Look Mom, I did it.

Four years. It all flew by way too fast.

I sit here finishing up one of the last assignments of my college education. I cannot help but think about the dream that I lived in for these past few years.

Growing up, college was a goal very far from my reality. My parents barely finished the sixth grade and I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I Googled how to fill out my FAFSA. Despite the struggles my parents went through to seek their American Dream, I finally realized that my happiness was their ultimate goal.

Storytelling. It’s what I absolutely love. I want to give a voice to those individuals in the community who otherwise wouldn’t have their thoughts heard without my help.

The University of Florida is home to The Center for Media Innovation and Research. I am forever grateful to have had the privilege to be trained in a part of this center, otherwise known as the Innovation News Center.

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The newsroom has been my home for the past couple years. From scurrying to make slot for WUFT ‘s First at Five newscast to staying up until 5am trying to finish a news package for a tv class.

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The struggle is real but the memories made with classmates are truly are priceless.

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The Tipping Point Review

Living in a world in which social media has a strong and bold presence, it is often difficult to ignore when something becomes a “fad”. This can relate to anything trending on Facebook, Instagram, and even well-known news outlets. By reading The Tipping Point, I was (for a couple hours) immersed into a world that described how unique ideas become “magic” as author Malcolm Gladwell describes it. Through thought-out examples, he provides readers with an in-depth look into his journalistic mind. I was left wondering and asking more and more probing questions that I looked forward to knowing the answers to as I read deeper into the pages of The Tipping Point.

                Gladwell begins his book by explaining “The Law of the Few”. Here we have “connectors”, “maverns”, and “salesmen”. While reading this chapter, I was a little disappointed by the lack of modern examples used to explain these factors. By modern, I mean novel at the time this book was published. The early 2000s was jam-packed with several fashion and pop culture trends. Why not tell the story of halter tops or “Bop It” toys?

Now Gladwell’s chapter on the Stickiness Factor probably has to be my favorite part of the entire book. If you have read the book, you have probably guessed the reason by now. What better way for Gladwell to capture a reader’s attention all while trying to make his point? Using the example of children’s shows adds a bit of color to the middle of The Tipping Point. They truly capture why a fad can become so popular. I mean, just watch this and tell me for yourself.

Lastly, Gladwell describes the true “power of context” in a way that is impactful  by just merely using his words.  He simply and accurately states that people are a lot more sensitive and aware of their own surroundings as they may seem. I look back and realize that this bystander effect is extremely relevant in a college environment such as the University of Florida. Students/peers are least likely to take action if there is “safety in numbers”.

Although Gladwell’s book did provide me, the reader, with specific rules and factors that play into an epidemic, I was left with a raised eyebrow at times. Focusing specifically with his example of the “spreading of a virus”, I need not know how an actual illness spreads. Now, I understand that what might be common knowledge to some, may not be common knowledge for all. (If someone reading this does not know how the flu spreads from person to person, please forgive me. I have attached a link explaining it for you.) Gladwell spends his precious time on explaining something widely known and while I appreciate the metaphor and comparison, I was disappointed at the number of examples given. With somebody as journalistic as Malcolm Gladwell, who was a staff writer for the New Yorker, I was expecting a book painted with beautiful adjectives and details that sketched out the pictures for my brain to interpret.

Ditching the fork for sneakers

Eating is probably one of my top 5 favorite things to do.

However, I do tend to overindulge quite a bit. After several tablets of Alka-Seltzer and bottles of Pepto this week, it was about time I did something good for my body and soul.

It’s time to exercise!

I definitely needed a bit of motivation after a whole week of being a couch potato. Andrea‘s blog was perfect to read through during my time of need.  Not only were her pictures motivating but I also got to learn a little bit more about Andrea as a person. I can now truly say that her writing captures precisely how hardworking she is in real life.

I’m about to sound like a super cliche fortune cookie but what better way to know a little bit more about a person than to take time reading their posts. So Anastasia is someone I have had a couple classes with but have never really gotten to know on a personal level. I’m happy to see that she “feels” me on many aspects of being a college senior.

And last but not least, I was able to read about Daniela‘s newsroom shenanigans! This girl probably has to be one of the most dedicated women I know. From her accomplishments in the newsroom and even just life in general, she is someone I really look up to when it comes to positiveness.

Coffee truly is for the soul

This has definitely been a busy week back from a short-lived Spring Break.

I will miss sleeping-in in the mornings and snuggling up in my favorite red blanket all day.

Getting back into the loop of school work was trying my life. This week, I had to quickly figure out a way to feel energized and ready to be a productive lady.

During my usual weekly trip to the grocery store, I picked up two items that I have not purchased since my freshman year of college.

I felt like a true victor as I dunked my Dunkin Donuts coffee package and Sweet Ice Cream Creamer into my shopping buggy.

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Those were probably single two most life-changing items I have purchased this year from Publix.

Also, this is super random but in case you weren’t aware, Publix has amazing weekly deals that can save you a ton of stress and money.

I always get the munchies when I talk about food. Right now I’m craving a good cheesy slice of pizza. I guess it doesn’t help that I have been scrolling through Amanda Brennan‘s blog. My mouth is watering at your pizza photos, Amanda.

Another awesome blog that I just read through is Kayla James‘s. Not only has she explained where and where not to eat in Gainesville, but she has also taught me how to dress cute while doing it all.

