way to strictly be defined as one particular house. Plus part of me really wants to be Slytherin, simply because Draco is my absolute favorite. (What can I say, I love a “bad boy” – but like Snape, he does not fully fit in to the Slytherin mold. We see him develop as a character over the series and struggle with who he wants to be and what others want him to be. Despite what others say, I will forever defend Draco for being misunderstood. End small rant)

Maybe one day, I will bring myself to take the quiz and discover which house I belong in. As long as I remember that I am not defined by that house and its characteristics, there is no real harm in finding out. It is the traits that I favor and act upon that will define me as a person. As the great Albus Dumbledore would say “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

Hogwarts Houses
A description of the “base line” characteristics of each Hogwarts house.

25 Quotes for Dancers

By: Johanna Marano April 24, 2017

Dancing has always composed a major portion of my life. I honestly could not have imagined participating in some other sport or activity over the past eighteen years. Through dancing, I found an enjoyable way to express myself. Dancing did not only allow me to improve and develop my technique, but helped shaped me into the person I am today. Here I compiled a list of some of my favorite dance quotes that helped me to keep striving to better myself.

  1. “I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” – Mikhail Baryshnikov
  2. “Dancers are the athletes of God.” – Albert Einstein
  3. “You have not witnessed a real workout until you’ve watched a dancer practice.”
  4. “Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.”
  5. “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
  6. Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.” – Martha Graham
  7. “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”
  8. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
  9. “It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer”. – Shanna LaFleur
  10. “They call it dance, I call it life.”
  11. “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” – Martha Graham
  12. “Dance isn’t just dance, it’s magical, something that sets your free.”
  13. “Why walk when you can dance?” – Ellen van Dam
  14. “Dance is a conversation between body and soul.”
  15. “I could not adequately describe the way dance makes me feel. It is as though I had somehow found a way to sever the chords holding me to this earth and for a moment if only a fraction of a second I can fly.”
  16. “I don’t just dance. I perform. I breathe. I watch the world disappear. I release my feelings. I lead with my heart. I tear down my walls. I stop feeling sad. I lose the pain. I let go. I smile. No, I don’t just dance, I do so much more.”
  17. “Everybody can dance; it’s the drive and passion that makes you a dancer.”
  18. “I dance because there’s no greater feeling in the world than moving to a piece of music and letting the rest of the world disappear.”
  19. “Don’t dance for the audience, dance yourself.” – Bob Fosse
  20. “To touch, to move, to inspire. This is the true gift of dance.” – Aubrey Lynch
  21. “Dancing allows me to learn about my limitations and strengths, my ability to cope with adversity and to get farther than I thought I could. You find out what you’re made of.”
  22. “Dance from your heart and love your music, and the audience will love you in return.” – Maria Tallchief
  23. “Thinking is the biggest mistake a dancer could make. You have to feel.”
  24. “Dancing is an art. The floor is my canvas and I am the brush. And whatever I create comes from the heart.”
  25. “Dance enables to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.”
Ballerina
“Ballerina” by Andrew Atroshenko – I came across quite a few ballerina paintings by Atroshenko while compiling my quotes and fell in love with his work immediately.

25 Inspirational Quotes by Lady Gaga

By: Johanna Marano April 16, 2017

From the moment I first heard Lady Gaga’s music, back in 2008, I fell in love and have been a faithful fan ever since. Each album she has released has such a different vibe to it; there is nothing she can’t do. However, the one aspect about her that has remained constant is her devotion and love for her fans. She continues to do what she does for us, her Little Monsters. I find Mother Monster so inspirational, especially when it comes to your individuality and body image. Here is list of some of my favorite quotes from Lady Gaga, from both her song lyrics and interviews.

