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Jamie Ballard

Lana Del Rey releases new video for 'Honeymoon'

Check out Lana Del Rey’s “ironic meta-meme”

Lana Del Rey, known for haunting, dramatic, dreamy ballads like “Born to Die” and “Ultraviolence” just released the video for her song from the album of the same title, “Honeymoon.”

With soaring violins and Rey’s achingly beautiful voice crooning lyrics like “There are violets in your eyes; There are guns that blaze around you,” the singer remains true to form, and to the themes her fans have come to expect. Watch the video, which features the artist lying in the grass near a busy road, before cutting to a pink screen with lyrics imprinted over it. (Some are calling the video an “ironic meta-meme”)


We both know that it’s not fashionable to love me

But you don’t go cause truly there’s nobody for you but me

We could cruise to the blues

Wilshire Boulevard if we choose

Or whatever you want to do

We make the rules

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Say you want me too

Say you want me too

Dark blue

Dark blue

We both know the history of violence that surrounds you

But I’m not scared, there’s nothing to lose now that I’ve found you

We could cruise to the news

Pico blvd in you used little bullet car if we choose

Mr. Born to lose

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Say you want me too

Say you want me too

Dark blue

Dark blue

There are violets in your eyes

There are guns that blaze around you

There are roses in between my thighs and fire that surrounds you

It’s no wonder every man in town had neither fought nor found you

Everything you do is elusive to even your honey dew

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Our honeymoon

Dreaming away your life

Dreaming away your life

Dreaming away your life

These are the scholarships with July deadlines that you should be applying for

Check out these scholarships to see how much money you can earn

A great way to keep your writing skills sharp over the summer (and possibly earn thousands of dollars while you’re at it) is to apply for scholarships. Here are 8 scholarships with July deadlines that you won’t want to miss.

For the scientist:

Thermo Scientific Pierce Scholarship Program. This scholarship is open to graduate or undergraduate students at an accredited college or university for the Fall of 2015 semester. Applicant must have a declared major of Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or a related life science field. You could receive up to $10,000, Apply by July 27.

For the future lawyer:

The d’Olveira & Associates College Scholarship. Scholarship is open to students pursuing college degrees or certifications in law school, paralegal studies, legal assistant studies, court reporting, or any other law-related field from community colleges, technical schools, or business schools. You could win $1,000. Apply by July 30.

Bud Siegfried Scholarship. Applicant must be currently enrolled at a college or university in the United States. Applicant must submit an essay on how an injury attorney can make a difference in a situation and an essay about a service the student has performed in the last three weeks that has made a difference in the student’s life. You could win $1,000. Apply by July 31.

For the doctor or nurse-to-be:

Doctor on Demand Scholarship. Scholarship is open to any student enrolled in a pre-med or health related field of study at at a four-year, accredited college or university for the fall of 2015. Applicant must submit an essay on a given topic related to why they want to enter the medical field. You could win $5,000. Apply by July 31.

TopMedicalAssistantSchools.com Scholarship Program. Scholarship is open to students who will be attending a college or university in the fall of 2015. Applicant must submit an essay on why they want to pursue a career in the medical field. You could win $500. Apply by July 31.

For the writer:

Platt Family Scholarship. Scholarship is open to students who were full-time, undergraduate students in an American college or university during the Spring semester. Applicant must submit an essay on a given topic related to Abraham Lincoln. You could win $1,500. Apply by July 31.

Goedeker’s College Scholarships. Scholarship is open to incoming college freshmen and current college students. Applicant must submit an essay on why attending college is important to them. You could win $500. Apply by July 31.


How to be a good (and safe) couchsurfer

A new website called couchsurfing allows wayward travelers to find couches to crash on

I recently joined a website called Couchsurfing, which allows travelers from all over the world to connect with each other, and offer places to stay in their homes. It’s a neat resource whether you’re a traveler yourself, or simply want to make new friends in your own city. I’ve been to several events in my city, and gotten to meet and learn from people all over the world. It’s a wonderful way to gain some cultural perspective.

While these tips were written with the site’s form of couchsurfing in mind (major focus on social interaction and cultural exchange), most of them can be applied to any kind of situation where you’re a guest in someone’s home.

Don’t treat it as a just free place to stay or hotel alternative. If someone, whether a friend or a stranger, is kind enough to open their home to you, you should make sure you can spend some quality time with them. They likely offered you hospitality with the intent of spending time with you, getting to know you, or catching up. Treating them and their place as just a “free place to crash” can come across as rude, like you’re using them.

On that same note, be personal when you ask to stay with someone. On Couchsurfing, this means that you’ve read their profile, and you want to stay with them because they seem like a nice, interesting, friendly person who you have things in common with. Going back to the first tip, people who are hosting you like to see that you’ve put thought into the request and you don’t only want to stay there because it’s convenient.

Be gracious. The person hosting you has invited you into their home, spent time with you, and probably helped you save a lot of money on a hotel. Offering to make them dinner, buying them a small token of appreciation (a bottle of wine or some locally roasted coffee beans are usually appreciated), or doing something else to say “thank you” makes it much more likely that you’ll be invited back. 