This is probably super random but I just spent like 2 hours reading through the beauty trends that Mari just posted about. I have never been the type of girl to try all the popular face masks trends but my skin’s been feeling a little dull so why not give it a whirl?

Recovering Fast and Staying Full.

Brianda Villegas, here.

This week has definitely been a trying one for me.

I woke up early Monday morning with the worst sore throat pain I have felt since high school. Luckily, my doctors have been taking great care of me and am on the speedy road to recovery.

As you may have guessed so, eating was incredibly difficult this entire week due to my sickness.

After chugging bottles upon bottles of Gatorade, my throat pain managed to let up a bit and I was able to get solid food into my body on Wednesday.

I was told to go easy and stick with softer foods but I was craving a wholesome home-cooked meal.

I took my little butt to the grocery store and look through the aisles for that perfect bell pepper to stuff with spiced ground beef.

17093104_10202834397418092_1052198262_o To my surprise, one of the local grocery stores had very cheap but high quality veggies.

I rushed my way home, although I shouldn’t have. I could already taste the sweet juices of the peppers and savory beef in my mouth.

After a bit of meal prepping and a lot of chopping, I finally stuck those stuffed suckers into the oven before taking them out.

It was probably the best meal I’ve had all week.

I guess these pepper don’t really count as “spring break bod meal prep” but it’s okay because I’m expecting my grandmother to stuff me to the brim with her infamous rice.

It will be a long but much needed break but feel free to keep in contact with me during this time over my page!

I can’t wait to hear what all you have been cookin’ up in the meantime!

Call me, beep me, message me: Facebook

If I seem a little busy, here’s why: Brianda Villegas

Food and Memories

Sometimes, I can’t help but think about how a place, with its smells and sounds, reminds me of interesting memories.

Yesterday, I was driving east on University Avenue when I looked over and saw the restaurant my ex-boyfriend took me on our first date.

I’ve been back to this place multiple times before with friends, however, it’s always a different feeling when I drive by on my own.

Despite the difficulties with the end of that relationship, I still am so happy to have discovered this restaurant.

Bistro 1245 looks very prim and quaint next to its neighbor, Leonardo’s Pizza.

My friends and I take occasional trips to Bistro.

Its tomato-based aromas fill my nostrils and make my mouth water every single time.

Although Bistro’s price tag is very similar to that of Swamp’s, their meals are not only picture perfect but they are decadent as well.

I mean, just take a look at this picture!

I wish my homemade sandwiches looked as good as this.

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Long week, long glasses?

Long glasses? Of what, might you ask?

Well in this instance, I am talking about tall glasses of champagne. With a little splash of orange juice of course.

Getting back into the routine of school and work has been a bit difficult for me.

This morning, I woke up at 6am, had a workout from 7 to 8am, and one-man-banded a full news shift 9 thirty am until 6 pm.

Yes, my feet hurt and yes I came home as hungry as can be.

After making myself a bowl of very bland-tasting pasta, I realized that my weekend was finally starting.

This calls for a mimosa morning in my near future.

One of my most favorite places to get this bubbly drink is the Swamp Restaurant.

They have the loveliest morning atmosphere, allowing customers to sit out on their patio to enjoy the weather.

I had the opportunity to go there for my 21st birthday this summer and had a great experience.

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Aside from the wide variety of cocktails available, Swamp also serves scrumptious brunch items like belgian waffles and omelettes.

These plates will leave you licking your fingers and asking your waitress for seconds.

I do recommend, however, to make sure your eyes are not bigger than your wallet when eating here.

The menu items are a bit pricey but they are perfect when you are out celebrating for a special occasion.

My final and most favorite reason why I encourage others to try this place is because the location is so close to the UF campus.

 

Fried Food is Good Food

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Look at this beauty.

This is from the cutest restaurant in all of Gainesville.

From the polka dotted table cloths, to the blueberry soda, this is a place I will definitely go back to.

Not only was the food amazing but the service was impeccable.

Our waitress was a sweetheart.

The multiple times I’ve been here, I’ve gotten the fried avocado rolls.

As soon as you take a bite, there is a an explosion of crispyness that erupts in your mind.

There are not many words that can explain how amazing this place was.

Aand the only way to figure this out is to go try it yourself.

 

Welcome to My Stomach, Everyone!

First of all I would like to start off by expressing how excited I am to be writing a blog on one of my most favorite things in the world.

You guessed it! FOOD!

I am all about being a healthy individual. However, that does not mean I cannot take a couple cheat days a week.

My key to a happy stomach is moderation. I will vow to all of you, right now, that I will not turn this blog topic into an unhealthy habit.

This blog will serve as a fun way to share favorite restaurants, meals, and even recipes with my readers.

As a college senior at the University of Florida, I have had my fair share of ramen noodle dinners and Jimmy John’s sandwiches.

I want to end my semester off with a bang!

As well as some cuisine knowledge under my belt. No pun intended.

Now, I would like to begin and end my first blog post with a picture of a big, heaping pile of french fries from Gainesville’s Burgerque. burgerque

Located on Univeristy Ave, Burgerque has a lot of options to choose from if you are needing a barbecue fix in your life.

If any of you ever stop by this place, you HAVE to try the fully loaded fries.

It is an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Drizzled with cheese and ketchup, it will leave you wanting more and more.

Similar to my blog. 😉