  1. “I’m beautiful in my way/ ‘Cause God makes no mistakes/ I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way. – Born this Way
  2. “‘There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are’/ She said, ‘Cause he made you perfect, babe’” – Born this way
  3. “I just wanna be myself/ And I want you to love me for who I am.” – Hair
  4. “I just want to be free/ I just want to be me.” – Hair
  5. “And I’ll still love you even if I can’t/ See you anymore.” – Joanne
  6. “I’ve learned love is like a brick/ You can build a house or sink a dead body.” – Judas
  7. “I’m gonna marry the night/ I won’t give up on my life/ I’m a warrior queen/ Live passionately tonight.” – Marry the Night
  8. “I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away/ but baby, I just need one good one to stay.” – Million Reasons
  9. “If you’re a strong female/ you don’t need permission.” – Scheiβe
  10. “You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time/ You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together/ You’ll be fine.” – ’Til it Happens to You
  11. “’Til it happens to you, you don’t know/ How it feels/ How it feels/ ’Til it happens to you, you won’t know/ It won’t be real/ No it won’t be real/ Won’t know how it feels” – ’Til it Happens to You
  12. “Sometimes in life you don’t always feel like a winner, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a winner, you want to be like yourself.”
  13. “A record deal doesn’t make you an artist; you make yourself an artist.”
  14. “I want my fans to love themselves. It’s almost like I want to hypnotize them so when they hear my music they love themselves instantly.”
  15. “I am a walking piece of art every day, with my dreams and my ambitions forward at all times in an effort to inspire my fans to lead their life in that way.”
  16. “At the end of the day, you won’t be happy until you love yourself.”
  17. “You have to be unique and different, and shine in your own way.”
  18. “You define beauty for yourself; society doesn’t define your beauty.”
  19. “Some women follow men, and some women follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”
  20. “Ignore all hatred and criticism. Live for what you create, and die protecting it.”
  21. “Isn’t that the greatest thing that you could possibly teach one of your students? I mean would you rather them remember that one chapter of the textbook you taught them – or do you want them to remember that you taught them to be a good person? The best mentors in my life taught me that no matter how successful I became, to be nice to everybody, from the top to the bottom.
  22. “Never let a single soul tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”
  23. “Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I’m always the same person inside.”
  24. “Fight and push harder for what you believe in you’d be surprised; you are much stronger than you think.”
  25. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, or how much money you’ve got in your pocket because tonight, and every night after you can be whoever it is that you want to be.”
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Lady Gaga

Delaware Valley University’s Annual 30th Night

By: Johanna Marano April 16, 2017

Thursday April 13th marked a monumental day for Delaware Valley University’s current seniors. It marked 30 days until graduation for the Class of 2017. This is an annual event put on by the university to honor and celebrate the graduating class. Being a senior, I decided to attend this once in a life time event and had a wonderful time.

I was aware of this event earlier in the semester, but did not know what it would involve. About a week prior to the event, I received an email invitation from Dr. Gallo, our recently inaugurated president. She emailed those of us who were graduating to remind us that Commencement is drawing very near. And although Commencement will mark our finale here at DelVal, she wanted us all to come out for 30th night. It would be a time for food, drinks, games, and socializing.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. Me being me, a not an overly social person, this did not seem like my type of event. Plus a majority of my friends are juniors, so it wasn’t like I could go with them. Part of me didn’t want to go because if I did, I would probably be alone. But I knew that this was one of those moments that would only happen once in my life. How many times would I be able to celebrate 30 days to graduation? So I decided to ask my Co-RA (resident assistant) if she was going to be going. She said she was with her girlfriend, who happened to be one of my friends from freshman year, and said for me to join them.

When we arrived at the event, we had to check in. Those running the event worked off of a list that contained the names of all the students who were set to be graduating next month. It also listed whether or not the student was at least 21 years old because there was alcohol being served. This was the real reason I was there – I’m joking, but it did have a big influence on my decision to go. If you are of age, you received a wristband with two drink vouchers for the night.