Will You Subscribe To Lena Dunham's Newsletter?

Lena Dunham announced on July 14th that she and Girls executive producer Jenni Konner are planning to launch a newsletter this fall, called “Lenny.”

Covering everything from style to politics to feminism to health, the tagline is, “An email newsletter where there’s no such thing as too much information.”

The Cut reports that Lenny’s mission statement reads: “Lenny is your over sharing Internet friend who will yell at you about your finances, help you choose a bathing suit, lamp, president … AND tell you what to do if you need an abortion.” It seems appropriate for Dunham, who has been called an oversharer in the past, particularly in relation to her book, Not That Kind of Girl, and who has never shied away from “uncomfortable” topics.

“We’ll be allowed to show the ugly and complicated thought processes that go into forming your own brand of feminism, and your own identity, because it’s not all clean back here,” Dunham said to Buzzfeed.

Interested readers can sign up for Lenny here, and newsletters will begin sending later this fall.

What do you think of Lena Dunham? Love her? Hate her? Will you subscribe to the newsletter? 

The app that could save your life

SafeTrek is perfect for college students who often walk alone

If you’re walking through a dangerous area, there are a lot of things you should do to ensure your safety, and we know you’ve probably heard all those warnings before. But in a sketchy situation, things can happen fast and you don’t always have time or ability to take action like calling the police.

SafeTrek, an app available for iPhone and Android users, is simple. If you’re walking through a dangerous area, you open the app and press down on the “safe” button. You hold the button until you’re safe, and then once you release, you have 10 seconds to key in your pin code. If you are in a bad situation, you release the button and don’t type in your pin code, and local police are notified of your location and name.

It’s extremely simple, and requires very little action from you should you be in danger. You don’t have to worry about fumbling around to dial the numbers quickly, or to reach for a deterrent like pepper spray.

The app was developed by college students, for college students. It costs $2.99 per month and is available to purchase for both iPhones and Androids. 

100,000 Opportunities Initiative creates jobs for millenials

Major companies have banded together to create jobs and internships for people aged 18-24

Companies like Starbucks, Hilton, Macy’s, Taco Bell, and several other major businesses recently announced the formation of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which plans to create 100,000 new jobs, internships, or apprenticeships for people aged 16 to 24 by 2018.

“In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young people doesn’t just help the individual workers – it benefits entire communities and the economy at large,” he said. “The corporate leaders championing the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative recognize that promoting career opportunities for youth is a win-win, and I hope more employers will follow their lead,” said Labor Secretary Tom Perez in a statement.

On their website, Starbucks released a statement explaining why the initiative is so critical.

“In the U.S. alone, there are currently 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and not working.  At the same time, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. Jobs that do not require a four-year degree – sometimes called middle-skill jobs – make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States…In response, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is committing to create the pathways young workers need to build skills, attain credentials and ultimately secure a job.”

The initiative launches next month with an opportunity fair and forum in Chicago, where participating companies expect to collectively train more than 2,000 youth and make at least 200 on-the-spot job offers.

Leaders at several of the companies released statements on why this initiative is important, and how they plan to create jobs for youth. The statements are available as part of the statement released by Starbucks.

What do you think of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative? Do you think it’s an effective way to solve some of the problems related to youth unemployment? 

Girls: You deserve good sex!

Women shouldn’t sacrifice their own satisfaction for their partners

Psychologist and professor Laurie B. Mintz recently published a piece for Psychology Today titled “A Letter to Young Sexually Active Heterosexual Women,” where she discussed her opinion that the younger generation’s view of sex is misinformed, largely thanks to the influx of pornography available. As the internet-raised generation, we had access to internet porn that previous generations didn’t have, and that may have influenced our ideas about sex from a young age.

Her letter is full of wisdom and good advice (for men and women alike, really) and I suggest you read the whole thing. Below are some of the strongest, most important points she makes.

“You deserve pleasure during sex. Your pleasure doesn’t have to be secondary to your partner’s pleasure.This goes for both relationship sex and casual sex.” A lot of young women can feel obligated to have sex with a partner who wants it, even if she’s not in the mood. That can create a less-than-sexy mood, and often results in the woman not receiving the same pleasure. Which brings us to…

Tell your partner what you need to reach orgasm. Remember, he has been watching the same distorted movies and porn that you may have been watching, so he may also think his penis is key to your orgasm. You have to tell him otherwise. (And if you fake orgasm during intercourse, he will continue to think this is how women orgasm and continue to do the same thing, with you and with future partners).” If you have a good partner, he should WANT to make it a wonderful, pleasurable experience for both of you. But you might have to help him out by telling him what works best for you. He can’t read your mind, and he shouldn’t take it as a personal insult to his sex skills if you offer a little guidance. On that note, tell him what you DO like. It’ll create a far more pleasurable experience for both of you.