The whole event was nicely arranged and had a celebratory atmosphere. There was a DJ off to the side that was playing today’s hits. There were not too many people there when we first arrived. As the night went on, more people showed to make a fairly nice turn out. People were talking and laughing, moving around and socializing with one another.

In the center of the room, there was an assortment of food: cheese and crackers, vegetables, pulled pork sliders, vegetable egg rolls, boneless buffalo chicken wings, Swedish meatballs, and empanadas to name a few. All the food that I had was absolutely delicious. (They even allowed us to take some leftovers after the event was over.)

Along the back wall was the place that I headed to first – the alcohol. There were different wines and beers, but what immediately caught my attention was the Mike’s Hard Lemonade. That is my favorite drink so I was set for the evening. I obviously used both of my vouchers because free alcohol is free alcohol.

They had a DelVal printed backdrop with some props for people to take pictures at. There were also games set up like Can Jam, Ladder Ball, and corn hole. I played Can Jam and corn hole with my friends for part of the time.

Most of the time, we just sat around and talked to each other. One of my friends who graduated in the fall even came back for a surprise visit. I did not think I would see him until we walked at graduation, but it was nice catching up now. I was also able to talk with some of the faculty members that were my professors, in addition to the deans. Dr. Gallo was also there and was traveling to each table to talk to the students. She talked to about upcoming events and what we had planned, if anything, after graduation.

I am really happy that I decided to go to 30th night and share this with my fellow classmates. I had a really enjoyable time socializing, eating, drinking, and playing some games. It will definitely be a night I will remember when I look back at my senior year of college. Now here is to the last 30 days to make any last amazing memories at college.

20 Inspirational Quotes from Harry Potter

By: Johanna Marano April 9, 2017

The Harry Potter series seems as though it has always composed a major portion of my life. Once I started, I could not stop. I was just captivated by this extraordinary and well-crafted world that is paralleled to our own. I feel as though I grew up alongside these characters and as a result, I walked away having learned numerous life lessons. Here is a list of my all-time favorite quotes from the entire series (from both the books and movies). *Most come from Dumbledore because of course they do.*

  1. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore
  2. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – Albus Dumbledore
  3. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” – Albus Dumbledore
  4. “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.” – Albus Dumbledore
  5. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Albus Dumbledore
  6. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore
  7. “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore
  8. “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” – Albus Dumbledore
  9. “Do not pity the dead, Harry, pit the living. And above all pity those who live without love.” – Albus Dumbledore
  10. “Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! The pain is part of being human . . . the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.” – Albus Dumbledore
  11. “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” – Albus Dumbledore
  12. “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – Ginny Weasley
  13. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery.” – Hermione Granger
  14. “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” – Hermione Granger
  15. “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” – Luna Lovegood
  16. “It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.” – Remus Lupin
  17. “I am what I am an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed, my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth bothern’ with.” – Rubeus Hagrid
  18. “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black
  19. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black
  20. “The ones who love us never really leave us, you can always find them in here.” – Sirius Black
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The Harry Potter book covers I grew up knowing and loving.

Cooking – An Occupation or Hobby?: An Interview with Tyler Peters

By: Johanna Marano April 9, 2017

Tyler Peters is chef at Parkhurst Dining at Delaware Valley University. He can be found at the Bravo station, where he cooks that night’s special, which is made to order for the students. I think I speak for a majority of the DelVal students when I say that he is our favorite. He is always so friendly and personable, making you feel more than just someone who is standing in line. Over my time here at DelVal, we have become friends and I wanted to sit down with him to learn a little more about what he loves to do.

How long have you been in the culinary industry?

I have been working in the industry for 10 years.

Why did you decide to become a chef? Did you always enjoy cooking?

I’ve just always loved it. I have been cooking since I was 8. I really never gave doing anything else a thought. I just always wanted to make food for other people.

Did you go to a culinary or vo-tech school?

I went to Middle Bucks Institute of Technology during high school for 3 years. (This is a vo-tech school and prepared him to go into the culinary industry upon completion of the program)

What do your daily task involve?

They involve prepping my own ingredients, cooking them, and then serving them to the students. My station is made to order, so the students pick the ingredients they want in their dish. I also need to clean and sanitize my station.

How long have you been working here at DelVal?

I have been here for 4 years.

Prior to working here, what other culinary experiences do you have?

I was at Moe’s Southwest Grill for 5 years. The last 3 years I worked there I was a manager. This was also right out of high school. During the first 2 years I was at Moe’s, I also worked at a bistro in Buckingham. Before all this, I had other smaller jobs in high school. I also worked at Wawa as a part of my vo-tech program.

What do you love most about cooking?

I love eating what I make. I also love seeing the reactions from other people when they eat what I made. I like knowing that a simple piece of food I make can change someone’s day. It’s just awesome! Cooking isn’t always a job to me; it’s more of a hobby since I enjoy it so much.

What do you not enjoy?

My biggest pet peeve in the kitchen is when people take short cuts, especially when they have the time to do what needs to be done.

What is your favorite meal or item to make?

*This question was super hard for him to answer. So I told him to pick his top 3 foods.* Overall I love making breakfast food. But my top 3 would be old fashion beef stew, French toast, and stir fry.

When cooking, do you usually follow a recipe or not?

Nope, I just wing it. I’ve never been one to follow a recipe. I don’t need one. I may use one every so often to get an idea or to be sure that I’m doing something the right way. But everything is usually on my own.

Is there anything you don’t like working with or making?

Not really. I mean ground turkey is weird and I just don’t like it. Also anything where the blue cheese and cottage cheese are visible is a no. Not that I wouldn’t work with them, but I don’t like them.

Would you ever consider opening your own restaurant?

Yes that is my dream and end goal. I’m actually trying to work on opening a food truck this summer with a friend.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you do?

It would definitely have to be something using my hands. I couldn’t do a desk job. Something like being a blacksmith or glass blower would be cool. Also I would like to one day learn how to make my own knives. (I asked him if he would then potential sell these. He said no they would just be for him because he is selfish.)

If you had the choice to go out to eat at a restaurant or stay in and cook, which would you choose? Why?

I would probably just stay in and cook. I don’t really like going out. What I made would depend on who I was with because I am a people pleaser, so I would make whatever they wanted. I just like seeing other people happy eating my food. But if I did go out, it would be at like a bistro or a steakhouse. I am very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

20 Inspirational Disney Quotes

By: Johanna Marano April 2, 2017

Disney has always been a big part of my life, both growing up and currently. I can’t tell you how many times I am sitting in my room and put on Disney music while working. You have to admit, many of the songs are so incredibly catchy. In general, there is just something magical and inspiring about Disney that I have always loved and continue to enjoy. Maybe it’s the music, the stories, or simply reliving my childhood. Either way, I know the magic of Disney will continue to captivate me in years to come. So here is a list of 20 of my favorite inspirational Disney quotes.

  1. “Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.” – Aladdin
  2. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” – Bambi
  3. “She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” – Beauty and the Beast
  4. “Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.” – Brave
  5. “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing the dream that you wish will come true.” – Cinderella
  6. “When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!” – Finding Nemo
  7. “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” – Frozen
  8. “A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” – Hercules
  9. “Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without ya.” – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  10. “Who says that my dreams have to stay my dreams.” – The Little Mermaid
  11. “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” – The Lion King
  12. “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all.” – Mulan
  13. “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” – Pirates of the Caribbean.
  14. “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” – Pocahontas
  15. “They say if you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true.” – Sleeping Beauty
  16. “Man has always learned from the past. After all you can’t learn history in reverse!” – The Sword in the Stone
  17. “Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” –Tangled
  18. “Trust your heart and let your fate decide.” – Tarzan
  19. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh
  20. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
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The statue of the man who brought the magic to life – Mr. Walt Disney – with Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

A Review of Tasty’s One-Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta

By: Johanna Marano April 2, 2017

If you are familiar with Facebook, or even Buzzfeed, I am sure the name Tasty will ring a bell. I hope I am not alone when I tell you how much I love and appreciate Tasty. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, let me express my sincere condolences to you because you are missing out. I highly suggest you look up Tasty and discover all the deliciousness you have been denying yourself.