“I am saddened to have to even write this. If you are among the approximately 44% of women who has been a victim of sexual violence (link is external), it is not your fault. EVER. Even if you were drunk. Most young women get drunk at some point in their lives—and you getting drunk doesn’t cause sexual violence. The perpetrator is the cause. Also, if you are a survivor, you can reclaim your sexual life again.” That pretty much says it all. If you are a survivor, your campus has resources available to you. There are also a number of online resources, like the NSVRC.

She concludes with “In sum, dear young women, if I had only three tips to give you, they would be the following: 1) learn about your own body (especially your clitoris); 2) learn to tell a partner what you like and want; and 3) learn to mindfully immerse yourself during sex.”

The author recently took to Reddit to address some questions from the community about the article and her work in particular. She may or may not still be taking questions, but the thread is available here for you to read questions and responses.

Transferring schools can be easier than you think

If you feel the school you are at isn’t working for you anymore, don’t fret!

When you were a bright-eyed high school student checking out your college options, you probably envisioned yourself at the campus for the typical 4 years, making friends and going to classes and having new experiences. You probably didn’t imagine transferring to a different university in the middle of it, but a new study demonstrates that more than a third of college students transfer at some point in their education.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released their findings last week, revealing that out of 3.6 million U.S. students in the study, 37 percent transferred at least once by the summer of 2014. The students began in 2008. Much of the transferring was between community colleges and four-year universities, including students at four-year colleges who transferred to community colleges for summer sessions.

The thing about transferring: it’s okay! People’s goals and educational wishes change, circumstances and finances change, and finding a college that reflects those changes shouldn’t be frowned upon. Some people find that they weren’t ready for the hustle and bustle of a big university, and choose to transfer to the more intimate setting of a community college. Other people begin at a community college to save money until they can afford to do their upper-division credits at a four-year college. Some people find that the university they picked didn’t suit them so well after all. And there’s nothing wrong with deciding to make a change that will help advance your goals.

The hardest part of transferring can be figuring out which credits will transfer, and which classes you might have to make up at your new school. The process is often fraught with complexity, said Thomas Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University. Differing requirements between colleges can be confusing for students, he said in an interview with Associated Press (published on Huffington Post).

It’s suggested that you speak to a guidance counselor at your current college, who can often help you figure out the business of transferring. You should also get in contact with someone at your new school – many schools have staff who are devoted solely to supporting transfer students. There are also a number of websites that can help you start the transfer process.

Have you transferred colleges? What was your reasoning? What was difficult about the transfer process? Talk to me at @BallardJamie23, or at @CollegeNews

Whole Foods overcharging for Kale?

Has the health food chain been capitalizing off of the veggie trend?

If you had your suspicions that you were paying too much for that prepackaged kale salad from Whole Foods, you may have been correct. (If you shop in NYC, that is).

New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs investigated the store and found a number of pricing violations, going back to 2010, according to Mother Jones. The violations mainly concerned mislabeling pre-packaged foods to make them more expensive. The investigators weighed 80 different items from eight of the city’s grocery stores, and found every single one of the labels to be incongruent with the actual weight, usually overcharging the customer.

This isn’t the first time Whole Foods has come under scrutiny for possibly overcharging customers. On the opposite coast last year, they paid $800,000 after an investigation for some of their Santa Monica, Los Angeles and San Diego locations.

Whole Foods issued a statement about the investigation.

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“We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us. Our customers are our number one stakeholder and we highly value their trust in us.

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Tattoo 101: A first course on getting your first ink

Whether you’re only planning on one small tattoo (and that’s it!), or this is the beginning of a tatted lifestyle, here are a few things you should think about before you get inked.

Do it for you. A tattoo is a highly personal decision. So don’t get your boyfriend’s name tattooed simply because he wants you to. Don’t get a tattoo that you’re not in love with, simply because you want other people to think of you as a badass. Get something that you love or that has meaning to you, that you can stand behind. It doesn’t have to please everyone around you, because it is yours and only yours. 

Cost. Like with most things, you get what you pay for. If it seems too cheap to be good, it probably is. Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s better to slowly save up and pay for a high-quality piece of artwork. After all, it will be on your body forever, isn’t it worth the investment? If you’re not sure about what it should cost, check around your area.

Research your artist. Before you commit to a certain artist, be sure to do your research. Every artist has a different style, and you’ll want to find someone whose artwork you really, really like. Make sure you’re happy with their work. Online review sites like Yelp and Facebook can help you with finding the right artist for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request changes. Work with the artist to figure out a design that you really like, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications where you need them. If you want it to be bigger, smaller, have less or more detail, or maybe just different altogether, speak up. Most artists will be happy to work with you. They want you to have a positive experience with them.

Be prepared. Getting a tattoo isn’t always easy. Bring a friend if you want to, make sure you’re in a relaxed state of mind. If it starts to hurt too much, ask if you can take a quick break. Just know that the pain is temporary, and you’ll end up with an awesome piece of artwork at the end of it all.

Tattooed readers, what would you recommend for someone getting their first tattoo?