So for those who do not know, Tasty is a brilliant company that provides incredible recipes for “food that’ll make you close your eyes, lean back, and whisper ‘yessss’”. I am always looking to see what exciting recipes have been posted. If it is something I find interesting, I typically share the post and tag my sister in it. See, my family is really big in trying new recipes. And by new, I mean containing things we typically eat that are just presented in a new and exciting way.

We typically go for dishes that contain ingredients like chicken, pasta, buffalo sauce, cheese, onions, or corn. We wouldn’t go for some dinner containing seafood for example. Also when we decide on a recipe, we sometimes tweak it to fit our liking. For example, we may not use the full amount of buffalo sauce or spices – some people in my family are a little more sensitive to hot and spicy foods than others.

A few days ago, Tasty posted a recipe for a One-Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta. From the looks of the video, it seemed as though the whole family would enjoy it. The ingredient list consisted of the following:

  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 5 cups milk
  • 4 cups penne pasta
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

It had many of the ingredients we all loved – chicken, pasta, cheese, and onions. We often make fajitas, where we each build our own with the ingredients of our choice, so this seemed as though it would just be a twist on the meal we love. Instead of using tortillas as our starch, we would be using pasta. The only questionable ingredients were the spices.

So while cooking, I decided to not use the full amount of each spice in case it was too hot for those who are sensitive. I initially went for 1 tsp. of the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. However, as I continued to cook, I added a few more sprinkles of the chili powder and cumin. I did not add anymore garlic powder because I was out and did not feel like searching for a new container within the cupboard. Also, we failed to have penne pasta in the house; instead, I decided to use rotini, which is a spiral shaped. No biggie, for the shape of the pasta had no bearing on the taste of the dinner.

Overall, the dinner was absolutely fantastic! And will definitely be added to our recipe book to be made again in the future. Personally, I think that the full amount of spices could have been used to just enhance the taste a little bit more. The dinner was not tasteless by any means, but it was certainly not as flavorful as it should’ve been. The fam also agreed that next time the full measurement could be used because there was clearly enough food for the flavors to get evenly distributed to without being over spicy.

The other really great aspect of this dinner was that it was all made in one pot. With that said, you hit all the major food groups in one dish. There was protein, vegetables, dairy, and carbohydrates all in one. But do you want to know my favorite part of a one-pot meal? It means less dishes to wash later!! That’s one of the great features of most of Tasty’s dishes. They are typically not overly complicated or time consuming to make, in addition to not dirtying too many dishes.

This dinner was simple enough, especially if you are busy and do not have an extensive amount of time to spend in the kitchen. Cook the chicken in a pot. Remove the chicken, to then cook the peppers and onions – in the same pot. Once that is cooked, put the chicken back in to the pot, with all the spices. After that is all combined, the milk and pasta were added. This cooked until the pasta was done and the sauce thickened. Then the cheese was stirred in and it was ready to serve. *This was very much an abridged version of the recipe. Please see the link below for the full recipe.*

I would for sure recommend this recipe to anyone who enjoys fajitas but is looking for a twist on this classic item. It is also ideal for someone who wants a simple and not overly time consuming meal to fix up.

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My take on Tasty’s One-Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta. It was absolutely delicious – the whole family went back for more.

To view the full recipe on Buzzfeed, click the following link:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alvinzhou/this-one-pot-fajita-pasta-will-add-spice-to-your-weeknight-r?bffbtasty&utm_term=.grQKyDw7m#.expQNGWJo